That’s the whole trick of it isn’t it? Falling for someone is easy, but the odds of two people falling for each other at the same time are slim. It’s not that I have a particularly grim view of romance, it’s just that it’s the truth. When I was younger, I used to think that you had to “get” a girl to like you. You had to somehow use some magic line or some technique to get them to see how great you are, because otherwise they would pass you by.
I have to say it makes me ashamed to have ever believed that.
I get the mindset behind it though, how does someone like anyone? Once you get past the physical part of attraction, how does it all work? I think that we all want to be wanted, to be found attractive, and it’s terrifying to open yourself up to someone only to be rejected. It hurts, and every time it happens, you’re just a little more reluctant to do it again.
The first step I got toward some sort of self-awareness was realizing that I don’t need all women to find me attractive. There’s that sort of reptilian alpha-male bullshit in the part of my brain that screams for attention, but I feel like as I’ve gotten older I’ve managed to keep that in check. After that, things become a lot easier. Once you get over that hump of not caring what every woman thinks of you, you can start discovering who you are.
Once you find that out, I think the path made itself clear from there. Self-awareness and self-knowledge breeds confidence, and confidence is infectious. I don’t mean confidence leading to hubris, I mean confidence in the sense that you know what you understand, and what you don’t. You know your passions, you know your interests, and you’re unapologetic in going after them.
Out of all of that, you get the confidence to fail, over and over again, until you get it right. At the end of all of it, that’s what dating is. As much as it’s a game and it’s fun, it’s about revealing your true self to someone else, and hoping that they want to still be there once they see all of you. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen into the trap of putting too much out there, too quickly. I used to tell myself that it was the most expedient way to do things, but I’ve learned otherwise. Discovery takes time, it takes patience, and it takes effort.
People often ask me why I like dating. Don’t get me wrong, it can be quite awful, but at the end of it, you make a human connection, and when it comes down to it, isn’t that worth all the risk? That’s what makes life worth living, sharing moments big and small with people that like you for you.
So I guess my takeaway from the idiocy of my youth until now? Be kind, be confident, and most importantly, be unapologetically yourself. Wit and charm also don’t hurt at all, but I’m still working on that bit.
See, totally a work in progress.