I have a few Achillies' heels (don't we all) but the one that certainly haunts me the most is the fact that I've never married nor have I had children. In a world filled with couples-- couples with children, couples without children, couples' vacations, tables for two, bicycles built for two, articles about raising children, articles about keeping your marriage hot, articles about retiring with your spouse and buying a vineyard in Napa (see Fine Living Magazine)-- being perpetually single has certainly cast a pall over my life.
As I've mentioned to my sisters and my Mom, being a forty-something single chick in this world tends to make one feel like a complete freak.
I try not to think about this subject too much or analyze it too deeply, because when I do, it becomes too depressing to chew on for very long. Overly self-critical to begin with, I find myself shooting into hyper-criticism mode when ruminating over my single state. This is not what I need. Consequently, my thoughts on the subject are fleeting and the "problem" never gets solved.
But this weekend I had a breakthrough, thanks to the fabulous Melissa Lafsky at Freakanomics:
"Picking up women has been getting plenty of press these days, leading up to this week’s premiere of the VH1 reality show The Pick-Up Artist. The show follows eight “socially inept” men through an eight-week boot camp on seduction techniques, led by a self-proclaimed Lothario called “Mystery.” The headliner (whose real name is Erik Von Markovik) initially found fame after being profiled in Neil Strauss’s 2005 book The Game: Penetrating the Secret Society of Pickup Artists, and went on to co-write his own book, How to Get Beautiful Women Into Bed: The Mystery Method.
"Under particular discussion is a pickup technique that Mystery advocates known as “negging” — a move that involves interjecting an insult during an initial conversation with a woman. The motivation behind the insult is, as Esquire’s A.J. Jacobs puts it, to “lower her self-esteem, thus making her more vulnerable to your advances."
Melissa does not condone negging, but plenty of guys left comments after reading her online article, and many agreed that negging almost always works. I didn't know this! I didn't even know it had a name! As the recipient of this approach, I've found the key to the greatest mystery of my lifetime-- why I've never been married.
I've been such a fool. The two times (that I remember clearly anyway) I've been the recipient of negging, I was mistakenly throwing away the possibility of a lifetime of happiness with a man I could truly love and who in turn would love me!
First Negging Example:
Standing in line to get into a nightclub, a guy behind me tapped me on the shoulder and said, "Nice pants. Are you wearing underwear?"
"You're an idiot," I answered.
See, had I known he was negging me, I would have hung around him all night hoping he'd ask for my phone number. We probably would be buying that vineyard in Napa right about now if I'd not given him a verbal slap.
Second Negging Example:
I stepped into an elevator containing a man, who turned to me and said, "You're such a beautiful woman-- it's a shame you smoke."
"Is that supposed to be a fucking compliment?" I snapped.
Now I wish I'd ridden up to the top of the building with this guy so I could have tried to get to know him better. He and I would have had a lovely destination wedding to Sandals Resort, had I just known.
Those boys in kindergarten who hit you because they liked you? They grow up to become men that turn their negging skills onto you. Just like a laser beam of love.