Shyness, Love, & Heterosexual Interaction

Why is the happiness and contentment of males so much more strongly influenced by successful heterosexual interaction than that of females? Most researchers today believe that the answer rests on the fact that women tend to be capable of finding emotionally intimate companionship vis-a-vis their own sex whereas men are able to satisfy their needs for emotional intimacy only in the company of women. Furthermore, non-dating females can normally manage to develop and maintain their socioemotional social skills and social self-confidence in their all-female peer groups. In contrast, non-dating males are usually isolated from social networks involving same-sexed peers.

— Brian G. Gilmartin, Shyness & Love (1987), p. 13

Bear in mind that this was written a quarter-century ago, and for all I know (but don’t have time to research), subsequent studies have produced findings that mitigate or even contradict Gilmartin’s claims.

For example, Robert Glover’s No More Mr. Nice Guy groups have been providing stronger connections among men. The rise of the Manosphere on the Web also has provided men a chance to share their struggles with each other.

Also, since I’ve learned about “Game” and the “Red Pill” philosophy (thanks to bloggers like Heartiste, Roosh, Paul the King, Badger, and the Private Man), I’m more skeptical about Gilmartin’s theory — for example the idea that men need the love of a woman to make them happy seems simplistic and, well, “Beta”.

Like it or not, you might be on your own when it comes to happiness, regardless of your relationships. (And don’t anybody tell me “you don’t know what it’s like, being so lonely for so long” — ohhh yes I do, I’ve never had sex and never had a gf, there you go I admitted it). A favorite quote of mine comes from Richard O’Connor in his book Undoing Depression: “Happiness is not something others can give you or you can get for yourself, but a byproduct of living well.” [note, this might be a paraphrase and not a direct quote, but it’s pretty close.]

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F*ck Feelings – the blog

If you have any sort of mental illness or emotional issues and haven’t yet visited Dr. Lastname’s F*ck Feelings web site, you ought to. Now. (Well, right after you read my post, that is.)

Anyway, here’s a selection of my favorite inspirational quotes from F*ck Feelings:

“If doing what makes us happy was really most important, life would consist solely of eating gallons of Cherry Garcia while watching an endless ‘Jersey Shore’ marathon. And that does not a life make.”

“Just because mental illness doesn’t have a clear cause or a cure doesn’t mean it’s a death sentence. It’s merely a life sentence, so you might as well stop groping for answers and learn to deal.”

“Your flaws don’t have to be your downfall… especially since they’re not going away.”

“OK, if you can’t change someone, what can you do to stand being around them?”

“Accepting that we are all fucked by life is a basic tenet of the f*ckfeelings.com philosophy; there’s a certain zen to it, as we encourage not just being one with the universe and its glory but also with its amber waves of pain.”

“I’m not your friend, so I’m going to skip straight to telling you to shut up. I don’t like to hear people be mean to themselves. Don’t do it in my presence.”

“If you expect your medication to solve all of your problems, with no side effects, then your preferred method of transportation to the enchanted pharmacy castle should be a unicorn.”

“Just as everybody wants to go to heaven without having to die, everyone wants to find true love without having to suffer through dates.”

“Don’t begin the process of self-improvement by listing all the reasons you suck.”

 

Can’t Compare

Negative thought:  feeling I don’t measure up (socially in particular) compared to others.

Rational Responses (me):  Comparing myself to someone has no objective impact on my personal worth one way or the other. It affects only my emotions, not who I am. The only person I should compare myself to is me. There will always be someone who’s better than me at something – so what? Some people just have more skill than others. I don’t want to demand that another person not be so socially attractive. Getting down on myself won’t change them and just damages me. As long as I believe my social worth is measured by how others are there’s no way I can win, because no matter how socially adept I become, someone will always be better — there’s a few billion people out there who are more socially talented than me.

~ ~ ~

A related idea: “We don’t blame ourselves if we don’t know how to fly a plane or perform surgery when we never learned those skills. Likewise, there are communication skills, and relationship skills that make life move along better. They’re not taught in school and often not at home either.”

Richard O’Connor, Undoing Depression: What Therapy Doesn’t Teach You and Medication Can’t Give You

Man Gel Update

In January I began using AndroGel, the prescription testosterone (T) supplement. I dubbed it “Man Gel”. Go back and read about it. [LINK]

I had hopes that it would do more than just increase my libido. What I really wanted were the other positive effects, such as:

  • Increased energy
  • Increased taking of initiative
  • Increased decisiveness
  • Less moodiness

In fact, I wanted those effects more than I wanted an increased libido. In other words, I was looking for testosterone’s psychological and emotional benefits. In other other words, I was hoping testosterone therapy would work as an anti-depressant. It was a behavioral health nurse who first suggested that low-T, aka the “male menopause”, might be contributing to my depressive symptoms. There have been correlations found between low T and depression in men, but the studies seem to say that it happens in older men. And I’m not that old.

So, every morning I pumped out two small handfuls of this clear gel that smelled like isopropyl alcohol and smeared it all over my lower abdomen, shoulders and upper arms. Then I went out to face the day like a new man. (No, not really.)

But I never felt any different. At first I thought I felt a slight increase in my sex drive, but I think it was mostly psychosomatic. But there was no effect that I could sense in my energy level or initiative level or mood. As far as I could tell, the AndroGel was having no impact on me.

A week ago, after two months of AndroGel, I had my blood drawn to measure what my testosterone level is. Apparently the news was good. My doctor notified me that the blood test revealed that my T level was wayyyy higher than my T level had been two months ago. He was excited and sounded very positive about the results.

But, I’ll say this again: I don’t feel any different.

I don’t doubt the blood test results. However, I cannot subjectively tell any difference in myself now compared to two months ago.

So I have to make a decision.

One, I could tell my doctor that I haven’t felt any effects from AndroGel. I imagine this might confuse him, and I don’t want any further embarrassment. I can’t see him increasing the dosage, since my testosterone level as revealed by the blood test is already 200 points higher than the doctor’s initial goal for me. He might say that if it gets any higher I’ll start picking fights with strangers or groping random women. He had told me that men imprisoned for violent crimes tend to have exceedingly high T levels.

Two, I could just stop using it. Right now it seems like a waste of money.

Three, I’m not so sure that I even want an increased sex drive, given how alone I am. If I had a wife or girlfried it would matter more. But, since I have so little chance of hooking up with anyone any time soon, maybe having a low sex drive is a blessing in disguise. It keeps the frustration and depression of loneliness away. It could be that when I was younger and would plunge into depression whenever my sense of failure with girls overtook me, it wouldn’t have hurt me so bad if I hadn’t had much of a sex drive to begin with.

If anybody reads this blog and has suggestions about what I can do to achieve the non-libido effects mentioned above, and increase my energy and initiative and ambition, please make them.

The Breakdown That Turned Me On

~1~

I’d lost my careful crafted avoidant little world and it freaked me out. (Go read previous posts for details).

Down on the carpet

This is where it would happen

~2~

The stress kept coming. Like a rash that itches worse the more attention you give it.

When I returned to work from my training trip, Neo, my supervisor was on vacation and hadn’t taken his training trip yet. The plant manager suggested we hold a meeting, where I would tell them all about it. So, I was to present to everyone – senior management – what I’d seen and learned.

Hey, even “normal” people dread giving presentations in front of others. I have to remind myself of that, since it meant that if I felt wussy about leading the meeting, it was because nearly everyone does, not because of social anxiety.

Well isn’t that comforting? Pfffftt.

In the meeting I tried to recall and summarize what I’d noted in class. At one point, our HR manager asked me a question I didn’t know the answer to, and I responded by b.s.-ing my way through it. (HR! Sheesh.) Everyone was quiet. I think they knew that I’d been throwing lots of words at the answer without really saying anything. Exposure sucks.

I went through a crappy stress reaction over this. Over subsequent weeks I put way too much pressure on myself to try and prepare our plant for the transition to this new inventory system. And to make it worse, I seemed to be the only person stressing out over it.

Overreaction, oh how you love to dine on me. With fava beans and a nice chianti.

So there was that.

~3~

Seattle boasts, among other dubious SWPL-ish features, a couple of “alternative” newspapers. I think that’s how you could describe them. Alt-left-libertarian media, or something. Whatever; I’m no expert. Anyway, one night, about a week after my return from the Topeka trip, I took out a personal ad on one of their websites.  I don’t remember which one, so I’m not going to name it. It was similar to the “missed connections” section on Craig’s List.

I was reaching out to the Intense Stare Girl.

It was a long shot, but impulsively I took it anyway. I’d been preoccupied with thoughts of her since our paths crossed at the airport. Her big dark eyes fixed on me. The intense look on her face. I kept replaying it in my mind, daydreaming about what I would’ve said to her if only I’d stopped and spoken up. Maybe she wanted me?

Really, I was just waking up (unwillingly, unwillingly) to how lonely I was.

My personal ad went something like this:

It was October _th, about 7 pm. You walked past me at the underground train to the United terminal at SeaTac airport. You were about to get on, I was coming off. You were wearing a trenchcoat. I was wearing a [whatever the heck I wore]. I was taller than you and had red hair and glasses. You looked at me and didn’t look away. Something was happening. Our eyes were locked as we passed. We didn’t speak. I’d like to get to know you. Respond to me if you read this and are interested.

But then I had second thoughts, telling myself  the chances were remote that she’d even see the ad, let alone identify herself, let alone respond to me.

One night later, I cancelled the personal ad. I would never find Intense Stare Girl.

~4~

Then I took a shower. Long and hot, as I like it, the water cascading over me.

Things were on my mind. Women. Life history. Airports. People. Girls I’d liked long ago. Social failures. I stood there showering and thinking. I finished the shower and noticed I’d forgotten to put towels in the bathroom. Dripping, I half-ran/half-tiptoed to the closet and grabbed a towel and began drying my body. Things. On. My. Mind.

You can hold it back for only so long, and when the flood hits it carries you away and you can’t stop it. You can’t, you can’t, and so the heat began flooding my face – heat not from the shower but from the first hot tears – crying now, and my legs buckled and I hit the floor knees first and then in a split second my hands. I was on my hands and knees and the tears were falling. I couldn’t stop them. I was sobbing.

Everything came out at once, all that I had bottled up and denied for years. Each and every missed opportunity to be with a girl as a kid or with a woman as an adult. Missed and gone. All the unrequited crushes I’d had. Missed and gone. Girls who had flirted with me but I’d not responded to them because I was either too shy or couldn’t believe they’d really be interested in a guy like me. Missed and gone. Too many painful memories. If the phrase EPIC FAIL had been around back then it would label my experience. Amazing how much it could hurt.

I stayed in the same spot on my bedroom floor, naked, legs folded underneath me, my face in my hands on the floor, like a broken supplicant at prayer. Perhaps I should’ve been praying but I wasn’t – I was bawling. Like a baby, yes. I’ve only cried like that a few times my whole life, mostly when I was young.

I’m a grown man.

Amazing what a quantity of fluids can come oozing out of your face when you’re bawling. Not just tears but slobber and mucus too. Your nose starts running, as if there are more tears than the eyes can handle and they start flowing out your nostrils. (My nose was crying!) My face was raining on the carpet. What a mess! This was mouth-open-wide bawling, with that breathy moaning sound that comes out, you know what I mean? And what struck me was that usually at some point you’ve had enough and you can pull yourself together and get cleaned up. Every time I thought I could do that, a new flood would overwhelm me and I’d fall right back into it, into the sobbing slobbery mess. Surprise!

Missed and gone. Opportunities for love and puppy love and infatuation, lust and romance and hooking up, hell even just flirting, and dating and relationships and touching and being touched and holding and being held.

All avoided. And now I was paying for it.

~5~

Something was changing on the inside.

I’d kept myself so dead, so hopeless for such a long time, yet never got away from feeling bad. I’d simply been ignoring it. I hadn’t been dead, only deceiving myself. It turned out that I was still alive and it hurt like hell.