Monday, November 17, 2008

Eggs

"Doc, my brother's crazy. He thinks he's a chicken."
"Why don't you turn him in?"
"I would, but I need the eggs."

So before you hear any wild rumors, I decided to start seeing a therapist again. I've been really stressed out lately and have been acting out in irrational, socially awkward/inapprorpriate ways. So for anyone avoiding me recently because of said acting out, would you consider this an early Christmas present?

I am seeing a different therapist this time around. My old therapist isn't covered by my insurance and, in retrospect, she wasn't as productive as I would have hoped. Her meeting room was rather poorly lit which contributed to a stifled feeling I would have in my sessions. I also felt like I wasn't a real priority on her docket. I very well could have been the least crisised of her clients, but for the 55 minutes that I am paying fully out-of-pocket for, I think it would at least be a professional courtesy to fake it.

In my most recent session the subject of romantic relationships came up and it was a bit of an eye-opener. It was the first line of questioning that poked that ooey-gooey spot, causing me to pull it together before continuing. We talked about it in generalities with a few specifics thrown in, but time ran out before we could prep for the full dissection. The subject has weighed on my mind since the end of my session Wednesday afternoon.

The timing of this realization was semi-optimal. On the one hand, I feel like I'm making some progress. On the other, it did put a bit of a pall on my weekend. For starters, I think it prevented me from fully enjoying Margaret Cho when I saw her Friday night. I didn't have as many belly laughs as I would have hoped, though the potential was certainly there. However, when she was talking about Proposition 8 (which she is PISSED about, as you might imagine) she spoke about how gay people really need to get over themselves -- we have enough obstacles thrown our way without creating our own. She was talking about this in the context of her being considered a Goldilocks in the Bear community. It reminded me of how RuPaul would sign off on her short-lived VH1 talk show: "If you don't love yourself, how the hell can you love anybody else?" I am fairly certain this will be the only time I will quote RuPaul on this blog.

As I slowly picked at this food for thought as I moved it around my plate this weekend, I started evaluating my process for dating. Ummm, the process needs an overhaul. I'm not a fan of the club scene for several reasons. First, geography is currently an obstacle as Cleveland and Sandusky are both a significant drive away. I think there are places in Lorain, but just the idea of that seems sketchy and makes me feel the need to shower. I'm intimidated by the meat market mentality that pervades the clubs -- I feel like I'm ranked somewhere between prison grade meat and the stuff hot dogs are made of. The bravado and success rate of the club scene requires confidence, which that last sentence shows could use some improvement. Also, I feel weird about going by myself when I am a complete wallflower. I can stand in the corner and look at my watch repeatedly at home, thank you very much. If there were people I could go with it would be easier, but again I don't have the confidence yet to interact with complete strangers, so I would just stay with my friends and not accomplish what I set out to do in the first place.

So my only real recourse is online chat rooms. Here I have a little more control of the process. The wallflower strategy, which I implement like a pro, has mixed-to-poor results here as well. Sitting around waiting for someone, anyone, to IM is not the best way to spend an evening, let me tell you. So this weekend I've been a bit more proactive and attempted to start conversations. This is not without challenges. Sometimes, people just don't feel like chatting and trying to force a conversation just doesn't work. Other times, people are freak shows and the conversation shifts from bland pleasantries to figuring out how to permanently ignore the person. The biggest difficulty is the people who seem perfectly nice but are challenging to converse with. Against my better judgment, I'm slowly getting over the use of internet shorthand (how I loathe "how r u? kewl") and the overuse of "lol" ("I'm John...lol"), but there are a lot of people out there who haven't realized that telling me that you're bored is not conducive to a good conversation. Granted, "bored" is usually code for "me want sex", but since me no want sex at this point in our soon-to-be-truncated relationship, there's really no point in continuing to try to talk. But I have been persevering and things are going slightly better. So far I inadvertently hit on someone who might be a colleague (I didn't ask for confirmation since that would have been extra weird at that point) and have had a few decent conversations with some Clevelanders and central New Yorkers (might as well prep for next year).

I won't get into the actual dating part now, since this post is far longer than I anticipated, but I will offer a bit more clarification before I go. I TiVo'd Annie Hall last week and got around to watching it this morning. Each time I see it, I find more parallels to my own experience and identify more and more with Alvie Singer. I'm not sure if that is a positive or an inevitability for the viewer. Anyway, the movie ends with the joke that began this post and this hypothesis:

"I guess we keep going through it because most of us need the eggs."

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