html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Disc never lies.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Disc never lies.

There’s this thing we do. I think it is a profoundly human thing to do, so human and so fundamental that only the saints and enlightened are free of it. I believe humans feel a constant need for reasons, and for cause and effect. Much of that type of thinking, a ferocious need for reasons is incredibly useful. It keeps us from being eaten by lions and teaches us to wash our hands before surgery and can be combined into fabulous heavy machinery. But there is also a space where that type of thinking gets turned on each other and ourselves; in that space, hunting for reasons not just pointless, it is destructive and hurtful.

If you need reasons and you need justice to exist in the world, your mind will make both up. Did someone fall sick? There must have been a cause, like his diet, or her decision to live near a factory, or not taking care of himself, or maybe just impure thoughts. Is someone poor? There must be an internal cause, like laziness, or bad judgment, or some choice you would never make, like being born to the wrong parents. Did she get raped? There must have been something, something she wore or someplace she was, or something, something, something that you can refuse to do, so rape will never happen to you. In our human minds, the existence of a bad outcome is enough to prove that there must have been a reason, and knowing that reason can keep you safe from that fate.

This thinking is bad enough. It lets us condemn and hold people that bad things happen to separate from us. It gives us a false sense of control. Our constant habit of finding fault requires constant reminders; wonderful people fall sick and suffer; decent people never have opportunities; she did nothing wrong; chance is not justice. But there is another way this hunt for causes can send us wrong and that is when we turn it on ourselves.

As I’ve been single for longer and longer, I become more and more desperate for a reason, something I could change about me, anything I could fix so that I could please not have to do this on my own anymore. Fixing whatever thing about me is broken, so that men keep not choosing me, would be worth nearly any effort. On the nights when I’m scared, I’ll run through every old encounter, looking for the thing I did wrong, or the thing he said that would tell me what would make me a person that someone would marry. ‘Cause shit, if I could find that, I could make this all better. And friends, let me tell you, the world is fast to tell a girl that broken thing is her weight.

Here is the secret, friends. There is nothing wrong with me, not my looks, not my demands or beliefs. I am single by the chance of not meeting someone I could love at a time when he could love me. That’s all. There is nothing I can fix or do better. This is hard to believe about oneself, but here’s a trick. It is easy to see in your friends. On any day, I can look at my stunning friends and think “She is such a beautiful, phenomenal person. There is no explanation for why she isn’t extravagantly loved.” Reader, I can even say that about you. Please, if you do this, this hunt for the wrong thing about you, stop and be gentle to yourself. Be as gentle to yourself as you would to the people around you. Be your best self and show her to the world. When you are loved, it will be for the person you already are.




*************
I should have said when I first posted it that I've come to this line of thinking out of conversations with Chris and with Sherry. The good parts are probably from them.

36 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

OK guys, I'm away for the night. I am also taking off my usual comment policy. Have at it, if you must. But I am hoping that when I come back, I'll be proud of the discussion here.

Still no compliments, you sycophants.

3:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You forgot, everyone goes away at like 3pm here. Then, I'm all alone for the next 3 hours at work.

Here, 2 quotes:

Never argue with a fool -- people might not be able to tell the difference

Never argue with an idiot, they drag you down to their level and beat you with experience.

Anyway, arguing with people on the internet is pointless. People are much less civil when there's no possibility of getting punched in the nose.

Justin

4:42 PM  
Blogger Bob V said...

Sometimes there really are explanatory reasons why people are single though. Some of my closest friends have completely transparent reasons for why they are single (though none for their weight.) And our brains seek out causal explanations for things because *manipulable* causes can lead us to implementable solutions whereas fatalism prevents up from taking action.

Megan, I won't belabor the point with links, but you clearly do believe there are things you can fix and do better. Many of your posts describe your thought processes that drive your actions, and that can only be important to you if you think that you are not a passive actor in this mess to whom the act of meeting someone and falling in love happens.

It isn't that causal mechanisms are overrated. It's that certain causal explanations are disguised cheap shots. Or they are oversimplified. Or they are transparently wrong. Such explanations ought to be dismissed individually. The fact that some explanations are false does not mean that we should abandon explanations. We should abandon only the stupid ones.

4:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I dunno, maybe it's just because everyone here had it easy finding a SO in undergrad and they all stayed nearby, but pretty much everyone is in a relationship here. Even boring people, even jerks, several with real problems. Some of them are even married, or engaged.

If there's nothing wrong with you, then I just have to think you're not mixing it up with the right type of people, or not presenting yourself as someone interested in coupling.

I can't fathom your age group (sorry), so maybe I'm just off. Can't you find someone with your interests? Ultimate, hiking, conservation, cattle rustling, fun parties, bar hopping etc... and someone who will benefit from always having someone to share those interests with?

Tell us what percentage of those you meet are:
a) men
b) single (or loosely attached)
c) looking for a girlfriend
d) acceptable mates for you

If these people are satisfactory mates, then why is it you really think they aren't interested in you? If these people aren't satisfactory mates for you, then what could you do to change things?

How interested are your girlfriends in setting you up with their favorite single guys? Why or why not?

4:50 PM  
Anonymous Spungen said...

Very perceptive. Often, people insist upon finding wrongdoing in their search for causes.

5:47 PM  
Anonymous Mitch said...

Well, for my part, if there's no reason, then there's nothing I can do about it. Which I would find rather depressing.

Lately what I'm realizing is that I hadn't really been ready for a relationship, in a variety of ways. I thought I was, but then I started noticing some hangups that I didn't even know I had. And looking back, it's clear that they had an impact on my past relationships.

I suppose it's possible that I'd find someone that's bent in ways exactly complementary to me, but I'd much rather straighten myself out. It's my head! I live there! So I ought to be able to rearrange it a bit. And I have, and I'm pretty happy with how it's going.

As for the original issue, I'd be interested in reading JMPP's pre-slimmed-down thoughts on this stuff. Does anyone know if her blog goes back that far?

I wonder if some of her comments are to her old self as much as they are to Megan.

6:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I recommend counseling. Trust me, there are ALWAYS issues with yourself that you're not likely to notice unless someone else points them out to you. Preferably someone neutral and unjudgemental! Once you know they're there, you can start working on them. Was your father emotionally distant? Voila! Maybe that's why you attract emotionally unavailable men (regarding recreating your childhood in relationships, I recommend reading Getting the Love You Want by Harville Hendrix). I am certainly not saying that counseling solves all of your problems. You have to be ready WORK at it. It just helps to get you started and seeing what is actually going on within you and the patterns in your life and relationships.

10:53 PM  
Blogger Lo said...

Oh, Megan.

I know I'm not the first and certainly won't be the last for whom your words here resonated all too deeply... it gets more and more difficult with each passing dateless day, to say, My singledom is a matter of timing and chance, not an indication that I have flaws which make me undesirable.

I suppose it's the logical, left-brained side of me that doesn't like to back down. I would much rather have it be a matter of, there's something wrong with me but it can be fixed and once *I* fix it I will have all the dates I want or need!

As opposed to having it be, again, simply a matter of time. A matter of all sorts of elements over which I have, and never will have, any ounce of control or influence.

12:42 AM  
Blogger Lo said...

*elements over which I do not have

12:49 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"There is nothing I can fix or do better."

Bullshit. And if you've truly decided to believe that, then you've also probably decided to never have children (or at least, never have them with a partner -- I suppose artificial insemination or a one night stand with an unwitting sperm donor are still possibilities).

There are two things that are glaringly wrong with you that you can fix and need to fix to have a healthy relationship:

1) You need to work on being more easy-going -- right now you come across as very rigid and intolerant.

2) You need to understand and accept that other people -- including potential boyfriends/husbands -- have different needs and wants than you do, and meet their needs and wants as well as your own.

Expanding upon the above:

You write a lot about how your way of doing things is superior to other people's, and how you are filled with annoyance, irritation, or even disgust, hate, and rage when your personal tastes and preferences aren't met.

Some examples of how this attitude is a problem in forming and maintaining a relationship:

You think your diet is superior to everyone else's -- what are you going to do when you live with a man and he pollutes your refridgerator with out-of-season, non-local produce?

You think your way of throwing parties is the only way -- what are you going to do when you co-host a party with your man and he wants to do things differently?

You hate travelers for just trying to be friendly -- what are you going to do when you travel with your man if he acts friendly towards people?

etc.

Basically, you come across as someone who would be incredibly difficult to live with -- a real "my way or else" intolerant control freak.

Maybe you're just ranting and playing up the rage, disgust, etc. for dramatic effect. As a fellow blogger, I understand that we do that sometimes. But if this blog is supposed to be an extended personal ad, don't you think it's a bit counterproductive to play up your bitchy side?

In general, you seem to be either unable to understand or just don't care that other people have different wants and needs than you do. You write about what you want your potential future boyfriend/husband to do for you, and what YOU'D enjoy doing for him, but don't seem to spend much time trying to figure out what he (or men in general) would ACTUALLY want or need from you.

Unless you're seriously retarded when it comes to men, you should know by now that men's attraction process is very appearance-oriented. Yet you get offended when you post a personal ad and a guy asks for your picture. Why -- if you really do want to find a boyfriend/husband -- do you strive to make it so difficult for a man to be attracted to you?

Tip, just in case you really are retarded in this area: MEN WANT TO DATE AND MARRY PRETTY WOMEN. They're hardwired for it -- "pretty" is basically just a collection of signals that a woman is healthy, fertile, and sexually receptive and thus someone they could have children with. BEING WITH A PRETTY WOMAN MAKES MEN HAPPY. Therefore, if you want to attract, keep, and please a man, you should strive to be pretty.

I'm not saying that you're ugly now. I have very little idea of what you look like because there are no good pictures of you on this blog. But you've indicated in multiple posts that you don't put much effort in your looks, so I can deduce that whatever you look like now, it's probably at the bottom end of your potential pretty "range". Instead, why not put some effort (with some of that copious free time you have because you don't have a boyfriend/husband or children) into making yourself over into your best possible self? Workout more, put on a dress, wear mascara and lipstick, train yourself to use a better posture and body language, etc. -- I can't really advise you too much on the particulars without actually seeing you -- whatever it is that you did during the times of your life or special occasions in which men flocked to you, try to do as much of that as possible every day.

If you don't make the effort to be pretty, you're sending out all the wrong signals. Given that a) men want to date and marry pretty women, and b) they assume that you should know this by now, when you don't make the effort to be pretty you're basically telling men to fuck off, that you don't care about their wants and desires, that you don't care about what makes them happy, and that you don't want them to be attracted to you. So they aren't.

"Fixing whatever thing about me is broken, so that men keep not choosing me, would be worth nearly any effort."

It *is* within your control, so get on it. (The book I sent should give you some ideas.)

Tick tick tick tick tick.

And yeah, people are going to freak out some more and call me a bitch and whatnot, but at least I'm not one of those annoying sycophants with their boring compliments. :)

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent post. The hardest thing in the world is to accept that there are things beyond our control and knowledge, that a pattern of life is not *just* drawn by our own efforts.

someone talked about counseling but I'd suggest just the opposite: it is the desire for perfection and completeness, which though a necessary part of our make up, is also something that if pursued too
vigorously can lead to all sorts of problems.

If we could actually recognise that incompleteness, that space , in ourselves and in others without rushing to fill it then we would have got somewhere.

As Iris Murdoch once said...broken circles...

JMPP, me gets the shivers whenever you appear..as we say back home , may Allah preserve us from the evil eye :)

2:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's no zealot like a convert. -K.

6:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What annoys me is guys who talk about how lonely they are, who recognize that they are in some bad pattern of their own, and yet blow women off because they don't meet their ideal.

They even blow off potential women friends because they're not attractive enough. I knew a guy who would moan constantly about how lonely he was, and when a perfectly nice though slightly overweight woman invited him out, he said no. And he talked about how attractive this other woman was, whom I happened to know for a fact had struggled with anorexia all her life.

The thing is, women totally notice that stuff too. Notice that a guy's being an ass, that he is superficial and even a little self-destructive, and it causes even women they would find attractive to stay away, because they feel oppressed by the standard, even if they pass. You may like it if some guy thinks you're pretty, but if they're mean to your friends, and completely self-absorbed, and maybe even a little delusional, then you run in the other direction.

So I think JMPP may have a point, but only half of one. Men may be overly focused on looks. But it's pathological for them.

7:08 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

Let's say that Ms. PP is correct. She thinks that Megan's problems stem from her inability to realize that losing weight would help... er... Get a Man.

So in this scenario, PP is right and she's the ONLY ONE telling Megan the HARD TRUTH, the truth that her wussy liberal friends would never tell because we're all sensitive'n'shit and believe in people's inner light and other hippie bullshit.

So Megan takes it to heart and loses a stone or two by calling up Kirstie Alley and signing on to some program. In a few months, she has lots of dates becuse men are paying more attention to her (even though she never did start using hair products and lipstick) and it's all good.

Then what we have is a situation where Megan, who was almost whole before, is whole and happy.

Jackie, however, is still the crusty, empty, office-shoe-wearing, pantyhose-owning, Libertarian she was before.

One night ten years from now, Megan is playing with her kids at home while Jackie is sitting in her trailer playing cards on the internet. Cold and alone.

You see, people essentially like Megan because she's a warm person. Jackie has called her rigid; anyone who's been reading here knows that no matter what kind of arbitrary standards she holds herself to, it's just for her own pleasure and would not forbid any potential date or partner from eating a fucking banana. In fact, Megan has proven herself to be open to a lot of ways of thinking contrary to her own. And if she can't understand someone's point of view, she just laughs about it and serves us all some tea.

I know Jackie must suffer in her own way, and I should probably feel sorry for her, but I can't because she's so damn MEAN. People can get away with a lot with me, but when you add blackness of spirit to her list of flaws and insecurities, there's not enough liberal-wussy-touchy-feely goodness in all the world for me to forgive her her trespasses.

Jackie, why do you even comment here? Go back to your freaky fans and discuss guns or whatever. Stop pretending to be Megan's advocate.

7:45 AM  
Blogger lil miss dubin said...

i. can't. even. touch. jackie's comment. (that seems to be the thing about her: she's so over-the-top dogmatic and unyielding to normal variancs in human behaviors and emotions that in some ways it's easy to ignore her even though her words are so incendiary. certainly not "rigid" though, not jackie.) anyway, megan, i like to think i'm fairly down to earth in a lot of ways, and i'm just a girl who's also trying to make heads or tails of things and have navigated a mainly single life since 2000, before which i was too young to imagine that my realtionship status mattered too much one way or another. (at that time it didn't, in the big scheme.) all of this is to say that i UNDERSTAND and SYMPATHIZE and feel COMFORTED to know that all us good, cute, smart, thinking, ambitious, gracious girls do this to ourselves. it's human nature--not robotics, and people who apporach it that way just don't get it. doubt yourself occasionally if it comes naturally (of course it does). c'est la vie, sistah, and you know a lot about that because you are honest with your emotions.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"One night ten years from now, Megan is playing with her kids at home while Jackie is sitting in her trailer playing cards on the internet. Cold and alone."

Really? And what exactly is your prediction based on, given that I actually, you know, HAVE a boyfriend whom I live with and might marry, whereas Megan comes home every night to an empty house and has no prospects.

Obviously her current strategy for finding a man isn't effective. If she doesn't make some changes it seems unlikely that she'll get married before her ovaries dry up.

8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ok, JMPP is right.

*gasp*

No really, I think that she's right. Many men are visually oriented and they want to date and marry a woman that they find pretty. And she might actually be right about Megan coming off as a control freak too; however, my judgement is clouded by knowing her in person. So much of the harsh judgement that gets picked out here is simply exaggeration for humor or simply to stir up discussion. Sarcasm and other forms of exaggeration are very difficult to pick up in the blog format.

However, I'm afraid that Jackie has bought into a societal ideal which, though difficult to achieve, was within her grasp. Now, as others have said, converts are the biggest zealots.

Men have many tastes and, though the ideal that JMPP is pushing is very near the mean, there are plenty of men who are happy with women that don't fit that mold. When they fall in love with a woman who doesn't fit the societal ideal, they are not settling; the one that you truly, deeply love is the most beautiful person in the world.

What men (and all people, I think) really want in a relationship, is a genuine and complete person. Regardless of weight, clothing, or make-up, someone who knows who they are and loves themselves is the the most attractive. Contorting one's self to fit a particular ideal and struggling to maintain it along with the insecurity of possibly losing it is singularly unattractive.

I don't follow your blog, Jackie, but are you in a relationship that you find fulfilling and is what you are ultimately looking for? If you're not, why not? Is there something else that you need to change about yourself or is it a matter of chance and timing that you haven't met that special someone? I'm sure that you can imagine, even once you've achieved perfection, it takes a while. Indeed, if your standards are high, and the number of people that you meet is small, it can quite a while. (While I was writing this, your above comment came in. You may be in a happy relationship right now, but, it wasn't granted to you immediately upon passing a particular test. I'm assuming that it took some time.)

Simply because Megan doesn't fit the mold that you've chosen to squeeze yourself into doesn't mean that she can't find happiness and a partner as the whole and complete person that she is.

Cheers,
Tim.

8:43 AM  
Blogger Dubin said...

My prediction is based on your internet persona, which is foul.

9:30 AM  
Anonymous Scheherazade said...

I think there's a straw man here that is kind of easy to knock down, but that isn't really what the post is about.

The straw man is that Megan is saying that self-improvement isn't possible or necessary or a part of being attractive -- that love is all random accident and timing. I don't read that as what Megan is saying, but if it were, then JMPP's approach is perhaps shrill but it's logical and fair.

What I read as Megan's point is that too much focus on self-improvement or pattern analysis can make you begin to believe in some innate brokenness, something deeply wrong about you. Beauty is an easy fixation, but there are others that I've toyed with when turning this blade on myself (e.g. being 'intimidating' to men). I actually think the uneasy certainty I once had that something about my personality made me innately unloveable was more disturbing than the fear that somehow I wasn't cute enough. As JMPP reminds us, there are fairly straightforward steps we can take to maximize cuteness; it's harder to figure out how to be just the right combination of vulnerable and independent or whatever imagined formula will keep someone after they cross the room to get a better look at your sparkly eyes.

But that's the point of the post, it seems to me. That feeling of brokenness or unloveability that can creep up when you've been lonely for a while and you don't know why, it's not true. Timing is a big part of it. As is openness, and context, and presentation, and receptiveness -- and all of those things are partly under our control, and partly not.

I don't read the original post as saying there's no room for self-improvement. Just that an excessive focus on it can reinforce a terrible sense of being broken, and the brokenness somehow being your fault, and that's ugly and unhelpful.

9:32 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"I don't follow your blog, Jackie, but are you in a relationship that you find fulfilling and is what you are ultimately looking for?"

I think so, but it's still early. Long story short: I originally developed the biggest crush of my life on this guy four years ago, but it was unrequited for the first two years because he had a girlfriend (which, alas, I did not know when I first developed the crush). After they broke up we dated for a year, then I got sick of him being emotionally unavailable for a relationship and thus left him (and the country) and dated someone else for a year. He pulled his head out of his ass while I was gone and realized that he shouldn't have let me go, and so after I broke up with the other guy he wooed me back. We're living together now, and if our "relationship 2.0" works out we'll probably get married.

"If you're not, why not?"

I'm not 100% certain about the future of this relationship because there are some areas in which we are not a perfect match. So we'll see how this whole living together thing works out. But I have more of those "love of my life" feelings for him more than I've ever had for anyone else (even my ex-husband) and he seems pretty attached to me too.

"Is there something else that you need to change about yourself or is it a matter of chance and timing that you haven't met that special someone?"

I have ADHD, and my disorganization and scatterbrainedness are difficult to live with, so I'm working on that. I also continue to be vigilant in my fight against entropy!

"I'm sure that you can imagine, even once you've achieved perfection, it takes a while."

Not really. In fact, I found that putting on a skirt and a little makeup helped me attract a lot more men long before I slimmed down. I wasn't the male ideal but at least I was signalling that I was trying to attract them.

The problem with forming relationships early in the self-improvement process, though, is that you quickly outgrow your partner if they're not as committed to self-improvement as you are.

"Indeed, if your standards are high, and the number of people that you meet is small, it can quite a while."

Most of the internet apparently thinks that my standards are *too* high, yet it's been many years since I've last been single for more than a couple of months, despite continuously raising my standards over that time period. This is because instead of just thinking about what I *want*, I also care about (and improve upon) what I have to *offer* as well.

Megan doesn't seem to even consider men's wants and desires and what she has to offer them though. If you go back and read some of the old personal ads that she's posted here, they're almost entirely about what she wants with almost nothing about what she has to offer. She won't even post a picture!

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Mike Jenkins said...

Wow. This is fun, in a perverse kind of way. I think Megan invented JMPP to help her ratings.

9:36 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"As JMPP reminds us, there are fairly straightforward steps we can take to maximize cuteness; it's harder to figure out how to be just the right combination of vulnerable and independent or whatever imagined formula will keep someone after they cross the room to get a better look at your sparkly eyes."

Just being pretty and easy-going will get you 95% of the way there. Men are really not as complex as we tend to over-analyze them into being.

9:39 AM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

When you stop trying to be a better person, you should just reach for the old razor blade, but there isn't some magical plateau that will make you good enough to be loved. These two things, the striving for beauty and wholeness in yourself and the hunt for a mate, they are unrelated. Seriously. Plenty of women who long ago gave up trying to be better people are planning big white weddings at this very moment. You don't want to be them (and you knew that). And I don't really think they should all kill themselves. That was hyperbole, okay?

JMPP: Eventually your boyfriend (I'm confused, a month ago I woulda sworn you said you were single men were tripping overthemselves to buy you drinks) will notice how consistently self-righteous and unkind you are and he'll walk away. Or the internet will self destruct and you'll be left without an outlet for your venom.

If nothing else, lay off the tick-tick. It doesn't figure into a wise dating strategy, and if you really think you are Megan's advocate, or the advocate of single women anywhere, you ought to know better. Give in to desperation and it shows in your every move and that will keep you from bagging a man.

(Megan, I'd say that LO is the reason that people do need to be permitted to school Ms PP. You do have readers who see themselves in your struggle and wish they could be as open as you.)

Mike, JMPP is the real deal. She even ran for public office a few years ago, so if you want to be even a half hearted sleuth you can confirm that she is indeed most real. Not that I did that or anything.

I'm off to make some coffee, I think I might put some Annie Lennox on. "Keep young and beautiful, if you want to be loved.".

What I don't understand is why I can find the energy to say all that but I can't step up to defend eating locally against accusations of asceticism.

9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As I read it, Megan doesn't just want a boyfriend or a husband or someone to keep her warm at night and give her babies. If she did, she would probably have a number of men to choose from, and if she not she could wear makeup and be less interesting (and, if necessary, starve herself) until she did. But she'd be at least as unhappy in that relationship as she'd be alone. She wants to be with someone who loves her. Not her-when-she's-starving-herself, or her-when-she's-not-voicing-her-feelings, or the-person-she-could-maybe-someday-become - just her, as she is. And she wants him to be someone she can love as well. That doesn't mean they don't both want to become better people, but it does mean they are delighted by each other as they presently are, which has nothing to do with whatever objective faults Megan may have.

10:03 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"JMPP: Eventually your boyfriend (I'm confused, a month ago I woulda sworn you said you were single men were tripping overthemselves to buy you drinks) will notice how consistently self-righteous and unkind you are and he'll walk away."

Except that almost every time I've broken up with someone, I'm the one who did the leaving. Not only did most of my ex's not want me to leave, but often they want to get back together with me later.

Whereas, if I recall what I've read here correctly, Megan's boyfriend is the one who eventually noticed [whatever it is that's wrong with her] and walked away -- and after SEVEN YEARS!

If you really care about my love life timeline, I was single in August.

10:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike, JMPP is the real deal. She even ran for public office a few years ago, so if you want to be even a half hearted sleuth you can confirm that she is indeed most real. Not that I did that or anything.

While she's a real person, I'm also convinced that she's addicted to trolling. She seems to get a thrill out of saying things she knows will drive other people bonkers.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Now that I've made my obligatory non-Prime Directive comment at JMPP, I'll try to contribute.

I agree with JMPP that being pretty and easy-going are great. I think they'll get you in the door, but they're not deal-cinchers, either. I also think there are other items other than looks that will get you attention, like being funny or witty or throwing an awesome party. JMPP's are just the top two on the list. -K.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not only did most of my ex's not want me to leave, but often they want to get back together with me later.

Er, Jackie, I thought your ex (as in ex-husband) decided he didn't like girls after all ...?

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

10:24 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

Found it:

http://fromthearchives.blogspot.com/2006/08/my-goal-for-week-is-to-be-as-brave-and_22.html

"When the ex told me he wouldn’t marry me, his exact words were “Your personality is stronger than mine and it would be a lifetime of not getting my way.” Which is a perfectly respectable reason not to marry someone. But I didn’t want my personality to be stronger than his. I wanted him to want to marry me."

So yeah, without even recalling that's what he said (just that he's the one who didn't want to get married), I'm picking up on this too just by reading her blog: "Basically, you come across as someone who would be incredibly difficult to live with -- a real "my way or else" intolerant control freak."

Megan concludes that means she either needs to find someone who's happy being beta, or who's more alpha than her. And although I agree that she shouldn't give up having a strong personality, there are ways to have a strong personality without being a controlling bitch about it. The key is to pick your battles and only insist on getting your way on the things that are actually important to you, and compromise or acquiesce on everything else.

The more aspects of your life that you absolutely must have control over, the less room there is in it for other people and their desires.

Megan: Think back to all the little disagreements you and your ex had in which you eventually got your way. Is controlling all those little things really worth ending up single and childless? Or could you learn to compromise more on the little things, and only standing firm on the really big important stuff?

10:38 AM  
Blogger Jacqueline Mackie Paisley Passey said...

"Er, Jackie, I thought your ex (as in ex-husband) decided he didn't like girls after all ...?"

My ex-husband was gay long before he ever met me, but he wanted to be straight (he has extremely homophobic parents), and convinced himself (and me) that he was actually bi-sexual. I was such a perfect match for what he thought he was looking for that he convinced himself that marrying me would make him straight. It took him about two years to figure out that he couldn't actually make himself be straight.

We are still best friends. He also moved in with me (as a roommate) for a while about a year after our divorce, so obviously he liked living with me. He just doesn't like pussy!

10:43 AM  
Blogger ScottM said...

This post (recommended by Maia over at Amptoons) is great about food and related issues: http://feminist-reprise.blogspot.com/2006/09/more-eating-drama.html

I think you're right, that to make sense of the world we try to make everything a factor of our choices, explicable. I remember reading about people's tendencies to try to fix hazardous waste sites (obvious problem with obvious solution) before riskier but harder to solve contaminants.

I suspect that weight fills the same role in this equation; one simple variable that so much can be (falsely) hung on.

12:05 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

I think two things. One thing I think is that sometimes we all need to learn to be less doctrinaire. Especially totally capable people who've been living alone for a while.

The other thing I think is that one relationship ending after seven years does not mean a person is thoughtless and dogmatic. It means the relationship wasn't working. It is concievable to me that Megan could stand to ease up a little, but I don't think she's got to shape up before she can score a date. There is a difference.

JMPP sounds almost reasonable towards the end there. Yes, introspection is healthy. Asking yourself whether you are giving your partner enough room to be who s/he needs to be is a good question to ask. Especially if you are tack-sharp and alpha inclined. Knowing that you need to find a co-consipirator is a good thing to know.

There is no magic formula for finding love, and spending too much time strategizing will make you a scary and calculating person.

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A lot of this is nonsense. Ultimately, things may happen that you can't control, but you certainly control the odds. You just have to go in understanding the system.

Anything that happens to us is a result of the decisions we make. Maybe the final result is pure chance, but for whatever reason we chose to be in that place at that time.

I listened to my engineer friends complain for years in college that they didn't have girlfriends. But they'd never go out. Certainly, they could have increased their odds of finding someone had they simply gone to where they might meet girls, rather than hanging out in their apartments watching movies every weekend.

As much as I generally don't like JMPP, she does have a point. To find a boyfriend, you have to increase the number of guys you meet. And, you have made decisions that have gotten in the way of that. Like refusing to send that guy a picture.

How much time do you spend doing things where you're likely to meet new people? How much time do you spend out of town, where it's exceedingly unlikely to meet anyone?

I don't necessarily buy into the, make yourself more pretty thing. I mean, it probably wouldn't hurt. But, at the same time, at least for me, I don't really care if a girl is in heels, or a skirt. I want a girl who is fun, who will come climbing with me, and camping, and kayaking, and skiing, and whatever else. Skirts and heels just say high maintenance to me.

But, there are certainly things you can do to increase your odds, that's the point. And, depending on what it is you're looking for in a guy, you should figure out what things you can do to increase the odds of finding the kind of guy you want.

Justin

12:49 PM  
Blogger amanda bee said...

Justin! Are you telling me that you ...

I was going to say something clever and funny about the shocking revelation that not all men are attracted to heels, but I couldn't make it witty enough.

Not all men are attracted to heels, JMPP. Not because they don't think heels are hot but because on first glance heels don't say "me and you, we'd get along." This is part of being human, this ability to think beyond your carnal desires and interpret more subtle visual signs.

Which is where this whole "be who you are" thing comes in. If you aren't going to spend a lot of time in heels (and I hear they are hell to hike in) doing your manhunting in blahniks will just pave you your own private primrose path to disappointment.

Meanwhile, Little Miss Dubin wears heels all the time. She is relentlessly fashionable and put together (I'll stop there, I don't want to embarass her) and, if she were to somehow be persuaded that she should start going out for beers in a muddy t-shirt so she looks like she's just come from ultimate practice, she will be paving her primrose path to a relationship with some guy who is really disappointed to discover that outdoor team sports don't figure that highly on her list of things she wants to do. (oh wait, lil dub, do you play ultimate? you might.) She wears heels and makeup and has an involved hair care ritual and she is single. Not because her strategy isn't working, not because she needs to be more this or less that, but just because.

I think the real point of all of this (all of it!) is that it is really fucking hard to meet people. Especially if you are smart and willful and full of idiosyncracies. There are two ways to go about it, one is to live your life. The other is to get all machiavellian and devote yourself to the hunt. I think Megan knows that though, as do the rest of us. If we don't, the local mass market bookstore is full of advice and self help books that will tell us all how to squeeze ourselves into the mold most tepidly appealing to most men. It is called the lowest common denominator.

The problem with that strategy is, it's a little like pretending you like pussy if you don't. Some people can do it. Some people can spend decades pretending they like pussy, even. But, there will always be something missing and one day, one day they'll come to their senses and realize that they just have to be gay. Or Megan. As the case may be.

I swear, this whole thread is like crack, I have work to do, dammit.

I keep coming back to it because I really hate JMPPs advice and her relentless insistence on offering it.

8:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love you, Megan.

Debi

11:09 AM  
Blogger Tom said...

I like JMPP's advice, mostly -- though it's brutally honest.

If she was alone, I'd say she wasn't *offering* enough compromises of her individuality to become more socialized.

But she's not alone, and she IS offering a lot -- and she's worked on changing herself to be
MORE LIKELY,
not certain, to get what she wants.

Chance is big. Working to change the odds helps.
Life is uncertain, no matter what the odds.

7:44 PM  

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