defcon_1’s friend Serpico recently posted an interesting assessment of his own dating skills and his inability to read the signals that woman are apparently sending out. It opened up a huge kettle of worms (wait, what?) that I am tempted to wade into (enough with the mixed metaphors!) but probably won’t because I hate feeling like an outsider. Still, since I’m thinking about it, I feel like blogging about it. (Let’s also take a moment to ignore the fact that even though my boss was on vacation LAST week, I’m choosing THIS week to get nothing accomplished at work. The moral, as always, is that nothing in life makes sense.)
His thoughts are pretty much the mirror of my own, right down to the whole “I’ve made my peace with this. So please don’t read this and think ‘have I done that?’ or ‘I really should complement him, he seems down on himself.’ I am not down on myself. I love myself.” bit. I tend to do a lot of self-evaluation, and more often than not, when confronting my own flaws I discover that I’m relatively unfazed by them. I prefer my life to be as uncomplicated as possible, which means accepting certain things as they are because changing them would require dealing with them, and I don’t have the time or energy to do so. Unfortunately, one of the direct off-shoots of that is that people who care about you tend to view your self-evaluation as some cry for help, which it rarely is. Part of the joy of this stupid-ass blog is feeling like I can just kinda get shit off my chest without feeling like I have to answer for it. It’s the same reason I mumble under my breath constantly at work. I find letting steam out in little spurts throughout my day keeps me from blowing my top at the end of it.
As for the whole “reading signals” debate, I’m down with him on that. For whatever reason — most likely linked to the fact that I couldn’t get breathed on by a girl in junior high — I long ago lost the ability to read a romantic situation correctly. When I do, it’s more or less a fluke. Why? Hard to say, but here are some symptoms/examples.
If I meet a woman and I find myself attracted to her, the first thing my brain/heart tells me is, “there’s no way her feelings will be reciprocated, so from here on out, anything she does which you think means she likes you — is a mirage.” Now obviously this is a ludicrous way to think. At this very moment my rational brain is telling me, “hey dumbass, next time… IGNORE THAT FEELING!” But that’s what’s so funky about attraction — it ain’t rational. Which means the next time I get that feeling, I will — despite protestations from the logical portions of my brain — dismiss what I think is a reciprocal action. What’s worse is that it tends to manifest itself in ways that make me look like *I’m* not interested, which of course leads to the exact opposite result of what I would like. As a result, most potential relationships I encounter are doomed to never be explored.
And you know what? That above situation? That only occurs when I’ve actually given the situation any conscious thought. I’m even worse when I don’t get THAT far.
Example. A while back, maybe a year or so, I was at The Pub in Waltham, hanging with the usual crowd. I’m standing at a table talking to a female friend of mine, when this girl comes in with a posse of like four guys with her. She was pretty hot, but hey, she was with four guys! Clearly not a woman on the prowl. So I immediately put her out of my head. She comes up to me, starts asking me random questions (can’t for the life of me remember what about) and making what is obviously small talk. The girl I was hanging with casually wanders off, leaving me alone with the hot chick. So what do I do with this golden opportunity? I get confused by the fact that my friend has wandered away and manage to excuse myself from the conversation with said hotty just to find out why my friend had left. Her answer? “YOU DUMBASS!! That chick was totally MACKING on you! I was giving you room.”
Never saw it. Not only did I not see it and then dismiss it, I never even SAW it. I actually figured she wanted to know something. Now THAT, my friends, is clueless.
Needless to say, that door shut, which is fine, because I felt like an ass at that point anyway. But it’s a damn fine example of the way my retarded heart behaves.
Over the years there have been countless examples of such ridiculous behavior. Sadly, while I have grown in confidence in that time, it has never really translated well in my dating habits. I’m still as gun-shy as ever, and still find it way too easy to talk myself out of situation before ever getting INTO the situation.
But again, I’m not looking for hugs. Just felt like verbalizing.