"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

I Been This Way Ten Years To The Day

Like most of my peers, I don't much like valentines day. It tends to be an artificial creator of stress, unwanted and advantage-taking. I resent it conceptually, even though in practice it has worked out on occasion.

A decade ago a friend of mine drove me from NYC to New England where my then-girlfriend was going to an all-girls college. The first love of my life. That turned out to be a very good weekend, the cold brisk Massachusetts air and light through leaveless trees, frozen ground and beautiful old architecture and heavy quilted blankets. Probably the best valentines to-date.

Five years ago I went on a first date, out with an artsy clever brash girl, a self-described bad girl, a girl who brought me gifts from the dollar store: this garish yellow notepad I still have (and use) today, and a bar of soap called stud which set the tone but was promptly lost. We had drinks at Beauty Bar, and it was the night before the big protests against the Iraq war. That one worked out alright too, even if we didn't stop the war from happening.

This year I stayed home, begging off from seeing the cute soccer-playing girl I've gone out with a few times in the past couple months, probably signaling finis to that going-out. I didn't intend for that to be the case, but the tone of her voice strongly suggested displeasure at our scheduling difficulties, or more specifically my lack of attention and follow-through in that regard.

It's something I have some experience with, the way that women get gradually fed up with me and my half-heartedness. It's not something to be proud of, but I've learned to recognize the scorn this inevitably brings, even in trace amounts.

I would like to be a better person, and sometimes I am. But I'm also fickle and picky, especially when it comes to women. At the same time I want them all to love me always. It's literally childish, I know. This is one of the main reasons I've tended to avoid dating people who I know socially. It makes things simpler, operating without the additional pressures that a second-degree friendship brings. It makes it easier to play it straight when there are fewer people to please.

"People to please." Jeebus, Koenig! This is how you know your life has gone off it's philosophical rails, when you start thinking of your day-to-day like a public relations campaign. The truth always feels better, right? Even when it seems unpleasant and hard, especially when it seems unpleasant and hard.

Yeah, shit. So what is the truth? The truth is that my purposes and objectives have changed over the past several years, and my romantic sense of self has yet to really recalibrate. I was having a little heart-to-heart with my man Luke down in the Cornell Club, and I vocalized for the first time -- which I've been saying and feeling in so many words some time now -- that what I'm really interested in is finding someone to settle down with. Speaking the words made me realize how true they were.

That's all well and good, laudable, obvious even, except that in tandem with this I seem to have lost my lust for visceral experience, the flame of Dionysus gone flickering, low and cold. Couple that with my vanity, my hubris and ambition, the height of my high-side soulmate standards and a recent spate of confusion about my life's purpose and future, and you've got a potent recipe for long and lonely times, which is what the past 18 months have been, for the most part.

The truth is I really don't care about sex for its own sake anymore. It's not motivating. Well, that's not really true. The more accurate truth is that I don't care about sex as much, and I care about its consequences a great deal more than I used to. The cost/benefit analysis has changed.

This feels grown-up, but also sad. There's a loss of faith in there, a cynicism, a dimness, a pessimism, even some fear. I don't know whether this is just an aditudinal phase or the irrevocable effect of experience. I hope for the former, if for no other reason than life's more interesting when one believes in mystical and potent powers which supercede the narrow realms of consciousness and logic. And because I don't want to be ruled by fear. And because I have a lot of fun memories, and would very much like to make some more.

Something's amiss. Pure fun is still nowhere to be found, and more of my philosophies are offended. "Presence is perfection." "The most important thing is to stop struggling." These are catchphrases for the self, yeah, but they're also things that I have believed in, ideas I still intellectually embrace. Presence is more illusive than ever, and this paradigm of public relations -- expectation/perception-management -- produces crippling bouts of precisely the sort of "struggle" it's most important to stop.

As the philosopher says, "beliefs are habits of action," and in that light many of my so-called [[Axioms of Living]] are no longer things I can truly claim to believe, at least not in the utilitarian sense. They are not the principles that I live. Which is probably why I feel so estranged from myself.

The crisis of meaning has always been with us though, and the fire and the blackness wait around every corner. It feels good at least to be able to put my finger closer to the likely source of my discomfort, even if I remain clueless as to a resolution. This is not exactly new territory (as a survey of recent posts tagged "sex" confirms) but it feels more precise.

The best that can be said for artificial constructs like valentines day is that they provide a focus, an inflection point for things that are already happening. Learning is always a plus.


Great post title, man. It is inspiring me to listen to some Zeppelin.

God I love Led Zeppelin.

Fuck, I wish everything could rock this hard all of the time. I love it when they get way up high on the fretboard, and then all of a sudden they're like "fooled you man!" and go way down low, and all the while Jonesy is "blblbl-doob-doob-bllb-dub-doob" and Bonham is basically in his own separate universe where all living beings are vibrating strings of pure percussive energy.

Sometimes when I'm in the mood to rock but I'm not quite feeling Zeppelin, I'll listen to Creedence. Man. I fucking love Creedence. Once I drove by Lodi but never made the Creedence pilgrimage, which I've always regretted. I guess it's not so much about Lodi specifically but Lodi as a shitty town in general, so I'm not missing out that much. I've been to Fresno, but I actually like Fresno.

Just talking about Creedence is actually getting me in the mood to listen to some, but I already listened to them today, so I think I'll keep listening to Zeppelin.

As for the ladies, my philosophy is that when you feel it strong, you feel it strong, and when you can half-ass it and get away with it, you do. Fortify yourself, and if all goes right, the time spent not half-assing it is all for the better. And by "philosophy" I mean "history," and by "you" I mean "me." Hopefully it's a helpful data point nevertheless.


you think WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY too hard about this.
until you accept that women have flaws, you'll never settle down, and because you want marriage and children in your future, i'd encourage you take notes on the following:
you have an extremely unfair and unrealistic perception of how love is and should be. (very similar to your arch-nemesis in NYC)
you acknowledge the silliness of your fantasies in your posts, but you still expect it and look for it, and disappoint yourself with an imaginary lifestyle.
the women you date undoubtedly see flaws in you that they would rather not deal with, but they date you anyway because they LIKE you, but i'm sure they intuitively can feel that you are not ready, and it makes them insecure to want to continue on with you, thus the downward spiral and the feelings of unfulfilled gratification occur, and the end of the relationship. if you like someone, you like their conversations, and you like their sex, why do you think you are so special as to get something better than that? how and where do you think love flourishes? it is time; lots of it. and you are wasting it if you want a deep commitment.
there is normally nothing better for a love to last and endure than it being with a friend, cultivated from a friendship, because a friend is someone who is there for you for the bad times, too. like if you sever a limb, or become a drunk till your liver explodes, or become a vegetable, so get the thought of excluding someone who you know cares about you that much, straight out of your head this instant! or just stay single, and mooch off your friends and family if that should happen.
i sense you are feeling guilty about your fickleness and desires, but at the same time don't ever want to give it up (your other set of brains doesn't want to anyway). if that is the case, embrace who you are, accept that you want more than one woman in your life (perhaps move to utah) and be the womanizer you want to be.
stop fighting it. there's no sense. it's too stressful to pretend you are some one you would admire to be, when you are clearly not. yes, you can look-up to specific behaviors, but not if it's all just a bunch of pretty, hollow words.
you didn't take your girl out on valentine's day because you think it's some power thing or something? fuck that! who needs you as a boyfriend or husband with that kind of nonsense floating in your head! let that crap go, it's childish and LAME AS HELL. if you really didn't like her, then you should have just broken up with her before then. that day was NOT about you. (let me be clear about this, when you are in a relationship, a special day or doing something with someone you love/like is not ever about the self. it is about the other person, that applies to both people involved, and that is what love is. do it because she wants it, not because you have some rotten, bottle-sucking hang-up about it. how selfish! marriages and long term relationships are about selfLESSness)
if you ever told her you love her, then setting your ego aside for one little tiny day would have proven that to her. because you didn't, it proved otherwise (that you love yourself more), so no wonder she was pissed at you. don't treat women like that, and don't give some crap reply saying that there was more to the relationship than that. obviously there wasn't, and that's why it should have ended before an event that involves a standard of expectations.
life is not as big a power struggle as you say it is. YOU have made it that way for yourself.
the reason sex is becoming less important for you, i'm sure has to do with a declining sex drive coupled with an increased conscience and awareness of its effects on the woman you are with... or that you are starting to feel what (many of) us gals have always felt, that it's not worth it unless you really care about the other person. i'm under the impression from a few men i have spoken to that when they say they care about a woman, they care more about how guilty they feel when the woman has been hurt. this is not the same as caring about someone on a deeper level. think about what you would want for your best friend, and if you don't think that you could put that much energy to a girl you're dating, then you do not care for or love them. you merely know they exist. don't trap women into thinking they have a chance at a future with you, by telling them anything other than that you are dating only casually, even if the initial feelings are powerful. saying "i love you" without knowing you can have their feelings and their best interests as your priority over your own, is a horrible thing to do to someone, and i'd love to one day see legislature against it, because it feels absolutely criminal and emotionally crippling to those of us that have experienced it.
i'm sure this is all very offensive, but i roll my eyes at that notion.
you are no one special, you're just like everybody else, and these rules apply to everyone; men and women alike.
you have your big words and your philosophical ideals, but you can't live them, so what good do they do?
words are just words.
DO what you know is the right thing "even when it seems unpleasant and hard, especially when it [IS] unpleasant and hard", don't just spew it around like oral diarrhea, cause that's all it will amount to unless you can live it, too.
become who you are, embrace your self.
then you will be loved, and fulfilled.
sorry to have been so mean, but it's the purest of truths i could ever tell someone.
it's called tough love, bro.
and i DO care. i would like to see you happy one day, but what you wrote in this post tells me you have not found the way just yet.

you have your big words and your philosophical ideals, but you can’t live them, so what good do they do?
words are just words.

This is very true.

I don't think I want to move to Utah though. :)


I hate Valentine's day especially the midnight parties exposing mere sexual attraction and there are not true love out there. In most cases they would not even go up to wedding, rather end up with a date or intercourse.