Search Me (My Blog)

Jul 31, 2012

My Anonymity

There are all sorts of reasons why a blogger may want to be anonymous, and I'm sure it may lead to lots of curiosity, especially for people who read something that sounds familiar, or like someone they know.

I originally thought that people may be respectful of my choice to be anonymous, and leave it at that. Over the past year I've found out otherwise, multiple times. It seems that curiosity often overrides respect for privacy nowadays, a sad reality to consider.

Which has compelled me to explicitly state my own need and reasons for anonymity.

I wrote about being a psych grad student here, and by nature that means this blog has a half-life. The type of writing and disclosure I allow myself on a blog -talking about my own feelings, experiences, perceptions, beliefs -is a wonderful experience, but based on my own training in grad school, I feel it is not appropriate for a practicing psychologist.

A quick explanation on that point: therapy should not be about the therapist, and while there are times that divulging some feelings or personal experiences may be beneficial for a client and should be weighed carefully on a case-by-case basis, having too much of the therapist's life/thoughts/feelings/experiences may change the focus of therapy, which ultimately is worse for clients.

Having so much of my own experience, feelings, beliefs and insecurities publicly posted is a risk I take, one that is tempered and I permit through the protection afforded by a thin veil of anonymity. When I do finally begin practicing -years from now -it's a risk I very likely will not allow, for the integrity of my work.

Sharing my deep thoughts, pains, desires is a joy in more ways than I can express. I'm sure I will continue to do so in my own way even when I do not have this blog, but not publicly with my name attached to it.

So each time someone tells another person my name this blog becomes more public and less anonymous, leading me to a dilemma. Because, like roaches and mice in New York apartments, for every one you see there are forty others you don't. Every time I find out my anonymity is breached, I have to revisit the concern and potential responsibility to end this blog.

With each person who finds out who I am, I feel the clock ticking towards the day this blog will end.   

This year alone, I have revisited the concern more times than I am comfortable with. I could ask that those of you who read the blog, who find familiarity and have curiosity help maintain that thin layer of protection, to curtail your curiosity or at the very least hold it in and keep it to yourself. Doing so would be a great contribution towards keeping this blog up longer.

In the end, this is mostly out of my control. For anyone who respects my choice for anonymity, you have my appreciation and my thanks. 

Jul 12, 2012


There's a brilliant talk by Brene Brown about vulnerability. If you're interested, I've embedded it here from YouTube, and it's also on TED Talks.

We have this tendency in our society to see vulnerability as weakness, to see someone willing to risk hurt, to show hurt, to be hurt as not being strong enough. Maybe we need more vulnerability in our lives; there's something more genuine about it.

So let's hear from y'all - what is vulnerability to you? what makes you feel vulnerable? when do you feel vulnerable?

Jul 9, 2012

Stop Searching and Start Experiencing

I came across this blog the other day, originally for a Market Design class, and was exploring when I stumbled on this link, which took me to this research article.

It's a fascinating piece about how people and relationships are experiences, not just a pile of criteria and tangible attributes. It was talking about online dating, and made a case in saying that people waste far too much time getting far too little because of the way we are dating online.

What happens online?

We search. We look at criteria, a list of things including height and age, eye color and Jewish school, frequency of davening and move watching habits, skirts or pants, personality and music, activities and body type... the list just keeps going on.

And when we see something we don't like? We click a button and just keep going on.

I'm as guilty of it as the next person, and as a guy I am privileged to do that more easily and feel assured that I will have another chance very soon.

Perhaps we should adjust the questions we ask, the things we spend time thinking about. Maybe we should request different information from a Shadchan, answer questions a bit differently. Maybe we should slow down, spend less time focusing on criteria and more time focusing on creating experiences, or sharing our own.

I don't want to marry a list, paper and pen doesn't quite do it for me. But I would like to have a really wonderful experience in marriage. I guess that starts with experiencing another person, sharing my experiences, hearing hers, and creating ours together.

Jul 2, 2012

10 Reasons Why Nerdy isn't Attractive (and How to Get Over it)...

10) Often isolated or less social, particularly in crowds or large events. Face it, he's probably not going to be the life of the party. Unless it's a cocktail party for physicists, in which case I hope you like physics puns...
9) Can, at times, be an inflexible, insufferable know-it-all. You're just going to have to get used to it. Just remember, even when he thinks he knows, doesn't mean he's right. You can always remind him that science changes its mind about every 50 years about what's right, but that may just spark more debate.
8) May not always have great social skills or tact. But don't worry, he can learn. It just requires some patience and you have to explain it to him rationally. If there's logic involved, it can be learned and absorbed.
7) Sometimes, they can be difficult to understand. If you know half the words he's using, it's hard to follow. If there are offhand references to theories, hobbies or knowledge that you don't have, it's just awkward and slightly embarrassing. There's only so many times you can stop someone mid-point to clarify what they mean and have them explain something to you.
6) Less likely to ask you out. Afraid of rejection, as we all are. But, perhaps a tad more sensitive, owing to repeated previous social/romantic rejections. With a bit of extra/special attention, smiling and perhaps being a bit more obvious about how you feel about him (if you feel that way), he'll get there. Patience is a virtue...
5) Often present as unconfident. See above. He's probably plenty confident about some things, but unfortunately that's less likely to include being around beautiful women or striking up conversations out of thin air. There's confidence somewhere, even if you have to dig to find out he can build his own generator from a potato and some tin foil.
4) Less inclined to approach others, often at a loss for what to talk about. See above. Also nervousness, and anticipated/expected rejection. Sometimes it just takes a bit more sensitivity, acceptance and warmth. Other times, it will take a whole lot more time.
3) Won't always be assertive or straightforward. It didn't work in grade school, middle school or high school, so why would they expect it to work with women later on? You might have to let him know that you want to hear it, and being gentle/responsive when he is being assertive will go a long way.
2) Tend to be afraid of hurting feelings -afraid of making you angry or upset. These guys have probably heard one too many times that they should never, ever hurt a gal's feelings. And they took it seriously. Unfortunately, I think this is one of the larger issues, because it leads to... 
1) Emotionally unexciting. Being afraid to slightly offend can cramp interactions, especially since being playful is about the little ups and downs, poking and jabbing and teasing mixed with joking and compliments. That kind of banter is often the essence of flirtatious attraction. 

Perhaps that's the biggest point -not being afraid to be playful. Find a playful nerdy guy, and you're set. Or perhaps you can encourage it (eg. being playful yourself) and see whether or not it comes once he relaxes.


Every so often (or rather more than that) I hear people talk about how generalizations are unfair, don't really represent everyone, or point out the exceptions to whatever statement is made about a group of people.

So I decided to put down a quick reference to what a generalization refers to (partly so I can make quick reference to it later). Without getting too much into the math, here's a picture of what we call the "normal curve," which pretty much shows how people score or are organized in most areas of life, including intelligence, personality characteristics, chess ability, height, musical ability, or attractiveness.

normal_curve.gif (76564 bytes)

As you can see, it's color coded and broken into sections. These sections represent groups of people, depending on how far they deviate from the line in the middle (aka the average Joe).

The blue section is what we would call the "average." When we talk about IQ or SAT scores, the average range is that 68.2% in the blue shaded region. The average score (about 1000 for the SAT, or 100 for an IQ test) is the line right down the middle there. For example, in an IQ test the shaded area would cover scores ranging from 85 to 115, which is the range that most people (just about 68.2%) would score if you tested them.

The red and yellow zones mark people who are above or below the average range. For an IQ test, someone who scored above average in the range of 115 to 130 would fall under the red shaded area on the right (13.6% of people would have scores in that range, above others) and those who scored above 130 would fall into the yellow-ish shaded area on the right (with a tiny portion of the population, only 2.15%).

So, the way we think about "average" and the way we use generalizations, is people who basically fall in the blue shaded area. This is true for SAT scores and IQ tests, but also for things like attractiveness, basketball ability and pretty much any skill or attribute you can imagine.

Thus, a generalization very often and very likely refers only to the blue shaded area. Yes, there are plenty of people (close to 32%) who don't fit into it -either because they fall above or below the average range -and that is expected. The entire point is to capture a large portion of people -not every person -with a single statement.