Preamble: this is a dating advice series from a formerly long-suffering comrade in the struggle. I’m out of the game for life but I’m offering up some hard-earned wisdom for those still grappling. (See bottom of this post for the legend, mission statement, and credentials.)
This isn’t going to be an advice entry, I don’t think. I’ve had one date in the last 4 years and that was with someone I had dated 6 years ago. It was really a booty call, not a date. So the last time I actually asked someone out was back in January of 2015.
I don’t miss it.
But sometimes the resentful demon of romance that’s been banished to the far corners of my soul where I can’t hear it as well anymore. But sometimes external stimuli rouse it and it lets out such a barbaric yawp that I start thinking about dating again.
To wit: at 9:11 PM in a local coffee shop, I sidled up and ordered a mocha (which is great for my Type 2 Diabetes). The cashier was a young, hot blonde lady. She would have been out of my league when I had hair and hope, let alone now. I was wearing my favorite Star Wars t-shirt:
Cool shirt, right? Well, it’s cool to some geeks, I suppose.
And, shockingly, to fetching cafe shop ladies, as well.
She pointed at my chest. “I like your shirt. It’s really cool.”
An involuntary smile crosses my face. “Thank you.”
I go stand by the counter where you pick up your beverage and revel in the compliment. I still get surprised when attractive women compliment me on geek things. I know I shouldn’t be surprised. The biggest blockbusters for the last ten years have been overwhelmingly comic book based movies, the domain of geeks until the late, late 90’s. But it still surprises me. I guess it’s because I’ve lived through the dark times.
This is what a comic book convention looked like in 1990:
Note the multiple ponytails and distinct lack of women. And lack of anything but comics. Even though it was infinitely less fun than modern cons, I’m nostalgic for it. It harkens back to a bygone era of innocence, where proto-hipsters (comic book geeks) gathered together in conclaves eschewed by mainstream society. I don’t think this old way could ever come back but that’s ok. I’m glad to have known it for the time I did.
Now here are two photos of 2018’s Awesome Con in Washington, D.C.:
Note the crowd size. With this large overview shot you can’t really see all the different kinds of exhibits but it’s loaded with artists, merch hawkers, cosplay masters, comic book celebrity guests, and all kinds of shiny fun.
The number of women in the above photo probably exceeds the total number of women who attended comic book conventions from 1970-1998.
But back to my heart fluttering. (Don’t worry – I punched myself in the nuts for that sappy line) I know there’s no universe where someone who looks like me, has my personality, has my non-existent game, and has no real skills or accouterments that are valued by society, would ever have a chance with a young, beautiful woman who smiles. But the romance demon screams in my head “Bily Joel and Christie Brinkley, Insert any other ugly celebrity and some gorgeous swimsuit model”. And I hear him clearly. And I think, if only for a moment, what if she actually…But then I stop that thought, punch the demon in his nuts and lock him back under the stairs.
But even though I put the demon back in his cell, I still smile to myself. I still pretend. It’s a brief, harmless fantasy, and pretty much the equivalent of playing the lottery. I still weave a tiny little daydream of a woman like that going out with a man like me.
Even though my decades of dating consisted of chaotic darkness illuminated by fool’s lights, I look back at it in laugh. I was caught up in a maelstrom of society induced madness. But I woke up and got out.
I am Chief Bromden.
And we’re not going back.
Mankind has given me many names. Among my names is Dr. NoLove, House Foolsrush, Thirteenth of My Name, the Burnt, King of the Unlucks and the Last Men, Khal of the Cul-de-sac, Breaker of Mine Own Heart, Big Baby Deezus, Father of the Rejections, the One True Holy and Apostolic Dating Jesus (the photo below is my cousin Buddy – we have the same chin).
All of these rubrics are meaningless.
I am the state (of dating).
I am the one scrub with many faces.
I am the erring and the untruth and the dullness.
Your finite measures cannot contain me.
I am become dating, the destroyer of love.
The key master is here, in the days after this shell’s darkest hour, to pass on the lessons we have learned after 7,882 days (we have dated 200+ women dated in 22 years) in this desert. Like Hova, I have dated them so you wouldn’t have to.
Who am I to comment on dating?
- 22 years of dating (IRL and Online)
- Dating experience on three continents and seven major metropolitan areas
- Early online dating adopter (suffering since 1996)
- I’ve been on a date with 200+ unique, and all wonderful in their own way, women
- Produced a 90,000 word creative writing portfolio devoted to online dating trials and, well, trials
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