JTBL #18: How a Marketing Apprenticeship Forced Me to Face My Fears and Silence My Inner Critic

Three months. I made it. We made it.

It's been just under a year since I originally took off from Helsinki. Through Hungary, Serbia, Italy, Slovenia and Croatia, my year has culminated in Barcelona, in a marketing internship for Thrive Themes working under the expert guidance of Shane Melaugh.

I've faced some tough challenges in my life, some real mindbenders. But they didn't even begin to hold a candle to my tribulations during these three months.

"The strength of the team is each individual member. The strength of each member is the team." -Phil Jackson

What exactly happened? A marketing apprenticeship is what - a few copywriting exercises and a landing page?

How then did I end up facing the angers I had hidden away in the deepest, darkest passages of my subconscious?

This is one of the toughest blog posts I've written.

It all started in Barrio Gotico with some broccoli and a pair of pants.

Letting the Bottled Up Weird Loose

My escape from Finland was fueled largely by the thought that I needed to get shit done myself - that otherwise nothing would happen. So I don't have much experience working with others, because I've yet to find people who keep up with me.

That's not a boast, btw. I have an insatiable need to keep challenging myself and push my limits. It would be so much easier to be satisfied with something less. So often I find people who are willing to just give up and be satisfied with less than what they truly want.

So when I met my colleagues in Barcelona, I felt like I had run into a room full of marketing soulmates.

I was so overjoyed and excited that I openly let loose with my odd habits. I was sure they could handle it. After all, we were of the same kin.

Like a true social recluse, I hadn't considered that they might not be so instantly trusting as I am, and my strange habits were met with a raised eyebrow. My social calibration was a bit off.

It's not like I was purposely being weird, though. I'd just been living under a rock for so long, that some of my habits aren't perhaps the most socially savvy.

Broccoli and raw eggs?

I've always liked broccoli. But for some odd reason, I seem to be the only person in the world who actually eats it raw. Cool, no harm done. Great snack. Recommended. Gets rid of sugar cravings.

Also raw eggs. Sasha Daygame recommends. Get the free range ones and wash before use. They taste horrible when you drink them plain, but they're an awesome source of protein and a bunch of other nutrients and your stomach will thank you later.​

Getting comments about these habits were enough to wake up the tiny voice in my head. The same voice that used to tell me that "you're not good enough for that beautiful woman" was now telling me "you're the weird one in this team."

Formal office attire

Barcelona is hot. And with shitty Spanish engineering, the houses are fucking hot as well. And we couldn't keep the windows open because of butane-man and the street noises below. So it was ridiculously hot and noisy at the office.​

I lived at a different apartment than the office, so I dressed for the morning weather, which tended to be much colder than the afternoons when the sun came out and the heat really started blazing.

Which lead to me having warm pants on in a hot office. Having a rather radiant body temperature, I was soon suffocating.

So I took my pants off to preserve work efficiency.

End of story? Nope.

I'm aware that Finnish people take nudity as a natural thing and we generally don't give a shit if someone wants to flaunt their balls or tits around.​ I'm aware that most other countries don't have such a liberal stance on nudity.

But I never realized the difference could be so radical.​ People were practically shocked by my attire. I suppose a guy pantsless (not nude, mind) in an office space was just too distracting. 

"PUT YOUR FUCKING PANTS ON."

So I did.​

"You're causing drama and making people feel bad," whispered the voice.

Etiquette of Meeting People

When we were roaming about town with the group, I continued on with my normal daygame routine. I hadn't realized that this behaviour might be annoying, even rude, to people who hadn't seen it before. I was after all, bouncing off like an attention deficit headless chicken every time I saw something (or someone) interesting.

It never occurred to me before. Surely it was my responsibility to keep up with any group I decide to hang around with?

Another social recluse-mindset then, I suppose: "Every man for himself."

My idea of natural approaches wasn't exactly the most commonly accepted way of meeting people. Most romantic encounters in our marketing team began at clubs, bars, pubs, and Tinder. It didn't help my case when everyone was getting dates through more traditional means of approaching, and all I had was pornhub.com and a bunch of flakes from numbers I'd collected off the street.

"You're being weird. Daygame is weird. Stop it and join the others." said the voice in the back of my head.

Repressed Bitterness Triggered by an Angry Teen

That night when psycho woman flipped haunts me to this day.

Let's clear up one thing. This woman had issues. She was poisonous company. This was obvious to me and I thought it was a good thing she left.

The others didn't see the solution quite so obvious. They saw me being a rude asshole scaring away their friend with my crude remarks and chauvinistic attitude, and understandably weren't too pleased.

I was instructed to leave the premises.

I felt that same hopeless frustration I felt through my childhood.

I remembered the times my mother blamed me for drama and anger fueled by her own issues.

I remembered dad, clueless and incapable, just letting the abuse fly and blaming me for trying to solve the issue. He was probably trying to keep the drama to a minimum, but ended up creating repressed bitterness that would take years to solve.

I saw myself back in that moment, tear in eye, desperately trying to explain that I did nothing wrong.

It all flashed in front of my eyes. We weren't going to resolve this issue that night, so I figured the best choice was to shut up and go home.

I felt like receding back into my shell. 

Was I honestly cut out for this? Or should I just go back to Finland and work the security duty in the nighttime like a good little loser?​ ... whispered the voice.

My doubts turned to anger.

Raw feelings and thoughts spewed onto paper (see previous blogpost), blaming society and American dude for my anger.

Cataluñan Women Play the Game Better Than You

Then I met this one small feisty woman. Cute as hell and designer as well. She promised she wouldn't flake. This particular girl was cute and straight up, and she told me she totally wouldn't. ... and yet, she did.

This puzzled me, and not least for having quite enough of people disappearing like that. There was obviously something in MY behaviour that made me repulsive to these girls. I had nothing to lose, so I confronted her about it. I asked her, for the good of my social future and for the good of all womankind, to tell me what the hell I did wrong.

And she did. “You don't meet women that way,” she told me in a scolding manner. Well, I do. But asking her to be more specific, I started to understand her point. In her eyes I was just out to get women in some predatory prize-hunting fashion.

After years of learning to become closer to my true self, I felt this shouldn't be so. But ... she was right.

I was doing exactly that. Rather than finding out about people, I was hunting for prizes.

I had no trouble getting phone numbers before. Actually, I've had no trouble being a relatable guy before. But there's always been a routine. Not a canned line with a fake personality-sort of routine, but just some behaviours I had learned were correct. These things are not me and it was causing an incongruence.

An incongruence that made it seem like I was playing the predatory pick up-artist game.​

I felt hopeless. After all this work, I was hitting a dead end.​ I had to stop and look deep into the mirror.

Then I got severely reprimanded for my blogpost by the team. It was the shocker I needed to understand that something was wrong in my way of thinking. Some prideful part of me deep inside was dragging me down.

Mea Culpa

After many meditations, a long while of self reflection and apologizing to American dude, I realized my blog post wasn't about being angry at American dude at all. I wasn't angry at the world or society's shortcomings.

I was angry at myself. To be so strange and so different, that even in this group of strange and differently brilliant people, I was the one who stood out as weird and odd.​

I felt like it was all crashing down. In my mind everyone hated me, I was a hostile womanhater weirdo, I probably was gonna get fired for being an asshole towards my colleagues, all the women in the city wanted nothing to do with me and my coaching company was stuck in the mud.

Finding Sun in Southern Spain

A breath of fresh air came in the form of a weekend-trip to Marbella.

I had arranged for a long weekend in Marbella to see my family and hopefully have a bit of a relaxing time in the sun. It would give me a chance to get out of the city and see some new people. Give me a chance to stop thinking for a while.

Marbella was exactly the Spanish Hollywood I thought it was. Sports cars, insanely expensive wine restaurants, cocaine, bars, golf...

... and the most amazing Norwegian girl.​

A local dude had kindly offered to take me out for a few and see the local nightlife. We'd been circling rich people-activities on golf courses and expensive restaurants, so this was a welcome change of pace.

My goal that evening was to be honest, nothing more. I asked some girls if our beers could occupy their table for a second. I politely introduced myself, not expecting to stay for long.

I nonchalantly gave into some small talk. The girls didn't seem much more than some random blondies at first.

I went through my basic small talk-schtick, questioning this girl about movies, her hobbies and interests, expecting to hear the standard dull blah blah responses.

But there was something ... different about her. She put a spin into every one of my dull questions. As if adding a slight spark of colour to everything I said. Then I realized her attire was full of random details: colourful rings and bracelets on her arms, braids in her hair, a colourful dress... and her smile was the brightest I'd seen for months.

Then something struck me. She wasn't just bluntly listening to what I was blabbering about. She was listening to me. Watching how my thoughts work. She had that sense of wanderlust in her eyes, that curiosity about how the world works.

She saw something special in me as well. This brilliant adventurer girl with the most colourful life saw something awesome in me.

I found myself becoming more and more interested in this person and what was going on in her head.​ She was fascinating. It was my last night in the city, but I could've spent weeks just listening to this girl.

It was the first time I looked straight into someone's eyes, brought my face right next to hers and whispered I want to have sex with her.

The effect of being bluntly honest was profound. Her eyes lit up.

Suddenly I believed in myself again.​

Unfortunately the story with Ms. Sunshine was cut abruptly short for time being. I hope we'll run into each other some day.​

She had returned some of the lost sunshine in my mind. A confidence that I have a place in this world and could make someone happy.​

I noticed something strange on the way back, though.​

The voice in my head ... was quiet.

Meditation and Reinventing My Sense of Curiosity

Back in Barcelona I thought... fuck it. I had self-reflected enough. It was time for action.

I closed my laptop and went outside. Not with an agenda in mind, but to see the world. I gave zero shits. If I had fucked everything up, I had nothing to lose. Absolutely nothing. I meditated on this at a busy park bench. My spiteful and rebellious fuck this-attitude changed into a nonchalance. Kind of a worry-free warm breeze in my mind.

Then I saw a lovely pair of buttocks swiftly making progress down Las Ramblas. As all those times before, I ran after her and said hello. But something was different. And.. something changed. A subtle, but significant change.

I suddenly had a worryfree, chilled out curiosity for the world with no need for weirdness or acting cool.

My straight up presence was powerful enough to make this girl stop and become instantly interested in me.

She was a Polish salsa dancer with the sexy butt only salsa dancers have. She invited me over to their dance rehersals.

Something was different. My pride had been completely destroyed, and something positive was growing.

Revelation

Would you know, my co-workers never did hate me. They respect mistakes as part of learning and we're slowly becoming a team.

My boss didn't throw me out, but rather gave me guidelines on how to improve for next time.

I'm slowly learning that real people, the truly awesome ones... they don't give up on you. They kick you in the ass and expect you to do better next time.​

American dude probably hates me for chronic foot-in-mouth disease, but perhaps we'll get along some time in the future.​

​I had pretty much reached the peak of what I could learn on my own. Understanding that was humbling.

It's time to stop reflecting on myself and learn from others now.

-Jay

JTBL #17: Barcelona and the Three Rules of Meeting Women

I've pissed off more women in the last three weeks than in the whole of last year.

It’s when you find yourself in Barcelona taking part in a marketing apprenticeship with people from America, Switzerland, France and Catalonia, that your journey really starts shifting gears and you get into all sorts of weird adventures.

​Since the Swiss and Catalan dudes are very much into ego destroying and meeting women, I’m making strong headway in that department. And since the women around here are fiery and angry and aren’t afraid to tell me to fuck off, that’s also a learning experience.

Loving it.

​And since it’s Barcelona, the adventures involve women.

Egos and Insecurities

This one girl followed us home from the club on one of the first nights in town. I was a bit tipsy and happened to compliment her cleavage because frankly, I thought it looked kinda sexy. She made a wild spectacle of it, flailing her arms and cursing foul play because of my insultingly sexist comments. It was so overly dramatic that I found it ridiculously comical.

This drama queen obviously had some bolts loose, and me being the asshole sort, I of course needed to provoke that a bit more.

Because I have a sick sense of humour. Deal with it.

Of course the mature thing to do would be to avoid these sorts of people in the first place. But no one ever blamed me of maturity, so there we go.

One of the Americans was not so enamoured by my choice of words. In his world, you should try to please people, because saying what you really think might offend someone. He schooled me about being respectful to women. I giggled into my drink.

If people choose to get offended when I'm amazed by their appearance, is it really my problem?

It seemed like the classic situation of wanting so desperately to get laid, that every bit of common sense and self respect might as well be thrown out the window. And since it was ruined by me, I became the asshole.

This guy had seen me get rejected multiple times chatting up women on the street. In his mind, my approach was way too direct and would only cause bad feelings to people. “You can’t just compliment women on the street!” But the ego prevented him from trying and seeing the larger world for himself.

Instead, he offered a bunch of lame excuses as to why the street approach wasn't for him, because it didn't seem natural. Ironically, paying huge sums of money to get into closed nightclubs and getting wasted and dragging someone home and waking up to a hangover after horrible sex, IS considered natural.

Each to their own, I guess.

As it happens, it wasn’t the only time Ms. Loosebolts followed us home like a stray dog. Again, American dude was doing his best trying to please this little princess, dodging the “I will leave”-ultimatums. With admirable talent, I might add. I thought I’d just step back and observe from a distance to see how well the sucking up strategy would help in the getting laid-department.

Sadly it was quite obvious that the only thing getting laid that night would be doormats beneath dirty trodding feet.

I moved out of the line of fire. We went into the other room to discuss nudity and how it affects people’s comfort levels. This topic arose from the fact that I didn’t have any pants on.

As is the standard level of clothing in a living room.

Then Loosebolts escapes from the kitchen, somehow finds us in the other room, and puts up a fiery fistfight for womens’ rights everywhere. Her argument basically was that since women get commented on if they are nude, then men shouldn’t be allowed to be nude either.

I thought that was ridiculously stupid. Not to mention insulting towards men AND women. I called her out on her insecurity about her body or something. Can’t quite recall, I was a bit tipsy and had had enough of this person’s bullshit. These sorts of idiots are the people who give feminists a bad rap. Not surprisingly, she stormed out. Fucking drama queen.

And, since I made the one girl leave the house, I was the fuckhead of the evening.

I was pointed toward an open door and given a chance to defend myself by two people looking less than pleased. Feeling like a poker player asked to rebuy after losing multiple stacks to bad beats, I figured it was better to shut up and exit the building.

edit:​ We spent some time talking over this matter with American dude. I should emphasize at this point, that we're living in tight spaces, getting to know each other in a stressful environment surrounded by hot women. Feelings will heat up.

I probably went overboard with this ad hominem rant, and for that I apologize. To American dude and my readers.

I obviously have a personal issue with these sorts of situations that lead me to lash out. It's something I gotta work on.

But that crazy lady can fuck off.

-Jay

The Other Miami Chick

We were hanging out on boardwalk, and we noticed this girl sitting by herself. She was a cute brunette, with that sort of elegance and grace to her posture.

We got to talking, and got along surprisingly well. She was a traveller from Miami. We joked about eating lunch and having bits of food stuck in teeth. I told her about my happenstance meeting with a dancer in Budapest, also from Miami.

“You’re joking, right?” she stopped me.
“No, quite serious. Why?” I raised an eyebrow.
“I’m also a dancer!” she laughed.

Well, apparently I have a talent for finding the Miami dancers. It must have something to do with dancers having a strong non-verbal language, which seems to make a strong impression on me. Also, I'm hot for slender-bodied brunettes, so that helps.

I was so amazed by the good vibe and this funny coincidence that I completely forgot about rule number one.

RULE #1 - ASK IF SHE'S SINGLE

Not surprisingly, she flaked on our date, because she was getting married. To her credit, she actually answered my text rather than just disappearing. I wished her well on her travels.

Check out Tessa @ http://www.travelwheretonext.com/​

The Small Woman From Australia

So there was this cute little feisty thing that sailed ashore with one of the Americans. (Yes, they actually came with a boat from Italy.) We shared a bit of a rapport instantly, as she had that sort of temperamental sense of humour.

Saw her again on another night. We talked about sex, relationships, society and funny little mind games. We seemed to be getting along fine, so I asked if she’d like to get out of there. But there was a cockblocking angrier woman in her company. Couldn’t quite get a read on their relation, so I didn’t push it. We were having fun anyway, so no matter.

Her angry friend left elsewhere and she joined our motley crew for an after party at the office. It was getting late, and she needed to get back to her hostel because she had the key and needed to let angry friend in or some such thing? NOW was my chance! So I asked to walk her home.

We walked to her hostel to do the whatever with the keys and kissed in the stairwell. I was so close to just throwing her over my shoulder and dragging her to my mancave, but we agreed to meet up the next day with more possibilities for that.

I kissed her again and left for the night.

Our plans got muddled and we didn’t meet the next day.

But no worries! Because in the modern world, when plans change, you can easily contact the person and let them know about it.

That is, if you would have their FUCKING PHONE NUMBER. I’m so used to phone numbers leading nowhere that I don’t even bother with them anymore. So much in fact, that I forget the main function of phone numbers: logistics and convenience. Which leads us to rule number 2.

RULE #2 – GET HER FUCKING PHONE NUMBER

Yeah I was pulling my hair out that night. We met again the next week but the ship had sailed. She was ice cold and for good reason - sorry for fucking up!

An Encounter on La Rambla

After tasting some delicious sangria, we began our journey towards the electronic music festival on the hill. This involved taking the Barcelona metro, which was a bit of an unknown to all of us. Even buying the tickets was a bit of a hassle.

Go down the stairs. Find big ticket dispenser. Big ticket dispenser comes in two colours. Why? Who knows. I get a 10-trip ticket in the end, hopefully good enough for four people, and run back up the stairs because I’m on the wrong side.

And there she was.

My world stopped.

This glorious figure was walking up the stairs with a sort of energy that I’ve never seen before. I had to say hello. She was amazing. I felt an immediate connection between us. It was magical, even.

If there is attraction, you can feel it in the first few seconds. That's why it doesn't matter what you say when you meet the first time.

Our exchange was probably two sentences or less, but we agreed to meet up for tea later. She had to go see her friends and I had to go see my colleagues, who were annoyed that my antics were making us late.

I spent the concert evening with my head in the clouds. A high resulting from something other than whatever they were smoking, mind you.

Later that week we met up for lunch. She took me to the rooftop of a hotel. Sunshine, smoothies, and this Spanish girl. We talked about psychology, egos, and how society forces us to become something we might not like in the end. She had just come back from a similar journey I’m on, and told me about how her perception of her world had changed.

I was completely smitten by this creature.

So warm, cute, thoughtful, funny. We kissed after talking for an hour. Not because it was some sort of move or some sort of play. I just felt like it was the complete right time.

A lunchbreak sadly passes by lightning fast in this sort of company.

The following Sunday we got together for a cuppa tea. I was feeling a bit off, having worked on a marketing project for the whole day.

Smart thing to do would’ve been to stay at home and meet up at a better time. But no, having my judgement completely impaired by this person, I wanted to meet that night.

She told me about her interests in an independent Catalonia. It’s funny when you listen to someone intently and create this bubble with just you two in it. Even La Rambla, one of the busiest streets in Barcelona, was nothing more than background buzz outside our little bubble.

Another reason for a horrible date time was that she had a prior engagement. We kissed passionately at the parking lot. I wanted so bad to get her naked.

Continuing in my quest for blunt honesty, I whispered that into her ear.

Then she left.

Haven’t heard from her since.

No reply to messages or calls. I've been fucking kicking myself for making her feel hot like that, knowing there was no chance of taking her home. Guys, never ever escalate if you have no chance to take her back home! You'll lose some fine people to biological tendencies.

Meeting women isn't about constant escalation. It’s about having the discipline to wait for that right moment so nature can “take its course.”

-Sasha Daygame 2015

So she ghosted me. Didn't even drop me a message to tell me to bugger off. That's just harsh. =D

I wanted to cook dinner for her. I wanted to climb a mountain with her. I wanted to drive scooters to the beach with her. I really let myself get carried away by this woman.

And I fucked it up.

I'm gonna join camp America soon. It's not like I'm getting too many points being honest these days!

Which brings us to rule number three.

RULE #3 – CARPE THE FUCKING DIEM, BUT NOT ON THE GODDAMN PARKING LOT

-Jay​

p.s. kudos to the dork who keeps catching me when I fall.​

Quickie: Friends With Kids – Hollywood’s Idea of Polyamory

So there’s this movie “Friends With Kids”. It’s incredibly bad. I’ve yet to survive through the whole film, and it’s a guilty pleasure of mine to try and see how far I get before pulling my hair out.

Record so far: 52 minutes.

What follows is a rant. Sit tight.

It’s about these two middle classed nitwits who hate their friends. Not that I blame them. Their friends are some of the meanest, most unhappy couples living absolutely horrible lives.

The movie shows why monogamy is killing relationships and how the tabloid-conservative American can’t bear themselves to say it out loud that polyamory is the correct way to live. If the script had any sort of intelligence, it’d make for an excellent social commentary satire.

They come so close. So there’s this plasticface girl (played by Jennifer Westfeldt) living with monojoke guy (Adam Scott). Everything is going smoothly and well, as long as they date other people while they hang around each other. They obviously love each other, but in their monogamous mind they can never make it work because they have this idea that they’re only friends and the ONE is out there.

A Failed Attempt at Being Profound and Innovative

Holy shit this movie makes me squawk my bitter beak.

I was shouting at the screen in frustration that they got it half right. They got the friggin’ baby part done right. Damn, I’ve been wondering how you can have a baby in a polyamorous relationship, and this movie nailed it!

They even went as far as living together, supporting each other, and at the same time going out and meeting other people. Unlike the nitwit married couples in the movie, who just bile hate on each other and live this sickening nightmare of trying to compare themselves to others.

Seriously, there’s one scene where the shit friends all pile up in an elevator and get ready to be horrified at how badly a polyamorous relationship is working. And then the joke is that it’s actually working quite well.

The movie is the ultimate rundown of why monogamous relationships will eventually fail. Yet it’s still too gutless to suggest an alternative. If for once these movies would speak of things honestly and leave this conservative bullshit behind.

Monojoke is such a dick to this woman whom he calls his friend. What the fucking hell? I get that SHE’S NOT THE ONE for you you fucking cocksucker, it doesn’t mean that you can’t fucking be there to support her! I mean, it’s just your kid’s mother! For fuck’s sake what kind of cuntmuncher writes this shit?

I have been informed that Ms. Plasticface (played by Jennifer Westfeldt) is the cuntmuncher who writes this shit.

Accidentally Showing That Honesty Prevails

I also found it hilarious, that the most awkward pickup line (performed by Monojoke guy trying to be clever) almost crashed and burned, but immediately turned positive, when the cockmuncher actually said something HONEST.

Imagine that, saying something honest?

Oh and plasticface looks like that woman from the eighties monkey planet-movie.

My fucking forehead.

I’m sure the movie will end in the realization that monogamy is the true gawd blessed way, because these idiots don’t know how to be polyamorous. They can’t just go over that hump and realize that they love many people. But no, they have to be petty and jealous.

Oh and next to that we got Mr. Pious (played by Jon Hamm) here judging open relationships harshly because it’s not good for the baby or what not. Well listen here asshole, the baby was just fine with the parents meeting other people.

Problem is, that the parents are such goddamn morons that they don’t understand their own feelings well enough and end up stuck in this limbo of monogamous polyamory. The baby is NOT fine with jealous parents who don’t care for each other.

Jesus fuck could you just fucking love each other? It can’t be so hard. (Hold your “That’s what she said”-jokes till the end, please.)

Hello ego, my old Friend

So their polyamorous baby-relationship pretty much crashed and burned not for the polyamory, but for the guy acting like a fucking asshole towards his friend and his baby’s mother.

Movie, you got it half right. Polyamory is the way to go, but polyamory requires the utter acceptance of yourself and others.

This illustrates how even in the most conservative country in the world, people are frustrated by the relationship-status quo forced on them by society. And while the movie deals with it in the most primitive ass-backwards frustrating way, it still shows glimpses of how a polyamorous relationship could work with a baby in the picture.

If only the script would’ve had balls enough to go far enough to question monogamy and suggest polyamory as a natural state of things.

If only.

-Jay

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