Great post. "Do not expect anything to come from dating charming people." It's kinda obvious if you think about it, but it needs to be said, because lots of girls (and guys) seem blind to this false charm. I suspect there are more people like this at Harvard than in most places, what with all the networking and politicking and all that. There are kids here who have incredible charisma, who make you feel as if you're the only person in the world, who treat every person as their long-lost best friend - except, if you think about it, they don't like you at all, because if you were somebody completely different, they would treat you exactly the same, you're absolutely interchangeable to them.
I myself am always at my best with people I'm uninterested in. With people I really like, I'm a total bore, because I'm not looking to put on an act and entertain them, I'm just free to be my regular boring self.
The trick is to come to terms with that regular, boring self. I'm not one of those new age-y people who says you have to learn to love yourself before you love others, in fact I'm quite opposed to loving yourself. But you do at the least have to like yourself. Otherwise, when you're in a relationship, you'll have to keep the act up, keep entertaining her 24/7, and will inevitably run out of steam. The goal of love, as I see it, is not to keep each other entertained, but to be able to simply be yourselves, your private selves - to be with one another as you would be if you were alone.
I am not yet anywhere near that point - I still often prefer my act, my entertaining side, to my real side. My real side is the side that hates it here and gets depressed and all that jazz. I went on a few dates this year with a truly wonderful girl, the only girl with whom I've ever truly been able to be myself, but I don't think either one of us could have kept it up because we're both in kinda bad places and it would just have ended up as a suicide pact or something.
So until I'm able to make peace with myself (and I hope that leaving Harvard will help a great deal), I'm staying away from romance. Because, if I'm going down, I don't want to take anyone else down with me!
To return to book recommendations, my favorite author by far on this subject is Hemingway. I would recommend A Farewell to Arms in particular. Hemingway's couples talk of love and wonderful romantic futures, but he shows that they know, deep down, that their talk is empty, that they are playing roles, and nothing more.
p.s. to end the post on a lighter note, I am proud to report that at least one person has come upon my blog after a google search on "Nipples Photography." I am sorry if I disappointed them!