A Letter to Mr. Ruttheimer
Hello, kid. I want to start by you about another man I've studied and admired for most of my life. His name was also Charles – and he is one of the greatest men in human history. Even though many of the youth that you've had the misfortune to be raised around refer to you by other, vulgar names, be proud of your given name.
I wanted to begin by saying something nice to you, because I believe the majority of this correspondence will not meet with your liking. It'll sound like the ramblings of some old man – 'like, aren't you forty, or something?' To that effect, I'll start by being blunt. Charles, you need to change a thing or two about yourself. Now. While you can, while it'll be easier for you, and before you have too much to lose.
Now, you're probably thinking, 'well, what the hell does HE know about it?' Actually, Charles, that's an excellent point! Trust me when I say that at your age, I was nowhere as – well, as anything that you are right now! I was so far outside the social stratum that, on a day-to-day basis, I simply did not exist for most of the other students at my high school. The first time I had ever heard of the ACT or the SAT test batteries were some time after I began attending a four-year university. I was so isolated in high school that I was never in a position to even overhear other students talk about taking either of those two tests. With the things that you've done over the course of your high-school career, the way you've been active in your school - you make the high-school version of myself look like a virtual hermit. To that end, I'll say that much of what you're doing is dead spot on.
By the way, I understand that you're an excellent student. I'm glad to hear that, and that you never let your quest for the opposite sex deter you from what is and should be your primary quest at this stage in your life... an education that prepares you for life outside academia. When I say that, I mean (1.) to develop the skills necessary to take a position in the field that you've chosen, or one related as such, (2.) to develop the skills AND the mindset that will help you search not just for a job, but for opportunities, (3.) that by doing the latter two, you will develop the self-confidence that will allow you to take bold steps and take risks in your first years away from the classroom. I know you're a fan of the 'Star Trek' franchise, so allow me use the words of 'Q': 'It's dangerous out there, with treasures to satiate appetites both subtle and gross... but it's not for the timid.' With the confidence, the determination and the resiliency that you've shown you possess in your constant, albeit 'Le Pew-vian' quest to sway the affections of the young woman in your area, I have no doubt that you will someday carve a wonderful niche for yourself. To that end, the first of many suggestions that I will extend to you, which you will definitely need once you reach college, and find more and varied opportunities with the opposite gender: one attends high school and college to get an education. Everything else is a secondary consideration.
Let's continue with another, for your high school years. Stop chasing after the young women in your high school. Now, I can hear your reaction to that – perhaps some permutation of 'ARE YOU CRAZY?!"
Disregarding the general consensus of the majority of those who know me, we push on. There are several reasons why this is a good idea. The first is directly connected to the primary reason why no young woman really wanted to have anything to do with you – you've allowed them to know that you're interested ... desperately interested in them. Charles – no woman wants what she can have with a wave of her hand. It it's too easy to get, it's not worth it. (We'll touch upon this later, in the 'Why do all the girls want to talk to me, now that I've got a girlfriend?' section, which also dovetails with the section entitled 'Why You're Suddenly Interesting To Girls." J)
If you were to suddenly stop chasing after the young ladies in your school – say, for a month – by the end of the second week, every girl you've ever dreamed about going out with will suddenly try to talk to you. By the end of the fourth week, you'll be dating those girls. (Now, as to whether you'll get a second date, or if you'll even see the end of any of those first dates, well... after all, you're still you.)
Why? Because you've supplanted them as your primary interest (in their minds). This will bug the hell out of almost any woman (who wants you to have a real job, something nice to wear on occasion, some self-respect, a backbone, a decent living situation and a car that moves on its own, your umbilical cord adequately severed on all levels, a friend who will get you out of the house on occasion and most importantly, her on your mind more often that she's really willing to admit. It's a woman thing. Deal with it.) Even if she doesn't like you, she'll want to know what's going on. Even if she swears that she'd rather be exiled to another world with a goat before dating you, she'll still be incredibly curious about why you don't seem to want her anymore. Not any other woman, not all other women... why you don't seem interested in her, specifically.
Another suggestion for you, Charles. Never underestimate the power of the feminine ego, coupled with the simple yet awesome power of reverse psychology. As long as you learn one simple thing – when to shut the hell up – you will be amazed at what can happen. Also, Charles... let them talk. That is such an important and powerful suggestion that I don't understand why most people don't have that burned into their minds... and if you look around, you'll see that most men who seem 'successful with women' have done just that. Let her talk, Charles... and actually listen. Yes, with a lot of women, their running commentary will have the tone and pitch of the thunder associated with Armageddon's first clash of infantry, but if you actually pay attention, she'll tell you what she's all about. If you actually pay attention, the young lady will tell you who she is, and all that entails... and even if you have a bad reputation or have made a horrible first one, if you have a chance to talk to her and you let her talk, she will form her own opinions about you.
Eventually, however, Charles, the young lady will want to talk to you. (This means, she wants to hear you talk, to determine if that rattling noise she heard is coming from inside your head, or hers, for allowing herself to be within line-of-sight of you.) Yes, this means that you're either on a date, or simply alone with her in your cubicle at work, or she's stopped into your dorm room from down the hall, and she's helped herself to a soda from your mini-fridge. If this happens by fate, chance or actual interest, she'll want to know a bit about you. Now, the funny thing is that once they get to know and like you as a person, they'll be able to deal with all of your peculiarities – but first, they have to get to know you. My next suggestion: Have several varied interests, and focus on the ones that won't send them screaming into the night. You know, the things that are considered either 'geeky' or 'psycho'. No, no one's telling you that by being into those, you're geeky or a psycho, but you don't start off by talking about your mint-condition collection of 'Star Wars' glasses from the 1980 Burger King national promotion, nor do you break out that .50 AE Desert Eagle to show it off. Show some common sense, already.
Example – myself. Yes, I've had an interest in the 'Yu-Gi-Oh!' collectable Card Game since my nephew introduced me to it a couple of years back, but I'm not going to talk about that on a first date, for God's sake. I might, however, talk about my interest in the Food Network show 'Iron Chef' and how it's influenced my culinary skills to some extent. For example, I'm now more cognizant of the presentation value of the dishes I prepare; I also enjoy the original program over the American version, 'Iron Chef USA', because there's a serious tone to the original that is sadly lacking in the new version. I can invest more in how I now look at Japanese dishes, because when I watch the program I can see how the Otha faction feels about the traditionalist view in their preparation of Japanese cuisine. I can see how serious Kandagawa, Otha, and the chefs they select are when they say that they are appearing on the show to 'defend traditional Japanese cuisine', and as such, I have to turn a more serious eye towards those dishes as well. See? That's a conversation in and of itself! I'm not an expert by any means, but if she's not knowledgeable about the show and Japanese foods, then I can share what I know. If she's knowledgeable in that area, then I can ask questions to show I'm actually interested, and let her take the lead in the conversation (which makes her feel comfortable. She's talking about her area of expertise, and on her home ground, so to speak.). The time will fly by, and she won't think 'I'm with this creep.' It'll be more like, 'Well, he's still a bit weird, but at least I could have a conversation with him.'
P.S. – Don't flinch at the cost of dinner when the check comes, and if the service was at least passable, tip within reason. That means that you don't overtip to make yourself seem like a big shot, and for God's sake, don't do the 'I don't believe in tipping' routine. Not good, old boy.
Now, I could talk about other things... yes, sex. There's no reason to. You don't know me well enough to ask my advice in that area – and with that, another suggestion. Find someone you feel comfortable talking to and ask the questions you want answers to. I don't care who it is; if you trust and respect their opinion, and feel that you can talk to that person, that's who you need to sit down with. Ask them everything that you're curious about, no matter how silly you may think it is... because if you can't talk about it – then you shouldn't be doing it. You'll find out, by the way, that this little rule works in a lot of situations.
I guess this is about all the 'suggestions' that I think you can stand about now, Charles. You're a smart kid, so you'll learn what you need to know – hopefully, without too many bumps in the road. You could say that, with the suggestions I've given you, that I hit all the bumps, so you don't have to... or that you won't hit so hard when you do. You're going to hit some, kid, no doubt. Everyone does. Fortunately, you know how to get up and get back on the road. I like that quality in you, and that actually reminds me of another suggestion for you: There are plenty of women in the world. You're going to meet several who just don't like you. Accept that some women just won't like or want you, and move on. It's not worth jail, your reputation, and the loss of your future to obsess over one specific girl. You may not believe it now, but there are so many intriguing, spectacular, wonderful young women out there waiting to meet a guy just like you. Why should you keep them waiting by doing something stupid or obsessing over a woman that doesn't want you? Move on, son! Show those ladies that all good things do come to those who wait!
Okay – one last suggestion, it is about sex, and it's from 'Star Trek': as you progress in your relationship, don't force or press any issues, especially sex. Let the woman show you what she wants.
Good luck, Charles. You have a wonderful life ahead of you.
Gerald W. Wright
8 October 2006