"Entitlement, Nerds and Neanderthals"- today's Prime post etc.

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Post by The Wisp on Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:39 am

Attractiveness is subjective, yes, but it's rare that somebody will date you just because you're not a bad person and have vaguely similar interests. Still, even if you change 'attractive' to 'subjectively attractive to that person' I think the point still stands.
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Post by Guest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 1:58 am

Mel wrote:
MapWater wrote:I think the distinction between an awkward, shy, nerdy guy VS the same but with ill intent or very bad ideas is harder to tell than your typical 'frat' type guy who has his own terrible ideas about women. I would imagine it makes a wee bit easier to lump someone like myself in with them (I've made the bold claim here I'm one of the good guys, oh shit  Razz ).

To be fair, I don't deal much with the 'frat' types day-to-day. Maybe it is harder to tell than I think if a guy like that has ill intent than I think it is. But most who I have had to deal with that have had nasty ideas made them very clear with their behaviour. Nerdier sorts I know with nasty ideas seem to not be quite as open with them... But I'll let women on the receiving end make the call on that rather than myself so I take you at your word, Mel.

Yeah, thinking about it... I'd say that there are different qualities in each situation that kind of balance things out. If a guy is doing something clearly boundary-crossing, I'm generally going to feel more uncertain about whether he means it intentionally or if it's just an accident if he presents as nerdy/socially awkward than if he presents as confident and assured. But I think socially awkward folks, due to their being socially awkward, have a harder time hiding malicious intent when it's there, whereas socially confident guys can manipulate the situation more easily. So if a nerdy/socially awkward presenting guy isn't doing anything red flaggy, I'm generally pretty confident he's okay, whereas I'm more cautious with a socially confident guy who isn't doing anything red flaggy because I see more possibility that he could simply have the skill and awareness to hide ill intent.

Which actually makes socially awkward guys easier to interact with, for me at least, because it's easier to point to problematic behavior and say, "Erm, this is not cool" and then judge from their response whether they intended it or not, than it is to determine whether someone's being honest or manipulative with you, without any "bad" behavior to call out--especially early on when you're just starting to get to know the person. Also, if a confident manipulator does make a misstep and get called out, he's more likely to be able to pretend dismay and repentance while not really feeling it, so even that is harder to trust and to distinguish between good guy and predator.

(Not that I'm saying I assume all confident guys are predators or some such, but I'm definitely more wary of--or perhaps more accurately, less quick to trust--good behavior from them.)

Does that make sense?

Yup, I gotcha. Like you've said later on as well, it's a matter of personal experiences defining just how people will react to differing types of other people too.

OneTrueGuest wrote:No, BB, I've found the same.  I was always so careful not to hurt the feelings of the nerds who hit on me and therefore found myself in the trickiest of situations. In fact the only time someone lashed out at me Nice Guy TM style, it was a nerd.  He was a friend at theatre school, we were working on a scene together, and he was late so I was hanging out in the common room chatting with fellow students.  He showed up and chewed me out for speaking to other dudes and threatened to quit the scene (it wasn't mandatory, but it was a scene for an agent showcase - where all the agents in the city came to see the new graduating talent, it's a big opportunity).  I basically begged him to stay and apologised profusely for daring to talk with other men because I needed to do that showcase. It was the worst I think I've ever been made to feel by a friend, and several months later he lashed out at me again over email.  I've never spoken to him since.

Sorry.  A bit of a derail.  The point is I had felt bad for him when I'd first met him.  He was socially awkward and no one in the class really spoke with him so I invited him to come sit with us, and I even cast him in a show I was doing, and he took it as a sign that I was clearly in love with him and therefore his property.  I was totally unprepared for his behaviour towards me and blamed myself a lot.  It took a lot for me to finally just end the friendship.  Meanwhile the frat boy douchebags?  Always assumed they were up to something and they were super easy to just turn down with a withering look.

Ugh, that's really bad. I'm sorry you had to deal with that guy.

On a small tangent though, but it is related to that 'being lumped in' thing, is that I know I'm nowhere near this bad. Awkward, retiring and not the most masculine? Yup. But I'm not about to go obsessive on some poor woman after but a little friendly behaviour sent my way. At least, I can say with confidence I have seen that go down and helped put a stop to it. Which leads to Wisp's thoughts and celette's addition:

celette482 wrote:
The Wisp wrote:
Wow, that's awful Sad

People like that are part of the reason people are hesitant to reach out to socially isolated people, particularly men.

There is definitely an assumption that people are socially isolated for a reason. Plus, it's easy to fall into that overly clingy trap when we are feeling lonely and hurting.

I've wondered before how to fix this dichotomy, because you don't want to incite some obsessive and dangerous person by merely showing them a kindness but how else do you help people that seem socially isolated?

Caffeinated wrote:
Dan_Brodribb wrote:
In my teens and through my twenties I would only do things I knew I could succeed at. I wanted a guarantee of success or I wasn't going to even try. I think I believe that if I failed at something that meant *I* was a failure. So the stakes felt higher and the consequences were more terrifying.

Well said. I had that same problem in my teens and twenties, and it is a huge hindrance in so many ways.

I have that problem right now, really. My biggest fear of anything is failure which is hilariously self-fulfilling.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:07 am

The Wisp - But also not being a bad person and having similar interests is not enough in and of itself anyway.  Let's use me as an example, because why not.  The person I want to date needs to share a sense of humour with me, needs to be passionate, needs to be actively pursuing something in their life that is meaningful to them, he's not just a nice kind person in the abstract, he actively demonstrates it in his day to day life.  I want someone who isn't clingy, who has a life of his own, and who can take care of himself at social functions.  Who cares about cleanliness and putting together a nice outfit.  And yes, I also want to be physically attracted to them.  But of course what that means is also incredibly subjective, and I'll note I've like a great wide variety of gents, as I am sure many gents enjoy a great variety of women.  

I think the problem is certain male nerds consider themselves so uniquely special and so wonderfully kind that they get annoyed when a girl says such things.  But the fact is, they so rarely are nearly as unique nor kind as they think they are and yet they cling onto these two things to the detriment of working on improving all other personality traits.  Further it doesn't matter to me how brilliant you might be or kind you might ultimately be, if you don't allow me in, if you stay closed off and insist I jump through all these hoops to get to know "the real you", I'm not going to do it I'm afraid.  I need someone who will meet me in the middle.  And a lot of nerd guys expect that manic pixie dream girl who will pull him out of his shell and change his life forever.

So it isn't just physical attraction that matters, it's a whole whack of other things too.  And that's why I think women get really annoyed when men get mad that we don't want them in particular.  Because of course we phrase it often as if it's just that one thing we're looking for, kindness, and I get that that can seem like a lie.  But what we really mean we want is kindness on top of a bunch of other rather important things as well.  And I, quite frankly, don't think that's too much to ask for.

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Post by The Wisp on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:19 am

I didnt just mean physical attraction, fwiw, nor was I endorsing the angry nerd guy position. I think everything you said is reasonable, and kinda what I had in mind, though maybe I unintentionally implied otherwise.
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Post by Chickpea Sarada on Mon Jan 12, 2015 7:22 am

So according to Twitter, tomorrow's article on DNL Prime is going to be again about Male Privilege and Nerddom. He does mention something I wanted to say as I read through this thead: Nerd =/= nice, Jock =/= jerk. Whether you're a nerd or a jock and whether you're a good or bad person are completely separate things.
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Post by celette482 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:53 am

But they start with the same letter! How can we rationalize away our personal failings if we can't make sweeping, baseless generalizations about those who on the surface have what we want????
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:26 am

If guys like Aaronson hadn't already said things like that, I'd have thought y'all were building a strawman. How is "jock =/= jerk" etc. a thing that needs to be pointed out?
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Post by reboot on Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:28 am

Chickpea Sarada wrote:So according to Twitter, tomorrow's article on DNL Prime is going to be again about Male Privilege and Nerddom.  He does mention something I wanted to say as I read through this thead: Nerd =/= nice, Jock =/= jerk.  Whether you're a nerd or a jock and whether you're a good or bad person are completely separate things.

celette482 wrote:But they start with the same letter! How can we rationalize away our personal failings if we can't make sweeping, baseless generalizations about those who on the surface have what we want????

I am glad he is discussing this because it bugs the crap out of me when people say all people that are successful with the gender of their choice are assholes/Neanderthals/jerks/etc..
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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:53 am

Yes, it bugs me because it's wrong. But it also bugs me because it's so obviously wrong that it pulls away from more nuanced discussions, possibly including ideas about why/how people end up getting those ideas in the first place.

I think it comes back to the "Henry" thesis on SSC; the real complaint is that among people that are successful with the gender of their choice, some of them are assholes/jerks/etc. which leads us to conclude that "be nice" is not an essential rule or prerequisite to dating. (As has already been repeated to death elsewhere, nerds like rules.) Thus we end up talking past each other: one side lectures that being nice is not sufficient (duh), while the complaints (and subsequent toxic ideas) seem to me to stem from the fact that it isn't even necessary.

And it seems to me, at least, that there are some essential rules. Precisely what they are continues to elude me, and apparently everyone else. But if getting a date really only depends on a very flexible set of choices from a large pool of fuzzy-defined factors, I would think by now my own "success rate" would look a little better than zero percent. There's a fundamental axiom in the Theory that remains to be found—I know this because I do not satisfy it.

But to return again to the general case, I think even people who only perceive their chances to be disappointingly low (everyone's measuring a different thing in a different way, anyhow) suspect there must be a reason for the pattern. And it's so shockingly counter-intuitive to have to strike literal virtues off the list that some of us then exaggerate our findings and believe we've discovered some profound truth that the ignorant masses must have somehow been blind to all this time. Then everyone else just rolls their eyes at the latest person to think they've escaped the Matrix, and 'round we go...
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:05 pm

I think the thing that confuses me is that duh being nice isn't needed in order to get the girl. My thing is why is that even a complaint? Of course you can manipulate and lie your way into someone's pants, that's a given. I thought the whole point of dating sites like Dr. Nerdlove was about finding a person with whom you could have a great mutually respectful awesome relationship. If all a nerd dude wants is to fuck a girl, there are plenty of MRA/The Game sites that give you all the tools you need to do that. You don't need to be a kind person to get the girl. But if you want to be a kind good respectful person, the tools are out there to also get the girl.

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Post by Robjection on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:33 pm

I suspect it might stem from the fact that, generally speaking, we are taught to be nice when we are growing up, so to then be told that being nice isn't strictly necessary to get what you want (read: without as much nuance as some of the more recent posts in this thread) can translate into "so all that learning to be nice crap was just a waste of time" and all the subsequent anger that that carries.

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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:44 pm

Again, though, that's life. And that's something women are told so much. Just be nice, be quiet, be demure, don't make waves. And then you learn that nice people finish last and it feels unfair. I get it. What I don't get is how that tends to translate more to male nerds (not so much female nerds) taking out that frustration on others and blaming others. It's not the girls they have crushes on faults that they don't all want kind and nice. It's just a fact of life. There are a bunch of people out there who just don't give a fig about niceness.

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 2:51 pm

I still very firmly believe that being a good person is never a waste of time, and I'd rather contribute positive things to the world than negative things. This unfortunately does not prevent me from occasionally getting a little miffed that the not-so-nice folks seem to be enjoying their respective lives and I don't. Not just in terms of relationships or whatever but really any given quality of life attribute. I can't honestly claim that I've never directed that anger at women (rather, the idea of women as a group), or that I don't still sometimes want to, but trying to not be a total asshole about it is part of being a good person, which I value, so I try. Meanwhile, also still trying to find ways around that accumulation of frustration because, as you say, there's no valid target for it even though the source persists.
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Post by celette482 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:13 pm

When I was in school, I complained about how some kids just did so much better than me without working and my mom reminded me that ducks only move smoothly on the surface.

People enjoying their lives are like ducks moving smoothly on the surface. We have no idea how much effort they are putting into things, nor do we know if things are truly as smooth as they appear. They could be miserable (and in fact, most people I know who resort to being NOT nice to other people are quite miserable)
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Post by Guest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:24 pm

celette482 wrote:When I was in school, I complained about how some kids just did so much better than me without working and my mom reminded me that ducks only move smoothly on the surface.

People enjoying their lives are like ducks moving smoothly on the surface. We have no idea how much effort they are putting into things, nor do we know if things are truly as smooth as they appear. They could be miserable (and in fact, most people I know who resort to being NOT nice to other people are quite miserable)

I love this quote and this sentiment.

It reminds me, too, of the "Pinterest Effect," where you see everyone else's perfect Pinterest projects and despair, because all of a sudden, your dinosaur party with the little hats and the sandbox dino dig looks inadequate next to the person who made 15 kinds of organic, healthy, gluten-and-sugar-free snacks on the dinosaur theme. I've heard it described as "comparing their highlights film to your blooper reel."

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Post by nearly_takuan on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:28 pm

celette482 wrote:When I was in school, I complained about how some kids just did so much better than me without working and my mom reminded me that ducks only move smoothly on the surface.

People enjoying their lives are like ducks moving smoothly on the surface. We have no idea how much effort they are putting into things, nor do we know if things are truly as smooth as they appear. They could be miserable (and in fact, most people I know who resort to being NOT nice to other people are quite miserable)

Okay, so, I just need to put more effort in....
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Post by eselle28 on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:33 pm

nearly_takuan wrote:
celette482 wrote:When I was in school, I complained about how some kids just did so much better than me without working and my mom reminded me that ducks only move smoothly on the surface.

People enjoying their lives are like ducks moving smoothly on the surface. We have no idea how much effort they are putting into things, nor do we know if things are truly as smooth as they appear. They could be miserable (and in fact, most people I know who resort to being NOT nice to other people are quite miserable)

Okay, so, I just need to put more effort in....

There is the other bit of that. You don't necessarily know what people's interior level of happy is. I'd say it's especially common with people who are disliked rather than people who are liked, since few people spend a great deal of time talking with people who we dislike about their feelings.
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Post by OneTrueGuest on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:36 pm

Exactly.  You might think it's all easy for other people, and maybe the people do find the things that challenge you easy.  But maybe there are things you find easy that frustrated and challenge those people.  You don't know.  You don't know why people are how they are, how they are compensating for the BS in their lives.  You don't like doing drugs, but maybe for those who do do drugs that's their only escape.  It's not healthy, but maybe that's all they think they can do to not feel pain all the time.  

Also, yeah, maybe you do have to work harder.  I have to work harder and I work bloody hard as is.  And sometimes I just want to scream at how unfair it is that I have to work this friggin hard all the time and never get a damn break ever (sorry, that got extreme, really shitty morning this morning), but still.  Doesn't take away from the fact that I need to work harder.  And smarter.

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Post by Mel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 5:16 pm

I think it's okay to also recognize that yes, some people do have it easier than you. Not perfectly easy, but, I mean, some people vary in ways that are either societally privileged or disadvantaged or that simply skew from common preferences in a disadvantaging way, and trying to pretend that's not the case can just add to the frustration.

The thing is, when it comes to areas like dating where it's all just about how people feel about other people (as opposed to areas like, say, employment, where you can reasonably expect people to focus on practicalities like experience and skills over how they feel about any given candidate to try to eliminate unconscious bias), you can't really fight that directly. You can't ask people to magically start finding something attractive that they don't or stop desiring something that they do, because feelings just don't work that way. So getting angry at a group for tending not to be into whatever you're offering (which is a position I've been in too), or thinking they're responding unfairly, doesn't really make sense.

I do think it's better to focus on the positives rather than the negatives, though. e.g., I don't think it's helpful to look at people who are getting dates and think, "But they're doing X, Y, and Z thing that should be bad, and I don't do those things and don't get dates, so people must actually want to date people who do X, Y, and Z." People don't generally pick who they want to spend time with based on "what bad/uncomfortable things does this person not do?" but "what good/enjoyable things does this person bring to the table?" What really matters is what are those people getting dates doing that's "good" that you're not doing.
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Post by kath on Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:25 am

nearly_takuan wrote:But if getting a date really only depends on a very flexible set of choices from a large pool of fuzzy-defined factors, I would think by now my own "success rate" would look a little better than zero percent. There's a fundamental axiom in the Theory that remains to be found—I know this because I do not satisfy it.

Sorry if I've missed this part of the discussion, but I'm not sure I follow the logic here. If dating depends on a very flexible set of choices and fuzzily-defined factors, different person to person and situation to situation, why does that mean that you should have a "success rate" greater than zero? No matter what your n is, for 0/n, give that the factors are fuzzily defined and changing and there's a large number of them and whatnot, why couldn't n be arbitrarily large?

(Not to be insensitive about that - makes sense that however large n would logically be, the numerator being = 0 still sucks - I just figure there's some part of this that I am missing, which may be because I haven't read the whole thread in great detail ... )
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Post by Guest on Wed Jan 14, 2015 7:49 am

Mel wrote:So getting angry at a group for tending not to be into whatever you're offering (which is a position I've been in too), or thinking they're responding unfairly, doesn't really make sense.

Why does it have to make sense? Are you implying that one shouldn't be upset about offering traits that are unattractive to many and which can't be changed?

I find this idea that people are so platique and malleable, that we can all make changes to ourselves to the nth degree, irritating. It's glib and condescending.

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Post by reboot on Wed Jan 14, 2015 9:28 am

HermitTheToad wrote:
Mel wrote:So getting angry at a group for tending not to be into whatever you're offering (which is a position I've been in too), or thinking they're responding unfairly, doesn't really make sense.

Why does it have to make sense? Are you implying that one shouldn't be upset about offering traits that are unattractive to many and which can't be changed?

I find this idea that people are so platique and malleable, that we can all make changes to ourselves to the nth degree, irritating. It's glib and condescending.

You can definitely be upset but you cannot turn that upset on others.

For example, I have been (and occasionally still am) upset that men are not interested in me sexually or romantically because of my birth defect (source of data - men I have hit on and am now friends with). It is OK for me to be sad about this or to be mad at my genes. It is not OK for me to be mad at men.
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Post by Mel on Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:59 am

HermitTheToad wrote:
Mel wrote:So getting angry at a group for tending not to be into whatever you're offering (which is a position I've been in too), or thinking they're responding unfairly, doesn't really make sense.

Why does it have to make sense? Are you implying that one shouldn't be upset about offering traits that are unattractive to many and which can't be changed?

I find this idea that people are so platique and malleable, that we can all make changes to ourselves to the nth degree, irritating. It's glib and condescending.

Essentially what reboot said. There's a difference between being upset with the lot you've been given and being angry directly at people for doing nothing more wrong than having romantic preferences they can't change any more easily (and in some cases less easily) than you can change your traits. I've expressed multiple times in this and the adjoining discussion that I understand, can relate to, and think it's totally reasonable to be feeling upset and frustrated by being at a disadvantage, which is why I didn't think I needed to spell that out in detail again, especially since I wasn't talking counter to someone saying they were upset or frustrated, but counter to people suggesting that life is less unfair than people feeling upset or frustrated assume. (In other words, I was trying to support people feeling upset or frustrated--which is why, for example, I noted that trying to deny unfairness exists can add to their frustration--while pointing out the line where negative feelings become problematic.)

Frankly, it's rather irritating to repeatedly* have people assume I'm "implying" things in my posts that are directly contradictory to the context of the post, my wording in the post, and/or things I've explicitly said in the exact same discussion earlier. It's also rather irritating to have people make statements about things they find irritating, condescending, and glib in a response to me when I can't see that I have done that thing. I don't believe I've said anything along the lines that people can make infinite changes to themselves anywhere at all. Right there in the post you're quoting I talked about being hindered by societal disadvantages, which are by definition things people can't change about themselves.

If you intended that last bit in reference to people other than me, can I politely point out that saying it in a post where the only person you've quoted and responded directly to is me kind of naturally makes it come across as if you're talking specifically to me, so it's probably good to clarify?

Edit: Oh, and since it can be read different ways--obviously you (general you) can't control what you feel and you may very well feel angry toward a group of people even though it doesn't make sense. But it's your responsibility as a (hopefully) well-meaning member of society to recognize that a particular feeling is nonsensical, and so keep it to yourself and work through it privately rather than actively aiming it at the people you have the feeling toward.

*In case it's not 100% clear by the word order, the "repeatedly" refers to it coming up with multiple different people, not to you doing it repeatedly.
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Post by nearly_takuan on Wed Jan 14, 2015 3:46 pm

kath wrote:
nearly_takuan wrote:But if getting a date really only depends on a very flexible set of choices from a large pool of fuzzy-defined factors, I would think by now my own "success rate" would look a little better than zero percent. There's a fundamental axiom in the Theory that remains to be found—I know this because I do not satisfy it.

Sorry if I've missed this part of the discussion, but I'm not sure I follow the logic here. If dating depends on a very flexible set of choices and fuzzily-defined factors, different person to person and situation to situation, why does that mean that you should have a "success rate" greater than zero? No matter what your n is, for 0/n, give that the factors are fuzzily defined and changing and there's a large number of them and whatnot, why couldn't n be arbitrarily large?

(Not to be insensitive about that - makes sense that however large n would logically be, the numerator being = 0 still sucks - I just figure there's some part of this that I am missing, which may be because I haven't read the whole thread in great detail ... )

You're not really missing anything; you're correct that n can certainly be arbitrarily large (or at least, large enough that the human brain begins to have difficulty conceptualizing the number) and it would still be possible that I just chanced to miss an important sample. It's not impossible that the n+1 case could look different. But given that there are a few fairly consistent reports of data showing single people of average-ish attractiveness will agree to date someone of the opposite sex having average-ish attractiveness using an average-ish proposition around 50% of the time, the current size of my n already shoves me so far down the ass-end of the bell curve that that at least seems very improbable. The high math that allows for indefinite uncertainty is all very well and good in the abstract, but for specific case studies I prefer a more engineer-like approach, and "totally un-curated but large sampling of individuals chosen by poorly-understood black-box algorithms" seems to me to be good enough for government work.

I imagine nerd-dudes who haven't even thought about it that much probably still reach similar conclusions. Shrug.


—Oh, and I'm not sure if this needed clarifying or what, but, it isn't the case that I disapprove of recreational drug use or that I necessarily "don't like doing drugs"—to be honest I'm sorely tempted! I hate quite a lot of things about my life and often wonder if abusing the shit out of some chemical badness might not dampen those thoughts for at least a short time. But between legality issues, long-term risk factors, and untested concerns that once I've had a taste I probably wouldn't ever want to stop... I make a conscious choice not to indulge. Multiple times per night when that's necessary. That is part of the reason it's difficult in the first place. Alcohol I avoid for a different reason: I've determined that it's likely I am in some way physically intolerant of alcohol (likely Asian flush given other superficial symptoms and, of course, my ancestry). When my new job's medical insurance kicks in I intend to immediately schedule an appointment with the first GP I'll have seen in a decade, and I definitely mean to ask about getting more accurate details there. All I currently know is that on some nights a single shot of "fireball" whiskey or a heavily-diluted "screwdriver" was enough to give me some of the worst headaches of my life, and on others it seemed to not be a big problem but additional alcohol still felt like a really bad idea. Friends describe my "buzzed" state as if anything quieter than my normal behavior, so apart from the somewhat interesting feeling of having warm cheeks and apparently satisfying someone else's need to watch me drink something there isn't really anything I would see as a benefit to balance out a pretty severe drawback.
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Post by kath on Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:30 pm

OK - but why does that (if it does) lead you to believe that there's one particular factor that's The Problem, instead of believing that given that the factors are fuzzy, changing, and undefined, that the "problem" might also be fuzzy, changing and undefined? It's not that theres One Thing that if only you fixed, everything would work great, but that there's a combination of factors, internal and external, that contribute to the lack of success to different degrees in different circumstances / cases? Other than the fact that it seems like it would be easier to fix One Thing than adjust a whole bunch of random fuzzy parameters.

There might be one particular factor that isn't The Answer but that might make the rest of the stuff a lot easier to deal with, though. But again, that wouldn't mean that that factor is a sufficient factor, or even that it's necessary, just that it's very helpful - and frustration with that is what started this discussion in the first place.
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