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Death by Social Networking

I had a blog. I loved it. My friends loved it. It took my life on a new, unusual trajectory. It made me fall in love with writing for the first time since I was a junior in college, sitting in the fifth-floor dome of Gilman Hall with a pen, a paper, and five Taco Bell burritos, ready to create a masterpiece. I spent the better part of two months chronicling my independent research on achieving fitness, my fruitless attempts to reduce my crippling stress, and my always-disappointing interactions with single women.

And on a bleak Saturday night, blasting ‘Master of Puppets’ on continuous loop on my iPad, not caring whose sleep I was preventing or ruining, I killed it. Sitting and sobbing in my bed over yet another evening of high-pressure low-fun no-results girl chasing, I chopped up my electronic identity. Blog, gone. Twitter account, gone. Google Plus account, gone. I was *this close* to shutting down Facebook and throwing my cell phone in the garbage. My drunken rationale was this: I was obviously going to spend the rest of my life alone and unloved, so why not make it official and remove all doubt?

Wait. Rewind. How did it get this far? It’s not often that you get a clear, lucid insight into someone who is slowly yet surely having a mental breakdown, and in honesty, I’m kind of curious myself. So here it is.

Saturday starts off like any other Saturday, really. I fix myself an omelet and go lift. I gorge myself at a new frozen yogurt shop across the street from my apartment (cookie dough and Heath Bar pieces FTW!), and spend my early afternoon eating everything I had saved up in my fridge for Saturday Cheat Day. A slice of Key lime cheesecake. Half a chicken-and-mushroom pizza. A pint of Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food ice cream. I’m looking forward to a fun dinner at an Italian restaurant with some good friends, and drinks at a bar afterwards.

Already, the pressure mounts. Obviously, I’ll be comfortable and in my element when I’m among friends. This is the perfect time for you to meet some women. In fact, it’s your *best* and *only* opportunity to do so. If you can’t get an attractive girl to talk to you there, you won’t be able to do it *anywhere*. My head is pounding with anxiety, and it’s only 2:30 in the afternoon. Serenity now.

 

I seek some sanctuary at a café, where I down another pizza and a slice of banana cake. Last night my friends and I hung out at a stand-up open-mic night (with more misses than hits), and inspired by the encouragement of my blog-reading buddies, I write the organizer of the show to get some advice, and I type up a 20-30 minute set that could have outshined everything on stage that night.

Dinner is fantastic. I stuff myself with a rich cheesy mess of gnocchi and chicken, and down about a bottle-and-a-half of wine. “The cheese will soak it up, don’t worry.” So far so good, yes? Yes. We hit the bars. I run into a couple of other old friends, including my former landlord and a buddy from work. I am a zippy little mouse. The friends point out women for me to say hi to, and I walk up to them with bold, reckless abandon.

Then it all goes to hell, again. I lose my cool, again. I don’t trust in my own identity as the foundation of awesomeness, again. I try way too hard to entertain, to impress, and to gain attention. I’m so shocked and incredulous when I get said attention that I throw my entire being into trying to keep that attention, intensely afraid that it will flutter away with one mistimed word or imperfect phrase in the courtship dance. Again, again, again. I know I’m acting desperate while I’m doing it, and I just cannot turn the boat around quickly enough.

It gets me angry. I yell to anyone who will listen, “If someone doesn’t think I’m interesting, why should I waste my time? If they have bad taste, I’m not going to give up my pride to win them over.” Even though it’s what I’ve been doing all night. I’m a spitfire. A friend takes me by the shoulder and slows me down. “You don’t need to try so hard. You’re a doctor. You’re good-looking. You’re in shape. You’re intelligent. You’re funny.” Every compliment feels like a knife stabbing me in my chest. Not only do I know that every statement he rattles off is true, but I know that no attractive single woman in the past four years has told me any of the above.

How do I handle the subtle juxtaposition of being so desirable on paper, yet so undesirable (historically, pathologically undesirable – I mean, come on, every 31-year-old guy who *wants* to have sex *is* having sex) in ‘the field’? I suavely excuse myself to the restroom during my friend’s pep talk and I proceed to lose my shit. Just full-body heaving misery. He’s right, I kept whispering to myself, of course he’s right, but what does it matter, and why haven’t I been able to use it to my advantage?

I eventually split off from my friends, which is never a good idea. Left to my own devices, I’m my own worst wingman. I wander into another bar and get turned down, angrily, by 4 or 5 other women. I forget what I said to them, but I’m sure it was nothing more offensive than “hello”, further confirming my own lack of assurance and backbone. I remember that as I walked into the car, I felt like a lemon that had already been squeezed dry. I had nothing more to give.

And then the whole deleting everything thing. This weekend has been weird. It’s been a soulless routine. Swing some kettlebells. Eat some eggs. Buy some groceries. Watch Family Guy. Cold shower. Sleep. Aside from the nausea and face-flushing anger I feel every time I see a woman smiling on TV, or a couple holding hands on a date or dancing, I have been numb. I felt quite silly about the whole incident, especially if it rubbed a friend the wrong way. I feel even sillier that I allowed *myself* to become overwhelmed.

What does this mean for fitness, and the 4-Hour Body plan? They’re a bit on the back-burner. Not all the way, mind you, I’m not going to be eating pizza everyday for the rest of the week. And the gym is one of my favorite sanctuaries from obsessing over my situation in life. But first, I have to get my head on straight. I hope typing my thoughts down will give me some perspective on, well, everything. Loneliness, depression, self-image, and dating confidence. They all intersect, they all play off one another, and they’re all going in the wrong direction.

Temporarily. But I have some ideas.

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Discussion

4 thoughts on “Death by Social Networking

  1. Ouch. Time to regroup. You’ll feel better if you keep up the diet and gym right now. Do the things that you are good at, work, writing, diet, gym. Those are the things you have control over. Feeling in control is what you need right now.

    I only “know” you from your blog but here’s my observation. Your melt-downs and dating disasters all seem to involve alcohol. I’m certainly not suggesting you not drink. Just consider the possibility that for you alcohol is the opposite of “liquid courage”.

    Posted by Debbie | August 3, 2011, 3:20 pm
    • I’ve noticed this, too. You may be absolutely, 100% right. But… how else to meet someone? It’s a necessary evil.

      And I do like control. Which is why working out is so natural. You’re either strong enough to lift it, or you’re not. Iron isn’t fickle. (Neither are babies, which is why I love pediatrics.)

      PS Sorry in advance for all the e-mails you’re going to get as I re-upload the posts to the website!

      Posted by cortisolfiles | August 3, 2011, 3:36 pm
      • I agree with Debbie. Do the things you love to do, that make you happy. Feeling happy with everything else in your life will give you the positive ‘glow’ that will attract other people. And I think reminding yourself more often of the true words of your friend will help too. There will come a point when you will not just hear them, but you will listen to them as well.

        Try the alcohol-low/free night out, just for the heck of it. It could just very well be…?? Fun! What kind of bar doesn’t serve coke or a No-jito!?

        Posted by I like boys who wear glasses | August 3, 2011, 5:46 pm
  2. Have you tried dating sites like OK cupid? A few people I know have met absolutely amazing people from there. Thoughts? I mean, I’ve heard it said that after a 100th attempt, you’ll find someone.

    Posted by singleandlonelygirl | August 5, 2011, 2:06 pm

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