Sunday, October 24, 2010

Doctor Andy's Guide to Dating Doctor Andy, part XVIII

First, a disclaimer: there aren't seventeen other parts in this series, so if you were the sort of person who immediately thought to go looking for parts I through XVII, I apologize.

Second, another disclaimer: this is about real people.  Myself (primarily) along with various other people I've had varying degrees of relationships with over the years.

I started this entry for a good reason, but that reason was not "a step-by-step guide to landing Andy".  One of the things I've talked a lot about in this blog over the years is relationship philosophy.  That's why I titled this "part XVIII" -- it's a nod towards the fact that I'm sure I've given at least a dozen rantish pieces of advice over the years.

I decided to carpe some diems and write this off the cuff.  That probably means that somewhere in my archives is an entry that looks a lot like this, in both tone and content.  So consider this an affirmation of vows.

Or an update to the terms of service, for all you modern techheads.

I.) Thou shalt be strong!

I appreciate women who give as they get.  Part of my personality is devoted to teasing -- this is not to say that I enjoy making fun of people.  I'm only interested in playing the game if women are using the same rules.  I've had little success making fun of people's weight, appearance, race, or creed.  Instead, I love poking a little fun where people are strong and confident.  The areas where any mocking is knowingly refutable by my target in their own minds with little effort is the best kind. 

II.)  Hold thyself in readiness for traps

I have a quotation (written by me) on my Facebook page at the moment which reads "All conversations with me are traps, in one way or another."  This goes a long way to explaining my personality lately.  It also dovetails nicely from the previous point.

A friend on Facebook is the only individual so far to comment on that line.  I have no idea how many people have even read it, let alone thought about it.  This friend had thought about it and she felt it was a "terrible" thing to put up, exposing myself for my true elitism and indifference to others.  While my words may sound ominous and stuck-up, the reality is something different.  Exclusively for readers of this blog, I want to let you in on the shocking secret of my conversations.

The person the trap is usually set for?  Me.

It's basically a way of self-effacement.  I love setting up something that is a more risible position than I actually hold, just to provide an opening for another person to slide in and score a point.  Usually, it's done in a winking manner that allows me to set up a position as a stuffy know-it-all while affording someone else the honor of puncturing my hot air pronouncements.   Good fun for children of all ages.

But true, there are times when it is not meant as a fun and flirty game.  Sometimes it's a calculated stalking of someone else's opinions.  The long slow enticement of information until the subject gives up one or two too many points and I spring by pointing out a folly.  That -- I grant you -- is not an entirely pleasant side.

III.) Thou shalt not hide important facts about thyself

The fact that one has a twelve-year-old daughter shall not be left to the second date.  Ideally, it should be common knowledge before the FIRST date.  Regardless of how people feel about children, they don't like to feel like people are hiding life-altering secrets.

IV.) Thou shalt not tell everything thou knowest

Yes, this is practically the opposite of number 3.  This refers to things you'd rather not divulge.  Abortions in high school.  The number of people you dated in college -- be it zero or thirty.  How you're on bad terms with your father because of the incident at Little League.

While this is all interesting and does go a ways towards sketching out character, it is not necessary to divulge these sorts of matters right away.  Some trial and error may be required to determine which belongs to rule three and which to rule four.

V.) Thou shalt not hate who thou art

Such a important one.  I hate the idea that I'm turning into some sort of new age-y wellness guru, but I really feel that it's vitally important to like onesself.  If I were a guru, I'd have a method to pass along (as well as a line of self-published books available for purchase).  Instead, I have no advice to offer.

I can stand my own company.  I know at my heart that I am a person who has value in being known, that I work hard to help friends when needed, that I'm generally pleasant to be around, and that I'm terrible at keeping my car and home tidy.  These are the things I know.

And from among that not-at-all complete list, I can tell you that the positives outweigh the negatives.  I'd want to know someone like me.  I might not always LIKE them, especially when I (the other me) have occasion to get miffed.  I'm pleased with who I am and what I stand for.

So many people don't feel this way about themselves.  It used to make me sad in a "try to rescue all the cute puppies" way.  Now it just makes me dis-attracted to those people.  I'm now old enough that there are people my age with children that can drive cars -- that's far too old to spend time with people who fundamentally dislike who they are and how they've settled life's choices.

I know it's tedious to hear from me.  Especially when I don't offer any tried and true methods for fixing these things.  But this is primarily a blog about me and how I feel.  And I have grown exhausted over the years of dealing with people who don't "love the skin they're in" (a quote which has been bandied around so much that I don't remember if it belongs to a marvelously ironic beauty company or a writer who thinks that putting this on paper counts as "writing poetry).

In my opinion, there's really only one thing about one's physical appearance that cannot be readily changed: height.  Everything else has a surgery, a diet, a dye, a cosmetic, or a routine that can help to emphasize or minimize it.  And yes, I'm aware that the height of a person has been modified by surgically installing extra shunts into upper and lower legs.  That sounds like an atrociously painful torture rather than a sound medical practice and further emphasizes my point: we are incredibly good at making our outsides reflect our insides.

*** *** ***

I have a beard.  Usually I have a beard because I think it looks good and suits my face, but also because I'm trying to encourage the hair follicles on the rest of my head to up their game!  Now and again, I change it.  Most commonly, I'll shave it off.  During the summer, sometimes I'll shave down to just the chin and mustache to keep cool while keeping hair.  For a brass band performance a couple of years ago, I shaved into the "friendly mutton chops", where sideburns are allowed to trail across the jaw line and connect to the mustache, but the chin and throat are shaved.

I have not (to my knowledge) ever received a compliment or a complaint against my full beard.  When I completely shave it, people will notice, and everything else I've tried has drawn only criticism.  I've had people complain that not having a beard shows how big my lips are, or how fat my neck is, or how soft and pathetic my continually receding hairline looks . 

And yet I persist in shaving creatively whenever the mood strikes me.  I like the way it feels when I am freshly shaven.  I enjoy the time and process involved in making sure a more complex cut is even and flattering.  I actually have to think about the various contours of my face to accommodate my trombone playing (which unkempt mustache hairs interfere with) and for smiling and symmetry.  

My point is that I enjoy having and NOT having a beard.  And while I'm sure people perceive me differently depending on whether they meet me when I'm behaired, I don't really put any thought into that.  One of these days, I'd really like to shave off half of my beard (i.e., the left half) just for fun.  As a bonus, it would allow me to address people with whichever side they preferred.

No comments:

Post a Comment