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.)
The following are self-portraits that capture my visage from the first time I felt any kind of sexual feelings until the present day. I know 10 seems early but I could have gone as early as 8 (but the self-portrait would have been the same). At age 8, my best friend and I looked through his older brother’s porno mag collection and we came (not literally, we were only 8, yo) upon, among others, a Hustler magazine (this would have been 1982. This was well before pornhub. You had to work to see tits back in my day. You had to walk 5 miles, uphill, in both directions, in 5 feet of snow, to see boobs. In my day! That particular Hustler magazine had a pictorial essay entitled Queen Tit (a play on words on King Tut – how droll). I probably didn’t fully understand what I was looking at but there was definitely part of my body that understood and it registered a response that I did not understand and had not experienced before. So age 8 was when I became, to the best of my memory, a sexual being.
At age 12, I was starting 8th grade (the final year of middle school, at a Catholic elementary school called Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna, Virginia. At the end of 7th grade, a young lady named Penelope Longbottom (name changed to protect the innocent) was just like all other 11-year-old ladies. She was wiry, awkward, had clunky glasses, ponytail hair, and not an iota of makeup.
Cue Late August, the first day of 8th grade. Penelope Longbottom showed up in a shorter-than-regulation skirt, an extra button unbuttoned on her blouse, slight makeup, long rockstar black hair, invisible (contacts (obviously), and, well, curves. She went from the nerdy girl to the IT girl in our dorky little parochial cabal.
But regardless, both of those early moments are sufficiently represented by the first drawing below.
Other than a lot of stolen glances at the hot, popular girls, high school passed without a single interaction with a female. I spent most of my timer hanging out with my fellow geek friends and hiding from beatings. I guess that took its tool since I had grey hair as early as age 16.
I started to date in earnest at age 21. It was almostr entirely internet dating. I was a very early adoptrer (the dating chat rooms on America Online). More hair fell out as I achieved little professionally and my financial life fell apart. What hair remeained turned more and more grey. I decided a goatee was a good look. It was a dark time. I dated plenty I guess but nithing ever stuck. Little did I know that nothing ever would.
I ditched the goatee after I saw some photos and went clean shaven with a tight haircut in a vain attempt to hide my male pattern baldness. I was living in Miami, Florida for five years during this phase of my life and I hate that city and its residents with the fire of a thousand suns. I think nin those 5 years in Dade County, I went out on maybe 3 dates.
This was my insane dating period. Starting in 2010 and ending in 2014, I went out with roughly 150 women. Rarely did it extend beyond the first date. I had some laughs. I had some fun. But towards the end, it was complete misery and it definite;y informed the decision to embrace my functional asexuality and get the fuck out of the game. Beards were trendy back then so I embraced that since it was the only place I could grow hair anymore. I don’t know if they are trendy anymore. But I really don’t give AF if they are or not. I actually tried to dress nicely during this tie. Well, I tried to dress how I thought women would like me to dress. I’m not sure it helped. This would be the last visage I would sport as a sexual and dating being. This was my aesthetic swan song. Looking at the portrait now, it’s no wonder I didn’t set the dating world on fire (not to mention my myriad mental health issues).
This is me today. And if you’ll notice, it’s the first face with a slight smile. It’s the first face with bright eyes. I have a shit ton of stress in my life. But for the first time in my life, I would call myself a happy person who likes himself. I went through fucking hell to get to this mental place and I keep looking behind me to make sure the monsters inside haven’t gotten outside are about to fuck me up again. I don’t dater anymore. I have had one date (it was more an awkward booty call) in the last 4 years. The very idea of a date repulses me. The idea of swiping right or left or skimming a dating profile makes me shudder.
Will I never date again? Fuck if I know. Life’s long, sometimes. Sometimes it’s short. Time is a flat circle, right, Rust? I don’t know. But I do know that I’m going to try and seize this momentum and go forward. I don’t want to go back.
-I apologize to all visual artists for referring to myself as an artist.
-I don’t know why I chose green as my base skin color. If you saw how I dressed you would know I’m shit with colors. Maybe it’s an unconscious representation of my lifelong clinical depression.
-The red parts of the eye are supposed to be a dark brown but that’s the closest color I had available.
-Yes, I know I should never draw. And if I do I should certainly never show it publicly.
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