02 February 2010

Social Misadventures IV: Re: Public Cans.

As readers of this blog and interested parties who care enough to ask me about it (and you lurkers who dare fly below my radar, I'm watching you! OK, not really, I don't believe in using tracking features on something not for commercial purposes---it's offensive) know, my life is a wide-open book, a sort of intentional invocation of the Truman Show's core conceit, and I make absolutely no efforts to hide myself from the world at large because frankly, if I'm not to become truly famous, I can at least become a reasonable facsimile on the Internet (at least until 4chan starts sending the mail bombs.)

So what happens when a prospective date looks you up on Google, finds your blog, and reads the Social Misadventures series from late last year in which I confessed my borderline autism to the world?  (and thanks, everyone, one of the big issues I have is social anxiety, so friends and affirmations rock me to my very soul in ways too awesome for words.)  What happens when the charisma that is my soul's very illusion comes right out and says "HEY!  The rabbit's underneath a false bottom, it's a two-headed coin, and your card is the five of clubs" at the very start?  Does the magician's illusion (and I mean that both in terms of reality and fantasy) drive the perceived image?

I ask because previous to this point, the perceived image, the illusion, and the underlying reality have been so intertwined as to exceed on occasion my own capacity to distinguish the three.  But to have everything (at least so far as I have presented it to you, the viewing audience) on display and archived?  Several hazards enter into the picture.

The first is one of honesty.  Anyone who can juggle a series of intentional creations of fantasy for every possible audience in a way contrived to generate maximum effect in each and still maintain enough internal consistency not to bring the entire house of cards crashing down upon them is a far better liar than I am.  This probably bodes well for me; indeed, it probably proves to the satisfaction of a psychiatrist that I am not, in fact, a sociopath.  Selfish bastard ruled by his id more often than not, yes.  Sociopath, no.

The second is one of image.  When the false bottom with the rabbit underneath it is revealed to the viewing audience via a clear polycarbonate table underneath the hat, the expectation of the trick is completely different.  Now it no longer falls to the magician to wow the audience with the illusion; the illusion is no longer interesting (and substitute a more elaborate trick than the rabbit-in-the-hat trick since we all know damn well how it works) and it falls to the magician to come up with a better means to entertain the audience than a simple "hey look, a rabbit."  More on this in a minute.

The third is simply one of convenience for the illusionist.  Some articles of illusion are quite easy to maintain and can be memorized by rote (repeat after me, guys: "No, of course your ass doesn't look fat in that dress!  You look gorgeous!  Now let's go, we have a reservation.")  Others are a waste of time.  I've thankfully been able to steer clear of this one since I've always lived my life in the belief that life is best lived in a way that sounds really awesome when stories are told of it later.  Any bullshit that creeps in is purely a function of the natural inflation of one's glories over time in one's own mind (ten bucks says my fastball wasn't as fast or my curveball as sharp when I was 14 as I claim it was, but it's how I remember it...and I was pretty good.)

But back to the image argument for a minute.  Perhaps the ultimate reason why illusions aren't worth the effort put into them and why using clear polycarbonate tables for magic tricks works so well (q.v. Penn & Teller) is that the trick is no longer the show.  The magician is the show, and in the role of magician I can then turn around and really have to focus on those elements of myself that even if I had nothing but an empty room and a clothed girl I'd never met before, would be able to, by the end of the night, have convinced her not to have sex with me (that is easy once you've been spotted the motive, means, and opportunity of having an attractive girl and a captive audience) but to fall in love and stay in love.  I suspect that my position is stronger for its openness than it would be if I went the beer-commercial approach of dispensing bullshit if only because I can't lean on those tropes as a crutch (unless, of course, I don't want the girl to fall in love but only to fuck, in which case all bets are off and anything plausible is open season.)

In business, there are two types of customer models; either you catch the transient customer and soak him because you don't have to worry about seeing him again (the concept behind how most impulse-driven---like a slot machine in a truck stop---and tourist-trap businesses work) or you build customer relationships based on openness and trust between merchant and consumer.  And since I think all of life is ultimately a metaphor for business (which, after all, is itself merely a distilled form of social interaction for a specific set of circumstances, at least in businesses with a personalized component and client relationship), this only makes sense in the personal application.

What's my point?  I have a date Saturday evening.  She's read my blog and did so before I got the date.  She even said "I agree with your Core Humanities professor".  She knows about the ex-wife.  I don't know quite how far she's gone into my archives, but she'll probably get there in time...and yet she still wants to go on a date with me.  Thinks I'm amazing and everything.  How in the black pits of hell did that happen, and should I be making offerings to the gods?


  1. Did it occur to you that your worst, as it were, isn't really a negative? Were you really worried that someone who read your posts would think you're an axe murderer or something?

    You're.... nice. Seriously, dude. And go with that. Nice is good.

  2. and funny. I always laugh when I read your posts. Girls are always wanting guys that are nice and make them laugh. 2 for 2 so far.

  3. I'm not surprised you got a date who'd read your blog! Vicatella is quite right, women do like guys that make them laugh and are nice.... and you're both.

    Just remember to listen at least as much as you're talking. Sometimes a date will talk herself into going to bed with you much faster than you could talk her into it...

  4. Kati, that is one of the best pieces of advice I've heard in awhile. Not just the common sense of "be a good listener" but the knowledge that now is no time for salesmanship (especially since I generally come on with about as much subtlety as a nuclear weapon when I open my mouth.)


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