Sunday, February 04, 2007

protect me from what i want

I'm a little sad today. A little lonely. Only a little, though. It's too cold to take my usual walk in the park, I've been sick the last couple of days, and I know I need to give my body a day to properly recover, but being cooped up has me restless. Haven't had any alcohol in a week, and the lack of Sunday hangover is nice, but illness always makes me a bit emotionally fragile.

So, where am I? Still trying to move forward. I did a little online investigating and found out the details of Barman Ben's play. It opens later this month and he's the lead (he would be). Ben hasn't sent out the email for it yet, but I probably shouldn't go, regardless. I don't want to see him and risk a relapse. Avoiding Cozy Bar this past week has been easy because of being sick, and hopefully it will get easier. Sophie was there the other night and said she didn't see him (rehearsal?). Every day, Ben exists less and less to me.

I've been emailing various bachelors from the online personals (doesn't that make them sound all classy-like?), and it's reassuring to discover it isn't a total desert out there. Since I don't feel invested and am not making a finding a relationship a top priority, and since I don't care whether or not I impress these guys, it's easier to be honest, irreverent, and have fun with it. I've been asked out on two impromptu dates this week, but had to turn them both down for various reasons. I spoke with one of the guys over the phone, long enough to know we don't sync up well enough to meet in person. The other one I'm in the midst of scheduling a date with for this week.

When I decide to get back out there, I don't like to waste any time.

Meanwhile, I have also been e-flirting with a man across the country, let's call him Web Wesley. I might be doing a bit of freelance writing for him, so we can't get too carried away with the flirtation, but we've had this strange instant rapport. I'm really enjoying our correspondence and I think we're kind of developing cyber-crushes on each other. The great thing is, Wesley knows all about the blog, and is familiar with the PUA world (we even agree on the instructors we favor versus ones we think are shady), but exhibits no symptoms of being a social robot. He's charming and genuine and reminds me of why I supported the seduction community in the first place. He is also inspiring me to do some serious thinking about where I want to go career-wise.

Wesley mentioned something recently that I've been thinking a lot about ever since. I never realized this before, but when I come across somebody I'm interested in, I get anxious, but not always in the same way (and not always in a good way). Sometimes it's the nervous butterflies, the elation, all those warm and fuzzy feelings that accompany a strong attraction. It's a happy anxiety. Other times, it'll be a similar lightheaded, elevator-dropping, tingly feeling, but warped somehow. A darker anxiety. With Ben, it was always the it'll-end-in-tears kind of anxiety, like it was too late to do anything because I was already pushed off the cliff, so I might as well enjoy the freefall and not worry about where I might land. I've had that feeling in relationships, too. I would go along, knowing I was emotionally invested but not being able to truly relax, truly be myself. Wesley mentioned that the darker anxiety stems from knowing deep down the other person is unavailable somehow. It's so true.

It can be difficult to distinguish between the two anxieties, because the heart wants what it wants. I've followed my share of unwise relationships to their untimely ends on the strength of that sentiment, ignoring my deepest instincts. Love can be a potent cocktail when mixed with delusion or false hope. At the same time, I've also had laughingly brief relationships, or ended things before they began because I did listen to those instincts.

In the end, I didn't refrain from asking out Barman Ben because I was shy or scared, or stubborn that he be the one to ask me out. It's because deep down I knew, despite any potential interest, he's not available. He's not for me. It turns out I was able to save myself from the freefall after all, and take a step back from that cliff.

Being in touch with other men this past week has reminded me how much better it is when there is an actual dialogue generated, when there's attraction that feels like it can lead somewhere. I just need to remember to distinguish between the positive and negative anxiety, pay attention to my instincts, and be a little more careful. The heart wants what it wants, but it doesn't always know what's good for it.

30 comments:

Halstead said...

Hmmm... Perhaps you have to many options, (a problem I'd love to have). Is that possible?

Dolly, do you feel you can't trust yourself right now? I know I do.

Get well soon.

Anonymous said...

www.hotenough.org

The answer to your problems :-)

Anonymous said...

Just out of curiosity, which seduction instructors do you think are good, and which do you think are shady?

Dolly said...

Halstead,
I don't have too many options, because I haven't actually met these guys in person yet. Right now, it's all conjecture. And yes, contrary to your opinion, I do feel that I can trust myself.

Anonymous 8:38,
I'm not going to sling dirt on PUAs I don't agree with, but I'm happy to mention the ones I do like. I've said it before, but I think Lance Mason and the Pickup 101 guys are terrific. Also, I love everything I have read, seen and heard about Juggler/Wayne Elise's methods. These guys teach natural game, emphasize approaching women in settings outside of bars and clubs, and manage to strike a good balance between being confident, but also being real. Instead of teaching outlandish lines and routines, they seem to be able to show men how to enhance their true personalities.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Dolly, for your answer.

What good things have you found about "The Approach", run by Sebastian Drake and Vin DiCarlo?

Their website is www.the-approach.net

Halstead said...

Dolly,

I wasn't suggesting that I think you don't trust yourself. I was simply asking if you ever feel that way. Expanding on that, what do you do when/if you feel like that? My first instinct is to do nothing, do not listen to my heart.

Is it, in your experience, healthy to make a move on first instinct?

-Halstead

socialrevelation said...

I love your honesty. There is a lot to be learned from you by us other bloggers.

From now on I shall be more raw, and down to earth real.

Great blog!

Ana Renee Jones said...

Dolly,

I also love your blog. I was referred to you by Matt Savage, who saw some comments I was leaving on PUAs' blogs.

I think we have a lot in common (i.e., I am sad and lonely tonight too, I am interested in PUAs too, and I suffer from anxiety).

Something I learned this week about anxiety (and it pretty much goes along with what you said). Anxiety is a sub-emotion of FEAR.

FEAR is an emotion that our subconscious minds uses to warn us about things (i.e.; getting hit by a car when crossing the street; getting a broken heart by dating the wrong guy). I was told the best way to deal with anxiety or any form of fear is to first acknowledge it ("I am feeling anxious"; said out loud or to oneself) Then to validate the emotion("I can see how that could be scary"). Our emotions don't like to be ignored or called names (such as irrational or stupid).

By acknowledging the fear and seeing the potential danger your allow the emotion to turn its "alarm" off.

I hope that makes sense,
Ana

Anonymous said...

This blog is fascinating, but something is really wrong with the views of male-female relationships that make Dolly's adventures possible.

God made men and women to find solace, comfort and kindness in each other. That is what one should look for in a partner. When you find it, then be grateful and settle down.

Instead, we see Dolly and others worrying about "chemistry" and other irrelevant notions that impede our attempts to connect with one another.

Commit yourself to a person who is kind and trustworthy, and over time a chemistry will develop: and it will last a lot longer than a chemistry built up out of charm and social skill.

I like Dolly, and her blog is extremely well-written, but the ideas underlying it seem to me to be...well....frankly insane. Like much of the modern world, I'm sorry to say.

Halstead said...

Anonymous 12:39,

It's bible-spawned "1950's" relationship advice like yours that we have to thank for our record high divorce rates. Simply finding trust and comfort in a partner, marrying them, and then later hoping that chemistry will develop. THAT'S insane. One should have many experiences with people to ensure you truly know who you are, and find someone who you are compatible with. Or are you one of those people who think they can "fix" other people to suit their needs?

-Halstead

anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous 12:39,

What Halstead said.

Your attitude to relationships and what to look for in a partner might make some sense on paper. The real world however does not work like that. I take it that you either 1) haven't done much dating or 2) have strong religious beliefs or 3) work in a different way from most other people.

The 'chemistry' is extremely relevant for almost everybody. I'm not saying this is how things should be, but it is how things are. If you are content with a relationship that is based on kindness and trustworthyness, good for you. I say this totally without irony, I wish I could do the same. But I don't work that way and almost nobody does.

To think that 'chemistry' is irrelevant and that it impedes our attempts to connect with others is...well....frankly insane.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous 12:39,

Instinctual, apparently unanalysable, attraction or affinity between people or groups of people is called chemistry and a personal relation of intercourse, intimacy, common interest, or action is called a connection, according to The Oxford English Dictionary.

Now, if we conserve to the first definition, then there can be no such thing as chemistry that is "built up out of charm and social skill" or developed through sheer commitment. How could something instinctual be created artificially?

Furthermore, if we conserve both the first and the second definition, then to affirm that chemistry (or even the notion of chemistry) impedes the formation of connections between people is to deny something that goes without saying.

So, you'll have share your definition of chemistry and your definition of connection with us sometime: they must be very novel and interesting. Your definition of sanity must be equally novel and interesting (if not utterly twisted, unorthodox, untraditional, and bizarre).

Matt Savage said...

I wouldn't dismiss Anon12:39's thoughts completely. There is evidence that shows that divorce rates in countries with arranged marriages are much lower than the U.S.

The theory behind this is that with an arranged marriage, you start off with very low expectations and then as you get to know the person, the attraction/chemistry will gradually grow over time.

In the U.S. we have set our expectations very high for our mates. So, when you get into a relationship with someone and those expectations aren't met, then you are dissapointed. The result is a breaking of that relationship or divorce.

Now, I'm not advocating one system over the other, just pointing out that the concept of committing to a relationship and building chemistry over time shouldn't be dismissed.

-Matt Savage

Rosie said...


In the end, I didn't refrain from asking out Barman Ben because I was shy or scared, or stubborn that he be the one to ask me out. It's because deep down I knew, despite any potential interest, he's not available. He's not for me. It turns out I was able to save myself from the freefall after all, and take a step back from that cliff.


That is exactly how I see the situation. I'm glad you're seeing the things in this light too! Good luck Dolly, and remember that you had planned to take some time off from dating... it does you good to not think too much about men. I've always caught the most sincere interest from guys at moments where I was least expecting it, and hadn't even noticed they were around because I was so wrapped up in my girlfriends, work or just the football match on TV!

Dolly said...

Ana Renee,
I haven't come across many women interested in the seduction community, especially ones who have taken such an active role in it. I've only recently noticed how much of a phenomena it's become among college students, too. As for acknowledging emotions, that's a definite must, but I think sometimes it's necessary to do more than that, and to actively remove yourself from the source of those negative emotions. The feelings don't always magically fo away just because they are recognized and named.

Anonymous 12:39,
I think your comment is a valid one and I actually try to strike a balance between the chemical attraction and the committment to build a lasting relationship. I don't want to create such a relationship with someone I have no attraction to. After all, that initial chemical rush fades after time, so I'd like to enjoy at least the first few years of the pheromone-induced bliss. But that doesn't mean I want nothing more than that. The man I want to be with in the long term absolutely must be kind-hearted, trustworthy, and a good soul. I want to have a family some day and I know that's not going to happen with a cardboard cutout. I don't see how any of that is insane.

Matt,
The first thing I thought of when I read that comment was also the success rate of arranged marriages. I think our generation does have ridiculously high standards for prospective mates, and I been trying to adjust those standards to a point where they are still within the realm of what I truly want/need and also realistic. I think a lot of it comes down to doing the actual work to stay together once you do find someone special, which many people don't want to do. I like to think I'm at a point where I'm willing to do the work, so now it's a matter of finding someone like-minded.

Rosie,
Yes, time off from dating is always a good idea. At the moment, I know I need to date a little bit, just to help get over Ben once and for all, but my priority is still to keep myself busy with other projects and activities.

Anonymous said...

OMFG, such nonsense. Marriages don't break up in countries where arranged marriages are common because in countries where marriages are arranged, women who get divorced usually have only two options: whoring or begging. That's if the husband hasn't beaten her to death for even bringing up the subject. Also, in countries with arranged marriages, men are typically permitted mistresses and even extra WIVES by the prevailing social contract. Women? Not so much.

Why would a man divorce? And why would a woman risk it?

And Anonymous 9:08am -- you're gay. Deeply closeted, and in HUGE denial, but only a gay male could write such a thing about marriage to a woman.

Sexual attraction ain't just some superficial silliness -- it is usually the force that causes pair-bonding to occur, and can keep those pairs together through the tough times.

You would know this if you'd ever felt it.

CoatMan said...

Dolly: Aha, a new prospect! Just what you need to take your mind off Ben, and, from what you've written, he seems good so far: I think that it's a very good sign that you share preferences in PUA lecturers, as that would suggest that you have very similar ideas of how relationships should work, which, of course, is important. Best wishes with Wesley (and best wishes to him, too - you're quite the catch, I imagine).

Dolly said...

Anonymous 2:16,
While you have some valid points, you really need to learn a thing or two about tone.

Coatman,
Woah, hang on. Wesley and I might be business partners. Neither of us want to complicate that. Also, I am long overdue a post on long distance relationships (or how utterly, tormentingly EVIL they are), but thanks for reminding me that I need to write it one of these days.

V said...

Dolly is Ben's bar by chance next to an accesory shop?

Aphexcoil said...

Dolly,

Interesting post. I'd have to say that after turning 30 in December, I have had a lot of introspective moments about past relationships that have failed for one reason or another. All of them were obviously unique in their own way, but one ended in an especially anti-climatic way that only left me scratching my head wondering what in the hell happened. Actually, I know what happened.

I knew the girl for 4 and a half years and for up to about 4 of those years, I never really thought of her in an aspect that would lead to a relationship (since she lived in San Diego and I lived in Baltimore). It had always been that way from the beginning. Yes, we met online -- it was a frienship born from the charity of AOL AIM.

Now, before you stereotype me as your typical guy suffering from what you once wrote as being "oneitis," let me first state that there is something within all of us that remains unique to various situations.

I was lucky to have met her at least once in Vegas for about three hours while she was on a business trip. She probably doesn't know it and may very well never find out but meeting her was one of the happiest moments of my life. It was like sitting through a 6 hour movie just to experience a gripping 15 second climax.

Time went on and, from what I could gather, she eventually rekindled a relationship with a guy she was seeing off and on for the past couple years.

Long story short, we were supposed to meet again but plans fell through and we never did. It seems as if we never will, and that does leave a pretty large gapping hole in one's heart. Life is long enough as it is and there are so many chances to leave dangling strings in one's life.

I know to a lot of people this all sounds very pathetic and I would agree with you. Idealism sometimes takes a toll on one's heart. I've read a lot about "the community" and how to become a pick-up artist and all of the other bullshit out there.

To tell you the truth, I'd rather look beyond all of that because I don't want to live my life by a bunch of complicated dating algorithms that leave me no more sophisticated than a love droid bereft of compassion or the ability to make mistakes and feel pain.

One thing I've learned from all of my past relationships is that we do learn something valuable from each one. We all have to realize that life can be brutal and that most relationships are destined to eventually fail in some manner -- at least change radically from the elements that first set them into motion. We strive to find someone that we feel completes something within us that we ourselves have no idea what that "thing" is. We go from relationship to relationship getting that "hole" filled in different ways, yet that "hole" inside of us is constantly shifting, changing and morphing with our own life experiences.

To put it bluntly, love can be the most uplifting and powerful thing in our lives and also the most brutal and unforgiving towards our hearts. Sadly, it can go from one to the other in the blink of an eye and leave us standing out in the rain wondering just what in the hell ever happened and give us pause to think where we should go from here.

Good luck. I'd say continue to explore your own needs and desires through dating but just keep in mind that generally the more intelligent people have the most complicated holes to fill (no pun intended).

Dolly said...

V,
I have no idea, it's always dark when I go, and I don't pay attention.

Aphexcoil (hey, is that nickname a reference to experimental music?),
Thank you for such a beautiful comment. It reminded me of a quote I love by Chris Ware:

"LONELY adj: Alone, or by oneself. The permanent state of being for all humans, despite any efforts to the contrary. Can be soothed or subdued in a variety of ways, vis. marriage, sexual intercourse, board games, literature, music, poetry, television, party hats, pastries, etc., but cannot be solved."

Good luck to you, too. I am ever-optimistic and I hope you are as well.

surfer said...

Re: Arranged Marriages

The reason why arranged marriages seem to work is that in countries where arranged marriages are customary, there is great stigma against divorce. I know because my grandparents (both sides) were arranged. What usually happens is the man is 'allowed' to have a second or third wife, someone whom he favors. Not sure if you gals will actually stand for this, but these are the facts. Over the years, I also got to know some Asian couples who are separated, but have remain married for many years. It is easy to be fooled by statistics and surface appearances. The truth is usually more mundane.

Marriage (arranged or otherwise), like many customs we are familiar with, is just that- custom. You can have your life decided for you, or you can follow your own path. Your choice.

'Attraction' brings two humans together long enough for them to decide whether they want to stay together. That's it. The rest is up to you.

p.s. Dolly, not sure why you seem to be fighting your attraction for BB. Has he wronged you in some way? Is he not available? Not interested? Will making the first move blow the deal for both of you? Maybe he's just too damn old and "things wouldn't work anyway". After all, he IS an actor. Is this the proverbial train wreck waiting to happen? Do you know for sure? You can take the Band-Aid off slowly or as Seinfeld put it, "Right off!"

anonymous 2 said...

Anonymous 2:16 PM,

What Dolly said about your tone.

And on the content of your post: what a difference one word makes… I forgot the word 'only':

If you are content with a relationship that is only based on kindness and trustworthyness, good for you. I say this totally without irony, I wish I could do the same. But I don't work that way and almost nobody does.

Sorry for the omission, that came off as totally superficial for sure. I'm definitely not against kindness, trustworthyness and pair bonding in any way. These are crucial and wonderful things in a relationship, and a relationship only based on sexual attraction is certainly shallow and unfulfilling on longer terms. The point I was trying to make in relation to the preceding post was that the sexual chemistry should not be understimated. I totally agree with your statement that sexual attraction usually is the force that causes pair-bonding to occur in the first place. If the person is kind and trustworthy but there is no 'chemistry', only the desperate and the desperately lonely will be interested in starting a relationship with him/her.

Aphexcoil said...

Dolly,

Yep. Aphexcoil is from two bands -- Aphex Twin and Coil. Wow, someone else has actually heard of ambient music?

That's a great quote and so very true. I'll also inject some of my own:

Jealousy: The area of discontinuity in our hearts where what we expect to be and what actually is becomes completely fucked by our perceptions of what we really wanted in the first place compared to what we're really after.

Aphexcoil's Stages of Love:

1. Intrigue
2. Captivation
3. Admiration
4. Extreme passion
5. Adaptation
6. Confusion
7. Suspicion
8. Anger
9. Jealousy
10. Silence / Disconnection

Then again, the old saying holds most true -- It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

CoatMan said...

Dolly: Hey, you've changed your colours...

Dolly said...

Surfer,
I'm fighting the attraction to Ben, because I can't imagine a happy ending for us. I think there are a lot of factors (the age gap, vocational choices, marital status) that make this a bad idea. But it boils down to my gut telling me it's a bad idea.

Aphexcoil,
Those two bands were the first thing that came to mind when I saw your name (mental note to pick up Love's Secret Domain; always loved the title song, and rest of the album when I heard it).

As for your ten stages of love, hm... I think what you define as jealousy, I define more as "delusion". I'm also surprised you don't have dread or sadness anywhere in there (those two feelings would definitely on my list). Guess everyone experiences the stages differently.

Coatman,
I did indeed. You like?

Aphexcoil said...

Dolly,

Love's secret domain is a great album. If you're into that kind of music, I can introduce you to a whole world of great stuff you have probably never heard.

aphex(removethis)coil(at)gmail.com

Aphexcoil said...

Here is an excellent poem by George Wither that is applicable today as it was when it was written 400 years ago. It deals with that "oneitis" that we all get stuck on from time to time.

You could just as easily turn this poem around for a woman by replacing she with a he -- although it may come off a bit gay.


SHALL I WASTING IN DESPAIR?

Shall I wasting in despair
Die because a woman's fair?
Or make pale my cheeks with care
'Cause another's rosy are?
Be she fairer than the day,
Or the flow'ry meads in May,
If she be not so to me,
What care I how fair she be?

Shall my heart be griev'd or pin'd
'Cause I see a woman kind?
Or a well-disposed nature
Joined with a lovely feature?
Be she meeker, kinder, than
Turtle dove or pelican,
If she be not so to me,
What care I how kind she be?

Shall a woman's virtues move
Me to perish for her love?
Or her well-deserving known
Make me quite forget mine own?
Be she with that goodness blest
Which may gain her name of best
If she be not such to me,
What care I, how good she be?

'Cause her fortune seems too high
Shall I play the fool and die?
Those that bear a noble mind,
Where they want of riches find,
Think what with them they would
That without them dare to woo;
And unless that mind I see,
What care I how great she be?

Great, or good, or kind, or fair,
I will ne'er the more despair;
If she love me, this believe,
I will die ere she shall grieve;
If she slight me when I woo,
I can scorn and let her go;
For if she be not for me,
What care I for whom she be?

CoatMan said...

Dolly: Hmm, on the new colours, I'm undecided. On the one hand, I don't like change, and the old colours made it a bit easier to differentiate the headings. On the other hand, the new colours are subtly stylish. Hard to weigh up...

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