It seems like LW's giant concern with not making women feel uncomfortable is a convenient way for not ever feeling uncomfortable himself. What's so wrong with a little discomfort? I can personally attest to the fact that awkwardness isn't going to kill anyone, and sometimes a little awkwardness can lead to a lot of fun. Taking risks, even small social risks, is a great way to feel more alive, even if they end up in rejection.
I am always flattered when someone shows interest in me, and I only feel insulted or belittled or taken advantage of when someone refuses to accept no for an answer, or generally ignores my response to a situation. Also, it helps to remember that we've all been flat out rejected in the past, many times over. It's like Polly says - Rejection is not personal.
Dolly Parton has been my hero since I was a child. We spent our summers in Rabun County Georgia, and my sincerest wish every summer was to go to Dollywood. It was more than a two hour drive, through the national park. I think we went twice. My most vivid memory was that a gun fight broke out in the street of the old western town and scared me to death. Clearly staged, but totally convincing to eight year old Charlsie. It looks like they may have gotten rid of that attraction, maybe too many crying children. I also remember being pretty disappointed that Dolly wasn't actually there. Ahh, memories. I want to go back.
Seriously. Have you ever read Camus's The Plague? I have a friend in Sierra Leone, and he recently spent some time in the Ebola area with a community outreach program. Apparently it's difficult to convince people to bring the sick people to the hospital, and the early symptoms of the disease are vague, so people don't get immediate treatment and continue walking around spreading it. Basically, the situation is not under control. At all.
@commanderbanana The four months thing is the part I can't get over either. Because, reading the letter, I have a hard time figuring out when he was great. It seems like he was always terrible. That being said, I've dated some terrible people, so I'm not judging, I just don't see when this guy ever made LW happy.
@franceschances Those people who couldn't show up, they are going to have a rough life until they learn how to show up. Cause the lose of a parent is a pretty sure bet eventual tragedy in most everyone's life. I think it's harder when you are younger because your peers can't relate, but it is an invitable. Our society sucks at teaching coping skills, when coping skills are really the only thing we actually need to learn. It is actually a reasonable consequence of only wanting your kids to be happy. It's possible no one ever taught them how to appropriately handle the unhappy.
But there is a lot to be said for just showing up. My mom said when my sister was sick, she most appreciated her friends who just showed up, and didn't hang crepe or wring hangs. Someone who didn't ask what they could do or act like the world was ending, but instead showed up and acted normal and asked questions or baked cookies or made her laugh or just gave her a hug. Simple acknowledgment is easier and more powerful than most people realize.
My sister died four months before I was born, when she was five and a half (after a long illness) and my brother was a year old. I grew up in a household that could not ignore grief. My mom always said that grief is like a cup that is full and overflowing, you can only absorb so much at a time. C.S. Lewis's A Grief Observed is an excellent book, and Elizabeth Kubler Ross is amazing. Finding real people to talk to is more important, but books always help me fill that void between the people I need in my life and the people I have in my life.
This might sound crazy, but if you don't have a pet, I think you should get one.
@sony_b I love this comment! It's like what Polly said a few weeks ago - Rejection is not personal. I always try to remember that the way people treat me is more of a reflection on them than it is on me.
@Sharilyn Neidhardt Oh don't you worry, I'm not giving up. I'm a work out fanatic for health reasons (physical and mental), I put on sunscreen before I walk my dog in the morning, and I love expensive make up. I am only too aware that I'm more effective and forceful in a business setting with the right eyeliner and mascara - but that generally just lowers my opinion of the people around me more than it makes me feel good about myself.
And when I say aging gracefully, I don't mean hanging it up - I just mean accepting that maybe you can't wear mini skirts forever and accepting your laugh lines for as long as possible before running to the plastic surgeon. Get out there and run some stadium steps (after you put on your sunscreen) and moisturize like a fiend at night. Drink lots of water. Aspire to be Elisabeth Shue.
@Sharilyn Neidhardt Because looks are fleeting, and are a terribly flimsy foundation for your self esteem. I want to most value in myself the things I most value in others. Believing that your looks are more important than anything else you have to offer is an unhealthy way to live your life.
@calamity That's so funny you mention your parents genes, becuase my parents happen to be what people would call - the beautiful people, and I was told more than once growing up that I was pretty, but my mom was beautiful. Luckily, I never saw my mother's beauty as a detraction from my own, I saw it more of a guarantee of my potential. I wonder if this is feeling is common in the children of good looking people?
I definitely agree that the fact that I have very little control over my skin and my hair and my figure is a big part of the confusion. I'm just tall enough to be tall, and naturally lean and muscular, whether I work out or not. The physical qualities that receive so much attention happen to be things that I did absolutely nothing to deserve or earn, and instead are good genes.
I've been given things based on my looks - jobs, drinks, attention, etc - and as cool as it sounds,I think it messed my head up a little bit about which traits were valuable to the world. It is something I'm really striving to come to terms with, because I think aging gracefully is really important and worthwhile. Plus, I'm such a huge nerd, and I end up weirding out people who are mostly interested in my looks.