I should have talked a little bit more about the disease for those of you unfamiliar with it. And then I should have talked about my other medical problems. But instead, my brain glitched and I wandered off in a whole other direction. Which tends to happen from time to time.
I really should take some time and discuss CFIDS here. But I’m not going to, because it’s really depressing, and coming out of a couple of weeks of medical badness (probably not a proper technical term, but do I look like I care?) I’m just not up to it. If you’re unfamiliar with the ailment – or if you think that it JUST means being tired all the time and are therefore horrendously misinformed about the disease – you should read the CFIDS entry on Wikipedia. You might also want to type “the spoon theory” into your search engine of choice. Its been awhile since I’ve read the original piece, but if I remember correctly it was written by someone with fibromyalgia. Regardless, her thoughts on day-to-day struggles with the disease work for CFIDS sufferers as well. [I’d provide hyperlinks to this stuff, but, well, I have no internet, and plan on posting this stuff hit-and-run style at the library with no time to find web addresses and everything. Sorry.]
Anyway, in addition to not expounding on CFIDS in the original “Why I’m Still a Virgin” piece, I also skipped a number of other medical issues. (Whoops?) Things like Obsessive/Compulsive Disorder, severe allergies, and an as-yet undiagnosed seizure disorder. (I’ve also got diabetes, paroxysmal atrial tachycardia, and acid reflux, but I honestly can’t see how any of these are keeping me from having sex, and only mention them now for a sense of completeness.)
I am seemingly allergic to everything. Penicillin. Onions. Animal dander. Grass (lawn, not pot – although, it wouldn’t surprise me to learn I was allergic to pot). Dust. Bark dust. Every soap on the market except for Neutragena. Every deodorant I’ve ever tried. I could go on. (And on and on.)
And then there’s a sensory concern with my allergies. Sight. Hearing. Touch. Taste. These are the four senses. They are my ONLY four senses. The allergies have packed my sinuses with so much mucus and mystery detritus that I have not had a functioning sense of smell since before the age of twelve. (And, truth be told, my sense of taste is probably handicapped, as taste and smell tend to work in tandem.) This also leads to me not being able to breathe through my nose.
Let’s do a little quick math . . . a sweaty 450 lb man + allergic to soap + no sense of smell = ???. Yeah, there are occasions when the hygiene tends to be a bit of a concern.
The lack of a sense of smell has fixed it so that I’ve also never been able to use the phrase, “Mm, you smell so good . . .” Can’t do it. For all I know, she smells like wet raccoon. (Not that I’ve ever personally smelled wet raccoon. Not that I’d’ve been able to smell a wet raccoon if I’d’ve had one sitting in my lap.)
And then of course there’s Snookums to consider. Or Rex. Or whatever her lovable furry pet is named. If I had a cat, I’d name it Allergen Snotmaker. (Then I’d have to give it away, probably in the midst of a sneezing / coughing / wheezing fit.) Come on, people . . . what’s wrong with a nice goldfish? And I’ve always thought that the humble teddy bear was seriously underrated for companionship. But no, it seems that all women everywhere seem to live in houses and apartments that have been carefully mined with cat or dog hair. Does it make me more sexy or less sexy when my head explodes and I projectile blast large volumes of mucus all over the room?
(One of my more jackassy friends – and can you believe that my spellchecker has some sort of problem with the word “jackassy”? – recently told me, “Dude, no wonder you’re still a virgin . . . you’re allergic to pussy!” He then proceeded to laugh at his own joke for what seemed like twenty minutes, then wandered off to annoy someone else.)
The doctors figured out that I had OCD when I was in my early 30s. I’d thought I probably had Attention Deficit Disorder or something for several years before that. (I still might have. I could have both. Who knows?) There are enough similar symptoms that it was an either/or(/both?) situation, and I apparently fixated on ADD instead of OCD.
I’d had OCD behavior patterns since I was at least six years old. So why didn’t anyone realize it until I was in my 30s? Well, here’s the thing . . . even at six, I knew that the specific behaviors brought on by the OCD weren’t normal. The things that they compelled me to do weren’t being done by other people. Or if they were, they weren’t being done where I could see them. I don’t know if there was a logical progression that led from this train of thought to an actual compulsion, but one of the things that the OCD made me do was to hide my OCD behavior.
My OCD wasn’t as extreme as the case studies you hear about, or those of fictional characters like Tony Shaloub’s portrayal of Adrian Monk, or Jack Nicholson’s character in “As Good As It Gets” But I do exhibit some of the classic OCD behaviors.
I constantly check things. I know I locked the door, yet still I check it. I know I set the time record on the VCR, yet still, I check it. And so on. I’m big on symmetry – there are certain things (and categories of things) that if they touch my right hand, they also have to touch my left, and the like. There are certain odd little things I have to do a certain (equal) number of times if I’m going to do them at all.
I retrace steps. I can’t watch a door close or a drawer shut. Sometimes if something is being set down on a surface, I can’t watch it make full contact. I got all sorts of weird stuff going on. And a whole lot of these behaviors were in place when I was a kid. I HAD to do them, and since I HAD to keep it a secret, I had to do it all very, very subtly.
I was briefly in therapy in my late 20s for some weird medical stuff I had going on, and I told my therapist about my oddball behavior patterns. She just kind of shrugged it off (I think my therapist kinda sucked), but once I had opened up about it, the compulsion to keep it a secret no longer seemed to be there. Which is how I was able to write these last however many paragraphs about it just now.
Anyway, in addition to the typical compulsions I’ve got (and I’ve by no means listed all of them, nor will I), I’ve got some stuff going on in my head that really seems to screw me over when dealing with women I’m trying to meet.
Dating, as defined by stand-up comedians the world over, basically consists of two people lying to each other about themselves to one another in order to trap their counterpart into a relationship. And, by time the truths rear their ugly heads, it’s too late – ha ha! – you’re already my boyfriend/girlfriend. You can’t back out now, even though you just discovered that I’m not really a republican/dog-lover/well-hung/etc.
I always thought that the above was the stupidest commentary on male/female relations ever, but I’m beginning to suspect that it’s true, because I’ve never marketed myself as ‘what a girl might want’ vs. ‘what I really am’ and, coincidentally or not, I’ve never had a real girlfriend.
If I were out there in the dating scene, and discovered that a woman had misrepresented herself to seem more palatable to potential mates, I’d like to think that I’d be forgiving, unless the lie was in a category like ‘being a devil worshipper/not being a devil worshipper’, ‘being a white supremacist/not being a white supremacist’, or ‘preferring Star Trek: Deep Space Nine over Babylon 5/being at least somewhat sane’. But if it’s just a little thing . . . pfft! Who really cares?
But that’s me. I can forgive and forget the little things. But what if the woman I’m courting can’t? That’s the big fear. Or what if she can forget the little things, but her dealbreakers are weird, and seem small and inconsequential to me? Plus, the truth is just so much easier to remember.
How does this fit into the section on obsessive compulsive disorder, you ask? Am I a compulsive truth-teller? Not hardly. (“I didn’t do it, honest!”) I’m not compulsively honest in my day-to-day life. And while I’m honest when talking to a woman I’m interested in, that’s not really compulsive. No, the compulsive behavior that I think sinks and dooms me when left on my own with a pretty girl is a need for full disclosure.
I’m not afraid of being caught in a lie. I’m afraid of being accused of perpetrating a lie of omission. “Holy crap, you didn’t tell me you weighed 450 lbs!” Didn’t tell her what my weight was, and if she didn’t ask, is it my fault? Well, maybe if I’m a big fat porker, then it kinda is my fault if I didn’t mention it. How am I to know. So, I have this compulsive need to give a potential mate all the information I think she’ll need.
I’m fat, I’m chronically ill, I’m poor, I don’t drive, I’m a virgin, my penis is small, etc. etc.
C.J., having met me through my zine work, knew that I was fat, sick, poor, and a non-self transporting near-shut-in before she ever contacted me with the intention of meeting me. This was all information to be found in my work. But I’d apparently won her over with my writing style, and so she wanted to meet me anyway. (And as we started corresponding erotically, she discovered the virginity and small penis thing right away.)
So there have to be aspects of me that counteract (or at least counterbalance) the list of faults that I keep shoving in people’s faces. That’s what I need. I need people to read my writing, become enamored of me, and then agree to have sex with me.
[Is this actually an ulterior motive I have in doing a blog? Oh, Hell no. There’s nothing ulterior about it. If you live in the general Salem, Oregon geographic area, are a female, and enjoy my writing, PLEASE, get to know me better!]
Without a large serving of my personality to go along with it, however, it appears that just being read off the items on the CON column of my PRO/CON list, prospective mates just tend to run off screaming.
I’ve tried to meet women. I’ve tried to start up normal conversations. But once an actual conversation takes off, the OCD kicks in, and the next thing I know, I’m shocked to discover that I’ve once again warned her about all the things she should know before getting to know me better. Conversation ends shortly thereafter.
What I need, when faced with meeting a woman, is to just be able to say, “You read my blog? Shiny.” And know that she already knows everything that she needs to know from here.
O.K., I’ve only had diabetes for a few years now. And I can’t actually think of any ways that it’s kept me from having sex. Once I realized that, I thought about removing it from this post altogether. But then it occurred to me that if/when I ever do have sex with somebody, the diabetes will keep me from licking chocolate syrup off of her nipples and toes. And that’s important, damn it!
[Actually, at that point, I’ll probably just ignore my diabetes and do it anyway.]
I’ve been having full-blown seizures for about three or four years now. One moment I’m doing something upright, the next thing I know I’m sprawled out on the floor with my head pounding from where it had been (go figure) pounding into the floor moments earlier. As far as I can tell, nothing ever happens in between. Unless I’m all alone, there are usually people hovering over me. Usually strangers looking panicked or family members looking bored. Sometimes a mixture of the two. Although lately it will sometimes be my sister and her fiancé trying to hold identical goofy faces (as the first thing I’ll see) without cracking up.
According to eye-witness reports, what actually happens is that I’ll start twitching or shaking or jerking (it varies) and then either fall down (if I was standing) or fall over (if I was seated). By time I hit the floor, I’m flopping around like a fish out of water. Limbs jerking around, head banging on the floor. This lasts anywhere from 20 seconds to a minute or so. Then I just lay there. I either come to on my own, or someone rousts me. At which point the episode ends, or very shortly starts all over again. If it starts up again, it will sometimes cycle through over and over for a half hour or more.
During those lengthy episodes I sometimes have fuzzy memories of the spaces in between seizures. Other times I’m told that I ask the same questions and am given the same answers as if for the first time after each and every individual seizure.
As I said, the full-blown seizures have been going on for three or four years. Prior to the seizures, however, was the twitching. Almost always the left side of my body, and usually the arm. The classic ‘twitch’ starts with a sudden hard jerk of my shoulder that lifts my arm up away from my body through no intended command of my own. It will do this over and over again, every few seconds, sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for hours and hours and a time. And the twitching . . . well, that’s been going on for probably close to fifteen years now.
And back before that . . . the twitching seemed to develop out of an incredibly strong facial tic I’d sometimes get shortly after I became ill with what was eventually diagnosed as CFIDS. The facial tic went away, sort of morphing into the twitch.
Anyway, the twitching comes and goes. Sometimes I’ll have multiple twitching episodes a day for several days a week, sometimes I’ll go for weeks at a time with twitching at all. The seizures follow a similar patternlessness. (Sometimes a twitching episode will flow directly into a seizure episode.)
The doctors have no idea what’s causing the seizures (or the twitching, for that matter). They say that it’s not epilepsy. I’ve had MRIs and CAT scans, and all sorts of other tests. They removed my brain one time and soaked it in vinegar overnight, then played basketball with it the next day, but those tests were inconclusive. (O.K., I might have made up that last one.)
And there’s really no way for me to tell for certain when one is coming on. I’ve got a list of things that seem to make seizures more likely. Extreme temperature change sometimes does it. (Leaving the heated indoors during winter into the cold, cold outside, or leaving the air conditioned indoors during summer into the hundred degree weather). A lot of stress will sometimes bring one on. Very strenuous activity will sometimes trigger one. (Like lifting lots of heavy objects. I obviously don’t know if sexual intercourse would be a potential trigger, but I can say that to date, I have never had a seizure while masturbating. And I masturbate a lot, so I imagine that if it was going to happen, it would have by now.)
My doctor recently started playing around with my meds. Fiddling with dosages, adding additional anti-convulsants, and so on. There was a completely seizure-free stretch of about seven weeks there where I thought we’d found the right combination and dosage. I thought that right up until week eight, which brought me six major seizures over the course of four days.
So now the doc is back to altering dosages and swapping out prescriptions again. (Between the seizures, the diabetes, and everything else that’s treatably wrong with me, I’m currently on eight different medications, for a total of 19 pills a day.)
When the seizures are ‘acting up’, it gets to where I’m almost scared to leave the house. I have images of me cracking my skull open on the sidewalk. And It makes it kind of hard for me to meet women when I’m hiding in my house.
Plus, I’ve noticed that the natural reaction of potential mates who witness one of my seizures ISN’T “oh, how adorable!” It’s more along the lines of “Eeeek!” followed by them running in the other direction.
There was this girl that I think I was flirting with / was flirting with me at a party at my sister’s place. [I can’t tell when anybody is flirting, myself included, but that’s a topic for another time.] I had a seizure during this party. Following the seizure, after I was upright and no longer feeling wonky, everything that made me think she’d been flirting with me was no longer there. Plus, she looked a little bit scared of me afterward.
The more that I actually write this stuff down, the more I begin to doubt that I’m ever going to have sex.