Tonight, like many other nights, I went to dinner with my friend and business partner. Usually, if nothing else is planned, we go out afterwards by default. Typically he likes to go to “busy” bars, where there are plenty of people and girls to look at. I also like to go where there are others, but bars and clubs tend to really wear on my nerves unless I am keeping a good buzz going by drinking alcohol.
Here’s why Dance Clubs, Bars, etc. don’t do it for me:
- They are loud, almost to the point where my ears hurt. I can put up with the noise for a couple hours, but when it is near impossible to talk to someone you know standing right next to you, it seems even more improbable that one would be able to start up a conversation with a stranger. I find myself shouting at people when making conversation, and I always lose my voice after an hour or so. Eventually, all the music and noise wears my nerves thin and I can do nothing else but leave.
- Cigarette smoke is noxious and everywhere. In Latin America, smoking is still very much a “cool” thing to do, and most love to do so especially when out in public. This carries over heavily to the bar and club scene. By the end of the night, my clothes, hair, and skin wreak of cigarettes. Sometimes I have to literally take a shower when I get home because I feel dirty going to bed smelling like an ash try. Even worse is when someone next to you is smoking cigarettes right and left. Being in close proximity to a smoker means my eyes begin to hurt, and my skin and clothes stink even more.
- I’m shy. Plain and simple, I have a real hard time making the “first move” on a girl. If I do, it’s because she has made an extremely overt gesture of attraction to me, at which point I feel comfortable enough to move in. The problem is, however, most Latina and American girls don’t go around making themselves appear “easy” or bossy in terms of social interactions. As a result, it nearly always boils down to the guy making the move, and the girl politely dismissing or encouraing futher interaction. My shyness puts blinders on me: I don’t pick up on subtle body language or cues from girls that might be attempting to let me know they’re interested. Moreover, if a girl plays “hard to get”, I tend to associate this with extreme disinterest, when in fact she could be very much interested.
- BPDs are very hurt by rejection, in particular social and relationship rejection. For me, being brushed aside, ignored, or flat out “denied” by another person is extremely painful and leaves lasting effects on my psyche. I have to remind myself that rejection from others isn’t always a “personal” attack or retaliation: I am just as picky about who (and what) I like, and so it goes without saying that others will remove me from their lists right away not because I am a bad person, but because nothing is there to set off a spark. Additionally, with respect to romantic endeavors, on any given day some women are just not interested in meeting someone (for any reason) despite the fact that I myself may feel very ready and open.
- It isn’t only with women – if I am in a room with 30 guys watching a football game, I have a hard time striking up conversation, because I fear that the other person won’t like me or what I have to say. I shy away from story telling, an essential to male social interaction, and don’t keep a ready list of funny tales to tell about getting drunk in College or “hooking up” with some girl. Usually I rely on interjecting small jokes here and there, and if I get a positive response, only then will I venture out more and try to take center stage.
My BPD fear of rejection is so strong that it acts as ballast on my already shakey self esteem, which in turn makes introductions, “hooking up”, and other romantic overtures downright impossible and extremely hurtful if they don’t work out.
The result: I simply choose to back off and fantasize in my mind about what a successful interaction would look like, all the while longing for a real, authentic experience that exists outside of my head.
That said, I guess my ideal place to meet someone would be the following:
- A bar, cafe, or any other public gathering place that has light background music that allows for basic conversation. Ideally, it shouldn’t be so loud that I lose my voice or can’t even hear myself speaking. Perhaps the place has a “lounge” or relaxed feel that is not necessarily an overtly sexually charged atmosphere. If there is too much music, or too many people, I get lost very easily. Further, if it is a “bump and grind” scene, I find that I have a really hard time initiating this type of contact with a female. As a result, the place should have a setting conducive to respecting personal space. It should NOT be shoulder to shoulder crowded: I need room to walk around and breathe without being on top of the person next to me.
- A place where people are going to meet others for relationships. Offhand, I can’t really think of places people specifically go to “meet a romantic partner”, but I think it would be easier for me to socialize in an atmosphere that I know is based around meeting and talking to others who want more than a casual affair or fling.
- A place generally free of substance abuse. I’ll be the first to admit that alcohol loosens me up, and on some occasions, even makes me the man of the hour. When it comes to meeting girls, however, I would prefer to be in a sober scene that is natural and comfortable for all.
- A place where I can feel comfortable by myself, or with one or two friends. Being in a crowded club feels makes me feel like I am performing in front of everyone, that everyone is watching me. Though in reality I know this is not the case, I don’t want to go to a place where I feel alone because I don’t have a huge group of party-goers around me: I see myself more comfortable and appealing in a more intimate setting.
- A place where I can duck out, without a big “good bye” ritual, if I feel the need to leave or feel really uncomfortable. When I attend long family gatherings, and start to feel edgy, I loathe the fact that in order to leave, I must first go up to everyone and acknowledge them and say Good Bye. Yes, I know this is common courtesy, and when I’m not feeling uncomfortable this is no big deal. But, when I am feeling ill at ease and my patience is wearing thin, I’d want to be in a place that won’t miss me if I decide to cut out early (and a place that would NOT conclude I was rude or anti-social if I left without doing the rounds).
Well, there you have it. Ever since puberty, I’ve been trying to figure out just how to meet the girls I’m interested in. Even now, at 28 and counting, it’s still NOT easy, NOT always fun, and TEN TIMES HARDER WITH BPD. 🙁
If you know of any good places to meet women that fit the criteria I mentioned, I would be extremely grateful for any feedback. 🙂 😉