Hey everyone – huge shout out to Millennial Bachelor for the opportunity to be a part of this blog. I discovered the blog a while ago and it really hit home for me. These were the things I had been thinking and talking to my friends about for a long time, and it was awesome to see someone getting the message out to a bigger audience. I felt that I had a lot to contribute to this blog so Millennial Bachelor was nice enough to bring me on as a guest contributor. Look out for my posts on everything from seduction to fitness to fashion going forward. But for now, here’s my story:
My name is Pablo and I’m a 29 year old single dude living in a major city on the east coast of the US. I spent the first few years of my life in an upper middle-class suburb of a large city in Florida, the second child of two immigrants from Colombia. I wasn’t painfully shy growing up, but I always tended to be bookish and quiet. I was usually the teacher’s pet, read more books than almost anyone in my class, turned in all my homework on time, and rarely got in trouble at school for anything.
My parents were strict, conservative-minded immigrants. They had come to the US for better opportunities for themselves and their children, and they weren’t going to let their children waste those opportunities. Starting in kindergarten I was in accelerated classes, violin lessons, and karate lessons. The list of shows I could watch or video games I could play was short, but we weren’t allowed to have the TV on very much anyways. Sunday mornings were for church and Sunday afternoons for visiting with aunts and uncles. Complaining about any of this was not tolerated.
Like most Colombians of their generation, my dad worked long hours and my mom stayed at home. My mother was a kind woman, but she could be overbearing. She had married my dad before she finished college, they immigrated to the US shortly after that, and they had my older brother within a couple years of moving here. She never had a real career or independent life before becoming a stay-at-home mom, so her kids became her life. She was a constant presence at my elementary school, volunteering at every field trip, class play, and bake sale. Her reasoning was always that she wanted opportunities to practice her English, but I know that staying close to her kids was at least as important.
My father, to put it lightly, was a hard-ass. He had built a successful career as the lead accountant for a major manufacturing company and was a true believer that anyone who couldn’t escape poverty simply wasn’t working hard enough. Few things got him angrier than what he saw as socialists who wanted to raise his taxes or LGBT people and feminists who wanted to change the old patriarchal norms. We had our occasional good moments together, but all in all he was condescending and emotionally distant.
When I was about 12, my life changed dramatically. My father received a major promotion within his company, but it required moving to a small city in the Deep South. I was devastated at the idea of leaving my school and my friends, but I had no idea of just how dramatic the change would be. My former classmates, mostly the children of middle to upper-middle class professionals were gone, replaced by an entirely new and unfamiliar group. My new classmates mostly came from a couple different backgrounds. Some came from blue collar, rural families and others came from families that made up the old money local “elite.” I didn’t fit in well with either of these groups so I had trouble making new friends. I retreated further into myself and lost what little confidence I used to have. When I eventually found a couple friends, it was mostly just to avoid being alone. I would look at the “popular” kids and wonder how I could ever have what they had. As I’ve looked back on this, I’ve realized that this was due to my family status more than it was due to anything about me. My family had a solid upper-middle class income, but we weren’t a part of the old money elite. We were Colombian in an area where almost everyone else was white. And my parents had a mindset that their kids’ social lives were not important. We were not allowed to go to parties, we could rarely go to friends’ houses, and my parents refused to do things to help us fit in at school, like buying clothes from the stores where the “popular” kids shopped.
As I got into high school, there was one big thing that helped me to open my eyes to the world around me. I had never given up violin lessons, and I continued to excel. I quickly became the best violinist in my high school orchestra, and went on to compete in all-city and all-state orchestras. I had a couple great music teachers who encouraged me to apply to summer music institutes across the country. And when I was accepted to one of the top summer institutes for high school students, one of my teachers convinced my skeptical parents to allow me to attend. My father was hardly thrilled that I was excelling in violin rather than soccer or football, but the possibility of a college scholarship got him on board.
That summer at the music camp planted the seeds of a new life for me. I made friends from around the world, got to see a part of the country I had never visited, and experienced living on my own for the first time. But my confidence was still limited. If someone couldn’t discuss their favorite Beethoven symphonies, I felt awkward around them. And even among other music nerds, my confidence was hit or miss.
To make matters worse, I was approaching my current height of 6’1 and probably weighed about 120 lbs. I had zero fashion sense and sex and dating were completely foreign concepts to me. And once I got back to my high school, my brief glimpse of happiness and confidence from that summer felt like it was over.
Things pretty much carried on in the same way my last couple years of high school. Violin and school became my life and I all but ignored friends, dating, sex, fashion, and exercise. I was counting down the days until I could leave high school and the city where I lived and go to college, where I planned to double major in violin and biology. My hope was to have a career as a professional violinist, but if that didn’t work out I planned to go to medical school. Many of my classmates were also counting down the days until college, but for completely different reasons. They looked forward to parties, sporting events, sex, drinking, and freedom. I looked forward to studying with a great violin professor and spending hours poring over homework in the library.
None of this is to say that dating and sex were completely off my mind. There was a girl I had had a crush on since middle school but never really knew how to make a move. She finally started dating someone else our senior year of high school and I was devastated. To get back at her and partly to finally have a girlfriend, I started dating a girl who had shown a lot of interest in me, but she wasn’t attractive and I didn’t find her attractive either. I just figured she was the best I could do and I shouldn’t turn her down because she was the only girl who had shown any interest in me since elementary school. We dated for six months before having sex, and finally did it mostly because I didn’t want to be a virgin anymore.
Senior year of high school was filled with rituals that I would have rather skipped altogether. I had a date to prom, but I almost felt worse because deep down I knew I wasn’t into her and I didn’t have any other friends to hang out with. At least skipping it I would have forgotten about it quickly. But that year also brought good news. I was accepted to a top conservatory to study violin and to the adjacent university where I planned to study biology.
Of course, this didn’t fundamentally change who I was. The same shy, underconfident kid that left high school was the same shy, underconfident kid that showed up at college. I kept my girlfriend from high school because I was still terrified no girl at college would be interested in me. Because of my double major, I had to study, practice violin, and go to rehearsals constantly in order to keep up. When I had a rare moment of free time, I would use it to talk to my girlfriend, watch porn, and play video games online.
Unsurprisingly, I didn’t make many friends during this time. I went to a grand total of one party my freshman year and left after finishing half a beer. I was intimidated by my peers, even my fellow “music nerds,” who ended up being far less nerdy than I had hoped. I eventually fell in with a group of misfits who I never really liked, but were the only people that my low confidence allowed me to feel comfortable around. I began to wonder whether there was something wrong with me, perhaps mild autism or some other disorder that had never been diagnosed. I was miserable, but I convinced myself I liked it this way. I was taking two demanding majors at college and making excellent grades. I brainwashed myself to see myself as one of the “good” students, heading for a top grad school and a great career, while my classmates who went out drinking, partying, and having casual sex were screw-ups wasting their lives.
Deep down, I knew I wanted a change. I would masturbate constantly, sometimes to porn, sometimes looking at social media pages of my classmates. I knew I wasn’t into my girlfriend but I thought getting an attractive girl was something I just couldn’t do. The “bros” couldn’t play violin at a professional level, and I couldn’t get an attractive girl. The “bros” couldn’t get A’s in hard science classes and I couldn’t have a group of cool friends. The “bros” didn’t listen to Bartok and I didn’t lift weights. The “bros” didn’t care about getting into a top grad school and I didn’t care how I dressed. Just how the world worked, I thought.
But then, little by little, things began to change. My sophomore year of college I finally decided to ditch my high school girlfriend. Looking back, we were both trapped in unhealthy mindsets that prevented us from growing as people. But I still had a lot of work ahead of me. I had hit my current height of 6’1 but still weighed about 125 lbs. I was wearing the same clothes my mom had bought for me during high school. When I had a night where I didn’t have to do homework, I would either spend it hanging out with the same group of misfits, or with my laptop open deciding whether to watch Netflix, porn, or play video games. And I had absolutely no idea how I’d ever find another girlfriend. Whenever I found a girl I was interested in, I would silently obsess over her, look at every picture she had on social media and learn every detail about her life, while rarely if ever actually talking to her. Then I’d get my heart broken when she inevitably ended up dating some other guy.
Later on in college, that started to change too. I made friends with another guy in my violin studio, Tyler, who ended up having a huge impact on my life. In hindsight, what brought us together is that we were both shy, awkward guys who had a lot of potential. We weren’t like the other misfits I would hang out with at that time. Those people were happy being a little odd, and the ones I follow on social media continue to be odd to this day. Tyler and I might have lacked confidence, but deep down neither of us were happy with our position in life at the time. Over time, I started noticing some changes in Tyler. He’d come back from breaks with fashionable new clothes, with a different look than the guy I knew. After one summer break he came back looking a lot more muscular and with stories of girls he’d “hooked up” with. I didn’t want to ask what he meant by “hooked up” because I knew I’d be too jealous if the answer was anything more than making out.
Tyler was an inspiration, but I didn’t start changing as quickly as he did. After several months of not having sex or even talking to a girl in a flirtatious way, another girl I didn’t find attractive started hitting on me at a party. I avoided her for awhile but quickly became exclusive with her just so I wouldn’t go through another dry spell. Still, I wanted to emulate the changes I saw in Tyler to finally get a girlfriend I found attractive.
My first step was to read up on men’s style and start buying better clothes. I slowly started going to more parties and had my first experiences with having a little (or a lot) too much to drink. I had also gotten tired of hearing other people tell cool stories while I had nothing to contribute, so I signed up for a study abroad semester in Southeast Asia.
This meant I would have to drop my violin major, but over time I had started to fall out of love with it anyways. Playing violin at a conservatory while doing another major in biology was not the life I wanted to live anymore. It left me with little time for anything other than violin and homework, and I had slowly begun to realize that I wasn’t quite good enough to have a career as a professional violinist. I was also beginning to realize that I didn’t want to go to med school, so I needed to think about my post-college future, which didn’t involve either of the areas where I was dedicating almost all my time. And plus, self-improvement was beginning to become more of a priority, and sitting alone practicing violin didn’t seem like the best way to do that.
The semester in Asia was another of my defining life experiences. My program consisted of being in a group with 12 other international students, taking classes, and traveling across the country together on “educational” trips. We all lived with host families in close proximity to each other and took classes every day with just people in our group of 12. This was amazing because it was the first time in my life that I really felt like I had a group of friends. I didn’t have to find my way among thousands of students and end up with the misfits again. I didn’t have to worry about getting invited to things and wondering if I was cool enough to be included. We all hung out pretty much all the time, partied together, traveled together, went to class together, and formed really tight relationships overall. I even ended up hooking up with one of the girls on my program. We stopped short of having sex, but even making out with an attractive girl and touching each other over our clothes was more excitement than I’d ever had before. For the first time in my life, I didn’t wonder whether I was cool enough or good enough to have friends. I knew it was possible, I just didn’t know how I’d make it happen when I wasn’t halfway across the world with no other people we could hang out with.
When I got back to college to start my senior year, I hadn’t seen Tyler in over 6 months. He had really transformed from the awkward kid I knew into a total stud, at least on the outside. He was looking jacked, had a great sense of style, and had dated one of the prettiest girls at our school the semester I was abroad. But I could tell he was still the same quiet guy on the inside, which I’m sure is why he didn’t ditch me as a friend.
I probably should have taken his lead and started lifting weights and really working on getting better with girls, but I came into my senior year of college freaking out about my post-college career prospects. I no longer wanted to go to medical school or any kind of grad school in science, but I had no idea what I wanted to do instead. After a lot of networking and interviewing, I landed a role at a major tech company. Interestingly, this whole networking and interviewing process also let me meet a few guys who would end up being close friends during my senior year and after college. Because I got the role relatively early in the school year, I had about 9 months from the time I got my offer until the time the job started. So with all this free time, I knew I wanted to finally take action to gain muscle and get better with women.
I started hitting the gym and eating more and within a year I went from 125 lbs up to 165 lbs. And I even managed to score a one night stand with an incredibly attractive girl I had had my eye on since I was a shy, nervous freshman. But it felt like a lightning-in-a bottle situation that couldn’t be easily replicated. So when yet another just-barely-attractive-enough girl came into my life, we started dating exclusively by the third date. But this time was different. I was looking and feeling better than ever and I knew I could and should have higher standards for myself. I broke up with this girl after graduation and I was excited about what post-college life would bring.
I’ll talk to everyone soon with part two of my story.