As one of Santa Clarita’s most eligible bachelors, according to my mother, I have extensive experience on our local dating scene. Since I am such a generous, saintly person, I have decided to spend this week’s column sharing what I’ve learned about matters of the heart:
1. Nice Guys Aren’t Weak Guys.
You know what stereotype really needs to die? The whole idea of women being terrible for rejecting the “nice guy” and choosing the jerk.
Because if you unpack it, what’s really going on is quite simple. Women love nice guys, but the reason they don’t date them is because they are so often soft, cowardly, fearful, fruitcakes.
They say all the right things, and present some ideal vision of themselves, but they never have the courage to make it into reality. They let whatever burden they’re carrying stop them, be it anxiety, depression, insecurity over looks, or leftover childhood trauma.
And when you think about it, how “nice” is it to act that way, to present yourself as the most perfect dude ever, just to torture the girl of your dreams by never realizing your potential?
You see, nice guys actually aren’t nice at all — they’re just a different flavor of jerk.
The typical jerk, the rich man with everything who treats people like objects, we all know what’s wrong with him. He’s been blessed with life’s abundance, but refuses to share it, to give enough of his privileges to make a woman feel truly loved.
He’s the breadcrumber, the gaslighter, the abuser.
But the nice guy actually is something even worse. Because at least the rich jerk never gets your hopes up. You know who he is, and you never expect anything more.
A woman can say to herself about these fellows, “Well, at least he’ll always pay the bills, and the kids’ college, and make sure I have a place to stay. Sure I won’t be loved, but staying out of poverty will be nice.”
But the nice guy is the tease, the real tormentor. Because he puts fantasies in a girl’s head, the fulfillment of all the romantic dreams she had as a child. He dresses himself up as some future Prince Charming. He’s so convincing the girl can practically touch the beautiful life they’ll share together.
In the end, however, our sweet little Romeo is so narcissistically consumed by his own neuroses, he lets his potential, and her hope, die out. He loves his own victimhood more than the woman he’s supposedly pining for.
Her choice then, is not between a nice guy and a jerk, but rather two jerks. And if you give a woman those options, why wouldn’t she choose the one who can at least ensure the rent’s paid on time?
The point being, if you really like a girl, get your act together. There’s nothing kind about torturing someone with unrealized potential.
2. To Love Well, Think Like a Writer.
The problem with the typical approach to dating is simple. People go out to eat at some cheap restaurant with the most cynical, judgemental mindset. They sit across from their mate analyzing every inch of them for red flags. Does this person talk too much? Talk too little? Have the right political opinions? Are they funny enough?
However, in reality, the truth of the matter is most first dates are terrible. Because discovering the worth of a human being is hard in the beginning. Love is a lot like writing.
The first time you sit down and draft a piece, nothing goes well. The words have about as much shape as Silly Putty. But if you look deeply enough, there’s always a poetic idea in there somewhere. It could be a paragraph, a sentence, or only a phrase. But it’s a start, something to build on.
If you put in enough time and effort, and engage in constant revision, you can turn that small glimmer of brilliance into something grand.
Dating is no different. You have to find what’s remarkable about a person, zero in on it, and love them hard and good. For when a person is loved, what’s precious about them grows large enough to make the bad bits insignificant by comparison.
The problem with people, though, is they abandon a relationship when it’s only in its first draft. And miss out on what could have been one of the greatest experiences of their lives.
3. Outcast, Thy Name Is Romeo.
I’d like to introduce you to Heath’s law No. 241: The worse someone looks on a Christmas card, the angrier your parents would be about bringing them home — and the greater chance they’re the love of your life.
You see, the clean-cut, well-put-together boys and girls, those lucky souls whose psyches are free of trauma, who are symmetrical and pleasant and on the right path. Those are exactly the people you should run from. For they have been loved ever since they took their first breath in this world. And when you have something in abundance from the very start, you never truly appreciate it.
By contrast, no one values love quite like those to whom it’s been denied — the disabled and the mentally ill, the prostitutes and the drug addicts, the formerly homeless and abused. If you’re looking for a great romance, try one of these overlooked people.
They wait, like treasures in the attic, for someone to find them. Of course, in reality, most choose a partner like they are shopping for a smartphone. They select the shiniest model that contains all the gizmos and gadgets and call it a day.
But for those of you who don’t care about keeping up with the Joneses, an outcast is the way to go. Choose someone who’s fallen off the beaten path, and together, build a home, full of so much of the good stuff that you forget about life’s miseries, at least for a little while.
Follow that path and you’ll be too happy to worry about the folks who judge you for marrying the town tramp. All will be perfect, and all will be well.
Joshua Heath is a Santa Clarita resident. “Democratic Voices” appears Tuesdays, and rotates among local Democrats. He can be reached at [email protected].