Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Final word on Mr. Niceguy?

(I wrote this this past winter, but foolishly forgot to push the "publish" button, so it's been sitting in draft form all summer! Nevertheless, it's still valid. Enjoy!)

I’m feeling pretty grouchy today. A snowstorm has been promised by the TV news, I’m behind on finishing some projects, and to top it all off, I’m coming down with a cold. Nevertheless, I had to brave the elements and hop the subway to do some errands, and barely made it before the stores closed…when the snow started. So I trundled back onto the subway, surprised to find a mostly empty car, and now settle down to read my book. That is a pleasure that almost makes the whole trip worth while. And I get to enjoy that pleasure for good 14 seconds or so, when suddenly I’m surrounded by a gaggle of noisy, chirpy young girls. They’re cute, but clearly the girls are high school seniors, maybe college freshmen. Maybe just borderline retarded? All I know is they just prattle on and on…

But you know, treasures come when you least expect them.

I’m trying to get through one page of my book, but it's hard to focus, since my ears are filling with talk of whether Michael is cuter than Kyle, how Brad isn’t worth dating because he just won’t listen, and how comfortable these new shoes are, which is surprising considering how much they cost.

I could never have known that I was about to be enlightened,. or that these girls would be the ones to make it happen.

Then I hear it:

“Bobbie is a really nice guy.” The energy level in the hatchery suddenly goes down perceptibly.  Another girl agrees—“Yes, Bobbie is a real gentleman.” For the first time there’s silence amongst them, a silence so significant I have to fight not to look up from my book. There’s something that I can feel needs to be said, but not one of them wants to say it. It’s about Bobbie.

“I like Bobbie.” That’s not it. I continue to wait.

Another girl repeats: “I like Bobbie. He’s such a nice guy. A real gentleman—"

And yet another girl finished her sentence: “—he’s inexperienced.”
THAT’S IT! It's finally been said. Even if I hadn't heard the words, I could have told purely by the sudden sense of relief amongst them. They all agree heartily, and the energy level of all the girls goes back up. If it wasn't clear enough, another girl in the group recaps: “Bobbie’s a nice guy because he’s not experienced. He’s still not comfortable around women.”

Then yet another girl chimes in: “My first boyfriend was like that. I had to train him. I never want to go through that again.”

WOW. Aren't guys always told that they should be a nice guy to women? And yet, us niceguys are never taken seriously by the girls we like. Now I know why.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Looking in the Face of "Self-Limiting Beliefs"

Sometimes, the only way we can deal with the unfairnesses of life is to keep reminding ourselves  that we really don't deserve the things we really want.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sticks and Stones, and The Conspiracy of Sensitivity

I think we're being undermined by a conspiracy of sensitivity.

We're told by media and by experts that we HAVE to wear our heart on our sleeve, that if we say "words don't hurt us" we're lying, and more to the point, we're told us we can't help but be hurt by words. The corollary to that is the same people who convince us we are weaker than a stranger's words are the people who want us to believe they will protect us from words, by telling us what words are safe, and that is dangerous, indeed.