Day 365: The Man and the Clean Start; ‘Savage’

‘Day of rest’ my shiny keister.

I don’t know what it was, but this morning the sun was shining, it was a crisp and clear Catand beautiful day, and I wanted to bury myself in dust and dirt and undo a full year’s worth of damage to my bedroom. Now I’m not actually a ‘messy’ person, per se. Like, I have very strict bedroom rules. Absolutely no food or drink. No one is allowed on or in my bed unless they change into ‘bed clothes’, which as the name would imply, should only ever be worn in bed. We’re your typical Asian family so we already do the whole ‘no shoes indoors’ thing and that extends to no socks and slippers everywhere. Slippers are worn all around the house but are left at the bedroom door and I’m only ever actually barefoot in my room. I put dirty clothes in the laundry, worn but clean clothes on hooks, and all clean clothes are folded or hung. Like I said, I’m not a savage. Hahah.

But I am a bit of a hoarder. And that’s the big problem. My rooms never gets dirty, it just gets crowded. And every now and then I need to just arm myself with five extra large Activitiesgarbage bags and three empty boxes and remind throw out everything I once thought I might need and probably haven’t touched since 2014. That’s not an exaggeration, by the way. I did actually find and throw out things I’ve held onto since then for no real rhyme or  reason. So I’m currently enjoying the incredible ease and peace of  mind that comes from a near empty room filled with only purposeful and  meaningful things. I can’t believe how much I had that just had to go, and for good benefit. I even managed to clear enough to redecorate and reorganize some parts of my room. Plus, I think I unlocked like a good ten extra square feet of space.

Resolution 1The timing of my clean room purge isn’t lost on me, by the way. I know what today is, and I certainly think that at least some of my desire for this cleaning was definitely in part due to the last day of my year. You know how some people get around New Year’s. They clean up, they get hopelessly and foolishly optimistic, some even run or exercise, or get foolishly optimistic about running and exercising. And in many ways, to me this is more about the start of a new year than the end of the last. Nothing ends after this. The Resolution 2blog continues, Man continues, and Me continues. In fact, all there is to look forward to is more new, more change, more ‘more’ of everything. And the fact that I am cleaning and listening to more 70s and 80s and 90s pop and dance and rock and I am dancing and singing my way to the end of this day, the end of this year, does make me feel foolishly optimistic that everything is gonna be alright, everything is gonna be good.

That I could sing and dance and be hopeful at all is in and of itself a major accomplishment, and a testament to the strength I’ve found this past year. I look at the final count and think to myself, 33 days, a little more than a month, really isn’t all that bad. And I think it would have been a lot longer, and would have been a year with much more negative experiences to have to answer for. When I first started this blog, and when I did some research for my NaNoWriMo project, I remember reading articles about how men and women get over relationships differently.

See emotionally and mentally, women are hit more notably and visibly. You know the deal. Sappy romances, chocolate, ice cream, and flannel pajamas for days. Women will Sad Ice Creamshut themselves in and shut the world out. On a very superficial level, compared to men, it seems like women take longer to get over breakups and feel the effects of them much more deeply. And there are very clear and logical evolutionary reasons for this. Biologically speaking, women have more to lose when a relationship fails. Women naturally have much more to invest in relationships and therefore have to consider them on deeper levels faster than men. What one man sees as a brief night of passion a woman might have to see as nine months of pregnancy and years of lactation and care. With much more to gain and to lose, a failed relationship could bear great weight on a woman. But inevitably, give it a couple weeks, a couple months, maybe a year or two, a few pep talks, some honest late night conversation, and she always, always, recover.

You’re gonna think guys get over relationships faster. You’re going to think back and remember men who’ve broken hearts or whose hearts have been broken, and remember how seemingly easy it was and how quick it was for them to get ‘back in the game’ so to Sad Andyspeak. And I’m not denying the signs. Relationships being formed seemingly right away. Clubs and bars and nights out with friends. Sometimes it seems like their feet hit the bar before your tears hit the floor. And certainly in terms of ‘moving on’, men do move on faster. But a lot of times, unlike most women, while men do ‘move on’, most never ‘heal’. A lot of men, even those who seemingly move on quickly, end up burying and bearing the feeling of that loss for much much longer periods of time than women, feeling either the pain of having to try and find what they lost or fearing that what they lost is irreplaceable. You see this in disastrous cycles of identical failed relationships, or men who end up becoming self-saboteurs.

So we’ve got deep and searing pain for a couple months with the eventual promise of recovery, or a speedy bounce back with years of lingering effects. Huh. And to be fair, I think normally I would have followed my natural path and probably within a month or two, try to date, get some online profiles up on a couple different sites, maybe dig up old acquaintances on Facebook to promisingly disastrous results. From personal experience, I know how these breakups usually go, and often times the harder and harsher the fall, the quicker I resort to same old tricks. So what broke the cycle? Why didn’t I go down the most familiar and comfortable path I had? What’s so different about men and women when they go through heartbreak?

This is just conjecture, just one man thinking and speaking out loud, throwing it to the void and seeing what sticks, but I think it comes down to just that. Thinking and speaking ConstantTalkingout loud. Communicating. Women are natural communicators. They share. When they’re done and hurting, they tell, or they have good friends who come and listen. The point is, there’s no shortage of willing ears, or a willing spirit to share. So everything comes out. In large painful bursts but, eventually, it all gets out there. And they’re afforded that opportunity to heal, to recover, to grow, develop, and maybe just maybe avoid the same mistakes, same hurt. Guys, we don’t usually do that. We like to think we’re just so in tune with each other that we don’t need to say anything. It’s almost like, the closer and the manlier your bond, the less you speak. We’ll drink, we’ll spit out enough cliches to get a guy ‘back on the horse’ ‘back in the game’ ‘back in the hunt’ and maybe we’ll just need to keep the cycle going more often that we’d like or imagined. But it’s gotta work, right?

This time, I had this blog. And for 33 days I shared 33 reflections on 33 things that hurt me, kept me up late at night, made me afraid of the coming day. And that number could have been anything. The point was, I always had this outlet. No thought unsaid, no feeling unexplored. And while in the beginning it was to the void, even just the act of verbalizing, forming, seeing the thoughts on screen, had effects. But eventually I had Dataconversations, and interactions, and extra voices, to build up or tear down, depending on what my train of thought might be and where it was headed. Ultimately, I don’t even think it was about the no dating for a year. Or the particular count and wanting to ‘win’ the year. I think it was about finding a voice. Saying something, anything, was better than keeping it in and doing just whatever it was I wanted to do. There’s value in communication. There’s value in the people you communicate with. When I started this blog, one of my goals was not just to be a place for me, but a place for anyone who needed to talk, or needed a second reassuring voice, to find comfort and solace, and maybe some wisdom through similar experiences. I’ve seen and felt firsthand the power of communication. I’ve learned so much, but not nearly enough. And I’ll keep learning and going. But for anyone who ever needs to talk, or listen, I’ll want to be there for them. Unless I’m cleaning. Because I won’t be able to hear you over the Vengaboys.

Hey, that’s just for cleaning music. Don’t judge.

Day 365 FINAL

Man: 332 (WINNER) Loneliness: 33

 

Day 364: The Man and ‘The Big Sick’; ‘Jangle’

My friends don’t understand why it is I’ve always been so obsessed with relationships and romance and love. And I used to always tell them that once they were finally in a relationship, they’d understand. They’d see everything for how much brighter and more colorful and more vibrant they become when they’re with someone. I just got out of the movies, and rushed home, to start writing this very late post, because I think I got that illuminating ‘a-ha’ moment wrong all this time.

I was a kid living and watching through the golden age of cheesy romances. Many were, WhileYouWereSleeping.jpgand still remain, some of my favorite movies of all time. If You’ve Got Mail is playing on TV it doesn’t matter what time it is or what I’m doing, I will stay glued to that TV to finish it out. I happily sing along to the  energy and fervor of Moulin Rouge. I remember watching While You Were Sleeping with my mother during the day, and how for a span of like, three months she used to have Leap Year on endless loop playing in the family room. Who could forget the Titanic marathons women would subject themselves to, watching this movie over and over in theatres. I swear, if the sheer demand didn’t keep it in cinemas, Kleenex certainly would have. And all these movies, for as wonderful and cheesy and heartfelt as they are, they all have this one thing in common that I thought was the end all be all for love and romance. They all built worlds and stories and characters around just that one moment where two people fall in love and…end. Credits. Every time. And what waaays they ended up together though. Oh, the heart melts. Who can forget Meg Ryan looking tearfully at Tom Hanks, saying ‘I wanted it to be you. I wanted it to be you so badly’. It YouveGotMail.gifwas always about two people realizing they should be together and then just being together and then credits roll to Hollywood happiness. And because of that, for the longest time I thought the most important part of a relationship, the part you learn the most from, was the getting together. That that must have been the hardest part in the entire process. Two people finding each other in the chaos and randomness of the world and being each other’s soulmates and the search was the obstacle and the soulmate and the life of ease and comfort was the reward. If you weren’t lovesick, it just meant you hadn’t found the right person, and it would just take the finding and the being to make a lifelong convert.

But that’s not exactly true, is it? In fact, it’s not even remotely true. It is the complete Summeropposite, the antithesis. And over time, people began to realize that. We had, or have, the rise of the ‘anti-romcom’. Smart, witty, deliberate attempts at subverting the romcom tropes we grew up with. And I’ve seen so many this past year. Don Jon was a self-aware movie that purposefully poked holes not only in the ridiculousness and excessiveness of pornography but also in the unreasonable expectations and demands of romcom relationships. I’ll admit it wasn’t this year I saw it for the first time but it was this past year that had me constantly revisiting and reexamining (500) Days of Summer first as life model, then source of hope and optimism, muse for love and relationships, but most importantly, a reminder of Swiss Army Manwhat it is I’m actually supposed to be looking for. Swiss Army Man caught me by surprise because it did such an incredible job of masking its actual identity of a romance and love film with all the nonsense and distraction of a farting, shooting, Daniel Radcliffe corpse. The Way Way Back was one of the first movies I saw last summer that really made a lasting and important impression on me for its own much more mature and yet lighthearted take on pure, young love. And now, to add to the list of these new wave of intelligent romantic comedies, there is the semi-autobiographical but fully humorous, entertaining, and heartwarming The Big Sick.

I didn’t really know much about this movie, or that in particular it was actually based on the true circumstances of the first year of Kumail Nanjiani’s relationship with his now-wife. Is that a spoiler alert? She’s fine, everyone. She gets out of the coma. I saw an interview of Kumail on ‘The Late Show with Stephen Colbert’ and they showed that clip of him in the hospital cafeteria with his girlfriend’s parents when he’s asked about 9/11 and I just knew I had to see the whole damn thing. And I’m so glad I did, and I definitely think if you have the opportunity you should as well. It’s a limited release movie so it isn’t showing in nearly as many theatres as it should, but seeing as it is an Amazon production, I imagine it’ll be on Stream soon enough. (What what get that Amazon Prime y’all.) There are such great moments of comedy and they’re written with such sharp wit and they’re delivered with perfect timing and pacing that it’s hard not to find yourself lost in laughter. And there’s certainly a lot to say about the particular skill not only in writing but in acting and perceiving to take what I don’t doubt was a scary and stressful time and reaching beyond that to the humor and heart that makes it a story worth sharing. It is a funny movie. And it’s a real story of real love. And there’s risks taken and hearts to be won and obstacles to overcome. But even the old guard, those 90s and early 2000s throwbacks, could have that and make us want to laugh. It’s these newer ones that have something else in common that to me, make them more ‘authentic’, more ‘relatable’, more ‘real’. They make you cry.

There’s this misconception in high school English classes all over the country (and maybe the world) that we read Shakespeare and Hemingway and Twain and Joyce and whatnot because we want them to know about Hamlet or fishing or the deep south or Ireland. And I would always tell my students that I don’t care if in ten years from now they remember what Hamlet’s father said to him or the symbolism of his soliloquy. I barely cared in the moment about how much they could recognize metaphors and references to southern politics and society in Twain’s depiction in Huck Finn. We read these novels because they are supplements to knowledge we don’t yet have. I want them to read Othello because a classroom and fictional characters are safe environments for young minds to develop mature attitudes towards loyalty and friendship and envy. They know so little when they’re young of great and significant issues and we use literature as tools to exercise and hypothesize and figure out slowly and gradually the kinds of people we are or want to become. And to me, movies are the same way when it comes to emotions. Great movies that are the golden standards of their genres are such because of how they awaken emotions in us that we might not normally feel. Good horrors scare us to the bone, they make us question everyday objects and feel a primal, instinctual, survival type of fear. Great dramas show us just how deeply we can feel for others, constantly pulling on our hearts to greater depths and unlocking levels of humanity and understanding. Action movies make us feel nobler and braver and stronger than we are, inspiring some of us to be heroes. And great romances, real, true, authentic romances, take us way beyond just that sheer ecstasy of the beginning. It shows us past that illusion into what really tells us why love is so important, why we search for it, why we crave it. It shows us loss.

I’ve cried more in movies this past year than I think I ever have. Way Way Back, Swiss Army Man, Big Sick, Kubo, La La Land, even Guardians 2. (Hey I never said they’d all make sense. Sometimes I’m just an emotional mess.) But the romances, the Way Way Backs and the Swiss Army Mans of them all, I was glad to have them to make me cry. Those were tears I think only people who’ve felt love and lost love could cry. You know for as happy as I’ve been this past year, I don’t think anything ever has made me as happy as losing love has made me sad. And sometimes I am afraid of that. And it’s for that reason that sometimes I feel bad for people who have never dated not because they don’t know that relationship lovesick happiness, but because they don’t know that soul crushing yet soul affirming depth of sadness of love loss. A lot of things can make me happy. And a lot of those are not dating or relationships or love. I can find it much easier and in equal or greater portions in so many other things. But nothing like love can make me feel as human as its sadness. I love these newer modern romances because the good ones add that loss. Some, like Swiss Army Man, are even brave enough to stop it at that loss. But I don’t blame most for still wanting to give us that happy ending. It’s there for everyone to have and to relate to. But those scenes of loss, of reflection, of appreciation, those are for the ones who’ve known heartbreak. To feel it again. To remember.

I look back at this year, and I think, I’m glad I had those sad days. I’m glad I could feel how big my heart is and could be, by reaching out and touching the empty expanse of where I wanted my love to be. It’s a measure some people just don’t get to know. I don’t want everyone to go through heartbreak, mind you. If a good enough movie or song or book or piece of art can get you to understand that loss, all the better. I just don’t want to see so many people never appreciate or understand their love because they’ve never had it or because they’ve forgotten what it feels like to be without it.  I still enjoy my cheesy romances, but they stay strictly in the movie world. I’ve had my fill of happy endings and stories that ended at the beginning. I like the romance movies that can make me laugh and cry. That poke and prod at the sore spots to remind me not of the hurt, but of the fact that they are there. I don’t keep pursuing love because of the happy happy joy joy mushy gushy stuff. I can get that. I can do that.  I do it because I know how much my heart misses it. Oh how happy am I that I could ever afford to have been so sad.

Oh right. The daily prompt. Jangle. Like, what in the fuck even is that?!

Day 364

Man: 331 Loneliness: 33

Day 363: The Man and the Impostor; ‘Quill’

Oh No Baby

There is Man, there is Me, and then there is the Impostor. He’s a fairly new identity, and Impostorhe only comes out in one very particular circumstance and situation, and I don’t really like him, and for as much as I feel the end of the year and opening up my blog to friends and family and opening up my personal life more to the blog will create new opportunities, I also feel like this might be one of the last few times I get to talk about this.

Particularly because it has to do with a friend of mine. And I mean, who knows. Maybe no one I know will be interested enough to read all of this, but maybe they will, and I won’t have that comfortable mask of anonymity anymore. But I still feel like there’s so much more to gain from opening up than there is to keep this all private and closed for just one reason, one person.

I’ve mentioned before that my incurable addiction to love has in the past alienated pretty much all of the friends I had who were women. Either by dating them or not dating themSick and losing interest or trying and making it well you know, awkward, I really don’t have many female friends. That is to say, save for just one now. (That I regularly spend time with and see, as one of my best friends lives in Montreal with her husband so I don’t get to see her or them as much.)

But I’ve known this particular friend since college, when we met in our Public Speaking class (so much fun, I love to make people listen to me) and we went to the same clubs (Chinese Student Association and, for a time, fencing). So we’ve known each other for almost a decade now. Since then we’ve both gone through relationships and heartbreak, we’ve grown and changed, started careers, changed careers, we’ve traveled together in groups, had plenty of late night conversations about families and dating, and turned to each other for advice and guidance. We share much of the same interests and hobbies. If I need a second for a night of drinking, I know it couldn’t be any one of my friends but her. Exciting new restaurant that I want to share with someone who can talk ‘food’, her. Movies, constantly going out to watch new ones and sharing what our ‘must watch’ lists are and meeting up for the ones we both want to see. Aside from me she has the second highest sense of adventure and willingness to go beyond comfort zones in our group of friends. Recently I’ve been spending more time with her and her family, getting fairly comfortable and familiar with her brother and her mother, as we’ve gone out to see Cirque shows in the area altogether. Ever since college she and I have had this tradition at her expense. Whenever we go to a new restaurant, I always sneak away to tell the staff it’s her birthday. She gets so embarrassed having an entire restaurant sing to her, and I love watching her reactions. It’s made for some great photo opportunities.

So yeah…I think you know where this is going.

And I don’t want it to go that way.

This is maybe one of the first major decisions I make as Me, and not as Man. This isn’t about an experiment or blinders. It’s about not wanting to lose a friend. It’s about putting Chicken Runto work, in practice, what I’ve been so passionately and eloquently putting to quill and paper. And so I’ve had to do something so uncharacteristic. Yes, I’ll admit, more recently I’ve been thinking of her more. But for the first time I’m really trying not to do anything. Calmer, cooler, heads should prevail and for the most part, there is a huge part of me that knows nothing good can come of this, or more specifically, knowing her, and knowing me, nothing can come of it, period. Let’s just say her past relationship history will prove I’m really not her type. Not knowing really how to handle this, I don’t like the person I am sometimes when I am with her and others. I get jealous more easily, and unlike John Lennon, I’m not ‘just a jealous guy’. Jell-O doesn’t get jealous. It’s such a stupid and childish feeling in my opinion. And yet…we went to karaoke, and I got so jealous of how much she liked someone else’s song choices and wanted to sing with them. (I get a small sense of pride whenever she asks about a new song I’m listening to because she wants it as well.) In silly things like talking about ‘who can eat the most noodles’ I get jealous when she picks someone else. (In truth, I don’t think anyone wins at those.) When she messages me about seeing a movie together I get excited, and then disappointed and jealous when I see another one of her friends shows up as well. But then, I know there was no promise or indication otherwise. This wasn’t anything more than just going to see a movie. Yet I feel indignant, and I make myself distant and moody. I’ll sit purposely away from them because ‘I want to sit closer to the screen’. I’m trying soHorrible Person hard to deny these thoughts that a lot of times I have to make myself think of all her shortcomings and focus on those more. She’s honestly very terrible with time. But then, as a Filipino, so am I. Yet I know I am sometimes curt and brusque with her when she arrives. I have to calm and cool myself, but in the time it takes, I know I can feel myself sending off these harsh negative vibes. I create unnecessary tension that she, in her patience, lets me dissolve and bring it all back with some jokes. We’ve never actually missed anything because of her. I don’t like how I am when I’m trying not to like her. This isn’t me. And unlike when I am with someone I am attracted to and actually want to attract them, I often lack self-confidence, I feel like less than I am. I never feel less than when I feel myself in her eyes. Maybe again as a defense mechanism, that I focus on my own shortcomings as much as I try to focus on hers.

I can handle being a terrible person. I’ve been that before. But there is something about all this that doesn’t sit well, that unsettles me. And it’s that at times…I feel like a liar. An Officeimpostor. I didn’t write about this when it happened, but I did speak about it to my cousin, who I’ve shared a great deal with this past year. During the holidays my friend invited me to be her +1 to her company’s Christmas party.  Of course, I was more than happy to attend, and that wasn’t just because of the free food and open bar. I knew this was just two friends at a party, one there to help make the other feel less awkward. But I also knew in the context, that I could ‘pretend’ a bit more than usual. For the first time in all the years I’ve known her, I got to see her in a dress. She looked incredible.  At the party, I had more than  just a little bit of fun pretending to be her actual date, and sometimes I relished the joke for more than what  it was worth. There was a photo booth where you could take pics with different props and costumes, and I had fun posing there, with my arm around her, pretending. Around her coworkers and her supervisors I did my best to make her look good, being the fun and attentive date. I chatted up her group and got them laughing with my usual party self,  I’d always very cheekily enjoy getting another drink for her when hers was empty. ‘Oh no dear, you keep mingling  with your friends, I’ll get you another, boo.’ On the surface it was all just in good fun, but there was a part of me that did enjoy living that impostor’s life for a moment, but I knew I was lying, to myself and to her. I don’t like that feeling of always finding something when I know there isn’t anything there. I don’t want to always look, like this is some really badly written romance. I’ve mentioned that this month I’ll be going to the Eastern Traditional Archery PugRendezvous, and I’m very excited about that.  And I’ve off-handedly mentioned it to my friend, as we are both into archery, that she might want to attend and we could go for the weekend. I know I’d have a great time just going with a friend to make it easier and less awkward and at least I’d have someone to talk to before making new friends and trying to find new groups. But…is there a part of  me that sees more than just that in this opportunity? And am I not a liar for hiding that.  Don’t get me wrong. I am a decent and good human being.  I’d never take advantage or take some  opportunity that wasn’t afforded to me.  But just knowing I have these feelings to wrestle with, and knowing there is nothing to make her think such, and yet putting us in those situations, I feel like a liar.

The best thing I can say I’ve learned this past year to apply to this situation is that the previous me would have been foolish and brash, saying ‘you can’t pass this up, what if she’s the one!’ Knowing now that, there are plenty of ones out there. I know that there must be plenty of women out  there with the same or similar interests and backgrounds. I know that I could be equally happy with a great number of other people. And more recently I know that even then, there’s no guaranteeing that this type, this particular sort, would have led to anything more or less significant. I’m not fooling myself with delusions of destiny or fate. And a very practical voice is telling me a lifelong friendship is better than a brief glimpse of love. And for however much difficulty I may have in convincing myself not to feel for one person, I know it would be equally easier to find someone else to feel for. I just have to keep working this new muscle until it gets easier. And as I do, I hope I don’t keep hating the person I am in the process.

But man…she’s great. Hahah.

Day 363

Man: 330 Loneliness: 33

 

Day 362: The Man and the Ship of Theseus; ‘Tether’

First, I would like to introduce to you the paradox known as the ‘Ship of Theseus’.

The ship, wherein Theseus and the youth of Athens returned from Crete, had thirty oars and was preserved by the Athenians down even to the time of Demetrius, for they took away the old planks as they decayed, putting in new and stronger timber in their place. So much so that this ship became an example among the philosophers for the logical question of things that grow: one side holding that the ship remained the same, and the other contending that it was not the same.

-Plutarch, Theseus

It basically comes down to this. Is an object that has had every single part of it replaced, Theseusstill the same object? It’s a classic paradox since ancient Greek times that has been used in various forms in philosophy, politics, literature, religion, and even pop culture. I don’t even recall exactly when or where I first heard of the ‘ship of Theseus’ but of course I was intrigued to see if maybe it could be used in relationships as well. Relationships change and grow, just like, or really even more so than, boats. There are so many moving and changing parts, yet so often we feel like somehow we’re just caught in a loop. We fall for the same people, our relationships encounter the same pitfalls. In the endless infinite number of people there are in the world, we keep repeating. Why is that? What is it about finding something so different that they all end up…the same?

PersonTo me, this comes down to really a question of identity. After all, to answer this paradox we have to answer what we think the ‘ship’ actually is. Is a ship’s identity its individual parts, or is it the form of it? So we have two separate entities. The ‘parts’ and the ‘form’. For Relationshipme, that means I have to separate the ‘person’ and the ‘relationship’. Since the question for me is, does the person make the relationship or does the relationship determine the person?

Let’s take the person first, for example. Often times when we imagine the kind of person we’d like to date, we like to think up a certain persona, our ‘type’. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that.  We all have our certain particular attractions, things we look for, our own way of measuring up a romantic interest. It My Type.gifcould be anything from physical (we like them tall, short, long hair, short hair, fit, lean, curvy, etc.) to the more personal (tomboys vs super feminine, good guys vs bad boys, partiers, readers, playboys, or poets). I’ll be the first to admit that I have a type as well, but I have noticed that over time my ‘type’ has changed, differed, evolved. Personally, I think I’m on the cusp of another ‘type’ shift as I think about dating again in the future and who I might want to be with. But is there any credence to ‘types’? Can we trust this blanket general assumption? How closely can we correlate the success or failure of a relationship to the type of person in it? I mean, if we think of it this way, up until the very final moment that we actually end up with the person we end up with, up until that ultimate, final, most successful relationship, haven’t most of us always gone after our ‘types’? So, mathematically speaking, what’s the success rate of going after types? I don’t think I’ve ever dated someone I didn’t think was my type so that makes my own personal success rate, oh…0%? Let’s say 0 for 7. Ish. It’s interesting to me to see that often we attribute relationship success to seeking our ‘type’ and yet, despite the fact thatAddams.gif we meet failure more often than success, we never think to apply the same logic to saying maybe juuust maybe a certain ‘type’ can lead to a certain outcome, that being of failure and sadness and heartbreak.  And yet, the most important statistic, the one that sticks out, isn’t the six times we went after someone we thought we’d like and it didn’t work out. The most important is the one time we did and it was incredibleLife-changingLasting. So really, who’s to say in this sense? Can we safely and reliably predict the result of a relationship based on the person, and if that’s the case, for so long as we keep going after the same type of person, do we then also assume it’s going to be the same relationship?

And let’s talk about that relationship for a second. Because some of us don’t have types. PortlandiaBut most of us have an idea of the kind of relationship we want. We might not know, or have, the individual ‘parts’ just yet (the person) but we certainly have in mind the ‘form’ (relationship) we want it to take up. So is this more or less important, more or less reliable as an indicator of any sort of success or failure? We want a relationship that is stable, loyal, satisfying, in whatever ways and measures and metrics we’ve decided are important to us. Indeed in conversations with some of my friends, I know that at least some of them have given little thought to the person they might end up with. It’s almost as if ‘who’ the person is, is of little importance compared to ‘how’ they fit into this form. New or old planks, original or renovated, as long as it is the same form, it is the same ideal. The thing of it is, as humans, I think we’re naturally designed to never be quite satisfied enough. It’s that itching, nervous twitch in the back of our mind that constantly asks us ‘is this enough’ that drives us either to great success, or to go mad. Some of us use it to continually grow and develop, to adapt and achieve great results. Others become paranoid, self-destructive, our own saboteurs, uncomfortable with happiness or satisfaction. So what is there to guarantee that once we find the person who fits this ‘form’ that we are going to be happy, with no regard for ‘who’ the person is?

The only truth we can safely arrive at, is that there is no answer to this. That’s why the ‘ship of Theseus’ is a paradox and not just a pub trivia question. To whatever aspect of Jeannot's Knifeour life we find the ship to be relevant to, we’re not meant to arrive at a conclusion. We’re meant to reflect and ruminate, to ponder with patience and perseverance. It keeps us aware, mentally and physically, and tethers us to reality. I’m no more ready to completely disregard types as I am to simply walk around with a cookie cutter and see who fits into it. And if I ever get tired of thinking about relationships (perish the thought), the ‘ship of Theseus’ has become such an important philosophical conundrum that I can find examples of it everywhere. In France there is the proverb of ‘Jeannot’s knife’, basically if the handle and the blade of a knife are replaced, is it the same knife? In movies, animation, and comics, the Japanese title Ghost in the Shell often wrestles with matters of humanity and soul when humans,Shrine.gif almost completely replaced with cybernetic enhancements and prosthetics, wonder where their humanity actually lies. In Japan, Shinto shrines have a very beautiful and sacred symbolic ritual wherein the entire shrine is dismantled and, on the same foundation, it is rebuilt with entirely new wood. This is meant to symbolize a cycle of renewal and rebirth, yet it remains, in spirit, the same shrine, built with wood from the same sacred woods. In 2013, the Ise Grand Shrine, one of the most famous and notable Shinto shrines, was rebuilt for the 62nd time.

I am anxious to ensure that I don’t just fall  back into old habits, or continue to pursue the same relationships with the same results. I will keep these thoughts and lessons in mind, and hopefully if at least the Man is different, the path will be as well.

Day 362

Man: 329 Loneliness: 33

Day 361: The Man and the Angry Old Man; ‘Pluck’

It has become increasingly apparent that I am very quickly becoming an Angry Old Man.

Angry Oldman

Which is not to be confused with this, which is an Angry Oldman.

Yesterday, while everyone was losing their damn minds over the 4th of July and fireworks and BBQ and cover bands and jets and everything else ‘Merica, Fuck Yeah’ I just stood around making a mental tally of all the things that make me irrationally (yes I am aware it’s irrational) angry and realizing the list is just way too high for a normally functioning 27 year old.

I’m generally a very easy-going and laid back person. I wasn’t always, that’s for sure. But I’d like to think for the most part I’ve cooled down. My default state is very much like Jell-Jello.gifO. As a person or thing, I am very flexible, malleable, relaxed, and, unfortunately, jiggly. Now, leave me alone, and I will be soft and smooth and bouncy and all kinds of good juju. But I’m very susceptible to my environment. Start jumping up and down and disturbing the peace and I’ll get all jumpy and jittery and start shaking and wiggling. Can’t help it. I’m weak to external stimuli. But again, remove me from that, or remove that from me, and we’re all cool baby.

I’m not entirely sure what listing some of the biggest major offensives of the previous day will do. On the one hand, maybe I can seek some validation and reassurance that I’m not the only person whose blood boils at the sight or sound of some of these things. On the other maybe calmer, cooler heads can teach me their ways. And yet on the other hand of this three-handed monstrosity, sometimes it’s just cathartic. In the same way that some people love to watch sad videos for the sole purpose of feeling some sort of deep emotional release, it’s kind of nice to vent irrational anger towards people who will never even know I’ve killed them a thousand times in my dreams.

  1. Guys with man buns – This has got to be the dumbest thing a man can put on top of his head. I’m not going to lie, a thousand immediate assumptions about lifestyle and life choices are made when I see a guy with a man bun. I don’t even really like seeing buns on women. When I see a girl in a bun my mind thinks ‘she’s not trying’. It’s a school teacher or work night kind of decision. I get that at least. When I see a man in a bun I think ‘he’s trying too much‘. We all know you want attention. Just want to grab those scissors and…deep breaths, Man. Deep breaths.
  2. (Young) guys in fedoras – Huh. Okay so maybe I spoke too soon. As a guy I’ve spoken Pacinoa few times briefly and sporadically here about my opinion of the sartorial choices of my fellow brethren. Particularly that like, early 20s to mid 30s generation I’m kind of smack dab in the middle of. There are a lot of  misguided guys out there who I genuinely sincerely hope are trying but just aren’t quite getting the right information or guidance. But the whole fedora thing…that was a choice. I’ve yet to see the right execution of it on anyone most recently out of The Godfather. And I mean come on, this is Pacino we’re talking about. It took him to make it rock. Like I said, I’m not going to dishearten these young guys from trying something. But move on, because it’s not working. Unless you’re covering up a man bun. I will pluck every last hair on your head if I have to.
  3. Yelpers – I’ve written four Yelp reviews in my life, total. And believe me, I’ve eaten at more than four stellar restaurants. Hell I’ve eaten at more than four this past month. Whether good or bad though, I’ve only ever written reviews for places that I feel need it or have a particularly good story to tell. New restaurants that need some exposure and coverage, loyal family traditions that have stuck by us through and through, unexplored gems that deserve a write up, or soul crushing South Park  waiter restuarant candel yelper GIFdisappointments that I feel you need to save yourself from. But if a place is already well established, well-frequented, or deservedly abandoned and dying, there’s no point. But then I go to these fine restaurants that I enjoy and I can’t help but notice the table next to me. They’ve taken twenty photos of the interior decorations, tableware, floor, every nuance. They order twenty items for their table of four, completely ignoring the recommendations of their server on what their specialties are. I watch the food get cold and stale as they labor over every single one, taking photo after photo in different positions, lights, etc. They have nothing to say about the food, but plenty to say about what to write in their reviews. And that’s a very important distinction I want to make. You can write about food, or you can review a restaurant. Two very different things. They’re looking around, wanting to write about review ‘buzzwords’ like ‘ambiance’ and ‘vibe’. They care about the presentability of a dish like I’ve never seen anyone care about something. Restaurants are notches in the belt to them.
  4. People who use speakers instead of headphones – When did we as a collective society decide this was okay and decent to do in public?! Have we not seen the impressive and amazing advancements made in headphone technology? We invented active noise canceling headphones to drown out the noise of the outside world so you could listen to your music in peace. When they got too big we invented tinier headphones and now we even have wireless air…ear…i…buds…pods…? But like rubber band it seems the further we pushed personal hearing technology the faster and harder it snapped back and now we’ve got one giant sweltering hell of a mark in the form of people walking around listening to their music either on speaker phone or, god help us all, I’ve even seen some people with the audacity  to connect them to Bluetooth speakers. This should not have ever been a thing.
  5. Rainbow colored this, bacon wrapped that, cheese blasted what have yous, or any Grilled Cheese.jpgmodern food trend – This might shock you considering this is really just one bad relationship off from being primarily a food blog, but I actually can’t stand whenever I see ‘you have to try/eat/see/order this’ articles, pictures, and videos. Because inevitably what I see is something I absolutely don’t want to try/eat/see/order. I relate the rise of these particularly annoying new food trends to two things. The first is the aforementioned ‘presentability’ or ‘Instagrammable’ness of dishes and the second is that honestly, I think people have gotten bored with food. Every annoying food Rainbow Bageltrend I’ve seen seems to me like the result of a chef who was bored of making the same food over and over and decided then to increase its viral photo potential. There are good chefs out there making new flavors, new dishes, new anything. But instead we just see foods becoming bigger, cheesier, baconier, or you know, just green or yellow or something. That’s how we end up with neon colored nightmares like rainbow EVERYTHING foods now and impractically piled high milkshakes and this burger cheese abomination.

    Cheesbomb.jpg

    The ‘cheesebomb’ at Maxwell’s in London. I expected so much more of you, UK.

  6. Mason jars – One word. Hipsters. If you’re making jams or preserves or doing something, you know, a mason jar is necessary for, fine. But I don’t want to drink my cocktail, or eat my cake, or string up lights made of, mason jars.
  7. People who anthropomorphize their pets – Specifically, people who consider pets their ‘children’. Nothing loses my respect for you quicker than watching you baby talk an animal. I don’t mind caring for your pets. Or even treating them like family. But maintain some dignity, and some separation of the species. One of my best friends got a new baby bunny with his girlfriend. It’s cute. Fun to pet. But then they asked me if I might want to be its ‘godfather’. I couldn’t nope out of that quick enough.
  8. Whole Foods – Just the entire entity itself. Believe me, Whole Foods doesn’t care about the food you eat or what you put into or onto your body. The $20 bananas and biodegradable cardboard boxes that taste better than the salad bar food you put in them can attest to that. I assure you, Whole Foods is all about knowing how to prey on your need to feel good about yourself. It’s like if your actual local farmer’s market left the food behind and grew smugness.

That felt good. I feel better. I’ll be honest with you all, I always knew I’d end up an Angry Old Man. I figured cultivating and developing an overall peaceful demeanor would help to buffer it but more and more outside sources are poking the beast. I just thought I’d  have more time.

And if not, hopefully I’ll be a funny, angry, old, man.

Day 361

Man: 328 Loneliness: 33