But the more I've thought about it, the more I realize I also could fall into another category. This particular one I've seen from both the inside and outside. Almost universally disliked by every awkward male to ever walk the earth. And while the UCSB scumbag's main target of scorn and violence was women in general, number two on his shit list was this particular well-known specimen. He is known by many names and types, but his nature is always the same.
He is The Guy Who's Getting Laid When You Are Not.
Just about everyone male who read this recognized him once I spoke of his nature. Oh Him? Fuuuuuck that guy. What a prick.
Maybe he's not the recipient of outright hate. Sometimes it's just frustration. Envy. And just head-shaking incredulity.
And yeah, I've encountered That Guy in my younger days, and had the low-level grumbly reactions. I like to think I've handled such encounters better than most, but nostalgia and wishful thinking may be clouding memory.
And about once a year it is pointed out to me that I am That Guy.
It's almost always at an event of some sort, and following some sort of Attack-Harem-related shenaniganry. I get pulled aside by a gent and asked a variation of "How did you just wind up with both the attention and affection of multiple ladies just now?"
The questioners run the gamut. Some are clearly really asking, "I do not speak the language of these strange but irresistibly nice-smelling, curvy people. Please help me to not embarrass myself while I pursue further discourse."
Others are inquiring more on the lines of "Dude! I don't know what sort of sorcerous panty-dropping app you have on your phone but I NEED it! Tell me!"
I've done my best to answer somewhat helpfully in the past.
But seeing the mindset of the UCSB killer, I'm both glad I took the time and wish I said more. Because for every one that did actually ASK, how many just watched and let the bitter and the hatred grow a touch more?
The big things I think I'd mention if asked today...
- Nobody you've seen me with owes me squat.
Not their presence, not their affections, period. They are there because they want to be. That's it.
- Appreciation, not objectification
I'll admit this one is hard to define or analyze. It's also damn near impossible to fake.
No gents, you don't have to avert your gaze if an acquaintance is cleaning up good. But we do look at objects that draw the eye differently than we do people that do the same, and looking at the latter like the former doesn't go over well.
- Fuckups happen. Own them and move on.
Every time I've been pulled aside and furtively questioned, it's followed some sort of weapons-grade flirtation on my part. And the questioner is almost invariably comparing the equivalent of my highlight reel to their own stumblethrough rehearsal.
I'll be the first to admit: I've fucked up. A lot. Whether it's approaching the uninterested to dodging hits with a clue-by-four all the way up to being granted citizenship in the country of Assholeistan, population: me.
As the years roll by I fuck up less and either atone or withdraw in classier fashion, but a good chunk of that is a hard road of experience (and in a lot of cases, observation. Learning from other people's fuckups is easier on your own mileage).
- I haven't had sex with nearly as many of them as you think
Not only that, I'm not even sleeping with the vast majority.
(Wait for it. Remember I speak in literal terms... and the lightbulb goes off.)
There's no real delicate way to make a euphemism for that one. We unfortunately live in a society that declares "being physically close/visibly affectionate = sexual relationship."
And in my case, at least, that's bullshit. The term "Attack Harem" is a joke collective name for various friends of mine who happen to be both ladies and a tad overprotective. (One threatened to invade Iraq personally if anything happened to me).
Yeah, I'm affectionate, yeah, I'm flirtatious. I'm also big believers in
A ) everyone setting their own personal limits and respecting those of others, and
B ) living my life without the bullshit notion that intimacy and sensuality are impossible to have and enjoy outside of sex.
As far as those I really am whatever and how? Nobody's business but mine, theirs, and any applicable significant others. That alone is worthy reason. Add in my inherent defense of other people's secrets and the bullshit societal double standard that always, always comes down harder on ladies in such arrangements, and it all adds up to that's all you're getting out of me.
So there you have it. Long, confusing in spots, and brings more questions than answers.
Still, I can hope it spreads more thought than hate.