On the previous
page, you basically asked how a person knows when they are experiencing
romantic love. The very irritating yet essentially correct answer
is that if you have to ask, it ain't it. It's like pornography--the
very first time you run across it, your eyes may get all wide and
ask themselves 'whoah, what's this?!' but pretty soon you figure out
what it is and what it's for. Just like a cliche, you'll know it when
you feel it.
But the way you
know it when you feel it is by laying the Proper Foundation, and the
Proper Foundation is a Falliing In Love Experience. So, as promised,
we'll be starting with Step 1, which not coincidentally involves making
your eyes get all wide as if they were encountering pornograhy for
the first time. Like this:
Step 1: Open
Your Eyes Very Wide and Keep Them Open That Wide Until They Get Really
Dry and Start Hurting and Everything.
sounds like an incredibly stupid step. Still you need to follow it.
Right now. At your computer. While you are reading this. Open your
eyes very wide and keep them open that wide until they get really
dry and start hurting and everything. Do it. Right now.
Okay, why did
I ask you to do that? Because I wanted the hilarious good fun of imagining
you with your eyes wide open and all dry and everything while I was
sitting here at my computer cracking up. Ho ho ho! But now that I've
indulged myself, I will cleverly reveal the Secret Hidden Reason why
I asked you to do this. Because it's a core step to falling in love.
People open their
eyes up real wide when they are scared shitless or encountering something
really novel or interesting in their environments, like the person
they're going to fall in love with or a gigantic Alien Bowling Ball
descending toward their heads at approximately 2000 miles an hour
or whatever it is they're encountering that's worth being feeling
scared and curious about. And that's the basic sensation that accompanies
falling in love. Terrified curiosity. Just so you know. They call
it 'falling' in love because it basically feels like being hurled
forcibly off a cliff of indeterminate height into an abyss of certain
and yet rather thrilling death. Basically.
But back to our
main point about wide open eyes. Being scared shitless in and of itself
does not automatically suggest that there is a benefit to wide open
eyes. We are just used to the correlation. The truth is, people open
their eyes real wide when they are scared because the eager and nervous
cells of their bodies want a bigger window to anxiously peer out of.
The information-seeking cells of your body press themselves in a terrified
manner against the portal of your eyeballs and scream to themselves
"What the fuck is going on?" When your eyes are wide open
they have a better chance of finding out.
Studies have now revealed to an enthralled public that when you open
your eyes wide with terror or even, less interestingly, with curiosity,
that your body really does process more information and at a faster
rate than when you lounge around with your eyes half-closed lizard-like.
It makes a difference.
And what this
means is that if you can teach yourself to KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN, you
are more likely to accidentally (and it will be accidentally) spot
the person You Are Destined To Fall Madly in Love With. Your eyes
have to be open and looking. Really they do. They need to be Curious
They cannot be
glazed over and inattentive, consumed with private and internal worries
or vexing questions about calculating square roots or the meaning
of a dream you just had last night about a charging elephant that
ate a lot of bananas and then burped loudly before jumping into your
backyard pool. And when you open your eyes wide, you will find it
difficult to concentrate on things that could ordinarily consume your
attention, like pepperoni pizza. Because your brain will, whether
it likes it or not, be forced to process information about the wider
world (wider, get it?, wider, ha ha ha).
Now I don't mean
to imply that I actually expect you to go around like a dork with
your eyes wide open like you have a thyroid disease or something.
But really, if you can periodically remind yourself to OPEN YOUR EYES,
you are more likely to actually see a woman who will knock your socks
off. And finding that your socks are missing is a sure that either
you have done laundry or gotten really drunk and engaged in an Unfortunate
Liaison or, more promisingly, Fallen Blissfully In Love.
I realize you
may not want to do this. Actually start looking for someone you can
fall in love with. Since you have a girlfriend and that could potentially
set off the whole Guilt portion of the Guilt and Disappointment equation.
But...maybe you could kind of sneak in some looking when you're not
too busy. Maybe you could even look with your EYES OPEN at your girlfriend
every once in awhile, just to see what information your brain picks
But, but, but...you
say. (Or at least you're supposed to say this at some point.) I
DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR!
You were quite
clear about this in your query. You already knew intuitively with
your brilliant intuitive something that what you needed to be doing
was looking for something. But you do not know what. So I will tell
What you are
looking for is Someone Better Than You. Way better than you.
Someone who can do things that you just plain can't do. Like,
oh, relieve the pain and fear in your life. Or Be Calm When You Are
Not. Or Get Excited When You Can't. Or whatever happens to be really
impressive at the moment it happens.
This is incredibly
simple and insanely logical. You are looking for someone better than
you. Not someone you can tolerate for long periods of time, although
that makes things easier. Not someone who can tolerate you for long
periods of time, although that is quite pleasant. No, my friend--
You are looking
for someone who is Obviously Out of Your League. Not just out
of your league is a visible way that makes people say to you, gently
or not, 'uh, don't you think she's kind of out of your league?'. No,
I mean out of your league in a way that you didn't realize actually
existed before you saw this person.
People who are
inherently and obviously in your league are boring. People who are
not in your league or who are Otherwise Forbidden are not boring.
Indeed, Out of Your Leagueness is a core romantic fantasy of people
from all cultures and walks of life, male and female. Bollywood makes
musicals about it. Shakespeare wrote tragedies about it (Romeo and
Juliet were conveniently Out of Each Other's Leagues not just because
they were young and hot but also because they were Otherwise Forbidden.)
If you don't care
about Bollywood and the Greatest Writer in the History of the English
Language, then just look at a few more modern American movies. Romantic
comedies written by men almost always pair up the guy with a woman
who is Out of His Physical Attractiveness League. (Seth Rogen and
Katherine Heigl form a particularly egegrious example in the movie
Knocked Up.) Romantic comedies for women almost always pair
up the woman with a man who is Out of Her Financial League (e.g.,
Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts). To go back to older examples,
Cinderella is a classic Out of Her League story, and Cyrano de Bergerac
or Beauty and the Beast are classic Out of His League Fairy Tale Type
Things. There are so many goddamn examples of the enduring and powerful
hold of the Out of Your League Principle on the human imagination
that your Wide Open Eyeballs would explode if you had to watch or
read them all.
Out of Your
League = True Love. Sort of. It's more complicated than that as
not all Out of Your League People will qualify as True Love Objects.
And we'll deal with the complications later. When we get around to
There are, in
fact, many complex mathematical equations that take place during a
romantic relationship as to exactly how much better than you is ideal
for you at any given moment in the relationship. The Love Brain actually
keeps a running tally of Cumulative Better Than You Point Totals over
the course of a relationship and tries to keep the Out of Your League
Person it loves from getting too far ahead by forcing you to display
your own superior qualities on rescue-y type occasions. But we're
getting ahead of ourselves. Because at the moment you are not in the
correct type of Better Than You Relationship. Indeed, if we are going
to be brutally vicious and truthful (Sudden Suggestion: do
not encourage your GF to read this), the fact that your Love Brain
decided to try to explain to me that you care deeply about your GF
indicates that important Brain Cells in your brain think that you
in fact are better than her. Because when a Love Brain starts
using phrases like "care deeply about you" what it really
means is something like "It's not that I don't care deeply about
you, because I do, it's just that I don't really want to be around
you any more. At all. If possible. Like, for a really long time. I'm
thinking maybe, oh let's say, forever." And it thinks these kinds
of things because it thinks the other person will be all hurt and
shit if you walk out the door and it thinks the other person will
be all hurt and shit because the other person must be aware that you
are better! It's kind of a self-fulfiling loop and an occasional Hazard
Now, your conscious
brain may think nothing of the sort, but your Love Brain is sidling
toward the door and thinking up handy excuse phrases about Caring
Deeply and trolling the Internet for Escape Information. For when
the Love Brain feels that you have latched onto someone better than
you, it stops using Socially Appropriate English-language phrases
(or French phrases if it's really romantic) in favor of a desperate
suicidal wordless sensation that it cannot live without whoever it
loves and doesn't really want to try.
So let's go over
the Convincing Logic behind looking for someone Out of Your
League (OOYL). Going over the Convincing Logic is a time-wasting device
that will allow your Conscious Brain to confer behind the scenes with
your Love Brain while you are idly reading, which is important because
they need to get their shit straightened out so they can come to an
agreement that will allow you to Search Successfully for a Falling
In Love Experience.
Logic Element #1: The Brain's Definition of Happiness. The human
brain experiences happiness when results exceed expectations. In honor
of a recent 60 Minutes television show report, we will call
this the Danish Effect, in honor of yummy pastries. Actually,
it's in honor of the Danish people in Denmark, who are accidentally,
and entirely unbeknownst to themselves, the happiest people in the
They are the happiest
people in the world because no one in the world is very impressed
by Danish people. Including Danish people. This means that Danish
people are frequently pleasantly surprised to discover that in spite
of the weather, things are basically going all right. Who'd have
thought? The Danish people wouldn't. And so their brains are periodically
and happily surprised by the contrast between their low expectations
and their actual realities.
human brains, are wired and designed to perceive contrast.
Especially contrast between expectations and reality. Reality better
than expected=happy. Reality worse than expected=unhappy. Reality
better=Good. Reality worse=Bad. This is why you could get insanely
rich, but if you are hanging out with people who are super insanely
rich, you will feel discontented and unhappy with your finances. In
fact, the entire United States of America is insanely rich and peevishly
discontented at the same time. Because the entire US of A is
constantly being exposed to things (advertising) that make it expect
things that it does not have. By the same token, you could set a new
world record in swimming at the Olympic Games, but if some asshole
set a new world record during the same race that was just a teeny
bit better than yours--you could be bitterly angry and disappointed.
Brains pay attention to contrast.
of this for romantic love are clear, logical, and not exactly sentimental.
If your Love Brain perceives that you are in the company of someone
Better Than You or OOYL, it will compare and contrast your inferior
self to the superior person you are with and shout joyously to itself
"SCORE!" And then it will start trying to jump on
the bed. It will dance around in delirious delight, happily comparing
and contrasting reasonable expectation (someone about the same as
you) with the Glorious Reality that you are with Someone Better Than
You. Furthermore, it will never tire of this sensation. You and your
Love Brain may tire of the superior person eventually, but everytime
your wide open eyes see something that reminds them of the love object's
superiority, the Love Brain will get that old familiar thrill and
your little heart will start to flutter again. It's an addictive sensation,
and one well worth pursuing.
Back to Danish
pastries and Convincing Logic Element #2. The Danes, it turns
out, also have ample opportunity to munch on pastries because they
live in what Republicans who know big words refer to as a Modern Welfare
State. A Modern Welfare State devotes its governmental considerations
to obtaining things for its citizens like Health and Economic Security.
It does not worry so much about considerations like Freedom From Taxation,
Opportunity to Engage in Voracious Capitalism, Free Market Competition
for Scarce Resources, Being a World Superpower, and so on. Consequently,
Danish people do not have to devote the kind of Brain Resources to
Desperate Worrying About Sheer Survival in a Vicious and Ruthless
Economic System that people in countries like say, oh I don't know,
the USA in the 21st century have to. In an amazing twist of fate,
liberation from Desperate Worrying frees up the Danish brain for useless
activities like Happiness, Contentment and Constant Enjoyable Complaining
While Sitting Around in Cafes Munching on Delicious Pastries.
Again, the implications
for romantic relationships are clear. At least in my mind they are.
When you hook yourself up on a continuing basis with someone with
the right OOYL Better Than You Quotient, not only is your Brain Frequently
Pleasantly Surprised, it also feels deliciously safe and secure, as
though it was hanging around shooting the breeze and munching on pastries.
Suppose you are
the type of successful yet inherently stupid person who would make
a lot of money and then attempt to sail around the world solo on your
ridiculously expensive boat. And then, because no one would do this
unless he was stupid, you encounter a variety of stupid and yet alarming
and life-threatening problems on your attempted voyage. You, having
cleverly Fallen in Love with someone better than you, whip out your
salt-water damaged satellite phone, pray vigorously, and then miraculously
reach your OOYL helpmate. You tell her your problems and express doubts
about your progress along with Grave Worries and indecision as to
whether or not you should continue. Your Better Than You person listens
seriously and then says "Get your ass home, Steve. The first
thing you need to do is get your equipment repaired and then you need
to re-think your navigation routes. Continuing this voyage is stupid
until you address these problems." And then you sigh with delicious
security, knowing that you are talking with Someone Better Than You
Who Makes the Right Decisions When You Are Leaning Toward the Wrong
Ones, and you are able to go home in full and contented knowledge
that with the assistance of the Better Than You Person, you will eventually
achieve your goal.
Or if you are
the opposite and always inclined to bail out too soon and you choose
the correct OOYL person to fall in love with, then you call up that
person who tells you to keep at it and you do and then it all works
out okay, thank god. Either way, you always have someone to Blame
Your Success On. There is no better antidote to the constant stress
and worry a Brain will try to subject itself to than to have someone
by your side that you can always Blame Your Success On.
Really. This is
a Million Dollar Key to Your Life Turning Out Better Than It Usually
Does For Most People Success Principle.
Okay, so much
for Convincing Logic.
Now, how are
you going to actually find the person with the correct balance of
OOYL Better Than Youness and yet Implausible Attainability? It's actually
easier than you'd think, although it can take time and effort.
come on. Seriously, of course I want someone out of my league, but
how in holy fucking hell is THAT ever going to happen?