- I want to say at the start here that I'm a guy, writing to other men, the ones who are really struggling with finding a relationship. Maybe you're even having problems just letting the people you are attracted to know how you are feeling. A lot of you are teenagers, but some of you are older, and maybe you're struggling even more because you're afraid you got a late start. I'm not going to talk about how to date more or how to meet more people -- I don't have any special insight into those things. I want to talk about handling this part of your life that you're having trouble with, and getting through it as best as you can.
- All of us grow up in some culture that tells us certain stories. Stories that are meant to teach us how to handle life, and give us examples about what it's like to be a man. All right, here's a really important narrative that needs to be told more often, that needs to get through to more men: the story of the guy who doesn't get the girl.
- boy meets girl-boy falls for girl-boy tries his best-they have adventures-they don't end up together-boy finds new understanding about himself-the end
- Even as I'm saying it, I feel like it is a hard sell, which is why you don't see it enough -- the person who doesn't get what they want in love. That is very strange to me, because we *do* see that story about every other theater of life. About sports, war, business -- the boxer who fights for his One Big Shot, or the soldier who's on the losing side of a war, or the professional who loses or quits his job. In many of those narratives, men take the setbacks of life, and then come back stronger somehow. They don't succeed, but there's a reward, an existential payoff. They look inside their hearts, and learn something new about themselves, or about someone close to them. They earn someone's respect (maybe their own). They heal an injured relationship. They have their dark night of the soul, and then set out on a new path.
- I can think of a ton of movies, plays, books, songs about that journey, and the men in them are held up as examples to follow -- people who fall but get back up again with dignity, who handle the unpleasant truths of life gracefully. That is noble and heroic, even, to accept that life can be hard, but that the struggle is worth it.
- Except when it comes to love.
- When it comes to romance, there's this sense that something is wrong with you if you are taking a long time, or if you have a lot of problems to overcome. Somehow, all that nobility and strength doesn't apply anymore. I want to convince you, or remind you if you've forgotten, that it applies there, too.
- Opening up to someone you're attracted to is an act of courage, and accepting their rejection with dignity is also courageous.