Emotions are more useful than I ever knew. Can't deal with the other humans without them.
I am not good with emotions. I had always viewed them as pointless, stupid things that humans should forget about and ignore. A relic of our past animalistic ways. And for some reason it took well into adulthood to realize how wrong that belief was and that sticking to it was never going to get me anywhere.
Still, understanding emotional importance – and actually thinking about how others feel at any given moment – did not come naturally. Nor did the concept that my words would impact such emotions.
“Hold on, you’re telling me that the arbitrary sounds I make from my face-hole can ‘cause others to feel happy or sad or angry or hungry?”
“Well, not hungry, but yes”
That’s an excerpt from a hypothetical conversation I had with myself at the age of about 30. Yes, 30. I’m a little past fashionably-late to the emotional party.
Dating, as was unbeknownst to me, is like 99% emotion. (And I think 1% what shoes you are wearing?) It is therefore no surprise that I was fucking terrible at it.
Can’t we just compare spec sheets?
My ideal way to mate is simple. Everyone has a list of technical specifications like those of a laptop: the physical like height, weight, eye colour; the education level; average voice pitch; punctuality percentage; net worth; sexual preferences – frequency, normality, location. On and on and on.
As with shopping for a computer, everyone puts different emphasis on different specs. For example, I like a lot of memory and a small body. But given the high value I place on productivity, I’m willing to trade extra weight for one that’s better at getting work done. I don’t like lugging around a 15”, but when I put it to work the extra weight is the last thing on my mind.
(Probably best if you pretend that last paragraph was strictly about computers.)
Once you know your own specs and what value you place on a potential partner’s specs, they are easily compared to see if there is mating potential.
“I consider you appropriate for dating. What is your response?”
We had it nailed as kids. Do you like me? Circle yes/no.
Meeting someone at a party
“Here is my spec sheet. Would you like to engage in some form of sexual congress tonight no higher then your max first encounter tolerance and / or start a relationship of type monogamous?”
“Yes I would. Please be aware however that your specs only satisfy my secondary acceptability level therefore the ancillary clause of my first physical encounter tolerance would be in effect.”
“That is acceptable. How’s 10?”
“Let’s make it 10:30”
“Okay. I will send you a calendar invite.”
See, that interaction totally makes sense to me.
But ask that first question to every potential partner at a party in reality and you get an overwhelming response of “WTF, get away from me creep.” On the other hand, if you make the right sounds from your face-hole you can convince their emotions that it doesn’t matter what’s on your spec sheet. You end up doing dirty things and / or starting a relationship of type monogamous without ever actually verbally agreeing to it.
This disconnect between what is said and what is intended is very confusing to me. I wanted to literally chill and watch Netflix with you! Stop pawing at me! As a species, we’re naturally selecting for those who are good at emotional manipulation.
I saw a video a few years back that really helped the reality “click” for me. Watch it: “Want to come up and see my etchings?”
Tinder – one step forward, 18 steps back
Step one of Tinder makes total sense to me. It’s a limited spec sheet with far too much emphasis on a single physical representation, but it’s a start. The problem is the 2nd step is completely unclear. You just “chat”. So you say a bunch of random things until you agree to an in-person meet up. Then you both claim to want a real relationship but one or both of you secretly want to hook up that night. But if either of you mention it, it can destroy the emotional plausible deniability and the odds decrease.
WTF is that? Imagine going into a restaurant where if you say you want food too early, the waiter will look for someone else to bring it to.
“I never do this on the first date.” Right, me neither. I also don’t pick my nose or yell ethnic slurs at the TV. Never.
The world of course is full of secret contracts like this. And it has been very hard for me to understand them all and convert them into logical rule systems that my mind can understand and deal with.
I told a friend the other day that I liked school. The only thing that made sense to me in life growing up were tests. They had a time, date, clear expectations, and you were graded so you knew exactly how well you went through the process. Nothing else in life was that perfect. Imagine if before a date you had exact step-by-step instructions. Then afterwards you were graded based on how well you executed each step. I would have this shit DOWN by now.
The point here is that I’m dating again after a few months in the dark and at least I understand that I don’t understand the process. I’m still quite often terrible at it but when a date goes up in smoke I can generally see why it happened. And vice-versa when it goes well.
But if you’re reading this and you’re a human female, please approach me straight up with full brutal honest intent. Forget the emotional bullshit and follow the template party conversation I gave above. Ironically, your strictly logical approach will emotionally manipulate me into liking you more.
Still not sure how to do that? Twitter has the perfect tool: