When a particular friend of mine became frustrated with the unfair struggle with the fairer sex, he’d say he was going “into the cave” for a while. Ultimately he was full of crap, because he’d always spring from the cave almost immediately when a new girl piqued his interest. It was more like he was standing in the cave’s entrance, ready to flee it at the first possible opportunity.
I don’t know whether he knew it or not, but the cave is a concept most famously used in Men Are From Mars, Women are from Venus. To quote Wikipedia, paraphrasing the book (which is a fairly silly book in my opinion, but it does have an interesting point here and there)
Another major idea in Gray's books are the differences he believes operate in terms of the way the genders react under stress. He believes that many men withdraw until they find a solution to the problem. He refers to this as "retreating into their cave". In some cases they may literally retreat, for example, to the garage or spend time with friends. The point of retreating is to take time to determine a solution. In these "caves", men (writes Gray) are not necessarily focused on the problem at hand; many times this is a "time-out" of sorts to allow them to distance themselves from the problems so their brains can focus on something else. Gray posits that this allows them to revisit the problem later with a fresh perspective.
Gray holds that this retreat into the cave has historically been hard for women to understand because when they are stressed their natural reaction is to talk about issues (even if talking does not solve the problem). This leads to a natural dynamic of the man retreating as the woman tries to grow closer. According to Gray this becomes a major source of conflict between women and men.
I am currently in the cave. I have been for the last couple of weeks, and being a cave-dweller has treated me well. After a series of unfortunate events (ie girls turning me down) I decided to throw in the towel. Or at least throw in the towel to pick up at some point in the future, most likely December. If a girl were to pick up the towel and return it to me before then, I’d be hard pressed to refuse the gesture, but I have no intention of picking it up until then.
I don’t like being unsuccessful. Few people do. Maybe unwilling suicide bombers. And this last decade or so I’ve been largely unsuccessful in the dating arena. It’s not my poor stats that bother me, because I only need to be ultimately successful once. It’s just tiring. I imagine the feeling of powerlessness of being a girl and not being asked out would be frustrating. But the male problem of being an active participant in your rejection particularly annoys me. Getting punched in the face hurts (or so I’ve heard, I’m far too endearing to have been punched) but how much worse is it to have to walk up to people and ask them to punch you in the face.
So I’m just living in my cave for a while. I’ve always been an introvert, and I’m just promoting some super introversion. Actively dating and being unsuccessful has filled me with dissatisfaction these last 8 years, and I’m tired of being dissatisfied. In my cave, everything on my to-do list is actually in my power to complete. I don’t have to define myself as failure, and ultimately am not defining myself as much of anything. This cave is very zen. It’s a cave of wonders. And it might take a bit of prodding to get myself out of it come December.