Compliments

As soon as I have time, I plan to write an entire post complementing you dear reader, for now you’ll have to do with quotes from the White Stripes.

“Tonight I’ll dream while I’m in bed
when silly thoughts go through my head
about the bugs and alphabet
and when I wake tomorrow I’ll bet
that you and I will walk together again
cause I can tell that we’re going to be friends” (White Stripes)

Learning by counter-example

So I’m googling a question about phone etiquette and I come to this link about truely malicious people.  Sounds more like antisocial or sociopaths than ‘losers’.  Interestingly, doing the opposite of what sociopaths do probably wouldn’t be a good way to form a relationship because the sociopath is defined by errors of commission.  Omiting those errors and you have no actions left.

At the library, the latest book by Gottman was already checked out, so I got some books on social anxiety and shyness.  The former is a feeling of panic, the later is a feeling of fear.  While interesting, I’m not sure we’ll all get to the bottom of the issue until we have the source code to the brain.

So, I was skating…

Lately I find myself out gazing at stars
Hearing guitars like someone in love
Sometimes the things I don’t do astound me
Mostly whenever you’re around me

Lately I seem to walk as though I have wings
And to sing like someone in love
Each time I look at you I’m light as a cloud
And feeling like someone in love

Sometimes the things I don’t do astound me
Mostly whenever you’re around me

Lately I seem to walk as though I have wings*
Run into things like someone in love
Each time I look at you I’m light as a cloud
And feeling like someone in love
Like someone in love

(I mean, it isn’t like I’m a freak bird-man, I just have bad knees, Okay?)

Conversational Patterns

There are a couple of important coversatoinal patterns. I’m sure some linguist somewhere has already charted this water before, but I want to write about it, too.

Troubles talk. Important to decide if you want to sympathize (“Aww, thats awful!”), depersonalize/minimize (“It could happen to anyone, it’s no problem, you can handle it”) The former is safer with women, the later safer with men. There is also, “Gee, that happened to me, too”, which I’m not sure if there is a gender difference in how people react.

Attachment talk. This is injecting seemingly unrelated information about current relationships into the conversation to singnal which relationship gaps exist. “The weather? Oh, my boyfriend thinks it’s going to rain.” I see women do this a lot.

Safety talk. These are signals that it’s okay to talk and your head won’t be ripped off. This would be icebreakers, but I can’t think of a good example.

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

[Note to self, some day I need to either edit this, or delete the post]
I blog because I want the world to know I have nothing to hide.

At the end of the day I want to be able to think that my corner of the world is better off on account of the work I did today. I didn’t get that warm fuzzy feeling from my day’s efforts at the office, so it’s been dragging on my mood.

Dating is a long series of failures followed by a spectacular success. If one has dated a dozen people and each time you exchange undying vows of everlasting love, but mutually agree that it’s time to date someone else, then one is an odd bird. The process is grind. I bet salespeople feel the same way. After 50 rejections they are feeling rather incompetent, then they get a big sale and damn! They’re the best salesman in the world! And I’d dare say that dating is a bit more brutal than selling insurance. People legitimately refuse to buy insurance because they don’t want insurance. People refuse to date you because, well, they might not like you. In sales, you hear exactly why someone didn’t buy insurance. (Costs too much. Don’t trust Primamerica) In dating, it is fairly rare for people to say why they are rejecting you and it might be that they don’t know themselves why they are reacting negatively. After all, who’s going to say, “Gee, it was a nice date, but you aren’t acting like an alpha male.” Instead, they say, “Let’s just be friends.”
Dating if you have kids is really complicated. Prospective dates need to be kid friendly. The kid needs to be friendly to dealing with prospective dates. Dating when you have custody is a logistics problem, except when the prospective date also has kids. After all, how romantic is it to take a prospective date to Chuck E Cheese? If the kid need to be picked up from day care at 5:55 and dinner is at 6 and homework is at 7 and bath time is at 8:30 and reading is at 9:00 and bed time is 9:15, now where is the time to hang out with a prospective date?
Dating after you have a full time job is definately more complicated. After 40 to 50 hours of time is burned up working and a good chunk of the rest of the time is burned up doing laundry and dishes, there isn’t as much time for hanging out as there was during college. (OK, for people who worked their way through college, they didn’t have much time either and probably didn’t date as much either and their debt-ridden slacker classmates)
Which isn’t to say that dating is hopeless, it just means that it is something of an irratonal leap of faith, because all the stars need to line up and who knows if they will until something happens?

Genetic Algorithms

Right now the technology industry rewards people who are easily fascinated.

Now those people are all being herded by market forces into Silicon Valley and other tech centers, now we appear to be creating a generation of people who are really easily fascinated.

It used to be that being damn smart was a genetic liability. Not anymore. Now it is an asset.

After evolution works out the bugs, homo technosis will be able to program a VCR.

Dating Warnings signs (as if I knew)

1. Women you meet intially by email. The stigma associated with newspaper ads does seem to be lightened in the online version of personal ads, but I think it is in large part because it is so much easier to nix a relationship that started for a flimsly reason, like responding on a whim to an email. The alternative, meeting in real space, puts a higher burden getting involved (you may actually see the person again), and ditching, (well why did you get invovled int he first place if you weren’t somewhat serious?) Internet dating means it is costless to get out of a relationship–you’ll never see them again and it is easy to tell oneself that starting the relationship was a lark.
2. Women who are safe at home. I go to a lot of public (open membership) social groups, like church, special interest clubs, etc. I don’t see a lot of regulars. These kind of girls are easy to avoid because they aren’t there. You might run into them though, on the one time they get out of the house.
3. Women who can’t be influenced. I’m not talking about servility and obsequitiousness, I’m talking about someone who reacts hostily to advice, suggestions, ideas and opinions. Dr. Gottman says this is more likely to be a problem for men, but I wouldn’t know.

Non-warning signs.

Messed up people. As long as they are not a lot more messed up than you.

Unhealthy. As long as they aren’t in worse health than you.

Socializing like I don’t care…

One one hand, it seems that one would make few friends by speaking over-ill of oneself. On the other hand, I tired of potential dating situations where as soon as they find out about social resume blemishes, I’m a pariah.

So my new policy is bad news first. And here is the news:

I’ve a history of failed relationships. (Somehow this is only a negative if said failed relationships involved marriage)

I’ve already one son and I decided to keep part time custody. (I suppose this could be good or bad, I’ve heard it argued both ways. One theory is that single men with children have an easier time remarrying than women, the other theory is that women don’t want to be step-mothers. I think the latter is truer now-a-days, even though the step-mother is an obsolete institution. Modern girlfriends and wives of divorced fathers are more like aunts than step mothers.)

I’m INTP by Briggs Meyers. Except for geeks who wear INTP as a badge of honor, the INTP is not one of the charismatic alpha male personality types.

I own a cat. This is a positive my view, but just in case it is bad news, from now on everyone is going to have to hear about Marbles right away, lest we all waste our time only to realize that a friendship can’t bear the stress of cat dander.

And I’m overtired. Goodnight all.

Equanimity and striking out at dating…

Maintaining equanimity is really hard, especially equanimity about of anything of importance. I’ve learned that equanimity is easier to maintain when there is uncertainity about outcomes. Once outcomes are known, it’s hard to remain equally in that same state of being just as happy as if the outcome had been the reverse. It must be something about how the brain is wired at a low level.

Having struck out, now I need to decide if I should keep with my current strategy or modify it. I guess since my last strike out was with a match.com date, I can keep with my strategy of not touching online dating with a ten foot pole.

Evaluating my worth in the marriage market (or the long term relationship market) is tricker– does a strike out indicate I’m over priced (trying to date girls that I have no chance with, those with more charisma, wealth, life accomplishments, fewer social resume blemishes, better health and education) or if I’m just unlucky.

Also at this point one starts to think about fixes, fixes to ones social resume, etc. Fixes take time and it’s hard to say which ones are going to count in the end. And of course, wondering where things went wrong. It’s a narrow edge between wondering where I was tactless and unkind and what is wrong with me and still hard yet to decide if I actually did nothing wrong and was merely in the wrong place at the wrong time.

What ever the case, I’m going to try to switch to the theory that people fall in love because they are thrown together with someone and just happen to spend a lot of time together. This eliminates all girls that don’t get out of the house on a regular basis and don’t go somewhere where they can be found on a regular basis.

Also a quick C.T. review

1. Am I filtering?

My last strike gained me two dates with a charming lady. That’s better than 0.

2. Am I polarizing my thinking?

My behavior was mixed–I probably was both socially clumsy but capable enough to go on two dates.

3. Am I overgeneralizing?

This strike out probably is a poor predictor of my success in future attempts to form relationships.

4. Am I mind reading?

I have extremely limited informaton on the lady was trying to date, so her true motives are truely mysterious.

5. Catastrophizing

This isn’t the worst thing in the world. The worst thing in world would be if I was dying face down in the gutter without a friend in the world, and without satallite radio or even high speed interent access.

6. Am I magnifying?

Dating is a numbers game, a strike out is meaningless unless you live on an island with only a few girls.

7. Am I personalizing?

She didn’t have enough time to get to know me, so she’s mostly reacting to who she suspects I am. I’m not evil. She might have some other very good reason for not wanting to get involved with anyone at the moment, not just myself.
8. Am I thinking in terms of shoulds?

No girl has to be my friend, they are all free agents and limited time available for socializing. I am what I am and I can’t expect myself to do what I think I should do, because thinking I should be more charismatic is arbitrary as thinking I should be able to fly.

Oh well, chapter over, man do I regret every signing up for match.com. Cognative principles be damned, no one should ever sign up for match.com.

Compassionate Dating!

It’s a concept, not yet an event.

I’ve got two meditation events on the calendar each week until my legs revolt, so I shouldn’t complain too much.

And someday I need to blog about if falling in love is like having OCD. Maybe I’ll start today. I’ve never had OCD or OCPD, so it is hard to say. Subjectively, it is somewhat about being fixated on someone. But it also feels like addrenaline, exciting and energizing. It feels like neurochemical confidence. Weeks before you consider the world rationally, as if it were a rather rough place to succeed, and bam, all of a sudden, there is no stopping. You hear a name, you see a face and you really want to seek it out like a phototropic plant. Okay, like a sunflower.

And, as odds are more likely than not, they don’t really share the sentiment? They start to drift into the ideals. Those you have fallen in love with are real as long as they are around, and when they just aren’t there, their flawlessness gets purified and they become a platonic ideal, as beatiful and blameless as a circle.

Now that is a platonic relationship.

A long time ago, I’d get just tremendous crushes on girls that there was no way I could follow up on for lack of a script and courage. I’m now trying out equanimity and compassion and it works. I wish her well, I feel the existential pain of her situation, I’m not attached to winning a relationship and I’m not adverse to a relationship failing to start.

Existential pain is the pain of being alive and not knowing why. I mean, not everyone is like me and already knows that as far as existential projects go, you don’t need anything else other than a lime flavored sugar cookies, a book club, family, satellite radio and phynalethylamine.