There’s something you should know about me by now, Roger: I don’t learn lessons.
—Stan Smith, American Dad! (S2E10, “Rough Trade”)
How’s my current attempt to rekindle my dating life going? Not well, that’s how. I’m going nowhere at OK Cupid, and have deleted my Tinder account again, as I really feel like my age being visible makes it impossible for any women I would find desireable to give me a chance. Even when I meet women, it seems I come on too strong, or go where I shouldn’t: remember the Polish ex-cheerleader? I outright flirted with her via text message, and she texted back that she has a boyfriend already. I should have known, because any time an attractive women speaks to me like a human being, it’s guaranteed she has a “significant other”.
(Which would imply that the girl at work who’s so scared of me she flinches if we happen to use the kitchen at the same time is in fact single!)
I’m also still trying to divest myself of clutter, and yet it seems every time I take stuff to the dump or the charity shop, instead of feeling better, I end up feeling worse. Maybe it’s just a coincidence (you know, because I always feel worse at some point, it being my lot in life), and I should stop obsessing over the notion that one or more of my possessions are cursed, and that as soon as I get rid of them, my luck will change? Similarly, every time I stop looking up (shall we say) “that” on the Internet for any length of time, hoping that I’ll repeat the luck I had in 1998 when I started dating someone two weeks after arriving in Michigan?
And so we see, I do indeed keep making the same mistakes: letting myself get down, forgetting how far I’ve come, assuming that what I’m doing doesn’t work for the wrong reasons, and failing to take in the lessons I should have learned already, especially from my dating coach. In fact, it was one bit of her advice that prompted me to text-flirt with the Polish girl this week, and much like “American girl” two years ago, she forgave me for asking her out and still wants to be friends (we chatted about her having to bus it into town thanks to the Tube strike today). Thus I’ve lost nothing by trying, and gotten some flirtation practice in to boot.
Similarly, while it’s futile to hope I’ll come upon that one specific object that’s cursed me to be forever alone (I’d especially be worried that it’s my computer!), it’s a good thing that I’m decluttering and tidying my room; the mistake I keep making is letting things revert to their natural messy state, so I have to find the strength to keep things tidy! It’d be easier if banks etc. didn’t keep sending me all this paperwork (what happened to the paperless office?), but I need to discipline myself to file stuff away (possibly after scanning it, if it’s important). At least I finally dealt with a stack of papers I needed to shred recently, but oh, was that ever an ordeal.
Moreover, while I’m a man with a man’s needs, that book on CBT my mother lent me says that obsessive, addictive behaviour such as (shall we say) looking at “that” on the Internet all the time needs to stop completely, much as an alcoholic needs to give up alcohol entirely and can no longer enjoy it even on a limited basis (unless he’s really strong-willed). It’s not that I’ll somehow build up positive karma and thus be allowed to meet someone, it’s more that I don’t want it to control my life — and if I want sordid sexual thrills, I can always go to a strip club (as I’ve planned to do already), in the hope of getting enough confidence that I can go out and meet a woman for real, instead of wasting time on dating sites feeling like I’ve got no hope because of my age. Indeed, I think the point at which I wouldn’t need to worry about getting addicted to “that” again would be the point at which I wouldn’t need it any more anyway!
Finally, the mistake I keep making even when I do seem to “meet someone” is coming on too strong too soon, due to anxiety about maybe never seeing her again and feeling like this is my one shot with her; this is because almost everyone I meet at events (including yoga) is a Fight Club-style “single-serving friend”, rather than a regular attendee with whom I can build a relationship, and thus trust, over a course of weeks. The same applies when it’s a date, usually because I’m not sure it’s a date and want to make it clear I’m interested in her. However, I need to reel it in, because it’s not necessary even to kiss on a first date: just a long bout of smiling eye contact should be enough, and let her make a move if she’s so inclined, but don’t lunge in. And don’t be too eager texting afterwards (a mistake I made with the Taiwanese girl in 2013, who could have been a keeper), but also don’t give up completely if she doesn’t immediately reply (which I at least tried with the Polish girl this week, and maybe it’ll work in future).
(I really need to type up all the advice my dating coach gave me, and revise it as much as I’ve been revising for my Server 2008 exam later this month — and I also need to pay more attention to the CBT book, as I’m reading it last thing at night and thus falling asleep before I’ve really taken it in. Maybe I ought to read it during the day, and go back to reading Judge Dredd comics at night?)
I guess the biggest mistake I keep making is to not follow through when I make improvements, feeling like I’ll always be “this bad” and deserve no happiness, and thus quitting whatever I was doing and reverting to type. Well, not this time — 2015 is going to be “make or break” for me, and I certainly intend it to be the former!