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A Pirate's Lament

Valentine's Day, the day of affection. Time to remind your significant other that you're still into them … and perhaps to guiltily hope that they don't remind you affection should be continuous instead of saved for one day out of the year.

I don't celebrate Valentine's Day. Like most holidays, I don't celebrate it because I think it's arbitrary. But even if I celebrated it in principle, I wouldn't do anything this year.

A pirate's life keeps him at sea for extended periods of time, and a famous pirate has few (if any) safe ports to spend time at. It's a lifestyle that makes love difficult. And this will be one of my rare "personal" articles, discussing my somewhat less-traditionally-piratey (read: dry land) life.

I'm single, and I've been that way for a long time. I'm content with my life. Very content — approaching resignation. I'm simply not enthusiastic about searching for a mate. This does stand in the way of my desire to have children someday (despite the arguments of some that children aren't worth it), but since I believe that radical life extension technologies will bear fruit within my lifetime, I don't feel any sense of urgency.

I understand what my difficulties are, and their origins.

Apropos knowing those details, one of my problems is my personality. I'm the deeply-introspective, highly analytical, self-critical, aloof, pensive, absent-minded-professor type. It's uncommon and off-putting. I'm easy to get along with, but I'm difficult to get to know.

Another difficulty is my relative lack of experience. I got a late start on relationships (for which I do blame my parents, but that's another story) and consequently I tend to be perceived as ignorant and/or immature, which is unattractive. This disadvantage is likely to be permanent because it is self-reinforcing.

I'm unusually thin. Muscle, bulk, and overall size are attractive in a man, and unattractive in a woman (in my culture, anyway). Curse my Y chromosome; I would've been a highly sought-after woman. This problem is twofold: I'm unattractive because I don't look masculine, and I make women feel fat by comparison which makes them feel unattractive. And they don't want to be with a person who makes them feel unattractive.

On the matter of how I make women feel, there's another problem. I'm very smart. I'll decline to say precisely, but I'll vaguely say that it's more than three standard deviations above average. I'm scary-smart to many people; I make them feel dumb, and that doesn't lead to attraction.

My ideological beliefs are very far from the mainstream. Most people are shocked by what I believe, and most of the remainder are shocked by my justifications. And some people are shocked by the very idea of rational justifications for beliefs.

Those are the most significant things I've identified that make me unattractive to women. Perhaps an even larger problem is that those things have discouraged me, so that I seldom go to environments where I could meet women. This is a trend that's easy to perpetuate! It's a shame … imagine all the poetry I haven't written and all the surprises I haven't sprung.

My own selection criteria are a hurdle, too, but I don't want to get into all that. At least my criteria are under my control, so I could change them if necessary. Sometimes I wonder — less idly and more seriously, these days — whether my most realistic opportunity is to simply search for a young woman who aspires to be a conscientious mother and housewife. That sounds so very old-fashioned; do such women exist anymore? (And would they admit it, if asked their goal?)

That's as much as this pirate can say without telling a fisherman's tale of the one that got away.

Tiny Island