Friday, July 3, 2015

The Weight of Dating as a Man (1/2)

I wanted so hard for things to be different. For so long I thought if I lost weight, if I gained confidence, if I put myself "out there" things would change. I've come to understand that while our culture would have you think guys are the ones who cannot commit, who decline dates, who drag women around; none of this is my experience, in fact, my experience is the opposite.

The truth is, women seem to give off mixed messages and I believe this is not on purpose but because many of them do not know what they want or are simply not willing to put forth the effort. Why put effort into a relationship, or a friendship, when you can pull out your feminine card that states men have to be the pursuers and initiators?

However, even in this, women still win because when men they do not like and/or are not attracted to do pursue them, they can just label the guy as a creep or stalker, instead of as a guy who was interested in them and asked them a question or started a conversation (Yes, I do know real stalkers do exist but it is also a phrase used to speak of men they find unappealing that talk to them or are around them).

I've grown up in the church hearing all the time about how men should be leaders, how they should respect their "sisters" in Christ, how they should respect women for their minds and not merely see them as objects. Yet, I hear very little about how women should respect their "brothers" in Christ, not lie if they don't want to be friends, put effort into friendships and relationships with men, and treat men as people - ones they like and do not like.

I'm tired of women saying all men are shallow, of having to watch movies like "Shallow Hal" that depict guys as having standards that are too high and not being open to other women that are around them. I have put myself out there in online dating. Honestly, I have likely messaged somewhere between 500-600 women and gone on about 20 dates in the last two years. Most of these dates were before I took on a second job. I just have less time now to personalize each message and I feel "bad" if I do not. Ironically, I think when I mass messaged women I got more dates. I don't want "more dates" because I just want to find a person I connect with; yet the only way to find that person is to go out on more dates, to get more responses... effectively to mass message and forget the notion that I "should" care and "should" personalize each message.

I'm just tired of the whole process. I'd like to meet women in-person but most of the ones I have approached either have had boyfriends or ignore me after I get rejected. I wish women knew, really understood that, at least for myself, I can take a rejection for a relationship all day; however, when you just stop talking to me, begin ignoring me, and if we were friends and now you never talk to me, that is what hurts. That is what insults me, wounds me, and makes me feel sick.

I spent all that effort getting to know you, deciding you seemed like a good enough female to get to know better, maybe even date. Then, instead of being flattered and simply declining me but still acknowledging my existence, you ignore e-mails, you give one-word answers, and you never after that rejection ever ask me about myself - and if the tables were turned, If I ignored you, I would be the rude one, the one with the issue, the one who can’t handle rejection. It is the silence that kills me, the acting like we never talked.

~ Single Me

Thursday, July 2, 2015

40 Days Off Facebook (Part 3 of 3)

Thoughts After 40 Days

For the first day or two it was a struggle but then I found myself keeping up with a few friends through e-mails, texts, or phone calls. Also, getting off Facebook gave me the space to think about what is important to me and I discovered it was connecting with people in-person, or at least though Skype or phone calls.

Still, our world of technology fights a lot against this; people are now far more comfortable e-mailing, texting, and "socializing" on Facebook. The problem is that Facebook isn't real, well in a sense at least. Facebook is what we post so others can know us, but I think we tend to filter out all the things we get with friends in real life, like tone of voice, body language, as well as the complexities of life; the good, the sad, and the funny.

I'm still going to be on Facebook on and off. I'm still going to write blogs, though I've chosen to remove a lot of recent posts/shares from my public blog and Facebook profile. As much as some like writing (and sharing on Facebook), I think people tend to have a sort of voyeur-like stance at times to reading my blogs, since I see many views yet normally no comments, perhaps a few "likes".

If I am honest, while my writings about faith seem to get comments and discussion, my personal writings about life, love, dating, being single, and friendship seem to give off the wrong impression. I had hoped writing some personal things would help people to open up, add discussion; instead I think it makes my life seem sad worth pity instead of as courageously honest. I read a book earlier this year, "Daring Greatly" by Brene Brown, in it, she writes about a man who spoke to her:

"[As men] we have shame. Deep shame. But when we reach out and share our stories, we get the emotional shit beat out of us.... [Women would] rather see me die on the top of my white horse than watch me fall of."

Then the author replies:

"[Women] ask [men] to be vulnerable, we beg them to let us in, and we plead with them to tell us when they're afraid, but the truth is that most women can't stomach it."

I think most men cannot handle it either.

Real honesty is tough and I think when people emotionally expose themselves, others tend to recoil, to feel sorry for them, to pity them. What they do not know is how to do is respond with them, to discuss, or to be vulnerable themselves (unless they can be anonymous it seems). I've wondered why men and women who struggle socially, emotionally, or with addictions always wait until long AFTER to write or speak of their experiences. It is because being that open and vulnerable hurts ones reputation. Basically, no one wants to be friends or socialize with people who they know are sad, suffering, hurting, or lonely; people want to be friends with people who are fun, adventurous, and funny. The reality is we are all of these, a few might admit it behind closed doors, but admit such things openly and you  commit social and professional suicide, especially if you are male.

Writing is tough, especially when your inspiration comes mostly from a vulnerable place. I've decided others don't need to see these vulnerable places, mostly because they are only part of who I am, and as I set out to make new friends and date, such honesty, such vulnerability does nothing for me personally. I will still write, (oh will I write!) but a lot less will be public.

Perhaps when I am old and grey, or at least married with kids and have a good social network, I can put my past writings out there. Maybe it will help others who are struggling themselves to know that there are others out there who feel the same, who are great people. Still, while the world can hold their interesting and fun self, it simply cannot bear to face vulnerability and doubt. In fact, the world will emotionally and socially drain and slay those who dare to be so open.

The only thing to do is chose to be open with a few close family and friends, those people who have earned the right to see my struggles, my darkness because they also see my light and reciprocate sharing their light and darkness, their ups and downs, their joys and struggles as well.

It is sad but right decision. The game of life is that, we put on a show, we set up an image to others, performing on a stage - and only those worthy should ever be given the time and space to see the whole of who we are, behind the set, and as far as I am concerned the others are simply not worth my time or attention. I refuse feed their voyeur-like interest in me or to be pitied by them. I am worth more. I am more.

They would know if they were willing and put forth effort.
I now know though, most simply will not.

~ Single Me