Imperfectly Perpendicular

Despite what feels earned, actually having a week off when you work full-time while being a full-time graduate student is nearly impossible. But every now and again, I manage to move a few mountains, massage a few numbers, scratch a few backs, pay a few fees, and eureka! However, this victory is qualified by one inescapable factor: my only vacation is spent with family. Specifically, in a house that’s rented on the coast with my Dad’s side of the family. We live together for a week and occasionally do group activities and such.

Not that I don’t love my family – I do love them and am lucky to have them – but I’ve never had someone there to connect with.

I don’t text with any of my cousins. They never ask about me or what’s new. I  inquire about their lives and that’s the full extent of our terse communication. There’s never been a moment of bonding, shared laughter that could endure, or a tacit understanding that our relationship had much merit other than another person to awkwardly talk to at an upcoming funeral. There’s no service provided, no one to miss upon departure, no conversation to pause, no lingering moment to reflect on later, and absolutely nothing to develop.

There isn’t room for me at the cousins table. I poke my head in every now and again to make a presence. If my humor was swift and witty enough, perhaps I could gather some interest when I leave; although, unlikely. Despite being from the same area, we’re vastly different and I was never skilled at infiltrating pre-established social circles, particularly as an old black sheep. Gregarious souls amaze me by being able to magically level the playing field and find a connection anywhere they desire – like the quality of an energetic puppy, winning the love and affection of even the coldest hearts.

This isn’t me.

Related imageSure, I’m a social introvert. More importantly, I do not follow (and am ignorant to) social trends. Nothing about my lifestyle is akin to a hermit (hell, I live in NYC), and yet to my family, I live under a rock.

How do you engage when the discussion is centered around HGTV, TLC, sports, the last baby shower you missed, Ariana Grande, getting wasted, Broadway musicals, queer eye for the straight guy, or which loaf of bread happened to be 10 cents cheaper this week? I’m known to curtail such enthralling topics, and such a destabilization is blasphemous and unwarranted.

Obviously, this doesn’t only apply to family – I’ll never be a big hit at any social engagement. It goes without saying that the blame rests on my shoulders. I don’t mean to delineate excuses but to account for circumstances.

“In loneliness, the lonely one eats himself; in a crowd, the many eat him. Now choose.”

– Friedrich Nietzsche

What’s primarily distressful is being surrounded by people while simultaneously receding within yourself to the point of despondency, which you clumsily attempt to cover up, only to fail, making you feel even more despondent. And this continues throughout the entire week – the only vacation you get and desperately need.

And so, there everyone is; running in stride, perfectly parallel.

And there I am; bumbling, imperfectly perpendicular.

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

Loss of a friend

It’s time to call it. I’ve lost another close friend from childhood. Not to illness and death but to loss of another kind; communication.

We were thick as thieves for 20 years until he started ignoring my texts and invitations last year. I’m usually the person to reach out, organize events, etc. and although he wasn’t always the best communicator, things would snap into place (so to speak) whenever we hung out, so I never paid much mind to it. Water under the bridge. Why should I take it personally if it felt like I was the only one tending to the garden – not all personalities are built for that.

The turning point last year centered around a camping trip he told me he’d attend. I paid for the camping grounds, told him when, gave him details of what we could do, and he seemed stoked. Other friends confirmed as well but eventually backed out. It didn’t bug me that much as long as my childhood buddy was free to roast some s’mores. He had just started dating someone and said she’d tag along as well.

But they never showed. I think that’s when loneliness hits the hardest; when you’re stood up by someone you trust. No apology. No misconstrued remarks. No drama. No remorse. Just arresting silence.

Four months later, he posted one of those “Friendversary” videos on Facebook with a comment saying “Been too long bro. We gotta hang out at Christmas. I’ll def make the time.” That never happened either.

I’m nearly 30 and I’ve lost two friends this way. My extant problem is that I’m the one to brood and self-reflect. I never did find the blithe, happy-go-lucky escapades of the convivial extrovert all that manageable. Good people are hard to come by, so doesn’t it make sense to engender the spirit of companionship by cultivating the bond that’s there? I suppose this is the loser’s mindset as it’s easy to feel like a loser when you’re the only one who cares.

That said, I still have a few friends who haven’t given up on me. Although I know I can be rather inexpressive, I’m not unappreciative of this. I struggle to find the right ways of saying this so I give it my all to be there for them in times of need.

That said, I was quite reluctant to call this one and make it official in my head that our relationship had died. How long must the cacophony of flatlined alarms last?

I give it a year and hope I’m wrong. But here’s the proverbial truth:  the ball’s in their court and they’ve never made a fucking layup. Only a self-hating degenerate would hold their breath for this.

Here’s to my dignity.

Image result for flatline heart

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

My Thanksgiving: as told by a Muppet

I don’t know about your family but mine is filled with Swedish Chefs terrorizing a kitchen for 4 hours straight. To illustrate, I present you with the following:

“Aunt Edna, could you pass the yams?”

Yuou gut it. Cumeeng reet urp!”

chef2.gif

“Hey! Did you mix that bowl yet?”

Off cuourse. Bork bork!”

Chef_hitting.gif

“Grandma, how are we doing with the turkey?!?”

It’s ibuout tu be-a stuoffed!”

Stuffed.jpg
“Grandpa…WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH A FLAME THROWER?!?!?

Flame.png

Happy Thanksgiving all!

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

What Connects Us

To be perfectly honest, I don’t know. Is it my lurid sense of humor? After all, who wouldn’t embrace the gentle warmth of a stranger’s hand as you ascend to the gallows? Are you a vagrant and see that in me as well? I’m not the best looking but compared to old Boxcar Willy, I suppose I can hold my own. Maybe it’s a different flavor of independence; insolence and dissidence. Both kinds are easy to spot out – no need for smoke signals when there’s a fire of visible grandeur. On the contrary, perhaps you see something that isn’t there – a quality I’ve never possessed – and you’re unequivocally convinced it’s the answer to all your prayers. Who needs a God when there’s a temporal resource on speed dial? Number 4, to be exact.

Or, could it be that you’re attached to my illusive traits? Although mercurial and tacitly agreed upon, it feels like a blood pact. Meredith Brooks cashed in on being a “bitch,” so it’s been proven in theory and practice. Chaos can be, and often times is, majestic. That said, everyone has a threshold and, consequently, an end date. I just hope we can speak candidly when that time comes. To revise, and partially reverse, a pithy sentiment: Second chances should be given to everyone who deserves them.

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

Throwback: My First Time (Girl Fail #20)

G FAILIt would be illogical to write – not to mention relive – my Girl Fails without telling you how it all started. I’m going back to high school for this story; back before I had a modus operandi, back before texting and when everyone was on AIM, back when I was battling unwarranted boners and jacking off every 15 minutes, and back when I was oblivious to anything sexually tacit (oh, the irony). Despite my mercurial nature, there was a sensational brunette in my 9th grade English class sitting beside me and I was smitten.

She was shy, allusively charming and, although the same age, blasé – as if she had been on more adventures than Amelia Earhart. But, I could make her laugh. The more I did, the more confidence I acquired and even I was surprised by this recycling of energy. Her best friend sat in front of us and pretty soon we all became close. After flirting for 2 months, I asked her out. She said yes and I got her email address and screen name (not many kids had cell phones at this point). I was ecstatic and eager to fill my friends in on my success, which is why I was surprised to find a rejection note in my locker the next day. She said her life was complicated, she liked a man in another state, and that I was a good guy. It was my first real rejection but I didn’t let it stop me from trying again.

FriendClass was awkward for a week but we got back into our old flirtatious habits and it was business as usual till the end of the year. We chatted online all the time and sent each other funny photos via email. End of the year finals were here and with Summer break quickly approaching, I was afraid I’d be immured in the friend zone for eternity unless I asked her for her number. I couldn’t bare the thought of not seeing her for an entire season.

My plan was to ask her after our English final. Well, guess who finished the test in half the time I did and was picked up by her parents? I was abject. Alas, all hope was lost!

Not quite. Her best friend was waiting for the buses like I was. Believing it was my only shot, I asked her if she’d give me our mutual friend’s number. Noting my candor, she smiled and gave it to me.

“She likes you, you know,” she said, surreptitiously glancing over her shoulder as if her friend would suddenly appear.

I called her that evening, explained how I got her number, how I was sorry I didn’t ask her personally but with the summer here and I didn’t want to lose touch. After speaking for 5 minutes, she said she had to go and I suggested that we hang out sometime.

She sent me an email that night strongly voicing the err of my ways. What I believed to be an innocuous phone call between friends turned out to be the most menacing, disgraceful act normally executed by heartless tyrants. She went on to say that we had absolutely nothing in common, I had no idea who she is or where she’d been, and I was thoughtless (there we go with the irony again). She closed by threatening violence (she had strong, “protective male friends”) if I ever dared to call her again.

ThinkFrom that moment on, I began to over-think every single statement, action, or pass I made at the opposite sex. I feared that no matter how close I got to anyone, I could still be regarded as an evil threat. Every pact could be broken at any time. Every gallant gesture could be misinterpreted as malicious. Every compliment could be tainted by selfish and hidden intentions. As much as I challenged these thoughts, my subconscious seemed to open the door and graciously invite them inside to percolate.

After two years of silence, she instant messaged me randomly one day. (Interestingly enough, I was dating someone at the time.) She asked if I hated her. To be honest, I struggled to find the relevancy of her question since we remained strangers for the past few years. Then again, it was high school and we were all dramatic and peevish twerps expecting our world to end by means of a merciless calamity. Most of us aren’t like that anymore. Anyway, I replied saying that I didn’t hate her and asked if everything was okay. As if she was in a confessional, she wistfully explained what was bothering her and confided in me. She felt lonely all the time and pushed others away for no reason. She regretted the email she sent me and wished she could have taken it all back. Although it was a strange time for an apology, it was nice to hear it from her.

Regardless, the damage was done. She changed the way I pursued women all throughout college and, most likely, is the reason why I continue to contemplate my presence around women to such an unnecessary degree.

Now would you look at that? That’s some Class A psychologist babble right there, and it was all for the price of one large coffee at this quaint cafe on the corner. What a steal!

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

I’m an idiot but let me explain…

Fool“It’s better to be silent and a fool than to open your mouth and to prove it.”  Hopefully this isn’t your point of view because I’d like to know who the fools are, just as long as there’s an equally vocal retort and opposition to unethical or unreasonable conceptions. Considering the human condition, we are all subject to reproach in our normal discourse. Here are a few facts about myself that seem nonsensical.

  1. I have trouble going outside. This isn’t to say I struggle with agoraphobia but it’s a combination between nerves, my lack of spontaneity, and desire for organized plans. There are times where I plan out an entire day of errands but when the day comes, I can’t bring myself to leave my apartment. Irrational thoughts flood my mind. I didn’t leave the apartment early enough and everyone will know how lazy I am. Why do I even have to do this today? The weather’s not great and I’ll feel under-dressed. What if I get to the store and they don’t have anything that I need? What if I make a fool out of myself when I’m out? How will I forgive myself if I do or say something stupid to stranger?  If my roommate says he’s going out to dinner in 5 minutes and asks me to join him, I’ll always hesitate, even if I have absolutely nothing to do. Dinner? I didn’t plan this! What if something happens when I’m away? The majority of the time, I’ll reject these spontaneous offers. However, I do my best to challenge and repudiate each and every one of my anxious thoughts. I overcome them most of the time but I’d rather not deal with it.
  2. CreeperI constantly make unnecessary accommodations in order to avoid looking like a creeper. A caustically humorous acquaintance once told me, “As a single guy, you know what you do when you feel as though you just can’t creep anymore? You creep harder.” Although this cracks me up, I could never follow this exaggerated, borderline sarcastic, advice. In reality, he’s really  implying is that it pays to be insolent, albeit not always. I’m arrested by anxious thoughts because I don’t want to be misunderstood. Here’s a couple examples: I do most of my reading on the subway and as every New Yorker knows, one is not always blessed with a seat. As I stand in the aisle, I’ll hold my book by my stomach and look down to read. However, if there’s a woman sitting down in front of me, in my line of vision (underneath my book) wearing a low cut skirt or a revealing top, I’ll raise my book to eye level so it doesn’t appear as though I’m looking at her. In all honesty, I’ll sneak a peak but 99% of my attention is on my book. Second example – yoga class. Having no knowledge about yoga, you can imagine how lost I was at times when I started attending a few  classes. Ignorant to the vernacular, my poses were an embarrassment and I had to rely on others in order to correct my stances. Yet, I felt like a jerk for looking at someone up and down for a second to assess what I was doing wrong. True, in most circumstances, I’d be smitten by a room full of gorgeous women – okay, I was a little overwhelmed – but in this case, I wanted to learn and my methodological glances felt abasing. So, I memorize everything I screw up on and research outside of class. Well, that is if I can remember.
  3. I’ve asked “Can you keep a secret?” Lying is probably not below those that can’t keep a secret, so it makes absolutely no sense to propose this question. The same goes for when someone asks you a question, and your first response after a moment of hesitation is, “Truth?” No, they want your fatuous lies. That’s why they asked you a question; in order to never hear an answer. This is just plain dumb.
  4. I procrastinate. Edward Young said it best, “Procrastination is the thief of time;Year after year it steals, till all are fled, And to the mercies of a moment leaves, The vast concerns of an eternal scene…At thirty, man suspects himself a fool;  Knows it at forty, and reforms his plan; At fifty, chides his infamous delay,  Pushes his prudent purpose to resolve;  In all the magnanimity of thought resolves; and re-resolves; then dies the same.  And why? Because he thinks himself immortal.  All men think all men mortal, but themselves.”   This should be a prescient warning so that one does not end up losing more than one can bear. Yet, I keep delaying and procrastinating. Such a funny thing.

What senseless habits or thoughts do you have?

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC

I’m A Recovering Hopeless Romantic

Aren’t you tempted to go into a paroxysm of rage when you think of how much you’ve had to unlearn through the years? Think of how credulous you once were – maybe you still are, I don’t know. Parents, religious leaders, teachers, police, presidents, etc. are not inerrant and never will be. Yet, this is a slow realization and quite a contentiously sour topic for those whom want to hold on to such fallacious beliefs. The reason why is a mystery to me but I suspect it’s for comfort. Embracing the human condition and the imperative significance of reproach, I learned how foolish I was by remaining a hopeless romantic.

What do the following have in common?

  • Paul Revere rode to Concord to warn that “The British are coming!”
  • Einstein failed math in school
  • Edison invented the light bulb
  • Napoleon was short
  • Vikings wore helmets
  • We only use 10% of our brains
  • Walt Disney was frozen after his death
  • Cleopatra was Egyptian
  • If it rhymes and sounds good, it must be true

They’re all absolutely false.

princessHere’s something else I’ve heard that requires rephrasing of some kind: “Every woman should be treated like a princess.” There are so many variations of quotes like these and they’re all generalized crap. To illustrate, let’s invert it: “Every man should be treated like a prince or king.” Can any adult actually believe this and not feel some sort of embarrassment? I mean, the royal life isn’t some Disney fairytale. Case in point, look up Tower Hill.

PepeI’ve met plenty of men and women who are hopeless romantics and let me tell you, it doesn’t make any sense; all those grandiose gestures on Valentine’s Day, giving 10x more than receiving (when it comes to literally everything), making nonsensical sacrifices where any normal thinking being would realize that they’re being taken advantage of, knowing that they have found their soul-mate (again), etc. These people are just in love with the idea of love, and I used to be one of them.

porchI daydreamed of creative romantic gestures as though it were a performance piece eagerly waiting to be acted out. You name it. Whether it’s poignant poems, love letters, dedicating songs, hiding notes for them to find, doing chores they hate, celebrating every little anniversary, breakfast in bed, or spontaneous massages or gifts or getaways. Part of my mindset was that if I did all these things, I’d be a great boyfriend. However, most of the time, you’re just playing second fiddle.

This post isn’t supposed to denounce and undermine romance. My point is that people are not infallible, and some behaviors or habits don’t deserve to be inured. Don’t be a pushover, think for yourself, and challenge those around you. Are they worthy of your benevolent deeds? Will you be recognized for your sacrifices? Are you burying your regrets? Unrequited love gestures are insidious recipes for disaster.

“Beware the irrational, however seductive…Distrust compassion; prefer dignity for yourself and others. Don’t be afraid to be thought arrogant or selfish. Picture all experts as if they were mammals. Never be a spectator of unfairness or stupidity. Seek out argument and disputation for their own sake; the grave will supply plenty of time for silence. Suspect your own motives, and all excuses. Do not live for others any more than you would expect others to live for you.”  -Christopher Hitchens

Blow_romantic

Not everyone is the romantic type and just because they don’t openly display their love every waking hour, doesn’t mean they don’t care. Yet, in spite of the message here, love will make you do stupid things. And I’m guilty of that too.

-Single Guy in NYC
@SingleGuyInNYC