I’ve started reading more and more blogs lately, and I have to say it’s interesting to gain some insight, however small, into the minds of other people. These blogs, while varying widely on topics, usually have at least one entry on relationship problems. How to start them, how to end them, how to make them better, how to start a second one behind the first one’s back… it’s like a self-help book with the chapters scattered across a hundred different sites.
Speaking of Self-Help books, I recently bought The Game, by Neil Strauss. It recounts the author’s entry into the society of pick-up artists, his studying under the various “Masters” of this art, and his eventual rise into Master status himself. It’s not so much a how-to book as it is a memoir. It is, however, the closest thing I could buy to a how-to book without feeling like a sleaze.
Why did I buy it? My previous entires have mentioned my weakest spot in a relationship, the one spot that I need the most help with: The Approach. I’ve already put into practice some of the tactics that pick-up artists use to get over this, such as saying hello and smiling to every attractive woman you pass in the mall. (By the way, Saturday mornings at Lowe’s is THE place to see some crazy hot soccer moms.) I’ve made my resolution to meet at least one new person a week, and one new friend a month. (So far, I’ve met two new people in the past two weeks: Sherry at the Red Tub, and Tania on MySpace. For now, I’m going to count MySpace people.) But having a plan doesn’t mean I’m going to be good at it.
So what is the big deal with The Approach? Why is so damn hard? Is it fear of rejection? Low self-esteem? Some previous mental trauma that caused this insanity?
Take Virginia Belle,who I briefly met in February this year at Team Richardson’s Super Bowl party. (I’ve mentioned Team Richardson before. They’re good people.) I don’t mind saying that VB is pretty hot. At the party, she was with some guy, so I didn’t do too much staring. I just remember the mental note that she was attractive, and then the mental filing away since she was with someone. She’s currently complaining that the only men who approach her are losers and rednecks, and she’s wondering why that is.
Attractive women are the hardest to approach. (I blame Cosmo.) First, the assumption is that a woman that looks that good must have someone, or at the very least has so many other offers that one of the others is probably better than you. Low self-esteem probably contributes to this defeatist approach. But I don’t think I have low self-esteem.
I’m 30 years old. (Soon to be 31, how frightening.) I bought a house at 25. I’ve held a full-time job for six years. (Not the same job, but not through any fault of mine.) I’ve not missed a monthly payment ever. I’m doing a job that I like. (Even though I hate who I do it for, which will be changing soon.) I’m out-of shape, but I’m working towards fixing that. I’ll never be Matthew McConaughey, but I’m cool with that. I’m a nice guy. I’m the kind of guy that parents of my girlfriends love, and actually criticize the girl for letting me get away. (It’s terrible, but it’s a helluva compliment.) In short, I like who I am. It took about 30 years to realize this, but it was worth the angst.
So if it’s not low self-esteem, I’m going to call it misperception. When I look at a hot woman, and think about who she wants to be with, I misperceive her desires. I think she wants to guy with money, the guy with looks, the guy who enjoys looking at himself in the mirror for an hour every day. This is why I blame Cosmo. I also blame the movies and television. Society has brainwashed us into thinking like this, and it will take some work to undo this training.
Fear of rejection, perhaps? Why the hell should I be afraid of a stranger rejecting me? If I walk into a bar with no one on my arm and leave with no one on my arm, I’ve lost nothing. Hence, I’m risking nothing by approaching, right? All right, hotties, watch the fuck out, cuz I’ve just realized I’m not afraid of you now! (Much easier said than done.)
So why do losers and rednecks have no hesitation to Approach? The answer is so obvious that I had to think about it all through my lunch break. They have no delusions about who or what they are. They have nothing to lose when a woman throws her drink in their face.
The third fear in the Approach is probably the worst one. Women are never alone. They travel in Packs. To Approach one is to Approach The Pack. From reading The Game (That book I mentioned earlier), I’ve discovered that it is preferable to Approach The Pack over Approaching a single woman. A woman who is by herself is perceived as being alone for a reason. (Just as a guy by himself is perceived as such.) I haven’t gotten to this stage of Courage yet, so I perceive a Pack of three to be three-times as frightening as a solo.
And then, there is the fourth possibility. Maybe I’m afraid of being pepper-sprayed. I’ve never told this story before now, despite the fact that it’s amazingly funny. Towards the end of my college stint, when I broke up with my first long-term girlfriend and was prowling the bars as a newly single guy, I Approached my first girl ever. Now, I’m a big guy. People look at me and immediately know I played football on the line. Sometimes I can look like a teddybear, but other times I can look pretty threatening. This girl must have thought the latter, because I didn’t even get the first word out of my mouth before she hit me with the mace. (As an aside to this story, I’m going to say that, if I were a sexual predator and intent on assaulting a woman, I don’t think this stuff would stop me. Maybe they have stronger stuff now.) I think this is an unlikely fear, but thought the humor would be a good note to end on.
So what do I do from here? I guess I’ll keep up with the retraining of my brain, and get used to the idea of walking up to attractive strangers and saying hello. There is one thing, though, that I want to say before I sign off.
I’ve gotten a lot of feedback from people, (all women, ironically) and I appreciate it very much. Thank you for reading, even though I expected no one to read it when I started this thing. Thank you even more for your feedback. I enjoy reading your comments and your compliments. My biggest question, though, is how did you come to find it? I know that VB and TR have links from their sites, but I get close to 60 hits a week. Where did you find out about my ramblings?