Desire & Insecurity

15 Feb
Still from Fellini's La Dolce Vita (1960)

Still from Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960)

I don’t want to be needed: that’s too much like dependency and insecurity. I want to be wanted. And that I suspect is true for most of us. To feel that rush of desire, a passion that can’t ever be truly sated.

My own learned insecurities are such that often I struggle to accept that someone else could find me in any way desirable, physically. I know my friendship is valued, and my company, but it’s a rare thing that someone should declare they want to jump my bone, and I believe them.

Thinking it’s a ploy, that there’s a catch, I’m more likely to try and dissuade a prospective partner than attempt to court their desires. Which is silly. Almost to the point of pathological self-destruction. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve met someone lovely and then either put myself down, or do/say something utterly imbecilic and permanently destroy any positive association that had built up. What is that about, seriously?

I rightly got called out this week for making disparaging comments on the physical attributes of certain people who had been messaging me via my dating profiles (yes, they’re active again; I know, I’ll never learn). I do try not to make impulsive judgements, but with online dating, as in the real world, the physical does count in the decision making process. It doesn’t matter if they’re the most articulate thinker of the 21st century if there’s no glimmer of visual attraction. And yet, I’m sure that the reality is that at least 90% of those I message feel exactly the same way about me – “he may talk well, but he’s utterly unattractive.”

To be honest, I’m quite annoyed at myself for even voicing those thoughts. I sit watching The Undateables on Channel 4 and often I find myself feeling for the candidates who’s warm personalities can be hidden behind physical attributes which put most people off. I find myself empathising with their plight, and seeing through to the inner beauty. And yet, I seem unable to do it in this online world. Is it a case of me being shallow? Or is it more about working with the limited amount of information available amid a sea of potential, and removing as many as possible in a bid to find someone suitable?

There are those who would call me fussy, and would remind me that I don’t really have a lot of choice. As one gets older there are few enough people that have the potential to click with our own personal needs bracket. But that doesn’t mean you have to say yes to everyone that shows an interest. And I don’t. There are very few that I actually engage with in this online pool, even fewer that I make any attempt to socially interact with, and even consider dating. Surely that’s not a unique position?

But regardless of my despair when someone doesn’t even manage to tickle the very lowest of my checklist, I shouldn’t be so shallow as to berate them to someone else. That’s ungallant. At least wait until you meet or they send you messages of supreme crazy.

Most of the time I’ll talk to anyone that messages me, even when I know it isn’t going to go anywhere because I’m simply not interested. I know how it feels to feel rejected, unattractive, unmerited of attention. I can’t help but read every silence when I attempt a conversation of validation of my low opinion of myself. And how that lifts when someone just says ‘hi’ back. Someone spoke to me just today about how they felt judged when guys saw their pics, and seemed genuinely surprised that I’d engaged in conversation. But why wouldn’t I? The talk involved none of the crazy I’ve had from others. I wasn’t being pressed for my number within two messages, wasn’t being subjected to a stream of smutty lines in seconds (give me a couple of hours first, please).

Within me, as within us all, exists a contradiction.

I have been happy emotionally in recent times, a large section of my personal needs fulfilled through my relationships with others – my closest friends. But while I cherish that love, it leaves an obvious vacuum where a more physical/sexual sort of love should be. And that’s primarily my issue with Valentine’s Day, it reminds those of us on our own of that sexual absence. I’ve not been serving it via dating let alone a full-blown relationship, and so I feel it more strongly perhaps than my single friends who’ve never stopped indulging those whims from time to time. I’m very aware of the absence, of the need, and the importance of that part of my life. Which means I have to bite the bullet, assume that the few that vocalise an interest aren’t actually lying, and consider the odd date. Wanting to be wanted is all fine and well, but one has to actually allow someone else to be in a position of not just wanting, but be able to reach you.

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