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The Not 100% Complete FAQs for the Pretty Fucked Up Person in a Pretty Fucked Up World

Birds do it, bees do it, even some human beings do it...let's Fall in Love!

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On the previous page, you basically asked how a person knows when they are experiencing romantic love. The very irritating yet essentially correct answer is that if you have to ask, it ain't it. It's like pornography--the very first time you run across it, your eyes may get all wide and ask themselves 'whoah, what's this?!' but pretty soon you figure out what it is and what it's for. Just like a cliche, you'll know it when you feel it.

But the way you know it when you feel it is by laying the Proper Foundation, and the Proper Foundation is a Falliing In Love Experience. So, as promised, we'll be starting with Step 1, which not coincidentally involves making your eyes get all wide as if they were encountering pornograhy for the first time. Like this:

Step 1: Open Your Eyes Very Wide and Keep Them Open That Wide Until They Get Really Dry and Start Hurting and Everything.

Admittedly, this sounds like an incredibly stupid step. Still you need to follow it. Right now. At your computer. While you are reading this. Open your eyes very wide and keep them open that wide until they get really dry and start hurting and everything. Do it. Right now.

Okay, why did I ask you to do that? Because I wanted the hilarious good fun of imagining you with your eyes wide open and all dry and everything while I was sitting here at my computer cracking up. Ho ho ho! But now that I've indulged myself, I will cleverly reveal the Secret Hidden Reason why I asked you to do this. Because it's a core step to falling in love.

People open their eyes up real wide when they are scared shitless or encountering something really novel or interesting in their environments, like the person they're going to fall in love with or a gigantic Alien Bowling Ball descending toward their heads at approximately 2000 miles an hour or whatever it is they're encountering that's worth being feeling scared and curious about. And that's the basic sensation that accompanies falling in love. Terrified curiosity. Just so you know. They call it 'falling' in love because it basically feels like being hurled forcibly off a cliff of indeterminate height into an abyss of certain and yet rather thrilling death. Basically.

But back to our main point about wide open eyes. Being scared shitless in and of itself does not automatically suggest that there is a benefit to wide open eyes. We are just used to the correlation. The truth is, people open their eyes real wide when they are scared because the eager and nervous cells of their bodies want a bigger window to anxiously peer out of. The information-seeking cells of your body press themselves in a terrified manner against the portal of your eyeballs and scream to themselves "What the fuck is going on?" When your eyes are wide open they have a better chance of finding out.


Actual Scientific Studies have now revealed to an enthralled public that when you open your eyes wide with terror or even, less interestingly, with curiosity, that your body really does process more information and at a faster rate than when you lounge around with your eyes half-closed lizard-like. It makes a difference.

And what this means is that if you can teach yourself to KEEP YOUR EYES OPEN, you are more likely to accidentally (and it will be accidentally) spot the person You Are Destined To Fall Madly in Love With. Your eyes have to be open and looking. Really they do. They need to be Curious and Observant.

They cannot be glazed over and inattentive, consumed with private and internal worries or vexing questions about calculating square roots or the meaning of a dream you just had last night about a charging elephant that ate a lot of bananas and then burped loudly before jumping into your backyard pool. And when you open your eyes wide, you will find it difficult to concentrate on things that could ordinarily consume your attention, like pepperoni pizza. Because your brain will, whether it likes it or not, be forced to process information about the wider world (wider, get it?, wider, ha ha ha).

Now I don't mean to imply that I actually expect you to go around like a dork with your eyes wide open like you have a thyroid disease or something. But really, if you can periodically remind yourself to OPEN YOUR EYES, you are more likely to actually see a woman who will knock your socks off. And finding that your socks are missing is a sure that either you have done laundry or gotten really drunk and engaged in an Unfortunate Liaison or, more promisingly, Fallen Blissfully In Love.

I realize you may not want to do this. Actually start looking for someone you can fall in love with. Since you have a girlfriend and that could potentially set off the whole Guilt portion of the Guilt and Disappointment equation. But...maybe you could kind of sneak in some looking when you're not too busy. Maybe you could even look with your EYES OPEN at your girlfriend every once in awhile, just to see what information your brain picks up.

But, but, say. (Or at least you're supposed to say this at some point.) I DO NOT KNOW WHAT I AM LOOKING FOR!

You were quite clear about this in your query. You already knew intuitively with your brilliant intuitive something that what you needed to be doing was looking for something. But you do not know what. So I will tell you.

What you are looking for is Someone Better Than You. Way better than you. Someone who can do things that you just plain can't do. Like, oh, relieve the pain and fear in your life. Or Be Calm When You Are Not. Or Get Excited When You Can't. Or whatever happens to be really impressive at the moment it happens.

This is incredibly simple and insanely logical. You are looking for someone better than you. Not someone you can tolerate for long periods of time, although that makes things easier. Not someone who can tolerate you for long periods of time, although that is quite pleasant. No, my friend--

You are looking for someone who is Obviously Out of Your League. Not just out of your league is a visible way that makes people say to you, gently or not, 'uh, don't you think she's kind of out of your league?'. No, I mean out of your league in a way that you didn't realize actually existed before you saw this person.

People who are inherently and obviously in your league are boring. People who are not in your league or who are Otherwise Forbidden are not boring. Indeed, Out of Your Leagueness is a core romantic fantasy of people from all cultures and walks of life, male and female. Bollywood makes musicals about it. Shakespeare wrote tragedies about it (Romeo and Juliet were conveniently Out of Each Other's Leagues not just because they were young and hot but also because they were Otherwise Forbidden.)

If you don't care about Bollywood and the Greatest Writer in the History of the English Language, then just look at a few more modern American movies. Romantic comedies written by men almost always pair up the guy with a woman who is Out of His Physical Attractiveness League. (Seth Rogen and Katherine Heigl form a particularly egegrious example in the movie Knocked Up.) Romantic comedies for women almost always pair up the woman with a man who is Out of Her Financial League (e.g., Pretty Woman with Julia Roberts). To go back to older examples, Cinderella is a classic Out of Her League story, and Cyrano de Bergerac or Beauty and the Beast are classic Out of His League Fairy Tale Type Things. There are so many goddamn examples of the enduring and powerful hold of the Out of Your League Principle on the human imagination that your Wide Open Eyeballs would explode if you had to watch or read them all.

Out of Your League = True Love. Sort of. It's more complicated than that as not all Out of Your League People will qualify as True Love Objects. And we'll deal with the complications later. When we get around to it.

There are, in fact, many complex mathematical equations that take place during a romantic relationship as to exactly how much better than you is ideal for you at any given moment in the relationship. The Love Brain actually keeps a running tally of Cumulative Better Than You Point Totals over the course of a relationship and tries to keep the Out of Your League Person it loves from getting too far ahead by forcing you to display your own superior qualities on rescue-y type occasions. But we're getting ahead of ourselves. Because at the moment you are not in the correct type of Better Than You Relationship. Indeed, if we are going to be brutally vicious and truthful (Sudden Suggestion: do not encourage your GF to read this), the fact that your Love Brain decided to try to explain to me that you care deeply about your GF indicates that important Brain Cells in your brain think that you in fact are better than her. Because when a Love Brain starts using phrases like "care deeply about you" what it really means is something like "It's not that I don't care deeply about you, because I do, it's just that I don't really want to be around you any more. At all. If possible. Like, for a really long time. I'm thinking maybe, oh let's say, forever." And it thinks these kinds of things because it thinks the other person will be all hurt and shit if you walk out the door and it thinks the other person will be all hurt and shit because the other person must be aware that you are better! It's kind of a self-fulfiling loop and an occasional Hazard of Relationships.

Now, your conscious brain may think nothing of the sort, but your Love Brain is sidling toward the door and thinking up handy excuse phrases about Caring Deeply and trolling the Internet for Escape Information. For when the Love Brain feels that you have latched onto someone better than you, it stops using Socially Appropriate English-language phrases (or French phrases if it's really romantic) in favor of a desperate suicidal wordless sensation that it cannot live without whoever it loves and doesn't really want to try.

So let's go over the Convincing Logic behind looking for someone Out of Your League (OOYL). Going over the Convincing Logic is a time-wasting device that will allow your Conscious Brain to confer behind the scenes with your Love Brain while you are idly reading, which is important because they need to get their shit straightened out so they can come to an agreement that will allow you to Search Successfully for a Falling In Love Experience.

Convincing Logic Element #1: The Brain's Definition of Happiness. The human brain experiences happiness when results exceed expectations. In honor of a recent 60 Minutes television show report, we will call this the Danish Effect, in honor of yummy pastries. Actually, it's in honor of the Danish people in Denmark, who are accidentally, and entirely unbeknownst to themselves, the happiest people in the world.

They are the happiest people in the world because no one in the world is very impressed by Danish people. Including Danish people. This means that Danish people are frequently pleasantly surprised to discover that in spite of the weather, things are basically going all right. Who'd have thought? The Danish people wouldn't. And so their brains are periodically and happily surprised by the contrast between their low expectations and their actual realities.

Brains, including human brains, are wired and designed to perceive contrast. Especially contrast between expectations and reality. Reality better than expected=happy. Reality worse than expected=unhappy. Reality better=Good. Reality worse=Bad. This is why you could get insanely rich, but if you are hanging out with people who are super insanely rich, you will feel discontented and unhappy with your finances. In fact, the entire United States of America is insanely rich and peevishly discontented at the same time. Because the entire US of A is constantly being exposed to things (advertising) that make it expect things that it does not have. By the same token, you could set a new world record in swimming at the Olympic Games, but if some asshole set a new world record during the same race that was just a teeny bit better than yours--you could be bitterly angry and disappointed. Brains pay attention to contrast.

The implications of this for romantic love are clear, logical, and not exactly sentimental. If your Love Brain perceives that you are in the company of someone Better Than You or OOYL, it will compare and contrast your inferior self to the superior person you are with and shout joyously to itself "SCORE!" And then it will start trying to jump on the bed. It will dance around in delirious delight, happily comparing and contrasting reasonable expectation (someone about the same as you) with the Glorious Reality that you are with Someone Better Than You. Furthermore, it will never tire of this sensation. You and your Love Brain may tire of the superior person eventually, but everytime your wide open eyes see something that reminds them of the love object's superiority, the Love Brain will get that old familiar thrill and your little heart will start to flutter again. It's an addictive sensation, and one well worth pursuing.

Back to Danish pastries and Convincing Logic Element #2. The Danes, it turns out, also have ample opportunity to munch on pastries because they live in what Republicans who know big words refer to as a Modern Welfare State. A Modern Welfare State devotes its governmental considerations to obtaining things for its citizens like Health and Economic Security. It does not worry so much about considerations like Freedom From Taxation, Opportunity to Engage in Voracious Capitalism, Free Market Competition for Scarce Resources, Being a World Superpower, and so on. Consequently, Danish people do not have to devote the kind of Brain Resources to Desperate Worrying About Sheer Survival in a Vicious and Ruthless Economic System that people in countries like say, oh I don't know, the USA in the 21st century have to. In an amazing twist of fate, liberation from Desperate Worrying frees up the Danish brain for useless activities like Happiness, Contentment and Constant Enjoyable Complaining While Sitting Around in Cafes Munching on Delicious Pastries.

Again, the implications for romantic relationships are clear. At least in my mind they are. When you hook yourself up on a continuing basis with someone with the right OOYL Better Than You Quotient, not only is your Brain Frequently Pleasantly Surprised, it also feels deliciously safe and secure, as though it was hanging around shooting the breeze and munching on pastries. Like this:

Suppose you are the type of successful yet inherently stupid person who would make a lot of money and then attempt to sail around the world solo on your ridiculously expensive boat. And then, because no one would do this unless he was stupid, you encounter a variety of stupid and yet alarming and life-threatening problems on your attempted voyage. You, having cleverly Fallen in Love with someone better than you, whip out your salt-water damaged satellite phone, pray vigorously, and then miraculously reach your OOYL helpmate. You tell her your problems and express doubts about your progress along with Grave Worries and indecision as to whether or not you should continue. Your Better Than You person listens seriously and then says "Get your ass home, Steve. The first thing you need to do is get your equipment repaired and then you need to re-think your navigation routes. Continuing this voyage is stupid until you address these problems." And then you sigh with delicious security, knowing that you are talking with Someone Better Than You Who Makes the Right Decisions When You Are Leaning Toward the Wrong Ones, and you are able to go home in full and contented knowledge that with the assistance of the Better Than You Person, you will eventually achieve your goal.

Or if you are the opposite and always inclined to bail out too soon and you choose the correct OOYL person to fall in love with, then you call up that person who tells you to keep at it and you do and then it all works out okay, thank god. Either way, you always have someone to Blame Your Success On. There is no better antidote to the constant stress and worry a Brain will try to subject itself to than to have someone by your side that you can always Blame Your Success On.

Really. This is a Million Dollar Key to Your Life Turning Out Better Than It Usually Does For Most People Success Principle.

Okay, so much for Convincing Logic.

Now, how are you going to actually find the person with the correct balance of OOYL Better Than Youness and yet Implausible Attainability? It's actually easier than you'd think, although it can take time and effort.


Oh come on. Seriously, of course I want someone out of my league, but how in holy fucking hell is THAT ever going to happen?


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