The evening started on a high note. I felt great before I went out. I slept well last night, got a lot done today, had a good workout this afternoon, was dressed well and was generally in a good mood. When I got to the bar there was a good crowd and a bunch of cute girls. I started the night by having a beer with my friend John and telling him a few things I've learned about approaching girls. He was just dumped by his girlfriend of three years, so I hoped he could use the pointers to meet someone new. Soon we started looking for girls we wanted to talk to. That is when the rejections started.
Every guy has "on" nights and "off" nights - this was definitely an off night. Only one girl I talked to the entire evening wanted to keep talking to me, and she wasn't attractive. The first group I tried to start a conversation with immediate turned their backs on me, and didn't even acknowledge what I said to them - despite the fact that it was clearly audible. Another girl entertained a conversation with me for a few minutes while my friend talked to hers, and then just walked away without even saying "excuse me," or "nice talking to you," - or even "bye." Another girl, when I tried to get her attention, literally shook her head "no" and turned away without saying a word. She didn't even listen to what I was trying to say to her. Time and time again I was shut down. It was humiliating.
I should mention that I normally have good success when I approach women. I know how to start and carry a casual conversation tactfully, and most women find me attractive. My lack of success wasn't a matter of me being awkward or arrogant. I was doing the same kind of things I do on the nights when I walk out of the bar with phone numbers from the hottest girl there. There certainly are things a man can do to improve his chances with women, but there is also an element of chance. You can't predict when a girl has had a bad day, or only likes black guys, or already has a boyfriend. Sometimes it works out, other times it doesn't; sometimes she likes you, sometimes she doesn't. By some coincidence, tonight was a long series of "doesn't"s.
As the night progressed, my humiliation grew, and then grew into anger. I wanted to lash out at these women, to retaliate for the pain they'd inflicted with the effortless and unfeeling turn of a shoulder, or the shake of their head. Like a 5th grader, I wanted to tell them I didn't give a fuck because they were ugly and I didn't want to talk to them anyway; but it wasn't true. I wanted to tell them I didn't care because I already had three numbers that night; but it wasn't true. I wanted my personal sense of worth and value to be completely independent of their response to my approach; but it wasn't. I wanted to not care, but I did.
As a man, the greatest desire I feel is for women. When I can't attract them, I feel worthless, impotent, emasculated. With each rejection, my sense of value was partially sucked out of me and trampled on the floor. And I had to stand there and pretend it didn't phase me, all the while trying to decide if it was worth pushing through the awkwardness and humiliation to see if there is a way to salvage the conversation (and my pride), or if I should just give up, excuse myself and walk away - defeated. Externally I maintained the same expression and held myself poised and upright; but inside, I was crushed. These girls' actions spoke volumes: "I do not value you enough even to entertain a conversation with you." I felt like shit.
I usually have the capacity to endure two or three rejections in a night - maybe more if they are spread out and interlaced with successes. But tonight the rejections piled on the rejections, and there was no recovering. At the end of the night I left the bar feeling dejected and angry.
Not all guys react this way to rejection; others might get embarrassed or saddened rather than angry. But even if the type of reaction is different, the degree will be equally severe. So the next time a guy brushes past you in a bar without noticing you, or doesn't call after getting your number, or stares at the girl next to you without so much as a glance in your direction - take a step back and remember that men have to endure rejection too, even though it takes a different form. It might be tempting to believe that "men have it easy" because we get to choose who we approach and when; but the truth is that women have just as much power in their ability to refuse a man's approach, as we have in our ability to initiate. And it hurts no less for a man to be told he isn't worth a girl's time than it does for you to be told (through a man's words, actions, or lack thereof) that you aren't worth his.
[Note: Although I edited this post later, I wrote the vast majority of it after coming back from the bar on the night described, hence the use of the present tense.]