I’ve explored a great deal about my love life, or lack thereof, over the past two plus years. If it was any colder, I could solve global warming single handedly. Theoretically, if I were to go about trying to change this, I would need to cater to my strengths. So I figured it might be interesting to examine my own feelings and past to sort out which areas I would be best or worst at. By “environments”, I mean a setting or location. It’s easier to list the ones where I do the poorest and then move my way up. Although since I am still one of the great untouched, one could say there’s no habitate or location where I do well or am genuinely considered desireable. I’m doing this in a free form, free association style so I don’t think I’ll be numbering any of them.
Dateless-Man’s Worst Dating Environments:
Bars & Clubs: I’m lumping these together because they’re similar. I don’t enjoy drinking to excess, and they usually have music that’s so loud that I have to yell all the time. But the biggest challenge is that not only is it hard to strike up conversations with random women who are strangers, but that it’s even harder to even find any who are alone. Even if you go to a haunt on “singles night”, most women will either be with a date (a man or another woman), or be with a gaggle of friends. It’s hard enough coming up with an ice breaker or opener, and having it be heard over the din of music and other people talking. But now I have to scope out who is single and who isn’t with a crowd. It’s incredibly difficult trying to engage with a group of people when you only want to speak to one. There’s no socially acceptable way to say, “Excuse me, ladies, but I only want to speak with her. May I have permission or is this unacceptable?” So you have to either wait until the group splits or try to engage them all, which is as many times as difficult as there are extra people there. And no group makes it easier. As soon as some dude comes over, the collective will judge him. And as soon as I might almost have the confidence or a good line, 5 other guys have already gone for it.
I’ve gone to bars many times with my friends since high school. I have always felt like an extra wheel, desperately piggy backing onto other people’s conversations. I never enjoy myself. The conversations rarely are about anything I have much experience with. Nobody is there to talk comics or anime, they’re talking jobs or lovers or so on. Adult stuff. There’s not much to say about work and even less to say about my love life. At best I am their shy awkward sidekick, making all of my pals look more charismatic by default. I do even worse at clubs, where the music is louder and everyone is jumping up and down. Even if there was any space to dance, I have utterly no ability. There’s no way to distinguish myself apart from “jumping moron #25” or “jumping moron #26”, especially if they’re in better shape and more at home in the environment. Since clubs have less space or volume for chatter, physical attraction is more important than even bars. And that’s always been one of my biggest hurdles, being unattractive. I don’t think I am ugly, but I’m hardly the sort who women tend to be immediately physically attracted to. At a club, this is the kiss of death.
I only went to a club one time without my friends (and even with them, I only went to about 2-3 clubs with them). I paid the cover and then tried to avoid being trampled. I maybe had one drink and stood around planning the best opener I could think of to a woman I had spotted at a distance who was totally alone. By the time I had, it had been about half an hour or more and another guy had swept in, and they were chatting at length. I was in my mid 20’s and it was quite a waste of time. At least when I am with my friends, I occasionally have someone to talk to and it is less embarrassing then being alone. But I’m not at home even with them in either. Bars and clubs really require you to overpower the scene with personality, looks, and/or charisma and I have none. It all feels so artificial. If you try talking to anyone, they know exactly what you’re after and will reject you before you get in a word. Assuming they even hear you.
Parties: They’re similar to bars and clubs. Most parties one is invited to tend to involve friends or associates. If they’re a regular crew, it can usually mean no one is single there. If it does involve some single women, then EVERY OTHER GUY will have the same objective as me. This immediately puts me in direct competition with other guys, whom I may already know, with direct witnesses. If you fail, you will be remembered for that FOREVER. It will be the story the group tells at every subsequent gathering until you all die. Even if you attended a subsequent party with a harem of Swiss bikinni models, someone will recount the one time you flamed out. If it’s a party where I barely know anyone, it’s similar to a bar or club, only with lower volume. You may have to interupt a group, which is awkward. Anyone you try to chat with knows exactly why you are there.
“Hi, my name is–”
“I am not into you, get away from me, die in a fire please.”
“Hah, look at ____, she just told him to die in a fire! We’ll tell this story forever.”
Fuck parties. Ones that involve dancing are even worse. Thankfully I’ve never been to one like that. Just awkward social gatherings where everyone was coupled up aside for the one girl who was bulldozed by all the single guys, usually. Like Bars & Clubs, the downside to using icebreakers here is that they’re difficult enough to come up with, and always feel artificial. Everyone knows that a guy isn’t going to start up a conversation with a woman he doesn’t know (or barely knows) unless it is fodder for something romantic. That puts an air of artificiality on it, and a sense of futility for me as well.
And no, cosplay parties aren’t any easier. I went to one last year, actually. If you come to a party alone with no friends and can’t break the ice with women in groups dressed normally, nothing gets easier just because they’re dressed like Avengers or Sailor Scouts.
Speed-Dating: I’ve gone on four of these, including one last year at the New York Comic Con. I’ve typed at length about them, but clearly they are not a good environment for me. I have never gotten one full date out of them. They can be exhausting, and feel like mini job interviews. Even when you feel there is chemistry, someone can have their fill of you quickly. If there are others nearby, they can hear your schtick ahead of time. Many times, the hosts’ attempts at comedy or keeping the mood light are as embarassing as the MC at a 4th grade prom. They’re a good way to meet dozens of women very quickly, and also a good way to be rejected by dozens of women in a hurry. The last one I went on I was genuinely proud of my performance, but it didn’t get me anywhere. Apparently, after a sample of the Dateless, nobody wanted another helping.
Random Street Cold Approaches: Basically, just chatting up women on the street or when circumstance happens outside. Admittedly, this is supposedly the hardest thing to do, a challenge to all but the most suave or sleazy of pick-up artists. Opportunities such as this don’t come up often, but when they do, I botch them. I’ve also watched in awe as others seem able to wade into these sorts of opportunities around them. It’s difficult enough for me to come up with an icebreaker or “go all the way” and try to get a name and number at a venue where in theory it’s socially acceptable, like bars, clubs, or parties. On the street at random feels even harder.
Dateless-Man’s Best Dating Environments:
Schools/Classes: By virtue of my one date in high school. Two things are to my advantage here. One is proximity; women in the class get a dose of me a number of days every week. They get used to me, maybe even hear me speak. And that leads to the other thing, regularity. I am not the sort of person women are just attracted to. I’m nowhere near as dashing, interesting, or charming as other guys. My strength is waring on people like a set of old socks. Not in an aggressive way, but in an, “Eh, he’s harmless/sort of funny” sort of way. The only dilemma I used to face is that if I made a move and failed, the rest of the semester would be awkward, and likely lead to gossip. I’ve heard it said that “things are only awkward if you make them awkward” or “people take cues from you on how to react”. I think that’s baloney; platitudes that people say without ever thinking about them. Unless cues are read properly and both parties are single, an unwanted classroom solicitation can be awkward or lead to gossip regardless. Still, I preferred the time to plan a move (which I never made), and the repeat opportunities. And at the very least, you have something immediately in common to talk about.
Warm Associate Approaches: Unlike a “cold approach”, a “warm” approach means you actually know the person. This may be a coworker, a classmate, a friend, an associate, or someone in your social circle. I can’t say I ever feel at home or comfortable in any setting involving women, but I feel less uneasiness with someone I am familiar with. It makes it easier to get an idea on their interests and a better notion of whether we click. This isn’t to say that I’ve ever succeeded here, either.
Online Dating: By virtue of my one date from OkCupid. In theory I have more control of my initial presentation. I can type and edit a profile, and try to pick photos where I look less horrible. You have more time to reply to any texts and can theoretically reach out to dozens of women in a very short period of time. Were I to try dating again, it would be exclusively through this medium. I really have no better options. I am not going to waste money on bars and clubs where all I would do is pay money to drink overpriced alcohol, stand around, and leave dejected. I can write well enough and if I zealously attacked this I could probably get at least one or two more dates eventually. Probably maybe almost!
Last Man On Earth: With all competition eliminated and all hope of future procreation available only through me…the rate of artificial insemination and homosexuality among women would rise about 1,000,000,000,000 %. However, by sheer virtue of being the only remaining option available, I would become more desirable and my rate of success would increase. Yes, I am taking this premise seriously.
Alternate Planet and/or Universe: Maybe I’m not. In theory in an alternate universe or planet by some sheer fluke of their solar radiation, atmosphere or gravitation forces I could be bestowed with powers far beyond mortal men there. It could be a realm of empathic psychics who find my awkward yearning and self loathing vulnerability attractive, in the same way that Cyclops is somehow attractive to Jean Grey, Psylocke, and Emma Frost. If a guy with a foreign accent can be considered “sexy” just by virtue of that alone, imagine being a guy from another universe. Maybe it’s a dimension where the stink of failure is an aphrodisiac. Or it could be a planet where all the males are gone. Look, I just don’t do well with competition.
Conclusion: It looks like short of getting lucky with warm approaches, it’s online dating or bust for me. It gives me more time to build rapport or set up something, or rely on my writing skills. It does take a lot of work and planning in terms of dates. And I do face having to overcome my virginity, my litany of faults, and my potential kinkiness. But with all other venues being far more difficult, it’s my least worst option. I wish I had a better one. I suppose a long term approach would be expanding my social circle, going to MeetUps and hoping either someone there is single or knows someone who knows someone who is single, but that’s far more long term than online dating. Besides, MeetUps which are geek orientated already have the problem of the one or two token women likely fending off more offers than they want. My ideal environment would be someplace where I had no memory of my endless failures with women, where I felt truly confident and accepted, and where I could sense genuine potential desire in the women around me. Short of a flight to Vegas, however, I don’t think any such place exists in this universe for me. I remain…the Dateless Man.