DEPT The Market
ISSUE Fall 2012
AUTHOR Paul Nakayama
HED: THE DYNAMIC DUO
He’s one way when he’s sober, completely different when he’s drunk. Columnist Paul Nakayama uncovers the truth behind your masked man.
I just returned from Comic Con with a pile of Batman books, and it’s a few days before The Dark Knight Rises premieres. I’m almost fanatically on the Batman bandwagon this week, and if I could look good in black leather and spandex, I would be running around dressed in it. Now, this is probably not a good way to portray myself considering I’m the magazine’s resident dating columnist, but I’m more of an “unintentional-abstinence-sucks-so-don’t-do-what-I-do” sort of advisor anyway. So, in sheer geek revelry, I’m going to use Batman as my device for talking through this month’s Awful Truth topic: “dual identities,” or why men are flirtier when drunk.
For those of you who don’t know (which isn’t anyone I know, but it’s entirely possible that you stumbled across this magazine on a remote deserted island), Batman is a brooding, anti-social superhero while his alter ego, Bruce Wayne, is a flirty socialite. So, when the mask goes on, his crime-fighting persona is in play: he’s serious and stiff. Most men, including myself, also need a mask to do battle with fearsome forces, and by fearsome forces I don’t mean criminals; I’m talking about girls and how much it sucks to get rejected. And our masks aren’t made of black neoprene rubber but of copious shots of tequila and whiskey.
Most of you might call us wimps for needing a mask to do something as simple as approaching a girl at a bar. “Have some balls,” you might say. I think most men will agree that it’s not simple. It’s terrifying, humbling and often, humiliating. It’s a flat “NO” in your face based on who knows what’s wrong with you, which by the way, you can’t help but wonder. It’s the padding that protects against the bumps and bruises. I’ll give you an example of how things go with and without the “mask.”
Example 1: I’ll approach an intriguing girl while completely sober and attempt to strike up a conversation. I’m nervous and, having no idea what to say, mostly inane verbal diarrhea comes uncontrollably spewing from my mouth, maybe something a little too truthful like, “Yeah, I’m 37 and I don’t think I’ll ever stop playing video games. Can you find it in your heart to be sexually attracted to me?” At this point, she’ll throw her drink on me, or I’ll just save her the trouble
and do it myself. I’ll go home and cry myself to sleep.
Example 2: I’ll have a few drinks as I contemplate approaching an intriguing girl. I’ll eventually be drunk enough to convince myself that life is short and I need to talk to that girl. She’s probably just as lonely for company as I am, I’ll think. My confidence will be overflowing because I’ve got my handy-dandy mask on, so I’ll start a conversation, maybe a funny anecdote, and eventually throw in a flirty non-desperate comment or two. Sure, she’ll still shoot me down, but the difference is, this time I’m drunk enough to hold back the tears of defeat. In fact, I may even walk away, slap my butt and bellow, “You could’ve had Batman!”
There are problems with having this dual identity approach to hitting on girls, and they’re obvious. Most girls will assume we’re not being sincere, that we’re just drunk and horny. And yes, sometimes that may be true, but the truth is, we’re just trying to find the courage to take a chance and possibly meet the girl of our dreams, and hopefully not get our balls too mauled in the process. Sometimes you need the fear of rejection to be numbed so we can say all the great things we wanted to say in the moment, rather than in hindsight on our crawl back to our friends.
The other problem is that, well, we’re drunk, and that makes things a little unpredictable at times. We might lose all sense of social common sense and start flinging faux pas around like they
were batarangs. I once drunkenly told a girl that her nipples were popping through her shirt. I did so as a form of misguided courtesy, but let me be clear and say that it did not lead to the sweeping romance I had predicted. Being drunk, we might also black out certain chunks of our memory, forgetting vital pieces of information like names, phone numbers and faces.
There isn’t a guy out there who doesn’t wish he could be charming and funny enough to woo a girl, and maybe we are, but the truth is, a lot of times our heads get in the way. We psych ourselves out. It’s a crutch, but it’s easier saying what’s on your mind after a few drinks have loosened the inhibitions. I mean, look at Batman; he kicks way more ass with the cowl on than off. It doesn’t mean he’s not the same person underneath. He’s just in the zone when he’s got that mask on.
Oh, who am I trying to fool anyway? You girls totally do it, too.