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Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Erin Palette: the Quest for a Social Life

I'm trying to convince myself I should do something, but I'm dragging my heels -- probably due to insecurity. That heel-dragging is why I haven't posted anything the last two Mondays; I've been working myself up to write this. Then last night, I hit a low point and just spewed out a lot of angst to a select group of Facebook friends.

These friends, bless them, encourage and uplift me, and have convinced me I need to say "Fuck this noise" to my anxieties and embarrassment and just put it all out there.

I don't know if I'll be able to get it all out in one post. I am a rather complex individual, and I have a lot of history and a lot of baggage, so this might take several post to get myself fully explained. I'm going to try, though, as understanding who I am and why I do things is critical for the goal I have set for myself in 2016.

Background Info
So, first things first, let me link back to some of my previous soul-baring posts, because if you haven't read them you're really going to be confused.
All those ought to give you a basic understanding of me and my situation.

My Problem
It has been years since I had a date. It's been far longer since I've had sex. I am really, REALLY lonely, and I don't know how to fix that situation.

Part of it is because I don't know how to "sell" myself. I suck at writing resumes for the same reason I suck at writing dating profiles: all I see are my flaws and deficiencies and I don't know how to gloss over them and emphasize the good parts. (I.E. "I wouldn't fuck me, so why would anyone else want to?")

Another part of it is because of my physical condition. I can't pass for female without a LOT of work, and conditions here don't allow for that. So I'm locked into looking male for the foreseeable future. Which isn't too terrible in and of itself because I am biologically male and am looking for women who like that sort of thing. But the problem lies in how to address the elephant in the room: if I am honest about it early on then I scare them away, and if I wait until we are solid then I'm accused of lying to them or worse. And dating sites don't really have a category for "Boygirl seeks bisexual* woman."

* Why bi? Because I have a woman's brain with a man's plumbing. I figure a gal who likes both is more likely to accept me than a straight woman will.

Finally, my home life is an issue. I'm not independent, and that SHAMES me. I am so embarrassed about it that all I can see is "I am a loser" instead of all the good things that I can bring to a relationship. And I do know that I can bring excellent and amazing things to a relationship:
  • I am kind, loving, attentive, and thoughtful.
  • I communicate well. 
  • I think like a woman. Seriously, this is of benefit here: how many women have said "Why doesn't my boyfriend/husband get it?" I guarantee you that I am far more likely to understand your point of view than the average man will, if for no other reason than because I endlessly analyze things. 
  • I don't do stupid machismo bullshit. 
  • I am sensitive to the feelings of others. 
  • I like to cuddle. 
  • I am extremely protective of my loved ones (and if you've seen the guns I own and the targets I've shot, you know I'm not a slouch with using them).
  • I am exceptionally family-oriented (see my current living situation), which means I will be incredibly loyal. I don't cheat, EVER, and I put great stock in fidelity. 
  • I'm great with animals. I don't know how I am around kids because I don't normally hang out with them, but if they're anything like puppies then I can handle them. 
  • This probably isn't a selling point, but it's true: I have such a shitty self-image that I will literally be grateful that someone actually manages to find me attractive. 
But despite all those qualities (and however many more I have forgotten to list), the one thing that bugs me above all others is that I don't have a full-time job (despite the fact that I'm trying to become a published author, and that my familial duties would preclude such a thing anyway) and that I don't live by myself (despite ample evidence that living alone isn't good for me). It keeps chipping away at my self-confidence with a constant "Why would anyone want to date someone who still lives with her parents at her age?"

Fortunately, some of my online friends have offered their opinions, god bless them:
You're not independent but you're interdependent, which is better. Independent people don't need anything from anyone else, so other people don't get to feel needed by them, and personally I'm not terribly attracted to people whose lives wouldn't be substantially different if I weren't there. Interdependence is about giving and taking, paying your debts, and sharing the load. Interdependence is what holds society together, not independence.

OK, so you don't have your own place - you're taking care of your aged parents even though they drive you crazy. I reckon there's an air of nobility in that.
As much as I like these perspectives and want to agree with them, the bullshit voice in my head that keeps calling me a loser usually drowns them out. I'm trying, though.

Here's How You Can Help 
As my readers are kind, insightful, empathic and intelligent, you have no doubt deduced that I am asking you to help me get a date in 2016. I hate admitting that I need help (see "sign of weakness"), but I'm tired of struggling by myself. 

Let me first head you off at the pass by anticipating some of your comments:
  1. "Try an internet dating site."  Thank you, I've tried them. I even have a better response rate than is usual because I am able to write and put effort into my contact letter. However, these have all been busts because of the following:
    • Not once, not twice, but multiple times I have gotten to the "Hey, let's go out for dinner" stage of online dating, only for my date to mysteriously never show up. I'm just blown off and never contacted again.

      Let me rephrase that: Someone actually decided to give up FREE FOOD rather than have a meal with me.
    • I am quite honestly disgusted with the whole "I am a perfect and rare flower, and if you don't like what you see then you are shallow. Now, you must be at least 6 feet tall, with a full head of hair, not be overweight at all and have a salary in the high five figures before I will give you the time of day" pose that most women on dating sites adopt.
    • As mentioned, I have no idea how to honestly advertise myself. Claiming to be either a gay woman or a straight man seems like a lie of some form, and last I checked most sites don't allow for "Genderqueer lesbian biomale" as one of their options.
  2. "Try Fet Life." Thank you, I've tried that too. FetLife isn't a dating site, it's... some kind of weird sex-themed Facebook kinda thing that requires way too much effort to get past all the people offering me things I don't want.

    What kind of things, Erin? Well, mostly BDSM things. BDSM makes me highly uncomfortable. Like, "I would rather go to the dentist" uncomfortable.

    Put another way, have you ever met a pushy fundie? Or a pushy pagan, for that matter? Where even if they are in your space and making you uncomfortable they still won't fuck off? That is what BDSM is, to me. Everyone is talking about ALL THE GODDAMN TIME and I'm tired of it. I'm to the point where it actively turns me OFF. So please, no more FetLife.
  3. Some variation of "Get over yourself."  Yes, thank you, I am trying to do this. This is, in fact, what I am trying to accomplish with this post and my actions. But just telling me to "Stop sabotaging yourself" is rather like telling a depressed person "Just stop being depressed." Sorry, no, it doesn't work like that. 
Now that's over with, let's get to the final salient points of me begging for help with my social life so my shame will be complete. 

My Type
Smart, sweet and sassy with just a touch of badass. She doesn't need to be a geek or a nerd, although that will definitely help (and give us things to do and talk about); simply being okay with me being a nerdy geeky type is fine. 

We need to have compatible politics. I didn't use to think this was necessary, but as I get older a compatible philosophy becomes increasingly important. (For the record, I am a pro-gun, pro-gay rights, end the drug war and legalize prostitution kind of little-l libertarian). 

Appearance? I'd be lying if I said that a pretty face and stunning body weren't desirable. But I'm far more concerned with mental and social compatibility than I am with sheer physical attraction. So long as there's some form of chemistry, I'm happy... but I know that a lot of folks won't accept that answer as satisfactory, so let me just say this: I've dated plus-sized ladies and I've dated ultra-petite ladies. I've dated within my race and outside it. So long as everything is proportional and works well as an ensemble, I will likely find her attractive.

Oh, yeah... religion. I'm not too picky about this either, but I definitely have some preferences:
  1. Anyone who has a problem with my heritage or ethnicity is definitely right out, as are "All fags go to hell" types. 
  2. I'm also going to eat meat, dammit, so anyone who makes their diet into a religion is also out. 
  3. I generally prefer people who believe in something to people who don't believe in anything
  4. Agnostics are preferable to atheists. 
  5. Atheists need to be not-assholes about it. 
That's about all I can think of at the moment, although I am sure I've forgotten something. So let me turn the conversation over to you , dear reader -- what do you need to know about me to help me find someone willing to date me?

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