Monday, December 12, 2011

Feelings of Loneliness

So one of my very best friends just got married…actually one of my LAST very best friends to get married.  Over the years, I’ve been to dozens of weddings and what seems like hundreds of receptions. I’ve been the Best Man or a Groomsman on more than one occasion. And never once has it more than slightly affected me. My stance has remained the same: I am NOT ready to get married, and am, in fact, a bit dis-interested and a little confused about the whole concept. One day you meet a new person, someone who means nothing to you, and then, in a few short months, you decide ‘Yup, this is it…this is the person I’d like to spend the rest of my life with (and, depending on your religious beliefs, time and ALL ETERNITY) and see every single day, and share everything with, and run all my decisions by, and, most likely, give up video game football for.’ I just can’t really fathom making a decision like that. I literally cannot decide where I would like to eat most days…and I only have to live with that decision for maybe an hour or so (unless it’s a Beto’s burrito. That’ll usually come back to haunt you later). 
            But for some reason, my friend’s recent wedding has caused some sort of reaction that I can’t control. It started when I had to hold back tears during the actual wedding ceremony. My usual M.O. at these things is to be a little disgusted and annoyed by all the people crying, and then, when it’s over, give my buddy a hug and say something to get him to chuckle. But all I could muster this time was a weak “Congratulations” without bursting into tears.
            The weird part is, that, although this friend is a close one, I wouldn’t consider him my very closest (sorry Nate, I really have tried to get into motorcycles!). I’m sure he’d agree. So why was I so emotional!? This hadn’t happened at any of the other weddings I’ve been to so why now?
            Since then other strange feelings have come bubbling up. My usual routine of coming home from work with a paper bag full of fast food, plopping down in front of the TV and hanging out with myself for a few hours seemed less and less appealing (normally, I look forward to this time like it’s Christmas morning). I started having dreams about old crushes I had in high school and I began uncontrollably texting girls from my past just to see what they were doing.  I went through Netflix entire database of Romantic Comedies and added most of them to my Instant Queue and have been systematically watching them (this is true). I videoed myself asking Emma Watson if she wanted to hang out sometime/marry me and posted it to Youtube (not true, but still seriously contemplating it).  But the moment of enlightenment only came when I actually consented to going on a blind date *gasp* (those who know me know that I absolutely loathe blind dates and avoid them like the plague…no…like something worse than the plague…or like the plague AND a flock of spiders if they were both in the same place at the same time [ps if anyone knows what a big group of spiders is called let me know please. Somehow flock doesn’t seem right, but it sounded better than herd]).
             My conclusion: I must be lonely. The fact that every one of my closest friends from high school have now moved on with their lives finally put me over the edge. So THIS is the feeling that drives people to leave their comfort zone and put their heart on the line…and to spend money and time on someone who will most likely be someone else’s wife.  I don’t like it.
            The sad part is, that all of my years of being content with not dating have left me very ill-prepared to deal with these feelings.
            First of all, I do not pick up on hints, signals, non-verbal cues, or sometimes even very verbal cues that someone is interested in me. Example: I was asked to go to a movie by a girl recently. She said she had an extra ticket so I said I’d go. We drove together, and sat together and everything and then I dropped her off. And sure, looking back on this I can definitely tell that this was meant to be a date. But no joke, at the time I had NO idea! In my defense, I LIVE in what is commonly referred to as the ‘Friend-Zone.’ And I don’t just live there, I have a freaking mansion…with a pool and a full-sized basketball court…and some hounds that can be released to ward off trespassers and people trying to get me to leave.  I’m also currently in my second term as the President, Vice-President, AND Secretary of the ‘Friend-Zone.’ So yeah…I have a hard time picking up on things. Most people just wanna be friends with me.
            And as bad as I am at picking up these signals, I’m even worse at sending them. Yeah, surprisingly, not calling, talking to, or making direct eye contact with someone you might be interested in is “sending the wrong signal.” It’s a strange world we live in…very strange.
            Next, even when I do decide I’m interested in someone I have no clue how to get from point A to point B. I have no ‘game’ as they say. Example: I went to a party the other day at the house of a girl that I may or may not have been infatuated with to varying degrees for like the last 3 years or so. Was I ever going to do anything? No way! Not until these stupid feelings of loneliness hit. So I’m at the party and it’s winding down and I’m panicking because I know if I leave this party without saying something to this girl I’m never going to do anything. So I bust out my best move…I intentionally leave one of my possessions at her house and pretend that I left it there accidentally so I’ll have a chance to go back and talk to her again. Yes Seinfeld fans, George Castanza does this same thing. I pulled a Costanza. Well, anyway, I go back and retrieve this item and still don’t say anything or ask her out, which was originally part of my master plan. So then I bust out my next best move…I confess everything through text message. Yup, those are my best two moves Mom! Still shocked that I’m not married yet? Needles to say, my efforts were ineffective.
            But the real root of my problems is the simple fact that I have a hard time being in the presence of a pretty girl and forming intelligible words, let alone whole sentences and phrases! Some guys are just smooth with the ladies. I am the opposite of that. Rough. I am very rough with the ladies…I guess? Anyway, example: The other day at church a real pretty girl started talking to me. Asked me a question or something. It’s all just a blur really. All I remember is that I wanted to continue to have a conversation with her. So I said, “So…(what followed was what felt like a 30 sec. pause while my mind went completely blank. Literally, no thoughts whatsoever going through my brain. And to make matters worse she’s looking directly at me, so now all I can focus on his her stupid pretty girl features…you know, eyes, lips, long shiny hair, all of it! I have to look away to regain a bit of my focus and I blurt out the first conversational words that enter my mind)…you going to go to…(what followed was yet another discernable pause when I accidentally look at her again, go blank, look away and scramble to come up with some social event only to realize I don’t go to social events and, therefore, have no stockpile of them to ask people about hidden somewhere in my brain! So then I blurt out the last thing we talked about in ward council because it’s the only thing I can think of)…stake choir?”
            ‘So…you going to go to…STAKE CHOIR?!’ That’s the one sentence I can muster up?! Side note: I have never gone to or had any intention of participating in the stake choir.
            I think we talked for another minute or so, but like I said, it’s all just a blur really and all I could think about while we were talking was how dumb that question was and how white her teeth were.
            Anyway, it’s a predicament. For the time being I’m going to try and wait it out and hopefully the feelings will just pass. And I’m going to avoid weddings.


Saturday, July 2, 2011

My 10-Year High School Reunion

 Let me start off by saying that I did not want to go to my high school reunion, but while I was there almost everyone I talked to commented on my blog or a group on Facebook that I created entitled ‘Karl Kowallis isn’t getting married and doesn’t need your address.’  And surprisingly, no one told me that they absolutely hated my writing. So, to all my friends from high school, whether or not you were just telling me you liked my blog to be nice, thanks for getting me posting again!

            So anyway, yeah, I really didn’t want to go to my reunion Friday night. Why? Let me count the ways. First of all, I wasn’t exactly popular in high school. I really got of to a bad start in Middle School and it kind of just carried over.
            I was on the lightweight football team in 7th grade, but quit just before the season ended for a variety of reasons. But mainly I just thought my coach was a psychopath, a thought later reinforced to me when he played a tape of me and a friend leaving him a voice message for the rest of the team. We were calling him to tell him we were quitting the team, but for whatever reason we couldn’t stop laughing on his answering machine!  Probably because we were ONLY IN 7th GRADE! I think we ended up leaving about 10 messages in all. And yes he played them all for an entire team of 7th and 8th grade boys. And yes, I spent the rest of the year hiding at lunch and in between classes so I wouldn’t get beaten up or thrown in a trashcan. (By the way, this coach later spent 10 years in prison…I feel pretty justified at this point for quitting when I did). Needless to say, I didn’t really burst onto the scene the way I had imagined myself doing. I actually remember taking a class with a couple of the more ‘popular’ kids that year and one of them started talking to me. We were having a good conversation until one of my former teammates leaned over and said to the kid ‘Hey, we don’t talk to him, he quit the football team.’ The kid never said another word to me all throughout middle school and high school. That literally happened! It’s not just something I made up or took from the movie ‘She’s All That’ or something!
            I believe I wore sweat pants everyday in 8th grade. Was I cool? Heck yes I was! But I don’t think anyone could really see past the sweat pants, and thus I kept slowly moving down the social ladder. That’s what I get for wanting to be comfortable!!!
            By 9th grade I had starting dressing in a more socially acceptable way (but boy, did I miss the sweats!).  I even at one point ‘frosted my tips’ so to speak.  But I again committed social suicide by joining the band.  In our high school, B-A-N-D was a foul four-letter word that would get you ostracized faster than showing up to school with no trousers on!  Never mind the fact that I played the saxophone (what I thought was a pretty cool instrument. It’s not like I played the French horn or something! {no offense French horn players}) and that I was actually halfway decent (I was an outstanding soloist at state and won multiple awards at jazz festivals). Never mind the fact that I was pretty much a normal high school male with raging hormones and a love for sports, red meat, and video games! I was in the band, and so I carved out a permanent home for myself on the bottom rung of the social ladder.

            Well, I was lucky enough to find good friends who were willing to look past all of my social faux pas, and accept me as one of their own. And I ended up having a pretty great time my last few years in high school. But I don’t know if I ever completely got over the social anxiety that comes with the territory when you wore sweats all throughout middle school and were in the band in high school.  And that’s what I imagined the reunion to be. A place where I was going to go and be judged and reminded of all the anxiety I had back then.

            So all of that combined with the fact that I’m not married, have yet to graduate college, and have literally gained 100lbs since high school, (I swear it’s mostly muscle mass) really had me questioning whether or not to attend the reunion.  But a good friend convinced me that none of that mattered and I should just go.

            Well, right off the bat I get nominated for the award ‘Who Has the Least Hair’ (thanks a lot Josh Bushnell!!!) You can imagine that that was just what I needed to feel comfortable being in front of my high school peers for the first time in 10 years. (Side note: Ironically, 10 years ago I won the award for ‘Best Hair’ in the Mr. Timpview pageant). The really maddening part is that I’m not even really bald, but have just begun buzzing my hair out of laziness!

            But anyway, all in all I had a good time and am really glad I went.  It was really fun to see everyone again and I’m now eagerly awaiting the 20-year reunion. Just don’t be surprised if I show up wearing sweats…

Mormon Times Dating Blog Contest #5 (Previously Unreleased!!!!)

 When people ask me what’s wrong with me I usually say ‘Well, my back hurts and one of my nostrils is bigger than the other.’  But that’s not what they want to hear.  When people ask me what’s wrong with me, they want to know why I’m not married/dating someone exclusively/going on a lot of dates/going on some dates/talking to girls/making direct eye contact with members of the opposite sex.
            Okay, okay, so that’s a bit of an exaggeration (just today I looked probably three girls right in the eye!). But let me just shed some light on my situation. 
            First of all, why are people all up in my business about my dating life anyway?  Come on guys.  Just because you’ve found your soul mate and have a perfect life, and just because I may or may not have found my soul mate (I haven’t, but Kiera Knightley, if by some crazy chance you’re reading this, I just wanted to let you know that I think you might be the one), and may or may not have a perfect life (I’m 27, still working on my undergraduate degree, I have cankles and I’m delusional enough to think Kiera Knightley is my soul mate. You tell me if you think I have a perfect life), doesn’t mean there’s something inherently wrong with me.  Or maybe there is something wrong with me, but you don’t have to constantly remind me of it.
            Second, all men have known this fact since the dawn of time: to a guy, the mind of a female is absolutely incomprehensible.  Because of this fact, dating is not only extremely difficult; it’s also potentially very painful and awkward.  And I know what you’re thinking right now.  You’re thinking, ‘Karl, you’re normal interactions with people are already painful and awkward. How can dating be any worse?’  Well, imagine me interacting with you on a normal day, and then multiply that pain and awkwardness by about a hundred.  That’s how dating is for me.
            And what’s with all the emotions girls?  One minute you’re crying and the next you’re laughing.  How am I supposed to react to something like that?
            Next, I’m poor.  I’m not afraid to admit it either.  I’m poor and dating is expensive.  Hold on girls before you jump all over me with the whole ‘Oh that doesn’t matter and there’s a lot of cheap date ideas’ speech.  There are only so many times you can take someone on a hike and a picnic.  Plus, even picnics cost some money.  So, instead of spending money to take out a girl who is most likely another mans wife, I choose to spend it on my self.  And you’re probably saying, “Karl, that’s selfish.”  Well to me, it’s logic.
            Lastly, I’m honestly just terrified of good-looking, intelligent, and fun women.  Unfortunately, those are the ones I’m usually attracted to.

Mormon Times Dating Blog Contest #4

Ladies, be honest with me. Would you rather hug a pillow or a statue? I’d say pillow, wouldn’t you? Well, you’d be wrong!
            I literally had this argument on my mission with a delightful fellow named Elder Guymon. It was sparked by the fact that Elder Guymon’s body was a bit more statuesque, and my body was...well, pillowesque (made up word). I felt there was no argument. It’s like asking someone to choose between sleeping on a brick wall or on…like, a brick wall covered in feathers or something else really, really soft and comfortable. But Elder Guymon insisted that having a body like a statue would make me more huggable.
            I thought the matter was important enough to bring before a council of zone leaders, AP’s, the mission president and his wife, and the Philippino woman who worked at the mission home. A survey was taken, and the results were in favor of hugging a pillow rather than a statue.
            Due to the results of that very survey, I have dedicated myself to maintaining my pillow like form. For example, I usually try to hit the gym at least once every five or six months. And I almost always make sure to eat dessert after every meal. Now, some of you might be thinking, ‘Dessert after every meal? How is that possible, especially after breakfast?’ Well, let me answer that by having you imagine this: a maple glazed donut with bacon crumbled on top (I’ve actually eaten these…and yes my heart still works).  It’s delicious AND goes really well with breakfast.
            Anyway, I recently found out that I’ve been wasting a lot of time and energy maintaining my cuddly-soft bod, because women actually PREFER hugging a statue to a pillow. How do I know this? For one I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve been replaced by some dude who is a little more shapely than me. Also, don’t try and hide it. I’ve seen you girls with your Edward Cullen t-shirts on! Really though!? The guy is undead, cold and hard as a rock, and can’t go anywhere there’s sun (Important side note: I’m going to tell you what I’ve told all my close family and friends. I am begging you in the strongest language possible… ladies, if you ever find out that you are dating an actual vampire, please, please, please just break up with him. Why? Because he will suck your blood and eat you. There’s no easy way to put it. Seriously, I’m guessing there’s less than a 1% chance that he’s some good vampire living off of only animal blood. The relationship only ends when he kills you). I on the other hand, am alive, always warm, and I love the sunshine (also the odds of me killing you are very small). 
            Well women, I’ve got news for you. I’ve been to the gym twice in the last six months, and I only ate half of my cheesecake at lunch today. Here I come statue body!

Mormon Times Dating Blog Contest #3

 Well, I just turned 27 this past month, which in Utah County years (kind of like dog years), is about 56. When people ask me how old I am, I’m actually obligated while here in Utah to tell them my age in Utah County years. I say I’m 54 though (I feel like I can shave off a couple of years because of my baby face).
            Seriously though, I think it was Brigham Young who said that any man who is 26 and single is a menace to society. I’ve found this statement to be true (especially on BYU campus).  So to live up to the expectations set by Brigham Young, I’ve tried to be extra menacing this past year. To give you and idea of just how menacing I’ve been, this one time, I stayed up WAY past midnight!
            Also, sometimes I’ll be driving and I’ll just change lanes a few times for no reason. This really throws people off. I can’t hear what people in other cars are saying to me when I do this, but I feel like they might be saying, “Man, that guy sure is a menace!” 
            Occasionally I’ll even down a 6 pack of cream soda (Henry Weinart’s usually). There’s no telling what I’ll do on a cream soda sugar rush!
 But mostly I’ll just walk around giving people a real menacing look. 
             At first, I was pretty excited to turn 27 so I could quit being a menace…but that was until I happened upon another quote by Brigham Young that said any man who is 27 and STILL not married not only continues to be a menace, but also becomes a danger to himself and those around him. No kidding, back in pioneer times when a single guy turned 27 they would just lock him up. They’d leave him in prison for about 8 or 10 years and then let him out hoping everyone had forgotten about him. The only problem was it was super easy to escape from pioneer prisons, so they had to stop doing it (side note: this paragraph is completely made up). 
               I’m really just happy to still be alive at my age…and to not be in a pioneer prison.  But honestly, it is much harder to date the older I get. Not only do girls start looking at you funny when you tell them how old you are (at least here in Utah), but the older you get the more content you are to be single. The other day I went to the movie “Valentine’s Day” BY MYSELF (this is true). Just me and two other couples in the entire theater. Could I have taken a girl? Maybe. But how was I supposed to enjoy the comedy and wit of Ashton Kutcher and Jennifer Garner while at the same time trying to impress a girl? Sure the other people in the theater were weirded out by my being alone, but hey, it’s my job to be a menace!

Mormon Times Dating Blog Contest #1

           Most people would say that I’m not a great dater.  It’s an observation that they easily make just by knowing that I’m 26 years old (27 next month), I live in Utah County, and I’m not married.  When they dig a little deeper they realize that they were wrong.  I’m a terrible dater.  My freshman year at BYU was in 2001.  Most people can get married or at least have a couple close calls in just one or two years at the Y (otherwise known as the LDS school of HOW TO EASILY FIND AN ETERNAL COMPANION).  It’s 2010 and I’m currently STILL enrolled at BYU and trying to get an undergraduate degree in…well just about anything at this point.  And the closest I’ve come to getting married is when I was a greenie missionary in the Philippines and a member girl, taking advantage of my total lack of ability to understand the language, tricked me into agreeing to return and marry her after my mission. (Side note: I have scheduled a trip to the Philippines this May). 
            In fact, I’m such a bad dater, that I have my own group on facebook called ‘Karl Kowallis isn’t getting married and doesn’t need your address’ where people write me with their relationship questions.  I tell them what I would do, and then encourage them to do the opposite to ensure they have a successful relationship. 
            I really don’t know what I’m doing wrong though.  You would think taking a girl to your parents house on the first date and playing Disney Trivial Pursuit would pretty much win over anyone, right?  Well, you’d be wrong. I had to find that out the hard way.  Another interesting thing I learned is that being able to play Guitar Hero on expert doesn’t attracted the ladies like you think it would.
            I’ve tried everything.  Serenading them with my saxophone (worked in ‘Better Off Dead’, failed for me), throwing pebbles at their window in the middle of the night (apparently the pebbles need to be really small for this), poetry (no comment).
            My latest technique is to be really mean to girls on dates (being a nice guy hasn’t worked, and we all know LDS girls are attracted to bad boys).  It’s not working either.  They just don’t take me seriously.  I even wear my Ninja Turtles T-shirt (not only is it very cool, it also lets my date know that I can handle myself in a fight)!
            Now if you’re reading this you’re probably thinking to yourself, ‘wow, this guy has tried everything! He must be really ugly or something for that stuff not to work!’  Well, you’d be wrong again!  I’m two months at Gold’s Gym away from being ridiculously good-looking.  It’s true.  Ask my grandparents…and my Gold’s Gym trainer.
            I guess some people just aren’t meant to get married…or have girl friends…or friends that are female.  Suffice it to say I’m really looking forward to my trip to the Philippines!