The Paradoxes of Being a Single Male

At this moment I’m sitting in a bookshop cafe in central Melbourne. It’s my best effort at finding the most tranquil place within a 5km radius that one can work in. It’s barely tranquil at all, but at least other people are relatively quiet here as they go about their business.

This is a topic that’s not often spoken about. That is because the people who are apt to do so, single men, are discouraged in various ways. I don’t mean to complain, but I’m also not really in the mood to not express myself about it. Maybe drawing light onto it in public fashion will alleviate a few quanta of pain and resistance from my life.

The pain point is a simple thing. The sort of thing that would make most people shrug their shoulders and look at me askance. That’s how these conversations usually go when you’re an empath talking about perceptions, people have no idea what you’re talking about.

I’ll try to explain. Whenever I leave my apartment in central Melbourne I find myself surrounded by people, hundreds of them. There are many beautiful girls around. As natural as anything, my eyes are unconsciously drawn to attractive women, especially ones that I’ve never seen before. Lately I’ve been noticing that most often, as soon as I can sense there’s an attractive girl there they will do this reaction that really bothers me. It’s like a rejecting sort of gesture where they cover their breasts (even though I wasn’t looking at them) or touch their face as if I’m being unseemly. I hate that gesture. As I go about my day it feels like I’m copping dozens of rejections when I’m not really even doing anything. If I had a choice I wouldn’t want to be out of control like this, but I can’t help it.

Probably seems like I’m being overly sensitive to complain about a gesture. It’s true that I am a relatively sensitive, empathetic guy. I have a libido as well. And a fine eye for beauty. Can’t really change that.

I don’t recall this ever being a problem in the past. Feminist vibes were always what bothered me the most (by the way I am endlessly vindicated for that nowadays and it feels so good). Maybe it’s because I wasn’t noticing it, maybe it’s because society has changed or maybe it’s because I have changed so women respond to me differently. In any case, this is what’s bothering me lately.

I think I’m ok looking. 180cm, boyish features and better dressed than average. Probably a solid 5 out 10 all in all, 6 if you count the long hair, approaching 7 if I’m been working out a lot and wearing a suit. Have got an eccentric vibe going on which only appeals to old ladies. I try very hard to be the best Tom I can be though because it seems like just about the only factor that I have any control over.

I’ve tried to shift my mindset. Shift my behaviour. Tried to look more discreetly or not at all, that ends up feeling like unhealthy repression. Nothing works. I just can’t help creeping women out. I’ve tried to outsmart the system with mental gymnastics, the product of my ruminations, this doesn’t work at all because then you find yourself getting friendzoned. An irresistible suggestion to get your head back in the game. It’s not about mentality it seems, but what is it about then? Maybe it’s on the level of choices or an intersubjective plane. I’m currently writing this blog post partly to try and un-mire myself from this quagmire.

Having a girlfriend is the best thing on Earth at first. But “being out of the game” makes you soft which soon comes back to bite you in the ass. And there’s the pain and grief if you happen to break up. And what if one simply doesn’t want to have a girlfriend, because it just wouldn’t add to their happiness right now? You’re fucked, that’s what.

There’s the classic paradox of tattoos and edgy hairstyles attracting the girls that you’re attracted to, but they have clear drawbacks when trying to get by in other ways. Such as getting paid which ironically the same women go for in a few years time. Doing it all is an impossibility for most people. I happen to be one of the select few who have managed to get a university degree, good job/business that allows travel and have an edgy haircut (long hair). It does feel good I must say, but then the cause of pain simply transmutes into something else such as being the creep who’s doing it all.

The lion’s share of social pressure is to make sure you just never approach. It’s quite remarkable. Just to tuck your dick between your legs when you’re outside the house. Near everyone else is doing the same thing. But there’s also pressure coming from inside your heart not to live one long dry patch of a life. Not approaching and just using porn is the path of least resistance, but that leads to frustration and habitualised self-denial. See unhappiness. Not to mention the disappointment on the faces of women who seemed to want to be approached. Faces who I suspect would be instantly creeped out, covering their breasts and moving away if you had even a slight inkling to talk to her.

Having an attitude of being willing to approach is the worst of the worst. I’ve seen an old lady get up and move to the other end of the tram because I made small talk with a girl that seemed to be strongly inviting me to do so. Oh yes, a special and rarely seen intensity of disapproval is reserved for the man who is thinking of approaching a woman. Palpable. I suspect it’s something like the derision reserved for female promiscuity. It seems that strong human drives need particularly strong countervailing social forces to control them.

When your dick isn’t tucked neatly between your legs people can tell from a mile away, and you get treated like a creep with 10x the intensity. It makes you question everything. Most of all it makes you stifle that little voice that wants to talk to her and crawl back in line. It’s the greatest feeling in the world being above this social control, women even seem to accept you feeling good for a while afterwards, but not too long.

I honestly believe that it’s not ok to approach women in my country purely because I’ve been repeatedly conditioned to believe that. And yet paradoxically it’s clearly the thing to do, what men do. There’s nothing at all wrong with it. In theory it’s ok to approach because it’s only natural, but on the ground approaching is treated as taboo. Paradoxical.

Perhaps it’s apt to formulate a conclusion here: right or wrong, it’s socially taboo for a man to approach a woman, but a man sometimes ought to do it anyway as an expression of personal truth and freedom. This is consistent with principles of our liberalist society so long as he doesn’t unduly impinge on her freedoms. She has a right to not be harassed but simply approaching ought not to be considered harassment, harassment might happen a minute or two after being unequivocally told to leave. She ought not be physically impeded (she might have somewhere to be), but some casual physical contact is ok unless she says not to. This whole conclusion needs to be alloyed with the somewhat naturalistic, common-sense sentiment that boys will be boys and girls will be girls. This interaction is between the two of them and so long as it doesn’t break laws or unduly impinge on the freedom of others, third parties or society in general ought not impede two adults from interacting. On a humorous note I wonder if under this line of reasoning cockblocking would be considered properly unethical.

Anyway, you can shift your attention away from the game entirely. Not being interested in reproducing has low survival and reproductive value though so you get treated like a enuch. This is a life devoid of validation and I honestly find it incredibly difficult to do even for short periods of time. This is how I find myself simultaneously conditioned to be in the game and also to feel bad about it.

And then there’s the elephant in the room. Relationships. I can think of maybe half a dozen times in my whole life I’ve seen a middle aged guy looking happy as he walks around with his homely-looking wife. The times I did see it they smelled of spiritual-type love and transcendence. There’s an expectation of getting married and having kids by a certain age even if that’s not really what you want. I personally don’t feel any great desire to enter into a family any time soon, my drive is generally towards freedom and I suspect in turn a kind of creative actualisation.

What if what you want is just a casual relationship without the weight of society’s expectations? What is wrong with that? And what if (God forbid) you just want to hookup, because it scratches that itch and temporarily shifts you up Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Well then my friend, sounds like you are in the game and it sucks to be you.

There are undoubtedly other paradoxes involved. My point is this though: you can’t win. Or rather, you can’t expect to avoid the pain of social pressure and be happy as well. Although you can to a point, which is usually exactly where I find myself in life. I honestly wonder if sex robots, drugs or genetic reengineering can make this sweet spot a bit sweeter still.

“The problem is women… I’m just going to be gay”, I imagine some of you are saying. Very clever. Indeed, certain needs will be better met in doing so, but I’m convinced that any sensitive gay man will tell you there is greater pain in other areas, such as marginalisation.

“I’m just going to cut my dick off and live in a monastery”. I see the logic in that. However I would argue that it would have a net negative impact on overall well-being. It may be better to move to a monastery without cutting your dick off. Is this what you would want to do regardless though?

Sometimes I do feel happy. I feel validated. Then I leave the house and women smell it on me and simply won’t have it. Cue getting devalidated and treated like a creep. Any possible thing that can bring my state down happens. Validation never lasts long unless you’ve achieved it through courage and pain it seems, go figure. Unless you’re travelling, which seems to change things a little.

There are a few conclusions to be made here. The one I really want to internalise is the one that makes me literally not give a fuck what people think. The one that reassures me that what other people think, despite how real it seems to them and therefore also the empath sensing them, doesn’t have any bearing on me or my place in society.

Another is to be grateful because in the scheme of things this isn’t so bad. At least we’re not struggling for needs even more basic than love and sexual validation, such as oxygen or security.

Another is to not look so much for happiness in the opposite sex. I struggle with this so I’m not confident giving any epigrammatic advice. Let the development of ideas thus far speak for itself, perhaps as a cautionary tale. Bring it back to the basics though. The principles of happiness. Transcending the ego and societal planes of being.