Thursday Night, 11:50pm Sitting on the living room sofa, talking with the ghosts of long-dead philosophers (while smoking cigarettes and drinking LOTS of coffee)... Things in life have a funny way of turning out the exact opposite of how we think they should. Take for instance, the singularly confusing and sometimes unnecessarily complicated act of courtship or dating. In theory, it's supposed to work like this: 1: Man asks Woman out on date 2: If Woman accepts, go to step 4 3: If Woman declines, go back to beginning, and try again with another Woman 4: Man and Woman go on date 5: If date is successful, other dates may follow - go to step 7 6: If date fails miserably, either repeat step 4 with same woman, or start from the beginning ...And on and on. This isn't how it goes in real life, however (real life has a HUGE margin of error factored in), with tons of variable random factors to take into account. Of course that's how a realist (or computer programmer) looks at it. But persons such as myself, who tend to wear their hearts on their sleeves (an easy target for those who like to rip them out and step on them) know that real love isn't some formula or algorythm. Real love is more complex, harder to define, and more elusive. We few out there that refuse to hide our feelings from others know that we might get hurt, but if it puts the spotlight on the baddies out there who just want to hurt others, in turn keeping them from ever being able to hurt anyone else again, we'll gladly throw ourselves under the bus. As I mentioned above, I am one that tends to wear his heart on his sleeve (I had to remove it from my chest cavity, as my ribcage was getting ripped open way too much, and this method is easier for keeping track of it), and have been hurt way too much in the past. I regularly get looks of amazement from others, the ones who don't (or can't) understand why the hell I keep putting myself through this pain. My answer to them is simply this: "I can't stop now. I know that someone is out there who will want me for WHO I am, not for material gain, or social standing. If I stop now, it's admitting total defeat. And though I've been rejected, abused, and even used by women, the pain dulls a bit over time, but it's a reminder that I'm still here. I'm still alive." (If that makes any sense at all...) So I'm not a quitter. Not by a LONG SHOT. I get asked how I deal with the pain. I don't really know how to answer that, as the brain cells responsible for those memories have since been killed off by beer (JUST KIDDING). Seriously, though... It is hard to deal with the pain of getting your heart ripped out. Even though it's happened to me countless times, somehow I feel like I should be used to it by now, that somehow the pain won't last as long. But it does. And I suffer. But I'm tenacious. What fails to kill me only makes me that much stronger. I bounce back with all the force of a 16-ton weight at the free end of a aircraft carrier catapult. You have to have a sense of humor about these things, and I think that's what helps the most. I like to joke that I've not found "Miss Right" because no woman I've met thus far has been able to tolerate my sense of humor or mischievous nature. Of course, this is a tiny fib, as I've still not found "Miss Right". I have discovered (in shock and horror) that the world is littered with "Miss Right NOWs", though. Everybody's different in their preferences. Myself, I'm looking for the sort of woman who I can enjoy life with. Camping, Fishing, or just sitting on the sofa for pizza and a movie marathon. I'm not too social anyway, and crowds make me a bit nervous, so parties are right out.