I read a little piece in one of the major newspapers I subscribe to, maybe the Washington Post, that told of a psychological survey some researchers undertook not too long ago. It had to do with young men in their formative college age years, whether they went to college or not, and their beliefs about how the deal worked with women. This survey found that about 1 in 5 or so of men of this age had the biggest mouths about their exploits with women. These loudmouths would go on at length about how shabbily they treated their girlfriends or whomever, and would go on at length about their deviant sexual exploits and so on, to the point where the "nicer" types thought that this was how the majority of successful men their age related to women.
As someone who had to listen to some of these asshole types run their mouths at length during those years, that can be a really soul-killing experience. This one close friend of mine, like that, kind of served as a negative role model for me. I was willing to do anything to forge an identity that did not involve treating potential girlfriends of mine as shabbily as he regularly boasted about concerning women I considered friends, or women I at least liked and had some attraction to myself.
This effort to forge a separate identity from such a type led me to make some horrendously bad decisions that involved just picking some women who flirted with me a little for my ever-lasting-true-love love interests and going for it full throttle. This kind of thing could scare the bejesus out of those around me, and lead me to some really bad psychotic episodes. I guess it was in my nature to be that way in the first place, but good lord, listening to just one of these guys just run his goddam mouth at length along those above-mentioned lines had the opposite effect on me than what he must have intended with this "advice."
I've come to think of a lot of the women I obsessed on in those days as having a lot in common with the men I had to put up with in regards to the relentless boasting these men did. The women, like their male counterparts, tended to look really good, but the conquest they attempted and often succeeded in visiting on me was more a breaking of the spirit that did not involve a sexual component. To let me have sex with them would mean that I "won," I guess. Jenna was notable in that she seemed to make it clear that getting with her involved jumping through some kind of hoops, such as her male counterpart overtly initiating the sex deal by making a big move. So with Jenna, there wasn't a subtly escalating back and forth that I was more comfortable with in my better sexual encounters.
But Jenna had the quality of being emotionally unavailable. I remember talking to her the night she had a little Thanksgiving dinner with my male roommate, whom she considered a platonic friend. I went to bed that night thinking that I had a good shot at making things work with Jenna down the line someday soon. The next Saturday, I ran into her at a friend's party, and she'd met some guy at his party before I had arrived that she wanted to talk to at length in front of me and flirt with, exchange phone numbers with etc. etc. Of course, it was her RIGHT to do such things, but she really didn't have any concern at the time about turning me off in any way with any of that. Emotionally unavailable, yeah.
My last hurrah with Jenna involved an effort on my part to make things right with her after things had totally gone to shit with her the following Summer. After my encounter with Gil at that party, it seemed like the right thing to do. After I made things right with Jenna, after I went out of my way to visit her at her movie theater job and let her know that she could still call me if she had a mind to, after I left, and went home, and worked all night at the factory, and didn't sleep, and figured out the next evening that she was not still a virgin, that she was not going to call me, and that the darkness would soon descend on me in the form of yet another psychotic episode, I figured that one Billy Billiams might have been exerting his own kind of pressure on Jenna at the time, and that my "Nice Guy" gesture towards her in that movie theater might have made it clearer to Jenna as to whom represented the bigger threat to her between myself and Billy Billiams. So, I was a "Nice Guy" like "Yojimbo", the great Toshiro Mifune, at the end of Sanjuro. Or, maybe more accurately still, a "Nice Guy" like Charles Bronson at the end of Once Upon a Time in the West. I can live with that.