Posted on | April 20, 2014 | 205 Comments
Chris Tognotti (@ctognotti) offers a lesson in Darwinian selection by the obverse example of How to Fail:
Why Don’t Women Like Me Back? On Always
Being the Guy Who’s Just a Friend
Hello. My name is Christopher Tognotti, and I’m no good with women.
This is a slight generalization, perhaps, but that’s how it feels. Whether I’ve been bright-eyed or gloomy, fat or slender, young(er) or old(er), the ladies have never seemed to love me quite as much as I love them. My days as a fit gym employee involved no more fulfilled loves than my days now as a portly writer.
Let me lay it on the line: At nearly 28 years old, I’ve never been in a proper relationship. Even further — I’ve never actually been on a date with anyone I felt a real flare of passion for.
OK, here’s your first big clue: Tognotti’s complaint is not that he gets zero action, but rather that he can’t get any action from girls he actually finds attractive. His problem, therefore, is that he imagines himself entitled to be with good-looking women, rather than being forced to make do with the ordinary-looking women who are actually interested in him. Tognotti continues whining:
I’m not virginal in any other sense, but at least for me, the emotional droughts feel much worse than the sexual ones.
Many people I know can measure out sections of their adult lives by the benchmarks of sustained, serious relationships, and that’s an ability I find myself brutally envious of. I’ve cried over the feelings and experiences I’ve longed to have, and cried to the people who, one way or another, haven’t provided them.
(Crying over your feelings? Are your testicles malfunctioning?)
That’s not to say I haven’t spent time with women I’ve liked or fallen for. I’ve been more or less surrounded with women since my childhood, having always gotten along more easily and naturally with girls than boys.
(Because you’re a total Gamma.)
As you might expect, I’ve sometimes found myself smitten; a situation considerably more perilous when the person you desire is also your friend. Which is to say, someone with whom you might be wrecking something that’s already pretty good.
I have a handful of images frozen in mind of the moments at which I’ve told people how I truly felt about them. I’ve become adept at reading the language of rejection: It’s most often been the eyes where the answer comes first, while the face stays still. You’d be shocked how easily the thought I really like you as a person but I’m not attracted or interested in dating you can be conveyed with just the flicker of an eyelid.
(It can also be conveyed with a restraining order.)
“Local heterosexual white man dissatisfied with love life.” I know, some headlines aren’t as grabbing as others. There is at least one way in which I’m not dissatisfied however: my own ability to weather life and love’s disappointments, and to never blame the women who reject me in the process.
Perhaps you’ve heard this story before, of a self-proclaimed “nice guy” who feels miffed by the romantic inattention of a close female friend. But assumptions that the alleged “nice guy” may be making — feeling aggrieved, maybe even angry, that she couldn’t be more open-minded, or see how great a couple they’d be — fall perilously short of anything describable as “nice.”
(At least you acknowledge this problem. Too many “nice guy” types fail to acknowledge the element of envious selfishness in their resentments of romantically successful men.)
Vehemently complaining that a woman is dating somebody else instead of you hinges on the assumption that she’d want to date you otherwise. I understand the impulse, even the drive to convince oneself that such a romance could flourish.
And it’s true — friendships can sometimes lead to pretty awesome relationships — or so I’m told. But if a man is basically complaining that female friends aren’t actively seeking to repay their platonic kindness with sex, then let me say, clearly and loudly: that attitude is full of sh*t.
Sometimes, the answer to the question “why don’t they love me?” is best given simply: because they don’t. The amount of mental exhaustion I’ve put myself through in dodging this truth is embarrassing in retrospect.
(Almost as embarrassing as this column is, in the present tense.)
I owe immeasurable amounts of my life’s happiness and well-being to women who’ve never been anything but my friends. Those relationships, and the experiences shared within them, are not consolation prizes, or pathetic stepping-stones. Unless, of course, you decide to treat them as such.
I’d love to end this on a note of some burgeoning optimism. But in truth, I can’t. It simply wouldn’t feel true to my heart, my state of mind, or my expectations right now.
(This need you feel to be “true to your heart,” much like your pathetic gratitude for mere friendship from females, is almost certainly symptomatic of a testosterone deficiency.)
But I’m buoyed by the knowledge that all things change in time, and that what (or who) waits around the corner could also be a pleasant surprise. It might sound small, but if dime-store optimism is the best I can muster, I’ll try to take it, every time. In that way, I’ll always be a romantic.
You’ll always be a loser, too. Look, I don’t have time today to run a Game Seminar for Losers, so let me cut to the heart of your problem, Chris: You’re overestimating your range.
Suppose a guy’s overall attractiveness — including all possible factors, including income, personality, etc. — is 5 on a scale of 10.
As a general rule, a 5 male’s romantic prospects are seldom going to include women who would rank as high as an 8. The best such a guy can realistically hope for is to catch a 7 in a vulnerable moment and if he doesn’t want to be hopelessly lonely while waiting for that lucky shot to come along, Mr. 5 would be wise to seek companionship among females ranking 5 or below. The very nature of Chris Tognotti’s “nice guy” complaint tells you that he’s not playing that way.
When Tognotti says he will “always be a romantic,” what he means is that he will keep hanging around good-looking women who are entirely out of his range, hoping someday to fulfill his unrealistic fantasy that they will reciprocate his interest.
The problem is not their superficiality, but his.
He’s basically a stalker, a romantic voyeur, dishonestly using the “friend zone” as an excuse to get close to women in a non-sexual context, secretly hoping that he can then exploit this proximity to convert a girl friend into a girlfriend. But when he finally works up the gumption to express his secret purpose, not only are his overtures unwelcome, but his female friend feels understandably betrayed: If she had known his interest in her was erotic, she never would have let this pitiful scrub into her “friend zone” to begin with.
So, if I had to give Chris Tognotti any one piece of advice, it would be this: Next time your “romantic” nature leads you to pursue a phony friendship with a girl who’s way out of your league, first find out if she’s got a fat friend, and date the fat girl instead.
You need to come to grips with your own inadequacy, Chris. Unless you do that, you’ll probably end up as a serial killer.
Also, visit an endocrinologist and find out what’s causing your testosterone deficiency. This weeping nelly act is not attractive.