<editorsnote> Nerds, meet my buddy Kenny. We e-met through OKC and although we’ve never gone out on a date, he was inspired by my documentation of my online search for love, that he wanted to come on board and provide male insight into OKC. So here you go … and now we’re here … HIT IT KENNY!! </editorsnote>
It’s hard for me to not feel like a crazy person sometimes.
I can’t say with any certainty what goes on inside other people’s heads, but in my own sometimes it feels like a thousand hamster wheels going at different speeds and in different directions. When it gets like that, I want to put rat poison in the hamsters feeding tubes just so they calm the fuck down, but it’s never that simple. Usually there’s just too much going on and that’s part of the reason I love to watch television, movies, write, just do anything to keep myself from talking to myself.
At the risk of sounding like a moron, I recently wanted to tell myself (literally, more talking to myself) that I was being “neurotic” but I wasn’t exactly sure what neurotic meant. I felt like I had understood the gist of it, but had no way of putting it into words. Onto Wikipedia I went.
The symptoms, per Wiki:
…anxiety, sadness or depression, anger, irritability, mental confusion, low sense of self-worth, etc., behavioral symptoms such as phobic avoidance, vigilance, impulsive and compulsive acts, lethargy, etc., cognitive problems such as unpleasant or disturbing thoughts, repetition of thoughts and obsession, habitual fantasizing, negativity and cynicism, etc. Interpersonally, neurosis involves dependency, aggressiveness, perfectionism, schizoid isolation, socio-culturally inappropriate behaviors, etc.
I felt like I knew less about the disorder after reading that than I did before. It seems to me that at least one of those symptoms can apply to every person I know. Either I only hang out with crazy people, or the term can generally be applied to many young Americans. Probably older Americans too, but I know less of them to actually comment.
I have never feared or ignored my own craziness. Knowing that I wasn’t a threat to myself or others, I mostly just embraced my neurosis. I have always thought that it was kind of cool that I was a little bit nutty and that these were the characteristics that describe who I was. It’s the part of me that I want to share with somebody else.
To put it in a metaphor, people are like keys and keyholes. (The metaphor just works better if the guy is the key and the girl is the keyhole, for obvious reasons.) What defines me is what puts the grooves and ridges onto my key. Those little quirks, those parts of you that you only find out about a person once you get to know them, the parts you couldn’t find out by interviewing or going on a date with a person, but by actually spending a lot of time with them. In the end, people are just looking for the keyhole that fits the key just right.
A lot of those characteristics are the things we don’t just share with anybody out of fear that they will be the deal-breaker. Funny enough, I think these little things are more like deal-sealers than anything else. A lot of people share a common interest in seeing crazy people find love, because a lot of people feel that way sometimes.
Some of the most popular movies, the ones where you were really rooting for the couple to stay together, involved at least one person that was debilitated in some way: Benny & Joon, Harold & Maude, Mad Love, 50 First Dates, Leaving Las Vegas, True Romance, and so many more. (I actually couldn’t tell you much about Mad Love other than it got bonus points for being filmed at my high school in Washington.) I mean shit, in some ways I was rooting for Alicia Silverstone in Crush, for Jennifer Jason Leigh in Single White Female, and for Mickey and Mallory Knox in Natural Born Killers. In my head I’m thinking, “Oh come on. This person has it tough enough, just love them back.”
Does that make me crazy? There’s just something special about love and relationships that aren’t meant to be. That shouldn’t work out. Or that are just plain wrong.
Awhile back I was browsing OkCupid, just looking around, without intent as usual. A lot of the time, it’s just a time-killer for me. It’s a very interesting way to “meet people” without ever talking to them. I’m fascinated on some level by everyone.
I came across this one profile that was kind of shocking to me, in a way. The girl kept most knowledge about herself private because she was outwardly saying that she is “polyamorous and not out to everyone about her lifestyle.” She couldn’t be held down to one person, liked having serious relationships with multiple people, and wasn’t ready to share that with the world just yet. She couldn’t even post a full picture of her face, just one of those ambiguous ones that confirms, “Yes, I’m a real human being.”
I had to ask her a question based on one thing I’ve heard from dating girls online. Apparently, even if your profile reads something like “Good Christian girl, saving myself for marriage, I love talking about abstinence” then you’ll only get like 10 messages a day along the lines of “Let’s bone. Here, look at my wiener.”
I never really understood why guys would lead with that. Not that I am some guy that doesn’t like to have sex or that I have these super high moral standards, but I would never feel comfortable doing something like that. I grew up in a house with just my mom and my sister, so “woman = sex object only” would never compute with me. I’m more interested in seeing if I can make a person laugh in the first message than anything else… which strangely enough would still work if I just sent a picture of my penis.
She was very sexual in her profile, moreso than any other profiles I have seen, and that she was looking for someone(s) to share that with. So I only had one question for her: “So, how is this going for you?”
That’s all I really wanted to know.
If a girl who was completely innocent in her profile can get bombarded with messages asking for sex, then what in the world was this girls experience like? My inquiring mind wanted to know, but at the same time I left the message so short because I could have kept on living if I never heard back from her.
She did respond though. Something along the lines of “Mostly just old couples wanting me to have sex with them. Most messages are gross, unlike yours.”
We corresponded back and forth for a short time and what had started out in my head as “Well, I don’t want to date her, I was just curious about her experience” had turned into “Actually, this chick seems pretty cool and I’m surprised we have so much in common.” Other than a high match rating by OkCupid, I couldn’t have been able to tell that we had anything in common because her profile said very little about herself. In talking to her though, I realized that we liked a lot of the same things and we naturally got along. So we set up a date.
I would have never seen myself being in such an open relationship before. If anything, I’ve been more of the jealous type in previous ones. That’s probably why I was excited about the potential in this one. What better way to get over jealousy or insecurities than by going to the polar opposite? If I could date a person with these beliefs, then I had already conquered the full extent of that issue.
It wasn’t just the open relationship part that intrigued me, though that did intrigue me. A bi-sexual girl that was into open relationships was a hard fact to ignore for the caveman in me. “You woman. Me man. She woman. We sex?”
No, I was also intrigued by how crazy this girl not only seemed, but how crazy she told me she was. She warned me several times before we ever met that she was “crazy” and that if I wanted to change my mind first, that would be fine.
But I didn’t change my mind. Maybe (and I was thinking more like “Probably”) I would find that this wasn’t the long-term dating partner for me, but I absolutely had to find out. Not because I thought this would be some easy lay on a first time encounter, but because I am interested in crazy. I figured this would not be a boring date, at the very least.
It’s not that I want to find, or that I’m not trying to avoid, a girl that’s going to boil my hypothetical bunny rabbit if it takes me longer than 10 minutes to text her back. Of course I don’t want that. Just more like something where you have your neurotic quirks, I have mine, and the most trouble it will get us into is an eight-hour period where I huddle in my corner of the room and you huddle in yours and then we never speak of this again.
There’s no higher level of intimacy than being able to show a person your guts and knowing that it doesn’t freak them out. Trusting that to somebody else is a leap of faith and you never know if they’ll catch your trust fall.
So her crazy didn’t scare me. Nobody’s crazy scares me that soon. There’s a good chance that on a first date I will say something weird anyway, and knowing you are quirky or a little nuts is only affirmation that I shouldn’t care if I do. It’s not that I would open up about some traumatizing moment right off of the bat, but I’m not very good at hiding (nor would I) my behavior: I ramble about sports statistics and other extremely nerdy things. I quote movies that nobody should be quoting, or that anyone should know. I make offensive jokes. I have no problem giving you my opinion on social issues or stigmas if you ask and I will be 100% honest about my opinions, even if they aren’t normal.
Basically, I’m just being myself.
So finding out that a person describes themselves as “crazy” does nothing to dissuade me from at least meeting them. It just makes it more interesting and it makes me more comfortable. “Normal” people would probably freak me out more.
“Polly Amorous” and I went out twice. She told me a lot (A. LOT.) about herself, her experiences, and at one point told me to just ask her anything I wanted about her sexual history. I did and I am pretty sure I got a lot of honest and interesting answers. It was definitely an eye-opening couple of dates.
I wasn’t scared by the idea of an open relationship like I thought I would be. I sort of enjoyed the idea of the freedom, the relief of stress (if being in a relationship like that turns out not to be stressful to you,) and the new possibilities it could bring.
I also thought that she was a cool person, was impossible to offend with jokes, and had good taste in movies, music, etc. and we got along pretty well.
In the end, there just wasn’t much of a spark. It was just like hanging out with a buddy and I made the mistake of calling her “dude” once or twice because I honestly felt like I was hanging out with a guy friend some of the time.
We stayed in contact for a little while and then eventually it just faded away. I don’t regret taking the chance though to go out with somebody unlike anybody else that I had ever gone out with. Even if from the first message I thought this wasn’t a high-percentage-of-success kind of relationship, I was too intrigued by getting to know a new kind of person.
It helped affirm that there is no crazy like there is no normal. Not to say that there is no “mentally insane” but as far as the people I come into contact with 99% of the time, we’re all just people sharing this space. We all have the things that make us unique and at the same time completely alike.
The only way you’re going to find out where your key fits is to keep on trying different locks.