If Only I Knew

Another installment of awesome questions from the Irish Bird Assassin.

1. Matchmaker, Matchmaker—What do you think about “matchmaking”? Have you been set up by family/friends? If so, please share. Have you set up anyone? With what result? What’s your opinion of online dating?

Matchmaking?  Despise it!  The idea that anyone would know what you find attractive is presumptuous in the extreme.  Sure, you may benefit from knowing who they think might spark with you, but attraction is such a deeply personal experience that the idea that someone else would have a good idea of who you would click with is absurd.  The whole idea and experience would be incredibly awkward and I am thankful that no one has attempted it with me.  In fact, the few times the subject has been broached, I have gunned the idea down mercilessly.  I suppose I should give it a chance at some point, but people are usually so wildly off base with their suggestions of who I might find attractive.  Apparently, because I’m a nice guy and am overweight, there is no concept of me deserving to have any standards whatsoever.  I know who I like when I see them and get to know them.

Online?  Ironically, I utilize it, but have had few lasting positive experiences with it.  It’s as if I hold the insane belief that this time it will be different.  But then, I guess it’s all about convenience and opportunity.  Where do I, or any of us, really have the opportunity to meet someone in a dating atmosphere?  Unfortunately, as much as we try to convince ourselves that online dating is superior to meeting someone in a bar or at the grocery store, the fact is that it’s still primarily a meat market.  If you look good, you get attention.  The difference is that there is an opportunity to present more than just a picture and there is a “wall” there, for better and worse.  Yes, it is a layer of assessment and  protection to attempt to weed out the creeps and psychos, but it also allows those creeps and psychos to misrepresent themselves as normal-ish.  The stories I have heard from women I have talked to on these sites range from hilarious to scary.  Men are pigs no matter the setting.  And women still fall for assholes even on the internet.  Oh, I could go on about the fallacy of women who claim they want a nice guy, but that rant will have to wait…

2. Watch and Learn—Some people that we know well could be described as ‘observers’, meaning that they’re the sort who are not the most immediately active, but who often notice the nuances that others can miss. Where is the line between ‘observer’ and ‘voyeur’? Is it inherently dangerous to be passive? Or is it more dangerous to try to force oneself to think or behave outside of one’s comfort zone?

There is no line between observer and voyeur.  There is a sense in both of them of living vicariously.  Observation and voyeurism are both based in simple curiosity.  How do they live, what do they do, why do they do it?  If there is any real difference, it may be in the intensity you are willing to live vicariously.

It is safe for the passive one to be passive, but that passivity may be dangerous for others.  As a terribly passive, non-confrontational person, there are times I have been slow to recognize the need for action.  And others have been affected negatively by my lack of action.  So yes, it is dangerous.

But, risk is dangerous as well, and isn’t that what we do when we take ourselves outside of our comfort zone?  It is not bravery to do that, by any means.  It is simply risk.  What are we each willing to risk to do something that might change us?  I’ve done both (avoided risk and taken risk), but almost always the risk-taking has risen out of a necessity rather than a choice.  It had to be taken in order to move forward.

3. Choose or Die:
a. Soup or salad? If you choose soup, which one? Salad, which dressing?

Soup, easily.  New England Clam Chowder.

b. Olives or pickles?

Another easy choice… pickles.  Olives? Bleah.

c. Drive or ride?

Drive.  Maybe it’s a control thing, but it’s probably because I just feel most comfortable in that seat.  I don’t like driving someone else’s car, though.  A car is a personal thing.

d. Shower or bath?

Shower.  Every. Single. Day.

e. Coke or Pepsi?

Coke by a landslide.  Those old Coke vs. Pepsi taste tests boggled me, because it is so easy to tell the difference.  Always thought the people on those commercials were idiots.

f. Pool or bowling?

Bowling, because it’s more social and gives me more chances to be self-deprecating.  I suck at both.

g. Birds or fish?

In nature, birds.  As pets, fish.

4. Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes—What part of your physical, intellectual, or emotional makeup would you have most readily changed when you were in junior high? How about high school? College? Looking at it seriously, now: would you regret having made the change, had you been able to do so then?

Junior High – more athletic.  My only real anxieties in JH came from not being much of a jock and hating PE.  HS – my physical looks.  Chicks did not dig me. College – my ambition and focus.  Four years and out would have been a FAR better plan.

JH – Yes.  I would have missed out on developing my musical and acting talents.  As frustrating as they have been and as many regrets are hung upon them, I don’t want to imagine life without them.  HS – No, I would not have regretted that.  But that has more to do with my long history of romantic failure and a desire to change that destiny.  College – yes and no.  I would have missed out on a couple of truly wonderful friendships, but then again, would have avoided a couple of very painful ones.  And I would probably be teaching or at least holding an advanced degree by now.

5. Knock On Wood—Are you superstitious? What sorts of things do you do – or never do! – to keep all things right with the world?

I have an odd habit of being the last person in a group to go through a door.  Not that I think anything will go wrong, just that I would rather be the last one in, to the point of being near rude about it.  That’s probably slightly OCD rather than superstitious.

I used to have a superstition about telling my family when I was attracted to someone.  It seemed like everything always went into the crapper whenever I made my desires public, so I would resist telling anyone until I was forced to admit.  Now, I realize the reasons for sour times were because of other empirically measurable things, but I do still cling to that superstition a little, as absurd as it may seem.

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2 thoughts on “If Only I Knew

  1. 1. So, I guess that means you’re not going to fix me up with any of your single friends? No, seriously…I understand. I’ve been fixed up (sort of) and I just wish it could have been more subtle. How could any relationship have a chance with so many hyperinterested bystanders?
    Online dating – oy. I could write a book. At one point, my tagline was “I only want to spend time with people I already know.” You might be surprised by how many guys thought that was a clever come-on.
    2. “What are we each willing to risk to do something that might change us?”–I need to think more about this. You’ve hit on something profound here.
    3. Clams are terrifying. I love olives, but pickles are a midwestern staple. I’ll let you drive when we go meandering, but only in Minnesota & Wisconsin. Once we hit Illinois, I’m taking over. 🙂 No comment re: cleanliness. YAY Coke! Weird that it ended up being pool or bowling, because it was supposed to be Pool or Darts. LOL! For what it’s worth, I stink at anything that involves throwing things, so pool’s my game. And I totally agree about birds and fish – though you didn’t choose one to eat. 😉
    4. I’m glad that you didn’t want to bag it all, out of hand. I do like the way you turned out, very much.
    5. Ooh! You do the “last one in” thing, too! No wonder we tend to dawdle in doorways together. Such a wonderful window into the psyche, this is….

  2. 1. I’m afraid my matchmaking skills are as unreliable as my athletic skills. I cannot imagine how bizarre it must be to be a woman on an online dating site. The only pressure I feel is to be somewhat original, which never works, because someone has always already thought of what you have before you try it. So, I’m honest. It’s odd how disarming that is to some, and how completely mind-boggling it is to others.

    2. I struggle with that idea every day.

    3. Clams are terrifying? How intriguing! As far as driving, the truth is, I’m easy. But I will happily chauffeur within the confines of the two previously mentioned states. Ooooh… I might have to opt for darts, because at least almost everyone I know is relatively capable at darts, rather than dominantly awesome. Have to opt for birds as edible items as well… although fish… hmmm. You just made the choice 1 billion times more difficult.

    4. You are kind. When I was younger, I probably would have said bag it all, or most of it. Does that mean age breeds contentment?

    5. You have no idea (well obviously you do) how weird it felt to go through the door at Betty Jo’s before you!

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