The Summer That Never Was

Summer is nearly upon us, as the sun hangs above ever longer with each turn of the Earth…and yet still these are dark days. Absent is the optimism, the excitement, and the anticipation that preceded all previous summers, even those awful ones which each fell victim to their unique curses. I guess it is something that comes with age and experience, or rather the age and experience of one idiosyncratically stubborn enough to repeatedly try to get something right when they should know better.

In years past I looked forward to vividly imagined summer romances, of late night adventures, long road trips to far off places, holding hands and long afternoon make out sessions while listening to the songs where with each one you communicate something to the other person passive aggressively through the lyrics. Alas, those were summers that never were. After so many which did not fulfill the promise of my overactive imagination, I find that I now deprive myself of even the anticipation itself.

It’s like Pavlov’s experiment with the dog. One can be conditioned to salivate when the bell rings in anticipation of the perceived rewarding experience, but after so many times the bell tolls and only disappointment follows, well…forgive me if I don’t get too enthusiastic. I probably know how that story ends already.

Indeed, I find it difficult to muster the optimistic energy for more than even a single date. Imaginatively, I’m already bracing myself for all the possible negative scenarios, like a chess player using the four pawns attack, thinking several moves ahead…planning for a handful of contingencies, each one likely to leave me on the losing end. This, all before I have any idea if the person is even remotely interested to begin with. Before we share so much as our first Soy Delicious ice cream cone, I’ve already envisioned us breaking up in a thousand different horrible ways. Potential future arguments have all played out in my head. So when I look you in the eye and tell you how there’s nobody I’d rather hang out with, I’ve already taken into consideration all the negative aspects of your character, including imaginary ones that you may not even actually possess.

To this you might exclaim, “What a way to live! Why not just give things a chance. Everyone is different, etc.” Well, because I’ve done it a thousand times before, and the result has been a variation of the same thing every single time. If I couldn’t attract or hold the interest of the last few thousand girls in the face of even pitiful or nonexistent competition, would I not be a fool to think that it could turn out differently this time, especially with someone whose implicit inner and outer beauty should theoretically make them even more difficult to obtain?

I had a long talk with my ex on the phone last weekend. We discussed all our current dating prospects with which I confessed to her that I had none, other than a couple of real longshots. Of course she had to get in a bit of a jab and remark that “Most girls probably wouldn’t realize you like them, given that you hardly put in any effort.” I had to explain to her, results are the same regardless. And that when I put myself out there or display confidence, the girl will just come right out and tell me she’s not interested. At least if I’m distant and coy about the whole thing, I can maintain the illusion that she might actually be interested but just isn’t sure if I am into her. Anyway, when girls are interested, they are totally obvious about it. They call you all the time, text you all the time, and express their desire to hang out frequently. They don’t fuck around. If you have to wonder if a girl likes you, she probably doesn’t. You could always prod her to find out for sure, but I first would recommend you consider the exchange between Charlton Heston and Dr. Zaius near the end of Planet of the Apes:(1968 version)

Taylor: A planet where apes evolved from men? There’s got to be an answer!
Dr. Zaius: Don’t look for it, Taylor. You may not like what you find. .

Why are girls so attracted to confidence anyway? Seriously, it makes me doubt the merits of the evolutionary process. It’s so phony. Actual knowledge and cold contemplation are so much more valuable as traits. If a clueless person A exudes confidence while he jumps off a cliff and person B is aware of the likely negative implications but gives it a shot anyway, giving some attention to the possibility of survival will they not both splatter on the ground? Which person would you want steering the ship in storm? Girls’ attraction to empty confidence combined with the seemingly endless supply of arrogant doofus men helps to explain why there are so many stupid people in the world.

So then as a consolation I am left with a plethora of casual friendships, laughing and philosophising about fashion, colors, politics and the cosmos…with nary but an already scratched non-winning ticket in the lotto of romance. Not looking forward to the summer this year. How about you?