I am afraid of women. There, I said it. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. Women terrify me. I’m afraid of two things in this world, and one of those things (things is not the right word, god damn my stupid man-ape brain) is women.
The other fear, in case you’re wondering, is of clowns. The site of an unchained clown grips my heart with claws made of ice, with their dead eyes and their bone-white skin and their over-sized shoes and fiery red hair.
But I can live with my fear of clowns because I don’t care if they like me or not.
But I do care what women think, and that’s the problem.
I’ve been afraid of women since I was thirteen. That was when I began to notice differences between boys and girls that I found appealing. I had this epic, four-year-long crush on this girl named Gini. She was a blonde cheerleader in my grade who had the sweetest brown eyes you ever saw. I was sure we’d get married.
Every day at school, I’d plan my route from one class to the other in hopes of walking by Gini. Every once in a while, my cunning ruse worked. There was Gini walking down the hall, doing the things that beautiful girls do. I’d hold my breath and my heart would start pounding and I’d say “Hi Gini!” and make eye contact with her as she passed me by.
Gini was nice. She’d always say “hi” back. When she did, I’d bust out this ridiculous grin that would stay smeared to my face for a solid hour.
I wrote a novel when I was in high school. I was a dork with limited people skills, and I dedicated it to Gini because in my mind that was how you got girls.
But that is not how you get girls.
Anyway, the book took three years to write. It was trash, but not many high school kids write novels, so the local paper did a story on me and I got a scholarship to go to college. I really did dedicate it to Gini. She thought it was sweet, but by that point, I was so anchored in the Friend Zone that it would have taken a team of oxen to drag me out of it.
I never did get to date Gini. I certainly never kissed her. But the book did produce a scholarship, which afforded me the chance to go to college, where I got to have all sorts of calamitous interactions with the opposite sex. So I had that goin’ for me. Which was nice.
I should clarify a few things. I’m not afraid of all women. My Mom and I are cool. I have three sisters, and they’re okay too I guess. Older women don’t scare me, and neither do little girls. If I’m being honest, it’s women I find attractive. They give me the creeps.
And I was married, too. For along time. I got engaged again after that marriage fell to pieces, and things were fine for a while. Until they weren’t.
I’ve been in five relationships since then, but they were short by comparison. One was a few weeks, A few lasted 8 or 9 months. And those are the only relationships I’ve ever had. And it’s because I’m afraid of women.
When it comes to women I like, there are two basic scenarios that frighten me. The first is the part where you meet them. In my life, I have asked a woman for her phone number exactly once. It actually worked fine, but for some reason, I’ve never been able to work up the courage to do it again. I see guys doing it all the time, but for me, you might as well ask me to navigate a high wire naked over a pit of sharks.
The second scenario has to do with the degree to which women can hurt me. That is, once I’ve conned them into marrying me, or being engaged to me, or otherwise dating me in some respect. Some men have a fear of being burned alive, or of being eaten by zombies. For me, it is being hurt by the woman I love.
I am not a coward. I work with dangerous people — violent offenders, pedophiles, meth addicts, gang members. I have for years. They don’t scare me. But that’s because they can never hurt me the same way a woman can.
Maybe it’s that I don’t care what those people think. Maybe it’s because I figure physical wounds heal. I do recognize the contradiction, though. And it bothers me. I mean, who the hell is afraid of a beautiful woman?
I need to be fair to myself. I’m not afraid of women all the time. It’s the part where you go up and talk to them in a bar or wherever. I’m no good at that. I feel like the biggest fool.
As a result, I lean heavily on the online dating scene, which is a form of masochism best not discussed in polite company. I would avoid it if I were you.
I don’t have any problem asking women out on forums like that though. In-person though is a different story.
Here’s a common scenario. Let’s say I’m at the gym and I spy the woman of my dreams doing cardio. I’ll stand at my station like a baboon for an eternity, trying to figure out how best to make my approach. And then I’ll start entertaining scenarios. What do I say? Is it okay to compliment her, and if so, what can I compliment her about? What if I stutter? What if I spontaneously combust?
I don’t know a thing about her at this point, so I only have physical things to reference. Which is not good. I mean, what do you say that hasn’t been said by other men a million times before?
I’m a sucker for gorgeous eyes, but does that make me sound like a serial killer if I acknowledge their beauty? Hell, I don’t know.
Is it okay to compliment them on their bodies? They are, after all, at the gym. If I had spent years perfecting my shit, I’d be flattered if a woman told me I had nice legs. But these days, saying things like that is considered both offensive and creepy.
So I stand there like an idiot, planning my approach. Meanwhile, my throat tightens and my tongue gets dry and spongy. So then I worry I won’t be able to speak. But maybe that’s okay.
Then I end up not going because to introduce myself is to invite ridicule, judgment, and contempt. By holding off, I avoid rejection and humiliation and I get to stay single and lonely, where nobody can ever hurt me the way I’ve been hurt before.
In recent years, my strategy has been to get my female friends to introduce me to their female friends. I figure that takes all the guesswork out of the whole I saw-you-at-the-gym-cold-call-scenario. But that strategy has yet to yield fruit. Not surprisingly, many beautiful and intelligent women are already betrothed to handsome and daring men.
I’d like to get past my fear of women, but to do that I need to, you know, start talking to them. I met both my ex-wife and my ex-fiance through friends, so my strategy is sound, despite the monkey shit-fights that were my marriage and my engagement. Sure, they ended horribly, but I doubt it had anything to do with how I met them. Or did it? Christ, I don’t know.
I’d like to do some research about this, interview some women and get their point of view. Except I’m afraid of women, so that would probably be a disaster. But I need to get to the bottom of this, and soon.