Sunlit Water

February 27, 2007

The Little Things

Filed under: Dating — by teofilo @ 12:59 am

The Lion of Switzerland has a post about online dating and why he’s just not that into it:

The big problem as I see it is that I find it difficult to become attracted enough to someone to ask her out without already getting to know her first, and I’m wary of my ability to do so purely in an online dating context. Maybe I’d be more confident this could work if the total number of women I’ve really felt attracted to over my lifetime was larger, but the fact is it’s not all that often that I feel a strong attraction for someone. And besides, that kind of attraction has always grown out of numerous everyday ordinary interactions; it’s difficult for me to see, having read through some ads – though not so much on the pay services, which I guess are more detailed, for what that’s worth – where the initial sense of attraction on my part would come from.

I feel the same way, which is why I’m still a bit hesitant to turn to online personals even though I realize they’re probably my best option in the long run.  The importance of small, everyday things in contributing to attraction is generally underestimated, I think.  Personally, I don’t feel the same kind of attraction to strangers, even very attractive ones, that I do to people I’ve known for a while and spent a significant amount of time with.  This has been something of a problem, since I’m not very social by nature and have generally had a fairly small circle of people I know well enough to develop serious attractions to, which makes me reluctant to ask any of those people out because of the very real damage a rejection could do to my fragile social support network.  Asking out strangers, which is practically risk-free, is the obvious alternative, but aside from my general shyness and inhibition I never seem to feel strongly enough about any particular person to put forth the effort.

I have actually been asked out by strangers a couple of times, and I wish it would happen more often (a desire eb also shares and mentions in his post), but it never went anywhere; one date was plenty to show I wasn’t really compatible with those people.  Or maybe I just hadn’t had enough time to develop a sufficiently strong attraction to anything about them.

I think I still will give online dating a shot when I move to a place with an active online dating scene (a prospect that has recently receded a bit further into the future).  The risk is low enough that I might as well try, and there’s always the chance that it would work out.  Something to consider, anyway.


February 25, 2007

This Modern World

Filed under: Culture — by teofilo @ 2:12 am

One of the presenters at our conference is making it a day trip from California.

February 15, 2007

Some Bad News

Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 11:57 pm

My dad had a CT scan last week to check if the chemo was working.  The results came in a couple days ago, and they were not encouraging.  The chemo wasn’t really doing anything, so the oncologist decided to take him off of it.  He’s now gone through all the standard treatments for this kind of cancer, so my parents will be looking around for clinical trials.  There are some, but obviously that sort of thing is a longshot.

While my dad was out of the room getting unhooked and stuff, my mom asked the doctor for an estimated prognosis.  My dad doesn’t want to know that kind of thing, but my mom feels someone has to if only to know what the realistic next steps are.  The doctor said six months.

My mom called me that night to tell me about the CT results and that they would be looking into clinical trials, but she didn’t have the heart to tell me about the prognosis.  I could tell from her tone of voice that something was wrong, but I didn’t want to get into it right then.  She asked if I wanted to come home for Spring Break (I generally don’t because it’s a long way and I only have a week off); I said no.

She called me again tonight to tell me about the prognosis and ask again if I wanted to come home for Spring Break.  This time I said yes.

I’m still a bit shaken up, even though I knew that his condition had been worsening lately and I was halfway expecting something like this.  Hearing a specific number has a way of clarifying things, though.  This changes my life in a lot of ways, none too large but all adding up to different plans.  In addition to Spring Break, I think I’ll go home and stay for a while after graduation instead of looking for a job right away as I had planned.  I may also adjust my academic plans for the semester a bit to be in a better state to handle news from home.  It’s too early yet to know exactly what I’m going to do, but hearing this news has sort of crystallized a sense I’ve had for a while that I need to make some changes in my life.

Sometimes life is hard, but you just have to deal with it as it happens, I guess.

February 14, 2007

A Valentine Of One’s Own

Filed under: Sex — by teofilo @ 8:18 pm

In the course of an interesting Unfogged thread about literary representations of male and female sexuality, Charlie Whitaker quoted a bit from a Nicholson Baker novel including the following:

Any woman masturbates anywhere, I want to know about it. No woman is anything but beautiful when she is masturbating

This caused m. leblanc to ask if anyone thought it rang true (it’s apparently not entirely serious), and no one responded that it did, although the actual responses seem to focus more on the form than on the content.  I, however, find the idea resonates very strongly with me, to the extent that I can definitely imagine myself saying something very similar.

I find it hard to express the intensity of the hold female masturbation has on my erotic imagination.  I suspect it’s tied up with a lot of other stuff about gender and bodies, but there’s a fascination there that seems to defy my best efforts to explain it.  It may well be one of those things about (certain kinds of) male sexuality that women find totally alien.

I had a friend in high school who once said that if he were a woman he would do nothing but masturbate in front of a mirror all day.  The girls who heard him say that were, quite understandably, a little weirded out, and it was definitely inappropriate (though totally in character) for him to say it, but I understood what he was getting at.  It seems so graceful and elegant, especially compared to the awkward jerking we have to do.  If I had the opportunity to do that, of course I’d take it as often as possible.

I try not to think about this stuff too much these days, because it’s kind of depressing, but seeing that Baker quote and the response to it inspired me to mention it.  It’s a data point for the discussion of ways to express the experience of sexuality, at least.

February 12, 2007

You Know What This Blog Could Use?

Filed under: Culture — by teofilo @ 3:54 pm

More YouTube.

February 10, 2007

Throughout History, Undergrads Have Submitted Abstracts

Filed under: Language — by teofilo @ 8:27 pm

So the undergraduate linguistics association of which I am the president is holding a conference in a month or so, and this afternoon we reviewed the abstracts we’ve gotten to decide which papers to accept.  I’ve got to say, my sympathy for AWB’s occasional complaints about introductions in undergrad writing has been renewed; I’m amazed at how many people are sticking this vague, pointless crap into their abstracts (700-word limit! do you really need to waste that much space?).  We’ve given them some slack for being undergrads who’ve never really been taught how to write abstracts, but damn, that’s some awful, awful writing.  Luckily we were drinking 40s while reviewing them, otherwise we would probably have been a lot angrier and meaner.  Also, most of the ideas behind the abstracts, even the bad ones, were very good and we’re quite happy about how the conference is looking so far.

February 9, 2007


Filed under: Personal — by teofilo @ 8:35 pm

So I’ve apparently been selected for Phi Beta Kappa (oddly, they sent the letter to my home rather than my school address, so I just heard about it from my mom).  I’ve heard this is considered a significant honor, but to be honest I don’t know much about it.  I’ve been poking around their website, but I’d also be interested in hearing any impressions my readers have about the organization.  I’m assuming I should accept, but how big a deal is this really?

A Sight To See

Filed under: Culture — by teofilo @ 2:49 am

My parents went to Winslow not too long ago and stayed at La Posada.  They said it was nice.  I’ve never spent much time there myself, although I’ve passed through many times.  Relatedly, this book is good but surprisingly difficult to find information about.

February 4, 2007

Bad News On The Doorstep

Filed under: Dating,Personal — by teofilo @ 1:06 am

It’s the little things that get to me.  Earlier this evening I looked over at my wall calendar and realized it was still on January, so I changed it.  Doing that always makes me a little sad, because it reminds me that there’s another nice picture on the calendar that no one else will ever see.  Every month I think about the reaction someone might have to seeing the picture on my calendar, and every month no one ends up seeing that picture.

Right now I’m at a point where I no longer really care about finding a girlfriend, but the loneliness is still there on some level, waiting to be brought out by the little things that mark the passing of time.

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