Salsa and Seduction

Last year I finally pulled the trigger on something I wanted to do for a looooong time: learn to dance. Watching people effortlessly move and jive on the dancefloor inspired feelings of admiration and envy. The best dancers seemed to be possessed by a rhythmic demon that compelled them to shake their booty to enthrall onlookers. Sadly, I was born with “lyrical cartilage and calcium beat deficiency disease,” which means I didn’t have a single musical bone in my body. SO, I took the plunge and signed up for a six week Salsa and Latin dance class. Here’s what I learned:

Practice, Practice, Practice. (And practice some more)

My first class I stood in the dance space fidgeting my toes with my head down as we waited for the instructor. There were roughly six people in the class and it felt like I was the only one who was visibly nervous. Maybe it’s not too late to leave. I could pretend to go to the bathroom! No no no I can’t leave. Lord, why am I so nervous?! A few moments later the salsa teacher strolls into the room, “Hello class! My name is Rodolpho, let’s get started” There was nowhere to escape now.

Left foot, righ- wait no left UGGGGGHHHH.

Rodolpho started us out with a basic salsa move literally called “The Basic.” I quickly discovered I had no control over my limbs. I spent the entire class arguing, begging, pleading with my feet. Please just me get this one dance move right! My feet still fumbled despite my straining to concentrate on the proper movement. I left that first class completely deflated. The second week something magical happened: I started to get it! I focused less, allowing my feet to just move. This story is the same for every move I learned in that class. First frustration then tons of practice and eventually it clicks. By week six I went from owing two left feet to confidently dancing with a partner. It proves that you could learn anything with enough practice.

Attraction and Seduction

I knew taking Salsa would make more popular with the ladies, let’s be honest that was 99% the reason I signed up. Dancing with a partner helped me feel more comfortable with women. I learned super fast not to say stupid shit to my dance partner like, “This is kinda awkward, right?” These experiences also gave me deeper insight into traditional male to female attraction. Salsa taught me that the men must approach the women for a dance. Guys were also responsible for leading their partner throughout the dance and signaling changes in moves. It became the perfect metaphor for the role men play in dating and seduction. Healthy masculine energy comes from the willingness to be bold in the face of fear. Putting yourself out there (in this case asking for a dance) despite the risk of rejection makes you more attractive.

Dancing with different partners also showed me the importance of compatibility. We were forced to rotate partners during practice and I dreaded dancing with certain women. With an incompatible partner our movements felt stifled and ultra mechanical, I suspect this was because neither one of us felt comfortable. For some reason or another we wouldn’t click. With other ladies dancing became a fun almost effortless back and forth – almost like we could read each others minds and adjust instantly. I suspect real life is about the same. It all comes down to finding the right partner.

Don’t stop dancin’ – Barry

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Permeance and Perpetuity

My worldview rests on one basic assumption: all things are temporary. I mean this in a very literal sense. All things without exception will eventually disappear or decay. Looking at this statement without context it’s easy to assume that my philosophy is rooted in a sense of nihilism. I get how deeply uncomfortable it is to ruminate on this universal cosmic mortality. The point of this assumption, however, is not to inspire feelings of existential dread. I’ll explain how this belief keeps me centered in a really healthy way.

The Lie of Permeance

“Promise me we’ll be best friends forever”

“Tell me you will always love me”

“Never forget about us”

Ironically, people I promised permeant places in my life are no longer in it. Why? It falls upon about the lie of permeance. Everyone assumes that we will always have more time. Tomorrow is another day, I’ll get to it later. YET this thinking lies in stark contrast with the nature of our reality. It only takes 20 minutes watching the evening news to see how quickly life can be extinguished. Freak accidents, murder, cancer – the list goes on and on. Even as a healthy 20 something year old I recognize I’m not to death’s sudden snare.

But Barry, how is this thinking useful?

Consider this – The most expensive items in the world gain value from rarity. Would gold be so alluring it was found everywhere? Would Lamborghinis be worth millions if they were seen as often as Honda Civics? Of course not. We attribute these things value because they are hard to find. Meanwhile the things we expect to be there: the grass, the trees, good health, our friends, our family, get taken for granted. At some point the banal commonality of these things became expected. Our minds bought into this story of “what was will always be.” And this leads to a painstaking collision with reality once we do experience loss. The lie of permeance made us believe we played a game where we could never lose. It’s useful because it ingrains my life with a spirit of gratitude. Every moment of the human experience is a beautiful one because of it’s rarity. Our time is truly limited, so we must enjoy it while it lasts.

The other issue with the “forever” fallacy is it causes us to be lazy. Promising to be friends forever is a promise of perpetuity instead of an act of perpetuity. Despite wishful thinking, things don’t last just because we want them to. It takes continual effort, maybe even the occasional sacrifice. We maintain things with our actions, not with our promises.

Last words

Adopting this assumption serves me greatly. I love people more deeply, seek new experiences, and express gratitude for my experiences.  To deeply internalize the mantra “all things are temporary” helped shake me out of a depressive episode last summer. I felt alone and completely lost in this universe. That’s when the thought struck me, “all things are temporary, even loneliness.” Remember: both the good times and the bad times never last.

Until next time – Barry

Emotional Undercurrent

Ever think you’re over something, but you really aren’t? For some reason or another a healed emotional scar abruptly tears open without warning? In the foreground you feel bright and happy. You soak up the sun and smiles easily. In those moments where your mind drifts a sullen cloud slowly looms over your happy. Your mind bends towards a shadowy current of melancholy. We find ourselves drowning in this emotional undercurrent, gasping desperately for pockets of air. We hope someone notices. Please rescue me from the whirlpool of trauma. The mind sends us raging further on a downhill spiral. Without a lifejacket it appears our doom is unavoidable. That sinking feeling slowing travels throughout the entire body. We want to fight, to cry, to scream, to rage, to beg, to plead – in the end we do nothing. All our energy drained fighting an overwhelming one-sided struggle.

Sometimes the only thing to do is retreat into darkness until the sun shines again. Pray for more moments of bliss. Tirelessly scan the streets for love and selfishly lock down the scraps of joy you manage steal away. Indulge those fond memories like little souvenirs collected on a long adventure. Darkness always falls, but eventually the sun will rise.

To your happiness – Barry

Tequila and Airplanes Don’t Mix

“Barry, when are you taking me to the piano bar?”

Her eastern European accent romantically emphasized the first syllable in my name “BARry”. That paired with Katya’s expectant glowing eyes beaming striaght into me doubled the pressure.

Shit! I forgot about that!

I clumsily checked my mental schedule, whilst hiding my sudden panic. Damn I really need to stop making so many promises.

“Oh yes I didn’t forget haha,”

Liar!

“How about this Thursday? We can meet at my place and Uber downtown.”

A warm smile accentuated Katya’s joyously bright expression, “Yes! Thursday is perfect! I’ll see you then.”

Great! When her attention waned from me I quickly snatched my cellphone out of my pocket. Please please please let there be nothing else I committed to on Thursday night! I pressed open my Google Calendar anticipating the worst. Thank Goodness! The schedule Gods heeded my prayers, Thursday night was completely and totally free.

An audible sigh of relief escaped my lungs.

My subconscious chided me like Billy Mays in those Oxyclean commercials, But wait there’s more!

billymays

What are you talking about? I consulted my phone calendar again – Shit. I have flight back to Pennsylvania this Friday at like 4:15am. Being the thinking, rationale human I am I thought it over deeply: Hmmmmm…. should be fine. And that was the end of that. Continue reading

The Benefits of Heartbreak

2018 turned out to be a wonderful mosaic of eclectic experiences. I found myself taking up salsa dancing, going to renaissance festivals, and speaking with strangers in shopping malls. All in all it’s been a great year and strangely I owe it all to a series of romantic failures from 2 years ago.

Flashback

Looking back at the epicenter of the gruesome emotional fallout of that failed romance still causes a sharp pinch in my chest. I won’t rehash the specific details although it would be so tempting to say that I was lied to, manipulated, and eventually discarded. It’s tempting to portray the events like this because it pardons me from any fault. The truth is I allowed myself to be lied to, manipulated, and eventually discarded. Let the record show that I willful ignored her questionable behavior. By saying nothing I may have unknowingly promoted it. There were no healthy boundaries between the two of us. Things finally fell apart when I hit my absolute pain threshold. The joy of loving her no longer outweighed the pain of dealing with her.

The spark that lit the powder keg of compressed resentment came entirely by chance. Running late for an appointment I ended up on a part of campus atypical of my usual walking path. Without warning I looked up and saw her holding hands with another guy (my best friend). Something physical broken inside of me at that moment. A loud smattering of glass on concrete rang through my ears as a wrecking ball plummeted straight into my ego. Next came the intense trembling as all my repressed frustations erupted out at once. Suddenly my entire body was enflamed in a righteous fury. I was whammed with a double epiphany uppercut:

  1. She had been using me (or more accurately I allowed myself to be used)
  2. I couldn’t pretend I was okay with it anymore

I won’t bullshit you and say that I handled the situation with grace. Escaping her influence was a messy ordeal that covered me in bloody love lacerations. Pulling myself back together afterward hurt like hell, but I am honestly grateful for the experience.

Lessons Learned

After licking my wounds and recovering my sanity I asked one important question: What the hell happened? Spurred by this question I attended therapy weekly and began to read an absurd amount of books. Codependent No More by Melody Beattie exposed me to the toxicity of martyrdom and codependent relationships. Who’s Pulling Your Strings? by Harriet B. Braiker taught me the tactics expert manipulators use to control people. Somehow, I stumbled on the self-improvement genre and plummeted down that rabbit hole.

That painful experience forced me to confront my inadequacies face to face. Heartbreak became the tipping domino that led me to better path. Everyone goes through heartbreak at some point. Don’t let the trauma of it break you, leverage that experience into something useful. Tony Robbins alludes to this message by asking his audience this question:

“How can you take the worse experience of your life and turn it into the best thing thats ever happened to you?”

Be bold, until next time – Barry

No Man’s Land

I am a restless spirit

Hovering on the edges of insanity

A body engulfed in cold, a soul shrouded in a radial flame

Recklessly tumbling through fields of affection

A no man’s land:

This isn’t the place where love resides.

 

She stays a quivering thought in the back of my mind

Etching a permeant home among treasured memories,

Becoming close neighbors with my imagination,

Playing loose and fast with unrequited desire

Her ethereal presence always felt

And never touched.

Reflection and Connection

To summarize a year’s worth of insights in a reflective piece is a gargantuan task. 2018 remains a delightfully strange journey, I’ve been exposed to so many useful thoughts and ideas which make it difficult to whittle it down to just a few. The most impactful ideas stand out immediately. On a visual timeline of this year they present themselves as bright red markers. This list starts with the books which have modeled my thinking the most, then I move onto general ideas that I assimilated into my mental framework.

Books

The Game by Neil Strauss

Initially I felt hesitant about buying this book. After reading it however it became clear this book should be a required reading for all men. The author shares how he learned to become a master Pickup Artist through continual acts of self-transformation. There are many sexcapades to be sure, but he also shines a light on the darker consequences of his journey. The story is funny as hell and contains useful dating mindsets for men. Here’s my favorite quote: “As a Pickup artist you must never do what anyone else does. The first rule is to always be the exception to the rule.”

The Art of Seduction by Robert Greene

Reading The Game tossed me down the seduction/attraction rabbit hole. In The Art of Seduction, Greene provides an in-depth analysis of seduction throughout history and shares the specific strategies seducers used to conquer in the game of love. This was my first exposure to Robert Greene’s work and I found myself immediately hooked by his insights. I really loved reading about the 11 (or was it 12?) different types of seducers.

The Laws of Human Nature by Robert Greene

After reading The Art of War I arrived at the conclusion that human nature does not change, only our environment changes. This is the ultimate premise of The Laws of Human Nature. Greene takes a sobering look at the patterns that govern all people and how we can leverage that behavior for our benefit. I haven’t finished reading quite yet. So far my favorite chapter discusses the concept of “The Dark Side.”

Captivate by Vanessa Van Edwards

Think of this book as How to Win Friends and Influence People for the 21 century. Vanessa does an excellent job giving readers science backed tactics for being more successful with people. If you want to up your charisma and deepen your relationships look no further. Everyone I’ve recommended this book to has loved it. My biggest takeaway was learning about the Personality Matrix.

Tribe of Mentors by Tim Ferriss

Tribe of Mentors is a huge compilation of life advice from the world’s most successful people. This book lifted me out of the winter doldrums inspired aim higher in life. I still meditate on Gary Vee’s advice: “Focus on the micro, not the macro.”

The Toa of Seneca (Vol 1,2&3) by Tim Ferriss

This series of free eBooks translate the letters of Stoic master Seneca the Younger written to his dear friend Lucilius. Seneca provides lots of advice of what it means to live a good life and espouses his friend to pursue virtue above all else. Stoicism is in vogue nowadays and these books are a good introduction to the philosophy. I’ve really latched onto the concept emotional mastery through Stoic practices. “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – William Shakespeare.

Relentless by Tim Grover

Listening to this audio book gave me the chills. Relentless provides an in your face breakdown of what makes a good athlete, a great athlete, and an unstoppable athlete. The applicability of this book definitely transcends the sports arena. It’s a great reminder to toughen the fuck up and get to work. Highly recommend listening to the audio version of this book!

Ideas

You are the prize

In the pickup/seduction community they preach this idea of “you are the prize.” A lot of mistakes that men make with women stem from a place of neediness and desperation. Remembering that “you are the prize” will make you more attractive and less prone to displaying needy behavior.

Morning/Evening Routines

This year I adopted a solid morning routine that keeps me productive and stabilized. I support more people adopting morning routines instead of haphazardly stumbling out of bed.

Social Capital and Networking

Listening to the Jordan Harbinger showed me the benefits of cultivating a strong network of personal relationships. Like the old adages says, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

How can this be more fun?

Periodically asking myself this question helps loosen me up when I take myself too seriously (which is all the time :p).

The Platinum Rule

The Gold Rule is “treat others how you would like to be treated.” The Platinum rule is “treat others how they would like to be treated.” Often times we project our values onto other people which leads to misunderstandings.

Dangers of Repression

Anything that you repress emotionally, consciously or subconsciously will come back triple fold to bite you in the ass. Just something to consider.

 

That’s all for now, until next time – Barry

Lust

Every man is a living mystery waiting to be discovered:

In her eyes I smell the fumes of intrigue.

Belonging breads longing.

Desire swirls like a black hole of lust,

Be careful of radial motions,

The sinking waves hypnotizing and teasing.

Her frame gives me a preview of ecstasy,

The anticipation stacking layer upon layer.

The struggle is guaranteed, the climax is not.

Cruelty and pleasure intertwine in the depths of tension.

Outsourcing Novelty

To expand my mental landscape, I’ve purposely built in a system that outsources novelty. Actuating raw potential depends upon a steady flow of ideas to be tested and acted upon. Somewhere along the line I realized that the brain is not a perpetual motion machine, the same ideas with produce the same results. My first course of action? Spend a little bit of time everyday researching new things with my old buddy Google. That got old fast for two reasons: 1) It’s hard to look for new things without any starting direction 2) research gets tedious very quickly.

Then I remembered Tim Ferriss’s brilliant question: What if I did the opposite?

The opposite of “looking” in this instance is “receiving”. Illuminated with this insight I signed up for weekly email newsletters in topics unfamiliar to me. My favorite newsletters right now are Farnam Street, Design Luck, James Clear, and Recommendo. Savvy web users can take advantage of Google Alerts to receive periodic email alerts on topics of their choosing. Google Alerts helps me zoom into specific news on a subject without sifting through click-baity trash.

Another way to increase the odds of running into new ideas comes from disabling predictive suggestion help on both Google search and YouTube. When enabled this feature uses your previous search history to suggest similar content. Over time the algorithm learns your preferences and neglects to show things outside your usual interest. Without knowing it you become confined to a small sub-section of the internet tailored for your liking. A whole new realm opened when I decided to escape this invisible bubble.

My favorite tactic for exposing myself to new ideas is connecting with a diverse range of people. Every person is a universe onto themselves and I often find that they have discovered rabbit holes that I never stumbled upon. Remember: Everyone in the world knows something that you don’t.

Farewell for now – Barry

Write Now

I don’t care what you write but you need to do it right now.

Write now.

Silence your insecurities. Banish your self-doubt. Extinguish your worries.

Right now.

A muse awaits in wonderment. When will you work? When will you execute on that glimpse of inspiration? Will you deny that dream it’s right to life? Who are you do suffocate an idea before understanding it’s true nature. Get familiar with the idea. Jot it down. Converse with the idea, see it from another angle.

How do you get familiar with an idea? You write.

Write now, right now.

Daydream

“I memorized your face just in case you try to murder my friends.”

I paused a moment at this audaciously honest remark. A part of me wanted to howl in laughter – another part wanted to reassure her that I’m a “good guy.” Instead I matched her bold stare and replied, “That’s fair.”

Because it was. I was about to get into a slick Purple Mustang with three tipsy women I had just met 20 minutes before at Molly’s Pub. Somehow, I became an honorary member of their girls night out. They eagerly stuffed me in the backseat. Within a few seconds I heard the heart-thumping roar of the Mustang’s engine. There was no turning back now.

Our next stop: Karaoke.

Sunroof down, spirits high, and speakers booming we raced to Reno’s. Barbara looked at me from the passenger’s seat quizzically, “Barry! What song should we play?!”

“I’m in a Kendrick mood, put on DNA.”

My request received a glowing smile of approval and soon after Kendrick’s lyrics assaulted our ears with rap glory. The song ended right as Carla pulled into Reno’s parking lot. My brain finally caught up a bit at the strangeness of the unfolding events: Am I living in a movie? Who the hell cares, get me another beer please. Okay brain sounds like a plan.

Without recalling my legs moving I ended up standing by the girls night troupe at the Karaoke sign up sheet. Our current struggle? Deciding what song to sing. My eyes soaked in the environment at all the merry drunkards singing along with the main karaoke performer. Faint puffs from smoke clouds combined with the fragrance of hard liquor put me at ease. The right bars smell like a unique form of happiness.

The ladies were still deciding on song when I suddenly heard Lauryn Hill’s voice wave over me. Sentiment wiggled into my heart as I put my eyes on the floor, “My mom loves Lauryn Hill.” Suddenly I felt pressure gripping on my left wrist. It was Barbara, “Come on!” Without warning she led me to the center of the dancefloor. My body came to life as I held her hands, unconsciously leading her with my motions. No words were exchanged, but our bodies flowed in perfect sync. Without warning I stared serenading Barbara while our eyes locked. The moment was a vivid daydream. We danced for three more songs.

I escorted her back to the girls night group and quickly escaped to the bathroom. When I returned Barbara lightly touched my bicep and whispered, “You’re the best man I ever knew.”

In that moment the dream became real. In the back of my mind I knew there was a chance I would never see her again. – Barry

EW

The story starts out the way all good ones do – in a bar. Union Tavern to be specific.

Ya boy Barry was casually chillin there alone with the goal of eventually talking to someone. From the bar counter I scanned around for someone who looked open to speaking with a stranger.

Nope, too old.

Nope, too tall.

She’s wearing a hoodie, that’s really suspicious.

Welp, guess I’ll just stay here.

My brain has decided today is not the day to exhibit social courage. Besides, if I don’t babysit this corner bar stool then who will? A few drinks later a 53-year-old man wearing his blue striped working polo tucked into faded jeans sat down adjacent to me. He reminded me of Earl Grey tea for some reason. His name must be Earl. His body language signaled he was in a chatty mood. The feeling wasn’t mutual.

Too late. I’ve already commited to being anti-social.

After ordering a Miller Earl performs the same scan I did earlier.

Please don’t talk to me.

Earl’s Radar isn’t picking up anything. He starts looking at people around the counter.

Please don’t talk to me.

I refuse to look in Earl’s direction and pull out my phone to discourage conversation.

Please don’t talk to me.

Earl takes two quick sips and looks at me “How are you sir?”

Damnit.

“Not bad just relaxing.” The phone recedes back into my pocket.

“I hear that man. I’m not here by myself, I’m actually meeting someone here soon.”

“That’s nice.” This guy is definitely here by himself.

In that brief lull of the conversation the bartender speedily paces from the backroom with a mountain of Solo cups. There isn’t much space behind the bar so she bends down to set them on the floor. She scurries away again, probably to get more cups.

Immediately after Earl inches closer to me, “Yo man, did you see the ass on her?”

Of course I did. Anyone who has eyes probably saw. I reply, “Yeah I guess” then direct my attention to the mounted television. Looks like the Lakers are playing.

When the bartender returns I see Earl’s eyes follow her movements with a trance-like focus. Her body was the pendulum inducing his libido into a hypnotic sex-stupor. Maybe he’ll be so distracted he forgets I’m here.

Spoiler alert: That’s not what happens.

“Jesus man, if I weren’t married I would take that one home.”

“Mhm” This is getting a bit weird.

“Are you married?”

*shake my head no*

“You should take a shot at the bartender, I’ve never seen a woman like that before!”

I shoulder shrug in disinterest. She’s a petite red head wearing colorful mosaic leggings, an exposed belly ring, weird body tattoos, and a sizable wedding ring. She kinda reminds me of the Wendy’s logo, well if Wendy grew up to be bartender working in Houston.

wendys

“What!? Your crazy man, don’t worry I’ll talk to her for you.”

Great. That was the exact opposite of what I wanted to happen. Earl summons the bartender with a come-hither hand motion. As Wendy is approaching I’m thinking of ways to apologize for the predictably gross words about to be spoken on my behalf.

Wendy arrives, “What can I help you with sir?”

Earl gulps some liquid courage and begins, “I just wanted to say you have an incredibly nice ass and my single friend here told me he would pay 1 million dollars to lick every single one of your tattoos.”

I embody the word “Ew” as my body flinchs from disgust. It feels like I’ve just been drenched in green Nickelodeon slime.

Wendy pauses a second, “That sounds great, but I don’t think my husband would appreciate that.” Off she goes without missing a beat.

“Well man I tried for you.”

“Oh wow look at the time, I gotta go now.”

Time for me to find a different bar – Barry

Houston, we have a Barry pt 2

Where did I leave off? Ah, yes – The car thermostat proudly declared it to be 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The scorching heat paired with unlimited humidity made me feel like was living in a sauna – minus the middle aged naked men of course.

Looks like I’m here.

I triumphantly pulled my Chevy Equinox into a parking spot of the apartment leasing office. I grabbed the deposit along with the paperwork and strolled inside. An normal looking woman raised her head from her computer monitor to greet me: Hello, how may I help you?

“Moving into apartment 1416, I have the deposit and all the paperwork.”

She resumes on the keyboard for a moment. Clicky clackity click click. “Oh great, I see it here. Hmm everything looks good, let me get the key.” Ms. Normal rises from chair and scoots off into some unknown corridor of the office.

In a few moments I’ll be able to nap and figure out my next move.

More than a few moments past. Ms. Normal returns with a confuzzled expression that inverts her two eyebrows.

“You said apartment 1416, right?”

“Yes.”

“Are you sure because I don’t see the key for the apartment.”

“……….”

Somewhere, on the great African plains of the Serengeti tens of thousands of years ago, one of my ancestors encounters an enemy of a rival tribe. Food supplies remain scarce – it is a matter of survival. They lock eyes and my ancestor brands the inflaming battle roar into his very spirit. The blood in his veins turns to fire. His raging spirit prevails in combat and his people live another day.

In this moment that I realize I am my ancestor. I didn’t drive 10,00 miles across the country and sleep in my car for three days straight for shits and giggles.

Ms. Normal immediately senses my compounding fury, “Oh okay let me make a phone call quick.” She scurries off back into the unknown hallway. When she returns this time it’s with a key for my apartment. I force out a bitter, “Thank you” and proceed to search for my new temporary home.

Now for the moment of truth. I slowly unlocked the door and turned the knob. The door unlocked to reveal a beautiful one bedroom apartment. My balcony overlooked the apartment complex pool and a few lanky palm trees. I had a kitchen, washer, dryer and my very own bathroom.

Looks like your move up in the world!

Next step? Take an epic nap – Barry

Houston, we have a Barry

Two month ago I set course for Houston, Texas. The 3 weeks heading up to my departure saw a hurricane of activity: I filled out 37 pages of employment paperwork/clearances, turned in two course projects, finished an internship, trained the incoming graduate assistant replacing me, partied at Capitol, moved out of my apartment, drove five hours through a thunderstorm to Pittsburgh and stayed four days, drove five hours through another thunderstorm back to Stroudsburg – took a pit stop at Denny’s in Bloomsburg to catch up with my buddy before leaving for Houston, arrived in Stroudsburg, cleaned up the house for my going away party, grilled hamburgers and hot dogs at the party, crushed my friends and relatives in backyard volleyball, and finally drove three hours that night to Harrisburg en route to Houston.

Yeah, it was a smidge busy.

Luckily for me, the 24 hour drive alone down to the good ol’ southwest gave me time to process through all my anxieties. After all I was about to intern for NASA. Somehow the whole experience felt surreal, like a daydream suddenly adjoining with reality.

What do they expect from me? Do I need to know a lot about space? Will they test me? How should I study for the test? Do I need a No. 2 Pencil? Shit! I don’t own any pencils!

My favorite scene during the road trip came as I passed through Louisiana. I cruised over an expansive 4 lane highway elevated high above swampish bayou territory. The reflective water brimmed with green ick and partially submerged trees. The sight felt authentically southern and unlike anything I’d seen in the Northeast. My mind scintillated with a childish awe.

A few rest stops and a gas station burrito later I arrived in Houston. My immediate first impression? Damn it’s hot! It felt like I was developing an intimate relationship with the sun. The car thermostat proudly declared it to be 101 degrees.

Will continue this story later, until next time – Barry

Interesting…

0Why

I want to be a dating coach.

…. Interesting. That wouldn’t have been my opening line.

Brain, what do you mean? It’s the truth, I want to be a dating coach.

Well yeah that is cool and all but what about the other stuff?

I’m not following you.

Dude really? NASA, Moving to Houston, Salsa dancing, Random girl tickling you in the bar – is any of this ringing a bell?

Haha oooohh you mean my life events! Yeah! Sounds awesome. The tricky part about all this is remembering the details. I am a writer therefore I should write. The equation is straightforward and the execution difficult. It appears Brain developed a writing phobia too, so I need to soothe back into the blogging thing. By the way, I still want to be a dating coach.

Barry why? It seems really random.

For the longest time I convinced myself that dating didn’t matter to me. I masked my frustrations with clever rationalizations and embraced the “lone wolf mentality” for years. Self-deception remains an insidiously effective poison. Behind that stoic shield of solidarity stood a vulnerable lifetime insecurity. In truth, my failings in the dating world made me feel extremely stupid. More than that – it felt like an invalidation of my masculinity. From the outside looking in, it seemed like no other men struggled with this issue. Clearly, that means there’s something wrong with me then? The symptoms of toxic relationships, manipulation, and scalding resentment played themselves out for years until finally I got the courage to diagnosis the underlying issue: ME. I refused to acknowledge and heal that deeply rooted insecurity, letting it embitter my view of women, men, relationships, and the whole goddamn universe. The time came to metaphorically look myself in the eye and ask, “no bullshit, what do you want?” The unapologetic answer is I want to amazing at dating! I want to own my masculinity and feel competent and attractive. In the process I could pull guys out of the rut where I started.

That’s all for now, until next time – Barry