Fear of Girls

If you haven’t ever seen Fear of Girls you should look it up on youtube. All three videos are hilarious, and they get progressively less disturbing, which is definitely a good thing. That being said, I find myself in this place right now. Karategirl is back in the picture. If you don’t remember, about five or six months ago there was a woman who’d joined the karate school that I help teach at. She’s a lovely woman who I found myself attracted to right off the bat. I asked a friend at the school to introduce us, and asked her out, and she promptly turned me down. Admittedly, she turned me down because, in her own words she ‘wasn’t dating right now’, which I’ve been given no reason to doubt in the past five months. I’ve tried to get to know her, and generally failed. We’ve had a number of superficial discussions that ended very quickly. However, a few days ago I messaged her on facebook (there was a good reason… I’m not going to share it) and we had a very good conversation. I think this was mostly just because she was hurting at the time and wanted someone to talk to, but I honestly felt like it was the first conversation that I’d had with the actual Karategirl, instead of with the mask that she wears, and I rather liked what I saw.

So, I’m planning on asking her out again the next time I see her (probably sometime end of this week or next week). However, I’m a little bit terrified. Am I scared that she’ll turn me down again? Well, this is certainly a possibility. Honestly, I think it might be a probability. However, it’s not something I’m particularly scared of. I’ve been shot down plenty of times. It’s no fun, but it’s not really a big deal either. If she turns me down then I’ll wait a while, try to get to know her a little better, and then try again.

Honestly, what I’m really afraid of is that I’m making the same mistake again. I’m afraid that she won’t turn me down, that she’ll say yes, go out with me, really enjoy the way I treat her, but in a month or three decide that I’m a great guy, but not really what she’s looking for. It’s been about a year since Peaches (yes there’s a reason for the name… no, I never called her that… shutup) decided that I just wasn’t right for her. In her words I was ‘everything she was looking for’, but she was too scared to do anything about it. Admittedly, Peaches was not the right girl for me. Still, it’s been a pattern with me for a long time, and I’m scared that I’m just repeating that pattern. The thing is, I think that I’d be scared of repeating the pattern no matter who the woman was. Peaches was 19 and going through some serious emotional trauma. She wasn’t ready for a relationship, and probably didn’t need me pushing for one. If I’d been a better man I would have been her friend and dated someone else. Instead, I fell for her and waited for her to be ready, even though I said I wouldn’t. She never was.

Karategirl is not 19, and to my knowledge has not had any significant relationship traumas. She has some problems, yes (we all do), but they don’t seem to have anything to do with romance or dating. I also know that she’s been single and apparently healthy for at least five+ months, which is definitely a good thing (well… from my perspective at least). Nonetheless, I’m utterly and completely terrified. I’m terrified that I’m being an idiot. I’m terrified that I’m going to make the same mistakes over again no matter what I do. I’m scared that I’m going to get hurt again in the same way. I’m scare that I haven’t grown at all, haven’t changed at all… I guess I’m scared that the past year has been wasted, and that I’m about to prove that.

Ultimately, Karategirl is not Peaches. I am fully cognizant of that fact. However, I need to not be the same person that I was a year ago for anything to happen, and I think I’m afraid that’s the problem.

Honestly… I just hope that she winds up being the woman that will find a reason to be with me, instead of finding a reason to walk away.

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Attraction

Sometimes I wonder if I’m too superficial. Yesterday I had a date with a wonderful woman. We talked for a good two and a half hours, we both seemed to thoroughly enjoy the conversation. She’s interesting, kind, and intelligent. She also seems to enjoy spending time with me. The problem? I’m not physically attracted to her at all. She’s a very pretty woman, but she’s just ‘not my type’ physically. So, no I’m sitting here wondering if I should perhaps try to pursue something with her and hope that somehow changes, even though I know that’s a bad idea and will probably end in pain.

I say that sometimes I wonder if I’m too superficial, but honestly, I don’t think I am. I don’t judge a person on their appearance, and I’m not just looking for physical attraction in a relationship. However, I am looking for physical attraction as a part of a relationship. So, I’m left with the feeling that my wondering if I’m too superficial is really just a tactic to delay an unpleasant conversation that I know I need to have. At the same time, it does bring up an honest question: are my standards of beauty too high?

Objectively, at a guess, I think that if an average woman were to rate my physical attractiveness on a scale from 1-10 I would probably be a 5 or 6. I might rate a 7 on a good day with the right woman, but probably not an ‘average woman’ (of course the use of the term ‘average woman’ here is probably ludicrous. I’m not sure that such a creature actually exists). However, I don’t think I’ve ever dated a woman that would be rated less than a 7, and I’ve dated a couple that were probably much higher. So, I have to wonder if my standard of beauty is even remotely realistic, and if it isn’t, I have to wonder how I might be able to change that, or if it’s even possible to change it.

However, this is something I know from experience: while physical attraction isn’t the most important aspect in a relationship, it is important, and dating someone you don’t particularly enjoy looking at is a bad idea. I’ve had a number of women do that to me, and it thoroughly sucks. Ultimately, I know that I don’t want to do it to someone else.

 

And Advice to Men

Being that I am a man, not a woman (or at least I keep telling myself that), I figured that it was only right for me to follow up my advice to women with some advice to men. Some of my advice for both groups is the same, but a lot of it isn’t.

1) Read Rudyard Kipling’s If: I’ve referred to this poem several times in the past, and I honestly think that it is one of the best short guides to manhood ever written. Kipling’s poem strikes at the core of existence, and of what it means to actually be a man, instead of being a boy pretending he’s a man. Read the poem, memorize the poem, live the poem. This is also good advice for Psalm 1.

2) Stop Looking for Easy Fixes: We all want to find the easy way out. Water follows the path of least resistance and people tend to do the same. However, the easy option often isn’t the best option. Roll of your sleeves and get yourself ready for some hard work, because life is a dirty business and it doesn’t play fair. For that matter, stop worrying about what’s fair and start worrying about what is. In the long run it really doesn’t matter why you didn’t get the job or why the girl turned you down, it happened. Learn what you can from it, get back on your feet, and start moving forwards.

3) Do Something!: In a fight the worst thing you can possibly do is stand there and think. If you are doing something, then you’re losing the fight. Life is the same way. What you do might not be the best thing, it might not even be the second best thing, but its not the worst thing. The worst thing you can do is absolutely nothing.

4) Be Willing to Wait: This isn’t actually contradictory to the last point. You should be doing something, but know when you need to go and do something else. Sometimes there is nothing you can do in a given situation. This means that you have to wait, so you need to wait. Go do something else for a while. Apply to a school, get a job, write a novel, whatever, but fill your time waiting with something, even if it’s just relaxing.

5) Be a Gentleman: I know that it gets you nowhere. I know that women don’t appreciate it, and some of them even get mad at you for it. I understand that being kind, courteous, respectful, and thoughtful isn’t the way to get laid or to get rich. Do it anyway. Do it because it’s right. Do it because, even if she doesn’t thank you for it, you will make her feel better about herself by treating her with gentility and respect. Do it because you want to make her happy, not because you want to get something from her. This is a big part of being a man: stop thinking about yourself.

6) Get Your Priorities Straight: We live in a culture that doesn’t value men. We are taught day in and day out that men are either pathetic wimps or mindless thugs. We’re taught that men are evil and need to be civilized. We’re taught that what makes you a man is the size of your dick, the scope of your fame, of the contents of your wallet. None of this is true. Real men aren’t brutes. They are gentle, kind, and care about others. However, they aren’t wimps either. They will stand up for the people they care about, even when they wouldn’t stand up for themselves. Real men are defined by their understanding of themselves. They aren’t goaded, don’t need to prove themselves, and think highly of others. Focus less of what you have and more on what you are.

7) Commit: I don’t care if its to the girl you’re dating, the career you’re pursuing, the church you’re attending, etc. Commit to something, and make a habit of commitment throughout your life. Don’t be afraid to leave if you have to, but don’t leave just because you want to, or because you’re afraid. Commit to something in life, and keep committing to things.

8) Stop Looking for Perfect: Chances are you’re not going to marry a supermodel. Stop looking for the perfect girl and start looking for the girl who is there. This isn’t to say that you should date/marry someone you don’t like or aren’t attracted to. I’ve done that, it doesn’t end well. However, stop obsessing over little things that don’t matter. Find that women in your life who you do get along with and who are attractive and pay attention to them. Give them a chance before you go back to mooning over… whoever, I don’t really follow modeling. Heidi Klum… she’s still hot, right? Stop mooning over Heidi Klum. She’s probably married anyway.

9) Deal with Porn: You probably look at porn. If you don’t yet, then don’t start. Run far, run fast, and never look back. If you do, you might be struggling with porn or you might just enjoy porn, either way you’re not doing yourself any favors. Understand that it’s wrong, just like any other sin. Don’t defend it, don’t excuse it: hate it. Hate porn with everything that’s in you and fight to get away from it. However, understand that it is a struggle, just like any other struggle. It’s not okay to fall, but you probably will. When you do, get back up, ask forgiveness from whoever you need it from, and start the fight all over again.

10) Treat Her Well: If you have a special lady in your life, then treat her well. Treat her like she’s the queen of the world. Heck, either treat her like you love her, or break up with her so she can find someone who will. I don’t care if you don’t see much reciprocation from her. Do it anyway.

11) Turn Off You’re Damn iPod: This goes for everyone. The world is filled with more lonely, hurting people than at any point in history. Turn off your iPod, take out your headphones, close up your computer, and say hi to a stranger. We tell children not to talk to strangers, but you’re not a child anymore. Grow up and act like a human being instead of a cyborg. Introduce yourself, talk to people, make friends, and act like you give a fuck about someone else.

12) If She Runs, Don’t Chase Her: There’s a difference between a girl who’s letting you chase her, and a girl who’s trying to get away. Learn that difference, it’s really important. If a girl’s letting you chase her, then chase her until you catch her. However, if a girl’s running away, then let her run and don’t expect her to come back.

13) Hygiene: Take a shower. Wear deodorant. Change your underwear. Don’t spend an hour fixing your hair. Stop getting mani-pedis. Clip your nails. Get some exercise. This isn’t hard people. Wearing a suit everyday doesn’t make you a man. However, neither does being a stinky brute covered in animal skins. Take care of yourself and do you best to present a pleasing appearance.

Again, that’s it for now. Hopefully some of this will sink in.

Plato, Jesus, and Nice Guys Everywhere

Nice guys finish last. It’s a cliche for a reason, and in my experience it’s very true. Honestly, I have yet to date a woman who honestly wanted to be with a nice guy. I know lots of women who say they want a nice guy. Who say they want to be treated well, cared for, etc, etc, etc. However, show them a nice guy who will do all of those things and they’re gone within a month or two. Jobs often go to the people who are willing to be underhanded to get them. Money goes to the people who don’t care about others. Suffice it to say that our culture isn’t particularly kind to nice guys unless they also happen to be incredibly rich or incredibly handsome.

Of course, part of this is because there are a lot of people out there who put on the guise of a nice guy when they really aren’t particularly nice at all. Some of them are trying to be kind and caring, but are failing. Honestly, in the world we live in this is pretty understandable, not ok, but understandable. Some people pretend to be a nice guy, but actually have no intention of being nice. They use this guise to find victims for whatever their particular version of cruelty might be. Some of them use their disguise to lure women into bed, some of them use it to advance their careers, some of them use it to trick people out of money. Then there are people who actually are nice guys, some of the time, until something happens and they pull a Jekel and Hyde. Ultimately, I’m not convinced that anyone is just a nice guy. We all have issues, problems, struggles, insecurities, etc. We all have things that people will, and probably should, run away from… unless they’re willing to love us. Last week I wrote about about the nice guy with a chip on his shoulder (a.k.a. me). The post was then used in someone else’s post about how it’s pointless to be a nice guy in this world and we should all strive not to be nice guys.

Nice guys get a bad rap. They are often seen as weak or pathetic, clingy, needy, false-faced, and fake. The general perception seems to be that if a nice guy isn’t perfect in every way then he isn’t really a nice guy, he’s just a bastard waiting to happen. As I write this I’m looking at the ‘related content’ page and of the many posts there are exactly three that have anything positive to say about nice guys. That being said, honestly most of these posts (even one of the ones about how nice guys are good) don’t seem to have a particularly clear idea of what makes a nice guy. I know many other nice guys, like myself, have often been lost when trying to figure out what a nice guy actually is, and the standard often seems pointless (because no one seems to want them) or hopeless (because it’s unreachable). So, what does it mean to be a nice guy?

Both Christ and Plato (two very important thinkers, even if you don’t believe that Jesus was the incarnation of the second person of the Godhead) spoke of the privilege of the virtuous. In a world where the powerful, the cunning, and the ruthless are the ones most likely to succeed in most forums, both of these men called us to be better. To put aside the world’s definition of success and seek something higher. Christ called us to abandon the pleasures of this world and find insurpassable joy in him. Plato called us to pursue virtue before everything else and seek eudaimonia (or human fulfillment or flourishing). Neither of them promised that the person who did this would receive wealth, gorgeous women, or worldly success. However, both of them promised to lead their followers to joy despite the lack of these things.

This is the key. This is what being a nice guy really means. The nice guy is the guy who doesn’t need all the trappings of success to be satisfied. He is the guy who can meet with tragedy or triumph and treat them both the same. He is the guy who will put you first, not because he’s trying to get something, but because he doesn’t need to be first. Does this mean that he’ll be perfect? Of course not, none of us are, but it means that he’s trying. That everyday he’s trying to be better, to be virtuous, and to put other people before himself. It doesn’t mean that he’ll never be hurtful, but it does mean that he’ll apologize when he is. It doesn’t mean that he’ll never get angry, but it does mean that he’ll handle it as well as he can. It doesn’t mean that he’ll never get hurt, but it does mean that when he is hurt he’ll give the one who hurt him the chance to explain. Ultimately, being a nice guy means being a guy who honestly cares about others. Who is willing to pursue virtue in his life, and inspires virtue in the lives of others. The nice guy is the guy that may not be particularly noticeable, but who is there when you need him.

The thing is, it’s easy to walk away from him. When the nice guy gets rejected he doesn’t get angry and throw things, instead he gives a smile and a hug, and tells you that it’s okay. It’s easy to say no to him, because you can be confident that he won’t hate you afterwards. It’s easy to hurt him because he’ll be okay. It’s easy to forget about him because he’s not loud and obnoxious, telling you everything that you need to do to make him happy.

This doesn’t mean that he’s weak, or that he doesn’t need your attention. It means that he’s willing to put the needs of others before his own needs. If you find this guy, you should do the same. Ask him what he wants and what he needs from you. Show him that you care about him. Take the time and make the effort to take care of him as much as he takes care of you, and when you find his flaws don’t write him off. Instead love his flaws in the same way that he’s loved yours.

I can’t honestly say that I’ve always been this guy. There are times when I’ve been needy, clingy, possessive, angry, frustrated, etc. There are times when I’ve been hurt and unwilling to forgive, and there are times when I’ve been angry and not handled it particularly well. That being said, this is the guy that I’m trying to be, that I want to be, and I hope to find a woman who will help me become this guy, even as I help her become the woman that she wants to be.

That Little Chip the Size of the Moon

I’m the guy who’ll do your shopping for you. I’m the guy who’ll give you a massage when you’re tired. I’m the guy who’ll catch you when you fall, and I’m the guy who’ll make sure he’s on the bottom if we both fall. I’m the guy who opens doors, let’s you go first, and pays whenever he has the money. I’m the guy who will hold you when you cry, respect you even when he doesn’t want to, fight for you even when he thinks you’re wrong, but let you know what he thinks to. I’m the guy who’ll make dinner and clean up afterwards. I’m the guy who’ll wait ’til your ready for a first touch and a first kiss. I’m the guy who’ll buy flowers for no reason. I’m the guy who’ll text you in the morning to let you know I’m thinking of you. I’m the guy who’ll take the lead when everyone else is lost. I’m the guy who’ll apologize when I’ve screwed up, and the guy who’ll ask for your forgiveness when I’ve hurt you, even if I don’t think I should need to. I’m the guy who’ll forgive you when you ask, usually before. I’m the guy who won’t hold the past against you. I’m the guy who’ll love you even when you don’t deserve it. You say I’m not what you’re looking for? What’s wrong with you?

… Yeah, I know, it sounds pretty arrogant, doesn’t it? This popped into my head and it’s true… well, most of the time at least. I am all of those things and more. I was thinking about posting this on my facebook page, but my goodness it sounds so stuck-up. Proof that I’m also a jackass I guess. That being said, I think I’m fairly solid evidence for the saying that nice guys finish last. I am a genuinely nice and I can’t count the number of times I’ve had a girl tell me that I’m ‘just not what she’s looking for’.

I probably have a chip on my shoulder. Honestly, I think that’s what happens whenever someone has a repeated pain in their life. I’ve known lots of people with chips on their shoulders, and I have yet to find one who got rid of it on their own. We are all weak people and we all have pains that we can’t deal with on our own. It’s easy to assume that this pain is valid, that other people have done this to you, or that it represents the way the world ‘really is’. It’s easy to not even notice that the chip is there, and even when you do notice it, it’s very difficult to get rid of.

The chips that people carry around generally have a good reason, and they generally take a mixture of love, patience, and truth to heal. Until a person realizes their carrying around this thing that looks ridiculous to everyone else, there really isn’t anything that they can do about it. And even when they do realize it, changing the way you look at the world is incredibly hard, even when you have help. It’s that much harder when you’re trying to do it alone. It takes people, sometimes lots of people, of the right type and temperament to help lift that chip off of your shoulder and help you see the world the way it really is.

So, I am a genuinely nice guy, but I think I have a chip on my shoulder about it. I’m frustrated, even angry sometimes, especially when I see women choosing not-nice guys over me. Guys that treat them poorly, guys that are controlling, emotionally and physically abusive, or that demand sex at the earliest opportunity. Yeah, it makes me really mad, not just at the guys, but at the girls who choose them over me. I’m also simply frustrated with the consistent rejection that I’ve received from women. It’s hurtful, it’s frustrating, and it has created quite a chip on my shoulder. It’s also tempted me, many times, not to be a nice guy. Honestly, I’m happy that I haven’t done that. I’ve been a confused guy who didn’t know what I wanted, but I’ve never used a woman to make myself feel better. I hope I never do.

Wistful Pangs

I was going to write about sin today. About the difference between sins that are proscribed in scripture (adultery, murder, etc) and sins that are the result of individual convictions (drinking, watching R rated movies, etc), and those sins that seem to fall somewhere in between, and thus are immensely and distractingly confusing. Then I sat down in the only seat available in my favorite coffee shop to see a woman who I rather liked sitting with her new boyfriend.

This isn’t a woman that I dated, not even close actually, but it is a woman that I wanted to date. Honestly, from everything I’ve seen, she’s generally the kind of woman I’d like to marry… except that she wouldn’t give me the time of day. Actually… that was quite literal one time. The one major flaw that I’ve seen in her is that she couldn’t tell me ‘no, thanks’. She simply brushed me off with promises every time I tried to ask her out, and then never followed through on them. This is something that has become one of the things that I generally judge (i.e. discern) a woman’s quality by.

As I’ve said before, honesty is a big thing with me… quite possibly the most important character quality for me to see in someone. So when a woman is incapable of telling me that she’s not interested, when she makes promises with no intention of keeping them, then it really factors into my opinion of her character. This particular woman, we’ll call her Anna, has a very strong character, except for this one important area, which I have to admit rather thoroughly turned me off to her.

That being said, when I first saw them my gut reaction was confused at best. I wasn’t quite angry about her invasion of what I all too often consider ‘my’ place (it is a business after all), and I wasn’t quite hurt that she had chosen someone else when she wouldn’t even give me a chance, and I wasn’t quite happy that she had found someone to share her life, or at least a part of it, with. There was a little of all of these in my first reaction on seeing her, and I think it’s finally settling down into a happiness to see that she’s found someone… I think. Honestly, I think it’s probably something that I need to look more closely at.

The Taoist in me says that my gut reactions show my true self, and that if those gut reactions aren’t pure, then I am not pure and this is something that I need to work on. The Confucianist in me tells me that it is my actions that matter, and so if I treat her with filial love and kindness, then I will become filial in spirit. The Christian in me says that my gut reactions do show my true self (or at least my fleshly self) and that they aren’t pure (duh…). It also tells me that my actions do matter, but that my actions alone cannot change my true self. The Christian in me tells me that I need Christ to change who I am, to make me whole, and to make me better, and that is something that is far too easy to forget.

Blindness

We all tend to be blind to important things. Sometimes we realize that we’re blinding ourselves, and sometimes we don’t, but we still blind ourselves. We generally see the things we want to see. When we don’t like someone, then we see all of the things that we don’t like, and we don’t see any of the things that we might like. When we do like someone, then we see all of the things that we like, and we don’t see any of the things that we might not like. As I write I’m talking to a friend of mine on an instant messenger and she’s explaining to me the weird uncomfortable date she went on recently and how horrible the guy was. The thing is, she barely knows this guy. By her own admission she’s only talked to him briefly a few times, and while they don’t have much in common, she’s listing out to me all of the things that are wrong with him and why he’s a weak, worthless person.

The thing is we all do this, especially when someone we don’t particularly like does like us. Instead of seeing them for who they are, we see everything that we don’t like. Sometimes we even see things that we don’t like about other people, even though they are completely untrue of the person that we’re talking about. I did this with a friend not too long ago. She wasn’t even someone I disliked, just someone I wasn’t romantically interested in. Though she was the first girl to actually pursue me in a very long time. I made it clear to her early on that I wasn’t interested in anything romantic, but she was still hung-up on me for almost a year.

The thing is, she really is a very sweet girl who deeply cared about me, and I almost blinded myself to that. I saw every annoying facet of her infatuation, and slowly lost sight of every positive aspect of her character until I was simply constantly annoyed with her. I realized what I was doing in time to avoid doing anything stupid and hurtful, thankfully, but the thing is that I was doing it. I only let myself see one aspect of her being, and that easily could have cost me a close friend.

I’m not really a huge fan of The Song of Ice and Fire, but I enjoy the novels. The stories are good and the characters are interesting, thoroughly worth reading, though they’ll never make it into my top suggested novels. However, there is one character (though he only appears for a short while in the first novel A Game of Thrones) that I absolutely love. The character’s name is Syrio Forel, and he is a swordmaster and brave from a foreign land who is hired to teach swordsmanship to one of the main characters. One of the first lessons that he teaches her is to see truly. That is to say that one should not be mislead by appearances, expectations, or prejudices, but that one should see truly and judge honestly.

This is a very difficult thing to do, and honestly the older I get and the more I try, the more I realize how hard it actually it. We are all weighed down by our experiences, our expectations, the things that we have been taught, and the things that we have learned (which are often quite different). To see through all of that, along with the masks that people throw up to protect themselves, and the hundred thousand different opinions about everyone is a daunting task. Yet, if we are to be true, then we must learn to see truly. Otherwise we inevitably become lost in our own perceptions and suspicions and we wind up hurting people that we should be loving. Honestly, I think the Psalmist had it right when he said ‘there is no-one good, no not one’.