A reader emailed me:

Hey I’ve been clicking around your site and I’m deeply interested by what you say you’ve accomplished with the opposite sex.

I’m basically a newbie in this whole dating/becoming who I want to be sort of thing. I have had to sift through a mountain of garbage before I realized I was being played my whole life. Then I had to jump back inside to actually start to piece together what had been killing my optimism towards females. So I guess I’m trying to say that I think you may have the next part on my path.

I’m 27. Plenty of girls seem to notice me, but I don’t know how to win at that game that gives you access to the goods and to the positive energy. I want to have the power surrounding such things in my own hands. I’ve only ever dated one girl and I never fucked her because she was too ugly for me. But at the time I was so desperate and she and I had gotten along so well that she had actually been my first real female friend who I felt safe with. The breakup was ugly and what I found out about myself was very painful. This happened over 6 years ago. I’ve had some cute girls throw themselves at me but I have a part of me that hates to be with attractive women because I feel like they have more power than me. Plus I still live at home with my parents and I work for them in their own business which I guess I could deal with only I don’t know how I could swing it so I can be the prize in my interactions with hot girls.

I’m basically a cute guy with a cute face. I have biceps but it could be a little while before I have a washboard stomach. I know that girls might find me attractive on the surface but I have a huge fear that they’ll laugh and deride my circumstances. I don’t trust them but even if I just tried to muscle it out with the girls that paid easy attention to me I feel like I’d be losing out on the sort of “high on their own fumes” snobs that snubbed me in high school. I know I gotta start somewhere but I just wanted to let you see inside my own head. Besides, even if I did get with such women a part of me just expects it to turn shitty because of where I’m at right now. So even though I might be what some call worthless, I still have a drive and want to fulfill it, putting it flatly.

I don’t know how to get that power over them that they want me to have. I’m looking very hard for it but one camp tells me that it wont come until I believe in myself and the other camp cynically tells me that dollars earned translates directly to cup size slapped. Meanwhile I get older, sadder, more resentful, and feel more powerless because I feel like I’m not really getting anywhere.

As it currently stands I feel directed but I hate the direction I’m going in. Do you understand me? Can you see a way I could win here?

Tell me about yourself. I want to hear your insight.

I’m all ears,

And I have no idea what to say.

Last night I was explaining the concept of personal responsibility to my 18. I used the analogy of a fat woman blaming her parents and society and her genes for being fat to a previously fat person who through painful dieting and exercise over the course of years became fit and slim. The slim person would consider the fat person slothful and full of excuses, misdirecting attention away from her own responsibility.

So it is with our minds. Just as we use free will to move our fingers, we use free will to move our minds, and just as the ability to play the piano is hard won through years of deliberate practice, so too is the mind brought under an artful control through mindfulness/awareness training. Everything we feed our attention and every move we make with it and all our friends affect who we are and what we will and can do next. It’s damned difficult and painful work, and no one can do it for us. It’s on us, and only on us. The past is no excuse; the next moment starts NOW. Anybody home? That’s who you talk to about this.

But skill, attractiveness and dominance with women is not directly correlated with mindfulness training. Any more than it’s directly correlated with cash. Both help, of course, but are not sufficient.

So what is Reader to do?

I can only suggest taking notes and following every suggestion I’ve already made, and read other blogs too. I used to value the pre 2000 Roissy blog. He writes about stuff I don’t in an entertaining and useful way, even if his emphasis is skewed towards overconfidence and a heartless disconnect with any sense of genuine human connection.

Actually, I’ve advised before to simply date whatever you can get, and work up. Proficiency comes from practice. You can’t practice piano on a blog. Practice on whatever quality keyboard you can get your hands on, but practice.