We all have them. My close friend James cannot stand the concept of the hagfish. My friend Jay finds that photos of basking sharks trigger a primal skin crawl. My husband Steve has said that if he ever saw a ghost, he would probably have a heart attack. Me? I’m terrified of the Mothman.
Post Pleasant – Anything But
Now, I’m not talking about the dreadful Richard Gere movie “The Mothman Prophecies”. I’m not talking about some obscure Batman villain. I’m talking about a hulking creature from cryptozoology that was first reported back in the 1960s in a place called Point Pleasant, WV.
A group of young people were driving together late at night on November 15, 1966. As they passed the West Virginia Ordinance Works, an old WWII TNT factory, they saw something strange – a pair of glowing red eyes. They stopped and were able to make out a humanoid shape, around seven-foot tall, with big batlike wings. They fled the scene, and the creature followed by air, matching their pace at speeds over 100 miles per hour, until they hit the city limits.
The next night, an unrelated group of people saw the same creature in the area. Other sightings followed throughout the following year, including one over the Silver Bridge. That bridge collapsed later in the year, sending 46 commuters to their deaths. Since then, Mothman sightings have been linked to other disasters around the world, including the Chernobyl Disaster and the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center. Does it cause the disasters? Well, clearly not in the case of 9/11. Some believe that it is a portent of doom, maybe even trying to warn people about the upcoming catastrophe.
Most descriptions say that the Mothman is about seven-foot tall, gray, with glowing red eyes and seemingly no neck…the eyes are just in a head lump. It has big wings, it moves with a shuffling hopping gait, and when it flies, its wings don’t flap…it just soars through the air. It makes a high-pitched screaming or screeching sound. Some people who encounter the Mothman at close range seem to have ended up with radiation burns.
Now, I’m a very intelligent and reasonable person. I know the likelihood of such an entity existing is incredibly unlikely, and I’m not the sort who spooks easily.
Nonetheless, the Mothman scares the crap out of me.
On a rational level, I know how silly that is. But I can’t avoid the fact that, ever since reading about it in the “Big Book of the Unexplained” from Paradox Press, the Mothman has given me the willies. The illustrations of this shadowy thing just made shivers run up my spine, and my continued researches into the critter haven’t helped. I now actively search out TV shows and movies about the Mothman, maybe in an attempt to lessen my fear of it.
Why Am I Telling You All This?
Well, everyone has their irrational fears, of course, and I’m often shocked by how often I find that the fears of my friends, gay and straight alike, can be about dating. Guys who are otherwise rational and confident individuals turn into blubbering loonies around the subjects of dating and relationships. “I’ll never find anyone.” “There’s no one out there for me.” “I will make a fool of myself if I meet someone I like.” And just like you could tell me that the spooky shape across the street isn’t Mothman, but our neighbors’ car brake lights, I’m here to tell you that those fears just aren’t true.
I’ve known guys who had been absolutely convinced there was no one out there for them; they’ve gone on to find awesome matches. If they had let their fears get the better of them, they might’ve not even tried. They might’ve given up and taken themselves out of the equation.
So many folks I’ve known have been convinced that they were no good on dates. They would be afraid that they’d say the wrong thing…they’d make a social faux pas…they’d embarrass their date, and he or she’d never want to meet again.
Well, guys, it’s time to pull your head out of the sand and realize that dates generally aren’t like some kind of crazy relationship version of “A Chorus Line”. You’re not being auditioned by a Hellbeast who’s going to rip out your spleen if you use the wrong fork for the fish course. Most likely, the person you’re dating is just as nervous, just as concerned, and trying to be just as careful not to embarrass him or herself in front of you.
Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy
As a younger writer, before I submitted a piece for a publication, I’d fine-tooth-comb it, second-guessing every piece of punctuation. I was convinced nothing I ever wrote would be good enough to be published. Eventually, a teacher of mine said, “You know, it’s good to be thorough, but don’t be your own worst critic. Let someone else decide whether what you wrote is good enough. They’ll never get the chance if you don’t submit it.”
It’s true…I’m harsher on my own writing than any editor I’ve ever worked with. And I think the same is true of everybody. Everyone is harsher on their looks, their conversational skills, their fashion sense, or their sense of romance than anyone else is likely to be. Well…except for really arrogant people, and we don’t like them anyway.
The point is, don’t count yourself out before you even begin. If you start off thinking that there’s no way you’ll be good enough for the person you’re dating, then you’ll never go on the date. And if you never go on the date, then how will you ever know if the other person would be interested? It’s best to go on the date. The worst thing that will happen is that he or she won’t go out with you again. And in this day and age, there’s literally plenty of other fish in the sea, and better yet, we have new and better ways for people to meet now than ever before.
So if you’ve been thinking of asking someone out, do it. If you’re convinced there’s no one for you, buck up and put yourself out there. Don’t let your fear of dating stop you from dating. Don’t let your Mothman win!
If you have an irrational fear, whether it relates to dating, cryptids, hagfish, or anything else, sound off. Sharing a fear can be the first step to overcoming it.