I think my experience with Jenna in 1992 knocked a lot of that out of me. I think of a story the actor Lee Marvin told in an article I read. Lee Marvin talked about how he was a scrappy, ornery kid before he joined the Marines and went off to fight in the Pacific in World War II. Marvin said he was part of a wave of Marines that stormed a beach and how, as he crawled in the sand, an enemy bullet struck his back. The bullet hit a vertebra and lodged there, but came just short of permanently injuring his spinal cord. He said that knocked a lot of the urge to come off as tough out of him from that point onward.
My experience with Jenna in 1992 involved me giving her a kind word one night at her job under adverse circumstances, and the psychotic episode that followed this gesture of letting her go. During my breakdown episode, I concluded that "Billy Billiams," a known serial date-rapist, had been pressuring Jenna by implying somehow that he would offer her protection from me. That thought , whether true or not, really brought home to me how one often does not know what another person faces in their life at any given point in time, and I truly felt relieved that I had dropped any pretense of trying to get all tough with Jenna well before I ever walked into that movie theater that night in the Summer of 1992.
I remember when I had that bad experience with "Julie" in 1999. I tried to come off as surly or tough to a bartender at the Hole in the Wall some months later, as if he had anything to do with it, but I backed down the second he challenged me. I think my failures with women would stoke a desire to be a tough guy, so that tough guy stuff would come from insecurity.
I think I've done a lot better since I've taught myself how to deal with the worst aspects of how certain types of women in my world choose to relate to me. To the uninitiated- anyone who reads this blog for the first time with this post- one may look at just about any entry before this to know of what I speak. I just have to say, that when I handle the B.S. that so many women want to sling my way in the utterly professional manner that marks my behavior these days, I'm not out on Sixth Street or Red River the following Saturday night consciously or unconsciously looking for shit, and that makes me happy. Thank you very much.