Situation wanted

As the Todd Seavey Incident circulates its way through the tubes, Stacy McCain points out the grievous mistake Seavey made before he ever went off on his ex-girlfriend during that C-Span panel discussion:

Join the French Foreign Legion or a convent or throw yourself off a bridge, but don’t ever post a personal ad. Or answer one.

It’s creepy and/or desperate and/or delusional.

If you are single and have trouble meeting people in real life, who are you going to meet via a personal ad, except other people who have trouble meeting people in real life?

And what kind of people have trouble meeting people in real life? Losers, that’s who.

Here’s where the delusional part comes in: These are losers trying to convince themselves (and other people) that they’re not actually losers. They suffer from the delusion that they’re undiscovered winners.

All the losing they’ve done? Just a streak of bad luck. People (that is to say, people who actually know them) don’t recognize their true wonderfulness, and so they figure they’ll have better luck impressing complete strangers who don’t know what total losers they actually are.

I’m trying to decide whether this seems unduly harsh. In general, I’m persuaded that at some point, interpersonal chemistry can actually trump the perception of loserdom, though real-life examples of same, especially in my real life, are vanishingly few.

Besides, there are lots of factors contributing to having “trouble meeting people” other than lack of desirability. Scheduling is one: if I work my fingers to the bone, and I do, it’s hardly surprising that I don’t meet any bony-fingers fans. And while I’m not overly shy — instead of clamming up in the canonical fashion, I speak up and promptly piss away 30 IQ points — I’ve known people who might well be perfectly charming but who couldn’t break the ice if you spotted them two flamethrowers and a pickax. It’s easier to dismiss them as “losers,” I suppose.

And if Frank farging Sinatra can be faced with the possibility of the French Foreign Legion, what chance do the rest of us have?

13 comments

  1. McGehee »

    24 October 2010 · 8:27 am

    I met my wife of 16 years through what amounted to a personal ad, which is PROOF POSITIVE THAT STACY IS WRONG WRONG WRONG AND NOBODY SHOULD EVER READ HIS SITE AGAIN!!!!!!!

    /typical internet denizen

  2. Charles Pergiel »

    24 October 2010 · 9:26 am

    I was going to say something, but it was pretty negative, so I’m gonna try to put a positive spin on it. People vary widely. You may meet zillions of people but be unable to stand any of them due to their being completely insane. Of course you are insane as well, and they won’t be able to tolerate you either. Meeting people via written words at least allows you to establish some ground rules before you enter the arena.

  3. Tatyana »

    24 October 2010 · 9:40 am

    From the tone of Stacey McCain in the snippet you quoted I conclude he’s some ball in that game, either intimate relationship with Helen R. (and per Todd, there are many men who can claim that, simultaneously – despite her young age) or maybe that’s some sort of solidarity – religious, emotional, conservative-traditionalist type, what have you.

    As to the question of loserdom of those who meet people online: I wouldn’t put it that way exactly, but I too have some scruples of putting my info out there. Not because I consider myself a loser or have difficulty with communication; mostly based on the stories I hear from my women friends of WHO is out there and what kinds of dates (and stalkers…) they have acquired online. From a guy who revealed himself onto the tire of his car on a parking lot after driving my friend to an expensive restaurant (he remarked casually that he didn’t make a reservation, so who knows how long they have to wait before seated!), to a lonely French Arab sending another friend a photo of his equipment after a very ceremonious date in a cafe, as a follow up – oh boy, it takes all kinds…

    On the other hand, one of my former colleagues I guess falls into the “terribly busy professionals) Chaz described: she is a 28yo architect w/Master Degree, extensive job responsibilities and 70hrs workweeks; half a year ago she separated with a boyfriend of 9 years and didn’t want to look for somebody new within their overlapping circles of friends/acquaintances. After 2 or 3 false starts she now met a wonderful guy on match.com that she’s completely smitten with and is delusionally happy. True story, talked to her a month ago…

  4. McGehee »

    24 October 2010 · 10:28 am

    Stacy’s married, and apparently quite happily. It’s entirely possible the wedding-day memory wipe of what it was like being single didn’t take.

  5. Tatyana »

    24 October 2010 · 10:37 am

    McGehee: besides, McCain sited an ad on Seavey’s personal blog (which is aimed at already filtered libertarian audience, not online dating service.
    And it is dated April 2007.
    And it has an addendum naming a new girlfriend Todd met then – and her name was not Helen.
    So, in 3 years he had at least 2 lovers who were attracted to him – does it make him a loser, in primitive Tarsan-Jane way McCain seems to favor?

    Doesn’t look like that.

  6. Francis W. Porretto »

    24 October 2010 · 10:48 am

    From what you quoted, McCain’s an arrogant asshole. My wife Beth, whom I met in 1991 through her personal ad, would probably agree.

    The old mechanisms that we once relied upon to bring people together have taken enough damage that they’re now very hit-or-miss. Personal ads might be no better, but I daresay they’re no worse, at least if they’re reasonably honest, and the expectations that go along with them reasonably restrained.

  7. Nicole »

    24 October 2010 · 11:10 am

    I’m on the side of pretty harsh, dude. Personal ads (though I have no personal experience with the romantic kind) don’t automatically make you a loser. As Chaz noted, they may simply make you someone who has no time for the random games and roundabouts of romantic pursuit or it may mean you just stink at meeting people. Neither of which make you a loser.

  8. McGehee »

    24 October 2010 · 12:52 pm

    I’m surporised how “typical” some of the commentariat is here.

  9. Jeffro »

    24 October 2010 · 3:46 pm

    a poor player
    That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
    And then is heard no more: it is a tale
    Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
    Signifying nothing.

  10. Lemon Stand »

    24 October 2010 · 4:34 pm

    “…I’ve known people who might well be perfectly charming but who couldn’t break the ice if you spotted them two flamethrowers and a pickax…” That is priceless and is being sent directly to my sister as a new description for her resume! (I know she’ll laugh)

    I hope I don’t offend anyone but I wonder why only I can see the humor in this. Don’t get me wrong, it is a valid subject and deserves serious consideration and I can see that too but for the life of me I can’t stop looking at this as if it’s a plagiarized script by my teenagers angsty discussions at the dinner table…

  11. fillyjonk »

    24 October 2010 · 5:01 pm

    There’s also the idea that some people may simply be better off uncoupled. (I’m beginning to wonder if maybe I’m not one of them.) I’m not quite sure where I’d find time in my life to devote to a fella, even if I (a) found the time to go out and find one and (b) didn’t either immediately clam up (which guys seem to take as a sign of disinterest) or go into the mode where I could compete with one of Bertie Wooster’s dates for sheer vacuousness.

  12. Tatyana »

    24 October 2010 · 5:16 pm

    FJ – your reference caught me in precise moment of rereading The Code of the Woosters! I need a pick-me-up today.

    Lemon Stand: the subject (as well as the event that triggered it) is definitely laugh-worthy, I agree. When I first heard about it from the horsie’ s mouth it most certainly was.
    McCain has several things right, as far as I see it, but not the ones referred to in this post…

  13. CGHill »

    24 October 2010 · 9:48 pm

    I tend to attribute my own ongoing dry spell to a combination of unfortunate scheduling and sheer incompetence, though I’d hate to try to calculate the percentage of each factor.

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