Some of you know that I’ve hit the dating scene pretty hard the last couple months. Recently it seems like things have accelerated a bit; right after Valentine’s Day this year, my profile on OKCupid started getting a LOT more attention. I’m generally blaming V-day for this phenomenon, even though I did make a few minor tweaks to my profile – if it was only the tweaks (some different photos and a few more daring words), the difference in attention is just astounding. We’re basically talking about an order of magnitude in difference.
All of which brings me to the topic of this post: my opinion of all the classes and books and what-not that “experts” sell to teach people how to make their dating lives infinitely more complicated (The Game, The Rules, whatever, they sell this shit to everyone). Now I won’t try to deny the power of psychology and manipulation. People who are really good at tweaking the perceptions of others succeed very well at getting people to go on dates with them, and even get into bed with them. All that is awesome, I say go ahead and go get what you want. But as for me, I’m not the kind of person who can have sex with just anybody; so there’s no point in just going out and trying to get any random woman into bed with me. I don’t enjoy that at all, that kind of thing just leaves me feeling empty and unfulfilled.
I am actually terrible at doing manipulative stuff like this. I couldn’t tell a lie to save my life. I frequently get manipulated by others. And I wouldn’t succeed at manipulating someone who wanted me to tell them what to do. And yes, I realize that there are people out there who market their techniques as responsible and good-natured, but when you get right down to it, all they’re really teaching people to do is how to be coy and deceptive about their actual motivations and feelings. Some people call this “the chase” and quite a few people actually enjoy this back and forth game playing stuff. And there are many folks who actually say that this is the heart of dating itself, that this is exclusively what dating and courtship is all about!
My response to this is bullshit. And my evidence to prove that it’s bullshit, that everything that all these people have to sell you is a huge crock, is very simply this:
When you meet someone and you have chemistry with that person, everything goes completely out the fucking window.
When real chemistry kicks in, you stop caring about your requirements; it doesn’t matter that the person is hairy, or blonde, or has green eyes or drives a Porsche. You ignore the rules you set down for yourself, you call the person when the hell you want, you just do ANYTHING YOU HAVE TO to spend time with that person that drives you crazy. A lot of the techniques people sell try to simulate chemistry, and fool people into thinking they have it with you; but inevitably that kind of thing runs out of steam, because you just can’t fake the real thing, and then one or the other people involved just breaks things off and you move on.
The bottom line is that if you have no actual chemistry with a person, all the PUA and NLP and blah blah blah in the world isn’t going to create actual love. It’s not even going to create a fun dating situation. I suppose if all you care about is non-emotional, non-attached dating/sex, chemistry doesn’t factor in at all and you’d have a vested interest in continuing to play with games and rules, and you probably would also get an equal amount of satisfaction out of using cucumbers and cutting holes in ripe melons.
Unfortunately, it’s really hard to find real chemistry. It’s an exceedingly rare thing. Plenty of people go through their entire dating lives and never encounter it, and all they ever experience is how it gets simulated with “the chase”. It’s no wonder people think that the games are all there is! Because not only is it hard to find chemistry, it’s even harder to find mutual chemistry. Unrequited passion happens all the time, and people get rejected and they think “If only I had said the right thing, or done the right thing at the right time.” But no, that’s not how it works. You can’t make somebody feel that spark with your deeds or words. It only comes if it’s meant to be there, and no one, not even the people who feel it, have any control over it. All this pick up line crap and rule junk is just plain old hubris. Getting somebody interested in you via artificial means is not the path to real chemistry.
My dating handbook would be extremely simple: Go on dates. If there’s mutual chemistry, keep dating; if not, move on ASAP. There’s no reason to complicate things, or for anyone to feel bad about chemistry not happening. Real chemistry doesn’t happen 9 times out of 10, maybe even 99 times out of 100! It’s just not a big deal – it’s only going out on a date for pity’s sake. There’s no reason to classify people’s personalities or analyze their childhoods or past relationships, or come up with excuses as to why you can’t see them again. If it’s not there, it’s not there, move on!! No need to unload your baggage or pick more up. No drama necessary.
As for the chapter in my dating handbook on how to deal with unrequited chemistry… um… yeah. Those pages would actually just be a bunch of blotchy tear-soaked ink stains and bad poetry. I have no fucking clue how to work that shit out, I doubt I ever will.
But I think that I am very lucky in that I have felt real chemistry, mutual and unrequited, several times in my life. I’m even starting to think that the reason I’ve gotten to experience it is because I lack the ability to hide my emotions and intentions. By making myself vulnerable and wearing my heart on my sleeve, I’ve managed to get involved with some amazing people who have changed my life, and as a result I know exactly what it is I’m looking for.
I hope I find it again soon. (And hopefully it will be the mutual kind)