It was recently brought to my attention that I focus entirely too much on women. This does not come as a surprise…I love women. They’re attractive, they’ve got fascinating body parts that we men do not enjoy, they smell nice, etc., etc., etc. But for the longest time women are all I’ve really cared about. I’m at an ok spot in my career, I’ve got a house, I’ve got money, but I don’t have that certain someone to come home to at night, and thus, life is a failure.
But as I was bitching about my current station in life for the, oh, I don’t know, 180th time to a random shrink (herself a very attractive woman, which makes this whole future exercise somewhat comical, ironic and perhaps a bit unfair), it was brought to my attention that I essentially wear a T-shirt that says, “I want a girl!” (It’s metaphorical, I don’t actually have a shirt that says that. I have a Bob Ross T-shirt, and it is awesome.) Her assignment: go celibate for a month.
I know what everyone’s thinking: “Guy, you’ve been celibate for several months.” I know, I said the exact same thing to her. She said I needed to do it voluntarily. Well now, this is a bit different.
See, the thing is, it’s not like I’m out whoring, picking up a different girl at the bar. My best success has been with the online dating sites, but even there I’m not exactly picking up a reputation that the women have to flag as inappropriate. I go on a lot of first dates, and have had some weird circumstances where a friend seemed to meet a different “girlfriend” every time he came to visit (he termed them girlfriends…they weren’t exactly at that point to me). So the notion that I need to lay off the women may come off as weird to some.
But I love women. There’s not a situation where I don’t notice (and probably judge) them. Just driving home from the shrink I noticed myself checking out women who were out running or in the cars next to me. I will choose where to go to lunch based on what waitress is on shift. There are women at work that I have well-known crushes on. I will look at every single woman in the bar and determine if I’m attracted to her, and if I am, I will do periodic spot checks to see if she’s with someone. The saddest part of all this is that I will never voluntarily speak to them.
In a nutshell, I’m your average garden variety creeper.
(Of course, if you read one of the opening posts to this thread, you’d know that by now.)
I have no idea where my issues with women came from. What’s perhaps more important is that I don’t know where my fear of rejection came from. None of my relationships had any real rejection tacked on to it. The first two girlfriends in my life (three if you include the girl I dated my freshman year in high school) I asked out when it was brutally apparent that they would say yes. After that the relationships spawned from the aforementioned online dating sites or I was set up by a friend. But somewhere along the line I became convinced that the prospect of walking up to someone somewhere and striking up a conversation that could lead to something – friendship, relationship, whatever – was outweighed by the idea of her being so appalled by me that she would go back to her friends and laugh at the idea of me thinking she’d be interested in me.
(This isn’t dramatic license…this is my legitimate fear.)
…I also know I haven’t been a good boyfriend. There were relationships that ended because they needed to. And there were relationships that ended because I was a shithead. And the ones that hurt and the girls that I find myself randomly Googling on a lonely night are the ones where I knew I could’ve done better.
But those were a long time ago. And right now what I struggle with is the concept of, “What’s wrong with me?” I’ve pursued women who probably would’ve been a good fit, but for whatever reason, they weren’t interested, which I have no problem with. The problem comes when I see who they do wind up with and I can’t see what they’ve got that I don’t. Or they’ll look at the people who have been writing them on their dating site while I’m sitting right there.
Like I said, I’m too exhausted by this topic to be spewing hyperbole. That actually happened.
So I’m not competing with Ryan Gosling here. There is something wrong with me.
And so I’ve been ordered to essentially ignore women as a romantic target for a month. This is troubling, because recently it was pointed out that I am a single man, living in Ferndale, driving a Mini Cooper and owning a cat named Romeo. When I hear that put into words even I think I might be gay.
(I’m not. Under any stretch of the imagination.)
So I have a troubling assignment that I don’t know how to approach. Don’t write women online (not tricky). Choose lunch spot based on where you want to eat instead of who’s working (shouldn’t be a problem). Don’t ogle women at the bar. Um, does someone have a neck brace and the blinders those poor bastard horses wear when they are running toward their deaths in the Kentucky Derby?
This is going to be tricky, and I have zero faith in myself and no clue how I’m going to change my behavior. But nothing else has worked and the hot shrink has told me that I’ll be shocked at the response I get. Hey, anything’s gotta be better than what I’ve been doing. I don’t know if it means I’m going to work out more (oh yeah, I look at every woman in the gym, which is worse because they’re wearing skin tight workout clothes), or read more, or write more, or just ignore the woman and keep doing what I’m doing. But considering how unhappy I’ve been, anything’s worth a shot.
Wish me luck.
(Worth noting: I intentionally didn’t ask about porn. I’m considering it my loophole.)