George Sodini never got it right, apparently. He posted a kind of diary entry on the web explaining how not right he got it. “The biggest problem of all is not having relationships or friends,” he wrote.
According to his confession on the web, he hadn’t had a girlfriend since 1984 or a date since May of 2008. Hadn’t had sex for 19 years.
“Women just don’t like me,” he wrote.
So he came up with a solution. If he couldn’t get his life the way he wanted it, he would end it. He acquired firearms, ammunition, he set down a plan. He intended to off himself and end his pain.
Only problem with that is, he decided to take a bunch of women with him.
He was 48. So the last time he’d had a girlfriend, he’d been (roughly) 23. You can see images of him on his webpage if you choose to look. He wasn’t bad looking, he kept himself fit, he looked every bit the so-called “Eligible Bachelor.”
So what went wrong? Or, more probably, what never went right?
And, finally, do we care?
We might have if he had done himself in at home, alone. Bullet in the brainpan, up through the mouth by way of the soft palate. Days would pass, someone would notice that he hadn’t shown up. If he’d truly been without friends, maybe the smell would have alerted someone. Body found, the notice on the website as explanation. Sympathetic pondering by people who may have thought he’d had so much to live for. The irony of such deaths is that those people around the victim who really did care come forward and he would never know.
But instead, he goes out like a kamikaze, gunning down women he did not know—knew of, perhaps—in a fitness class. Vengeance for his unchallengable loneliness. All merit for sympathy gone. Gutless wonder till the end.
Do I have any sympathy?
Until I met Donna, almost none of my girlfriends stayed with me more than three months, the vast majority less than one month. I called somewhere around 86 girls to ask to go to my senior prom, and not one accepted, so I didn’t go. 86. (I found out later that there were 4 I didn’t call who would have gone, but I either lost staying power by number 86 or they weren’t on my list to begin with, it’s hard to remember.) Sex? Problematic. I actually did have sex with a number of girls who then refused to go out with me. Not because of bad sex (though, frankly, how good could it have been?) but because I was a Nobody, a Nonentity. They did not want to be seen with me. Had nothing to do with me, I know, it was a status thing and let’s face it, teenagers can be brutal.
I was frustrated enough after the end of what till then had been my most serious relationship—a woman I had asked to marry me, who subsequently (after initially accepting) trashed our relationship in the most thorough and humiliating manner—to consider suicide. Not to worry, obviously I didn’t do it, nor has it ever crossed my mind again, no matter how bad things have gotten.
It is very difficult to be optimistic with a track record like I had. But all things are relative. I did have dates, I did manage to have something of a sex life, I always had female friends, and I for damn sure always had very good friends in general. Not many, but this is something in which quality is the only determining factor.
In the middle of your self-pity, such benefits don’t register.
Mainly, my major problem was a matter of communication. I didn’t know how to do that with females. The whole idea that I could talk to girls the way I talked to guys was completely and totally alien to my experience—I’d tried that and it didn’t work. (I wasn’t really doing a great jobh talking to guys, either—when you have a communications problem, it tends to be all-encompassing, but if you have a couple of good buddies it just seems like the problem in uni-dimensional.)
Yeah, I wanted to have sex with every girl I tried to talk to. It got in the way. They wanted to talk (perfectly reasonable) and get to know me, and then maybe there would be some activity. I couldn’t stop obsessing on all the stuff I wanted but couldn’t have, so all my conversation was stilted and artificial.
Did I know that at the time? Not really. I mean, someone could explain it to me, but did it really register in a way that would have changed my behavior? No.
It was something I needed to learn to do. And internalize. And I needed to get past the stereotypes.
Stereotypes? From where? Oh, movies and television, of course. Those guys talked cool and made witty remarks, why couldn’t I? Well, I could. But it was artificial. All I got was rolled eyes and see-ya-laters.
But you learn. You pay attention. You try and try again, not in the same way, but in the different ways suggested by the information you get from listening! ‘Cause, like, it’s not about you.
But it took me a long time to figure this out and yes, it was frustrating to watch all these other guys my age making out all right and being completely unable to figure out what I was doing wrong. But I figured it out. Eventually.
And I didn’t shoot one woman. Ever. I didn’t even shoot myself.
Why do I tell you all this?
Because frustration is no excuse. Because I can sympathize with someone who just keeps trying and failing. Because I’ve been there, feeling unloved, unwanted, a self-pitying lump of despair, staring in the mirror and wondering where the boils are that keep turning all the women off. But mainly to say that with Mr. Sodini, no matter what he proclaimed on his website, it wasn’t what he claimed it to be that tipped him over the edge. That was just the excuse.
One of his neighbors told police “He was so antisocial we really didn’t learn anything about him.”
He was the man who had bought the expensive suit, got the fashionable haircut, wore expensive cologne, went to the party and stood there waiting for people to notice how wonderful he was. But he never talked to anyone. And when everyone pretty much went on doing what they’d been doing all along and ignoring him, he went away miffed.
He was broken in more ways than an inability to keep a girlfriend. It would interesting to find out why his girlfriends left and why he rarely dated anyone long enough to develop a relationship. We might find that he was too self-centered. Too disinterested in anyone else. Because usually, when people aren’t interested in you, it’s because you’re not interested in them.
But I come back to the fact that after all the frustrations in my life, all the slights, stabs in the back, insults, chronic disregard, and general shittiness with which so many people trreated me, I never killed a one of them. It never even occurred to me to do that.
By the words on George Sodini’s confessional, he had apparently had enough of living the way he’d been living and decided to commit suicide. But like some ancient warlord, he wasn’t going to ride the death barque by himself—he needed an entourage.
I find nothing sympathetic in the man. His response to life’s basic ambivalence was one more wrong thing done. “If you don’t date me I’ll kill some strangers!” Very attractive, I’m sure that will turn it around for you. “It’s all women’s fault and to prove it I’m going to shoot a bunch of women who don’t know me and won’t sleep with me!” Yeah, that’ll make your luck change, I’m sure.
Killing someone else because you can’t get your act together renders you pretty much unfit for any consideration other than as an example of the ultimate loser, the epitome of a screw-up, the zenith of denial that you are the architect of your own life. Sure, you have to obey the zoning laws, but otherwise how that structure looks is all up to you. If it’s a ramshackle wreck when you’re done, you can’t blame anyone else.
The thing about being young and awkward is, you learn. You grow up, you learn, you get over it. No one is born with the ability to do all right, we all learn it. Some faster than others, level of ability varies…
The only failure is to quit. And the surest way to ignominy is to quit by destroying others.
Men are killing women all over the globe, for all manner of excuse. But mainly because the women left. They left these men, their families, their villages, towns, cities, countries, because they couldn’t stand the adolescent neediness and control, because they are hnuman beings who want something better. Women leave. Men hate it when they do. And some men will kill them rather than give them the option of leaving.
But none of these men ever seem to consider that they are the reason these women are leaving and if they want it to change, they must change. If they can.
Blaming someone else for your shortcomings is an ageless game. It is pathetic. It deserves no sympathy, but it is, indeed, pathetic.