Part of a robust philosophy of self-prioritization: don’t remain ignorant of a situation that interests you because you were 1. afraid to ask, or 2. afraid to ask directly. Indirect asking can impact an answer.
I don’t mean asking out, I mean finding out (if you should).
Because of my interest in Tall Woman, and her unique presence, I’ve over-documented my brief interactions with her. I’m interested in her. I’ve seen small indications of interest in me, mostly appreciation for paying attention to her (because no one else does). But also an inscrutable façade.
She has a wholesome vibe compared to most women, and is a physical specimen (at least six feet tall, very athletic, still young-ish, always dressed well). So far, also zero indications of unavailability. And only a minimum of non-verbal signals.
In other words, she hums along at an exact midpoint between is she interested or not interested? Not easy to read. Since I’ve introduced myself, I’ve seen her around, but am not closer to the truth. I’ve speculated more than a real man should. All speculating became unhealthy after our second brief conversation.
The time for thinking has ended. Time to get this figured out so I don’t waste any more mental energy. I was tempted to ask our mutual friend for background on her. The beta back-channel move. Weak sauce. I go up to friend.
“What’s the story with Tall Woman?”
“What do you want to know?”
“Why don’t you ask her yourself?” or “I don’t know,” followed by losing respect for me for having to ask her instead of Tall Woman herself. Reminder: the question of her availability scares you. Whenever something scares you, approach it as directly as possible. Then, you get the answer, and the satisfaction/muscle memory/adrenaline boost of having stared down the beast for it.
I made up my mind at next opportunity to get her story directly from her.
This morning, less than a day later, I find her in her regular spot on the treadmill. Though I knew I’d see her there eventually, the adrenaline still kicked in. She still intimidates me even though I’ve spoken to her multiple times now.
Now is the time. I hopped on the machine next to her. Time to lead. Where to?
“Alright, time to check in with you T.W. How’s your new year?” Though we were facing the same direction, the command was diplomatic but decisive.
This is a great social insertion exercise: getting into someone’s business without crossing a boundary, and firmly setting an expectation on them that requires their attention for a bit. If I had read the situation poorly, it could have been a bad move. But she was doing her very endearingly lame, endearingly ordinary routine: reading a fucking library book while doing cardio. That is a woman willing to comply with my demand to distract her.
She stopped reading and let me pepper her with questions. I’d rather flirt, but her vibe isn’t playful. It’s cautious openness. Since we admittedly don’t know each other, the move is ordinary conversation. Interview but not interrogate.
It worked well.
We just talked. I had to look over a couple times for verifications, but I kept my eyes forward. I initiated with her and led her, but didn’t cater my demeanor to her. We talked for 20 minutes.
Not knowing her well gave me an excuse to get the point as part of the small talk. It was rather normal to ask her if she lived alone. More so since I’ve never seen her with another person, ever. I’ve never seen her with another soul.
“No, my husband and two kids.”
Finally! She has a family. She sounds happily married.
Sidebar. Adverse disclosure. Me.
An adverse disclosure occurs when a man discovers a targeted woman is unavailable after being held in suspense about her situation for however long. For some, it’s minutes or hours. For others, its months, even years.
For a man with a sad history of toxic beta shame, I’ve experienced many adverse disclosures. A few where it took way to long to find out. Formerly, when I discovered a girl unavailable, I’d be crushed. Some idealistic compulsion of this mindset focuses, and emotionally invests, in one uncertain, but quasi-promising romantic situation to the exclusion of several others. I did this often. Scarcity mindset.
Tall Woman’s disclosure didn’t hurt. I hoped she was available. She wasn’t. I made it very easy to say so what? by first making my approach anxiety effort about me not the people I approach, and second by spreading my interests far and wide among dozens of women. Her answer rolled off. Abundance mindset.
Though I had a sentimental weak spot for her, I sought out and obtained the information I needed specifically to cut short that sentimentality. It was misplaced regardless. But there’s nothing worse for a weak man than letting a prolonged idealization fester and grow against all reason.
For weak, fearful (hence, optionless) men like I used to be, sentimentality naturally expands in a vacuum of information. He timidly refuses to find out that adverse disclosure. And he doesn’t seek out other, more realistic opportunities. Instead, he dreams. And he attaches himself to a dream. Toxic.
Sidebar. Adverse disclosure. Her.
The beta mindset brutally hammered into young men is so toxic and so filled with scarcity that each time a weak man suffers through an adverse disclosure, he is never happy for her. He can’t be because his own happiness is tied to her availability.
I never was. I tried to be. I tried so hard. You know that sentiment. It’s tearfully fake even when you’re not crying. I was always disappointed to find out she had what she wanted in life without me.
Surface: good for her. Below: how could she?
My heart breaks for boys, savagely conditioned to please women at all costs, only to find they can’t do so without resenting (and despising) women for never returning the favor. It gradually mars and corrupts their idealistic impulse to love.
I was happy for Tall Woman. Having lived the forced feeling, many times. I know the way it pinches the heart all too well. You know you have to be happy for her. Only an asshole would be disappointed. That was refreshingly not present.
Why was she reluctant to tell me she wasn’t available? I think because I gamed the situation well.
I showed interest in her but did not needily persist. Had I been aggressive, she would have voluntarily husband blocked in three seconds. She would have done so if I gave her any reason to not be sure about me. I continue to believe guarding unavailability is a real phenomenon.
Perceived availability is like a volume knob on a car stereo. A woman turns it up or down based on instinct. If she wants a man to think she’s available (even when she’s not), she turns it all the way down. If she wants him to think she’s unavailable (even when she is), she turns it all the way up.
Except when required, Tall Woman kept her husband on mute around me. If she was indifferent to my interest (and hers), she would have mentioned him sporadically, because she’s married to him and her life intersects with his often. If there is another reason for her reluctance to mention him that has nothing to do with latent interest in me, I’ve yet to learn of it.
My speculation on the sub-text.
Me. Look, I’m interested in you (and others). I suspect you’re not available, so dammit, prove me right or prove me wrong, but don’t keep me in suspense.
Her. I’m kind of interested in you. But also, I like it when you pay attention to me. No one else does. And it would be impossible for me to lie under these circumstances, so I’d rather not mention my availability… Fine. I guess I have to. I have a husband. Sorry. I know you value your time, but I like the attention, will you still come around if I don’t talk about him?
Maybe I’m wrong.
I like her. I don’t seek female friends, but I don’t ice people just for adverse disclosures. The beta cope is binary: orbit her or ice her. I’ll check in every so often. If in fact she has latent interest, she can give that interest mimetically to other women.