I had an interesting interaction with a woman, a complete stranger, while waiting for a taxi home from the bar last night. As my friend sort of hung out the front window to the bar, the woman inquired which man was her husband as I stood with him near the curb, and the woman's response to the answer was, "Good. The other one's kind of ugly," referring to me. Having known me since grade school, my friend knew how I was going to take hearing this, and she croaked, "Oh."
While it's true I shouldn't have responded with, "Fuck you," and am in dire need of, "thicker skin," being referred to as ugly sets me off. It's probably due to my history, as last night was not a unique event. Since the 6th grade it has been a fairly regular description used both behind my back and in my presence. I find it hard not to believe when just as soon as two weeks ago, on three separate occasions in the same night, I talked to three separate women and they each stared into the distance like I didn't exist, perking when my married, "hot" friend (a different one than previously mentioned) approached.
The world is a superficial place. The sagely wisdom and magazine articles about a sense of humor or personality being more important than looks, never judging a book by its cover, is complete nonsense. Us weirdos spend life chained into the role of friend, sometimes acting as a surrogate boyfriend (doing everything a boyfriend would do minus the physicality), watching the more attractive people decide who they're going to take home, watching them lie and cheat and break the hearts of those we care for, watching them get married and have children and, in some cases, listening to how bad they supposedly have it.
As any reader can tell, self-perception has almost been a lifelong battle of mine, probably starting in puberty like most others. I've been single for a decade, and it's not for lack of trying. I've asked women out for coffee, dinner, the movies. I've asked them to join me on group events. I've joined dating sites. All to no avail; I've heard every excuse in the book, some nicer than others. One of the most intriguing excuses happened in Denver when I was dumped for being, "kind of depressing," a day after one of my best friends died from cystic fibrosis. I've heard others speak of not dating me as if it's a badge of honor.
Until this year, I actually believed in love-at-first-sight and soul mates. I thought there would come a time when I'd finally be given the opportunity to prove my worth and devote myself to a woman wholeheartedly, but now I am not as certain. Time is fleeting, and every day is a missed opportunity. Every day I'm less apt to try.
It's easy to believe some people go through life alone, regardless of their intentions. In fact, in my circle of family, friends, and acquaintances I know two virgins older than 30 that have never been in a relationship in their life. I suspect, however, that it doesn't effect them as greatly as me as they've never voiced a concern about dying alone or hinted at putting a bullet in their brain.
The only ways I've dealt with such feelings is by concentrating on the things I have control over: writing, drawing, hobbies, taking care of pets, and hanging with my nieces. Anything else, at this stage of my life, seems a pointless endeavor.