No Sweat

Saw a quote recently that I liked, ”He who expects nothing is never disappointed,” which seemed to be a variation of an Alexander Pope quote. There seem to be two ways to look at this saying. On the one hand, it could caution against pessimism, for if we expect the negative, that's exactly what we'll get. On the other hand, it can also warn us about getting our hopes up, because if we want something and don't get it, we can be disappointed, but if we're not expecting something, then there's no chance of such a letdown.

In any case, I think I'm coming out of my little self-pity party from the other day. (Thank you Lorna and Lyndon for your comments on the matter). I've long recognized my dynamic for extremes, and it may be something I'll always struggle with. When I'm up, I'm way up. I'm cocky and arrogant and overall the type of guy I can't stand when I'm not up. When I'm down, I'm way down in a pit of self-loathing and shattered self-esteem. It can't be all or nothing; I need to find a middle ground if I'm going to function as a human being in society.

With each day that has gone by with an empty inbox, I've gone back and forth on whether I even want that girl to reply, but have grown more certain that she never will. On her social network page the other day she had a post likening this “Help John Find Love” guy to Hannibal Lecter. I began to wonder if there was anything creepy in my last reply to her, if the tone of the written word and the factor of me being an unknown had scared her off. Maybe it was her subtle way of telling me that, or maybe I was doing that thing where I read way too much into everything. “It's not all about you, Robert,” is a quote my mom often uses whenever my self-centered negativity kicks in. I haven't shared this latest episode of my life with my folks, but I know that's what she'd say in this situation.

It's funny that I didn't even see this situation coming. Two weeks ago I was crushing on another girl that was out of reach due to a significant age difference, extreme hotness, and other complications I won't go into here. I'd just made my peace with that never happening, when my friend wrote to me about this other girl she'd mentioned a few months ago, and put us in contact. In the span of a week, some stranger I was cautiously getting to know suddenly became my new focus. Meanwhile, on her end, I was probably one of dozens of guys she was chatting with, and I was probably in the mix just to appease our mutual friend. It was a casual conversation for her, and it really should have been for me too. I can see that now.

I remember years ago, sweating in the hot sun and noticing my old arch-nemesis was not. He gave me some explanation about attitude and mental state, about not feeling the heat. Now, my physiology and body chemistry is simply one that perspires. I literally could wring out my gym clothes after a six mile run. (I know; what girl wouldn't want a piece of that?) But he did have a point about attitude, and the dude was definitely a cool cat. He was one of those “don't get mad; get even” types, and did so with calculating precision and efficiency. I'm not cool, either socially or in terms of my attitude. People sometimes mistake my attitude for cool, because I'm quiet, but inside I'm screaming. Only a select few have been close enough or trusted enough to suffer the brunt of my screaming on the outside. I had to leave a Burger King the other day because they had their radio station set on “depressing love songs”. It started with ”Hello”, and by the time ”All By Myself” was playing, I was out of there, with a heavenward “Are you KIDDING me?” in my brain.

I guess my brain does have a tendency to get a bit ahead of itself, and I live out these fantasy lives months and years into the future. I don't even know if I would have liked this girl had we met, but I guess I got myself worked up about the idea of her. If I didn't sweat it, if I kept it casual and stayed in the cool “we'll see” zone I was in when I first made contact, it wouldn't have bothered me so much. And the whole Hannibal Lechter thing made me angry and hurt, because I don't think I am that guy. I don't think the dude with the website looking for a girlfriend is all that bad either. He has his own house and has a successful business and seems to have friends. He's probably not a bad guy, just socially awkward. Even at my lowest self-esteem, deep down I think I'm a nice guy, think I'm one of the good guys. And by the end of that whole mental crisis, I realized I was being psychotic for even getting angry about something that likely wasn't aimed in my direction. Back in college, when I finally got the nerve up to ask out a girl I'd been pursuing for months, and she wrinkled her nose and shook her head vigorously, I snapped “What'sa matter; don't ya like me??” which probably scared her and certainly scared me as soon as I did it. I vowed from then on to always be gracious in the face of rejection. It's only when I expect success, when I get my hopes up, that failure hits me so hard.

So I'm not going to sweat it. I'm moving on. This wasn't it; maybe next time. If not next time, then the one after that. And if it never happens, then I need to accept that too. I think when I stop caring so much, when I stop trying so hard, that's when I'll find what I want. I mentioned that I don't like how arrogant I get when things do go well for me socially, but there's a difference between arrogance and confidence. If I approach a girl with reservation or uncertainty, she'll sense it and be filled with doubts of her own. My research, in both reading articles and observing successful friends, shows that invitations should be suggestions and statements rather than requests and inquiries. “We should...” is stronger than “Would you...?” I'm going to get my house in order mentally, and maybe focus some more on a physical house which definitely wouldn't hurt my cause at my age. I've dwelled on this incident for two posts more than I should have, and probably a week longer than I should have. Everybody can't like everybody, and feelings can't be forced, so I'm not going to worry about this anymore.

And I'm not going to let them see me sweat.


Blogger Lyndon said...

I feel your pain buddy :(

Would you believe everyone in my family that's of marrying age is well married. Expect one lone person, I'm not going to name, names; but it starts with the letter "L"

I have an aunt & uncle that meet when they were 16 teen and have been married for over 30 years now. Just makes you wonder how some people can find love so easily and others struggle to find it their whole life.

What can you do? Instead of the pity party, maybe go and work out or try something new and different from your normal routine!!

That or "GASP" join a online dating site. Uhm, maybe not, I'm just too much of a chicken :)

If you'll excuse me, I suddenly feel like watching the Transformers movie...

1/21/2010 2:17 AM  
Blogger Lorna said...

You know, one of the things I always found an amazing turn-on was when Dave would come in from working on the car or rollerblading, all sweaty, and he'd smell like Dave, but more so. Too much information? I notice you've started using comment moderation. Knock yourself out.

2/19/2010 7:36 PM  

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