Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Being an Asshole through Inordinate Humility

Part of humility is not overrating the degree and quality of one's own talents and gifts; underrating them does not make one more humble. Another part is not overatting the importance or merit of those gifts, or oneself. I'm thinking in terms of people like Wagner, who think their gifts mean they deserve special treatment from the world around them.

Underrating one's gifts is not really humility and can be bad in many ways. For one thing, you may not use them to the fullest. But what I want to talk about is that you may not be sufficiently careful with them.

I know, even deep down, I'm very strong; stronger than I look. At Aikido once, we were practicing a throw that involved taking an opponent's (uke's) legs out from under them; it was a difficult fall we hadn't practiced much, and there were some bad backs and shoulders present, so we were supposed to help ease the uke's fall with the other arm. I simply picked them up, turned them sideways, and set them gently down on the mat. After I did this to my teacher, a muscular six-footer, he said "It's like he's holding a baby isn't it?" If I thought I was weak, if I wasn't careful, if I acted like certain small thin sedentary people of my acquaintance in college, I would really hurt people. I have to know that I'm stronger than they and must act differently.

Deep down, I don't really believe people are attracted to me. Sure, I know it on the surface, but not deep down. So I haven't been, and am not, as careful as I should have been. A small example that hit me recently was when I was at the last Dorian's Parlor, in my tux and tophat, with my hair down and flowing over my shoulders. (I have really nice hair; if I saw it on a woman I'd love it.) Sparkly Girl was saying how sexy I looked, which I took as mostly kindness. Playing along I said, how about if I do my Rudolph Valentino look (source), and demonstrated. The smile fled from her face, she looked down, and said, "Don't do that." And it wasn't because I did it wrong and looked like a serial killer focusing on an intended victim (which you totally do if you try this and miss.) She actually found me so attractive that it bothered her. And I find that very hard to assimilate. I know it, but I don't really believe it.

I'd like to take this opportunity to point out that this is not the fault of women in general or even my exes in specific. I've had this problem for a long time, and while it was reinforced by the way my marriages have gone wrong, it was not created that way. Lots of women have been very kind in terms of trying to help me over this; but it's not so easy. (Some other time I'll talk a bit about what I'm actually thinking when complimented, and why it doesn't convince me of what the more logical level of my brain thinks is true.)

It's not just attractiveness; I don't think that's even the biggest part. I also don't think anyone can love me once they get to know me well enough. The 'not attractive' issue is only part of it. This is such a standard component of bad self-image that I don't think it needs further discussion here.

I think this "no one can be attracted to me or love me" may be part of the reason that some PUA types can act like assholes without having started out as one. How can you possibly break a woman's heart if she can't possibly really care about what you think or do? I'm not a PUA type, and I certainly try to be careful not to hurt anyone, but my instincts are wrong in this. When I'm trying not to hurt anyone, I'm mostly trying to make sure they know me and my flaws so they won't build their hopes around an imaginary better me and have them dashed by getting to know me. Instead of thinking they might actually like me and build up hopes for a permanent attachment. Actually I encourage that kind of hurt in a bunch of unintentional ways, like by being full of compliments. But I've realized there isn't any possibility of a permanent attachment because to me, any love a woman shows me is just showing she doesn't understand me yet. How can I allow myself to fall in love with someone that I'm sure is going to reject me?

That is the current #1 reason that I am no longer and should not be dating.


Here are four videos I've seen recently that show men as attractive and desirable, all by female artists.
Kate Ryan - Libertine
Nadia Ali - Fantasy (Album Edit) (Has a contortionist!)
Nadia Ali - Fantasy (Morgan Page Remix) (Nadia Ali carries more than her share with two videos for one song, and with her lyrics in general)
Jewel - What's Simple is True


  1. I absolutely adore this post! It reminds me of Aristotle's concept of proper pride-- the golden mean between excessive pride, on one hand, and excessive humility, on the other. As someone who swings between both, I have to be careful. :)

  2. Thank you! I have excessive pride sometimes too, usually for something odd (like I'm so accepting and unpicky about beauty) rather than something obvious (I'm so smart, so handsome, so strong).

  3. God, this sounds serious. Did you find yet a therapist you can trust? Good luck, anyway!