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Born and raised in Maryland, USA, and attended the University of Maryland, but now living in Pennsylvania, RTByrum is an author and publisher of 9 books but does not make a living at it. His places traveled include Britain and China. His past marriage was to a Chinese woman for 3 years. He since claims to have found the secret to happiness and hopes to share that happiness with someone special, and through his blogs, perhaps also with you.
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The Peanut Gallery

By RWByrum
931 Views | 27 Comments | 3/24/2018 2:20:25 PM

Peanuts

            I'm not really sure just how widespread the term, "Peanut Gallery", is but it is a well-known term among Americans though most have no idea of its origins.  Several months ago, I was sufficiently interested to perform a little online research.  Turns out that Peanut Gallery was originally a theater term.  During the days when Vaudeville was the most popular theater genre, the performers took to calling the balcony the Peanut Gallery.

            The balcony seats were the cheapest seats in the house and the clientele there tended to be more raucous than the patrons in the orchestra seats.  Theatergoers then, as now, enjoyed munching on snacks while watching the show and the cheapest snack food available in the theater was roasted peanuts.  Now, when the folks sitting in the balcony didn't like a performer, they let him immediately know.  They would heckle him mercilessly and if they really disliked the performance, they would throw peanuts at him, pelting him until he was driven from the stage.

            Some of the harsher comments my most recent blog entries have garnered put me in mind of the Vaudeville Peanut Gallery.  I did anticipate the criticism.  I even correctly predicted the form that criticism was most likely to take.  But anticipating something and experiencing it are two entirely different things.  Anticipation is not adequate preparation.  If anything, anticipation makes the experience worse.  That's why the torturers employed by the Spanish Inquisition always began by giving their victims a tour of the torture chamber the day before interrogation was scheduled to begin.  The torturer would show his victim the devices and explain how they worked.  Then the victim would be placed alone in a dark cell to contemplate his fate before being returned to the torture chamber in earnest.  Quite a few of these victims confessed to heresy rather than being subjected to the torture.

            It is hard to maintain your equanimity when being subjected to ad hominems or criticism dressed up as "advice".  But that is part of the price one must pay for this degree of openness and honesty.  I can't very well be surprised by ad hominem comments when I made myself so much the subject of my posts, can I?  I don't think any of my readers really appreciate just how unusual this is for me.  I am actually a very reserved and private person.  Anybody who actually knows me would be quite surprised at how much I've revealed about myself in this blog.

            Obviously, people will speculate about my psychology just as I speculate about the psychology of those who comment here.  I can't help but wonder exactly what would impel a complete stranger to even care about my profile pictures, let alone by angry about them simply because they violate his sense of propriety.  But psychology is one subject I never actually studied beyond reading a few magazine articles years ago.  So, I am clearly not qualified to speculate there.

            I found myself questioning the wisdom of posting the "My (Almost) Perfect Match" series.  What was I accomplishing beyond making myself a target?  Was anybody really benefiting from this?  It didn't really seem like it.  Just as importantly, was I really sufficiently altruistic or masochistic to endure this?  I wasn't really sure.

            While I wrestled with this question, I considered different options.  I did, briefly, consider abandoning this blog altogether but that struck me as throwing out the baby with the bathwater.  I still thought that I had valuable contributions to make here.  I considered not posting another blog entry for several months while I focused on other matters.  I rejected that option, too.  I considered not posting anything else about myself or my relationships, but I quickly realized that such a decision would ultimately result in the demise of this blog or make my postings so few and far apart that it might as well be dead.  I have four more blog entries already written and ready to submit.  I could have just submitted them.  That would have bought me a couple more months to consider the future of this blog.

            Then on March 5th, I experienced another epiphany.  I was experiencing a lot of doubts about things that had nothing to do with CLM/ALM's own version of the Peanut Gallery.  The epiphany removed those doubts and restored clarity to my thinking.  Then I fully appreciated the foolishness of allowing criticism, no matter how personal and how harsh to deflect me from my purpose.

            So, what happens next?  I'm going to post the four entries which I have already completed.  I will finish the entry which I began but have not yet completed.  I will resume the plan which I had when I first asked to join the ranks of CLM/ALM bloggers.

Copyright owned jointly by Author and CyberCupid Co., Ltd. Breach of copyright will be prosecuted.
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#2018-03-24 14:18:14 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Roger, this is an amazing view into yourself and your thoughts. And in writing it, you also are providing a much expanded view into the thoughts in your earlier blog posts. I don't think I've ever seen quite so honest a self exposure/revelation as you have given us here.

Other bloggers have been quite forthcoming about their own self perceived definitions of who they are, including strengths and weaknesses, and I count myself among them. But you have offered a detailed, deeply thought out, description of not just who you are, but also of almost your every thought.

Has that been valuable to other members? In my opinion it has been invaluable to other members. And not just today, but for years to come. New members will join who take to the blogs almost instantly, and they will find your blogs, read them and learn from them.

Regarding criticisms, I recommend that you treat them as "perceived criticisms", because more often than not they are not intended as criticisms. They maybe seemingly harsh observations to you, but to the person submitting them, they are often offered up as genuinely heartfelt suggestions to a "friend". Here on the blogs we are a "family". You've opened your heart to readers, and that invites them to feel close to you. Once they feel close to you, that invites them to speak their mind. 

Some people, with the best of intent, but feeling like they are speaking to a "buddy", will say things in the roughest of terms. They simply intend it as a well meant wake up call. And they dio that because they likely have already been wounded by someone they've been dating online, maybe even on CLM or ALM.

The bottom line is this: you have given readers an amazing look into your own experience of online dating, and very specifically with regards to one member who captivated you. Some readers, having also been there, shouted out "stop you idiot", but that was without bad intent. It was a reaction to their own bad experiences, and a desperate flash reaction to save you from the same pain they felt. As owner/moderator of the blogs and forum for 10 years now, I can tell you that even the harshest criticisms are meant well 99% of the time.

I truly hope that I am not among those whose criticism you found offensive, but having said that I must admit that I have been trying to draft a comment about your photos, and how I believe you are making an incredibly huge mistake in your visual presentations if you truly wish to meet your very best match, but I have not found a way to write it without possibly insulting/hurting you, and that's the last thing I wish to do to one of my bloggers (or members). And yet I believe it would be helpful to you, whereas you might take offence.

How should we deal with these problems on the blogs?  

#2018-03-24 23:26:58 by RWByrum @RWByrum


@JohnAbbot

Very insightful and thought provoking comments as alwasy, John.  In so far as a blog entry or comment triggering memories, I have had this experience as well.  When I was reading Peter's excellent series on cultural understanding I was immediately put in mind of two documentaries I had seen recently, "It's a Girl" and "Eating with Cannibals".  That prompted me to say that there must be limits on how understanding we can be of other cultures.  "It's a Girl" dealt with the issue of infanticide and the documentary featured an interview with an Indian woman who routinely killed the girls she gave birth to.  She even showed the film makers the row of graves of the babies she killed.  Why would she do this?  Because the local culture allowed it, that is why.

"I truly hope that I am not among those whose criticism you found offensive, but having said that I must admit that I have been trying to draft a comment about your photos, and how I believe you are making an incredibly huge mistake in your visual presentations if you truly wish to meet your very best match, but I have not found a way to write it without possibly insulting/hurting you, and that's the last thing I wish to do to one of my bloggers (or members). And yet I believe it would be helpful to you, whereas you might take offence."

You ae not John.  While I admit that I usually do not take criticism well, much depends on exactly how it is phrased.  You write your thoughts with far more care than most of the other comentators here.  That is why I find your comments thought provoking rather than angering.  But having said that, I don't always find myself agreeing with you.  As far as meeting my very best match goes, that may already have happened, though I do admit that it is far too early yet to tell but so far things have been very promising over the past week.

I am not going to comment on the profile picture issue right now.  I'm serously thinking about writing a blog entry about it.  These issues always remind me of rather famous American expression that most Americans do not truly understand though they do get the meaning of it, "There is more than one way to skin a cat."  When I was taking Junior English at the University of Maryland the instructor spent one day on resume writing.  She gave us an example of how not to write a resume.  Yet, when one of the students asked if the man got the job the instructor admitted that he had.  Just remember what Deng Xiao Ping said, "It doesn't matter if the cat is white or the cat is black, if it catches the rat it is a good cat."  While I don't imagine that my profile pictures are going to be what attracts my Perfect Match, I don't necessary believe that they will cause her to avoid me, either.  I dress like Neil Young, yet he never seems to have any problem getting dates.  Of course, he is rich and famous and that trumps his fashion sense.  But that also goes to show that fashion sense is not necessarily the most important thing.  Could there be a woman who values honesty and romance enough to be willing to overlook my profile pictures?  Only time will tell.

#2018-03-26 05:51:11 by anonymous16947 @anonymous16947

Hmmm Neil Young gets lots of girls because he is a Canadian musician, John is extremely careful, thoughtful and polite because he is Canadian....'nuff said about that "eh".

No one likes criticism even if it is well meant as it usually comes across as a left handed compliment, women are masters at this.

Interestingly enough when I was on this site looking for a Chinese woman I received so many kisses, messages(at least 70) each week I was totally overwhelmed, this happened even though I was very specific in what I was looking for. I found that many of the contacts did not read my profile they just looked at my age and pictures. To go through that many contacts on a weekly basis was almost a fulltime job, so I essentially returned the message if they had read my profile and they fell into what I was looking for. I sent thank you kisses to every one whom I did not wish to have contact with then I deleted them, I know it sounds cold but we have to do what we have to do.

Interestingly enough the Chinese woman whom I am involved with now I actually met via QQ of all places, she is fairly cute, full of life, is an absolute firecracker and most of all she is higly intelligent and this is so important to me.

I post on this site as anonomous as per her wishes. This site lets me see others men/women's points of view in regards to Chinese women/Western men and Chinese culture. This site is holds an enormous amount of knowledge and everyone can learn here.  

Learn, learn, learn.

 

Cheers.

 

 

#2018-03-26 14:04:16 by RWByrum @RWByrum


@anonymous16947

I've actually met enough thoughtless and obnoxious Canadians to know that not all of the them possess John's qualities.  But then again, the Canadians I was encountering were Ontario hockey fans descending upon Washington every time the Maple Leafs played the Capitals.

Last year I was briefly a member of Thai Cupid.  I received 32 contact requests within the first two hours.  I strongly suspected that the attraction was caused by the fact that I am an American.  I promptly closed my account.  The fact that so few of the members of CLM attempt to contact me is one of the reasons why I like the website.  Simply refuse to believe that a significant number of women are going to be genuinely interested in me.

#2018-03-26 15:21:43 by autumn2066 @autumn2066

Please stay!

I have noticed and read all your writings here. I found them quite inspire my mind.

I believe that most of the Chinese women whom ever pass by and take the time reading your writings here would be well surprised by your instructive views and found you loveable by her discover of how interesting a man's inner world could be and how persistent a man could be standing for what he truly believes and what he wants.

Please don't leave because you feel unacceptable or thankless here, I am one of the Chinese women whom would appreciate a man's single-minded and being constant in love. 

Please believe that even though most of people ( whatever men or women, whatever western or Asian ) might follow the so call "smart social skills" and some people might be proud of the number of how many fishes he could conquer in the Asian ocean, but still,there are always some minority in this world know well how to see through a man's clumsiness or immaturity to discover and appreciate his pure heart and willing to cherish a man's "silly" persistence. Though I am not physically attracted to you, but I was moved by your meritorious personality and your interesting inner world which you have showed well from your logic writings and your comment. 

And I believe that if you ever found your true love whom truly deserve your heart and your inner world, the love between you two will be hopefully last much longer and no doubt could explore much more deeply than those love stories which simply attracted by silk-stocking and perfect packaging.

Please go on sharing your thought here, all I could see is that your writings are terrific and excellent!

Best wishes for you!

#2018-03-27 12:33:22 by JohnAbbot @JohnAbbot

Hmmm. Where to start?



@RWByrum - you've said such kind things about me that I feel somewhat pressured to respond with something cantankerous and nasty, just to avoid the Canadian image of nice, polite and emminently boring. And that is the prevailing Canadian image in spite of what your experience led you to believe. Torontonians are notoriously the obnoxious exeption to the rule, being so completely full of themselves, much like New Yorkers in the US.



There, now I feel a little better.



Your comments about my fellow Canadian, Neil Young's choice of clothes caused me to go look up what Neil's been up to (and wearing) lately. I discovered 2 important things. 



1. While Neil is dressing pretty casually these days, and mostly always has done so, he's managed to land Daryl Hannah as his partner of 4 years, who is 15 years his junior and still is a very striking woman. I would suggest that your style of dress, while similar to Neil's, is even more casual and even less appealing to the opposite sex; especially the Chinese opposite sex. So unless you plan to soon become a major rock star and one the the most respected guitarists of all time, you might not want to count on the similarities of your cothing styles leading you to meeting and partnering with the Chinese equivalent of Daryl Hannah.



In fairness, though, unless she knew he was Neil Young and was aware of his claim to fame, I seriously doubt the Chinese equivalent of Daryl Hannah or any other attractive Chinese woman would be interested in Neil based solely on their first impression when seeing a picture of him.



2. Neil has adopted the usual Hollywood/Entertainment Industry attitude that as a result of their being paid stupid amounts of money for the privilege of entertaining us peasants, they have gained some kind of God given right to tell us what we should think about the state of the world and the the coming downfall of America. Here's what he said of Trump in an interview for 'The Daily Beast': “The man—Trump, the president of the United States—is a mess. He has no balls. He hasn’t got one ball. He literally has nothing.” I have been a fan of Neil Young since back in the 60's when he and Stephen Stills formed the Buffalo Springfield band, but I am a fan no more.



Like Robert Deniro, Meryl Streep and the vast majority of the entertainment industry, Neil Young has his head so far up his ass that he can't see anyone but himself. 



Anyway, I will not comment generally on your pictures, in case you follow through with your blog on that issue, because my comments would be more pertinent there.



But I will just add one thought in the meantime.  @autumn2066 has indicated that she is "not physically attracted to you", but has otherwise expressed great admiration for you. Clearly your photos did not convey to her what your words and thoughts did convey.  You are not an unnattractive man, but you chose to dress down in a situation where almost everybody dresses up.  As a result, you missed an opportunity to meet a woman who seems very well matched to you, and who is very attractive in her photos. And she is no doubt one of many ladies who feel the same way. 



I am very interested to hear your explanation of why you would do that to yourself. I will be watching with interest for that blog.


#2018-03-27 13:19:49 by RWByrum @RWByrum

@autumn2066

Thank you for your comments, Autumn, they were certainly appreciated.  I want to reassure you that I am not leaving.  I think the number of views my blog is getting is adequate proof that my entries are reasonably popular.  Personally, I am most attracted to the women who are plain and down to earth.  That's one of the reasons why I persistently reject the advice that my casual manner of dress is keeping me from finding true love.  The women I am contacting have profile pictures in which they are dressed just as casually as I am.  My Almost Perfect Match posted profile pictures of herself wearing jeans and a t-shirt, not elegant evening wear.

When it comes to dating, I am an angler, not a trawler.  That is not to suggest that I think there is anything wrong with trawling, it's just not my style.

I seriously doubt that any women are physically attracted to me.  At least not at first blush.  I strongly suspect that I am an aquired taste.

There will be more posts coming.  I have already submitted my next two entries.  The next one is my long awaited account of how I met my ex-wife.  I have already written four more posts besides those two and I still have many more ideas for posts that I haven't written yet.  It might take some time, though, because I am also in the middle of writing another novel.

#2018-03-27 16:04:09 by melcyan @melcyan

@RWByrum, I have been busy lately and I haven’t had the time to do a detailed response as previously promised on your advice to someone new to CLM. I agree with nearly everything that you said in your newbie advice. I would also add that your approach as shown in this blog series contradicts many of the guidelines written on the internet about how to get the greatest chance of success with online dating. @JohnAbbot, feel free to add a link here to one of your own advice articles to newbies on CLM - ……………………………………………………

 

It is understandable that some have questioned your current profile photos and your pursuit of a CLM member who gave you no response at all. Compared with criticism voiced in the past on CLM, the negative comments on your blog seem rather muted. I don’t think any of the initial comments were intended as a personal attack but were more directed at making sure other men did not make the same “mistakes” as you did.

 

However, you do nail the most important element of online dating – honesty. That combined with revealing your innermost thoughts has immense power. This is an area that many men have difficulty with. This is why your blog is valuable.

 

@Autumn2066 Thank you for your comment. Your thoughtful comment prompted me to add my words to this blog. We are all different. The number of people that we are a good match with is small. Your comment here and your ten out of ten CLM profile make you stand apart from others and get noticed. You make full use of what the profile limits allow and your photos (some annotated) enhance the information that you try to convey. I get a very clear impression of who you are and what is important to you. I wish you all the best with your search.

 

 

 

#2018-03-27 17:18:54 by RWByrum @RWByrum

@JohnAbbot

I knew that the people I was meeting were not the typical Canadians.  The Canadian hockey fans I was meeting were actually driving from Toronto to Washington just to watch a hockey game and then immediately driving back home.  It takes a special kind of person to do that.  So, observational bias clearly enters into this.

Bear in mind, John, that I am not looking for Darryl Hannah or her Chinese equivalent.

Neil Young has always been pretentious and sometimes it is actually reflected in his music.  Southern Man was a perfect example of this.   That song annoyed Ronnie Van Zant so much he wrote a rebuttal song--Sweet Home Alabama.  He even called out Neil Young by name.   "I hope Neil Young will remember, a Southern man don't need him 'round anyhow."

If I like a musician or an actor, it is strictly because of his music or his acting ability.  I ignore everything else about him:  his personal life, his fashion sense, his political convictions, his religious beliefs, his dietary habits.  So, Paul McCartney is a vegetarian, so was Adolf Hitler.

As far as @autumn2066 comments go, I interpret "not physically attracted to you" to mean that it is my face and body that are the problem rather than my clothes.  As far as that goes, it could even be the fact that I am white.  Not every Chinese lady is attracted to Caucasians, after all.  Do you really think that she does not find my physically attractive merely because of the shirt I am wearing or is this just rhetorical convenience?

I am also choosing to be completely honest in a situation where most men would intentionally misrepresent themselves.

#2018-03-28 15:43:10 by RWByrum @RWByrum


@melcyan

If questioning my sanity qualified as a muted response by the prevailing standards of the blog comments here, then this place must have been quite the flame fest in the past.

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