“Unknown Pleasures” / Persona Studies

Subject #56’s Coffee Meets Bagel profile:

I am…
New to online dating. a graphic designer during the day and a kitchen magician by night 🙂 umm, honest and sincere. quick to volunteer to make a playlist, a night owl. Shy at first but warm up to people. Open to new adventurs

I like..
Sushi, tapas, hiking.Movies—Fellini, Kubrick, Perminger, Godard, Herzog etc..Game of Thrones, Archer, alternative and classic rock. to be the small spoon. Coffee, Spotify and a fair bit of gluten 😛

I appreciate when my date…
is happy to see me. Knows how to banter. Can derive happiness from the smaller things. Is opionated, tells me when I am wrong, supports me when I am right. has progressive views.

Subject #56’s Tinder profile:

New here. Graphic designer, movie snob, sushi and coffee lover. On Spotify 25 hours daily. Sarcastic. know of some nice

Subject #56’s Bumble profile:

People watcher, graphic designer, sushi lover, movie snob. Know all the words to Ms. Jackson. Oh and I know all the farm-to-table restaurants in this town.

Subject #56 deleted his OKCupid profile last week


Subject #56, here upon referred to as #56, was born to immigrants who had arrived by boat seeking economic prosperity. And although the dream has been realized, it has changed them in ways sociologists, psychologists and every other -ologists are still trying to understand. But the combined intelligence of these “experts” pale in comparison to that of your humble narrator, dear reader. There are arcs and arcs to these arcs, but for the simplicity’s sake, we shall only focus on that which seems relevant.

Eight pillows on the queen size bed of a 31 year old living in a society with lax social codes is a sure sign of loneliness and an inability to connect with others. And this claim is true, dear user, because #56 has been using these pillows as a substitute for someone living. Unfortunately, the presence can be substituted by these pillows but neither the warmth nor the touch. And these things affect him in ways #56 does not understand.

When they had immigrated to the country, #56’s family, which constituted him and his parents, could only afford to rent a dingy basement in the south side of the city. And due to their frugal nature, #56’s parents only moved out after they had enough to make a down-payment on a house; which, I am told, was not until #56’s 15th birthday. Until then, and even some years after, the whole family slept in the same bed. Since #56 was prone to movements during sleep, his parents decided that he would sleep in the middle of the bed. This, my reader, could also be why #56’s parents did not conceive another child. On his part, he made a point of keeping it fair. Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays, he hugged daddy, the rest of the days were for mommy; that extra day had been discussed with and approved by daddy. In the winter months, if #56 was hugging daddy, he would slide his legs in between mommy’s knees where she would keep it warm and vice-versa. Flanked by his superheroes, #56 felt safe, secure and loved, but with time, all three knew and understood that such an arrangement could not continue.

Trouble began to surface when #56 went away to college. There, he struggled to sleep on a twin-size bed. Unable to break old habits, he would always wish his roommate good night and then reach for mommy and then daddy. Some nights, he just fell off the bed. Insomnia started to permeate his life which was mitigated by a burgeoning drinking habit and light use of marijuana. When, during his sophomore year, he was busted for underage drinking, it was only marijuana, and lots of it. He had even taken up work at the alumni phonathon to support this habit. Were there women in his life? There were, but only in brief spells. He’d either fall for people who found him unattractive, or went to parties where he was the outcast. It hadn’t dawned on him that most people preferred the familiar. So he did not quite understand their disdainful looks. Still, there were some who entertained his advances, but it never really amounted to anything more than a night of debauchery. Once, this one girl he fancied had drunkenly decided to allow him a night of pleasure, which #56 mistook for love and then had his heart broken the very next day. She’d categorized it as a mistake that could not be repeated. Towards the end though, it did happen. #56 was 22 at the time when he started dating this girl that everyone had warned him against. Still he was floored when it ended just how they’d warned him it’d end. He was left reeling, without a girlfriend, a best friend, and a post-

That took him a while to recover from, and by the time he did, he’d missed the boat, train the cab. Even his damn bicycle had been stolen. He’d started to consider himself “un-dateable” and in doing so, missed advances made by a handful of women, all of whom are now either engaged, married or with-child; so, in his mind “un-dateable”. And after a year of dwelling, he had finally, upon the insistence of others, decided to create accounts in various dating websites and applications. And although, his profile expresses his newness to online dating, #56 has actively participated for 2+ years, without much success of course.

The only way to express his dating exploits is by using the phrase “weirdly adventurous and eventually disappointing”. His first match was a woman five years younger than his mother. She had recently been divorced, and although #56 did not realize it, in her eyes, he was quite a catch. That is why she kissed him in the mouth at the end of their first date, and took him home on the second. There was no third, because the day before the third, #56 had made the proposal to “run away somewhere, anywhere”, which, to a woman with three live-in kids, albeit enticing, is a scary proposal. So she avoided responding to his calls and texts. Then came dates with bait-and-switch artists, women who were either twice his weight or half his height, frauds who wanted #56’s credit card details and even men disguised as women. If he scored a date with someone remotely attractive, his nervousness, awkward demeanor, inability to reach for a hug and lean of a kiss would ruin it. Women who could fathom his nervousness over a phone call would just stand him up. So, yesterday, when he last updated his profile, #56 had already hit rock-bottom and told himself that what he was getting was what he was deserved.

At present, he is seeing this girl who he’d met on an app. She’d looked pretty in the pictures but not in reality, and #56 had clarified his intentions early on, sex only; treating her that way hurt #56. The girl though has developed a sort of fondness for him, but she understands the nature of their agreement and to a degree prefers it. Specially since she is also seeing two other guys. A fact she told #56 right before the first time he went inside her. The current state of things have regressed #56 as a person.

#56’s marijuana consumption has gone through the roof, so much so that one could categorize him as a functioning addict. He’s also started to “dabble” with the more serious stuff. He is sleeping less and less; the little that he gets is opiate-induced, which, my dear reader, means that #56 is not dreaming much if anything at all. Living in a society that measures successes by the completion of age-appropriate milestones, #56 regards himself as a failure. He’s been able to elicit the continued affection of only one woman, his mother. At 32, he has yet to move-in with a lover. Hasn’t been in a relationship for over 10 years. In instances where he’d gathered the courage to ask his women-friends out on a date, they’ve flatly denied him which has hurt his self-esteem, and self-confidence. Moreover, his crippling self-consciousness also means that the denials feel extremely humiliating, so he wittingly fell out of touch with these women. He even despises calling his folks since the topic of marriage always eventually comes up and it leaves him reeling with madness and feeling utterly useless. His only source of comfort are those damn pillows.


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