So I was sitting in my seat waiting for I Feel Pretty to start Sunday afternoon. I wasn’t going to see this movie. I loved Trainwreck but I just wasn’t interested in this one for some reason. But then I heard the plot was the subject of leftist internet outrage (disclaimer: I’m a FAR FAR left leftist). I’m always gonna vote blue and I agree with most of them on most of their positions. But the outrage cycle gets out of control sometimes, in my opinion, and particularly, in this case.
So after I heard the extremists were pissed at this movie that guaranteed I was going to support it. What can I say? I’m an asshole contrarian. Have been since I can remember.
I also am a sucker for any movie that involves a plot or subplot that features an awkward, dorky, ‘unlucky in love’ guy who gets the girl.
That used to be my fantasy. I mean-it still is a fantasy. It’s gonna take a while to detach it from my brain.
This is going to sound like the promise you make after you wake up in your shower with puke drying on your chest and the detached shower curtain and rod splayed across your naked body and the 1812 Overture going off in your head and you just feel like absolute shit: you know, a proper hangover. How many times have you said I’ll never drink again? And when the next Friday rolled around, you quickly abandoned your vow.
Well, I’m never dating (or having any sort of non-platonic interaction again*) again.
*exceptions apply – see below.
To be specific, I’ve recently decided that I’m not interested in any of the following any more:
Friends with benefits
One night stands*
Non-marital Exclusive romantic relationships (boyfriend, girlfriend, etc)
*I would be open to this but only if certain very specific requirements were met and I can assure you that there isn’t a sane woman in the world who would meet them.
**Also, to be clear, I’m not hating on the concept of being in a couple or romantic love. I just don’t think my particular brain can make that work. It’s one of the ways my brain is an outlier. And this isn’t the kind of outlier you write home to mom about. I just don’t think I can make the brave leap most people can make. Believe me, I’m not bragging. Society and countless people have made sure I understand that I need to make this happen or I’ll be “less than.” But regarding monogamy and romantic love, shit, if it works for you, hell, play on. It’s your life and it’s none of my business.
What makes this any different from the hangover vow? Or from the multiple times I’ve taken breaks from dating?
Well I’ve never said I won’t do it again. I know life is too weird to really say never but that’s honestly how I feel about it. And it’s not like I’m making this pronouncement on a whim? I’ve done a lot of field experiments that overwhelmingly support my decision.
I’m 43 years old. I’ve been dating since 1996. That’s 22 years of dating. My dating life could buy alcohol in the United States. Throughout that time I can confirm I’ve been on a date with at least 181 different women. (And that’s just the ones I documented; I’d say the real number is around 213 or so). That’s roughly 8.2 dates per year but that’s a useless number. There were definitely feast and famine time periods. For example, from 1996-1998, I went out with (at least) 65 women. From 1999 to 2009, I would say I had about 10 dates total. From 2010 to 2013 , I had at least 111 dates with 111 distinct women. From 2014 to present, I’ve had 6 total dates but with only 2 distinct women. The last date I had was in March of 2017. Before that, there was a stretch of no dates from February of 2015 to February of 2017.
I’m not sure why I’m posting those numbers. Oh yeah. I want to posit that I have tried. I have tried to make meaningful and long term romantic (non-platonic) connections with women but it’s never happened. Most of the time I wasn’t interested in one. But there was a painful, very small percentage that I thought could lead to something bigger than a 2nd date.
And throughout all that time, I had some laughs. I had some fun. I had some bummer moments. But in the end, nothing ever stuck and I think that really, honestly means that I never really wanted it to stick. 0 out of 181. Numbers don’t lie. But I did. To myself.
And now that I’m a different guy, SW 2.0, if you will, I’ve come to the realization finally that I don’t want anything to do with romance (non-Platonic interactions). I got my reasons but despite my usual penchant for oversharing, I’m gonna keep these to myself right now. I’ll probably talk about them eventually but not today. But suffice it to say, dating and all those non-platonic dynamics I listed above do not and have not ever given me anything I’m interested in and I’m convinced they never will.
It’s a really weird feeling to give up that pursuit. After being raised on a diet of 80’s television and movies, I came to believe I would meet a woman that dug me for me and I dug her for her. But despite my aforementioned “efforts” (was I ever really trying?), I never got past the last commercial break before the dork (beast) gets the girl (beauty).
I’m not complaining or even sad about it. It’s terrifyingly liberating. I don’t have to worry about what I say around women I find attractive anymore, worried that any verbal misstep would cost me a potential date (cause dudes like me gotta hustle – I don’t have fame, height, looks, money, confidence, power, or game. Shit. What hope did I ever fucking have? It’s weird how everything is so clear now.).
(Logistically its been a pain to scrub my presence from the 8000 online dating apps and sites I was on in some form or other.)
I can say what I want now. I’m not meaning I will seek out to offend women I find attractive. I just won’t dance for them anymore. I’m the new United States of Sharkwrighter: love me or leave me.
I can dress how I want to dress now. I can openly claim my very boring hobbies and how my simple, dull life suits me just fine. Here’s what I like to do: drink, eat out, watch movies and tv, get high, read, write, and travel.
I’m not bungee jumping. I’m not getting a tattoo. I’m not climbing a mountain. I’m not camping. I’m not rushing down any snow covered mountain on any kind of object. I’m not going to get in a kayak or canoe or any other small craft that I have to propel.
I’m 1000000000% not interested in going to any concert with anyone, friend and/or attractive lady.
I’m done lying about being the outdoor type. Do I like being outside on a sunny day or a crisp winter day with no wind that grips you in just the right way and is more quiet than a butterfly flapping its wings? Sure. But it will be a measured walking pace or sitting on a porch or rocking in hammock.
I am not running anywhere with you. I do not want to ride a bike anywhere. If I owned a bike I would throw it into the nearest volcano.
It’s nice. Considering my health I probably don’t have that much time left comapred to most. And that’s fine. But I’m going to use the last third of my life the way I want to use it and fuck anybody who has a problem with it.
It took me 43 years to really grasp that I can only rely on myself to make me happy and that making other people happy is way too much for me to take on. I’ve learned that everyone, even those I love most, will eventually call me on my bullshit and it will hurt my feelings. That everyone, without exception, will hurt my overly sensitive feelings at one point or another.
I don’t like disappointing the people I care about. But another thing I’ve learned is that you’ll never make everyone happy. You’re always gonna piss someone off. So it’s best to give up on that impossible mission and just take care of #1.
I know that sounds selfish. But i figure if I’m happy it will be easier to be kind. And really, that’s the only fucking thing I care about being anymore. I’m sure to fail often and that’s fine. At least I’m finally striving for something that makes sense to me.
#love #dating #overit #outofthegame #aloneandhappy #kindness #kind #platonic #plato #romance #lookoutformumber1 #middleage #middleaged #booze #alcohol #420friendly #Clarity #mentalhealth #outlier #societalpressure #tyrannyofmonogamy #monogamy