Fail Forward

So I was watching Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle the other night. There's an elevator scene where Harold has approach anxiety. Harold can't think of a thing to say to this beautiful Latina girl in the elevator. In fact he doesn't say anything at all.

Many people, regardless of race, will have approach anxiety when they are put on the spot. Women have a hard time empathizing with this, because socially they're not required to make the initial contact. Sure they send the signals, but sending a flirtatious body language cue is much easier than approaching an attractive stranger and gaining their interest.

I know 2 guys with 2 very different approaches to women. I've written about guy #1 before. We'll call him Mr. Bohemian, since he lives that type of lifestyle. He is the most unassuming man you will meet, but he is a friendly and passionate person. He likes what he likes and he doesn't care what people think about what he likes.

One thing that he likes a lot of is women. Just by looking at him, you wouldn't think that he was some suave debonair Casanova. He's an average Asian guy, if there is such a thing. And yet he routinely dates and lives with attractive women ten years younger than him. I don't think he's been without a woman or two (or three) for longer than a few months. In fact, at one point, he was practically begging his last girlfriend to move out of his apartment and hit the road.

His latest girlfriend is a young attractive 20 something. I remember meeting her for the first time at the coffee shop she worked at. I could tell by the rolling of her eyes that she was annoyed with Mr. Bohemian when he flirted with her. But he just kept at it. He kept going to that coffee shop, drinking that crap watered down coffee day in and day out.

Then one day he and coffee girl showed up together at a department function, and we were all astounded that coffee girl relented and was now head over heels for him. Now they live together in his cramped studio apartment, and he's complaining that she's too clingy and calling him too much.

The other guy I'll call Mr. Musket. Mr. Musket didn't date until he was in his 30's. You would think with all the smack that he talks up with the guys that he dated around. But then I noticed he would freeze up whenever there was an attractive woman around. He had classic approach anxiety. He was a good guy overall, but Mr. Musket just didn't know how to talk to women. Didn't matter how much prompting by the other guys he got, he would just freeze up like a deer in the headlights.

Eventually though, Mr. Musket did find somebody and is now happily married. Bottom line is he ended up happy and that's what counts. So what if you're a virgin until your 40. Maybe it just takes you a little longer you to mature and find the right person.

A lot of Asian guys are down on themselves, because they feel like their Asian-ness is somehow holding them back in the dating scene. Or they feel like nice guys finish last, so they start acting with a false sense of bravado.

But I can tell you that both of these guys are 1) Asian and 2) extremely nice guys. The only difference is one tries repeatedly and the other didn't try much at all. The only cure for approach anxiety is to try, and if you fail, then keep failing forward.

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