Wednesday, February 18, 2015

AWPATT XVI: February 3-17 (Thoughts 248-262)

Point 248 begins with referencing Thoughts 243 and 247, where I had advised both that you should have a public relationship, and that you shouldn't. The difference is explained below.

248 Bring those two concepts together: you want to involve other people, but you don’t want to involve them. Each is in a different sense. You want other people to be aware of the fact that you and another person are interested, and to be involved in your relationship as it actually is. Don’t push a false view of the depth of your commitment to each other on others. You then put them in the awkward position of trying to correct you and be seen as criticizing and be faced with anger and dismissive resentment, or of playing along with your charade and having to rationalize supporting something they’re not behind 100% -- or else simply ignoring and avoiding you. Foolish decisions spurn good advice, because you show that you’re unwilling to receive it. When your breakup happens, the same people who gave you happy faces and agreed that your relationship was good when you had it will express confusion and try to empathize with your self-delusion. Others will say they saw it coming, but why didn’t they warn you when you were in the midst of the relationship? Oh, because they don’t respect you, of course. They didn’t deem you deserving of truth, and cared more for how you treated them (fearing your wrath if they challenged you) than they cared about your personal health. All of that results from foolishly pretending your relationship is more serious than it is. So don’t. Take people’s help, but don’t you dare try to make them conform to your imaginary fairy tale romance when you don’t even know how to love.

249 [Going through texts]: I’ve been told by several women that I’d be a spectacular husband/romantic for some happy woman…in fact, absent that experience, I’d be far less apt to allow myself to imagine a future scenario where a young lady ‘falls for me’ – I’d be wary of hoping for it as a realistic possibility.

250 But from several closer female acquaintances and friends, whom I’ve showed a sensitive side to, I’ve heard encouraging accolades re: my potential to be a suitable partner. The fact that this comes in the context of me, intentionally or not, having revealed negative qualities is a relieving affirmation.

251 [on the subject of complimenting someone who’s in a relationship by saying something like, ‘if you weren’t already taken, I might have to propose’] – Oh I personally couldn’t bring myself to joke like that. The last thing I would want to do is have a joke that was meant to be a compliment backfire and upset someone’s marriage by making a woman have thoughts of me. I recognize that it’s a certain form of pride to deny that anyone would be tempted by me, just as it would be to assume that everyone would. It’s an attempt to be thoughtful.

252 I could see myself joking with a 20s-30s couple if I was 80….But I happen to be variably viewed as handsome or cute or sexy, at least among a portion of women, so it would be ill advised for me to say “whoah, good thing you’re married, ‘cause I was about to propose!” (though max irony for saying that to a single woman miiiiight work out)

253 I’m pretty sure that from a theological standpoint, the purpose of my having to wait a long time to ‘find true love’ is for all of this time to be spent thinking about how best to serve her, so that by the time I meet her, I’ll have grown a lot in my character and wisdom and be a far better “package deal” then than anything I’ve been up to now. I won’t be thinking about my own satisfaction, because the desire to be together doesn’t go away from dwelling on it; it needs to be turned to a productive end. So I’m not just wasting time, I’m improving our relationship here and now :)

254 “Our love to Him should begin on earth, as it shall be in Heaven, for the bride taketh not by a thousand degrees so much delight in her wedding-garment as she doth in her bridegroom; so we, in the life to come, howbeit clothed with glory as with a robe, shall not be so much affected with the glory that goeth about us, as with the Bridegroom’s joyful face and presence.” ~ Samuel Rutherford, The Loveliness of Christ

255 When I was in mid-late High School I was invested in trying to influence middle schoolers with positive ideas, and now I’m hopeful that I can encourage or give insight to younger adults, also, especially with regard to life decisions like relationships, college, etc. When they’re women, I think (and hope that) I am able to show them, metaconversationally—that is, not in the words themselves but in my attention and behavior toward them—how an older man can speak kindly to them and show an interest, even to see them as romantically desirable, without being personally involved in romantic overtures toward her; to show her that guys can be respectful of her without being totally ignorant/unaware of her femininity. I think in the sex-charged culture we’re in, that has the potential to speak volumes in itself, and hopefully give them insulation against attention from the wrong guys.

256 So in light of this, I figured I had an opportunity to speak words of encouragement to one of the younger women on crew, because it happened that she’d specifically asked me to share my opinion of her. She’s basically granted me influence, allowing me to say something that may powerfully affect her.
                So I shared that I could see from her on-the-job behavior that she didn’t have a habit of complaining, she had a thankful spirit (I added afterward that she’s verbally appreciative of others), and that she is expressive of her feelings—with words--, which makes her easier to understand and less likely to have a misunderstanding with. All of this I could learn from observing how she does her job.

257 What work also reveals is ongoing habits, such as whether someone holds grudges, and I shared that later. After the first three compliments, she smiled and thanked me. I hope I’ve given her something to think about out of all of that, and that, if she does or doesn’t get similar compliments elsewhere, at least she now has. That’s enough motivation/encouragement for me to do what I do. If I can be an influence on her for good, that’s gratifying and makes me feel like my time in minimum wage employment hasn’t been wasted.

258 I think I’m strongly motivated to take every opportunity to influence young people, and particularly women, because I know what sorts of negative influences there are out there, but have no way of knowing what positive ones they might have encountered. There’s a possibility I’m one of the few if not the only one. I see it as my duty to provide a contrast to the usual narrative. If I withhold potentially helpful or even life-changing information, then I’m essentially guilty of negligence. Not doing the right thing is just as bad as doing the wrong thing. The fact that you know better is what makes it so severe. My knowledge is one of the only things I have that can benefit many people in short order. Keeping it to myself is a reverse arrogance.

259 [commenting on the Bachelor when there was nothing on tv] I think one of the major fatal flaws, an assumption that the contestants don’t think about challenging, is that they kiss. It seems like an expected guarantee, a way they evaluate each other. But the physical intimacy creates an emotional bond that clashes with the reality that there can’t be any real commitment, and the girls break down from mixed feelings of envy and betrayal and loss. While it’d be fascinating to be on the show, if the producers would even let you refuse to kiss, even so the context seems to lend itself to people getting hurt.

260 I remember when I learned jeans had been considered risqué in the past, I didn’t understand why. I thought that it was far easier for kids to be sexually inappropriate with dresses, which “provide easier groping access” and “could hide misbehavior from observers.” Apparently the real reason was that dresses obscure butt-curves and jeans hug them a little more. The emphasis was on being revealing, not in how tight the “goods” were wrapped. But that’s how 8th-grader me thought, based on what he knew of how other boys in that age group behaved, and from a couple of Cosmo “sexcapade” stories I’d sneakily read in the supermarket/bookstore.

261 If jeans were risqué before, then wow, good thing Levi Strauss didn’t use spandex for his material. (Imagine if it was available, and he did; since his target consumer base was men, history could’ve taken a very different turn)

262 I can’t really sympathize with people who’ve been scorned (‘sympathize’ meant as in ‘understand the feeling,’ I’m not implying I think people are ‘getting what’s coming to them’ if they’re hurt). I’ve been spurned, rejected by peers/society, but not scorned, rejected by someone I desperately wanted. I don’t think my approach to love allows for the possibility of unrequited love. If it’s unrequited, it’s not desirable, and so the attraction doesn’t build.

~ Rak Chazak

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