I should have known that the School of Life would be correct. Only a day after watching their video on flirting, I’m realizing that my flirting skills are enough to sustain myself. Sex is really only a secondary outcome on the desired outcome chart. We really mostly just want to feel wanted, which is why we flirt, to get that attention in a subtle interplay of banter and physical gestures.
Yesterday, I was trying to save a gecko I accidentally scraped with a pot plant I was moving and cut in half almost all the way through and in the meantime, I was having an online flirt with a friend of mine, trying to describe to him how I was trying to help give the gecko the last good moments of his life. The gecko got a bit of herbal medicine, some water, and I was trying to find him a delicious half dead bug as a last meal offering, but I didn’t make it in time. The first and only bug I found that would meet the specifications slipped away from me into the grass. I stared into the geckos eyes and his little mouth was no longer gasping for breath, nor was his body struggling to get away. What do you do? I would have put him in the grass but he’d probably get eaten alive by ants. So I put him in some shade and then tried to do all of the above. I’m not sure what he was thinking in his last moments but he looked unimpressed with me. I felt like he was telling me to be more careful. He was so wise.
I know that I should look after myself better. If I did look after myself better, I’d have more to offer to others. And I really dislike what I understand to be the intentions of Ayn Rand’s individualism theory. I always veer towards the importance of the collective as opposed to individual, but it’s so obvious that they both rely on one another. It’s like Cartman says in the 1776/anti-Iraq war movement episode: the pro-war and anti-war sides depend on one another for a balanced perception of what America is. If America was full of only war-mongers, everyone would hate Americans. But if it was full of protesters, everyone would attack America cause it would be full of pussies. The two sides need each other to achieve a balanced perception of the whole. And so the show’s conclusion is that America must go to war but also protest the war.
A collectivist haven would need to be filled with healthy individualists, meaning people who are not driven by ego, but understand their role in the collective. I accept that everyone must go for what they love, which in balance would be something that contributes to the collective, but can be a personalized and creative gift. Neither philosophy is whole without the accompaniment of the other, giving whatever exists outside of that pairing the perception of balance.
And I need to flirt to get the attention that I need. I obviously can’t convince myself that I don’t need attention, despite having tried to do just that for the last 2-3 years. As soon as I hook up with someone, I am driven to get more from them. Sure, that longing dissipates after a while, but the need still appears. I am not immune and there’s no point in kidding myself that I am. But the healthiest thing that I can do is to work on my flirting and get that attention that I need, saving my sex for someone with whom I really connect. If all I need is fleeting attention, I can get that from having a really good conversation. When there is a good back and forth dialogue going on, there is nothing sexier, or more attractive. I have never had the full-body shivers like I have gotten from a really, really good conversation. And you out there with whom I’ve shared that experience know who you are – there is no denying that kind of electricity.
So, alright, Ayn Rand. I always knew I’d have to accept you into my life at some time, to some degree, and I suppose the time has finally arrived. I hope that you’ll accept me, too.