Tag Archives: Self-Doubt

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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Arrrghh, Fate!

I’m trying to think of something funny to write. You see, I am supposedly a writer. Meaning that among my variety of artistic talents, I excel at writing. Writing is the only real way I can express myself. The only way that the world can understand me. Plus, the old line “Oh me? I’m a writer.” always gets me laid at the Columbia undergrad mixers.*

I started this new blog in an attempt to forge a new identity on the internet, hence the YouTube video and a later post involving cotton candy. And, I have several really great ideas that I think will aid me… in the weeks ahead. You see, if I were to post these ideas NOW, one of two things would happen.

One, I would re-introduce myself to the internet, guns blazing; only to be followed by fear and artistic bankruptcy. Writing under deadline – you must know – is like baseball: if you don’t know how to strand your runners on first and second base, there’s no way you’re hitting an RBI. Second, I would re-introduce myself to the internet, serious and pontificating, mooning over things like sexual positions and whether or not I think it’s “awesome” that Hollywood is making a Voltron movie. Women would surely line up around the block to sleep with me, but soon recognize my indifference, and leave me; the critics would think I’m a pompous know-it-all who couldn’t conjugate his way out of a wet paper bag. I would eventually die alone and penniless, but not before I become resoundingly fat (like, Orson Welles-type proportions) from a diet of cheeseburgers and triple-sugared churros.

So I ask you – dear readers – who wants any of that to happen to me?

Therefore, I’m left alone to struggle. To be honest, it’s something I relish: the challenge of a good writing session. It’s too hard nowadays to find any time to be original. It’s way easier to pretend you’re someone else. That’s why everybody has loved everything I’ve ever written: because no one has realized that I’ve been publishing a different page out of Hemingway’s For Whom The Bell Tolls every day, for the last year. And, the fact that I’ve gotten away with such an obscene gesture blows my mind – especially with all the critics right now saying stuff like “Matt Fried has the makings of a mature Hemingway. Which is odd because he’s only 26.”** But, it’s not my place to judge myself in the eyes of other people: that’s a job for ex-girlfriends and the religious.

Anyway, what’s the real point I’m getting at in all of this? I guess perhaps that part (read: all) of this fear to produce something totally original is out of an overwhelming need to sound interesting. Because the only people we do pay attention to anymore are the interesting ones. But, actually, I am not interesting. I’m just a young man who grew up in New Jersey with a mother and a stepfather. I went to high school. I went to college. Nothing spectacular. I also possess a crippling set of abandonment issues – ones that have led to episode after episode of sexual and ethical faux pas, like something out of Shakespeare, except with much more emphasis on being 19 and horny.

But, you don’t want to hear about any of that.

And that’s kind of sad, because then, I don’t know what to write about. All I do know is that I’ve lived in New York City for almost three years. Though that seems like a long time (which most of my life has felt like), it barely scratches the surface of a life well-lived in The City That Doesn’t Sleep. There is still a bigger story to be told. So, anything that I could essentially invent for you right now – that would seem hilarious – is only the tip of the glacier of my talent.*** What is interesting, or at least sounds interesting, right now will be NOTHING compared to what I will one day write for you in, say, a decade.

So now, I hope you understand my dilemma. Here I sit, staring at my laptop, wondering if I should even bother with sharing my brilliance at all. Because sometimes: to just grin and bear it, to put complete faith in only yourself, and set aside that need to be something that other people want you to be, is the scariest thing you can do in any art.

Not to mention: no Columbia undergrad would ever fuck a normal guy.

(*This technique only works for me, not you. Don’t be the dick walking around Columbia University, claiming to be Matt Fried. My family is Jewish, meaning I know at least six lawyers.)

(**Frank Rich, The New York Times)

(***The span of my talent is medically proven to be the size of THE UNIVERSE’S largest glacier)

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