Here is a rant. I sure hope the dating/courtship situation in college campuses is better than when I was in college, because when I was there is was totally hell. The thing that I hated was that there was this assumption that because you are a geeky Asian-American male, you are devoid of passion and masculinity. It wasn’t until that I left MIT, and lived for a few years that I realized how insane that notion was. For me, being masculine involves tough, it involves being smart, it involves going out in the world and doing what has to do done for your wife and kids, it involves discipline and self-control. One reason I enjoy physics and law is that it is a very, very masculine environment (not to say women can’t be masculine). There is a lot of elemental conflict and primal emotion that goes into coming up with a good legal brief or a good academic paper.
I also wonder who came up with the idea that if you are serious about someone you have to sleep with them rather quickly, and if you aren’t sleeping with them immediately, then somehow the relationship isn’t serious. I absolutely hated the term “just friends”, as opposed to what? College is when you start making up your mind about family, identity, nation, religion, career, and there just isn’t a forum where you can really just talk about these things with people of the appropriate gender. I think part of it is the idea that romance is something separate from all of these things, but my experience has been that when there is an underlying match, that sparking the romance is easy, and that people lose sight of the fact that the social and biological purpose of romantic feelings is to form strong family units.
(Incidentally, I’m starting to understand why religions are so obssessed with sex. I have a feeling that the neural pathways involved with reproduction, doing physics, and worshiping God involve the exact same dopamine networks.)
I often wonder what is it that I really want from the “fairy princess” that would make me feel better. I think part of it is that it would make me feel better to knew that she is being taken care of. There are lots of people out there who are more masculine than I am, who would make better fathers, better husbands than I would, and it would make me feel much better to know that she ended up with one of them, and perhaps it was a good thing for her that nothing happened between us. Women who I’ve been attracted to have the uncanny ability to choose as their boyfriends, total idiots, and it would make me feel better to know that this isn’t the case.
The other thing that is that it took me a while after I left MIT to realize that there were parts of me that were very strong and masculine, and that I wasn’t the Asian-American “geeky eunuch.” I felt more like a whole person, once I made that realization, and one of the things that’s always bothered me is that there is someone who was once an important part of my life, and whose opinion (unfortunately) still seems to matter, doesn’t completely realize that these masculine parts of my personality exist. She always saw me when I was broken, not when I was functional, and the notion that the impression that she has of me is when I was at my absolute weakest, I find disturbing and humiliating.
The worst part of hiding and denying feelings is that you end up hiding and denying that parts of you exist, and this makes you less of a human.
I sure hope that things have improved in college since I left it.