The Quest Within, Pt 2: Acceptance

There’s a slight misconception throughout society that I’d like to discuss. Whether it’s in TV, movies, or literature, it’s commonly portrayed that women are the only ones that pine for that ‘one person’ to notice them. Thankfully movies like The Girl Next Door, Superbad, & Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, show that guys also share in the ‘fight for acknowledgement’ though to different degrees. Whereas the female in question wants to end up with her beau and live happily ever after, the male in question just wants to be noticed. Period. 

In those movies (and in real life) all those guys really want is a girl to look at them for more than just a place they can borrow a pen from, but it’s hard. They know they aren’t what she typically looks for or maybe it’s their own fault for not standing out enough. Heck in those movies, the girls usually have to do a massive makeover just for their “Beloved” to see them but for the guys… they just want to be accepted for who they are.

Yes, contrary to popular belief, the Men that you know were not born the stalwart champions of confidence. At one point they had to endure the rigors of insecurity through adolescence (and puberty sure wasn’t helping things) before they got to be the men that can dominate whole cheerleading squads in a single thrust. So the question is: how did they get from “Point A” to “Point B?” How did they obtain this confidence?

Answer: Acceptance from the opposite sex.

It’s one thing to be accepted by your peers (let alone society) for your quirkiness, but acceptance from a girl is a whole ‘nother ball game. No excuse me, acceptance from the other HALF of the population of the ENTIRE WORLD. Yeah, that’s better. Now it shows the significance of how it feels when those guys don’t get talked to. Half of the PLANET doesn’t want them. Acceptance from the opposite sex is crucial in a man’s world.

Throughout my years dealing with the opposite sex, I’ve encountered several moments in Time where Acceptance played a part in my growth whether positively or negatively. I want to share my history on how I never really got over the hump to get to “Point B” and till this day still harbor much of those adolescent insecurities.

This is my tale of Acceptance.

So at the ripe of age of 7, I experienced love. Of course it was puppy love but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t as potent as Adult love. You know when little kids have their Teddys and they scream, shout, hoot & holler when they don’t have it beside them but to you you’re like “Calm down it’s JUST a doll?” Well it’s because it’s all they know. Of course when you grow up there’s things that are more important in life like bills, a home, stability, but to a kid who knows nothing more then being a kid, that Teddy is his/her world. So at my young age, I knew what love was (No Foreigner needed). I was my kooky and geeky self but I actually snagged a girlfriend (as much as one could be at 7 – this story was also mentioned in Episode 3).

We were in the same class and After School program so we saw each other all the time. Of course over time we became smitten for each other.  So one day, in After School her, her brother & I were playing in the classroom where the program was held. For some reason there was a cardboard box in the room and as Spongebob can tell you, all you need is “imaginAAATTIIOONNNnnn” and the box can be anything. So we 3 played while the teacher tended to the other students. I don’t know how he knew but he might’ve been the first ever Wingman because he made sure the coast was clear his sister and I to go into the cardboard box together…alone.

So there we were in darkness not knowing what to do, but our “love” for each other gravitated us closer together and we kissed on the lips. Not tongue like, but like “Grandma kissing their grandchild with the puckering of the lips” kiss. It was awesome! Wow, someone liking ME and she just showed how much. After that everyone knew we were ‘together’ and it was a good year til sadness showed its hand. The summer came and she told me she was moving. So in true movie fashion nothing could be done about it and like *that* she was gone. My first girlfriend and my first kiss… gone. It wasn’t all for naught though. At least (looking back) it felt good to know someone cared for you.

Seven years later, that summer forever dubbed as “The Summer of ‘94” was when my perception of Women changed me forever. I was in junior high and still well… “me” and just minded my own business. I forget how I got acquainted with this girl (especially since we lived on opposite ends of the town and didn’t go to the same school) but I did. She was… different to say the least. Quirky. Funny. Kinetic. We fooled around (not in that way) and just had fun with each other. We “sorta” were going out. I don’t think we ever really hit BF/GF status but I knew we were exclusive. One day she decided to come over my house (which was big back then cause neither of us could drive yet so she took a cab). When she got to my house I introduced her to my neighborhood friends who were already playing outside. My ‘band of brothers’ were eclectic in their own right. We had The wise one, “the Steve-O” of his time, myself, and the Young one. There was one more on the block but he was a year older then us so (to him) it automatically made him cooler then us. He was the Jock/Playa of the group.

We got all huddled around and talked to each other just hanging (but more so a girl was in our midst we couldn’t let this opportunity pass). My memory gets a little hazy at this point, but I remember the girl needed to go up the block and cross the intersection into the shopping center to get something. I remember not being allowed to go that far so The Jock being the Man that he was decided he’d walk her to where she needed to go. What a gentleman. So time goes by and they both come back and she decides she wants to go home. I call her a cab, we say our goodbyes and she goes home.

I remember my buddies congratulating me on my find. All the while The Jock was smirking his ass off. I asked why. Of course I don’t remember word for word what he said but the ending to our conversation ended along the lines of “Well if she’s so good, then why’d I get to kiss your girl?” Wait… what? Shock to the system. Huh? WHY? It was the first (but not the last) time I would feel like I didn’t have … “something” (apparently) someone else had. What did I do? Why with him? I didn’t even DO anything!  (Maybe that was the problem) It didn’t matter anymore. The damage was done and from then on always made me question myself and see if I was ever good enough. But not all was lost.

Fast forward to ‘01. I got transferred from my N.Y. job to work retail in Jersey. The ladies at my job were pretty cool, but the one I ended up liking turned out to be really cool and ended up being my first interracial dating experience. That’s a big step. “Crossing over” (even back then) was not easy as it should be. So that was nice to see that attraction and the inkling of a love had no boundaries.  I even met her FAMILY at one point. Now that was a big point for me. Being “introduced”. That was the first time that’s ever happened to me. It was nerve-wracking but comforting at the same time to know that she wanted to show who she was dating and see if they were accepting of me (which they were).  The girl and I never really panned out (for other reasons) but that acceptance was reassuring to the bruised ego of before. This though, would send it right back.

2006… 06-06-06 to be exact was the date of the reunion of high school friends. This girl and I were classmates in chorus and didn’t think of each other much but were cordial back then. At the time, it was different. We had developed feelings for each other but she had another person in mind to date. An old flame of sorts.  She was deciding between me and him. She eventually chose me which was cool. We felt each other out, getting to know our likes and dislikes. I felt I could be myself around her so we had stay-in nights at her house watching old superhero movies, teaching her geek culture. She cooked for me once. We went on a date, etc. After a month and a half she called it quits because she felt that even though I was a “great guy” (cause every guy wants to hear that) I wasn’t adventurous for her. She was more of an outdoorsy woman that liked to hike & travel. Okay, understandable. It sucked but I thought, “you know what? At least she’s honest”. I know that my tastes aren’t for everybody.

Approximately a year later I come to find out that she and an acquaintance of mine were attempting to date. This (now former) acquaintance spent his days logged on a computer playing a game for 8-9 hours of the day every other day and seldom went out which (to me) meant he was more of a recluse then I was. Sooo essentially… even though she said I wasn’t adventurous enough for her, she decided to date someone else even less adventurous.  Hmph.  I think the thing I’m hung up on is the real reason why she broke up with me. Even if her reasoning was sound, the execution was illogical. So, I wasn’t to your ‘standards’, but someone who was more of a hermit then me, was. Awesome. How do you think that did for my self esteem?

A 2 year hiatus of self-evaluation seemed like a good enough time to get to try and get back in the game.

Then Jennifer happened. Yes… THAT Jennifer, LMFAO! (We talked about this in episode 6 and since then little snippets of what happened have been peppered out throughout the podcast.)

Everything started off okay, then we got up to the pivotal 4 month mark and things didn’t really stay the same. She too had a decision to make.  I’ll just quote myself from a blog I wrote long ago:

“It should have dawned on me that I was more along in the relationship then she was cause we always had that recurring issue of trying to define what we were in each other’s lives. I find out later that though she felt very strongly towards me, I was inadvertently a placeholder and unfortunately caught in the middle of an on again/off again shitstorm of a former relationship.”

On one hand was me a new comer in her life and my opponent was a past crush she never had the opportunity to date but now was available. It wasn’t as easy as it sounds but the result was the same. Again, inadequacy reigned over me and I was convinced once and for all that I would never be good enough for anybody, ever.

Overall what I’m saying is, is that guys want to be noticed and accepted for who they are, and with the assistance of a woman, feel that their self worth is worth while.

Despite looking for a relationship today – one that I’ve dreamed of having – the scars of the past have not left my psyche. I just feel bad because I’ve developed a complex and how am I supposed to feel that I’m the “best” if I’ve been chosen over multiple times throughout my life?

To Be Continued….

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