The Cabinet of Dr. Calamari

There are occasional moments in life when some awareness crystallizes out of nothing and one suddenly realizes that something has happened over time which is irrevocable, but hasn’t yet become apparent. The classic version of this is realizing that some person you wish to talk to is dead. Or, on a more positive note, that some physical or emotional pain is absent after years of being in the background causing some low-grade dysphoria.s

In my case I just realized in the last few days that I’ll probably never have a real, satisfying romantic relationship. Looking back at my attempts at dating, there are a few abortive attempts of varying but temporary success and a couple of truly painful relationships of fairly short term. Success rate is zero.

I often meet people I’m interested in; they are never interested in me. The actual success rate in the last ten years has been zero. Periodically I forget this and try to get somewhere with someone, but the result is consistently negative, often with a nasty blowback that leaves a friendship scarred and smoldering.

Given all this, I think it’s best that I just seal up that part of life and concentrate on what I’m good at. Lately that seems to be computer system administration, cooking, and being a thoroughly neutered platonic friend to whom women may complain about their boyfriends and husbands.

Two cheers for the urge to reproduce!

6 thoughts on “The Cabinet of Dr. Calamari

  1. {{{{{HUGS}}}}}}
    although that’s not really helping with the issue at hand, The Highway 40 of One-Handed Loneliness.
    I think I’m in Nebraska now.

  2. a short time ago i dropped this in response to a friend’s journal, because he was experiencing the same feelings as you. i don’t know if i really even believe (er…) half of the shit that i wrote; but it remains my observation, based on my own paltry range of experiences.
    it’s such bad form to link to oneself!
    i wish i knew enough to become a good system admin. or even a bad one.

  3. not buying it
    I hate to intrude on your pain-free existence but I’m afraid my bullshit detector is pegging. Pardon the rant which follows, it is at least partially about myself.
    I’ve had equally long droughts. Also, lately I’ve even indulged myself in self-gratifying self-pity, similar to uninvention. Over the last year I saw a lot of women fall for one particular complete dick.
    However I am coming out of this with a much greater understanding of what is and isn’t attractive, and I don’t think I’m excluded from this world.
    Crucial insights I have made lately:

    I no longer have any respect, at all, for women who fall for asshole behaviour. The next time someone tries to use you to patch up the hurts caused her chronic bad-boy addiction, you should laugh in their face and walk away. This will be very good for you. You don’t need this.
    Not all women are like this; only a minority are. I was actively seeking out this type, in the same doomed manner as these women sought out the asshole type. It fed my ego to play this role in their relationship and helped explain why I wasn’t having fulfilling relationships, because of course I was too nice a guy.
    I was trying to be in a position where I wasn’t expressing any needs, especially sexual ones. If you’re insecure about yourself, this can be a hard thing to admit.

    It’s odd how expressing your own needs makes you attractive, but let’s think about it. People feel satisfied and fulfilled when they are valued. They don’t need counsellors or therapists, they want someone to share experiences with, someone who wants them.
    A lot of women will tell you that what attracts them is confidence. And for sure, megalomaniac guys get more than their fair share, just like physicaly attractive women. However, the “confidence” thing really is true. I’ve noticed a huge change in how people, especially women, respond to me once I figured this stuff out.
    Think about what you would want in a relationship. A psychotherapist? Or someone who sees things in you, values them, makes things fun for you, brings out things in you that no one else does? Well, just be that person for someone else! Think of what they have to offer as a meal they’ve cooked for you. Smile and tell them how delicious it was; stop trying to help out in the kitchen.
    Another advantage is that being so battle-scarred, you can take rejection. If you get to the point where you bounce back from rejection easily, there’s no stopping you. Of course, you have to stop placing your entire self-respect at people’s feet for that to happen.
    It might be odd to take dating advice from the Dalai Lama, but I found this amazingly helpful. A psychologist had a client who was terrified of approaching women. The psychologist mentioned this to the Dalai Lama, who suggested that
    the client think only of what he could do for the other person, to ask her out in the spirit of giving an experience she would enjoy. The client, although skeptical he could be so high-minded, tried this — and it worked! The woman in question had a boyfriend and was not interested, but more importantly, the man was freed of his crushing self-doubt, even if rejected.
    That said I’m not exactly overflowing with dates, but not completely lacking in them either. I have to work on my physical appearance a bit, and make more of an effort to meet people. But I feel that the fundamental problems I was having are solved.
    The key to being attractive, IMO, is self-respect — from which flows a genuine ability to give, and also to receive.
    But that’s just my opinion, and I could be wrong. 🙂

    1. Re: not buying it
      I hear what you’re saying, and a lot of it makes sense. I just don’t think it really applies in my own case. The women I like don’t fall for assholes as in the old cliche. People like that aren’t worth my time anyway, and tend not to be my friends. The people I like, they end up with nice guys who aren’t me. People like me fine. Women even like me. They just don’t want to date me. Frankly, I’ve lost interest in “why” at this point. Perhaps I’m physically repulsive, or radiate some type of “no touch” vibe, or everyone I know is the wrong age, or I pick the entirely wrong person each time because of some deep-seated neurosis. Really, I’m over thinking about all of that, since thinking doesn’t change things and gives me a sharp pain behind my left eye.
      And it’s been so long (many, many years now) and so consistent that I can’t imagine how it can be fixed. It’s not at all a pain free existence; it makes me want to punch holes in walls. But after one has spent 20 years trying to open the same locked door it gets old. I’m just not into the sisyphus gig. I’m 37 now, ya know? I think I’m better off just being friendly now and not trying for anything more.
      This may set off your bullshit detector, and if I was still 20 years old and forming my life I’d agree that it’s bullshit. As I’m lurching into middle age at the moment I don’t see it that way.

      1. Re: not buying it
        I’m approaching 30 in a few months myself. I’d say the last real relationship I had was when I was 18. So, it’s not that much different.
        Sorry for using such harsh terms but as you can see it hit a nerve with me. I’m more kicking myself about all the time I’ve wasted.
        I still think you’re fooling yourself about a few things. Number one, I don’t believe people can just set aside their desire to be loved. I expect it will return soon when you least expect it.
        Anyway, have you considered trying to get help with this? It’s sheer torture staring at the ceiling and wondering why and not getting anywhere. I understand completely your fatigue with it.
        Have you ever asked friends for advice? People who’ve seen you with several S.O.’s? Hell, even ask other S.O.’s you’re on good terms with. I see no reason not to. There are even professionals who help with this sort of thing now. Hey, you live in California dude. 🙂
        I hate to see someone trying to give up on something essential in their lives, and knowing you I am *sure* that you *can* form relationships.
        Of course you are free to disagree; but there’s no way that giving up is going to make you happier.

  4. If this was slashdot.. My Comments would probably be moderated to nothingness, certainly not as insightful and good advice as the others.
    As someone who been there, done that with girls who seem to like you fine but then go to the other guys I can certainly understand your frustration. For a long time I convinced myself that it was my disability repulsing them. But I think the real reason is dating is a pretty soul torturing experience. It’s like Bad Christmas presents, you know what you want but you either don’t get it or it doesn’t fit right if you do.
    My success in finding someone actually came when I wasn’t looking it just sorta happened. Concentrate on what your good at, but don’t so unawares that you might miss an oppurtunity. If you don’t play you can’t win.. all you need is a dollar and a dream and all that 😉

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