Friday, May 30, 2014

Let Go

"Nothing takes the taste out of peanut butter quite like unrequited love." 
~ Charlie Brown (Charles Schulz)

I haven't posted in a while. I guess I haven't felt that I've really had anything to add to the multiple blogs out there serving nerd culture, so I haven't gone to the trouble of writing a new entry. I'm not crazy about this whole Batman vs. Superman movie, but that has little or nothing to do with the whole Bat-Fleck controversy, and pretty much everything to do with the fact that Zack Snyder still hasn't given us a Superman movie yet that was very good.
I'm also not as thrilled as everyone else on the internet that we're getting three more Star Wars movies that will include Grandfather Han Solo, Grandma Leia, and Grandpa Luke. I like their cinematic stories having ended in Return of the Jedi. It was a good place to say goodbye to those characters. I am not particularly excited at the prospect of a curmudgeonly Han Solo complaining that he's "too old for this Sith."
So, rather than being the dissenting view on these upcoming projects - and coming across as a bit curmudgeonly myself - I just took a little break from posting my superfluous nerd stuff. I am looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy (but I fear that it won't be the moneymaker that Marvel/Disney seem to think it will be.)
However, I did have something else that has been on my mind lately that does impact nerd culture quite a bit. There was a mass shooting recently that got quite a bit of attention. I wish these things got a little bit less attention, because I believe it sends a message to attention-seeking, disturbed minds that an act of terrorism is a great way to get yourself some notoriety.
However, it has sparked some important discussion lately on the subject of misogyny and the perceived entitlement of men hoping to earn the affections of women.
There have been many insightful and thought-provoking posts on this topic all over the internet of late. Notably, I recommend reading what Arthur Chu had to say on the topic. Again, I didn't feel that I had much to add, but a friend of mine shared her own story of a scary situation with a persistent admirer, and I was inspired to write a Facebook post, which I will share here now: 
Way back in Junior High School, a couple of us accompanied a buddy home who had received the dreaded "I don't like you in that way" note from his crush after he had worked up the courage to ask her out. (Out where? Who knows, since we never went anywhere, but that's just what you did.)
We got to his house, and my other friend said, "Forget her, man. She's just a [word we really need to stop calling women, guys]."
Well, Grandmother came out of the kitchen at that and wagged her finger at us.
"Not the girl's fault she don't want to be your girlfriend! Not your fault who you love. Not your fault who you don't love. She just being honest. Don't blame. She not right girl for you. So find another girl. Lots of other girls."
Grandma's words have always stuck with me, and - given some of the national discussions currently about misogyny in light of recent tragic events, it seemed right to share them.
In movies and television, the sweet, slightly neurotic guy makes a bold gesture and gets the girl. Or maybe his dogged persistence eventually wears her down. We are told since we are little boys that we have to "win" the girl's heart.
Guys, in my experience, that's a fantasy. If a woman isn't interested in you when you first meet her, no bold gesture, dogged persistence, or "winning" strategy is going to change that. And here's the important part: that is not her fault. She's not being mean, she's not a [oh, that word again], and she definitely, definitely doesn't owe you anything for your efforts. Why waste your energies on someone who isn't interested in you? I don't get that. There are 7 billion people on the planet. Odds are that you will eventually find someone whose heart you make sing as much as she makes yours - but not if you're chasing after some poor girl who really wishes you would stop buying her stuff.
If a woman says to you, "I'm sorry (and she has nothing to be sorry for), but I'm not interested in you in that way," that is a GIFT. She just eliminated a TON of guesswork on your part, and let you know that you should be looking elsewhere. If you're smart, you thank her and make friends with her. Women friends are awesome. They know so much cool, useful stuff. And I'm not talking about "secretly pining and waiting for the opportunity to show her how you're always there for her" friendship. Do NOT be that guy.
What you don't do is blame her, get mad at her, tell her she's making a mistake, call her a [seriously, who started this?] or some other derogatory term. First, it's not nice. Second, it ignores the fact that she is a person with her own preferences, dreams, and opinions. And third, when the next guy comes along who she's not interested in, it makes her afraid to be honest with him. Don't make it hard on everyone else because you got your feelings hurt.
Rejection happens. It happens a lot, if you're willing to take a chance. That's why it's taking a chance. "No" was always an option, but let me ask you this: did you follow your feelings? Were you honest with the woman about how you felt and respectful of her in doing so?
Congratulations! That, my son, is what being a man is. If she's not interested, it's okay to be disappointed, but it's the same kind of disappointment that comes from a baseball game being called on account of rain. It's nobody's fault.
Can you handle your disappointment with dignity and grace? Good. Here's a stamp for your man card. Nine more and you get to grow a handlebar mustache.
"But I bought her a gift!" Well, that was nice of you - unless you were expecting something in return, in which case, it wasn't a gift, was it? I'll just take that man card back for now while you think about what you've done.
"But she is the only one for me! I just know it!"

Brother, you should get some help . . . and a statistics book.

I wrote a follow-up post that I will share tomorrow on: handling rejection. (I'm practically an expert.)

1 comment:

  1. Part or all of this post was stolen by the blogger at He did it to me too (and several others as well.) His blog needs to be taken down! As of today, I have been unable to contact him. Perhaps you will have better luck. Just thought you should know that someone is stealing from you.