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Posts Tagged ‘Disinterest’

3D’s company

Something I’ve discovered from not looking is that I’ve become objective about the men I see, meet and talk to in a way I never was when I was actively looking. But this change – from partisan participant to independent observer – is a true double-edged sword.

On one edge, I no longer see potential in just anyone; there has to be something quite compelling about a man. And for me, compelling means much more than looks now that the visual element has been downgraded. He has to be interesting and outgoing and smart and funny – in essence, he has to have a personality. This edge of the sword is the good one; it’s saving me from wasting my time on beautiful unsuitables.

But on the other edge, I no longer see potential in anyone at all. Because I have to wait to be drawn into eye contact or invited into conversation, it’s down to men to catch my attention. Their personalities aren’t brought into relief by my expectation, flirtation or flattery; they have to do it themselves. And so far, none of them has managed.

No men I’ve met since I’ve stopped looking have seemed to have much depth to them. As I said before, in general they now seem a bit two-dimensional. Scathing I know, but someone has to be pretty special (not in a window-licking way) to pique my interest. Needless to say, this edge of the sword is the bad one; it’s making me bored.

Perhaps it was always a case of two dimensions, even before this not-looking experiment started, but I was looking too hard to notice. Perhaps it was only my initiation, input or investment into someone that highlighted their depth, facets and colour, and generated a genuine interest in me. To put it simply, I am their third dimension.

My own personality – the things I say, the jokes I make, the eyelashes I bat – is what brings someone else’s personality to the fore. It makes sense really. It could well apply to friendships too. If I made no effort to spark up conversations, engage the other person, entertain them, make them enjoy talking to me, I wouldn’t like the people I like and have the friends I have.

If we find matches in friendship like that, surely we find matches in love like that too. And does that maybe say that not looking is not going to work?

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I think I’ve stopped looking. I know, I didn’t expect it either. You’d think I might be happy about this, finally achieving my goal and being able to start testing the ‘It’ll happen when you’re not looking’ theory properly. But I’m not happy. In fact I think it’s nothing but a bad thing. A really bad thing.

Along with not looking for a man has come a significant feeling of not caring if I find one. This was supposed to be a good thing, a triumph even, but not caring feels like I’ve given up. In all honesty, I think I have given up.

It’s not a fun-and-shiny sort of given up – tra-la-la look at me, I’ve got a fabulous life and I’m not remotely bothered whether there’s a man in it. It’s more a won’t-find-a-man-because-men-don’t-exist sort of given up. I set out to stop looking around for men, to block them out of my mind, to cease expecting to meet someone interesting and I’ve achieved all of those things. At a price. The price of the gradual disappearance of hope.

It helps if you know my surname is Lemon

I'm not trying to juice myself, it's just a cry for help


I know that sounds a bit dramatic. Please don’t have images of me sitting fully clothed under a running shower, knees clutched to my chest, rocking back and forth. I don’t feel that way about it at all. I still have a lot going on, many things I’m happy about, great friends, fun plans, have the odd bugbear but don’t we all.

The hope that’s disappeared is not the kind of hope attached to my entire future; it’s specifically the kind of hope attached to boys and the meeting thereof. It’s the kind of hope that adds a little edge, a bit of buzz, a certain frisson to a night down the pub or an invite to a party or a sunbathe in the park or a meandering queue at the checkout. The sort of hope that whispers inside your mind, “There’s always a chance.” For me now, that voice has become an almost imperceptible but echoing “meh”.

All of the blocking, stopping, ceasing I’ve done over the past two months has gradually eliminated men from my consciousness like a very selective love-lobotomy. I still physically look at hot men but only in the same way as I’d look at them in photos or in a film or on TV. I just don’t mentally look at them, I’m not considering them if you like.

My looking at them isn’t interactive or participatory, it’s detached and observational – they’re on telly and I’m on my sofa, following the story but aware I can switch them off whenever I want. Little combinations of electricity and binary. Two-dimensional visuals with no real substance. Flat.

I feel a bit like I’m in a vacuum. A nice, safe little vacuum. That’s why this situation, this achievement of not looking, is so bad. It’s just so nothingy, so devoid of feeling, and if life is about anything, it’s about feeling. Happy, sad, giggly, tired, interested, shocked, amazed, confused, intrigued, afraid, titillated, lusty, excited, rampant, did I say titillated? I don’t want rollercoasters but I don’t want feet flat on the ground either.

Metaphors aside, hubba hubba

I don't care what you're selling in your little wet t-shirt, Franco, I'm not interested.


The feeling of boy-hope is missing; that edge, that buzz, that frisson is missed. Of course, the flipside of boy-hope is boy-disappointment, but feeling disappointment is still feeling something, and I’d take that over feeling meh at men being no more than fellow organisms to be dodged on pavements and ignored in bars.

I’m not really sure what to do with this little turn-up for my books. Is it just part of the experiment? A stage to be got through and soon I won’t notice it any more? Or is it the top end of a slippery slope? Is my disappearing boy-hope like a contagious disease that will take hold in other parts of my life?

Perhaps it’s normal and it’s just all the people who said “It’ll happen when you’re not looking” decided not to tell me this is how you feel when you really, actually, genuinely aren’t looking. No wonder you see so many pretty girls plumping for ugly boyfriends. Almost anything would better than feeling this kind of nothing – even feeling an ugger.

(*You win a point if you identify the song. You lose a point if you think I actually like the artist.)

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