Monthly Archives: June 2015

Getting back on the horse

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Never thought I’d have the chance to reuse this image!

I’ll try to keep this update short, but suffice to say I’m no longer satisfied waiting for women who are older than I feel to ask me out through that one specific website, and thus I’ve decided to pick myself up after being flattened during the winter and get back into the dating scene, hopefully to resolve my singularity issue once and for all.

Well, hey, even Mr. Data in Star Trek: TNG tries to become more human — even though he has no possibility of doing so, he says the impossible goal encourages him to improve and develop as an intelligent being.  Similarly, that old book The Missing Piece features a being not unlike Pac-man searching for, well, its missing piece, and having all sorts of adventures in the search — to the point that it decides not to accept the piece it eventually finds because it would mean the end of its adventures.  Thus, I am compelled to get out there and socialise — just like I did in the second half of 2013 onwards — and if I get a girlfriend, well, so much the better, but a long-term relationship may not be what I want at this point.

I’ve rejoined OK Cupid, and feel that this time things will be different, because I’m actually going to write to women instead of waiting for them to write to me!  That happened in 2013, and involved a date that wasn’t spectacular, so I’m going to try to take the initiative instead.  I’ve also rejoined the infamous Tinder, though early results are not promising: one definite spammer (she asked me to verify myself through a dodgy website), and two disappearances who either regretted swiping me right after I returned the favour, or were spammers who got caught out by someone else, and banned.

Meeting people in person is always better, though, and so in addition to continuing to attend my beloved social yoga and group climbing sessions, I will get back to attending other meetup events such as the “lates” at the Science and Natural History museums, and singles events like the pizza-making I went to last week (“best mate” has expressed an interest in coming along to the next one of those).  On that occasion I did remarkably well: I “number-closed” four times, though in the event I didn’t call any of them.

(Why?  Either I felt the chase was better than the catch, or my wine goggles wore off…)

And finally, I’m going to be more open with my friends about my situation, and ask for help — not necessarily to be fixed up, but certainly to conquer anxiety.  A lady at work invited me to the pub on Friday, and although I didn’t enjoy myself so much, I feel a bit more able to allow my work colleagues into my life (and indeed spoke to them today).  At the very least, they can let me know who in the office is single and who isn’t, which is a better method than simply assuming any girl I fancy is in a relationship, and thus wussing out of even speaking to her.

Doubtless I’ll be downhearted the next time one of my potential romances goes nowhere, but I’ll keep trying no matter what — I’ve been feeling too much stupid self-recrimination lately, and I’ve decided not to let my age make me feel like I have no “right” to even try (just a pity it’s always displayed on dating sites).  I won’t go into details, but suffice to say I’ve got a few “leads” at the moment, and it’d be a shame if every last one of them turns out to be a failure — or indeed a “never had a chance in the first place” situation, which happens too often to me for me to discount the theory that it’s a conspiracy — but one thing I’m discovering is that I feel a lot less anxiety (including the instinctive loathing of men that I mentioned before) when I feel like I have genuine hope of meeting someone special.

It’s worth noting that I’m getting over £700 in an unexpected tax rebate, and so I won’t have to worry about wining and dining; and, if all else fails, I can use some of it to visit a strip club — specifically the one recommended by my dating coach (who is, yes, a woman) — in the hope that I can loosen up and stop feeling so awed by women.  It’s something I could and perhaps should have done with “good housemate” on my 30th birthday in 2007, but back then I declined out of petty morality (i.e. “female best friend” wouldn’t have forgiven me).  I’d be too intimidated to go alone, but I ought to be able to convince some of my male friends to join me: you get free pizza…

What do I really want?

ForeverAloneIt’s my 200th post in this blog, and sorry to those who were expecting me to say something about what kind of woman I’m hoping to find, but real life has interfered once again and I’ve been considerably down this week, though naturally it’s at least partially girl troubles.  Don’t worry, I’ll still say something about it in future, but for now, I’m aware that I’m still a messed-up individual, and I need to sort out my own problems before I can even think of bringing a woman into my life, at least in any kind of long-term way.

Perversely, I’m envious of some of the people who post in Facebook groups about depression and anxiety — the ones who say it’s affecting their relationship with their spouse or significant other.  After all, my whole problem is the lack of a significant other, and therefore, unlike getting a job earlier this year, the only way to remove the source of my anxiety is to do something that I can’t, because of my anxiety!

Something I read tonight made me realise what it is I really want: remember “American girl“, who I met at yoga and who forgave me for asking her out?  Tonight I saw she’d posted something about dating a South African, which aside from anything else makes it clear she’s still seeing the guy she was seeing back then in 2013, and it occurred to me that, more than anything, I just want to be dating someone and for it to be normal — not someone who’s taken pity on me, not someone desperate for affection, and certainly not a mail-order bride — just a regular woman, who likes me the way I am…

Or, rather, the way I hope to become, because my past week was so dreadful thanks to my anxiety running at an all-time high.  I don’t know if it’s nutritional this time around, or partially caused by cold-like symptoms a couple of weeks after I had a proper cold (possibly hay fever or otherwise caused by the changing weather), but I do know that I’ve not been happy at work lately, and that things like annoying voices have been really getting to me.  It seems I’m prone to getting upset over minor things and withdrawing into myself, my only escape being to go and sit in the gents’ for a bit if it all gets too much (because there aren’t any quiet places I can go to do some work, like there were at Camden).

My colleagues don’t do anything wrong, and I feel bad for, er, feeling bad, and that’s why I’ve got to change — hence I’m looking into CBT, in an effort to stop my brain going into depressive spirals all the damn time.  This is so urgent that I’ve stopped reading Judge Dredd comics at night in order to read this book my mother lent me!  I need to change my thought patterns, and stop making negative assumptions based on limited data — and here’s a good place to start…

One reason I’ve been down lately is that there’s a mega-cute girl at work… no, come on, listen patiently, I’m going somewhere with this!  We’d been smiling at each other every time we happened to run into each other, on average once per day, and a couple of Wednesdays ago I had the chance to chat to her in the kitchen in the middle of our office floor.  However, she left a bit abruptly, and I didn’t see her around after that for ages; naturally I began to feel like she was avoiding me.  Indeed, one day I was chatting to someone in my pedometer group (don’t ask) next to the kitchen when the mega-cute girl and one of her colleagues came to the kitchen; she wasn’t looking at me, but her friend was, in what I thought was a wary kind of way…

This resonates with my first fumbling attempt to ask a girl out in 1996, when I was 18.  Yeah, late developer, whatever, I was in the upper 6th (Year 13 in modern parlance) and she was in the year below, and thus 16-17.  I’d clearly been scaring her with my nervous attempts to “arrange” to “talk” to her, and when I finally went for it, naturally she said “no”.  Okay, I tried and failed, but after that I became convinced that she was getting her friends to watch out for me so she could avoid me, and that the people in both our year groups were secretly sneering at me — not for failing, but for trying.  Hey, maybe they were astonished that I was heterosexual…

But who says any of that was true outside my own head?  The 1995-6 academic year, my last year at school before university, was a time in which I really tried to sort my head out, and probably just made things worse by over-analysing things and getting worked up about nothing.  Yeah, I was a bit of a pariah at that school, and it was a small community where everyone knows you even if you don’t know them, but I was probably wrong about that girl turning people against me, and I’m undoubtedly wrong about this girl being so wary of me (after one conversation!) that she goes to elaborate lengths to avoid any contact with me at all.  Why, I’m not sure she didn’t smile at me on Friday, when I was too wrapped up in emotion to interact with anyone — perhaps she’s just been too busy to come to the kitchen as often as before?

It’s not for the sake of a girl that I want to sort my head out, it’s for me, and the people I care about.  It’d be different if I was already in a relationship and she was being there for me, but right now I’m alone, romantically speaking, and I need to stay that way until my life is on track, so I’m not looking for a girl to “fix” me.

(Because that worked out so well in 2013, didn’t it?)

quagmire_womaniserInstead, as I said last time, I’m going to try and improve my skills at simply flirting with women and try to get into short-term passionate flings (the kind of relationships to which the word “sordid” is normally applied), instead of doing what I’ve been stuck doing for ages now: waiting for thirtysomethings to ask me out online and then be disappointed — because they wanted someone rich, successful and handsome, and I only fulfill one of those criteria.

And perhaps CBT will help me with that, by allowing me to change my thought patterns and stop me thinking/feeling that simply telling a woman she’s pretty is some kind of hateful sex crime.  Some women might actually like to be complimented, even by me, and maybe I can even pluck up the courage to say something really audacious, and risk getting slapped (but hopefully not arrested).  For example: if that girl I met at yoga last week is there again on Tuesday, I’ll try to ask if she’s still got her old cheerleader outfit — not because I want to see her wearing it, but because I want to see her take it off…

Hey, I’m a drunk, a pervert, a junkie and a womaniser, remember?

I ain’t no nice guy (with apologies to Stephen King)

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Never mind Adam Storke in the miniseries, I imagine Larry Underwood would look and sound more like His Royal Shadyness here

You’ll be unsurprised to know that my last date didn’t end with me in a relationship, and as I promised (threatened?), I will indeed write a post here about the kind of woman I want to find.  However, that’ll be post #200 here at “Dave-ros Lives!”, and I want post #199 to be a kind of prelude, as I analyse, hopefully once and for all, what kind of bloke I am, and shatter a few illusions about me being a “nice guy”…

Just to give you some background on my latest phase of tedious self-analysis, as part of my quest to read every Stephen King novel in order, I’ve recently been reading The Stand; alas, I had to settle for the 1990 “extended” edition, even though that means I’m effectively reading them out of order… hey, OCD, remember?  I originally read the “non-extended” version at university in late 1996 (Fresher’s Flu making me think I myself had Captain Trips!), having watched the TV mini-series during the summer, and the King fans among you will probably be unsurprised to learn I empathised with Harold Lauder, the overweight intellectual outcast who built up so much hate and resentment that it was too late by the time he realised that people actually liked him in the post-apocalyptic world, and that he could have been somebody if he’d only realised that his tormentors were all dead (and if he hadn’t let the Dark Man into his head)…

Is that still who I am today, so used to feeling loathing towards other men that it’s a genuine surprise when blokes in my office speak to me in a friendly way?  Hey, don’t worry, I’m not planning to blow anyone up, but I still find it a lot harder to interact with blokes, much as I did in 1996, though on that occasion I somehow befriended the quirky guys in my corridor and played cards with them every night, which made at least my first semester a wonderful experience.  It’s a lesson I should have grasped months before: in March 1996, during my Geography field trip to France, I learned that the blokes in my 6th form class were actually decent after all — even if some of them had made my life miserable when I was 15, those tormentors were (metaphorically) long gone.  I still have the mineral-filled glass egg I bought on that trip, to remind me that I can make friends in unexpected places…

But perhaps I only want male friends who provide me with something, and continue to resent the existence of other blokes, be they young hipsters, Middle Eastern blokes (I still hope that’s just the anxiety talking and that I’m not turning into a UKIP voter)… or overweight and middle-aged.  I wouldn’t have photographed and “fat-shamed” that bloke who became an Internet sensation for having the temerity to dance at a concert, but still I feel nauseated by the sight of him, perhaps because he reminds me of the kind of people I see on the Tube frequently, or the old drinker outside a bookie’s that I once saw mocking a female jogger.  The really strange thing is, I wouldn’t mind him at all if he were American, as somehow that makes things all right in my twisted mind!

I think the reason I empathised with Harold in 1996 was that, like him, I was an outcast in my late teens who had never had a girlfriend.  However, this time reading The Stand, I’ve felt a great deal of empathy with Larry Underwood — perhaps because I imagined him to be similar to my hero Eminem, a rockstar being close enough to a rapper.  He’s a character who lives recklessly and decadently, and it’s a girl he seduces but doesn’t stay with who accuses him of not being a “nice guy”, while his mother states that he is a “taker”, self-centred and immature.  He tries to be a better person, but feels a lot of self-doubt… sound familiar, considering I referred to myself as having a “playboy lifestyle” in recent years, doing what I enjoy instead of behaving like an adult and forcing myself to suffer?

It was at university, thanks entirely to this book, that I began thinking that I wasn’t a nice guy; it was the only explanation I had for my utter inability to get a girlfriend.  Of course, nowadays I know better: it’s being too nice, in the sense of trying to be inoffensive, that’s made it so hard for me to find someone.  I’ve felt too damn humbled by women, thinking that I somehow don’t have the right to tell a woman that she looks nice, because it’d make me somehow evil, yet another sexist pig who treats women like objects.  The result is that even though I’ve been dating a lot these past years, it’s almost always been the woman who asks me out, and it’s almost always been a woman of around my physical age but well advanced on me in mental and emotional years, who assumes I’ll be a “catch” because I’m young-looking and fit, yet is bitterly disappointed when she meets me and discovers I’m just a geeky manchild with anxiety issues.

(To which I would respond, I’m trying to conquer my anxiety issues!)

Thus I hereby announce that I’m going to aim to date women for their bodies, at least for a while — I’m not going to worry about emotional attachments, building a life, or staying within some arbitray age group, I’m going to ask out young women (at least college age, don’t worry), and really go for it like never before.  Which is to say, no more Mr. Nice Guy — I may find the right girl one day, but I intend to have fun with some of the wrong ones in the meantime!  And it’s for entirely selfish reasons that I intend to learn confidence and “the knack”, not because I want to conform to society’s ideal of men being the ones who initiate things: I want some degree of control in my dating life, and not to be taking whatever crumbs lonely thirtysomethings deign to give me.  I can’t fix their lives for them, after all…

And that’s another lesson I learned from The Stand: as Larry has to learn, a sign of maturity is to understand that you can’t save everyone, and it’s a selfish, futile act to try, an attempt to fix something in yourself (much as he has to leave a wounded Stu Redman behind, and felt bad because he hadn’t been able to save his earlier love interest from suicide).  It occurrs to me that I shouldn’t feel bad that I didn’t get into science properly and become a volcanologist who predicts eruptions, or an astrophysicist who spots Earth-crossing asteroids, because not everyone can save the world, and I should be happy just working for money to live my life instead of berating myself for not trying harder to become a hero.  But not in a job that makes me miserable: I shouldn’t force myself to do anything that makes me sick, especially since I have no dependents (for the time being), and I’m earning just for myself.

I decided recently that if I won the lottery (fat chance considering I never buy a ticket!), I wouldn’t give more than a token amount of my winnings to charity, but would instead use the money to help out the people I care about most, and who helped me out during the bad times of my life.  For example, I’d help my yoga teacher friend get his business off the ground, I’d pay my personal trainer much more often (almost to the point of making him my personal trainer!) — and most of all, I’d buy a house for my mother in Surrey, so she could finally escape Worthing.

(I’d probably also move to America and hang out with my body-building buddy whenever I could… and date American women in their natural environment!)

As a rule, I don’t give money to charity (though I do donate items to charity shops, and buy any Stephen King books they happen to have); nor do I give money to beggars, perhaps again my anxiety, making me worried they’re fraudulent.  One time I helped a drunk old man beside Euston Road, but I only stopped to help because I felt sorry for the foreign girl who was bent over his prone form, not for the man himself.  I can’t save the homeless, and have long felt that the best way I can help them is to not increase their number by one; however, I’d never dream of attacking them (as some drunk scumbags have done here in London), and I signed a petition against Hackney council bringing in a law that would fine rough sleepers and beggars for existing.

I may not want or feel able to help everyone, but I certainly don’t want to hinder people… because hey, I’m a nice guy, right?  I guess it’s not out of altruism that I want to overcome my anxiety about certain people, but pure selfishness — it’s so I can move more easily through life, and not be overwhelmed by negative emotions I feel towards people who haven’t done me any harm.  Perhaps it’s the greater anxiety that I might drive away someone who could be of benefit to me, or turn everyone else against me, that compels me to at least try to seem like a better person, to be nice to people even if I don’t particularly like them.

I do want to be a genuinely nice guy, but things don’t always work out that way, so I’ll have to settle for helping the people I care about, and not being an outright monster to anyone else… how am I doing so far?

(Hey, I’m the guy who claims his skin is burning whenever he goes into a church!)