There’s this woman, with whom I have almost become acquainted. Almost. By that, I mean I have spoken to her, once. Sorta. I don’t actually know how drunk I was when I managed to get those words out, but the fact that enough whiskey had been consumed for me to talk to her suggests…very.
The thing is, I find her so mindbogglingly hot I cannot bring myself to talk to her. I cannot even look her in the eyes. When our eyes do by some accident meet, I feel like I’ve been knocked on my ass, and every last bit of the clever snarkiness you expect from me vanishes. Gone. Poof. So, you know. It totally makes sense that I don’t let myself within five feet of her.
There’s this woman I’ve known for some time, now. She’s ridiculous; talented; brilliant; strange. I love looking her in the eyes; her eyes are so expressive, they practically have their own vocabulary. I am certain I can never tell her this, or how beautiful I think she is.
This is why people get cats.
June 5, 2014 | Categories: Being Single, Dating, Relationships | Tags: communication, crushes, dating, desire, flirting, friends, help, Love, Rejection, relationships, shy, social awkwardness, women | 5 Comments
Not too long ago, my Facebook feed was suddenly peppered with vague posts about the death of somebody who was part of a broader (but quite small) community of which I am a member. People refused to post the name of the person who died.
I was immediately filled with fear and anxiety that I was out of the loop on the death of somebody I might know and care about. It had happened to me with Sparkly (learned about her on Facebook, by accident), and I had been the person filling in people who were out of the loop on Donovan (learned he was in a coma when I was, without warning, added to a Facebook group to discuss it). And what I learned from both of those tragic events is that:
1. It totally sucks to learn these things via Facebook;
2. Learning these things via Facebook is inevitable;
3. Nobody, nobody should be out of the loop when somebody in a close-knit community is seriously injured, near death, or dead;
4. We need to take a serious look at how we handle tragedy on social media.
In the most recent circumstances, a small but very visible and active group within the larger grieving community seemed to think that not naming names would protect privacy, even as they posted details about his death that were far more invasive than his identity. This group was also inclined to criticize those asking for more information. When my very dear friend Rachel, who has lived through more brutal loss than the vast majority of the people I know, finally demanded that people name names, another friend commented, “If you are frustrated by not being in the in club over grieving with us, consider yourself lucky.”
Now, I understand that grief totally kills our communication skills. And this is why not a single one of us called him out on this comment. However, the essence of that comment should be addressed, because Rachel was not the only person who was essentially accused of being a vulture for asking.
I think we need to start with the assumption that nobody actually wants to be in that club. Nobody. If you really think somebody wants to be in that club, it’s time to do some unfriending and maybe look into a temporary restraining order. Okay? So let’s start with that foundational premise. Nobody wants to be in that club. If people are going to glom on for drama, that will become readily apparent, and they will not be anybody’s problem but their own.
I think we should continue with the general awareness that people die. I know, it’s something nobody really wants to think about, which makes all of these discussions about death much more difficult. Rachel’s response to the accusation of wanting to be in the mourner’s club nailed my reaction to this series of vaguebook posts: “Our community is very high risk, and I have lost more friends than I have digits to suicide, drugs, and motorcycle accidents. I found out in a million different ways. Because of this, fear strikes my heart EVERY TIME I hear ‘motorcycle casualty on the 880′ or any time [people] are posting about some unnamed tragedy.”
Marisa filled it out: “I’ve known too many quick-and-deads to ever, ever think that ‘if I knew them, I would know.’ I found out last week about a dear friend…via Facebook. But at least names were named. [...]Creating this kind of stress and anxiety in this incredibly high risk group is rude. It’s not telling anyone how to grieve; it’s asking for basic consideration.”
I’m not sure I know more than a tiny handful of people who have not been affected by tragedy and/or sudden death. Hell, just in case you think I am being insensitive, I have been struggling with depression and suicide ideation since I was a child. To top that off, I ride a motorcycle. In reality I–or any of us–could die any day. Every day. So many of my friends are similar: they suffer from extreme depression, are risk takers, get into accidents, and some of them have died. We are high-risk. With regard to the death of loved ones, I have not always been in the immediate loop. Nor would I expect even my closest friends to be in the event of my injury or death. Too many breaks in communication can happen. So assuming:
A. that everybody who should know does know is wrong.
B. that not naming names has no effect on those who didn’t know the individual is wrong.
C. that people who ask for the identity of the deceased are just social media vultures is—you guessed it—wrong.
I think we also need to think about how we handle information. Talking about a death in the community, not naming names, but offering other extremely private details is kinda like creating a really screwed up guessing game and it protects nobody’s privacy, ultimately.
For the record, when people understandably don’t want to guess, calling them vultures for asking for information is going to result in some ruffled feathers, especially when you have given just enough information to create the need to ask for more. You are hurting. I get it, and I have been there. I am so very, very sorry for your loss. But freaking out a bunch of your friends and then slapping them down when they ask for information is not the way to handle it. As my friend Normal pointed out in an analog example, “I don’t go to Lucky 13 and yell ‘one of us died and I feel sad!’ and then walk off to the bathroom without expecting a lot of follow-up upsetness.”
We have all lost people. We are extremely aware of how truly fragile are the lives of our friends, family, and loved ones. And when somebody in a close-knit community feels the need to say that somebody who was a part of the community died, but not who it was, it does far more harm than good.
If you are going to withhold information out of respect to families and partners, consider withholding all of it and finding a more private forum for your initial response. In examples I have seen and heard of, some folks refused to name names publicly but explicitly offered to if contacted privately. It turns out I didn’t know the deceased, and I had the amazing and unfortunate privilege of getting to struggle with a feeling of intense relief even as I watched people I care about grieve.
I have read everything his friends have posted about him, and I have let those posts give substance to the person my friends have lost. This post is not about the fact that I don’t care; I do. This post is about the fact that people need to know, even if just to learn that their hearts won’t be breaking, this time.
February 25, 2014 | Categories: Observations, Really?, Relationships, Uncategorized | Tags: communication, community, death, facebook, friends, friendship, grief, grieving, manners, privacy, privilege, relationships, social awkwardness, social media, suicide, vaguebook, vaguebooking | 5 Comments
SHHHH. I’m thinking.
Now you can talk.
One of the generally accepted fundamental differences between extroverts and introverts is that extroverts recharge their batteries through human interaction and introverts recharge their batteries through quiet/alone time. I need a lot of alone time, or I get socially, emotionally, and mentally strung out. When that happens, I stop hanging out with my friends. I stop enjoying that moment when my girlfriend gets home. I am overwhelmed at the thought of making plans. My social anxiety stops hovering at 5-6/10 and goes to 11.
But I live with an extrovert who doesn’t quite get the value of alone time for me. She doesn’t understand the full extent of the necessity. This has caused some trouble between us—partly because she doesn’t understand that my need for alone time isn’t just about needing time apart from her (and if you guys can come up with a way to make that really, really clear, your comments are welcome), and partly because the need itself is esoteric. Explaining the difference between enjoyment of alone time and the need for it is difficult.
We live in a tiny 1-BR apartment in SF in which the layout is such that, if there are two people home it is impossible to have alone time. My mental health has been deteriorating for months because in a given work day I get at most 20-60 minutes of alone time between when I get home and when she gets home. On the weekends, unless she goes out of town, I get none. I finally made it as clear as possible that I need to live in a place where I can have my own room: a Whiskeypants Cave. But we kept running up against the same problem in communication about it. She could not fathom the idea that I would need alone time so badly that it was worth stretching out our budget as much as we would have to in order to afford a 2-BR in this city. I couldn’t fathom the idea that she could not acknowledge the fact of my need.
One day after arguing about this, on the drive home I finally found the words:
Imagine that the way you recharge is through sleep.
You try to sleep every day, but you can only get an average of about an hour with an absolute maximum of 2-3.
Even when you lie down to sleep, you know that, no matter where you are, you will be woken up by the person you live with.
Imagine that, day after day, week after week, month after month. This is what alone time is to me, to my brain, to my emotional buffers and my ability to enjoy time with you, with my friends, and out and about.
She went home that night and found us the place we are moving into at the beginning of next month.
Introverts who date extroverts and vice versa: how do you communicate your needs to each other?
August 19, 2013 | Categories: Observations, Relationships | Tags: alone time, being social, communication, extraverts, extroverts, friends, introversion, introverted, introverts, relationships, social, social anxiety, social awkwardness | 5 Comments
It’s all over the internet. On blogs. On Twitter. People bitch about it on Facebook. As you can see on this informative Tumblr, it’s all over OKCupid.
There is this whole idea that, just because a dude is nice to a girl she should want to fuck him. It’s an inherently misogynist perspective on what it means to be friends with a woman you want, but for whatever reason, cannot have. It implies that said woman owes you something for your kindness and friendship. Sorry “nice guys”, she doesn’t owe you a goddamn thing, and the friendzone is something made up by “nice guys” who would rather blame the girls around them for the fact that they are single than take a look at themselves. Why are those other guys getting the girls? It’s not because they are assholes. It’s because they go after what they want. It’s because they make themselves desirable—and I am not just talking about looks and money, I am talking about charm, wit, and a willingness to use them both when the times are right. I’m no looker, guys, and I am broke most of the time (hell, I spent two years way, way underemployed), but I have never had any problem convincing women to spend time with me. And I do this by virtue of 1. Humor and wit; 2. Intelligence and observation; 3. Not being a whiny little bitch who can’t take responsibility for my own shit; 4. The ability to say, “Hey, I totally dig you”; 5. The ability to accept it if the feeling is not returned.
So let me make something clear: You have NOT been friendzoned. You are a FRIEND. So, dude. Stop thinking with your dick and be a good friend. When your crush is telling you all about her relationship problems, don’t make it about you and whether she should be with you. If you must be narcissistic in the moment, then pay attention. You are learning what not to do in other relationships. Don’t decide that being an asshole is the answer. Don’t put that ridiculous bitterness all over the internet. It accomplishes nothing and—big surprise—makes you look like an asshole, and one that no woman is gonna want. Turns out, chicks don’t dig whiners. Weird, right?
If she doesn’t have romantic feelings about you, don’t whine about it. Your options are: 1. Decide you are cool being her friend and let go of the fantasy; 2. Let go of the friendship if you can’t let go of the fantasy (sticking around and pining isn’t going to change her mind about you, but moving on and growing will make you feel better and may help her see you in another light); or 3. Stick around doing the same old thing, pining and listening and wondering why she isn’t fucking you instead of that other dude when you are SOOO much nicer to her.
But dude, if you really think she owes you something because you have provided a willing ear, you are not a nice guy. If you really think she’s obligated to want to be with you just because you give her relationship advice and are always there for her, you are not a nice guy. If you think a girl should be something she isn’t just because you want her to be and you think you deserve it, you are not a nice guy. You are just a dude who needs to grow up and move on.
December 20, 2012 | Categories: Being Single, Dating, Observations, Really?, Relationships | Tags: communication, crushes, dating, desire, flirting, friends, friendship, friendzone, friendzoned, friendzoning, Love, misogyny, nice guy, Rejection, relationships, self-esteem, sex, shy, social awkwardness, women | 9 Comments
A handy reference for people who date other people.
August 9, 2012 | Categories: Being Single, Dating, Diagrams and Charts, Humor, Observations, Really?, Relationships | Tags: breakups, communication, crushes, dating, desire, dumping, email breakup, flirting, graphs, humor, Love, Rejection, relationships, self-esteem, sex, snark, social awkwardness, text message breakup, whiskey, women | 3 Comments
According to Elizabeth Kübler-Ross, there are five stages of grief, which may happen in any order:
- Denial: I’m fine. Whatever. This isn’t even happening.
- Anger: This is bullshit, I want to blame somebody or something and rage against it.
- Bargaining: pretty self-explanatory.
- Depression: Fuck it, I give up.
- Acceptance: Okay, fine, I’m mortal and so are my friends. I get it.
Currently, my five stages of grief seem to be:
- Acceptance: This is going to happen, and it hurts.
- Stowing: This isn’t about me. Time to man up, pack it up and deal with it until I know my friends and family have everything they need from me. Totally not an excuse for not dealing. Really. Stop looking at me like that.
- Drinking: Is that an open wound? Let’s treat it with alcohol. Shut up, it’s helping.
- Picking Fights: What do you mean I didn’t stow that grief deep enough?
- Going Fetal: This is potentially a lengthy process that may or may not involve steps 3&4.
Last night, after spending time with some of the family I shared with Donovan, I managed to dive head first into a series of miscommunications, pick a fight with and thoroughly upset the woman I’ve been seeing (Henceforth known as “C.”, because that shit’s too long to type every time), and to start crying in a moderately busy bar. Then, feeling absolutely awful about picking the fight and feeling absolutely awful about crying in public, I spent the rest of the night berating myself for letting my grief and anger bubble over onto these two women (her friend from work was also there, so I am sure I made the best first impression, EVAR) while trying desperately not to start crying again (floodgates were showing signs of opening at any moment) and wanting a do-over on everything.
The cab ride home was a somber affair, as I could not seem to stop the tears from falling but was still trying desperately to maintain some semblance of control (LOLZ). When we finally got home and went to bed, C. fell asleep instantly (she does this—to a ridiculous insomniac like me, this is nothing short of a superpower and I am phenomenally jealous), and the floodgates opened. I don’t remember stopping crying before I passed out, so I think it’s fair to say I actually cried myself to sleep, which I haven’t done since I was a kid.
I woke up this morning feeling entirely wrung out, still kicking myself over last night’s critical fumbles, not entirely understanding why C. even wanted to come home with me after my utterly dickish behavior and trying to sort out everything I was feeling. When one of her alarms went off and it was Mumford & Sons, “Little Lion Man” (a song that I associate almost entirely with Donovan), I discovered that I really was wrung out: I couldn’t cry any more. I did let out a rather pathetic whimper, though.
I have been trying to figure out what last night accomplished, apart from instilling in me the need for Gatorade and the desire to apologize to C. and her friend profusely and repeatedly. Perhaps the realization that my stages of grief, as they currently are, are not working for me or for the people around me. Perhaps the realization that dealing with my shit is better for me, which is better for everybody. Perhaps it was a giant slap upside the head alerting me that maybe, just maybe, I need to be more aware of what is going on internally. Perhaps it was all those things.
Oh, and a blog post that is way too long.
May 4, 2012 | Categories: Dating, Observations, Relationships | Tags: communication, dating, five stages of grief, friends, friendship, grief, grieving, Love, manners, mourning, relationships, social awkwardness, stages of grief, whiskey, women | 11 Comments
To my delight, this little placard has been making its slow way through Facebook and Twitter:
I would like to have this little placard in card form, so that I might hand it to new friends and new lovers, since asking them to go Google introverts and INTJs is like saying, “Yeah, I’m awesome and everything, but I’m assigning you some homework before we go any further.” However, it has been made abundantly and repeatedly clear to me that such homework is actually necessary.
Three years of my life were spent in love with an extrovert, and if that taught me anything, it’s that extroverts make the social rules by default. They are the point of reference for how such things as social aptitude and behavior are measured. They are the people against whom introverts are measured, which is inherently unfair, but true.
Media enforces this. It’s the rare movie or television show that allows introverts to remain introverts; most paint it as a triumph when an introverted character is brought out of his or her introvert cocoon to become a beautiful extroverted butterfly. Introversion has become something that can and should be “cured,” somehow. It is often conflated with antisocial behavior, which is bullshit, because introverts are often very social beings. Just not within the same parameters as extroverts.
Thus, in order to make their way in the world, introverts must somehow meet the social expectations created by extroverts. If they don’t, they are often misunderstood and shunned. If they do, this means they are constantly functioning outside of their comfort zone, which just isn’t healthy. It’s exhausting, and makes social interaction that much more work. I have managed to learn how to navigate as an introvert in a sea of extroverts, and because of this I have many wonderful friends. I fake it so well, in fact, that people still respond with surprise and horror when I tell them I am an introvert. However, the extroverts among my friends are generally pretty sensitive to the needs of the introverts in their midst. I would not be able to maintain the level of social interaction that I do if this were not true.
So this placard, which offers a dozen very simple, but very essential ways to respect the introverts in our lives, to consider their needs, and to understand that they are not just waiting for somebody to turn them from sad little introverted seed pods into bright and colorful extroverted flowers, is just freakin’ rad.
Thank you, Internet.
April 4, 2012 | Categories: Being Single, Dating, Observations, Relationships | Tags: communication, dating, extroverts, flirting, friends, friendship, geekery, introverts, manners, Rejection, relationships, self-esteem, shy, social awkwardness, women | 14 Comments