How To Be The Self-Loathing Nice Guy (In 5 Easy Steps)

1) Just Throw In The Towel

I once read an interview with Bill Maher in which he admitted a preference to masturbation over actual sex. He even went so far as to say that – at the end of dates – he had refused women’s invites, and then ran home to the privacy of a box of tissues. I was too young to get if he was being ironic or not, but I still understood that it was one of the stupidest things I’d ever heard. What man would actually shoot himself in the foot to avoid being with a desirable person? Answer: Me.

2) It’s Not You, It’s Me.

What is dating in this city, if you can’t enjoy it? Day after day, many of us are our own worst enemies when it comes to admitting that someone may be attracted to us. For me, I’ve been in this weird funk for the last month and a half. Admittedly though, I haven’t had much time to think about hooking up with someone. Following Thanksgiving (when I found myself single again after a month), I was greeted with a crush of work that only allowed for eating, sleeping, and the occasional late-night porn romp. Eight straight shows, over a period of four weeks, including producing two Matt Fried Hours within two weeks of each other. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun, but fun in a “You can pick up your sanity on January 3rd.” kind of way.

3) “You know who’s awesome? This guy, standing right next to me!”

It’s not as if I’m asking for pity from anybody. But somewhere, in the midst of all my professional madness, my personal confidence decided to take an early vacation. Perhaps it was exhaustion, or boredom, or that I couldn’t help myself, but nothing was clicking with myself and the fairer sex. And I couldn’t break out of it. My friend, Chris, related it to a hitting slump in baseball: if you swing at any- and everything, you’re bound to strike out every time. In my case, even a decent line drive was a tall order. When something like this happens, I tend to choose to ignore it and just focus on what needs to be done. In other words, I wanted to be left alone. And when I say “left alone”, I mean by any means possible. So, exit likable, attractive Matt Fried. Enter painfully honest, under-sexed, stressed-out Matt Fried. Ladies, I’m so sorry.

4) There’s a great view from my condo at Stab My Face City

Okay, fine, I’ll admit it: I’ve been a self-loathing dick for the last month and a half. And, in being one, I don’t think I made it easy for the women who recently have wanted to be involved with me. I’ve been purposefully derailing certain opportunities and I’ve been getting stressed out over work for no reason. I’ve been doing all of this, because – for all of my accomplishments thus far – I can still sometimes let my insecurities get the best of me. It usually only happens when my priorities are out-of-whack. When I’m willing to be the hardest on myself, because I feel like I thrive on that kind of pressure. If I don’t sell a show well, or I don’t get something in on deadline, I’ll be dropped off the planet the next morning. Does any of this sound psychopathic, because it kind of is? But here’s what I’ve learned: if you let yourself get caught up in big expectations, you tend to miss the great results that happen anyway.

5) Self-realization

By January 3rd, my plate was cleared. Of the eight shows, five of them sold well and two nearly sold-out. It was a good run. Then, of course, I look back on my behavior and all I can do is roll my eyes. Self-defeatism. It’s a fun little phase that often leaves you frustrated, feeling like a Detroit Lions fan. I don’t like to think that I blew any opportunities, because I’m past thinking of life in absolutes (except when it comes to The Replacements, who unquestionably rock, and Voltron, which unquestionably rules). However, I didn’t like this guy I became for six weeks: someone who holds people at arm’s length because he’s scared, or worse, lazy. Where the hell is Sinatra when you need him?

My New Year’s resolution this year was very simple: “Don’t stress out about what I can’t control.” After going through all this, maybe I get what Bill Maher was trying to say. Sometimes, self-defeatism – that need to shoot yourself down – is easier. It’s a weird form of self-preservation. But, what exactly are you trying to preserve: your better judgement, or your self-perception? Either way, the old adage is true: it isn’t her, it’s you… you Zach Braff-posing idiot.

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