A Letter From a Reader
Well, Cartaphilus, I'm not sure I agree with your bold advice concerning the writing of letters. A woman who has been introduced to a man briefly, will certainly (if not too dependent on the host's punch bowl) if not vividly remember him for quite a while, even if his name is forgotten. Which brings me to another point--after an evening of new introductions, what promises that she will remember him by the name or even description in the letter? When I say she will remember him, I mean that she will remember The Introduction and, if you will, First Impression, and out of that context, Barely At All. To write a letter after a brief introduction would not be a compliment, but an insult. Unless his aim is to flatter in an adolescent and foggy manner (a. how can you truly flatter someone if you don't know them at all; b. 7th-grade girls know that letters from boys are at best a mild source of amusement), without any expectation of a response, I believe that letters are best left for the future "courting days".
It seems we stumble once again upon the original problem--how to become more than just that contextual memory. Here it is that I suggest a radical (reactionary?) solution. Stop looking for Any Woman, start looking for your soulmate. Why waste time laboriously building a doomed relationship? There are at least 100,000 women out there who are perfectly compatible for every man, and vice versa. Don't bother with "dream girls" who are more fantasy than personal reality--they are always bitter disappointments. A man must look for his female equivalent, regardless of age, race, profession, etc. A woman with the same sense of humor is hard NOT to get along with. A woman whose outward personality mimics his own, will immediately take notice. Mustering confidence becomes obselete because the two discover instinctually how much they understand each other. What I am suggesting is to disregard the memories of all those women that it is imagined are unaccessable (or only by unasked intrusion into their letterboxes or home computer) and stop looking COMPLETELY for as long as possible. Disregard the woman who is in thoughts endlessly, as a symbol of That Which Cannot Be Had, and discover the One Who is Too Shy to Make Eye Contact. If both tend toward uncomfortable silences, no new ground is being broken. Any approach at all is sufficient. At work, borrow pencils, offer chewing gum, ANYTHING. But don't pretend to be a Romeo--be awkward if awkwardness is comfortable. Begin to understand her limits, and cultivate her acceptances. Show adoration by imparting respect. Already, the common link is painfull shyness. Neither is a stranger to pain, so the empathy is an oasis. Share painful or embarrassing stories and laugh at each other. Tease and allow teasing. Learn to laugh again with a woman. But most of all, no disappointments or regrets. And NO LIVING IN FANTASYLAND!!!
(please don't find me)
That's some mighty powerful prose there. The correspondent makes much of the premise that two lonely, hurt people will inevitably find one another, bond, and live happily ever after. One might wish that "real life" were more like the movie Marty, and that fate would bring together, nay, fling together kindred souls, with muted orchestral accompaniment and tears of happiness at appropriate intervals. Harsh experience dictates, on the contrary, that the typical shy, inexperienced male needs quite a bit of personal growth before he can handle a committed relationship.
> To write a letter after a brief introduction would not be a compliment, but an insult.
The intent of such a letter is to compliment, to convey honest and honorable feelings. Certainly, writing to a virtual stranger does involve considerable risk of rejection, and it surely requires a certain skill with the written word for any reasonable chance of success. All the same, you do need to have faith, to believe that you can touch a woman's heart with words, even if she scarcely knows you.
> 7th-grade girls know that letters from boys are at best a mild source of amusement
Women who operate at the emotional level of a "7th-grade girl" are best
steered clear of,
in any case.
> Stop looking for Any Woman, start looking for your soulmate.
Good idea, but how to implement it? Richard Bach has some interesting observations about soulmates and the search for same in his book, The Bridge Across Forever. This should be required reading for all who consider themselves romantics.
> There are at least 100,000 women out there who are perfectly compatible for every man
> and vice versa.
Not so fast! I contend that while some men could indeed attain happiness with 100,000 (or 10,000,000) possible mates, others would find just a handful of compatible women, still others only one, and for some, sadly, there are none.
> Don't bother with "dream girls" who are more fantasy than personal reality
Agreed. See my comments about the "beautiful people" in Chapter 3.
> A man must look for his female equivalent, regardless of age, race, profession, etc.
Bernard Shaw, in his thought provoking play, "Man and Superman" makes the point that if a man did find his female counterpart, they would be completely incompatible on an emotional level, literally unable to live with one another.
> A woman with the same sense of humor is hard NOT to get along with.
People with any sense of humor at all are rare, and to be treasured. Expecting the same sense of humor is indulging in wild optimism.
> A woman whose outward personality mimics his own, will immediately take notice.
Again, this is based on the premise that "like attracts like". Magical thinking?
> Mustering confidence becomes obselete because the two discover instinctually how much
> they understand each other.
Or, they discover how difficult it is to breach the barrier of shyness between them. Generally, one person or the other does have to take the initiative and "make the first move". This is where confidence, a minimum of social skills, and, of course, the willingness to risk rejection come into play.
> ...disregard the memories of all those women that it is imagined are unaccessable...
> ...stop looking COMPLETELY for as long as possible...
These are laudable suggestions, the implementation of which, unfortunately, requires rigorous internal discipline, and yes, self-confidence.
> ...discover the One Who is Too Shy to Make Eye Contact...
Yes, but how? Trust to fate?
> Any approach at all is sufficient. At work, borrow pencils, offer chewing gum, ANYTHING.
Good advice, but again, requiring a fair measure of self-confidence.
> Begin to understand her limits, and cultivate her acceptances. Show adoration by
> imparting respect.
Well expressed, and completely consistent with what I have been espousing.
> Neither is a stranger to pain, so the empathy is an oasis.
This assumes the maturity to be able to look beyond one's own pain and reach out to another. But, I echo the sentiment (I could not have expressed it any better myself).
> Share painful or embarrassing stories and laugh at each other. Tease and allow teasing.
Again, learning social skills means much hard work on the part of the individual. A sympathetic partner helps, but you need to have completed much of the healing and growth on your own before you are even ready to share the pain and yes, the laughter.
> Learn to laugh again with a woman.
Learn to laugh again, period. Only then you will be ready to laugh with another.
> ...no disappointments or regrets.
A noble resolve.
> And NO LIVING IN FANTASYLAND!!!
It is generally the case that the only way you can get a person to let go of his illusions is to pry his cold, dead fingers away from them.
> --anonymous romantic
I wish you every success and happiness, Anonymous Romantic, and hope to
see the day when romantics no longer face ridicule and feel no need to