April 09, 2008

The undesirable frustrated

People are always looking, making inferences. I wear a hat and sunglasses in an attempt to reduce the information transmitted, keep my head in a book when eating alone.

Years ago, when I lived in London, I saw a 30-something man on a bus who was an all-out loser just to look at him. Bad hair, bad clothes, bad pose, a nervous jitter that marked him out as wholly lacking in confidence and overall just in a bad way, like success in any terms would never come to him, a disappointment to his family and himself, unlikely to maintain relationships with women.

Of course, he could have just been having a bad day, and I'm oversimplifying, but you get the point.

The thing is, that underneath the ill-kempt, nervous mess appeared to be a classically handsome man. Good bones and skin that just needed some color, and a full head of thick hair, and he was tall, and broad-shouldered. He could have had makeover and been taught how to stand, hold his face and meet a gaze, and after a weekend of intensive care come out on Monday looking like an alpha-male catch. Only an appearance, but probably enough to kick start real change It was odd to see, or to imagine I saw, how life and his mind had conspired to keep him down.

A few weeks ago I was in a restaurant [with my wife] and at the next table was a plain looking doughy guy, balding, with long hair. He could have cleaned up, but nothing too dramatic. He had no book to shield from assumptions, and he looked bored on a Saturday evening.

I jump to conclusions, it's how I keep myself entertained in the absence of conversations. I'm a plain looking bald guy who either thinks too much or too little, but the social contract has broken down if it doesn't encompass the provision of sex and love to people that nobody wants. And it can never do this, so things keep jittering and shuddering along, the undesirable frustrated until they can make peace with themselves and each other, find their own level and satisfy their needs.

I can never be without a woman for more than a few weeks without starting to go crazy. It's a weakness, but a very human one, and perhaps I make up for it by feeling no need for other friends.

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