Tag Archives: finding love

How To Flirt Better (According To Science)

Whether you’re a man, woman, or something in between, you’ve probably done your share of flirting. Like learning to walk, ride a bike, or get out of jury duty, it’s one of those things you instinctively do once you become an adult. Compared to riding a bike, though, flirting can be much more dangerous/frustrating/hilarious.

As someone who spent most of his life hindered by crippling social awkwardness, I’ve often been frustrated by the act of flirting, mostly because I was so bad at it. Then, as someone who aspired to be an erotica/romance writer and tell sexy stories, I gained a greater understanding of it and why I was so bad at it in the first place.

When you think about it, learning to flirt is part of our evolutionary destiny. Surviving childhood is a hard enough challenge, but those that do now have to deal with their next major biological imperative, which is reproduction. Part of that process involves finding someone who wants to have sex with you. For some, surviving a bear attack is less daunting than that process.

It certainly has been for me, at times. I am by no means an expert on flirting or one of those self-proclaimed pick-up artists. I’m just someone whose social skills are behind the curve, but is working to improve them, often through telling sexy stories. I’m not saying I’m on my way to becoming the next Hugh Hefner, but I’m making an effort to show that I have something to offer to the opposite sex.

Being the romantic I am, I believe everybody has something to offer, although not everyone is good at conveying it. That’s why, as a service and an effort to help those avoid my hapless social life, here are some flirting tips that have some science to back them.

Most of these tips were compiled on an article from Bustle. I’m not saying the science is perfect, but it passes the Simpson Filter and the various forms of caveman logic that I’ve discussed. There may be other tricks I don’t know about. There are probably men who are much better at employing these skills than me or most people. At the very least, they can serve as a guide for those seeking love, sex, or both.


Flirting Tip #1: Pay Attention (And Draw Attention)

This one is basic common sense, but there are some caveats to keep in mind. Yes, attention is the first and, arguably, the most critical step of any flirtation. There’s a reason it’s value is growing in the current economy.  However, when it comes to flirting, attention is only one side of the coin.

Beyond just making eye-contact with the person you’re flirting with, you need to keep drawing their attention as well. It can’t just be because you’re the one talking. Drawing attention means giving the other person a reason to pay attention to you. It doesn’t have to be a huge reason. You don’t have to slay a dragon or fight Floyd Mayweather. You just need to prove that you’re interesting.

That might be easier for some more than others. If you’re a boring person, then that’s a challenge. If you’ve got something in your life that is strange, unusual, or intriguing, then you’ve got an advantage and you shouldn’t be afraid to use it.


Flirting Tip #2: Smile, Be Open, And Welcome Someone In

This is also common sense, but it’s also one of those things people of both genders only do halfway. Smiling is regularly cited as one of the best flirting tactics of all time, but it’s only part of a much larger process and too many people don’t bother finishing that process.

You can’t just stop at smiling. You have to be open and willing to let someone into your world. I know that sound dirty, but it’s not limited to a sexual sort of way. If someone is open to being with you, then you need to show that you’re open as well. Smiling is a great way to signal that you’re open for business and not just in your pants, but it shouldn’t be the only way.

Let someone know you want to be loved. Let them know you want to take a chance on them too. If that person is open to being loved, then there’s a good chance they’ll act on it. If they don’t, then don’t waste your smile on them.


Flirting Tip #3: Give Compliments (But Not Just On Beauty)

This is something that a lot of people screw up, myself included. Giving compliments is great, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. I’m sorry to admit that for much of my early life, I did things the wrong way. I gave girls compliments, but they were very shallow. I said they looked nice or sexy. They would often smile back, but not much else and I could hardly blame them.

I learned later in life that if you’re going to compliment a woman, her looks shouldn’t be the first thing you compliment. It doesn’t matter if she has tits like Pamela Anderson or an ass like Jennifer Lopez. It also doesn’t matter if a man has the face of Hugh Jackman and the abs of Channing Tatum. Those people get compliments all the time on their looks. To really stand out, you need to compliment something else.

Sometimes it involves a book they’re reading, a sport they’re playing, or TV show they’re watching. Every person has their quirks. When you compliment those, you compliment someone on a deeper level. That’ll get their attention. From there, you can get to work on heating up their loins.


Flirting Tip #4: Make Someone Laugh And Relax

Laughter isn’t just the best medicine. It’s also a great way to bond once you’ve gotten past the point of getting each other’s attention. In a sense, getting attention is the easy part. Holding it with someone is the real challenge. That’s where jokes come in.

Making someone laugh makes you more likable. Being likable means they want to be around you more. Being around you more will let them know whether you’re worth loving. The more you make them laugh, the more you tip those odds in your favor.

It can’t just be crude dick jokes either. Those only go so far. Even in high school, that stuff isn’t enough to get you a date. Making someone laugh isn’t just about entertaining them. It’s about making them feel relaxed. By being relaxed, they’ll be more comfortable around you. By being comfortable, they’re more willing to take their clothes off. It’s logic at its most simple.


Flirting Tip #5: Be Poised, Be Confident, And Lie To Yourself (But No One Else)

Poise often goes hand-in-hand with confidence, but they don’t always have have to be mutually exclusive. Confidence is critical in any successful flirtation. Contrary to what every teen movie ever said, being pitiful is never attractive. Most people don’t fall in love or have sex out of pity.

That’s why being confident is so important. That’s also why sometimes you have to lie to yourself about your confidence level. It may sound crude, but it is one of those things that you can fake until you make. In fact, you can use caveman logic to your advantage. Your brain doesn’t know the difference between fake confidence and real confidence so take advantage of that bug.

In doing so, however, you have to be careful not to give a false impression to the person your flirting with. If you lie to them about the kind of person you are, then that means either becoming that person or having to keep lying. In the end, that’s more stress than it’s worth. It’s also a dick move and most people don’t appreciate that kind of flirting.


Flirting Tip #6: Invite Soft Touching (To A Point)

Being a natural hugger, I can attest to the power of touch. There is some science behind it as well. Even light touching is enough to send the sexy parts of someone’s brain into overdrive. It’s another instance where you can get caveman logic to work in your favor.

Now, this can be risky because touching someone when they don’t want it can get you into all sorts of trouble, especially these days. It’s more so for men, but it’s also something women struggle with as well. It’s not always easy to discern a loving touch from the kind of touch that Ted Bundy might give. That’s why it’s best to keep things soft and subtle.

If at any point, the touching gets heated, then by all means, go for it. Let that touching take you and your prospective lover across the rainbow bridge into paradise. However, you have to make damn sure you don’t jump the gun. You’ll save yourself and your lover more awkward moments than they care to deal with.


Again, I would like to re-emphasize that I am not a dating expert, nor am I a professional pick-up artist. If I were, I’d be charging a lot more for these tips and be a lot less honest about it. The fact that I’ve inconvenienced myself, a major indicator I’ve noted before, to the point where I would write out these tips and give them for free should be proof enough of my sincerity.

Even if I’m not an expert, I dedicate a lot of time and energy into writing sexy stories and crafting sexy scenarios to entertain and arouse. Issues like flirting are things I have to research, explore, and learn about to make my writing as sexy as possible. If it can help other people in the real world get lucky in love or sex, then that’s just a nice bonus.

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My Plans For Finding Love (Through EHarmony)

I actually had another topic I wanted to discuss today, but something came up that I felt was worth talking about. I’m sorry to say it has nothing to do with sex robots, bionic penises, or romance lessons from superhero comics. Don’t worry. I’ll find plenty of reasons to talk about those topics again. This is more personal.

A while back, I bemoaned my luck with online dating, citing that demographics alone are working against me. At the moment, online dating is great if you’re a marginally attractive young woman. The massive disparity between men and women on most sites ensures they can sign up in the morning and have a date before sundown. Men are just that lonely/horny.

For me, though, despite being a fairly attractive young man with no debt, good health, and a sexy mind, the odds and the demographics just aren’t in my favor. I did try online dating last year, namely through Match.com. I even got a paid subscription, which wasn’t cheap. It turns out I would’ve been better off throwing that money at squirrels. At least that would’ve gotten a cheap laugh.

The most I got out of online dating was a lot of spam, namely from a bunch of women asking me to pay for their porno cam. Apparently, there are still some men on this planet who just aren’t content with all the free porn that’s all over the web and still insist on paying for cam girls. It was frustrating because every time I saw a profile that seemed to match, it turns out it was just another goddamn spammer.

If I sound bitter, then please forgive me. Being single at my age does worry me, as I’ve contemplated before. Then, a few days ago, I had a chat with some close family members. They always remind me how much they love me and how much they want me to find love. So, despite my bitterness, they convinced me to give online dating another try.

I’m still hesitant, but what I’m doing now clearly isn’t working. My family keeps pointing out that actually getting out there and finding someone just isn’t what it used to be. I need to do something different and, bitterness aside, a lot of people are finding their spouses online these days. I’d like to join that statistic.

I’m hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst, namely a lot more porno spam. However, I certainly won’t be trying Match.com again. Since I’m not an attractive woman, I’m pretty sure that site just isn’t going to work for me. Instead, I’m going to give Eharmony a shot.

Now, I’ve seen all those goofy Eharmony commercials like everyone, complete with that annoying music. I also don’t think for a second that those people claiming to have met their spouses are real. I’m almost certain they’re paid actors, as is the case with any commercial. However, Eharmony does have a better reputation than most dating sites, at least in terms of intent.

That’s still a relative concept, with respect to dating sites. Given how hard it is to pin down just how effective these sites are, I don’t think there’s a whole lot of difference between Eharmony and Tinder, in terms of reputation. However, Eharmony states outright that it wants to help people find serious love. At this point in my life, I want that as much as any single guy in his 30s.

I imagine it’ll be a challenge. I also imagine there are a lot of factors working against me, as is often the case with any service that makes bold claims, like being able to find your spouse. That said, when it comes to finding love, the erotica/romance writer in me is always willing to make that gamble.

If I do this, though, I want to maximize my chances for success. Moreover, I’d like to document that success on this blog, if possible. I’ll document the failure too, but success is a lot sexier so I’d much rather talk about that.

So, with that in mind, I want to formulate a plan. I’m still working on the particulars of that plan. My family is already helping me, as they do with many things. However, I’d like to open this up to anyone who reads this blog and has experience with online dating. I’m very open to suggestions. What I did with Match.com simply didn’t work. I’d like to avoid that with Eharmony.

So please, if you’re a regular reader of this blog or just stumbled across it because you’re looking for a site that talks a lot about superhero comics and sex robots, I’d like to hear from you. How should I go about this? What can I do to maximize my chances of finding the kind of love I write about in my novels? Let me know in the comments. Again, I’m open to suggestions.

Who knows? If this plays out right, it may find its way into one of my future novels. Sure, that may be hoping for too much, but some things are worth that extra hope. Love is definitely one of them.

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The Attention Economy (And Why It’s Ruining The Internet)

Here’s a little pop quiz that most people will probably fail. What is the most valuable asset in today’s modern economy? Go on, take a few minutes if you have to. I know it sounds like an easy question to answer, but it’s still worth thinking about.

Is it gold? Historically, it is one of mankind’s most valuable materials.

Is it money? That makes sense. People call it the root of all evil for a reason.

Is it knowledge? Smart people can be pretty damn successful.

Actually, it’s none of these. Even money, that one major driving force behind every major heist movie, is not nearly as valuable in today’s economy as it was 50 years ago. If anything, it’s losing its value and becoming an increasingly esoteric concept, so much so that we consider bits of computer code to be money.

There is, in fact, one other asset whose value exceeds them all. We know this because businesses, artists, and even horny people trying to get laid go to obscene, if not annoying, lengths to get it.

That’s right. I’m talking about that most precious of assets that drives the entire modern economy. I’m talking about attention.

Yes, that word deserves bold and italicized fonts. It’s just that important. It may seem like hyperbole to those still used to picking out pocket change between couch cushions. It’s not like you can tip a stripper with attention. However, give it just a little bit of thought. It won’t take much to realize just how important it is. It doesn’t just drive the economy. It drives (or hinders) our love lives.

I know this because it ties directly into my ongoing efforts to be an erotica/romance writer. It also ties into my efforts to make this blog a successful supplement to those efforts. There’s a good reason I try to avoid overly boring topics and talk about kinky things that both raise eyebrows and moisten panties. It’s a way for drawing attention to my work. It is, without a doubt, the greatest challenge I face as a writer.

Talk to anyone who has ever worked in marketing, whether it’s selling books or diamond-encrusted dildos. They’ll probably say the same thing, although the people selling dildos will probably have better stories. The hardest part of selling anything is getting peoples’ attention.

I know I keep referencing this same famous movie clip, but it’s just that powerful. It keeps finding new ways to be applicable to so many things, from making money to finding love. There’s a reason why Alec Baldwin won an Oscar for it. It’s the same reason why you don’t hear from a lot of other Baldwins these days.

Between the bragging, bullying, and brass ball props that Baldwin’s character uses, the most important part of his distinctly de-motivational speech is the A.I.D.A. method he describes. That’s attention, interest, decision, and action. Every major marketing method follows this model to some extent, but it’s that first step that is most vital.

It’s also the step that is most difficult, especially in the era of 350 channels, YouTube celebrities, and internet memes. For most of the modern era, we had only a handful of TV channels, newspapers, and methods for disseminating information. It used to be that a few strategically placed commercials during the Super Bowl would be enough to generate the attention you needed.

Those days are deader than analog cables and betamax. Instead, you have hundreds of channels containing countless shows, stories and sites doing anything and everything to get every last second of your attention. Is it really that surprising that the gratuitous violence/nudity on “Game of Thrones” and iconic franchises like “Star Wars” have become the new standard?

These things get your attention. These things get people talking. It’s only after you have someone’s attention that you can even begin to plan on how you’ll get them to pay for your product and/or have sex with you. In an era of so many choices and so few opportunities, attention might as well be encrusted in polished diamonds.

It’s because that attention is so valuable, so much so that it’s become the main currency of the modern era, that the internet is changing and not necessarily for the better. Spend more than five minutes on the internet, whether you’re checking your email or watching porn, and chances are you’ve run into a little something called clickbait.

In the attention economy, clickbait is akin to the muggers who beat up sick orphans while drunks throw pennies at them. It is the clogged toilet and overflowing septic tank of the internet. They are sites, ads, and shady tactics meant to draw you away from productive activities, like checking your email or reading this blog, and into some buggy, browser-crashing site meant to extract your attention and credit card information.

We’ve all seen them. The names of the sites and the annoying ads they post are ridiculous. Sometimes, it’s painfully obvious. However, it’s still tempting at times to click on them and that’s exactly what makes clickbait so evil.

Like it or not, people need to make a living. Websites need to make money. I need to make money. I can’t tell sexy erotica/romance stories without a roof over my head, food on my plate, and a reliable internet connection. That’s why I promote my novels every chance I get. I haven’t resorted to clickbait yet, but it is tempting. It’s also very frustrating.

I’ve seen the same internet as everybody else. I’m just as annoyed by the abundance of clickbait as everyone else. It’s hard to even trust the text within a link these days. At the same time, however, I can understand the intent behind it.

People are trying to make money. They can’t do that unless they get the attention of customers. The problem is that as the size and prevalence of the internet has increased, our capacity for attention has not. We humans only have so much brain matter in our skulls. That brain can only give a finite amount of attention to a handful of things at any given time.

Until we can start augmenting our brains, which Elon Musk is working on as we speak, this limitation isn’t going to change. We’ll still only be able to give a certain amount of attention to ourselves, mass media, and each other. As such, the amount of clickbait we see on the internet is only going to increase. The sheer absurdity of the headlines is likely to increase as well. I’ll give everyone a moment to shudder.

It’s unavoidable, but understandable. The internet may seem infinite, if only because of the varieties of porn it stores, but it’s not. It can’t run itself for free either. It needs to make money somehow and nobody seems to want to pay for it. Why else would some people resort to Kickstarter, which is basically digital begging, to fund movies?

We’re all guilty of it. I certainly am. I’ll whine constantly about pop-up ads and video ads on a site, but refuse to pay the extra $10 for the “premium” version that removes the ads. While some feel that kind of service is exploitive on the same level as price gouging for medicine, it makes sense. Again, the people managing these sites need to make money and nobody seems keen to want to give it.

The internet will continue to evolve, as it always has. That evolution will be driven primarily by a desire to turn a profit. Unfortunately, no profits can be made unless someone gets enough attention first. As evil and annoying as clickbait may be, we have only ourselves to blame for its existence. At least for now, it’s here to stay. The best we can do is grit our teeth, read some sexy novels, and endure.

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An Online Dating Experiment That Does NOT Bode Well For Me

I know it’s a little early to be contemplating New Years Resolution. We still have to get through the final days of 2016 without losing any more beloved celebrities. Then again, I’ve always been an overly proactive guy. I’m the kind of guy who used to turn in essay papers three weeks ahead of schedule in college. My old professors used to say setting deadlines was useless for a guy like me.

While I appreciate their insight, I do understand that you can only be so proactive with certain activities. Compared to college essays, dating may as well be an Olympic event done drunk, blindfolded, and concussed. I’ve made my recent luck with dating painfully apparent. I’m trying to change that luck for 2017.

Over the holidays, I actually set a very specific goal with my family, one that may or may not be too ambitious. I actually told some close relatives who know how dedicated I am to my craft that I want to bring a significant other to Thanksgiving dinner in 2017. In my family, that’s a big fucking deal. Bringing a significant other to a big family event is right up there with co-signing on a loan.

It’s ambitious, but it’s something I really do want to try. I’m hoping online dating will give me a chance, if only to slightly improve the long odds. Then, while doing some cursory research on the subject for my last post, I came across some very discouraging news.

It has to do with a certain kind of gender disparity. I’ve talked about that sort of thing before and it’s never a pleasant conversation. It’s like talking about taxes, dead animals, and clogged toilets. It’s not going to have pleasant details. With online dating though, I can’t avoid these details.

In this case, the disparity has actual numbers to back it up. After the Ashley Madison hack in July 2015, we learned a nasty secret about certain online dating sites. The amount of men on these sites grossly outnumber the amount of women. How gross is it? Well, according to the Washington Post, only 15 percent of the profiles on Ashley Madison belonged to actual, real-life women.

Think about that number for a second. If you went to a restaurant and you only had a 15 percent chance of getting a meal, you’d say that was a pretty shitty restaurant, wouldn’t you? Well, those are the kinds of odds that men are facing here.

I already have some direct experience with it. Last year, I created an account on two dating websites. In both cases, the only responses I got came from chat bots trying to solicit money for porno webcams. That’s literally all I got. There’s enough pornographic spam on the internet and that’s all I could attract with my online dating profile. What’s that say about me?

It’s depressing, but it’s not just me. People have done actual experiments on this disparity and the results are pretty discouraging. An Elite Daily article profiled a man who created two Tinder profiles, one male and one female. The response rate between them was pretty damn egregious. The female version of his profile got five times as many messages. In terms of raw numbers, that is not a trivial difference.

Other experiments have revealed similar results. The Daily Mail UK did a similar profile on a man from London who actually dressed up as a woman for his profile. It turns out, the men didn’t care. They inundated him with responses, some of them using language I usually reserve for my books.

This is not encouraging. This does not sit well with me. It also reveals something else that gets lost in the laughable number gap. Online dating sucks for men and it brings out the worst in them, which gives the radical feminist, overly PC types a reason to whine.

There are any number of articles where the dirty, pornographic language men use on these sites are documented. Women and the PC crowd love to screen-cap these comments and use them to say, “Look at this! Look how disgusting men are! There’s so much misogyny! All men must be ashamed of themselves and die!”

That may be an extreme response, but extremes are the new normal in this day and age. So I’m not going to waste my time confronting those issues. There’s another side to that coin that will get lost in all the whining and it comes down to this simple truth:

Men are REALLY desperate to find a lover and not having one really screws with their mind.

Think about it because I sure have. When men get really horny, they tend to make poor decisions. Women do the same, but it’s much easier for a horny woman to find an outlet. As these online dating experiments prove, they really don’t have to make much of an effort to get a man’s interest. The massive disparity in gender ensures their options are limited.

With men, however, that kind of horniness really fucks with our brain. Scott Adams even talks about this when explaining the modern phenomenon of sexting. Horny men don’t think clearly and will, in turn, do stupid shit. Remember, our brains aren’t wired for logic and reason. They’re wired for survival and reproduction.

Survival isn’t as big a deal in 2016 so reproduction occupies much more of our mental energy. When we don’t have an outlet, our caveman brains get a little erratic. That leads us to saying some of the disgusting shit that women find so offensive.

Now I like to think I haven’t sent a woman an outright pornographic message, but given the heavy erotic content in my novels, I’m sure I’ve let a few slip. I’m sure some women even found it offensive. There’s nothing I can do to apologize to those women. They’ve already formed an opinion about me and I can’t change that.

So where does this leave me? What can I do at this point if the odds and numbers of online dating are stacked against me? That’s not a rhetorical question, by the way. I’m serious. I really would like to know because this does worry me.

I guess I’m somewhat lucky because I do have an outlet with my novels. I can take these sexy thoughts that fill my masculine brain and channel them into erotic novels or sexy Sunday thoughts. I think that’s a healthier way to manage my mental energy compared to sending women overtly sexual messages online.

Then again, it still only goes so far. It still leaves me alone, single, and dangerously close to creepiness territory. I still want to make an effort in 2017 to change my romantic luck, but I’m facing an uphill battle here. If, however, it means I can find a good and affectionate lover, then I’d say I’m willing to fight that battle.

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Online Dating: Should Give It A (Third) Try?

We live in an era where people have a more intimate relationship with their smart phone than they’ll ever have with another person. Think about it. People tell their phone all their dirtiest secrets, trust it to keep those secrets, and turn to it in their time of need, no matter how serious or trivial the situation may be. In the grand scheme of things, a smart phone is a lover, an accomplice, a therapist, and a butler all rolled into one.

There may come a day when our phones and our technology will take the place of lovers. There are some parts of the world where sex robots are already a thing. Until then, though, we will continue to seek out human companionship in some form or another.

I certainly love my smart phone, but I’m not going to form an intimate relationship with it. I can’t make love to it. I can’t enjoy foreplay with it, which is kind of important to me. Maybe I’m old fashioned by today’s standards, but I’d rather have a person as a lover.

This is something I’ve talked about before as a concern. I am in my 30s now and I’m a single male. The older I get, the greater the creepiness factor will escalate. I don’t want that. I don’t want to be the creepy guy on the block. I’m already the guy on the block who wears flip-flops and a bathing suit to a coffee shop. That’s the most my reputation can handle.

So as I was getting together with friends and family for the holidays, I started having conversations about my goals for 2017. Naturally, most of those goals involved being a successful erotica/romance writer and a more awesome guy in general. Those have been my goals for years now and I like to think I’m making progress in both.

That said, one goal in particular came up and I’m the one who brought it up. Maybe it was due to me seeing so many members of my family find love in their own way. Maybe it’s just the male version of a biological clock starting to go off in my 30-year-old brain. At some point, I do want to find love again and I’d like to make that part of my goals for 2017.

The problem is I have piss poor social skills. I can write novels. I can talk about comics and football for four hours straight. I can work out until I’m a big mass of muscle and sweat. I still can’t, for the life of me, find a way to properly interact with the opposite sex on a face-to-face level. I struggle to enter that mindset where I can use my words and my gestures to win a woman’s heart.

That’s a big reason why I haven’t had a serious girlfriend in a number of years now. It’s for that same reason I really want to change things up for 2017. One approach that many family members suggest is to use online dating. That’s something several family members have used to great success in some form or another. The problem is I have experience with it too and it’s not all that pleasant.

A while back, I did give online dating a try. In fact, I gave it two tries. I signed up for two popular sites and since I don’t know any good lawyers, I won’t name names. I’ll just say you’ve probably seen commercials for both of them.

I put some serious effort into these sites. I worked hard on my profile. I made sure my pictures weren’t too goofy or unflattering. I tried to paint a picture of being an awesome guy with plenty to offer a prospective lover. I must have not tried hard enough because, despite spending both time and money, I basically got zilch out of it. I probably would’ve been more productive trying to seduce a tree.

It’s not that the sites themselves failed me. I just think I’m shoveling sand against the tide with online dating. I’m a single male. There are a lot of single males on the internet looking for love and not all of it is of the healthy variety. The disparity between single males and single females on the internet is pretty goddamn staggering. If you’re a woman of average physical attractiveness, online dating is like a candy store. For men, it’s basically akin to fighting over table scraps.

That was my experience. It wasted my time and my money. It also made me feel ugly, unattractive, and unloved. It was not a pleasant experience. That said, it’s not like what I’m doing now is working any better. I need to do something different if I’m going to find a lover.

So with a healthy bit of skepticism and an unhealthy bit of frustration, I’m thinking of giving online dating a try again. I will definitely not use the same sites I did last time. I will try to use another. I will even invest some money into it. There’s no romance without finance, especially if you’re a man like me. It’s not necessarily fair, but that’s the way the world works.

Again, I’m doing this because my options just seem so limited. I’m a young single man and there are just too many of them on this planet right now and not enough women are willing to give them a chance. I need to find a way to be more awesome than all of these men. I don’t know how I’ll accomplish that, but I’d like to give it a try in 2017. Wish me luck.

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Skills In Love: A Personal Conflict

There are a lot things I wish I learned in school. In talking about various conflicts between love versus sex, perception versus reality, and violence versus the horror of seeing exposed nipples on a TV screen, I’m reminded of just how badly school prepared me for the world. Granted, I was miserable at school, but at least learning something would’ve softened the blow.

As much as I loathed school, there is one skill I wish they had taught. That skill involves finding love, forging relationships, and actually connecting with someone romantically. This feels like one of those incredibly important skills that we should all learn at a young age. Most kids figure out how to maximize the benefits of orgasms. Far fewer learn how to enjoy the benefits of loving relationships.

My family, as much as I love them, has been giving me the same advice since the Clinton Administration. They say, “It’ll happen when it happens.” They could say the same thing about me playing the lottery, which is not very discouraging. I’m over 30 now and being single at this age is starting to really concern me for reasons that may affect my ability to describe my personal life with a straight face.

I get it. Romance is one of those things you can’t predict. Nobody can really control how they fall in love or who they fall in love with. That’s a big part of what makes it so exciting and mysterious. It’s why romance/erotica writers like me have an audience.

However, finding romance is not like playing the lottery. It’s not one of those things that is complete and random chance. Our ability to find love is, unfortunately, one of those skills that varies from person to person. Some are just better-equipped than others.

I’m not just talking about women who have big tits and good social skills. I’m not just talking about men who have six-pack abs and a fat bank account either. Those aren’t skills. Those are a product of a genetic lottery and/or an ability to afford a good plastic surgeon. We can’t really control those factors. However, there are some we can control.

In finding love, there are a few skills that are more vital than most. We need to know how to communicate. We need to know how to empathize, read body language, and present ourselves in a compelling, affectionate way.

Some say these skills are innate. They’re part of being human. I say eating is part of being human as well, but some are far better at doing it than others. We can’t put the eating skills of a chef at a five-star restaurant on the same level as someone whose diet consists primarily of Doritos and Ramen noodles. For a skill like finding love, we need to know more than the ingredients.

This is where the issue becomes personal for me. Growing up, and all throughout my schooling, I did not develop good social skills. I wasn’t a total pariah, but I was often defined by my social awkwardness. I would avoid crowds. I avoided talking to others in class. I made few friends. Naturally, I was miserable. Being a self-centered little shit, I didn’t realize my misery was mostly my fault until I became an adult.

I’ve done my best to catch up in recent years. Going to college, getting a job, and becoming closer to my family has helped me gain some of the skills I failed to learn in school. I think I’m a better communicator now than I was in my early 20s. I can carry on a conversation and not sound like a regular on “The Big Bang Theory.”

That said, if one of my old teachers were to grade my skills, I’d be lucky to get a C at best. I am still, despite my best efforts, very socially awkward. I struggle to start conversations. I struggle to approach people. I really struggle to seek out the opposite sex and express a romantic interest.

This has already hindered my personal life in many ways. I mentioned in an earlier blog post that I went on a date earlier this year. I met a girl through a friend and we went to see the X-men movie together. I thought it went well at the time. Now that I look back on it, I think I my social awkwardness sent the wrong message. There were other mitigating circumstances, but I don’t think I did my part to show my interest.

Would learning more skills in high school have helped? Would I have gone on another date with that girl if I had been a bit more skilled in the art of romance? I don’t know. I can’t know for sure. However, I do know that this is a skill I need to work on in my personal life, if only to help me relate to the romance/erotica I write.

I will say this though. As much as I struggle to converse with someone in the physical world, I do believe my skills in the digital world are above-average. It’s not just because I met my first girlfriend online and that relationship once involved a sexy trip to Victoria’s Secret on the holidays.

In terms of skill, writing has always been one of my strengths. I sucked at a lot of things in school. Essay questions and papers wasn’t one of them. Ask me to carry on a conversation with a stranger and I’ll be lucky to avoid a slap in the face. Ask me to write an essay or craft an elaborate story and I’ll flex my skills like an oiled-up body-builder.

If I am going to find love one day, it probably won’t be through my conversation skills. It’ll probably come through my writing skills. In that sense, my ability to craft good romance/erotica isn’t just vital for my career. It may very well determine whether or not I find the love of my life. The stakes are pretty high, but if I’m going to confront this conflict, I might as well do it with my greatest skill.

In other words, challenge accepted!

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Being Single At My Age: Should I Worry?

A while back, I was walking through a mall, as I often do on a nice weekend. This particular mall happened to have these kiosks where people would walk up to you and try to sell you anything from beauty products to exotic vacations to cult membership. I’m usually pretty good at ignoring them, but one in particular got my attention.

This woman was selling some sort of fancy skin care product. She did her pitch. I listened, trying to find a polite way to brush her off. Then, she said this product would make a great gift. She asked if I was married. I said no. She then asked if I had a girlfriend. I said no. Then, she asked me something that kind of struck me.

She looks at me strangely, gives me this cock-eyed glance with her eyes, and asks, “Are you gay?” I said no and I laughed it off. She laughed too and after that, I had a good reason to walk away. However, something about that conversation really struck me. As time goes on, it strikes me even harder and not in the way most BDSM enthusiasts would enjoy.

It’s one thing for a guy in his early to mid 20s to be single. Society really doesn’t look down on that. We see a young guy in his 20s who is single and think:

“He must between girlfriends. That or he’s just humping everyone and everything he can to get it out of his system before he settles down. That’s okay. I will not shame him. He’s a valuable part of the labor force so it’s probably not a good idea to bust his balls.”

Okay, maybe that’s not exactly what we think when we see a young 20-something single guy, but it’s a close approximation. The point is that when a man is young, society is okay with him being single and unattached. We don’t look at that as anything strange or suspicious.

That all seems to change when a man crosses that special, magical threshold otherwise known as “turning 30.” I’m over 30 and I’ve been over 30 for a while now. I try to stay healthy. I made it a point several years ago to be healthier in my 30s than I was in my 20s. I like to think I’ve kept that promise to myself.

However, no matter how much I work out or how healthy I am, I can’t change the number of days that have passed since I was born. That also means I can’t change the fact that I’m single and over the age of 30. For whatever reason, that’s the age where being single suddenly becomes an issue.

It’s another one of those lesser-known double standards. I’ve bemoaned many of the double standards plaguing women and men, but this one affects me personally. It may very well affect my ability to find love, interact with the public, or work ahead in my career. It’s a serious issue for me and one that I don’t know how to address.

It may sound like a trivial, first-world problem by current standards, but it is there. We’ve made a lot of societal progress. We no longer arrange marriages for our children and force them to stay in passionless, abusive relationships. I say that counts as progress in my book.

A byproduct of this progress, though, is that we’re going to end up with a sizable population of men and women who either lag behind or never really catch up in the end. It’s true. There is a stigma to being single these days. I’m not just talking about a stigma that amounts to the “creepy guy” factor either.

When we find out someone like me in their 30s is single, society has these strange set of assumptions that are somewhat understandable within a context. I’m not saying those assumptions are right, but there is a context. So when people find out a man is over 30 and single, there are sentiments like:

  • He must be gay or something
  • He must be some kind of pervert who can’t get a woman
  • He must have some kind of mental health issue
  • He must have some sort of gross habit that repels women
  • He must be a serial killer or a child molester in the making
  • He must be abusive or selfish to an extreme degree
  • He must be some kind of man-whore who only sees women as disposable tissues
  • He must be terrible with kids
  • He must be broke and have nothing to offer

These are all harsh assumptions. Some are more extreme than others. Again, there is a context though. For most of human history, we lived in small tribes. Men and women often paired up out of necessity and convenience at young ages. If someone, male or female, became distant from the tribe, that was inherently harmful to the tribe. In that sense, the stigma is understandable.

Here in the modern era, the circumstances have changed, but the caveman logic hasn’t. A single man in his 30s is often seen as a sign of a larger problem. It’s still seen as a failing of sorts. Even in this more progressive era, men are expected to be married or in some form of relationships after a certain age. They’re expected to be locked into some sort of social bond. When they don’t meet that expectation, that’s cause for concern.

This has a real impact that goes deeper than just creepy glares and accusations of being gay. Some of these impacts affect men much more than women as well. It means that when I see a cute kid and play around with that kid, it’s going to come off as creepy to some people. A single man in his 30s playing with a kid? That makes some people shudder for reasons I don’t think I need to describe.

It also has an economic impact. If you’re a single man over 30 and you’re working full-time, you can expect to make less than a single woman the same age. Society does, and understandably so, reward those who are married and in relationships. I can understand society wanting to incentivize those in relationships, but sometimes incentives can have a snowball affect.

I worry that as I get older, the stigma will become harder and harder to avoid. With each passing year that goes by without me getting in a relationship, people are going to start making more and more assumptions. As a result, people will also keep their distance from me. For someone like me, a natural hugger, that can be pretty damaging.

It’s a self-reinforcing cycle, one that will make things worse in the long run. It’s a cycle that may drive me to enter a relationship for the wrong reasons and I don’t want to put myself, or any woman for that matter, through such an experience.

I do want to find love. I do want to forge close, intimate relationships with others. I just worry that my age and the stigma that comes with being single will work against me. I hold out hope that I’ll find someone to share my life with one day. I just hope that day comes sooner rather than later.

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