Saturday, November 29, 2014

How Do You Know?

I don't actually expect anyone to have an answer to this.  If they did, they'd probably be the ruler of the world.  But how do you know how you truly feel, and how do you know how they feel?

It's easy for someone to say "I love you", or "je t'aime", or "ahabak(ik)", or any other way of saying you love someone.  They're just words.  Anyone can do things for someone, or kiss them, or make love to them.  But that doesn't necessarily mean they love them.

So how do you know?

It's a question I wrestle with routinely.  About both my own feelings and the feelings of others.

I say I love Becky.  I believe that I do.  I believe this because of how I feel when I'm around her, when I talk to her (whether on the phone or through online chat), because of how I care about her.  Whenever I hear about something happening in her country or whenever the power goes out over there, I worry about her safety.  I feel genuine sadness at the thought of never talking to her again.  I wish very much for her happiness in life.  I think that's all great evidence in support of the idea that I love her.

But, how do I know?  How do I know it's not because she's the only girl to want to consistently stick around me for this long?  How do I know it's not because I think she's the last shot I have to ever find someone?  How do I know?

And the answer is that I don't know.  And can't know.  I don't live in a world in which I'm choosing her over many other women.  She is the only one.  I have to put trust in myself that I know what I'm feeling is in fact love, and not desperation or loneliness.  And trusting yourself is often the most difficult thing to do.

On the other side of the equation, how do I know how Becky feels?  She's terribly hard to predict.  Hard to lock down where she stands.  One day she'll say she loves me, the next she'll say she doesn't want a long distance relationship and has a hard time saying she loves me over the phone (something she still has never done).  She'll say she's coming here to visit, but that I shouldn't wait for her. She'll text me to say she misses me, but doesn't sound like she's in a hurry to see me.

So how do I know she's serious about wanting to give us a shot?  How do I know she's not saying these things to avoid disappointing me or to avoid making me hate her?  I'm not exactly someone accustomed to having women be interested in him, which only compounds the problem.

I've asked for people's thoughts on the issue, and some have chimed in.  And I encourage anyone else reading this to chime in too.  But how do you know about your own feelings?  How do you know about another person's feelings?  Am I just an idiot for believing this might work out?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Miscellaneous Notes About Honesty, Decency and Communication

I'm not sure if I've ever gone on record saying it, but I have no problem with "the fade".  I also have no problems with making up excuses or having non-answers like "I'll let you know" or "I'll check my schedule" as a way of rejecting someone without coming out and saying it.  I'm an adult, and somehow an adult who gets social cues fairly easily.  I understand that anything other than a "yes" is a "no".

But, there does come a time when you need to be honest with people.  When putting something gently or being passive-aggressive, or coy is not an attempt at sparing someone's feelings, but just a way of implying that they're stupid.  Telling someone after three dates that you can't see them anymore because you're not over your ex, or some other variation of "it's not you, it's me" is acceptable.  Saying that to someone you've been married to for 10 years, not so much.  It's not even about the length of time you know the person, it's more about the degree to which trust and honesty is deserved.

I was reminded of this recently, hence the timing of this post.  Someone I had hoped would have the decency to be honest with me given the similar difficulties we face, but who instead went the passive-aggressive rejection route.  I'm not even talking about romantic rejection, because I didn't see this person that way, it was more of a personal rejection of me as a person.  I don't know what kind of issues this person is going through, nor their reasons for their actions, but given what I did know of them, I had hoped that clear communication would have been possible. I hold no ill will and the door is always open for them to return, but I do hope this person finds what they're looking for.  I got the hint though and I'm backing off.  Thanks for everything, and take care of yourself.  I really mean that.

This isn't really about one specific person though.  This post is about how we should interact with anyone in our lives.  Knowing when honestly is owed and when it's not is a crucial part of interpersonal communication.    The little things can sometimes go a long way.


Friday, November 21, 2014

Wow. It's Been Four Years

So I've been doing this for four years.  Yup.  Go check.  My first ever post on this blog was 11/21/2010.  I was in my last year of college.  I was really done with college at that point, I could have finished that summer instead of going a whole extra year.  Mentally, I had checked out already.  Didn't help my GPA of course.  Though, all things considered I did fine, could have done better, but also could have done worse.

It had been three months since Becky left to go back to her home country.  I had sent her an email that she never replied to, and for all I knew at the time I was never going to hear from her again.  In six months of being on Okcupid, I had gotten zero dates, and only three replies to my messages (one was a girl who told me she only wanted to date men from her culture but still agreed to add me on Facebook).  It was the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so it was right in that terrible time of year where it sucks to be single.

Three weeks after I wrote my first post my grandmother died.  The good grandmother, the one who actually cared about me and my family.  I don't "hate" my other grandmother, but it's clear that she's not a person that wants to spend time with other people.  So that was a pretty terrible time.  I'll tell you the story one day of why I feel like a piece of shit with regards to this, but for now I'll just leave it as is.

So, I was a 22 year old senior in college.  Most of my friends had graduated so it was basically just me on campus alone.  I hadn't really been on a real "date", hadn't kissed a girl, hadn't even held hands with a girl before, had zero post-college job prospects and graduation was fast approaching.  My grand plan of meeting some girl in one of my classes or just in school in general was fast becoming an unrealistic dream.

So I hope that paints a good picture of the setting.  The "fertile ground" in which this blog began.

When I started this blog, my hope was that I would post on here and that people would read and give me advice on what I should do.  School kind of interrupted my ability to post consistently, and I think by the spring I was at three or four posts and zero comments.  That's when I decided maybe I should record my activities and progress, with the eventual goal of acting as a blueprint for others in my shoes.  Like a science experiment, or a traveler's guide.  As the months and years stretched on I realized that was only going to fill up so many pages, especially given the lack of dates I was going on.  That's when I added commentary and social critique to the content here.  Helps bridge the gap between my failed dates.

Since I started the blog I've certainly made some progress.  I've been on some dates, I've actually held hands with a girl, and kissed a girl on the cheek, I've had a girl tell me she loved me (albeit not quite in the way I wanted her to love me but whatever), and I've told a girl I loved her.  I now have a full time salaried position with a stable company and I'm on the way towards having a more independent lifestyle.  Still though, I think I'm still in many ways the same guy.  The same guy who is unsure and shy, and insecure about himself.  I still wonder in the same way what a girl I'm interested in could possibly find attractive about me.  I'm not sure exactly how or when this will ever change.  It's something that has been with me for a long time.  I hope it's not part of who I am, but it definitely could be.

I also still find women of South Asian and Middle Eastern descent extremely attractive.  I don't think it's a fetish in the way that people have Asian fetishes or what have you.  It's not something I intentionally seek out, it's just a trend I've noticed.  I think it hurts me in that it limits my dating pool though ironically the only women who have ever even agreed to go out with me were of those descents, so I don't know.

It seems fitting that one of the blogs I follow (BrownGirlBloggin) is doing a reveal video as a probable retirement of her blog this coming week. This blog (my blog) is (hopefully) not forever.  I will end this blog when/if  I get a girlfriend.  I'll obviously not leave anyone hanging.  I'll write some wrap up posts, and a farewell as well as a place to find my current writing and a way to get in touch with me.  And I'll leave this blog up for anyone who wants to find it and read about my journey.  For now though that day has not arrived.  So fear not, The Inexperienced Guy is still here.

I've toyed from time to time with the idea of doing a "reveal" of my own.  The thing is though, this blog is anonymous for a good reason.  Very few of my friends know that I'm a completely inexperienced guy.  Most people think I'm a cool and calm, "manly man" who doesn't fret about how girls don't like him.  If I reveal myself, that all goes out the window.  That's not to say that no one knows how I look or who I am.  I've befriended one reader of this blog a year ago and would certainly reveal my identity to anyone else under the condition that they don't reveal my identity (unless it's to help me get a girlfriend, then I'm ok with it).  I've tried to befriend others with mixed success.  If you read this blog and you really do want to know who I really am, please drop me a line and I'll add you on Facebook or I'll send you a picture or something.

Suffice it to say, I've been here four years.  I'd really not like to be here for another four.  Hell, I'd like not to be here another four days.  But, I'm glad that if I have to be on this journey, that I have whoever is reading this along with me.  Thanks everyone, and I promise I'm not going anywhere.  At least not yet...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How About a Movie Review?

Wow.  I'm perilously close to the fourth anniversary of the founding of this blog.  I guess I'll have to post on Friday commemorating this occasion.

For now though, I'm taking a break from talking about dating and relationships and talk about something more fun and entertaining: movies.  Specifically a movie I saw recently, you may have heard of it: Interstellar.

I saw it twice.  Saw it the first weekend it came out in a regular theater, and saw it again on Thursday in IMAX.  The IMAX theater I saw it at also had a model of the ship on display as well some kind of virtual reality tour of the inside of the ship.  I didn't stay for that part because I got out of the theater at 10:30 pm and I had to get at up 5 in the morning.  If you haven't seen the movie in IMAX I highly recommend doing so.  Space movies, or flying movies, or anything really having to do with huge spaces and scenes always look better in IMAX.

I liked the movie.  It had a good beginning and end, good character development, the usual stuff you expect from Christopher Nolan, who directed the film.  What really set it apart though was the cinematography.  The wormhole, the other worlds, Gargantua (their name for the black hole they encountered), the tesseract, all of it was really really beautiful to behold.  That was really worth the 15 bucks I spent on the ticket.

The only somewhat negative thing I'll say about it is that it basically followed the cliche astronaut/space travel movie plot.  I don't want to give away too many spoilers, but if you've seen movies like Gravity or Apollo 13, you know the story line: disaster/unexpected event forces crew to abandon scheduled itinerary and improvise a new way to get on with the mission and/or get back home.  There's no rescue possible in space (at least not currently) so it's a plot that works.  But, it does seem bland and formulaic sometimes.

That said, it didn't take away too much from the film.  It was still a beauty to watch.  Maybe it will rekindle some interest in exploring other worlds.  I know the idea fascinates me.

Anyway, if you saw the film, what did you think of it?

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Head Games

Yup.  Just like the Foreigner song.

I've neglected to post for almost two weeks now.  I've been a bit busy and a little downtrodden about the events that I chronicled in my last post.  But I'm here to post again.  Still not about anything wonderful though.

At this point, I honestly think I need to bundle some of these posts and label them "the Becky files" or "the Becky problem".  Because out of all the things that I've written on, I've probably written about her the most.

As you may remember from my last post, Becky (just want to remind everyone that this is not her real name) said "love you" to me at the end of a chat online.  It was an amazing moment of my life, and extremely shocking to me.  She backpedaled the next day when I probed a bit further, which is always the story with Becky: one step forward, two steps back.

Since then, she gave me her phone number, which I called using the Skype app (which is a lot cheaper than calling straight up using your cell phone), and we've talked four times on the phone.  They were the usual great conversations we've always had.  Reminded me of my college years to be honest.  But I recognize one thing: she doesn't feel the same way about me, and that is a fact that is unlikely to ever change.

To clarify, it's not like I ever really thought she would fall in love with me.  She didn't when we lived in the same state and went to the same college, it's even harder for that to happen when thousands of miles separate you.  I've kind of already made my peace with that.  The real mystery going on five years now is why I find myself unable to walk away.

It's not like I'm not accustomed to liking women that don't like me back.  That's a fairly common occurrence with me.  The thing is I'm always able to let go and move on.  The women I've liked or went on dates with in the past, I'm really not longing to be with them.  Yet with Becky it's the opposite.  No matter what I try, be it no contact, space, just thinking about the things I don't like about her (which is practically nothing), I just find myself unable to let her go, despite knowing (intellectually) that nothing is going to happen between us, and despite not seeing her for four years.  And I think I've discovered why.

She seems like she really cares about me.

She will compliment me, encourage me, share things about herself with me, ask me my opinion, ask me how my day is going or how my life is going.  Whenever we talk on the phone or online I never get the feeling that she's in a hurry to go.  She has never asked me for anything.  Not once.  When we were in college we basically split expenses (I paid sometimes, she paid other times).  There are people who have told me that she's only into me so that she could come to the US for citizenship and then bleed me dry.  Becky is smart, she knows that all she has to do is say the word and I'd meet her at the airport with a bouquet of flowers and a ring, yet she doesn't.  If she asked me for some money to help her (she definitely needs it) I'd send it.  Yet she never asks.  Either she genuinely cares about me, or she's the world's biggest saint.

Now I know a lot of you will say "that's just what friends do".  And I get it, but I have friends.  Friends I've known for years, great friends.  None of them have acted towards me the way she does and did when she lived here.  All of the "signals" they tell you are signs that a girl likes you, she displayed.  The hair twirling, the sitting close to you, the crossing her legs towards you, the laughing at all your jokes and smiling like the Cheshire Cat, mentioning specific things she wants to do with you (and then actually following through on it).  All of that, plus the things I've already mentioned made me think something might be there.  Yet there isn't anything there.  Hence the title.

I'm incredibly lucky that she is such an angel, otherwise I'd be totally fucked (pardon my language).  And to be quite honest the next girl I meet might not be so noble.  And that's the really depressing part.  Am I really such a sap that all you have to do to hook me in is say some nice things to me and act like you care?  Will this ever come back to bite me?  Will my hangups about Becky inhibit my ability to develop romantic relationships with other women?  Should I just go ahead and see a therapist about this?

These are all things I've been thinking about since 2 PM yesterday.


Sunday, October 26, 2014

I May Never Wash These Hands Again

I'm kidding of course.  I don't want to help start an Ebola outbreak.  Or much more likely, the flu, common cold and all the other more common diseases.

Seriously though, it's been an interesting week for me.  Particularly the second half of the week.

Some of you already know, but on Thursday I had a discussion with "Becky" online.  It was an odd one, and ended on as odd a note as it began.  She told me she had something to tell me, and the way she said it made it sound like it was something serious.  I'm thinking at this point "dear God, she's going to tell me that she's getting married, and then I'll probably go barf up all the lunch I just ate".  Turns out she only wanted to tell me that she really cared about me and valued our friendship.  That she thinks about me "all the time" especially things I say to her that she later thinks about to make her feel better when she's feeling down.  All of that stuff is very heartwarming, but not quite what I hope for with her.  I told her the truth (which I've told her before) about how I'm glad she's in my life, even if she doesn't feel quite the same way about me as I do about her.  Which prompted her to tell me she's never really been in love, it takes a long time to fall for someone, etc.  By now it was time for me to go back to work as my lunch break was over.  And then she wrote "love u".  Whoa.

Now I come from the perspective that you don't just throw that out there casually, unless you put major caveats on it.  "Love you buddy" or "I love you like a best friend/brother/whatever", those are good ways to use the word "love" without adding all kinds of extra baggage to it.  But saying "love u" without any other context or explanation after the other person just got done saying that they were in love with you?  That's heavy stuff.  Also something I can check off my bucket list: having a girl tell you she loves you.

I followed up with her about it the next day.  I specifically asked her why we couldn't try to make a long distance relationship work.  She alleges (I didn't use the word "allege" with her though) to care about me, and I care about her, we have a lot in common, neither of us is dating anyone else, what's the hold up?  She informed me that she doesn't want a long distance relationship and can't know for sure if she really feels romantically about me until she sees me in person.  Tells me that she will eventually come to the US when her mother comes to visit family.  Doesn't know when that will be but if I'm still single we can see what happens then, but that I should not wait for her.  As much as I would love to believe that this means I can go meet her at the airport sometime in the future and whisk her off into the sunset with me, my gut tells me that this is just her way of telling me she's not interested without telling me so explicitly, and a way to avoid liability if I should "wait for her".  I still do lover her, even thought it would be for the best to walk away.  For whatever reason I just find myself unable to do so.

Now, for the really juicy stuff that you've all been waiting for.

I HAD A DATE YESTERDAY!

On Wednesday, after chatting with a girl from a dating site for about a week, we exchanged phone numbers and I asked her out.  We met up at a Fall festival in our area.  I'm not going into explicit details in case she stumbles upon this blog (highly unlikely but you never know).  I will say though that she was a lot prettier in person than she was in her photos.  That's happened with pretty much every girl I've met from dating sites, so I was happy to see that trend continue.  Also, she had a lovely voice, I love accents and she had a sexy one.  She seemed kind, well rounded, interesting and smart.  All of the things that I tend to like in a woman.

I can also cross some other things off the bucket list.  We held hands.  I had already broken the "touch barrier" prior to this (touching her back, touching her leg when we were sitting and talking, etc.) so maybe that had warmed me up to it, or maybe I remembered all the reserved dates I went on when I didn't go for hand holding and wanted to, I don't know.  But I did it, and she didn't recoil in horror or pull her hand away or none of that.  That was amazing.  I tried to kiss her at the end of the date but she gave me her cheek instead.  That could be good or bad, it's really too early to tell.  She also said she was free this week to go out again.  So I will follow up with her and hopefully that works out.

I like her, and I don't want to compare her to Becky, because I think it's unfair to compare the two given the circumstances.  But no matter how it works out with this girl, I've made some major strides: first time I've ever kissed a girl (on the cheek, but still counts), and first time I've held hands with a girl.

One last thing.  If things do work out with this girl (or even if they work out with Becky), I want to make a promise to readers: I'm not going to turn into one of those douches who gets one girlfriend and is suddenly the expert on dating.  I don't know jack shit about dating.  I lucked into this date with this girl.  I have no clue in the slightest how to replicate that success.  I will continue to give opinion and sometimes advice from my perspective, but I will never claim to have any kind of authority on the subject of love and romance.  If I ever become that guy though, please copy and paste this paragraph and send it to me as a comment, tweet, email, or something.

Anyway, I'm not sure if this is the longest blog post I've had.  Maybe it is I'm not sure.  I just wanted to let you guys know that The Inexperienced Guy is slightly less experienced as of yesterday.

Enjoy your Sunday everyone.  :)

Addendum:

So much for the good vibes.  I was quite excited to call this girl tomorrow to ask her out again.  Unfortunately, I will never get the chance.   She texted me tonight to tell me she wasn't interested in a second date.  Something about having different personalities or whatever.  The specifics don't matter,  What matters is that there will not be another date with this girl.  I'm not broken up necessarily over one girl, it's that I feel like this is how everything ends.  Always.  Doesn't matter how well a date goes or how poorly.  There will always be a bad ending.  Always.

My shields are up.  I really can't go through this again.  One more time and I think I will have a psychotic break.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Depressing Season

Halloween is a big event on the calendar for me.  Not so much because I do anything particularly special for Halloween (last year was the first time I had actually even gone to a Halloween party) but because it's the last day before the start of what I call the "depressing season".  It's that time when the weather starts to get cold and people like to cuddle up next to the fire place (or just their home with the heat on) with a significant other.  And the colder weather is bolstered by a slew of holidays that often involve those significant others: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's, and Valentine's Day.

I've said this before when people ask me what the toughest part of the year is to be single (and dateless).  And my answer is always November-February.  No one to invite over for Thanksgiving, no one to buy gifts for at Christmas, nobody to kiss at New Year's, and obviously no one to spend Valentine's day with.  And I totally get the Valentine's Day is a total rip-off and a "Hallmark holiday".  It really is.  But I feel like relying on that as a defense, is a punk move.  The reality is I'd love to experience the stress that Valentine's Day can be at least just once, instead of treating it like any other day as I have been for a while now.

There is something amazingly romantic to me about kissing in the snow or walking hand in hand in the cold while looking at Christmas decorations in town.  Or inviting your girlfriend to have Thanksgiving dinner with your family (or conversely, being invited to her family's home for Thanksgiving).  I could be alone in this feeling though.

Of course, I'd love to spend other moments in the year with a lovely woman too.  A haunted house on Halloween, or sitting on a blanket taking in the Fourth of July fireworks, or hell even the baseball games I just went to last week.  Having someone to share those moments of life with is something I really really desire.  It's just, I think the nature of the upcoming season just magnifies those feelings for me.

So, I will look to enjoy this rest of this month as much as I can.  And obviously hope that this time the "depressing season" isn't so depressing.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Ben Affleck, Bill Maher, and Islamophobia

As I'm sure most of you know, Ben Affleck was recently on Bill Maher's show and gave a spirited defense of Islam.  My opinion of Bill Maher is that he is a gigantic douche who routinely spouts horseshit and uses the same old tired shtick.  That anyone even bothers to watch his show for purposes other than derision, really boggles the mind.

In any case, I'm with Affleck on this one.  I am not a Muslim (despite what some people tell me), and I'm pretty sure I never will be.  But that doesn't mean I'm not disturbed by the alarming level of Islamophobia that exists in the world.  It would be one thing if it came from Neocons like Dick Cheney or conservative heroes like Sam Huntington or Robert Spencer, but it comes from supposedly liberal progressives, libertarians, smart people, and dumb people.  It's incredibly sad to hear the same people passionately defend the idea of judging people on who they are as an individual rather than who they are as a group, fail to extend that principle to Muslims.

Furthermore, I find it odd that these Islamophobes claim to be "experts on the true Islam" but when an actual Muslim disagrees with their description of the religion, they dismiss the person as either not a true Muslim, or of engaging in deception to lull people into a false sense of security.  There is no way to have a conversation or meaningful debate with someone who regards people who disagree with their view of the world as liars or Uncle Toms.  I remember when Reza Aslan came to my college back in 2007 and he said he found it ironic that the two people who want to depict Islam as inherently violent are Osama Bin Laden and televangelist Pat Robertson.  That should tell you something.

Acts of terrorism committed by people claiming to speak for Islam represent a very small percentage of violent acts.  In fact in the United States you are more likely to be killed by someone you know, or a police officer than you are a terrorist.  Hell, I'm sure some of you know women are more likely to be raped than killed by a terrorist, yet I don't see any collective freak out over rape in our society, at least not anywhere near the same level as we do with regards to terrorism.

Really though, at the end of the day there really is no one who speaks for all of Islam.  There are the Five Pillars (none of which is war or even the much misunderstood word "Jihad") and the Qur'an, but there are all kinds of nuance and tiny details outside of those things.  You can choose to believe the worst of Muslims, or you can choose to accept that they are no different than anyone else in this world.  And you don't have to be a Muslim to understand this either.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

A Rant

I don't often go on rants.  Well, I do, but they're rants dressed up as sophisticated analysis.  But here's a less than sophisticated diatribe for you:

What the fuck baseball?!

Seriously.

I have said this to people plenty of times but baseball is the single most enjoyable sport to watch live in person.  And I say this as someone who loves the NFL, loves watching football on Sundays, all of that.  Trust me, live baseball tops live NFL games.

But, the scheduling for this postseason blows.  It's just terrible.  I have tickets for Friday that I have to sell on Stubhub because there's no way I could make either of the possible start times.  12:07 or 3:07 in the afternoon?  Seriously?!  I'm not unemployed anymore, I have to go to work during the day.  I can't just hook to see a baseball game.

Beyond that, who the hell is going to be watching baseball on television at noon?  It's not like the NCAA tournament where everybody watches just to see how screwed up their brackets are hours into the tournament and their dreams of winning a billion dollars from Warren Buffet went up in smoke.  I highly doubt there's any gain in viewership by airing these games the way Major League Baseball chose to air them this year.

I know, poor me.  I'm going to make some money scalping my tickets.  Woe is me.  But I wanted to go.  I know as fans we don't really impact the game, especially in a sport like baseball where crowd noise rarely plays a factor.  But you sometimes feel like you might be able to swing the game and you want to be there to do it.  You want to feel that energy along with forty thousand other fans.

So seriously baseball.  Get your act together.  Just play the games at night.  Play them simultaneously.  No one will mind.  Everyone will be watching their own teams anyway and if they absolutely need to watch two games at once they can do this thing they invented sometime in the 20th century called "changing the channel".

End rant.  Sorry if this bored anyone who hates baseball or sports.


Wednesday, September 24, 2014

To Be 20 Again

I'm a bit of a nostalgic person.  Anniversaries of important events or moments in my life are things I tend to remember and reminisce about.  And sometimes obviously look on with regret.

Six years ago today I met "Becky".  It wasn't even like a grand "I met you" moment.  We talked for roughly 10 minutes, give or take.  It was one of those things where I was so amazed that an attractive woman even bothered to speak to me at all.  There was a guy on campus giving out flyers for something or other and when we passed him I was so entranced I said something so totally off the wall.

I any event, I wouldn't speak to her again for several weeks.  I was doing my patented "too cool for school" act.  You know the one where you ignore someone you're attracted to because you don't want to be "that person" who follows them around like a puppy dog.  Eventually though by essentially stroke of luck we'd start hanging out regularly and I was in deep.

I won't rehash the whole story here because I've already blogged about it a couple of times and don't want to bore you with yet another retelling.  What I will say is that it's a bittersweet memory (as all my memories of her are).  That September night, walking back from class.  Me, a 20 year old guy who thought he knew everything about the world but who in fact knew practically nothing.

For the past 6 years I've tried in vain to recreate that, just with a happier ending.  I'm not sure if that's possible.  Nor am I sure it's desirable.

I still dream about "Becky".  I'm sure it doesn't help that I still talk to her online on a regular basis.  I'm not sure what will happen in the future, I'm not optimistic but who knows.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Helicopter Parenting

I am not a parent.  I know it's a big surprise, but it's awfully hard to father children without even kissing a girl (actually reminds me of a "Boy Meets World" episode, but that's another story).  But, I have parents, and most of my peers have parents.  And our parents have parents.  So it's kind of easy to observe the phenomenon that is the practice of raising children.

There are a lot of different parenting styles, but probably the most common one today is known as "helicopter parenting".  Basically hovering over your child like a helicopter and watching our for their every move and every step.  You know, your parents will call up to complain about the grades your teacher gave you, or call the principal up to complain about something or other.  It's much maligned because it looks (and to the children feels) like parents are suffocating their children and stifling their growing up process.

There's an old Arab proverb that says: the first 7 years you play with your children, the second 7 years you let them get in trouble and the third 7 years you explain to them why they got in trouble.  It's a roundabout way of saying that you only learn by screwing up and sometimes learning why you screwed up.  Yes, you can learn by watching others screw up, but experience is almost always the best teacher.  If you always have someone there to watch you and make sure you don't make any mistakes, how are you ever going to learn for yourself?  Especially when there will come a time when your parents won't be there to watch out for you.  What will you do then?

Now, I know a lot of you will be asking yourselves where this is going and why I'm bringing this up.  I recently read a story in which a father (along with his wife) did a sweep of their daughter's room (I guess the equivalent of a cell check) and found a package of thongs under the mattress.  His daughter was 13 and he was wondering if this was just too early for a girl to be wearing that kind of undergarment.  And if so, should he put his foot down and forbid his daughter from wearing them.

I'm no expert on women's underwear.  But I guess the worry here is that his daughter might be trying to dress "sexy" at a young age, an age where really nobody should be sexually active.  I understand that, but I think at some point if you're worried that your daughters underwear choices might lead her to start having gratuitous sex at a young age it might already be too late.  If you've done a good job this isn't something you typically worry about.

Moreover, and perhaps more importantly, I don't think it's a good idea to want to control every aspect of your child's life.  You have to draw reasonable lines and pick your battles.  I understand protecting your kids from drugs and alcohol, or encouraging them to do well in school, and making sure they behave in your home.  But when you try to control everything, including what kind of underwear they wear the lesson children usually learn from that is not to stop doing the behavior, but rather to hide it better.  The mattress was used this time as a hiding place, so next time they'll find a better one.  Maybe a cutout in a book, or inside the box frame.

I'm sure some of you reading this had times when your parents tried to get you to stop doing a certain thing and you didn't want to.  So you just learned how to sneak around and do it without your parents knowing.

Again though, I'm not a parent.  So maybe some of you parents out there reading this think I'm full of shit.  I just hope that if you feel that way you're not one of those people complaining that today's young adults lack maturity and responsibility and independence, or mock us for being the "boomerang generation".  If we haven't grown into full adults yet, it's because we weren't allowed to.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Other People's Standards

Let's talk about standards.  According to the dictionary, it's a "level of quality" or "achievement", "considered to be acceptable or desirable".  In dating terms it's really what you're looking for and won't settle for less than.  At least I think that's a good definition.

I always see on dating sites or forums, and even when people talk in real life what people claim they're looking for.  Sometimes it's really generic, even seemingly easy to pass. A nice person who doesn't cheat, isn't looking for a one night stand, is respectful, doesn't need to be rich, can talk about intellectual topics, etc.  It sounds nice.  I mean hey, I'm those things.  Yet, whenever I message a girl like that on a dating site or talk to a girl like that in real life, it always goes nowhere.  So I've come to regard anyone who says they're just looking for a good guy with "xyz" generally nice sounding attributes as just blowing smoke out of their ass.  Let's not bullshit a bullshitter.  I know and you know, and you know that I know that you're looking for much more than that and you're just saying you aren't so as to avoid looking like a bitch (or a dick if you're a dude doing this with regards to women).

But, we've all heard of the infamous situation in which a great person is dating a piece of shit.  Or at least maybe not quite a piece of shit, but maybe a mildly irritating fart.  And you know this person could and should do better, but they aren't.  They're agonizing over why the person they're dating is engaging in certain behavior.  Cheating maybe, or getting mad when they want to spend an evening hanging out with friends rather than stay at home, something along those lines.  I look around and think about the number of normal, respectful, level headed guys I know who struggle badly with women and I wonder: "what the hell are all of us doing wrong?".

I'd like to think that I meet most people's standards, but if I had to be perfectly honest I'd have to say I'm very skeptical.

So readers, what are your standards?  What are things you look for in a partner?  Things you would accept, things you absolutely wouldn't?  Do you think I'd meet yours or even most women's?

Personally, I don't know what my standards are or even should be.  I'd like to stay as open minded as possible but I can't honestly say I'm always successful in that endeavor.  In any case, feel free to leave your thoughts.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I'm Not the Kind of Guy You Want to Date

I'm really not.  My life isn't that exciting; I mostly watch cool shows, read cool books, go to the gym, watch sports, hang out with my friends and every once in a while go see a movie.  I've never been outside of the US, I've never done anything dangerous or intriguing and I don't even have my own place.  I still live with my parents where I share a room with my little brother.

Furthermore, I'm a terrible kisser.  How do I know?  Because I've never kissed a girl before.  I've also never held hands or cuddled on a couch hell even seen a movie with a girl.  I almost certainly don't know how to please you sexually, my first time would probably last less than 30 seconds.  I am in no way that guy who can just take you and maul you like some kind of tiger.  Plus I'll probably turn into a stage 5 clinger as soon as you kiss me.  It's 100% guaranteed.

I also have no relationship experience.  So it's not like I have anything to offer you in terms of companionship and support.  I mean I support my friends and my family, but you're looking for a guy with a track record of supporting his partner and you know sharing his life with her and all of that stuff.

Personality wise, I'm a geek without the video games and comic books.  I geek out over history books and educational podcasts.  I work out and play sports, but I'm not that douchey jock, meat head gym bro.  I'm a renaissance man, lots of coverage but no depth.  It really cuts down on my niche appeal.  All the nerdy girls like video games and all the sporty girls hate history and educational stuff.  I'm in that no man's land.

I also have no career and not much money.  I just started a new job that will pay me a bit more but it's not like I'm going to be living in the lap of luxury over here.  I don't really offer that stable provider role that you're probably looking for.  Plus, I must not have ambition or else I'd be finding a way to get a career and most importantly I'd be finding a way to get a girlfriend.  Since I haven't, it pretty clearly shows what kind of guy I am.

I'm pretty sure that covers it all.  No matter what kind of girl you are, I'm not the kind of guy you want to date.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Relationships: the Be All End All of Existence?

Getting a girlfriend or getting married is not the end all be all of life.  It's a statement often made to people of my ilk, that we should concern ourselves with having a really kick ass life and not worry about dating and relationships.  It's true in a lot of ways but not as much as people who say it would have you believe.

Yeah, Sir Isaac Newton, who allegedly died a virgin, did more for the human race than any of the Kardashians have.  And I'm pretty sure none of the Kardashians are going to die virgins.  Correct me if I'm wrong on that.  So clearly, sex and dating and relationships aren't the only important thing of value in one's life.

But this kind of thing really misses the point.  The comparison I always love making is to sports (mostly because I love sports and think they say a lot about the human condition).  Winning a championship in sports doesn't make you great in and of itself, but winning one certainly adds to your legacy in a way that is undeniable.  I don't think anyone would say that Trent Dilfer (who won a Super Bowl) had a better career than Dan Marino (who lost the only Super Bowl he played in), or that Jeff Conine (who won two World Series with the Marlins) had a better career than Barry Bonds (who never won one).  But does anyone deny that both Marino and Bonds would have a much better legacy had they won championships?  I mean that's the first thing people point to when debating Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Now, let's bring this back to dating and relationships.  I don't deny that a pretty shitty person who happens to have a girlfriend is still a shitty person.  That doesn't change the fact that being able to find someone (who isn't related to you by birth) who wants to share in your life and wants to share theirs with you greatly enhances who you are as a person.  Again, just like with sports championships, this doesn't mean that just any relationship will do nor does it mean that if you're not in a relationship (or married) that you're a worthless human being.  Just don't tell me that getting a girlfriend is meaningless and does nothing for you.  That's bullshit and I'm pretty sure you know it.

Friday, August 15, 2014

How You See Yourself

It's hard for me to see myself as someone somebody might be attracted to.  It's not so much that I feel like I'm "ugly", rather I see myself as "unattractive".  I've had people (men and women) tell me I'm funny, or smart, or good looking but that's never translated into anyone being sexually or romantically into me.

It's one of those things that's hard to put a finger on.  Unlike being fat, or having bad hair or social anxiety or some other noticeable trait, it's hard to correct the problem.

Some of the advice I get is usually telling me to get a career and move out of my parents house.  And while I agree that those things can't hurt, I'm skeptical that those things alone prevent me from having a happy dating life.  I have friends who dated while living with their parents, and at one point I was in college while living at home, which is not all that unusual.  So I don't think I can lay the blame only on those factors.

The other kind of advice I get is to "put yourself out there more".  I'm not a homebody.  I have friends and I do stuff.  The past two weekends I haven't spent more than an hour total at home.  It's hard to have more of a lively life than I do now.

A few weeks back a friend of mine asked his wife to invite one of her friends to hang out with us.  The implication of course being that hopefully I'd meet her and hit it off.  Thing is, I've heard variations of this before.  "There's this girl you should meet" is a phrase that gets bandied about from time to time.  Nothing ever actually happens though.  I don't want to be that desperate guy begging his friends to fix him up with someone and I feel like if they were really serious about it they'd do it anyway without prompting.

All of this really feeds into what I wrote at the top.  If I was really sexually attractive wouldn't I have an easier time with this whole thing?  People always talk about how easy getting sex and relationships are in this day and age compared to the past, but that's not been my experience.

Ladies, some guys are just not confident.  We've never had a girl like us so we have no idea how it feels or how to tell.  It's a much safer bet to assume disinterest and go from there.  So you might think you're giving us hints but we're not very good at interpreting them.

What this means for me?  I don't know.  There's a girl I've grown to like over the past few months (though I still have feelings for "Becky") whom I haven't yet asked out because we work together.  When I get a new job I may ask her out, but I have zero percent confidence that she'll say yes.  I mean why would she?  I like her, which means she doesn't like me.  At all.  In fact she probably barely tolerates my presence.

I'm sure this is unhealthy, but what can I do?

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Okcupid's Experiment

So apparently Okcupid experiments on users from time to time.  And everyone is up in arms about it.  Feeling betrayed, tricked, outraged, all of the above.

I'm not exactly sure how I feel about it.  On the one hand it feels like not much more than elaborate trolling, which has its merits from time to time.  On the other hand I do feel like it represents bad business ethics.  Don't get me wrong, I don't think anyone has a case for fraud, nor should any government agency get involved (I think the market can and should determine what happens) but I think I would feel uncomfortable experimenting on my consumers like that.

If you didn't read the post, Okcupid did three different experiments: two dealing with photos and the third dealing with the match percentage algorithm.

The results:

-When no one had a photo on the site (due to a intentional "glitch" on the site) conversations went longer, more detailed and people exchanged contact info more often and were more satisfied on the dates they went on than they were in cases where they knew what the person looked like before hand.

-When asked to rank personality separately from looks, users generally rated both the same.  Even when the profile contained absolutely no text just a photo.  Essentially the profile text was irrelevant to your rating.

-When told they were a great match (with a fake compatibility percentage to boot) people generally acted like it.  And vice versa when told they were a bad match.

Part of me feels like maybe this explains my absolutely dreadful record on dating sites.  Or I should say a big part of me wants to believe that.  Obviously that's wishful thinking.  But to be honest I didn't really use the matching algorithm as faithfully as some might, and I don't often "rate" profiles.  So maybe I was never involved in any of these experiments.

This is one of the reasons I think it would be wise to approach online dating with a grain of salt.  You just never know whether the person you're messaging just isn't interested or is just a part of a laboratory experiment.

I do hope that Okcupid applies the same standards to people who create profiles to run their own unsanctioned experiments.  Obviously it's their site and they should be free to do with it what they want, but I think it would be good etiquette and good science to allow others to run their own experiments.  Either as a way to reproduce their results or as a way to test other hypotheses.

But I'm not sure how I feel about the whole thing.  I like the knowledge but I'm a smidge uncomfortable with the tactics used to get it.  How do you readers feel?

Friday, July 25, 2014

Why I Still Have a Flip Phone

I'm not a Luddite.  I swear.  I love technology and think it makes our lives easier each passing day.  While I'm not "old", I'm old enough to remember the days when looking for a movie to watch meant making a trip to Blockbuster rather than whipping out your Kindle Fire and going on Netflix.  I also remember the days when my dad used to type up (on a typewriter) his resume when he would go on job interviews.

The day I got my iPod back in 2006 was the beginning of a new era for me, as I'm sure it was for most people when they got their first iPod or MP3 player.  It freed me from having to make that high stakes choice: lug around 100+ CDs so you have musical variety, or take only 2 or 3 to cut down on your luggage weight.  Whichever choice you made, you were bound to regret it.  But the iPod changed things.  I could 7,000 songs on one small light weight device.  Plus, I could scroll to exactly the song I wanted, rather than having to hit "next" over and over until getting to where I wanted to be.  It was really a 90s kid's dream come true.

I still have that iPod by the way.  It's been 8 years, I've taken it on countless runs, trips to the gym, road trips, even just regular old sitting on the couch listening to music, and it still works.  Hopefully will for a while.
Now that I've established my technological bone fides, let me explain my opposition to smart phones.  First off, I have nothing against the idea of smart phones: being able to look something up or get directions, or read email or hell, just talk to someone on Facebook when you're bored, no matter where you are (more or less) is great. It's a tremendous value.

The problem I have is that I think the value is overpriced relative to what I'm willing to pay for it.  My brother pays 80 dollars a month for his data plan.  I currently pay about 45 dollars for my talk and text plan.  The extra 35 dollars might not seem like a lot, but over the course of a year that's about 400 dollars.  I'm not being cheap, I just have different values.  If you told me I could pay 400 bucks to go on Facebook wherever I go, or Twitter, or read emails, etc., I think I'd pass.  I have an iPod touch that I bought last September for 300 dollars that does most things a smart phone does (with the exception of phone calls), it just requires a Wi-Fi connection to do so.  So I know what apps are and I know the basics of smart phone usage.  It works for me, I'm fine with it, anyone who needs to get in touch with me can call or text me.  Important people have my number.

I won't knock anyone for feeling differently though.  I'm sure there are people who think I'm crazy for paying money to go see baseball games or my gym membership or the food that I eat.  And I'm sure there are people for whom 400 dollars is not that big of a deal.  I'm sure that if I made more money than I currently do, I might decide that a smart phone was a good idea.

It's nothing personal.  I'm not a better, more socially connected person because I don't have a smart phone.  I'm not "more real", I'm not a Luddite bent on destroying every semblance of technology on Earth.  I'm just someone who doesn't value the benefits of a smart phone like most people do.

Monday, July 14, 2014

On Rejection

I've found that one of the hardest things to understand is the idea that you shouldn't take rejection personally.  Whether it's someone rejecting you when you ask them out, or when someone does go out with you but doesn't want to see you again, or even if someone ignores your messages on a dating site, or your chat messages on Facebook.  "It's not personal" it's often said, but how can it not be?  

They are rejecting you.  They might not know all about you, but they're rejecting as much as they do know.  Maybe the way you drank your coffee or the way you talk or the way you walk.  Whatever it is they're rejecting it.

I sympathize with the idea that the best response is to brush it off.  On to the next, it makes no sense to get invested in someone you barely know.  But I think it's harder to do it when you have no history of success and all you've really known is rejection.  

For this reason, I really think it's best for people to get some dating experience in their high school or college years.  Those are the years where you really can get to know people without awkward dates with people you met at the grocery store or a dating site.  

This is kind of a rambling post, brought on by some recent events in my life.  So it's not my usual post.  I'll try to write something useful next time.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Relating to People

This blog focuses a lot on the ways in which I'm inexperienced when it comes to dating, sex and relationships.  Those are important no doubt and I definitely think it defines who I am to a great extent.  Or at least, who I am now.  But it's also important to note that I'm also inexperienced when it comes to what I'd call "independent adult life".

It hits home for me when I visit friends of mine who have their own apartments or their own houses (hell sometimes they even have children already).  It's weird when they're already firmly on the path of adult life and I'm still here practically at the starting line.

I know I"m not the only Millennial to be living with his parents.  Lots of us are.  But I think what makes me somewhat unique is that I've never actually lived on my own.  Not even in college.  In fact, I haven't even had my own room since I was 4 years old.

I think it's fair to say this makes it hard for me to relate to people my age.  If you've been out in the real world, paying rent, cooking your own dinner every night, figuring where you're going to put pieces of furniture, you really have nothing in common with somebody who's been mooching off of mom and dad his whole life.

It's why I find myself running the other way when I see someone I went to high school with (not friends, just regular people) or their parents.  I don't want anyone knowing that while they (or their kids) have been out and about in the world, I've been doing nothing except working a dead end job, lifting weights, and blogging about how I don't go on many dates.  It's a glamorous life I know, but it pales in comparison to trips to Europe or a new house with a deck (and obviously someone to share it with).

So I don't know.  It's been an interesting weekend which kind of opened my eyes to some of this.  As much as I think of myself as an old soul, I really have some growing up to do.

 


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Blah

I got a lot of flak last time I tried to write a post with some perspective in it.  People who thought I was needlessly negative or in a hurry to grow up or something.  But it needed to be written, just to get it out there.  
I am at a point in my life where most of my friends are getting married, having children, or getting into relationships.  I can go down my Facebook friends list and tell you as much.  It isn't so much that everyone else is doing it so I should too, it's more like, I'm at that age where you begin to lose single friends to do stuff with.  And it's weird because a lot of these people are the people you'd least expect.  But here we are.

So today I'm off of work, and really have nothing to do except some minor errands I need to run.  I'm browsing the online dating sites, namely Okcupid and Match.com.  But why bother?  Sure I paid for Match so I might as well use it, but except for the break I took from April to mid-June, I've been on the site since last September and I've got (in the words of Jim Mora) "diddly poo" to show for it.  Same with Okcupid, except I've been on there longer with only marginally better results.  My messages always go without a reply, and lately on Okcupid not even a profile view.  These are people with whom I have things in common!  Getting together for a date or a meetup should be easy, but I can't even get them to chat with me over internet messages.  

I don't meet women offline anymore.  Something that happens when you combine friends settling down with graduating college.  The stream of single people coming into your life dwindles.  Not that I was very good at talking to or attracting women when I was meeting them regularly.  As far as I'm aware, attraction has always been a one way street for me.  

It's why I haven't cut "Becky" out of my life, even though continuing to interact with her is most likely bad for my mental health.  She's the only woman who bothers to talk to me anymore.  

I read a post on a blog I read about the Friendzone.  And you know, I've pretty much never been in the Friendzone.  I never get to that point.  Women usually ditch me well before we ever get to that stage.  It's like it's that bad that I don't even have that problem.  99 problems but the friendzone isn't one.  

Now this is why I'm fairly pessimistic about my chances with women.  I've been in the world, there is no cavalry charging up the hill.  I'm not going to message some girl on a dating site and meet up with her and end up dating her.  "Becky" and I aren't going to live happily ever after.  It's just not going to happen.  If it was, it would have happened already.  

Look, if you feel differently, please let me know why.  Don't give me some bullshit though.  Don't comment on here saying "there's a girl out there for you, just be patient", or some variation thereof.  I've heard it before.  I've heard the line about women being just as self-conscious around men as men are.  And maybe that's true, but they're not self-conscious around me.  

Just once in my life I'd like someone to feel the same about me as I do about them.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life messaging girls on dating sites hoping that maybe, just maybe one of them will tolerate me long enough to date me.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life quietly resenting the happy couples I see out and about.  I want to actually be in one of those happy couples.  But if you're asking my honest opinion, I don't think it's going to happen.

 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

What's the Point?

This is a post that I really want reader feedback on.  I see the blog views, somebody is reading.  Don't be a stranger, comment.  Send me an email if you want it to be kept private (theinexpguy@gmail.com).

I was talking with a friend the other day about how I feel naive sometimes when it comes to women and dating.  That maybe sometimes women do make a pass at me and I don't realize it (though I doubt it).  But he also said this: women can be cruel sometimes, especially if you give them attention, sometimes they just use you for that with no intention of anything more.

Now, my friend is not an inexperienced loser.  He's in a committed relationship and has been for something like six years now.  Probably going to marry his girlfriend once they get on solid financial footing.  So while I hesitate to call anyone an "expert" on women or dating or relationships, I don't think we can call him an armchair warrior either.  He's been around and knows at least something of the world.

But my question is this: assuming his assertion is true, then what's the point?  If you can't be your genuine self and show interest when you're interested and instead have to play a game of sorts to ensure that the other person really does like you and isn't just looking for an ego boost, why bother with this whole thing?  Why bother looking for companionship from someone who needed you to prove your worth to them?  I might as well look for that in a robot or my dog if that's the case.

Why is it so hard to just get to know someone and then say "hey I like you" and have them either feel the same or not?  Instead it's a game.  They might not like you, but they like knowing that you like them.  So they string you along, giving you a little bit of what you desire, but not the whole thing.

And none of this is referring to sex by the way.  We're talking about a wholesome commitment to intimacy.

So that's my question.  Why should I make myself vulnerable to people who are mostly assholes of some variation?  Why shouldn't I put up walls higher than Constantinople?  Why shouldn't I hide in a cocoon and avoid people hurting me?  If you've grappled with this issue, what's your answer for it?

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Feelings, Truth, and Happy Endings

I've been having somewhat regular conversations with "Becky" recently, which you may know from this post from last month.  Yesterday the conversation turned to a time we had together back in college and how even then I had a big crush on her (read: I was in love with her).  The good part about all of it was she didn't delete me or awkwardly sign out of Facebook as many women would have in the past.  But she also didn't say she felt the same way, then or now.  I came away from it feeling kind of crummy to be honest.  Not mad, just sad.

It's not at all surprising.  I confessed my feelings to her in an email months ago and in no uncertain terms she replied that she did not feel the same way.  And I respect that.  I respect when people are honest and straight with me instead of stringing me along or giving me responses in hopes of sparing my feelings.  I guess I had hoped that in these past few months of corresponding via instant message she might have changed her mind, or maybe I grew on her or something.  I don't know, sometimes you hope against hope, even when your mind tells you you're insane.

When we first started corresponding again, I suppose I thought if I told her how I felt, maybe she had secretly felt the same way for a long time but never wanted to tell me.  Maybe after talking for some months we'd realize that we're really right for each other and we'd spend the rest of our lives together.  Or something.  That's the kind of happy ending I was hoping for.  Never mind how unrealistic it was.

In order to understand why she has this hold over me, you might need some background information.

I last saw her in the late summer of 2010, when we hung out over the course of a few days before she left the US to return to her native country.  At the time, she was (and still is) the only girl (excluding family) who had ever been in my car, the only girl I had ever been to a sit-down restaurant with, the only girl I had ever sat on a couch with, and the only girl I had ever consistently hung out with.  She is, for all intents and purposes my first everything with the exception of kissing and sex.  When she left I was sad, but it paled in comparison to the sadness I felt when I first stopped talking to her and hanging out with her a year earlier.

In May 2009, as my third year in college drew to a close I began to realize that "Becky" and I were not to be.  It wasn't culture, her family, nor shyness that was holding her back, it was her disinterest.  Even after her family moved away and she was living on her own, nothing was going to change.  So I decided to move on.

The problem is that the damage had already been done.  It wasn't so much that she rejected me (unofficially of course since I never really made a big "move") but that I was so sure that she liked me and yet she didn't.  At 20 years old I had thought I had things figured out: if a girl laughs at all your jokes, touches you when she's talking to you, crosses her legs in your direction, finds excuses to hang out with you, suggests things you should do together, etc., it's safe to say she likes you.  I got all of that from "Becky" and yet she only saw me as a friend.  It became painfully obvious to me that I had no idea how to tell if a girl likes me or not.  Platonic interest vs romantic interest is something I couldn't differentiate.

On top of this, I'm forced to reconcile the fact that while I think she's special and unique, how do I know I don't feel that way simply because she's the first and only girl to seemingly take an interest in me?  I have absolutely nothing to compare her to aside from superficial interactions with women.  Not, by the way, for lack of trying.

What does this all mean?  I'm not sure.  Here is this girl that is perfect for me in every way aside from the fact that she doesn't like me romantically, a girl I would in a heartbeat marry if she agreed to it but it's destined not to be.

People who know about the situation in real life have told me not to put all my eggs in one basket.  This is only one girl in a sea of girls, shouldn't I be trying elsewhere?  And my answer is that I am looking elsewhere.  I have active profiles on three dating websites and I message women fairly regularly.  Yet in all this time not a single woman has been interested.  Which goes back to my hypothetical above: am I feeling this way about "Becky" because there's no one else in my life?

Things like this make me feel cursed.  I feel cursed that the only woman who has ever wanted to spend any significant amount of time with, whom I don't feel nervous around and with whom I can talk about anything, doesn't return my feelings.  I feel cursed that I can't move on from her because no one else even lets me close enough to develop feelings.  Cursed that I happen to so often be attracted to the only demographic of women that rarely dates outside its culture or religion.

For now I guess I'll continue to talk to her.  I'll continue to hope for a happy ending of some kind.  But for some reason I doubt it will even come to pass.

How Much Should Your Past Define Your Professional Life?

What's your first thought about Shae from HBO's Game of Thrones?  If it's something like "isn't that the girl who was in those pornos?", apparently you're not alone.  I actually only recognized the name, not the face (she looks different now than she did 10-15 years ago, believe it or not) but I really didn't think it was that big of a deal.  And she's not the first pornographic actress to be in Game of Thrones, and hell, at times the show is itself some kind of soft core pornography anyway.

Is her history something that should be ignored?  I don't know.  I'm not sure if people make a big deal of it because they think porn is sleazy, or because pornographic actors and actresses don't make it out of that industry all that often, or because her parents reacted negatively when they found out she had sex with men on camera for a living and it made the headlines.

Personally I think it's interesting.  Mostly because she ended up being one of those porn stars who had legitimate acting talent, something porn stars are routinely mocked for lacking.  Though I think they lack acting skills because the job doesn't require them.  People don't usually watch porn for the riveting drama, tight story telling, and cutting dialogue.  They usually watch to get off.  Just being honest.

But outside of just acknowledging this I don't think it makes any sense to continue focusing on it.  It's no different than pointing to Ryan Reynolds' supporting role in the X-Files to analyze his career as it stands today.  It's interesting and makes for a good trivia question, but not particularly useful.

Speaking of Ryan Reynolds, being a former porn star is a bit like having played a superhero: it doesn't help you see the depth of their acting talent (or lack thereof).  And interestingly enough you often get defined by that role.  The one key difference though is that acting in porn is so different than acting outside of porn as to probably make them two different professions.

It's ok to point out that Sibel Kekilli used to do porn.  But just leave it that, don't make such a big deal of it.  Sheryl Crow used to be a teacher, Eddie Money was a police officer, The Rock was a college football player.  Are any of those things important in looking at their current work portfolio?  I don't think so.


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

This is why I don't associate with these clowns

I just read this article by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank. If you read it, feel free to throw up or get enraged.

I have certain sympathies for conservatives in certain circumstances.  When they correctly advocate for the free market, limited government and individual liberty, I like them.  When they act completely obtuse or boorish, I cringe.

American conservatives like to point out that unlike their liberal adversaries, they treat people as individuals, not groups.  Whether you're poor, black, young, old, whatever, you should be treated as an autonomous person making his or her own decisions independent of the herd.  Yet when it comes to people from the "wrong" background, that attitude goes right out the window.  Muslims are looked at as potential threats to Western Civilization, and Hispanic and other immigrants as drains on welfare seeking to turn the US into a third world country.  It's incredibly sad.

I am not Muslim, but I know a lot about the faith, and I've met my share of Muslims in my life (in fact a huge portion of my friends are Muslim).  Like anyone who bothered to meet people of different backgrounds, I've learned that people are all unique no matter where they came from.  It's best to make an honest attempt at checking the stereotypes at the door.  Perhaps that's "politically correct", but I see it as being a decent human being.

There are something like 1.5 billion Muslims on this planet, speaking all kinds of languages and coming from all kinds of places.  Rural places, urban places, the suburbs, the west, the east, the south. They live half a world away, they live right next door.  They play sports, go to the gym, go watch baseball games, listen to the same music you do, hell some of them will even have a beer with you.  They are not some mysterious other.  Just as you or I aren't some mysterious other.

I hate to get political on this blog.  It takes away from the actual mission here but I had to say this.  And I wonder how much of this is genuine hatred or how much is some kind of rent seeking.  As long as there is a "War on Terror", people who like to foment hate while marketing themselves as "experts" benefit.  People like Brigitte Gabriel get to pile up donations while spreading fear about the dangers of Muslims and Islam.  My hope is that there's a special place in hell for people like that.  Let's hope so.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Apparently Some People Think I Hate Them

 And I don't.  Well I dislike some people, but I guarantee you that they aren't the people who think I hate them.  It's one of those odd things about me: I have a cool, steely, demeanor and I look like I'm a self-assured person who knows what he's doing in life.

The reality: I don't know jack shit about what I'm doing or where I'm going and my self esteem is made of the most fragile glass you could find.  Probably the glass that Solyndra made those solar panels out of.  You know, the ones that broke when it rained.

That cool steely demeanor and tough outer shell is what protects me from being vulnerable.  Protects me from having people find out that I'm a piping hot mess who feels like he couldn't get a date if he was the last guy on earth.

It's the reason this blog is anonymous.  I would feel embarrassed beyond all measure if any of my friends, family or people I interacted with daily knew this side of me.  The side that struggles with women, who wonders what the hell is wrong with him, feels like he failed at life.

Does this hold me back?  Possibly.  But it wasn't always like this.  I used to be pretty carefree about the whole thing.  When you're young you tend to think like that.  Things will sort of magically take care of themselves when you're an adult.  Of course you'll have a good job, of course you'll get a girlfriend, of course you'll travel the world, or whatever else you'd like to do.  How will these things happen?  Who knows, they just will.

So trust me, I don't hate you.  I probably think you're cute but I'm afraid if I talk to you and try to get to know you one of two things will happen: 1) I'll develop feelings for you which you won't reciprocate and then I'll feel badly about myself again or 2) you'll think I'm creepy and will start to avoid me.

It's a vicious cycle, one I'd like to break out of someday.

I'd like to give a shout out to BrownGirlBloggin for mentioning me in her recent blog post.  She's got a great blog over there, so be sure to check it out.  I've got a bit more traffic the last couple of days which I'm sure was due to her (as usual though, these new readers are wont to refrain from commenting on my posts, don't be shy people).  

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Things That Turn Women Off

So The Good Men Project posted an article with the title "7 Things Men Do That Turn Women Off".  It's an interesting article, and maybe it applies to things you do in your life that cause women to head for the hills.  I don't think it applies to me very much, though I'd love to know if you disagree.  I'm going to analyze them one by one.

1. You have unrealistic expectations:

Do I?  I don't know.  On the one hand I think most women (maybe all) are "out of my league", but on the other hand I do have certain types of women that I find attractive.

I'm not a full fledged nerd, but I'm not a dumb jock either.  So maybe I don't have a league so I don't fit anywhere?  Again, I don't know.

2. You let porn warp your thinking:

I tend to get most of my understanding about sex from things people post online.  Do I watch porn?  Sure, sometimes.  But I understand that it's not realistic.  Most people don't have unprotected sex with strangers, at least not since the 1970s.  I prefer to let google or online forums I post in educate me on what people's sex lives are like.

3. You don't quit:

I'm pretty sure I do the opposite of this, with rare exception.  If I don't get the feeling that a girl absolutely adores me the first time I meet her, I immediately lose hope and stop pursuing.  Also, if a girl flakes on me I assume she hates me and is repulsed by me in some way.  I learned my lesson the hard way when you don't do this.

4. You're in a hurry:

In a hurry for what?  Sex?  If so, I've been doing it wrong my entire life.

Seriously though, I think I'd rather wait until I'm in a relationship before I have sex.  Problem is I have a hard time even getting a date.  And when I do go on dates I move so slowly that I'm 26 years old and I haven't even kissed a girl.  I don't think I'm in a hurry.

5. You view sex as something owed to you, or something to be taken: 

I don't know, do I?  I think sex is something most people do by the time they get to a certain point in adulthood.  No one is obligated to sleep with me, nor I them.  But, I think it's pretty clear that there is something fundamentally wrong with you if you haven't had sex (or had a relationship) by the time you're in your mid 20s.  So I think it makes sense to be frustrated about it and a little bit upset.  But it's not something you're owed, anymore than free health care or free housing are "owed" to you.  Because they're not.

6. You don't work to improve yourself:

This might be true, depending on how you mean it.  The only ways I think I could improve myself in the short and intermediate term, are to get a better job and to do some traveling.  I can't exactly have those things improved by tomorrow.

7. You've never accomplished anything:

What is "anything"?  I graduated college.  I've beaten my personal bests in weight lifting.  But I never started my own business (though I was part of senior executive management of one), or backpacked through Europe or built a car or computer from scratch.  None of that.  But I'm only 26 for crying out loud.  What do you expect?

If these are the only things that turn women off, I must be doing something really wrong.  Or I must be really fucked up personally and need a lot of improvement.  Because I don't do these things.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Why Life Sucks Lately

It's getting a little uncomfortable to do certain things lately.

Facebook over the past few weeks has been full of people posting status updates or pictures declaring that they are now married or engaged to their significant other.  I'm not friends with very many ancient people, so these are all people who are my age.  A few years ago when I saw some people I knew on Facebook getting married or engaged I just kind of rolled my eyes.  21 or 22 is still a little early to be getting married, especially if you haven't even finished college yet. Now, at 26 and staring down the barrel at 30 it's not so foolish to be settling down.  The people getting married have either finished their schooling or are in a job that is reasonably stable and allows them to make a firm commitment to the person they're dating.  But seeing all of this, it really makes me feel behind in my personal development as an adult.

The other painful thing is going to baseball games.  Baseball is my favorite sport to watch in person.  It beats football and basketball in that regard (I'm not a hockey fan so I have no idea how hockey is live vs on TV).  And the stadium my favorite team plays in is one of the best in all of baseball; it's not just me saying that as a fan, it's routinely listed in the top five by "neutral" observers.  So I love going, but it's becoming hard to handle.  Why?  Because every time I go I see plenty of happy couples.  People going to the game and enjoying themselves and holding hands or dancing with each other in a goofy way during the 7th inning stretch, etc.  And it just drives home the fact that I am in fact a loser who can't even consistently get dates, yet lots of people apparently can find girlfriends.  It's a very similar phenomenon to going to the grocery store, except there are times during the week that you can go grocery shopping without running into young couples (or any couples).  There's really no time you can go to a baseball game and not run into them.

The latter of these two issues has become a big concern for me as of late.  Me, my father, and my brother have season tickets (a 13 game plan) but when my brother changed jobs he wasn't able to get all of the game dates off, so there's been two games so far that he hasn't been able to attend.  I tried to find friends of mine to go but nobody wanted to nor could get free.  This coming Saturday is another such occasion, except now my father cannot attend either.  So I'm left with two tickets that I could in theory sell and give the money to my father and my brother, or sell to friends of mine, or sell one and take a girl on a date with the other.  Except, there is honestly not one girl that I know who would go if invited.  That is an extremely sad fact.  And it just goes back to my loser status.  A young, single, supposedly alright guy, can't find a girl to go to a baseball game?  What a big fat loser.

I know a few of you might read this and say "you're being too hard on yourself".  But am I?  I'm 26 and while plenty of people around me have girlfriends, wives, fiances, etc. I have yet to even kiss a single girl.  Let that sink in.  Never.  The proof is in the pudding, so to speak.  Irrational positivity might feel good, but it's still irrational.

So I don't know.  I want to be optimistic, but I'm finding a lot of reasons not to be.  And very few reasons to be.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

On Prostitution

One of the things I sometimes get asked about is prostitution.  How I feel about it and whether I would go to a prostitute to lose my virginity.

Prostitution should be legal.  There are all kinds of reasons why it should be, from the moral to the practical.  For one thing, if it's legal to have sex with someone for free, why should anything change just because money or some other tangible good was exchanged?  I don't want to hear about how so many prostitutes are addicted to drugs or alcohol or have psychological issues.  How many people with psychological issues or addictions do you think have sex (casual hookups, flings, and the like) everyday who aren't prostitutes?  Shall we lock them or the people they have sex with up along with all the prostitutes and johns?  I'm pretty sure the jails would have a lot more overcrowding than they do already if that were to happen.

Morally you can't make a case in favor of prohibition either.  If you own nothing else in this world, you own the body you were born with and carry around with you until the day you die.  You should be free to do with it what you want.  Get a tattoo, eat junk food, do drugs, drink alcohol, play extreme sports, and yes, have sex with people who want to have sex with you, and yes, even make money on it.  It's not my place to tell you what to do with your own body, even if I think you're making bad choices.

Now, I'm ok with groups who wish to end prostitution as long as they are using voluntary methods to do so.  Talking to prostitutes, talking to people who go to prostitutes, etc.  Using the power of persuasion and free speech to spread ideas you think are right.  It's the same deal with people who want to convince people that having sex before marriage is bad.  Yeah you should be free to express that if you want and people should be free to ignore you if they want.

What does this mean for me personally?  Would I go to a prostitute?  My short answer to this is no.  I don't think I'd want to have sex with a prostitute.  Not only when it comes to my first time, but pretty much any time.  It's not sex that I crave as much as I crave companionship.  Someone to go to ballgames with me or day trips to cool places or to movies with or any number of things.  Sex of course is an important part of that but it definitely takes a backseat to general companionship.  I will point out though that I'm only 26.  I have no idea how I'd answer this question if I were 35 or 40 in my same predicament.  And to be honest I would pay someone to kiss me, or perhaps give me kissing lessons.  Because I think that's something I definitely need help with.  I'd probably pay 100-200 dollars for an hour's worth of kissing lessons.  I don't know, I don't think anyone offers that kind of service so it's probably not a big deal to worry about.

So there you go. my thoughts on prostitution.  I wouldn't go to a prostitute for sex, but I think it should be legal.  Hopefully that's not a very controversial opinion.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

About "Baggage"

One of the interesting things you read about when you go online looking for women's opinions of inexperienced men is that a lot of women look at such a man as someone "without baggage".  The thing is, I have to disagree.

According to the dictionary, "baggage" is defined as: past experiences or long held ideas regarded as burdens and impediments.  Since we're obviously not talking about the kind of baggage you take with you when you travel.

The idea being that someone who has had a lot (or a few) of previous experiences has a potential to bring elements of those past experiences and relationships into their new one.  This is mostly concerning when dealing with negative aspects such as cheating (that person or their partner), unhealthy dependencies, bad habits and the like.  Someone without those experiences won't have them because they won't have any experiences from which to conjure up baggage.

This is incorrect though.  Inexperienced people, especially those who are inexperienced involuntarily do have baggage.  They just have different kinds of baggage.

I have no idea how it feels to be an older inexperienced woman (though I imagine it's a similar experience to that of a man) but most inexperienced men have gone their entire lives feeling like their advances or interests are unwelcome.  Not just you shouldn't hit on a girl when she has her head turned away from you and earphones in her ears, but that even if a girl is smiling at you and giving you all kinds of positive body language she's really not interested.  Because that's all most of these guys have ever known.  Every time they'd try to hold a girl's hand or ask a girl out or give a girl a hug, sometimes even just try to have a friendly conversation it's met with a mortified look or avoidance in addition to rejection.

Granted everyone experiences rejection.  Just like everyone who has ever played basketball has missed a shot, everyone who has played baseball has struck out and everyone who has ever played quarterback has thrown an interception.  It's the nature of the game (or of life).  But if that's all you have ever experienced without any positive feedback that kind of thing takes a toll on your psyche.

So here's a list of the kind of baggage you're likely to see in an older inexperienced guy:

-Falling head over heels for a girl because she shows even the smallest interest in you.
-Being convinced a girl really doesn't like you even if she says or acts like she does.
-Being afraid of trying to hold a girl's hand or going in for a kiss when you're on a date.
-Being afraid to initiate anything physical (including but not limited to sex).
-Being afraid of having any kind of independent opinion out of worry it will make the person break up with you.

These are just a handful of the things you could expect.

My guess is that most women find these kinds of things to be turnoffs (as well they should).  So if you're thinking some shy, inexperienced guy is going to be some kind blank slate for you to imprint all of your personal tastes and preferences, you're mistaken.  You're probably better off running away like your pants are on fire.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Slut Shaming and a Helpful Way to Look at Sex

I'm someone who cares about sexual history.  But I'm also someone who doesn't want to know.  Ignorance is bliss when it comes to this topic.

It's not that I'll judge you, it's more like this: I'm a virgin, if you've had sex with 25 guys in your life there's really no way I'm going to be able to satisfy you sexually.  Just trying is going to be an exercise in futility because I'm going to psyche myself out of it and screw everything up by being self conscious about it.  So, better if I just don't know anything about your romantic or sexual history.  I probably won't share my (lack of) sexual history either.  It's not something you want to know.  Nothing like finding out your potential boyfriend is a virgin who has never even kissed a girl to kill all the romance.

So I've come to view people's decisions to have sex in this way: have sex with whoever you want, don't have sex with whoever you don't want.  It's all up to you.  It's your life, live it how you want.  The caveat: I don't want to hear any complaining.

I don't want to hear how you slept with some guy and now he won't call you back.  I don't want to hear any complaining about being stuck in a "friends with benefits" situation when you really want a relationship.  I don't want to hear about how some guy is a jerk or he's not the guy you thought he was or any other variation of these complaints.  You chose to sleep with the guy, deal with it like an adult, not a pampered child.

And before anyone accuses me of being sexist, this goes for guys too.  I don't want to hear complaints about how some girl you met at a party slept with you and now wants a relationship and you only wanted some quick sex.  I don't want to hear about how some girl is clingy or whatever.  You chose to sleep with her, deal with it.

That's all I ask.  Sleep with whomever you want.  Just stop the damn complaining.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

How to Talk about Elliot Rodgers and How Not to

I swear, I don't like having to continually talk about this topic because the media is going to be overly saturated with it.  But there are some prevailing narratives coming out of this tragedy that I really don't feel captures the reality.

The first really irritating narrative is about misogyny.  That this incident is indicative of the continuing sexism in our society.  Rodgers was probably a sexist, there's very little doubt in my mind about that.  But, the underlying root of this is the continued reliance on violence.  Violence of one form or another is still looked at as a reliable solution to problems.  You can try to tackle sexism all the live long day but until you confront the reality of violence you'll never get anywhere.

The other troubling narrative is his "entitlement" issue.  Apparently Rodgers never approached any women but still hoped to have sex or have a relationship or whatever.  I don't know what this is supposed to mean for people.  Lots of men do not approach women and yet still yearn for romance in their life.  Why?  Because we often assume (based on our perceptions of unspoken communication) that women aren't interested.  Why am I going to approach a woman and ask her on a date if I know for a fact she's going to say no?  Now, I will concede the fact that I don't know for a fact that this what went through Rodgers' mind as he went through life.  I don't think any of us will ever know.  I'm just pointing out the fact that you can't point to one aspect of his life and make wide sweeping conclusions.

People want to point at online rants and say things like online forums and Reddit communities foment violent tendencies among people.  Maybe, but I'm not convinced.  There's a difference between being angry and annoyed and being violent.  Everyone who has ever struggled to get a date has wondered why they're sitting at home every night and other people are enjoying spending time with their significant others.  It doesn't mean that they're going to turn violent.

It's always the case in the wake of something like this to want to psychoanalyze the perpetrator.  Find out why he did what he did.  And usually what happens is people point to superficial things that justify their previously held beliefs.  So society's underlying misogyny causes this to happen, or America's gun laws, or women who date jerks, or whatever hobby horse or pet cause you have can be trotted out to explain what happened.  Sort of like a shaman claiming his rain dance ended the drought.  Yeah, okay.

What I want to know is where his family and friends (if he had any) were during all of this.  Why did no one try to talk to him when he started down this dark path?  Everybody points to the fact that they called the cops after seeing his Youtube videos.  That's pretty late in the game, where were they for years?  I'm not trying to blame them I'm just wondering how this was allowed to go unchecked for so long.  He's not 40 some odd years old like Sodini, this was a college student we're talking about.

There are clearly things that should be talked about and things that should be paid attention to.  But there are also clearly things that are germane to the topic and distract from the real issues.

Stick to the fact that he was a scumbag in more ways than one.  Stick to the fact that he posted racist stuff online.  Stick to the truly nasty things he said.  But don't dwell on things that prove nothing. Stop assuming that because he was involuntarily celibate he was automatically on this path (or vice versa).  And stop assuming that something could have been done to prevent it.  Maybe something could have, but don't take that as a given.  There's always a chance someone could flip out.  Sometimes you can stop it, sometimes you can't.  It's important that we have a discussion about this, but only in a way that is useful.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Virginity, Rejection, and Violence: The Story of Elliot Rodgers

Just a disclaimer: I don't know Elliot Rodgers.  I don't know why he did the things he did other than what all of you have probably seen or read by now.  I have no special insight to this other than the fact that both he and I are romantically inexperienced and in our 20s.  So take everything written here with a grain of salt.

As most of you probably know, Elliot Rodgers, 22, of Southern California gunned down six people on Friday and wounded several others in what was most likely a pre-meditated murderous rampage.  What caused this to happen: his apparent history of rejection by women he liked.  He was just a younger, more high profile (sort of) version of George Sodini.

I hope it goes without saying that my thoughts and prayers go out to those impacted and their loved ones.  Anyone who knows me knows I abhor violence of any kind.  It's a sad relic of our evolutionary past and the sooner we shed it the better.  Whatever Mr. Rodgers problems were, they surely were not solved by opening fire on a group of random women (aside from the fact that it's just plain wrong to kill people, period).

Here's the part where I might get some hate mail.  Maybe.

I'm concerned how this will play out going forward.  How people will react and what they think should be done.  There's always a jump to conclusions whenever something like this happens.  Someone blows a building up and people say Islam caused it.  College student shoots up his campus and people blame it on him being a quiet Asian guy.  A 22 year old kissless virgin kills a bunch of people and suddenly we have to be suspicious of anyone who can't get laid.

To be perfectly honest with you, I like having the internet as a place to vent.  And, there's a lot to vent about.  I often wonder why some guys get girls easily and I don't, or why some women are so hung up on the wrong kinds of guys.  You wonder what the hell is wrong with you, or conversely what's wrong with everyone else.  If we start scrutinizing everything someone writes or says in frustration as a potential danger to society then we lose something.  The overwhelming majority of people who post on the internet about how they can't get a date or the last girl they thought was interested stood them up at a restaurant, are not violent people.  They should be allowed to be sad or angry about their disposition, so long as they don't cross the line into physical violence.

The other upsetting thing I see is how this justifies certain prior beliefs people have.  There's an implicit opinion in some circles that men who can't get laid are only in that position because women are picking up on their sexism, either implicit or explicit.  That "Forever Aloners" or "Incels" or "Love-Shy" people have no right to complain and really deserve their lot in life.  That kind of attitude does not help, and I don't want that to be our response.  Yes, Elliot Rodgers was probably a creep but that doesn't mean that every guy who has a hard time with his romantic life is too.

I don't know if things would have been different if Elliot Rodgers had managed to find himself a girlfriend.  Maybe, maybe not.  I can't make that assessment given what we know and are likely to ever know.  What I do know is that this isn't a cause to start demonizing people who happen to share his lack of experience.