If there’s one path to combating the crippling existential notion that you’re going to die alone, dating would be it. Sure, there are proponents of the act of dating that say “Meeting new people is fun!” or “I like to be social!” but in reality, we know they’re most likely full of crap. Dating is a chore. It’s a means to an end and I think it’d be safe to say that nobody actually enjoys it – more like, they tolerate it.
Of course, there are those few special moments of fireworks that can make it all worth it, and that can be a source of anxiety for some women. But here’s a little known fact: Nerves aren’t exclusive to the female gender. Regardless of whether or not we show it, guys are just as anxious as you when it comes to the first date.
You’re hot and we’re not. It’s a pretty widely accepted fact that girls are much nicer looking than guys. Girls are soft and curvy and they have bodies that have been considered art for as long as time has been a thing. Guys, on the other hand… well, we’re kind of boxy, we’re hairy, utilitarian and sometimes we smell bad. If genders were cars, girls would be Ferraris and Porches while guys would be Jeeps and trucks. The point is, if we asked you out, we think you’re pretty. Compared to our love handles, patchy beards, and premature bald spots, of course we’re going to be nervous that we don’t deserve you.
We’re hoping you’re as awesome as you are hot. Part of the reason we date is is to figure out whether or not we want to hang out with a particular person. For guys, a lot of times, the fact that you’re hot can cloud our judgment a little when it comes to getting to know you. The hope exists for all guys that your personality is just as awesome as everything else. Going into a date, though, guys can get nervous that you’ll have an edge we weren’t expecting or that you’re rude or that our personalities just won’t mesh. If they don’t, well, no harm in one date.
We’re afraid we’ll screw it up. Let’s face it – in the ritual of dating, there are certain things each gender is supposed to do. There are so many tiny considerations that go into these things that we can usually just about drive ourselves crazy thinking about the best way present ourselves and not mess it all up. We may seem confident and funny, but if we do something wrong, you can bet your ass we’re dying inside.
The implication is there. We all know that dating and flirting, if done well, has the potential to lead to other things. These other things usually involve a bedroom. Sometimes, the mere implication of those other things can make us nervous and throw us off our game. The thing most guys won’t tell you is that we’re dreadfully insecure about a couple of things. You can probably guess what one of those things is. The other is our technique. If one or both of these things doesn’t measure up, you can be sure that we’re going to be nervous about it.
We don’t want to die alone. We’ll wonder if you’re a girl we could marry, possibly much too soon. That said, we also have the urge to roam free and be single with no consequences. Sometimes the idea of commitment can be a little too much for us. It’s a very complicated juxtaposition we live with. Sometimes the commitment aspect, even if it’s just the first date, can really throw us off. If you’re worth it, though, we’ll fight that fear of commitment to the bitter end.
The point of all this is to reiterate the long held secret that guys are just as human as you, with insecurities, past hurts and a myriad of other things under the sun that have the potential to sap our confidence. The thing is, guys are expected to be nothing if not confident, so we’ve gotten pretty good at faking it. It’s rare that there’s a guy out there who’s completely comfortable with every single aspect of himself, but just remember that insecurity is part of the human experience – it just depends on whether or not your insecurities complement each other.
Mike Hedrick is a writer in Boulder, CO. His work has appeared in Salon, The Week, Thought Catalog, Scientific American and The New York Times. He has a tendency to breathe constantly and sometimes he sings in his car.
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