The world and the American way of life are all geared toward extroversion. According to life’s unwritten rules, everyone must be active and outgoing. People should be social butterflies and love being in the “great outdoors”, camping, fishing, etc. Society dictates than in a dating scenario, men should always make the first move; men should always be the hunter, while the female is the “prey”. Men should always be a strong, “macho” alpha-type, and if a man shows any sign of emotion, it is seen as weakness. Men should be ripped with muscles, sporting six-pack abs and tanned.

Well, life being what it is, those stereotypes are all completely inaccurate. Not all guys are extroverts. There are many who are introverts. Introverts are not necessarily hermits. We like to socialize, but there needs to be some meaning to the conversation. Shallow conversations and small talk are absolutely annoying. Large groups are not our favorite place to be. With the right few people, some introverts come out of their shells. At work, people are surprised when I tell them I am 100% an introvert.

I actually don’t care for the outdoorsy-type activities. Hunting, fishing, camping are not my thing. Nor are sports, honestly. I’m a very atypical 48-year-old man. While all these other guys (and many women even) are into their players and teams, watching all the games, I’d much rather have some quiet time.

Dating is difficult for introverts, even impossible for some. I hate the small talk that usually initiates the dating process. Additionally, I have a certain amount of social anxiety, which makes approaching someone unknown to me difficult. I can’t just approach a random person and strike up a conversation. My anxiety makes it so that if I had to “make the first move” with a woman, it most likely wouldn’t happen.

As human beings, and contrary to popular belief, men have feelings. Men cry. Men get anxiety and depression. I dealt with untreated depression for many years, which led to my reputation of angry outbursts and feelings of being overwhelmed. This led me to get fired from more than one job. Even at my current job of more than 6 years, I was known as the angry cook, lashing out at the smallest things, making servers cry on multiple occasions. It took many thoughts of suicide and online quizzes to finally seek out counseling and medication. The counseling didn’t last very long, but the meds continue. I am much calmer than I used to be. People are amazed at the night-and-day difference.

I will admit, I am out-of-shape and overweight. If I were rich, that would be called a “dad bod”; since that’s not the case, if I had interest in a 20-something woman, society calls that creepy. Actually, it is, as I would be old enough to be her dad. Look at Mick Jagger. Dude is 77, is a great-grandfather, has a daughter who just turned 50, and whose partner is 33 (old enough to be his granddaughter, with whom he has a 4-year-old child). But, because he’s rich, that’s seen as okay. Maybe it’s considered fine in society, but it still doesn’t make it any less creepy or weird.

Let me finish today with the quote of the day:

“I believe the biggest stigma right now, with mental health, is that a lot of men are not talking about it.

Mauro Ranallo

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