I am the favored Instrument of the Universe

I’ve been taking these long solitary hikes, and I’ve been evaluating my life.  And the more I think about it, the more I realize my life is awesome.

For every hardship I’ve ever endured I’ve always inadvertently stumbled into something better.  I find a job I love, I lose that job and I fall into an even better version of said job.  I lose a meaningful relationship, a veritable buffet of new ones opens up to me.  When The Universe closes a door, somewhere a wall falls down.  And there are like… a bunch of nazi-gold hidden in the asbestos.  Yeah that’s the metaphor I was going for.

I have an extraordinary and expansive support system of family and friends.  Part safety net, part fire blanket, I’ve always had the support to take risks and to rebound unscathed.  I was never tied down or smothered… there was always just enough give for me to experience the full gambit of things without breaking beyond repair.

I was born anatomically attractive, but never to the point where I could ever coast on my looks.  It was always a slight gust of wind to help push me through the door, and never the reason doors were opened for me in the first place.  And because of my so-so looks, I was forced to develop skills and talents.

Good things constantly happen to me.  But it took several readjustments of my aperture of life to see things that way.  I was never falling or failing.  There were only minor setbacks and meaningful triumphs.  The me I am today, is the best and strongest version I’ve ever been.  And tomorrow, I’ll be even better.  Imagine that.

And I realize, the deck is perpetually stacked in my favor.  It is impossible for me to fail or fall– for very long or very far.  So I look at my success as a writer as a bygone conclusion, and all that’s left is figuring out how long or how round about the course is to get there.  Do I want to be a millionaire while my parents are still able to enjoy it with me?  Or do I want to be old and drooping by the time I’m reaping the benefits of my work?

All that’s left is to put in the hours and the work.  There is no carrot or the stick anymore.  There is just the road.

*Also, my book is coming out in six weeks.*

Bump it with:

Blind Date: Now You See Me… Now You Don’t.

I walked out on a blind date.

I think this might’ve been the single most asshole thing I’ve done since I’ve been single.Ten  minutes in, I just realized “nope this isn’t for me” and there was no pleasant way to say all that without needing a significant amount of explanation, so I just walked out, got into my car, and drove off.  This may need a little back story and explanation to really understand the whole experience.

So I’m semi-active on two dating sites, Tinder and OKCupid. While on OKCupid matches people on algorithms and levels of compatibility, Tinder pretty much boils down to:

“Does your face want to fuck their face?

[  ] Yes
[  ] No”

And for the most part my response to this is,  “Meh… what the hell.”  I read somewhere that the way to optimize dating with Tinder is to just like every single person’s picture, which statistically expands your dating pool to everyone who likes your picture, and from there you can prune down your matches to people you actually like, all while getting a slight ego boost from the ones you un-match.  So I do that.  Because maths.

Tinder Unicorn
Unmatched.

This girl, was a Tinder girl.  Our conversation was very light and easy at first.  We talk about beer, and about our careers and any number of that small chit chat people do. Within the first day, she was already talking about meeting up.  Suddenly I became acutely aware of that slow sneaking, heavy musky reek of desperation.  Most girls exercise a bit of caution before meeting with a stranger, y’know there are crazies and serial killers on the Internet too.  Heck, I’ve had to submit a credit report, a blood sample, and a carfax before getting to go on a first date, (not literally, but you get the picture).

But she was completely gung-ho: “Hey stranger I just met on the internet, and know inherently nothing about aside from a picture and a little blurb about yourself (remember this, because it will become important later)… lets meet up!”

That was red flag number one.

I’m off the next day, and she’s been pleasant so far and again she asks me if I want to meet up… I figure heck why not. So we start figuring out where to go for dinner, and she begins rattling off the names of a few high end sushi places in the area. And now I’m thinking to myself, I like her, but I don’t necessarily $150 worth of dinner and drinks like her… maybe not even $75 and a Groupon.  Which to me should have been a good warning that subconsciously, I was already trying to minimize my losses, like a part of me had already made up my mind how much I wanted to date this girl, and that monetary sum was somewhere between ramen and happy hour.

That was red flag number two.

So we settle on a ramen shop that’s in the area.  And as I’m driving over I get a series of three texts from her almost simultaneously.

“Oh by the way, I don’t drive.”
“Can you pick me up from work? ”
“Oh and I picked up juice for my dad because he’s sick.  Can we drop it off to him afterwards?”

Christ, I’m not a taxi cab.  Again, I should’ve trusted my gut.  Because instead of feeling like I was given the opportunity to curry favor with my potential future father-in-law, I’m feeling irritated and used.  I google her work place, and it’s two blocks from the ramen shop.  How hard is it to walk two blocks?   Wait what’s that guts?  More foreshadowing of the impending doom to come?

That was red flag number three.

So I get to her work place, and inside are two male patrons, and a girl behind the counter and another girl leaning on the counter from the opposite side.  It’s in these first few seconds, I realize– I’ve been duped.

– – – –

Now I will be the first to admit that my profile pictures on these dating sites show me in the most advantageous light.  It’s the picture where my hair looks awesome, and my chin looks chiseled, and for some reason my biceps look extremely ripped like I was lugging telephone poles around all day.  It’s the picture where I’m at the top of a mountain, or skydiving, or surrounded by a bunch of friends.  But in truth, I’m not that muscular, I hike infrequently, I’ve been skydiving twice and I screamed like a girl the first time (and most of the second time too), and I don’t really hang out with people that often because… well I’m an insufferable dick.  My profile pictures are a glossy, hyper-saturated representation of my life, but for the most part that is me.  If you see me walking down the street, and someone where to show you my profile picture, you would recognize that it was clearly me.

I will also be the first to admit, I’m a shallow person.  I know what type of girl I find physically attractive, and I know what type of girl I find physically un-attractive.  The media has attempted to guilt men into believing liking one type of shape over another is somehow a form of shameful discrimination, but honestly it’s like getting mad at someone for saying their favorite ice cream is mint chocolate chip instead of rocky road.  You can’t argue or reason why you like one more than the other… you just do.  And in the grand scheme of things there are people who really love themselves some rocky road, so by all means more for them.   As for me, I know what I like and I know what I don’t like– and I like mint chocolate chip.

But… what I got was a gallon tub of cookie dough, with a bunch of red warning flags sticking out the top like she was a double black diamond ski slope.

Looking back, her first few profile pictures were strategically cropped photos of just her face and cleavage,  so I already knew she was a bigger girl coming in to this.  But her third or fourth picture was a slightly out of focus shot of all of her her doing some sort of cheerleader-esque pose in a t-shirt and shorts.  Not quite big, more like Penny from Big Bang Theory when she puffed up a bit in the later seasons.  (which coincidentally, is how I figure out how far along into the series I am when I’m catching a random episode) That’s who I was expecting to meet today.  In retrospect, that was probably an old high school or college photo, at least five years and fifty pounds ago.

The Bait     And Switch
The bait…                                              …and switch.

You lied.  That’s my first thought.  I’m not angry that she’s big, I’m angry that what little information I know about this girl, has been falsified.  That picture was you at some point, but it’s definitely not you now.  You know what you look like.  You see you in the mirror every day, and that picture, is – not –  you.  That little picture, that little blurb… it’s the twist of the truth; it’s an omission and misrepresentation of facts.  I’m reminded of the days of picture brides, where middle aged women would send a picture of themselves in high school, but by the time they arrived, “ha ha too late Husband, I already here.”  I’ve been tricked.

I lock eyes with her.  She looks away and busies herself.

“Hi” I say.
“Hi.” she says back.

And I stand there awkwardly.  At this point I’m already committed to the date.  I said I would do it so I’m going to do it, pride, wallet, time, and happiness be damned.  She makes no effort to continue the conversation, and resumes talking with the girl across the counter.

So I walk five feet off and flop down in a chair by the door, fumbling with my phone absently.  Maybe she’s busy.  Time passes, and I’m stuck sitting in this chair ever aware of each passing second and the growing discomfort in my guts.  What else has she been dishonest about?  What else will she be dishonest about?  “daddy’ is just the nickname of my drug dealer, and ‘juice’ is what we call our meth, you didn’t ask” or  “You asked if I had AIDS, technically I only had HIV… should’ve been more specific”

I look over at her.  There is so much more of her to look at than I was expecting.  Am I an ass?  Yes I am an ass.  But still… I am an honest ass, with an ass the same size as my picture.  She makes no effort to end her conversation with the girl at the counter.  I stand up again, and walk over to the register.  I hover there awkwardly, like a fourth grader trying to find the right moment to interrupt the teacher from correcting papers at her desk, before returning to my seat unacknowledged yet again.  I’m still willing to bite the bullet and take her out for some food and chock it up to poor reconnaissance on my part.  All she had to do was say something.  Just make some eye contact– something!

I saunter back to my chair.  It’s at this point my guts I’ve been suppressing all this time, begin to take over.  Like a trapped animal, the fight or flight instinct begins to take over me.  Maybe I can pretend like I didn’t see her in there, because I was looking for a girl half her size like in her pictures.  Ha ha.  Yeah that’s fucked up.  Is it?  But if I had told her I was 8′ 2″ and she didn’t see me because I’m actually 5’7″, that would be the same thing right?  All I want to do is not be here, not in this uncomfortable awkward situation with this person I am beginning to resent more with each passing second.  Maybe tell her I’m sick?  Tell her something came up?  A family emergency?  I don’t want to drive extra to give her dad juice, or meth, or whatever it is.  

And then a turning point.

Fuck it.

…I don’t need to spend the next hour talking to someone that I already don’t like.

So I stood up, and I walked out.

And that might’ve been the worst thing I’ve ever done on a date.  And I’m pretty sure the Universe  will be punishing me soon.

Bump it with:

The Courage of a Kiosk Salesman

I wish I had the courage of a Kiosk Salesman.   I know they’re the bane of the holiday shopper, lacking any storefront or the confines of four walls, so anyone who passes within their vicinity is a potential customer.  Like a small dog on a short leash in an open yard, they go after anything– fearlessly.   And it’s not the salesmanship or the bravado I envy, no it’s being impervious to rejection that rolls like whiskey off a duck’s back.  (that imagery doe) They continue undaunted, hawking their wares.  And if they can sell cheap lotions and strips of clothing with such dedication, why can’t I sell me?

Because it seems like every shut door is a tally on some invisible scorecard in the back of my mind that says “Maybe you’re not as special as you thought” It’s one more stolen jelly bean from a swiftly dwindling jar of my self esteem, and The Universe is getting diabetes from eating me up.

I log in to a stonewall of smiling faces, of heights and ages, and this information that’s supposed to lead me to ‘the one’.  And I’ve been letting loose arrows by the quiver, and they all get delivered and met with:
Read By

While the Kiosk salesman gets a shake of the head or a wave of disinterest, I get a tiny notification that my carefully crafted message was seen but not reciprocated.   And the sting of that is potent.  Because this is the best of me on display, carefully crafted and showcased in my avenue of strength– writing.  With the chosen photo out of thousands that makes my chin look chiseled and my arms look like they can carry more than disappointment.

This isn’t me disheveled at the supermarket in my wine-stained-work-clothes chatting up some girl in front of the frozen pizzas, where she can laugh and walk away and I can tell myself her boyfriend was just more interesting today.  No, this is the best of me rejected constantly in a place dedicated to people searching for love.  And It’s not Okay Cupid, to turn me into your pin-cush-‘in of what could-have-been.

Because you were supposed to make this easier.  But lately, I’ve get the feeling like you’re just one more door for me to look through and see the rest of the world dancing by.  And I promise to behave myself and not to step on toes this time, if I could just have one more dance partner who leaves me in awe, mouth-agape with nothing to say.

And maybe I should stop talking.

I should stop talking.

I should.

Bump it with:

“…sometimes a blowjobs not enough.”   haha best lyric ever.

Nope, it’s not the Universe that’s broken… it’s me.

I think I’m past my fatboy stage of dating.  At first I was like a kid in a candy store, cramming whatever I could get my hands on into my proverbial relationship maw.  *Nom Nom Nom* girlfriendz everyqwherzz!!  I kinda burned through a few bridges.  But I’m learning.  What’s good on paper and in theory isn’t always good in practice.  What I think I want, and what I actually am happy with are two vastly different things.

Here’s what I’ve learned:

– I will meet a lot of amazing women, but knowing at what point to say no and walk away is just as important as knowing when to stick around, and that’s just as a much an intellectual decision as it is an intuitive one.   Just because “She’s good” doesn’t mean “she’s good for me”  and I need to be a bit more selfless in letting people go and be good for someone else.  Once I quit, I need to quit for good.  No sloppy re-tries, no second hand boomerang romances.  No drunk texts.  No falling back into sex.  Just done.

To this end,  I figured out my text messaging system (Go sms pro) has a private box where I can put numbers and conversations I don’t want to show up on my normal texting screen.  I started using it as a burial ground for conversations and relationships that fizzled, so I’m never tempted to rekindle them again.  I don’t have to block her, but I don’t have to see her either.  If she messages me, it’ll show up and I can always dig it back out, but at least from my side I can have some finality when something is done.

– I can’t do pushovers anymore.  Any girl that’s content with giving me a twenty minute massage without getting something in return, well she’s not strong enough for me.  Because once things get comfortable and complacent, I’ll take advantage and spoil myself, and then I’ll get bored.  And I’ll end up being that guy married-with-two-kids who’s banging the secretary and picking up prostitutes on business trips.  I hate that guy.

– I always thought women are the gatekeepers of sex, but maybe it’s partially my responsibility too.   Sex too soon is like opening Christmas presents two weeks too early.  Yeah the toys are fun, but it’s not Christmas unless it’s opening presents at the right time, on the right day.  Or to quote 100 Girls “There’s a certain way a man stares at a woman he loves. The man looks like a boy on his birthday. And he treats the woman as if she were a gift that he’s waited so long to open and now he can’t wait to see what the treasure is inside.”  I’ve been a victim of my own sexcess, and while my loins are thanking me, the rest of me feels as if I’ve shot myself in the relationship foot… yeah you sort out that imagery.

– I think my own puritanical sense of propriety needs to be adjusted.  I’m almost thirty.  Everyone in my age range has been at this dance for a few years, I shouldn’t be surprised if the girls I meet have had their dance card filled out a little.  Not everyone has been in monogamous-lockdown like me for the past ten years.  And I think that has greatly stunted a lot of my growth where I’m still viewing the world with doey high school eyes.  If you’re here with me, and you love me that should be enough.  We’ll crunch the numbers later.

So that’s what I’ve learned I’m back at square one.  Alone, but smarter.  I think.  I’m searching for a sense of awe.  That grade school flutter, when I see her and I just know that’s the woman I want to spend the rest of my life with.   I’ve been getting it in small doses, but then it fades.  And maybe that’s the problem.  I am looking for someone to impress me, when in truth I should be working on being impressive and the rest will follow.

Bump it with:

I think I broke the Universe

At first I was scared I broke the universe.  The world around me had suddenly and magically aligned where all of a sudden I was getting absolutely everything I wanted.  I’d see a pretty girl in an aisle at a store and I’d chat her up, and five minutes later I’d have her phone number.  I’d go out to a bar and trade 90’s Karaoke songs with the smokey eyed girl in the corner, and somehow end up leaving with her.  That childhood friend I grew up racing matchbox cars up the church pews, somehow she wants to play a whole different kind of game.

Something about being so damaged had made me completely fearless.  I had already seen the absolute worst a relationship could do to me, I was now impervious to the sting of rejection and completely fueled by the fear of being alone.  In normal people it works the opposite, building upon a foundation of confidence begets more confidence.  But for me it only manifested once I was at a critically low level of self-esteem.  Like a mother lifting a two-ton truck off of her infant child, my brain and mouth had somehow surged with courage that my body or my heart did not have the capacity or the ability to wield during my taken life.

Most people wake up with a hangover and a severe sense of buyers remorse.  I woke up high-fiving the drunken me from the night for whatever I said and did, marveling at how I was punching waaaay above my league, and somehow nobody else had taken notice but me.

And then I started to get scared that it wasn’t the universe that was broken but me.  Maybe I died and this was my slow segue into heaven (or much more likely, hell).  Maybe I’d somehow slipped into a coma and this was just my mind’s way of keeping itself busy while the rest of me rotted away.  or maybe, just maybe I was developing mutant powers.  I had always wished for mind control powers as a kid, (well initially I wanted claws like wolverine) but I always thought if I concentrated my brain enough (I did this to the point of giving myself earaches, because I think my idea of “concentration” was just flexing my inner ear muscle really hard) I could bend people to my will.  Maybe this was my powers manifesting 20 years later in some weird sort of payoff for doing dumb brain-exercises as an eight year old.  Because it wasn’t just bar floozies, it was girls I had dreamed of dating in high school, wanting to discuss art projects over hot water poured through ground beans, or crepes and running in the morning, and god I hate running but I’m going to do my best to keep up because your smile seems brighter than the sun.

And suddenly, so many doors had opened up I would have to start sprinting just to get through them all.  So I was running all the time.  And then girls saw me running and said, “hey this guy is going places” so they started keeping pace too.  And I started talking about what I was doing, and where I wanted to go– and people followed.  And suddenly, I wasn’t alone.

And so, I think I broke the Universe.

Because I’m actually.

Oddly.

Kind of happy.

Bump it with: