Tag Archives: social awkwardness

Confidence Man, Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Ladies

To be an irresistible object of such intense desire is truly a curse. I can only hope it is not genetic, or if it is, that it's recessive and my children are spared its heavy, heavy burden. As hard as you might find this to believe, I wasn’t always the vibrant, powerful natural leader and chick-magnet you’ve come to know and, in the case of all you ladies, love.

I used to be shy and very awkward.

Around women.

It started when I was about ten, and came to an end, I think I can safely say, when I was thirty. Maybe thirty-five.

Every once in a while, I will be struck by the introspection bug and look back at my life, and I’m always astonished by how far I’ve come in the social aptitude department, given my disadvantaged beginnings.

The short version is, now that I’m married and have no need to do so, I can be very suave with the ladies. *

The long version is, well, the same as the short version but with sad, sad childhood stories attached to it.

If I had to guess, the root of my problems was self-confidence. Specifically, a complete and total lack thereof.

What contributed to this?


In a word: women.

Or, during my formative years: girls.

Shocking claim, eh? Can I back up such an inflammatory, sexist accusation with evidence?

Empirical, no.

Anecdotal, yes.

There was the neighborhood girl, Margo, who teased me mercilessly when I was six or seven. She also used to chase me up and down the street, her cootie-infested finger in front of her like a lance, trying to infect me.

This did not help quell my burgeoning irrational terror of the fairer (ha!) sex.

There was the time I finally, by surrounding myself with objects of comfort and triumph, worked up the nerve to call a girl and ask her out. After a brief, muffled consultation on the other end of the line, she informed me she wasn’t allowed to go out with boys. And then switched shifts at our summer job to avoid further contact with me.

Being told by a girl I liked at another summer job that I looked like a priest.

(This was before the sex abuse scandal – I can only imagine with a shudder what that statement would have done to my then-tender psyche in the post bastard priest era.)

Now, keep in mind, I didn’t start acting all creepy and stalker-y until after these incidents, so the only reasonable interpretation of these behaviors was that I was a complete and total loser who should hide his true feelings until after extensive covert observation and research had established that the object of my affection actually knew I existed, and might, maybe, if drunk enough, admit to thinking I was an OK guy that she’d be willing to set up with an acquaintance of hers.

Naturally, being under-aged and a goody two-shoes, I didn’t have access to alcohol.

It was a long, lonely tenure in high school.

Though during this period, I developed an uncanny expertise with binocular and telescope use, long-distance photography (please don’t operate under the illusion that long hours alone in a dark room will make you more socially apt – it doesn’t), parabolic antenna deployment, wire taping, and, oddly enough, hot-wiring cars.

I suspect attending an all-male high school may have also made a contribution to my inability to interact with women, but if so, I doubt it was a significant contribution.

So what changed?

Short version: no women.

The longer version: I ended up in leadership roles in different organizations that allowed me to build confidence and social savvy, and all without the underlying, debilitating purpose of trying to be noticed by, not to mention impress, the ladies.

I was in those roles to get other things done.

Once I stopped worrying about the ladies and what they thought of me, I relaxed. I stopped second-guessing myself. I didn’t worry how people would perceive me and started being myself.

I suppose the fact that I was married at this point may have contributed to this lack of concern about how females perceived me.


How did I manage to find someone to date me, let alone marry me, in my pre-“Hey good lookin’, we’ll be back to pick you up later!” stage?

A fair question.

No, I did not order my bride from an impoverished nation full of women who spoke only broken English and were eager for American citizenship despite the horrible matrimonial cost.

I imagine that route would have been easier.

I think I have to attribute my matrimonial bliss to my wife, who in addition to being wise and beautiful, is also incredibly patient and a firm believer in communication.

And maybe has a kink for guys who can really handle a telephoto lens.

Or perhaps it was the months spent on recon, discovering how to manipulate her into hating the friends who stood against me while learning her every like and dislike, and then molding myself into her ideal mate.

On the gripping hand, it might be because love conquers all, even debilitating shyness and uber-creepy stalking.

I think that last one is funny, but since the missus sometimes reads this blog, I’ll attribute all my romantic success to that.

* It is possible, though I deem it unlikely given my enhanced abilities to read them, that ‘the ladies’ might find this assertion laughable. Any giggling you might hear can only be coming from jilted lovers and other assorted foes bobbing up and down like so much flotsam in the wake of my new-found powers of social assimilation.

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Nose Hair, Evolution, and String Theory: The Three Legs of Reality’s Stool

Yesterday, I had to replace my dead CRT television with a new flat screen.

Messed up TV image

The CRT's mode of failure inadvertently tapped into the military transmissions of a cartoon intent on taking over the world.

This naturally led me to thinking about nose hair.

The old TV was heavy and awkward and old, possibly like me, but I won’t confirm that for sure, even if my wife is making me run with her three times a week to improve our health.

When I dropped the TV, and it made that strange sproingy, hissy sound, well, it reminded me of all the odd noises my body has started to make lately over the course of a normal day.

Which made me start to think about nose hair.

You know how when you’re young, your nose hair is all neat and black and not trying to creep out of your nose and repel members of the opposite sex?

Yeah, I remember those days. Sigh.

Fortunately, I managed to get married before the nose hair went crazy.

(You get ear hair too when you’re older, though I’m not there…yet!)

It’s also a cruel irony that as men develop this … excess … nose (and ear) hair, they tend to develop a … deficit … of head hair at the same time.

I started to wonder why on earth men get crazy nose hair (and ear hair (and who-knows-what-else hair I have in store for me)) as they get older. Then I figured it out.


As we get older, our immune systems start getting weaker, more susceptible to things. Well, things we aren’t already immune to (like scathing irony). To compensate, our body tries to make it harder for germs and such to get in our bodies. The approach is two-fold.

Physical protection: the hair in our noses (and ears) gets thick and unruly to filter out any of the larger nasties bouncing about in the air. A ‘None Shall Pass’ approach that only a deftly handled sword could penetrate.

Social un-networking (or decoupling): these rats’ nests hanging out of our noses (and ears) make us physically repulsive, so polite people shy away from us and less polite people run screaming in the opposite direction.  An excellent barrier to contracting STDs, among other things.

This nose hair immune system ‘shield’ is a rather brilliant design, stunning in its simplicity and effectiveness. Therefore, evolution is real. Q.E.D.

Wow. I just proved evolution is fact. I have ensured my place in history.

(And on a few hate lists too, no doubt.)

I would think women have the same issues with nose (and ear) hair, though if they do, they’ve certainly circled their wagons and ensured I never hear anything about extraneous hair issues affecting the fairer sex.

I think this is terribly unfair. Men have to get these awful, noisy nose (and ear) hair clippers as they get older, or wrestle with these tiny, impotent little scissors, and have to primp and pull and pick while standing at awkward angles in front of a mirror.

But women? Nothing! They just gracefully fade into old age.

It is so not fair.

Oh sure, I’ve heard the rumblings. The physicists positing that nose (and ear) hair plays a critical role in String Theory (and therefore men, being the only carriers of nose (and ear) hair, play a critical role in String Theory). I don’t care if it’s true (and the evidence is quite convincing thus far).

It’s still unsightly.

It’s still ghastly.

It still causes my children to retreat from me, wailing and screaming, if I approach before my morning ‘shave’.

Therefore, I demand justice! I demand the doctors and pharmacists of the world start looking for a cure for excessive male nose (and ear) hair. I demand governments put aside vast amounts of research monies to fund this search! There must be a cure! If Hair Club for Men can give me (er, I mean, men in general, ahem) a full head of hair, there must be a way to give men a neat and trim nasal passage!

Only then will I be able to breathe easy.

On a slightly related note, I’ve also discovered that you cannot snort Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (hardback or paperback). Not directly, mind you (nose hair, remember?), but through a third-party. I have pictorial evidence of this, but thus far have been utterly unable to obtain the necessary releases to post the picture. But I assure you, it cannot be done!

(At least, if the book is intact).


Posted by on 1 September 2011 in Conspiracies Out To Get Me, Life


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