DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I’m 22 years old and horrible with women. A couple of years ago I stumbled upon the PUA/Redpill/Seduction community and it has caused me to become horribly depressed. What I read on the Internet tells me, that the kind of relationship I would like to have does not exist.
I want a girlfriend/wife, who wants me because of who I am and not because of the person I “act to be”. I’m not an alpha. I respect women and want a girlfriend who respect me as well. The internet tells me all these things. I shouldn’t make her my priority, I shouldn’t give her too much attention, I shouldn’t make her “feel secure” and “be ready to walk out at any minute”. I don’t want that. I want a girlfriend who is also my best friend. If she is wearing a gorgeous dress, I want to tell her how beautiful she looks in it. I want to tell her I love her. I want to tell her how much she means to me.
According to the internet, thats “so beta”. After reading PUA/Dating advice blogs, I’m horribly depressed about the “fact” that I will never have the kind of relationship I want. I want a stable, long lasting relationship but that seems almost impossible to have nowadays. At some point I want to be able to say: “This is it. This is a woman I can imagine spending my life with. I’m done dating.”. Now, I don’t believe that there is THE ONE I need to find. I’m sure there are millions of possible partners that I could be happy with. But I want only one of them and be happy for a long time. I don’t care about sex all that much and spending time together talking, cuddling, doing stuff together is way more important to me.
If you’ve got some advice for me, please help me! I beg you to help me. My counselor doesn’t really seem to understand where I’m coming from, but maybe you do.
DEAR BETA TESTING: Beta, dude. It’s ok. You’re dealing with what’s known as a false dichotomy – the idea that you have only two options. In this case, you’re being told that you can take the Red Pill or… you can die alone and unloved. I’m here to tell you: that’s bulls
t. That’s seven different kinds of bulls
t from cholera-infected bulls.
We’ll leave aside things like my site and just stick to some basic stuff here: people’ve been loving, dating and mating for the length of human history; long before Ross Jeffries started his Speed Seduction website, before Mystery put on his hat and long before folks like Heartist and RooshV went around telling people that the best way to get laid is through emotional abuse and date rape, and long, long before people completely misunderstood the point of the blue pill/red pill choice in The Matrix. You can toss a rock at random and hit five couples who are loving and affectionate, who cuddle and talk and are generally disgustingly sweet to one another. And then you’ll have to apologize for hitting them with a rock, but hey, one thing at a time.
The issue you’re having is that you’re reading a lot of crap. You’ve got folks selling you s
t and telling you it’s ice cream over and over again, whether it’s subreddits or PUA blogs or whatever and seeing the same things over and over again. A lot of it sounds similar to many of the messages that guys’ve been drowning in for decades. And to be fair: much of it is written in a compelling fashion; pretty much everybody out there’s using a lot of the same sales techniques to get you to feel like they are the Way and The Light.
(We will pause here to appreciate the irony.)
It’s not really surprising that it’s leading you to feel like this is the only way, especially if you keep seeing the same bulls
t repeated from several different sources. Repeat something often enough and it starts to sink in.
The thing is: the fact that lots of people are saying something doesn’t necessarily make it true. You can fall down enough rabbit holes that’ll be happy to tell you that the Earth is flat, that trees don’t actually exist, that chemtrails alter our minds and that the Illuminati is behind Beyonce. Read enough of them for long enough and you’re likely to think that they may have a point too. But if you step away for, oh, five minutes, long enough to get a beer from the fridge, you’ll realize how pants-on-head-insane it all is.
The best thing you can do right now? Quit reading those sites and blogs. Take a long, brain-clearing vacation from dating advice sites – mine too, if you really feel the need. Go out, hang out with your friends, catch a matinee of Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, enjoy some fresh air and just exist for a bit. Don’t think about dating or debunked pseudoscientific ideas about alpha/beta behavior for… a weekend at least. Maybe a long weekend. Watch how much your mood changes when you’re not constantly submerging yourself in this.
Afterwards? Well, I hope you come back here at least, because I like to think my dating philosophy lines up more with yours. Check out my books; I worked pretty hard to make them a more positive read for folks instead of telling them that the key to getting laid is manipulation.
And quit reading PUA and RedPill blogs. They’re just not healthy for you.
DEAR DR. NERDLOVE: I have been following your website for years and it helped me a lot. I’m not writing about relationship but about self motivation. I am currently attending one of the best art school in the country under some of the best teachers. Recently I have been unhappy with my work and felt even worse after a brutalizing class critic. The next day the same teacher, who is a renowned artist and often helps kick start her students career, posted on her facebook and instagram how amazing her other students are. This was seen by hundred of people. I love what I’m doing and don’t ever want to give up on my art career but I’m stuck in a “you’re useless and you’ll never make it” loop which is effecting my work quality. Please help me, what can I do to believe in myself and get out of my own head.
Wrapped in a Burrito of Self Loathing
DEAR WRAPPED IN A BURRITO OF SELF-LOATHING:
Hoo boy, I’ve been there, WBSL.
Back in the day, when I was trying to be a comic artist, I didn’t do so well with some (many) of my professors in the art department. I was an illustrator surrounded by fine artists; worse, I was a comic artist. And this was in the 90s, before comics caught on with the mainstream. One teacher told me that she would rather see me cut my fingers off with tin-snips than call myself an artist.
(I told her she wouldn’t know good art if it bit her on the ass and sang ten rounds of “‘enry the ‘eighth” to the tune of “I’m good art”. The look on her face made the practice worth it. Not coincidentally, I became an English major the next day.)
You are going to have to deal with a lot of discouragement as an artist. Much of it will be self-inflicted; you’re going to look at other people and think “holy s
t, I’m never going to be as good as them.” Other times, you’re going to look at your own art and think “what the f
k was I thinking? How could I ever have believed this was worth bringing to light at all?”
After I graduated from college and got settled into my groove, I started hanging around with the local artist community and holy hopping sheep s
t, almost everyone was way better than me. And when I started working on A Scanner Darkly… well f
k me sideways but I was surrounded by people who kicked my artistic ass up one side and down the other. And let me tell you: this group included folks who’ve gone on to be rockstar artists at Marvel, DC, Bioware and a host of other success stories. Believe me: you would recognize some of the names. As hard as it was to look at their art and not feel like I was the world’s biggest fraud, I learned to let them inspire me. There was nothing quite like looking at some of my friends work and thinking “well hell, I need to kick my stuff up a notch” and trying to learn everything I could from their examples.
And then there’s the criticism. If you’re going to be a creative of any type and put your work in front of others, you have to be ready for criticism. No matter how good you are or aren’t, folks are going to have opinions. And sometimes hearing those opinions can be brutal. Sometimes it will make you want to dig yourself a nice deep hole, jump in and pull the hole in after you.
But you can survive that criticism. Start by asking yourself: how much of it is valid? Are they talking s
t because they think ragging on someone’s work is a way of showing how cool you are? Or do they have some legitimate advice, however inartfully given? I remember doing a portfolio critique with Jim Valentino of Image Comics that left me feeling lower than a snake’s ass in a drainage ditch; he ripped my art a series of new a
holes, one after the other. But as much as it stung to hear… dude was right. I had a lot of growing to do as an artist, and I was nowhere near ready. Once I could take my ego out of it and my reflexive “screw you, you don’t know what you’re talking about”, I could see what he was saying. And as much as it sucked… I needed to take his advice, dig in and work my cute little butt off.
So now that you’ve had some distance from that brutal critique, take some time. Assess it. See how much is useful. Take some of it to heart and experiment. Go back and rework some of the fundamentals.
Meanwhile, talk to your teacher. There’s nothing wrong with asking for a little assistance; it’s a hell of a lot more productive than hoping that they’ll take notice of you and give you a boost. Tell them that you’re having a hard time with some of your work, that you really admire their work and could use some direction or advice.
(Remember: a little ass-kissing never hurt. Just a little.)
Even if it’s just some exercises you should try to stretch your creative muscles, any assistance they could give you would be greatly appreciated.
But in general, the biggest key to any artistic endeavor is persistence. Art is about practice and growth and time. Push yourself. Test your limits. Do things you’re scared of. Watch how it changes your art and forces you to grow as a creator. You may not make a living as an artist – most artists don’t, especially in this day and age. Hell, some of the greatest artists in history – Van Gough, most notably – were failures in their time. But if you love art? Let that love move you and inspire you and push you through these painful moments. Even if you’re just creating for yourself, let that love flow through you and it’ll bring you through some of the hardest times.
Please send your questions to Dr. NerdLove at his website (www.doctornerdlove.com/contact); or to his email, firstname.lastname@example.org)