Of course non-famous men are creeps, too. That's why sex offenders have to register as such and a list of their names and addresses are made available to the public.
My first girlfriend was "molested" when she was about ten years old. My college crush was "almost raped". Joy was "sexually assaulted" (in quotes because that's how they described the incidents) and another female I've met online (and definitely will not identify) was raped in high school.
I'm not that kind of creep. I've never groped or abused women, physically or verbally. But I have said and done things that could be considered creepy.
When I was in junior high, we had our field day outside in the parking lot. There were games and music and whatnot, and the girl I liked was dancing to some song that was popular in the mid 90's, and I always felt so shy and awkward and uncool, so I did what all the other boys did - I sauntered over to her and said "Shake it, girl." And she smiled back and everything was fine. But I regretted it immediately. That's so not me, why would I say that?
Take anything I've written on this blog, or the previous incarnation of this blog, or the one previous to that. I've spilled a lot of ink over Taryn Southern - yet when some superfan (whose last name looks a lot like Creepo) does so on Twitter I cringe. Dude, stop. But I have to admit, if I were coming of age in the social media era and could directly communicate with my celebrity crush I'd probably be a worse "Stan" than he is.
And that's a (sort-of) celebrity. What about my years of obsessing over non-famous girls? Angela practically destroyed me. I was seven years out of high school, didn't know anybody in Jersey and didn't need to because I was married. And suddenly I wanted to know her more than anything in the world. But I was too socially awkward and traumatized from past failures to feel comfortable around her. It was torture.
At least I never met Joy in person. Good lord. For all the obsessing I did over Angela a decade ago it would have been a hundred times worse if they were switched. I don't think I would have noticed Angela if I had come across her on my computer screen - maybe a quick "Dayum, she's cuuute" and that's it.
Crushing on Joy wasn't about her hot little body or her big brown doll eyes or her flawless smile. It was about her heart, her warmth, her purity. I just always thought of her as some rare and delicate treasure (who can deadlift 200lb?) who should be protected and respected and appreciated a lot more than she was. And there are far too many men out there who only want what is on the surface - like I did with Angela.
I can't defend the way I think and talk about women. I can explain it, though.
Go back to that field day in junior high, when I badly wanted Lauren to think I was cool. Being myself had almost worked with her. I asked her cousin if she had a boyfriend, and he said he didn't think so. So I asked her out - in a note, of course. I always do better with the written word than the spoken word (I'm alright in bed, but I'm better with a pen.)
She did have a boyfriend. Some kid named Jeremy. A short time later, she wrote me a note that they were having problems.. and she wanted to talk to me about it at the park after school.
"I think you should break up with him...and go out with me."
...is what I should have said. But that would have sounded as awkward on my tongue as "Shake it, girl." So instead I gave her some meaningless advise that permanently cemented my place in...
I never learned that trick. Probably because my dad was a worthless alcoholic and I was raised by my mother (and older sister.) Having that female-centric upbringing helped shape my values into something I can be proud of. Unfortunately, I only learned what not to do. The gaps in my knowledge were evident every time I tried to talk to a girl I liked. My mother admits to this day that she "failed" me because she was an older mom, dealing with her second shitty husband, and had three grown kids from her first shitty husband.
My "brother from another mother" was raised by his father. His mom was an alcoholic and lived in Louisiana. Bran and I were so similar on the surface people actually asked us if we were brothers (hence the nickname.) We were both tall, kinda average looking, loved baseball (not in an 'all-state slugger' way but in a less appealing 'stat geek' way) and had similar tastes in music and comedy. He's the one that got me into Aqua Teen Hunger Force. He's the one that bought me a Mr. Sparkle t-shirt for my birthday.
He's the one that got all the girls.
Mind you, he didn't "steal" anyone that I wanted (our mutual friend Sean did that) but he knew how to navigate his way in and out of The Friend Zone. In high school he had a similar reputation as I did - the nice guy. The good listener. The friend. But eventually he developed a confidence with women that I never could. He'd flirt with waitresses by being kind of mean but not too mean. We'd go to concerts and he'd spot a hot girl, go over to her, and come back with her number before the band took the stage. How did you do that?
I was amazed at his skills. But, for the most part, he stayed in his own league. I didn't know how not to be attracted to girls who could attract guys that were more attractive than me. Bran knew exactly who he was and what he was capable of - and I attribute that to being raised by his father. The only girl I could have reasonably expected to be my girlfriend was a troubled goth-ish burnout who explained that she loved me too much to date me because she was so bad with boys. Uh...thanks?
If it were not for the internet - and my modest ability to express myself through words on a screen - I would probably be living out the rest of my years alone and in my mom's
When you finally have a girlfriend and your friends' first reaction is legit disbelief.. it really deflates your self-esteem. But he was right, in a way. The only reason I was able to be myself with Fi was because I met her online first - and the only reason it worked was because she had just been dumped by her fiancee and had (sort of) attempted suicide herself.
That didn't translate too well in person; we only dated for about eight months. We were staying at her father's house in Canada when she dumped me. I was confused and upset and stuck in Ontario for another four days. So I slammed the door to her bedroom as I left - and she snapped at me like a mother would. Like it was an unreasonable reaction to have. She even told my mom the day I departed that "I was scared...he's very strong."
First of all, no I'm not. I've never been and I never will be. (if I had any muscles at all, I'd have had more girlfriends) But, as I said, Fi was molested as a child. Maybe she was physically abused. Maybe she thought I'd hurt her, I don't know.
All I knew was that I was destined to be alone again, for an indeterminate amount of time. So when I met my current wife - online, of course - I just assumed that this was my last chance. I almost broke up with her once, but couldn't bring myself to do it. Good thing I didn't.
Being awkward around Angela was no surprise to me, but I'm really disappointed in myself for messing up with Joy. (Who btw is five two and a buck ten - and is much stronger than me) The experiences I had building online relationships with Fi and Di, and blogger friends past and present should have made it much easier for me to communicate with Joy. She's not intimidating like Angela was. She's sweet and self-depricating, and usually projected an approachability - even when she was lifting like a boss and modeling for album covers.
But unlike the pervs that pollute the internet I was self-aware enough to assume that no 22 year-old woman would want to be friends with a married man in his mid 30's (Hi, Sam.)
And yet...it didn't stop me from trying. It just stopped me from succeeding. Because deep down I knew that I had feelings for her, and it was clouding my judgment. (If you remember that mean comment I made about her modeling, you'll understand.) It made me realize that I had to cut my losses and stop trying, and I did. I haven't contacted her in years. But I still think of her and I'm still writing about her and I hate it. It makes me feel gross.
This is why I don't do social media. This is why I don't comment on any of Taryn Southern's posts like that superfan does, or why I don't blog about anything but baseball cards. It's also why I avoid speaking to people - especially women - whenever possible.
My co-worker is a couple years older than me, and she's very nice. We have similar opinions on the office and our colleagues, and we're both married with children. She's also socially awkward like me. Maybe worse. Like when she wanted to ask me a question and completely over thought it, as in "I don't mean to offend you, but... do you celebrate Halloween?"
That's sad. She just wanted to invite me to her (son's) school's Trick or Trunk. But the way she tripped over herself to ask me sounded like I would if I dared to tell her she looked good that day.
And it kind of sucks that the things that she and Receptionist lady (who is no longer our receptionist but that's a story for another day) say to each other would sound creepy coming out of a man's mouth. "You smell nice today" sounds harmless coming from a 60 year-old woman, but what if I had said it? What if I complemented Receptionist lady on her chic wardrobe and svelte figure, as my socially-awkward coworker has?
Might be a good way to get oneself fired, publicly shamed, and possibly arrested.
I really don't want to discuss this stuff anymore. I've been using this blog (and the one before it and the one before it) as a repository for all of these thoughts about all of these girls, and I know how it all sounds. A new year is coming, and chance for a new beginning. I might just merge this blog with my sports card blog, and stop with all this longing and lusting and whining.
Every Christmas my family and I would make mix CDs with songs that match different topics: a song with a color in the title, a song you like from an artist you don't like, and so on.
One year a topic was "A song that describes your life." I chose Morrissey's "I Have Forgiven Jesus" because it was less obvious than the song that has described me since eighth grade: