I was talking to a girl and she told me that she worked in digital marketing. I asked her if she was working with any brands that I knew about. She said she was working with fitness and health supplements.
My immediate response was, “Ah, so definitely no.”
Every guy has a thing. No, not THAT thing. A thing. Some guys are the guys that have a six-pack. I am, definitely not that guy. I understand and admire the amount of work and discipline that it takes, but I just was never that into it. Believe me, I’m as vain as hell, but I’m of the mindset of being ‘fit enough’. As long as I can fit into my clothes and my weight stays within +/- 3lbs, I’m good to go. Some girls want the six-pack and the muscle tank, and I’m just not that guy. And for a long time, especially when I was younger, I thought that all women wanted that. Sadly, my thing is that I’m a nerd.
I was, and still am a huge nerd. I guess if there’s anything that you really need to know about me is that I love to learn. If there’s something I’m interested in, I’m the guy that googles it, spends an hour reading supporting texts, and then goes on Amazon to buy a book about it and then devour it in a day. Thanks to Amazon Prime and the internet, my curiosity is basically an itch that needs to be scratched constantly. But even before that, my parents always allowed me free reign whenever it came to learning. I’d have to beg and beg in order to get a new toy, but if I wanted to go the Museum of Natural History to look at the dinosaurs again? They’d give up their Saturday to go into the city. It’s from them that I placed an importance on knowing things. Nowadays you can look up something on your phone, but when I was a kid, there was value in knowing facts. This largely contributes to the useless trivia and ennui I have stored in my head, taking otherwise valuable space.
This sort of rabid curiosity spilled over to my hobbies, and whatever I got into, I delved into deep. When I started learning guitar (of course, to impress a girl) I dusted off my dad’s old guitar which he hadn’t touched in 10 years and played till my fingers bled for a month. I ended up liking the guitar more than the girl, and that’s why I still play today. For better or worse, I’m passionate about things, which can often distract me from what I have to do, because of what I want to do.
Which brings me back to what I always thought women wanted. For a long time, I had a confidence issue when it came to approaching women because I always thought that I had to be something more, something else, in order to be attractive. I think that’s because in the back of my mind, I wanted to be attractive to all women, which is of course a ridiculous notion. Somewhere along the line, I realized that at the end of the day, my looks are my looks and I needed to be fine with that. And once I accepted that, a lot of things happened.
All of the pent up knowledge and skills I had acquired through years of misspent youth showed up in spades. I think the biggest mistake that men make when talking to women is that they talk at them, instead of talking to them. I realized that being passionate was infectious, and whether I loved or hated the band that they were talking about, it drew two people together. From admiring classical ballet, paleontology, to arguing which Avenger is the most important part of the team, there’s rarely a conversation that I couldn’t contribute to, and if I couldn’t, I was genuinely interested in learning from them.
Which brings us to Stratford-upon-Avon. I love Shakespeare. I’m not saying everything that he wrote as gold, but him at his best, he is incomparable. Ever since I read ‘Romeo and Juliet’ when I was little I knew I wanted to read more, and when my family took a trip to London, we visited Shakespeare’s birthplace, and I bought the complete works. Of course, it was probably marked up as a tourist trap, but nonetheless, I read the whole thing when I was a kid, front to back.
Fast forward to now, when I’m at a lounge and I overhear a gorgeous girl talking about ‘Titus Adronicus’. Now, it could’ve been the band or Shakespeare, but once I heard Lavinia being mentioned, I knew what it was. Before I knew it, it was 2 am, and we’d spent most of the night hashing out our favorite lines and scenes from Shakespeare, and in that moment, I realized that I really didn’t have anything to fear anymore.
Growing up as a chubby kid who liked to read about everything, you get this idea in your head that no one will ever like the same stuff that you’re into. Then, hopefully and thankfully when you get older, you realize that it’s a blessing to be curious, to have passion, and to care to know more than just what’s right in front of you. I never regretted for a second spending all that time when I was a kid with my nose stuck in book, or listening to music that no one else listened to. But I think it’s just comforting to know that someone out there, is into the same stuff that you’re into, and that under the right circumstances the stars can align and you can end up arguing about your favorite Shakespearean monologue with a model in a Flatiron loft.
(Oh, and if you’re reading this, you’re still wrong. ‘A Midsummer’s Night Dream’ is hot garbage. I stand by that statement.)
[Art Credit: Amelia Mikel]