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Emotionless, Part 2

November 22nd, 2009 No comments

What better way to really test how my inner emotional framework has changed than drunk at a music club surrounded by hot girls?

Amanda never called me yesterday, so at 8:00 I was already deep into the nightly weekend routine: drinking alone, listening to music, watching various TV programs, this particular night finishing up my 4th or 5th viewing of Band of Brothers. I was right in the middle of the bonus documentary when my phone rang and to my surprise it was Oliver. He was calling to invite me to the music club “Bei Chéz Heinz” in Linden where supposedly a very good band was playing tonight. As much as I was already enjoying myself, I knew that it was high time I went out for some genuine social interaction, so I agreed to meet up with him and his friends there between 10:00 and 11:00. That gave me plenty of time to myself anyway, so during the portion of the night that I would normally be listening to music in my headphones, this night I would instead be listening to live music with other people.

It was a long walk to the club, but walking through the light rain with my I-pod on made it a very pleasant journey. I’d never been to the club before but to my surprise I found it quite easily, and to my even more pleasant surprise I spotted Oliver as soon as I got near the entrance, as he and Lena and a German friend of his were sitting outside and talking. I gave Lena and Oliver a warm hello and met his friend, then we spent the next 20 minutes or so outside chatting. It was great to see them again, particularly Lena whom I haven’t seen in almost two months, and we had a pleasant little chat.

When we heard the live music starting we went down into the club to see the band. It was a very unique band—some kind of 50s revival outfit only not really. The band consisted of about 10 people all dressed in 50s attire, although the lead singer had long black hair and while dressed like it was 1955, didn’t look at all like he was from that time period. There were two female singers who looked very much like they were plucked from some 50s billboard, both with very pretty pasty white faces but hips far too wide for my interest. The band played a mixture of old German folk songs and hits from the 1950s (like The Twist, only with German lyrics) but in a modern style, complete with heavy bass and kick-ass electric guitar solos. I’m not a big fan of either German folk songs or 1950s Top 40 hits, but they actually made most of the songs sound pretty good.

Having just finished Band of Brothers added a nice extra dimension to my perception of the event, as I imagined that had it been the 1940s, all of us would have been soldiers on opposite sides of the war, and the people I was now dancing with would be shooting at me. And yet only a short decade later, the one being “revived” that night, we’d have all been friends again. History is strange.

But it was on the dance floor that I first noticed The Girl™ of the evening, standing right in front of me and dancing ever-so-reservedly next to her friend. She was average height, thin for a German girl, hair shorter than mine and pulled back into a pony-tail, and a cute little face that looked a little like Tina Fey, especially due to those adorable glasses. She was quite plain and unremarkable for a girl at a club, which I suppose is one of the reasons she caught my eye—there were no guys trying to hit on her or ask her to dance, and she was obviously there without any male accompaniment, as opposed to most of the attractive women there. This combination of factors leads to a whole, “You actually might have a chance with this one” mentality that grabs ahold of my brain and won’t let go, in spite of any and all inner resolutions about how I no longer have any real desire for female companionship.

Before I knew it the band was finished and I was being ushered outside to join the others for a cigarette, which I gladly did, at that point not completely focused on the girl but just enjoying the experience. It wasn’t until later that I noticed her again. In the meantime, though the music was now solely pre-recorded, there was lots of dancing on the dance floor, of which I floated around the edges like a satellite in orbit. The pretty singers from the band were both out there dancing and getting hit on like mad by the guys there, and there was one particularly hot, black-haired girl in a blood-red shirt that was “sex-dancing” (not a real term, I suppose, but I assume everyone must know what that means) with another guy there and allowing me to reflect on the fact that I felt not a twinge of jealousy as I used to feel not long ago when observing that phenomenon.

Occasionally, the music would get a little louder and everyone’s attention would be directed back at the stage, where a girl performer, I assume connected in some way with the band, would do a 50s-style strip-dance. One began in a nun costume and gradually stripped down to nothing but panties and heart-shaped stickers covering her nipples. I watched merely with vague interest, far more out of simple curiosity than any sexual desire. The women were too…I don’t know…typical for my taste I suppose? It may have something to do with the emotional-deadening, but I just don’t find anything exciting about a woman in her late 20s stripping her clothes off. It’s nothing I haven’t seen a million times in films and TV programs—this was only entertaining because it was happening live a few feet away from me.

But soon after there came a time where we were all standing near the back of the club and I noticed the girl in the glasses across the room. A half-naked chick stripping down on stage does nothing for me apparently, but a fully-clothed average-looking girl with glasses just standing around talking to her friend was mesmerizing. I kept waiting for her to look in my direction and notice me blatantly staring at her, but she never did. So I ended up staring at her for what must have been a good 20 minutes before I was invited out for one last smoke.

As Oliver and his German friend, a really nice guy I managed to chat with a little bit throughout the evening, were finishing their smoke, lots of people kept pouring outside to sit and talk with their friends, and I kept eying the door waiting for The Girl to come. Just a moment before we were all about to leave, she came and sat a few feet from where we were standing. Oliver’s friend said farewell to us and said he’d probably see me next week, as we are both invited to a party next Friday celebrating the combined birthdays of Lena and a friend of hers. It’s a costume party, and Oliver and Lena suggested I just wear a white sheet and come as Jesus, since my long blonde hair and beard put me half-way there already.

I was quite drunk at this point, having drank for hours on my own beforehand and then drinking several beers while there, so my inhibitions were low enough to try the old “how would my friends react to this?” move in which I very subtly let it be known that I am staring at a girl I find beautiful and I’m hesitant to leave because then I’ll never see her again. They asked me who it was and I explained that it was the girl in the glasses sitting right over there.

Before I had time to stop him, Oliver went right up to her and introduced himself, then pulled me over right in front of her to introduce me to her, making absolutely no bones about the obvious fact that I was interested in her. So there I was standing directly in front of this girl and forced to actually interact with her, under the less-than-ideal circumstances of both of us knowing that I was only talking to her because I’d had on my eyes on her for some time. We exchanged names though I promptly forgot hers, and I asked her if she spoke any English but she answered quite hesitantly that she only spoke a little bit. I was being sized up by her and her friends and found myself extremely uncomfortable. I glanced at Oliver, whose eyes were encouraging me to go at it, as though hitting on women came as naturally to me as it seems to do for every other guy in the universe. I said something ridiculous like, “You’re the most beautiful girl in the whole club” at which she just smiled while her friend said, “Oh, you’re so sweet,” but from there I was completely out of material. I guess my thinking has been that maybe this was a girl too plain to get hit on very often and who would therefore appreciate the idea that at least one guy thought she was the most beautiful girl in the club, but that was probably a silly assumption. All girls get hit on. This was nothing special for her.

Anyway, there I am standing up in front of these three girls, having no idea what to say, my legs shaking from the coldness and nervousness (I took note of the fact that I was, in fact, nervous) and all I could do was look to Oliver and Lena who proceeded to converse with them in German, thus bringing me off the hook of having to talk anymore. The beautiful one never said another word to me. We left a few minutes later.

As we walked back towards the city center, I decided that since I’d already opened up to Oliver and Lena by revealing my little attraction back there, I might as well get explicit about it and just put the question to them that had been on my mind all day: If I’m perfectly happy being alone, should I not bother trying to find someone?

Perhaps it’s pointless to put that question to a couple, because the answer I got from both of them was “Of course you should” and that it was actually much better to look for someone when you know you don’t need anyone and being alone doesn’t bother you, because then you don’t come off as desperate. I think I probably came off as desperate to that girl at the club anyway, but there is a definite logic to that. They both agreed that there’s definitely something nice about being alone, but that trying for a relationship is something everyone should do just to have that experience, particularly in a case like mine where I’ve never experienced it before. It wasn’t the answer I really wanted, but it was an honest answer that made sense and I appreciated it.

What followed, naturally, was a lot of advice on how to go about getting a girl, basically a whole lot of sentences beginning with the phrase, “You just have to…” and then all the standard things that everybody knows about how to approach women but I can never seem to put into practice. But thankfully Oliver expressed a definite understanding of how difficult it was, especially with German girls whom he believes are among the hardest to approach in the world. The language barrier, both acknowledged, made it very difficult in my case, but there’s also the matter of the clique-centric nature of German girls, whereby they don’t really want to talk to anyone outside their circle of friends and thus tend to only respond to the advances of guys whom they’ve already met and are comfortable with. I really had no chance with that girl at the club, both because of the language and the fact that we were complete strangers. But they said I might have better luck at the party next Friday, especially if I’m dressed as Jesus. I’m quite looking forward to that, actually, as another sort-of experiment. Can Jesus pick up German girls? We’ll find out shortly.

Anyway, when it came time for us to part ways I walked back home alone, reflecting on what was indeed a complete lack of strong emotions within me. It was barely even a month ago that I was breaking down and shouting about killing myself at that music club in Prague, but here under quite similar circumstances it didn’t seem to affect me at all. Pining for that girl was more of a habit than a manifestation of some deep emotional need, and getting softly rejected by her as I did left absolutely no stinging sensation or even feeling of disappointment within me. It’s a good thing she wasn’t interested in me. If she had been, my life would have suddenly gotten exponentially more complicated.

Arriving home, there was no breaking down in tears, no throwing on of dark music and brooding out my desperation. I just busted out the computer porn and fucked the living shit out of myself, knowing full well that I can give myself more pleasure than almost any woman probably could.

So that was last night’s experience, which served as further evidence to support my whole “soul is dead” hypothesis, but at the same time was a nice comfortable reminder that I can still pine over beautiful girls at dance clubs, thus providing a kind of poetic continuity to my life that stretches all the way back to 6th grade and my first middle-school dances. The emotions have all dried up, but the behavior remains. I’ll most likely never successfully find a girl to have a relationship with, but if I drew any conclusions last night it’s that there’s no reason for me to stop looking, especially now that I’m apparently no longer capable of experiencing emotional pain when I fail.

Emotionless

November 21st, 2009 No comments

I haven’t written in awhile because nothing at all has happened. I’ve just been enjoying the monotony of the daily routine, still with an extra appreciation after several months of being deprived of it. It wasn’t until this week that I felt any urge to engage in any kind of non-work-related socialization whatsoever, and wrote Amanda an e-mail on Monday to ask if she wanted to hang out one night this week. We agreed to do the Pub Quiz on Thursday, but she cancelled at the last minute through a text message that I never got—so I went all the way to the pub and waited before calling her to find out she wasn’t coming. We then made plans to hang out Saturday, which is tonight, to possibly go see a band. After that I promptly left the pub and enjoyed yet another night of solitude.

That was Thursday, which was also the infamous November 19, this being the 11-year anniversary of the night I met Aimee. In total contrast with last year, the big 10-year anniversary, I made a conscious effort not to think much about it and was quite successful. Rather than spend the whole day and night going back through old journals and obsessing over what might have been, I just did whatever it was I was going to do anyway, and had barely any awareness at all of what day it was. I was only reminded in a few instances throughout the day that it actually was November 19, and in those moments I simply acknowledged the fact that I didn’t care.

The fact is I turned out this way, and I don’t really mind. I’m a self-isolated loner who has never had sex or a girlfriend and probably never will. That bothered me for years and years, and pretty much became the way I defined myself. But once I accepted that definition—which must have been earlier this year some time and happened so gradually I didn’t even notice—it ceased to bother me.

So this is who I am now. A few weeks ago I wrote about how I was going to proof-read and correct an English paper for a girl whose father Amanda teaches. I got the paper and did the corrections on Thursday, and we agreed to meet today, Saturday, at a nearby coffee shop to go over the paper and discuss some of my corrections and any questions she had. I just got back from that meeting, and it went very well. I ended up being able to charge €2 per page and €10 per hour for the consultation, which added up to a nice €40. She also agreed to hang a little advertisement for my proof-reading services on a notice board at her university, so more business could be coming my way. But all that is beside the point of this entry—the interesting thing about meeting her is that she was unexpectedly rather attractive, and I was surprised at my own reaction to her.

First of all, I didn’t feel any nerves or anxiety while talking to her, which is uncharacteristic of me so I must have changed in that regard. But secondly, and more importantly, I was barely tempted at all to ask her out. I certainly thought about it—just casually asking her if she had a boyfriend and if not, if she wanted to do something together some time. It would have been very easy, and if she had said no I don’t think it would have bothered me very much at all. The thing is, I don’t think she would have said no if she was single, and that all I had to do was say the word and I’d have a date with a real live German girl on the horizon. But I didn’t say anything, and it had nothing to do with being a pussy.

I didn’t ask her if she wanted to do something some time because I didn’t want to do something some time. What would be the point of asking her out? To try and get a girlfriend? Okay, but do I even really want a girlfriend? I don’t think I do. I think I’m happier alone, I recognize that I’m happier alone, and that’s the reason I didn’t ask her out. I can pretty much picture what would happen if I’d asked her: we would have gone out once or twice before realizing that we’re not right for each other and then there would be an awkward period of slowly dwindling communication until neither of us ever heard from the other again. It would be exactly like what happened with Elle two years ago in Santa Barbara.

Naturally, I can’t help but feel a small sense of “what if” but it’s not bothering me nearly as much as it would have bothered me a year ago. It took me months to get past the fact that I didn’t stop and talk to that girl on the bike at the Maschsee way back when I first got to Hannover, but I’m just not inclined to dwell on this. Perhaps it’s because I still have her phone number and e-mail address so if I change my mind I can always call and say, “What are you doing Friday night?” or something of the sort. Perhaps it’s because I’m not in the best of financial positions and I figure I can’t really afford a girlfriend right now so it’s best I avoid it. Perhaps it’s because she has blue eyes and while quite pretty, not nearly as pretty as the gorgeous girl sitting behind and to the left of her.

Or maybe it’s because I really have changed, and that the desire for female companionship actually has dipped to a level so low that I barely even feel it anymore. And if that’s the case, the implications are profound. On the one hand, it would mean that I no longer have to worry about getting emotionally wounded because I can’t be wounded anymore. But on the other hand, it’s almost like my soul is dead. I was who I was because of my love—my deep, deep, passionate, intense, frighteningly powerful love—and I haven’t felt that in years and I worry I might never feel it again because I’ll never let myself get close enough to anybody to actually feel it. I can enjoy my life because my emotional state will never be dependent on another person, but will my life really be worth living if everything is so bland and dry? I used to live in extremes—I’d go from extreme happiness to extreme misery and appreciate the shit out of both, usually by listening to music that fit either of these moods. Now when I listen to music, even very emotional music, my mind is drifting along a sea of mundane thoughts, from the TV show episode I just watched to what I’ll be having for dinner tomorrow.

I always used to think that life without love is devoid of any value. Now I’m living that life. The thing is, I’m enjoying it. But I would also be willing to die at any second because I know—because I feel it in the core of my being—that my current life is completely worthless. I might feel terrible about that…if I was still capable of feeling terrible.

Gay Marriage: What’s Your Problem?

November 7th, 2009 No comments

To all those Maine residents who voted to deprive gays the right to marry:

What is your problem? Seriously, I just don’t get it. Can anybody offer me a logical, coherent reason why gay marriage is a threat to anything? During the brief time you had when gay marriage was legal, were the foundations of society crumbling apart? Did every heterosexual marriage fall apart and suddenly end in divorce? Did the children of those divorced couples become homosexual and turn to a life of crime and depravity? Were rapists and child molesters roaming the streets kidnapping children and raping small animals? Did God Almighty in his wrath send plagues to destroy you for granting rights to those whom He considers an abomination (even though He created them)? Did a hole in the earth open up from which thousands of Demons ascended into the world of the living and begin devouring your souls?

Did any of that shit happen? Or did a few nice gay and lesbian couples enjoy a nice ceremony with their friends and family to celebrate their love for each other?

I’m serious, guys. What the fuck is your problem with gay marriage? I’ve asked many people about this and nobody has been able to give me an argument that is even the least bit convincing as to why gay marriage should be illegal. Let me try to go through some of these arguments to point out just how absurd they are.

1- Marriage is something Holy. The Holy Bible condemns homosexuality. Therefore homosexuals should not be allowed to marry.

At first glance this has a certain logic to it. If marriage is a religious institution and it doesn’t recognize gay marriage, the law can’t force it to do so. But it conveniently ignores the fact that there is more than one religion in the world! Can you believe it? I know! In fact, the Christian faith alone has hundreds of denominations, all with different interpretations of God and Scripture. Some of these denominations do not condemn homosexuality, and some churches are willing to recognize a union of same-sex couples. Telling them that they can’t do that actually violates their constitutionally guaranteed right—a basic human right—to freedom of religion. It would be like the congregation of one church deciding by popular acclaim that theirs is the only church that can offer Holy Communion, and all others are banned from doing it. If same-sex marriage is perfectly acceptable to a particular church, how exactly is it constitutional or even moral to prohibit them from exercising this particular religious function?

This isn’t even to mention the fact that marriage is not merely a religious function, but a social function as well. Certain rights and privileges independent of church doctrine are afforded to married couples that unmarried couples do not enjoy. To deprive them of these rights based on religious doctrine is also blatantly unconstitutional. Letting gays get married under the law doesn’t mean your church has to recognize it as a religious union.

2- Religion aside, the societal purpose of marriage is essentially reproduction. Since gay couples can’t reproduce, they should not be allowed to get married.

Many couples can’t reproduce. Should they therefore be forced to divorce? Oh, and gay people can reproduce—just not with their same-sex partner. Oh, and another thing—many unmarried people reproduce too! Yeah, I know it may be hard to believe, but lots of women get pregnant when they’re not even married!

This argument is utter bullshit, through and through. Depriving same-sex couples equal rights based on their incapacity to reproduce with one another is like banning blind people from the cinema because they can’t see the screen.

3- Children need both a mother and a father to grow into well-rounded adults.

Take a look around. How many “well-rounded adults” do you know? Maybe you haven’t noticed, but everyone is fucked up nowadays. Nobody has a picture-perfect childhood, and it’s not because of the breakdown of the American family structure—it’s the human condition, augmented by these insane times we’re living in. Television, the internet, and the rest of the mass media affects the human brain in profound ways that we don’t even notice because we’ve never lived in a time without them. Everyone suffers from an overload of information, conflicting facts and opinions, and worst of all thousands of manufactured desires implanted by the endless barrage of advertisements we’re subjected to every day.

This quaint idea of a normal, healthy childhood is an illusion, and has been for at least a century. Thanks to television and advertising, which has gotten particularly insidious in recent decades, do far more harm to the psychology of developing children than the lack of a mother or father figure. How many children grew up without fathers during all of the various wars in history? How many lost their mothers in childbirth before modern medical technology? Having an exclusively male or exclusively female parent is not new in human history. Families have come in all different shapes and sizes since families have existed. To suggest that one mother and one father is the only “right way” for a child to grow up is to profess a profound ignorance.

And don’t hark back to the “good old days” when all families were supposedly like that, either. Unloving couples forcing themselves to stay together can do just as much psychological harm to children as couples that get divorced—perhaps even more harm. The generation that grew up in the 50s and 60s is no less fucked up because their parents dutifully remained together. They harbor just as much resentment against their parents for staying together as my generation holds against our parents for splitting up.

To put it simply—the child of a same-sex couple is no more or less likely to have a bad childhood than the child of a straight couple. There are good and bad gay parents, just as there are good and bad straight parents. It doesn’t get more obvious than that.

4- But won’t children of same-sex couples get made fun of at school?

Yes, of course they will. But guess what? They’d get made fun of at school even if their parents were of opposite sexes! Kids get made fun of at school. Always have, always will. It’s the job of the parents—whether gay or straight—to teach them how to handle it. Learning how to handle the derision of others is a necessary part of growing up, and once you learn it you’re all the stronger for it.

5- If gay marriage is legal, they’ll teach it at the schools!

No, they won’t. This is a lie. Sure, if the teacher is talking about marriage, he or she might mention that marriage can be between a man and a woman or two men or two women, but that will be the extent of it. This idea that gay marriage will somehow lead to third-graders being taught how to eat pussy or sodomize each other is beyond ridiculous, and the only people who buy this propaganda are morons.

6- They’ll shut down churches that refuse to perform gay marriages!

No, they won’t. This is another lie directed at morons. It would be unconstitutional to shut down a church because they refuse to perform a ritual they believe stands against their religious principles. Just as unconstitutional as it would be to prevent a church from performing a ritual they believe doesn’t stand against their religious principles—which is what anti-gay marriage law currently does.

7- If we allow a man to marry another man, what’s to stop us from allowing men to marry children, or animals, or broomsticks?

Um…seeing how much of an up-hill battle it’s been just to allow gay adults to marry each other, I don’t think we’re on any sort of fast-track to letting people marry children, animals, or inanimate objects. Although, the super-radical liberal that I am, I think if a person wants to marry an inanimate object, they should have that right.

But there’s an easy way to prevent this whole “slippery slope” thing, and it’s by legislating the one major difference between gay marriage and those other things—consent. Two adults of the same sex are both consenting to their union. Children are incapable of giving informed consent when they’re too young to understand what they’re getting into, and animals and inanimate objects are incapable of giving any kind of consent whatsoever. So all you have to do is extend marriage rights to everyone who is capable of giving informed consent. That will quite definitively include gays and exclude those other things.

8- Marriage is defined as a union between a man and a woman. If you change the definition of marriage as it’s been defined for thousands of years, you will be rocking the very foundation of society.

This is perhaps the most common argument against gay marriage, but it just doesn’t hold water. The institution of marriage varies greatly over lands, cultures, and historical time periods. In most cultures throughout history, marriage was an agreement between families, exchanging a daughter for the sake of land or a political agreement, and the daughter was usually a very young girl just past puberty.

In America today, we have this relatively new idea of marriage as something based on love between two adults of relatively the same age. And how well has that worked out for us? As I mentioned before, plenty of children raised by these couples that married out of love are miserable because their parents, out of a sense of religious or moral duty, force themselves to remain together even after the love is gone.

Marriage based on love is a wonderful idea, but in most cases it’s just not practical. I don’t want to suggest that all love is fleeting and doomed to wither and die—indeed there are many couples out there who love each other deeply and for whom the love does not diminish with time—but the majority of couples who marry for love eventually fall out of love. So marriage, as it is currently defined within American society, is not quite as perfect as the so-called “defenders of marriage” would like to believe.

More obviously, no definition is written in stone. Words have whatever meaning humans choose to give them. In England, the word “faggot” means a bundle of sticks or a cigarette, while in America it is used by opponents of gay marriage to describe the people whose rights they are trampling on. If we can’t let gay people marry because it doesn’t fit the definition, you just change the definition. Duh.

9- Being gay is a choice, and choices have consequences. One of the consequences of choosing to be gay is giving up your right to marry.

This is my favorite. I find this argument extremely amusing. They’re not denying gay people the right to marry—just to marry each other. They can still marry someone of the opposite sex, so their rights aren’t being denied at all! Unless of course you subscribe to the definition of marriage I described above, in which case they’re not denying gay people the right to marry—just to marry someone they love.

But why do they love members of the same sex in the first place? Surely, it’s a choice, right? Yeah, love is always a very rational decision…

This brings us to the crux of the whole gay issue, which always boils down to one simple question: is homosexuality natural? To me, the answer is so obvious that I find it completely astounding just how many studies have been done and how much ink has been spilled over the analysis of this question. The studies always confirm the pre-existing bias of the person or group conducting the study. Gay-friendly groups determine that homosexuality is natural, while anti-gay groups determine the opposite. Well, we don’t need a study to tell us if homosexuality is natural—I can conclusively state that it is.

How do I know? Because I’m not gay. It’s that simple. If being gay were a choice, I would make that choice. I’m not kidding. I don’t want to get too personal here, but women have no interest in me while gay men, by contrast, often hit on me. If I were gay I would probably have a pretty satisfying sex-life. So if I could somehow just flick a switch in my brain that would make me gay, I’d do it.

But try as I might, I just can’t make myself attracted to other men. So how can you possibly tell me that homosexuality is a choice? Could you choose to be gay? Seriously, if you find yourself tempted to engage in homosexual acts, then you are probably homosexual, or at least bisexual. And you are going to be like that no matter what you do or what choices you make.

“But certain organs fit into certain holes!” I’ve heard people say. “Clearly, homosexuality is unnatural.” Well first of all, the human body is not a machine that was designed by a manufacturer who included an instruction manual for its proper use. Religious people would disagree, but I’ve already lost the religious people with this argument so let’s just assume we all accept that the theory of evolution is correct. In terms of natural selection, how could homosexuality be selected for survival when it doesn’t produce offspring? Well, this is a misunderstanding of how evolution works. You have to understand that it actually works on larger, species-wide scales. Nature corrects itself whenever there’s an imbalance, so if a certain species produces too much offspring to feed all of its members, much of the offspring will die of hunger, or disease will wipe them out until their numbers once again fit comfortably in their ecological niche. Too much reproduction is an evolutionary disadvantage, so nature has a few mechanisms to prevent it. One of those is to produce offspring that are incapable of reproduction, or for whom the sex-drive is directed at those with whom no offspring can be produced. It’s not a hereditary gene—it’s just a quirk of the species that about one out of every ten humans will have a misdirected sex-drive, just as one out of every few hundred humans will be a dwarf.

See how far out into left field we’ve gone? We were supposed to be talking about marriage, for Christ’s sake, and here I am talking about ecosystems and dwarves! What the fuck does any of that stuff have to do with whether or not we should let same-sex couples marry each other!?!?

The point is—and I’m talking to you now, Maine—there’s just no reason to deny gay people the right to marry. There is no argument against it that stands up to any kind of logical scrutiny. I can’t help but wonder if those of you who voted against gay marriage didn’t vote that way because you thought you were protecting society, but merely because you hate gay people. Which brings me to the final argument against gay marriage, the one I imagine is actually on most people’s minds when they go to the polls:

10- “Fuck them faggots.”

And unfortunately I think that’s where the issue stands right now. I can counter every argument they put up with rationality and reason and they’ll still ignore me and vote the way their gut tells them to vote out of pure prejudice. Homosexuals continue to suffer under the tyranny of the majority as long as their rights are subject to popular will. Ballot initiatives like Proposition 8 or Question 1 should not even be allowed to go forward, as basic rights should never be determined by majority rule—or else no minorities would ever be granted any rights.

But as long as gay rights are dependent on the opinions and prejudices of the majority of the American citizenry, the focus should be on the source of the problem—this hatred and bigotry that still persists. Most people who hate gays do not know any gay people, so gay people need to come out of the closet and talk to them. As quaint and clichéd as it sounds, confront their hatred with love—their hatred for what you are with your love for your partner. Talk about how much you love your gay partner and how much you’d like to get married. Force these people to really consider, that if marriage really is supposed to be based on love, why is it that God or the state can recognize love for members of the opposite sex but not love for the members of the same sex?

Homosexuality is not a choice, but marriage is. Nature has deprived them of the choice to be straight. We should not be depriving them of the choice to get married.

A Few Things

November 2nd, 2009 No comments

I learned a few interesting things today, and had a minor change in my financial situation. The first thing I learned was cultural, from one of my students in my first lesson of the day. I was asking about what everybody did over the weekend, and she said she went to two birthday parties. In asking follow-up questions I learned that one of the parties she’d gone to was for a guy’s 30th birthday, and because he was unmarried it meant he had to clean the floor. I didn’t understand what she meant, so another woman clarified that it’s a German tradition that if a man turns 30 and still is unmarried, he’s supposed to sweep the ground in front of the city hall until he gets kissed by a virgin (which nowadays, she added, only come in the form of very young children).

At least I’ll be out of here by the time I turn 30, at which age I can pretty much guarantee I won’t be married (although of course I wouldn’t mind getting kissed by a young virgin girl). An unmarried woman who turns 30, incidentally, just has to clean the door. But if a man turns 40 and is unmarried, he has to ride backwards on a donkey, and as far as I know, no virgins are involved. As for unmarried 40-year-old women, they don’t have to do anything. I suppose they just feel that being an unmarried woman at 40 is punishment enough.

Anyway, after that lesson I was supposed to be visited by Susanne, the new educational coordinator for Planeo, to sit in on my next lesson and give me some pointers afterwards. But nobody showed up to that lesson, so I just ended up talking to her one-on-one the whole time. I was able to glean some useful additional tidbits about teaching, which was good, but we also talked about the classes I lost. I learned that Penni, apparently, felt really bad about taking those classes from me but the students were quite explicit so she felt she had no choice. So now I suppose I don’t hate her as much. But more interestingly, I learned that Andreas (whom Susanne only knew as “the guy from personnel”) was the key player in requesting the new teacher. So that officially confirms it—he totally stabbed me in the back. And what a surprise too, because he always seemed to like what I did, wanting only conversation and discussion in the lessons and never asking for grammar or more academic sort of instruction. And it’s not like I never offered that group other kinds of things—I asked them repeatedly if they liked the kinds of materials I was bringing and they always said yes. I had some great discussions with that group and over time I really came to like Andreas. But now I will officially hate him forever.

Not that he completely ruined me financially, however. Yes, his insistence on another teacher was ultimately what led to the loss of 33% of my income, but today I picked up another permanent lesson, which helps to mitigate the damage somewhat. It’s another Monday group, one I’ve subbed for numerous times and who more often than not don’t even show up. I love groups that never show up (it’s free money) but the problem is that when they do show up, they’re horrible. There are four people in the group, but mostly it’s two young women who never talk and never seem to like or even appreciate anything I ever do. And apparently the regular teacher had the same problem with them which is why she offered to unload them onto me. So the downside is I have to deal with them now on a permanent basis, but the upside is I get an extra €168 per month.

I did some calculations today and found that even without those Thursday groups, with all of the permanent lessons I have now I’m still making enough to get by. I can pay double the rent for the next several months as I will have to, pay the utilities and all the other random bills, buy €100 worth of groceries a week, and still have a little bit of money leftover. And that’s just with my regular classes. Any substitutions I get are just bonus money. Then, beginning in March, I’ll go back to paying just €230 in rent per month, at which point I’ll really start to save money, potentially up to €500 per month. Which means if I want to have, say, €3000 saved up in order to move to Japan, I could potentially have that by July. Things are not quite as bleak as I thought they were. I’ll be completely fine even if I never get any additional lessons from Planeo or any other language school for the rest of my time in Germany. (Of course I could still potentially lose more lessons, in which case I’d really be in trouble.)

But speaking of additional lessons, Amanda gave one of her students my phone number because his daughter was looking for someone to proof-read something for a university class of hers and she wanted a native English speaker to do it. Amanda figured since I’m a writer and I need money, she’d do me a solid and give that number out. The girl just called me and we spoke about the deal. I had decided beforehand to charge €1 per page, so that’s the number I gave her, but she said it’s only going to be 15 pages. So that’s not much at all, but neither is 15 pages of proof-reading. But the way I figure, she’ll probably have more English papers in the future and I could become a regular resource for her if she wants. Plus, she can tell her friends about the native English-speaker who charges just €1 per page, and I could potentially have all sorts of additional business.

But she also wants to meet me at a coffee shop to discuss it once she’s e-mailed it to me and I’ve had time to look it over, so I could charge her for that as well. Unless, of course, she’s beautiful and single, at which case just meeting her will be reward enough. She sounded cute, but her being German makes the odds of her actually being attractive about one in two hundred. Not to mention the fact I just mentioned in my very last entry that I’m super-extra not looking for a girlfriend right now, but it’s still fun to think that in a couple of weeks I’ll be meeting a German college girl for coffee.

So that’s where things stand currently. I’m pretty much over the Thursday classes thing, and comfortable with my new path in life—to just sit back and slowly wait for money to accumulate, at which point it’s off to Asia. Even without getting any additional work, I’ll be advancing towards that goal, slowly but surely. Luckily, I’m in no big hurry to get there.

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