“All the world’s a stage, and all men and women merely players.” Cliché, I know. I bet when you saw the curtain you knew at some point I would use Shakespeare’s famous line. Sue me. I heard Andre 3000 say it and thought it was cool.
Our relationships, for better or worse, shape who we are. There are none more complicated profound than our romantic relationships. That’s right! We’re going to talk about love.
When writing about love you usually fall into one of two categories: those that are in love or those that have been in love. The latter gets tricky because once you say you’ve been in love it begs the question why you aren’t anymore, which is never really a fun story. I know there are those rare cases where relationships end well but for the most part, they don’t.
I’ve had the pleasure being in love. I’ve also had the less enjoyable experience of being heartbroken. In the long bizarre sewamono, that is my life, my role as the plucky wanderer who gets the girl rarely ends well. It usually starts well. There’s even a fun journey in the second act but the third always gets messy. To set the scene for you, my first love unceremoniously broke up with me (the first time) on the night I found out my mother was on her deathbed. True Story.
I’m often typecast as the infamous “nice guy.” I’m a self-described blerd so I’m sure you expected as much and as Stanley Ipkiss taught us, nice guys finish last. Despite being admittedly socially awkward; I’m considered loyal, kind, generous and a good friend – often only a friend. When I started dating, nothing was more deflating than “just friends.” I have grown to accept that, though. Ignoring the perceived stigma, I have good friends that are women. It is possible. Like most relationships, it’s just a matter of being honest and determining the woman’s intentions. Yes, I know what I just said. It’s possible, not easy.
“Just friends” isn’t nearly as complicated as “let’s still be friends.” I’m not sure why but every time I get dumped I hear that request. It’s hard to be in someone’s life when they just made you feel unwanted. I know breakups are never really clean and I don’t always want to totally sever ties. The problem is I have yet to be dumped without some dubious circumstances. That’s usually how it goes when you’re considered a good guy. Not that I’m perfect, I have my idiosyncrasies. Think Lawrence from Insecure, where a woman may have just got bored or confused about her needs. I’m sure it’s not always cut and dry but we’re all human. Honestly, there is no good way to break up with someone when they technically didn’t do anything “wrong”.
With all of that said, I’m not writing this to say, “Love is bad or women are evil.” I’ve had some great experiences with love but when you’re rejected a lot you second guess yourself. It starts to feel like a cycle that leaves more questions every time. “Is it me?” is the most prevalent. I was engaged at this time last year and was sure I wouldn’t have to ask these questions again. I’m not going to perform seppuku but it’s hard not to feel inadequate when you’re told you’re great (even amazing), but I don’t want to be with you.
So, am I doomed to an existence as a great guy but not “the one”? Nah, I don’t believe that, even if I feel like a carp sometimes. Ironically in Japanese culture, the carp is a symbol of perseverance, faithfulness in marriage and general good fortune. I have to know my own worth. You can’t get caught up in anyone else’s fixations. I know who I am and it’s important to stay genuine regardless how you’re perceived.
So don’t buy into labels or types. Once you let people label you, you believe you have to act accordingly. You decide who you are and what role you play in someone’s life. Be yourself. That will be enough for someone.
No one’s ready for Asuka!
One day a woman like Asuka will strut into my life and confidently take the title. I’ll run to her with my arms dangling behind me and we’ll dropkick our inner demons together. Until then, this is Phil and as always it’s been a pleasure sharing with you. Feel free to comment below.