A Let Me Try This Kind Of Guy
To The Girl Who Warmed Up To Me,
I am sorry. I truly am. I cannot seem to wrap my head around why exactly I got so angry at you. In normal occasions, all a guy should have done (as would be the practical thing to do) is stop talking to you, if he felt so strongly about you. I don’t mean to say this in a negative sense, please don’t get me wrong (I’ll be using that word, ‘please’ a lot; it makes everything much more polite than it usually is & I like being polite even though being polite has never given me much in return).
All I want to say is that I am not a regular guy. I did not stop talking to you. I vented my anger out on our conversation (I don’t have any “decency”), a month from now I think. And it plagues me. I’m haunted by it.
I took my anger out on you. I am a lonely guy.
I feel terrible. Aside from my few close friends, you’re the only one I connected with.
I have never met you. I don’t meet many people.
I haven’t seen you in the flesh. The only image I have of you is from your little voice notes and your display pictures.
I would love to go out with you on a date, just one. I’m not right in the head.
I really want to meet you. I thought a dating app would cure loneliness.
You’re a real person. I am too.
I kept urging you to meet me. I hate this distance between us.
You couldn’t find the time to meet me. Are you just biding your time like all the girls who I liked but never reciprocated my feelings?
You just wanted to be friends. Until I could meet you and maybe, just maybe make you see me that way.
I get it. I really do. You’re not the first girl who said she only wanted to be friends with me. Trust me, shit went down the last time I fell for a girl. You’re different from her.
Twenty Seven Years of my sordid existence on this planet and I’ve had only one girlfriend. Just one. No flings.
I can’t flirt to save my life. Most girls just think I’m weird. Sometimes (of no fault of their own), they think I’m creepy. I would’ve still been a virgin had it not been for my ex-girlfriend. Probably doesn’t matter that we were utterly mismatched & were just in it for the sex. It was a wonder how we put up with each other. But that is a matter for a different time.
I get scared when I look at a girl that way again. I get mortified. Especially when I actually hold a conversation with a girl I begin to like (like you). It comes to that point when she asks me how many relationships I’ve been in.
So it happened with you. I told you the truth. And a harsh fact of life is that your truth becomes malleable to the other person’s perception of you. I told you I had only been in one relationship and you said “so cute”. That was the end of any chance of having anything remotely like a relationship with you. Whether you deny it or not, your perception of who I was changed when I told you that.
Our conversations were regular. But it was a healthy exchange. You pinged me and I pinged you, and we’d talk. But that kind of stopped when I told you this. Maybe I’m wrong about this. Maybe this was not psychological. Maybe it was.
But you don’t know what it’s like to have just had one relationship, only one sexual partner, after twenty seven years of existence. To me it feels as if being in just one relationship after such a long time, somehow makes me inadequate. No doubt exacerbated by a “so cute”. Not that I blame you. Inexperienced I am, but inadequate?
That’s a vast difference. Inexperience is a fact of life. Inadequacy is a feeling. Inadequacy is subjective. It’s something that nobody should ever feel in their lives. And sometimes you just can’t let go of that feeling.
When people talk about sexism and patriarchy, nobody talks about inadequacy. Inexperience can be overcome, inadequacy in many cases cannot. Inadequacy and depression: they’re mental blocks.
When I was very young, I was terrible in Mathematics. My whole family would converge in one room before my Maths exams and try their level best to help me. It would all be in vain. But this was all a mental block. I couldn’t help it. My mental block would persist. Until one day it would miraculously vanish. I’m still waiting for that day to come.
So it is with inadequacy. So it might be for my depression. And my anxiety. But until that day comes, I need somebody who understands me. And no one does. No one who knows about my depression understands it. No one really can, except for me. My depression feels random. I’m euphoric one time and immediately sad the next. I can’t come to terms with my problem. I might not ever. I might come to terms with it the very next instant. I don’t know.
But you made me feel adequate when you started talking to me. When I sent you a photograph of a pile of books I was reading, you told me this was all too deep. You also told me that you were easily impressed. I felt really happy. Happy that I could share the stuff I wrote, with you and discuss them freely. That I finally connected with someone from the opposite sex. I felt adequate. I hadn’t met you. But the important thing was that I felt happy after a long time.
The issue was you never got time to meet me. You were only free during the weekends. And that’s when you were the social butterfly you probably were always meant to be. Catching up with friends. I am lonely and I can be pathetic too sometimes. Is catching up with friends really being a social butterfly? You told me how bad your social life was. And I sympathized with you every time. And I talked to you about my career. And we talked about yours. How much you wanted to explore everything apart from being a lawyer. I was lower on your priorities and so you didn’t meet me & believe me, I understand that now, even though I didn’t understand it then.
Please don’t think I’m being creepy. I talk to very few people, so I remember our texts quite well. So when the opportunity to meet you on a weekend came and you said you felt lazy to meet me, I felt hurt. I don’t meet new people quite often. Actually, I don’t meet people quite often. I wore my best clothes that day. But you cancelled at the last minute. I felt inadequate. My depression amplifies everything I feel. Maybe you were just playing me along.
You probably weren’t, but in my foolishness I instigated an argument with you. I did what I should never have. I made myself more immature than I actually am. I’ve never met you. And so there are certain boundaries I shouldn’t have crossed. But I did. And I am so sorry. I swear this is not me being sexist with you, or trying to be in control.
The instigation did not bode well for me. You told me that you never felt anything “romantic or tinder-like” during our conversations. And I was shattered. If this would have been many years ago, then I would’ve dismissed all of this and moved on with my life.
But I’ve completed twenty seven years of my sordid life now and moving on has become tough. I’ve pushed away many people from my life and I don’t want to do that anymore. As I grow older, I want my life, my finances and the people in my life to become stable. I’ve become more mature.
When my mother tells me that she’ll be happy with whatever I do in my life, no matter how more or how less it pays or how much financial help I take from her, it’ll be fine, I know that it really will not be fine. My mother won’t see me unhappy and I won’t see my mother unhappy. As I grow older, I realize what my mother says is perhaps not really what she means. When she tells me I can do whatever I want to with my life, I can almost see her hoping and praying that I become well settled and financially independent. And I agree with her now. Because even though we have enough money, money is never permanent in life. My father’s not there with us anymore and the tragedy of his death cannot escape us until my mother sees both me and my brother well settled in life.
I am much more mature than I was just a few months back, no thanks to the time I spent with my mother when my brother got married a few months back. And I understand that my mother would indulge me in everything that I would ever want, a new phone, a new laptop, anything really, no matter what the cost.
But I’m not like that. I don’t want my mother to fund my life. I want to stand on my own feet. And this is where my ambition stands at odds with my financial stability. This is another sad fact of life. I find myself at a juncture now. I am at odds with my ambition and my financial stability.
Because being a humble Producer of Television shows in India at the start of your career is hardly in harmony with your financial stability. Being paid $270 per month is hardly something anyone wants. If you persist with this line, you must do it when you’re younger, not when you’re twenty five years old (which is when I started here, my first job), for Christ’s sake. When you’re around twenty or so, that’s when you rise up to a bigger position and get paid more as you rise up the ranks. Only when you’re younger. And of course, it helps that you don’t have anxiety problems. Or Depression.
But I’m twenty seven years old now. And the previous reality TV show I was working on had become a kind of demotion, even though I got a small raise. Most crew members on set wouldn’t take me seriously on anything I said. I was ridiculed because I had an easier job description and very little responsibilities to carry out. Even the crew members who were younger than I was ridiculed me. An intern could easily do my job. I was recommended for a better profile, but before the show started, there was a training period. I didn’t qualify. I am a little hard of hearing and I could barely hear what the mock contestants were saying. I am myopic and have a power of -3.5.
The show had an elaborate control room setup with a wide array of cameras and a feed to each camera. The job description was to basically find where, when, how and which of the contestants would be fighting and where the drama would take place. Sadly the monitors showing us the feed were at a distance and tiny. So the chances I got to get through the training were sadly not enough.
It made me feel inadequate, but strangely not as inadequate as I felt when you told me that you didn’t see me as more than a friend. It could be argued that the chances I got were not enough, as other crew members did get more chances. But my time had come. My future during the show was written for me. I was relegated to doing something beneath what I was actually qualified for. But I could do nothing about it. The show itself is quite well known and the brand alone could add to my resume and so I continued.
Or so I thought. I went along and completed the show. My brother’s wedding was two months after the show ended and I was told quite abruptly about it by my mother. I was surprised that I was not even asked about the wedding date. Just told. Even though I was now an adult. It felt bad. But I had to accommodate, especially since I was never close to my brother and now was the chance to make amends.
For any TV show to complete production, it takes a minimum of three months. Never less than that unless everything goes according to plan. And nothing goes according to plan here. February & March, I reminded myself. Not time enough to join another show. So I had no choice but to leave my job, because there was nothing else to do. I worked in Business Development too in between Television shows (Business Developers create, brainstorm and develop ideas for new and existing TV shows), but when I asked my boss if I could jump back to Business Development after the show, she asked me what I meant by Business Development.
Which was a clear indication that it was no longer feasible for me to continue. So I confided in my boss (who was the VP of the production house & was & still is extremely supportive of me) and submitted my resignation a day before my birthday. I was relieved, but uncertain of my future in this world. I was out of a job once the show ended.
The next two months were not hard for me but they weren’t easy on me either. It wasn’t an enviable position at all. I barely got out of my bed, let alone my apartment for the next two months. I went to a job portal and searched for temporary jobs that I could faff my way into and quit when the time for my brother’s marriage came closer. I couldn’t search in the Television industry because I’d had to take something that paid well, of course. I wasn’t successful in my endeavour. I barely got out of my bed. Depression set in again. I focussed my depression on writing articles for an obscure newspaper that few people read. But something odd happened a month after the show.
The dating app I used on and off for the past two years, quite indifferently, told me that I’d matched with someone. That someone was you. And you started the conversation! Of all the matches I’ve had, the girls either barely, or never spoke to me. I had mentioned that I worked in the TV industry in my bio (this dating app is after all, a business more than anything else & you have to market yourself. Hardly a place where I’d belong.) and you said that you were actually curious to know what I did. And I smiled and obliged you, knowing that soon enough, this too shall pass.
It never did pass. We texted regularly for three months. Which is why I’m writing this to you. You endeared yourself to me and made me happy during a time when I was indifferent and had sacrificed my ambitions. But within a month, I felt that you genuinely warmed up to me. It made me feel special, that someone in this cruel world actually cared for me. I felt adequate. But I was scared. I couldn’t tell you what I was going through. Even though you kept breaking the ice every passing day by getting to know me better and I gave you more and more superficial details of my life but learned about you too and started liking you more and more for it.
And I thought after I’d meet you, maybe two or three meetings later, I’d think about it and tell you who I really was: a depressed, washed up loser with anxiety problems, in his late Twenties. Maybe you’d accept me, meet me more frequently (and hopefully call our meetings dates) and accept me for who I am.
But I forgot something. Your perspective. And your perspective was to just meet new people. That was it. You didn’t feel what I felt. You were busy too. And you said many times that you felt bad about putting off meeting me.
Come June when I (accidentally) snag my second job (off a job portal!) at a start-up, that actually has more relaxing hours and pays me double what my previous job does (the job description is something that I can do with the back of my hand)! Which is great, because now I can proudly say that I don’t need any financial help from my mother. That I can pay for everything all by myself.
So this is a tech start-up and everyone is a tech nerd in my new office but I don’t quite connect with “tech people”. I am now relatively financially stable and more than ready to meet you. But you have your friends. I don’t have many. And you have your own life. You don’t need me as much as I need you. You haven’t put much thought into this.
So I instigate another argument with you two weeks after my first argument with you. And you’re a corporate lawyer. You are actually a normal, functioning human being in society, unlike me. I’m marginalized. I don’t connect with anyone. I live on the fringes. You certainly have the moral right to not take any more of my shit. Which is when I get blocked from all your social media.
The Snap Stories you sent me every alternate day. I could care less if they were mass snaps or if they were snaps sent only to me. You looked beautiful. Even though you barely texted me first. I could care less. After instigating that second argument with you, I realized almost instantly how stupid I’d been. A flurry of texts follow but you choose to ignore me.
It’s been a month since I spoke to you. I texted you a few weeks back apologizing profusely. And you told me that I don’t need to explain myself. I texted back, saying that if this was all behind us, we could be friends again. But you didn’t reply. I texted you some more, being the idiot that I am, giving you a summary of my depression, anxiety and the shitty life I’ve led. But you still haven’t responded. Maybe you’ll never respond. Maybe you might. I might never know.
My start-up lays off many people and is in a tight spot. There might not be a start-up after three months. There goes my financial stability. Getting out of bed and looking for a job again would mean squandering the little I would save until I get something new. I cry sometimes. More so because it would be great right now to have a friend like you, who I could talk to about the things I love. The movies and music I like, social issues I care for and the stories I share with you. Not because I would talk about my troubles with you but more so that I can feel normal again. I’m ready to set aside my feelings for you and see you just as a friend, but it’s too late now.
The thing is, I really do need to explain myself. Which is why I’m writing to you. I don’t know if I should share this with you. Maybe with this letter, I’m just trying to put myself out there and tell everyone that there actually are lonely people like me out there, no matter what this might actually accomplish.
We were texting once and I asked you what kind of guy you thought I was. This is what you said: “A let me try this kind of guy”. I felt really happy when I read those words. In the back of my mind, I knew there was that slight issue of you not being very careful with your punctuation, but I really didn’t care then.
After you blocked me out of your life, I realized that my reality, struggles, depression, anxiety, inadequacy and my love for your spontaneity, warmth, relative ease to talk to, were on two separate dimensions existing on the same plane, but coming closer and drifting apart as quickly as you would carelessly ignore your apostrophes or ease them into place in your sentence.
A Very Lonely Guy