I’m not a big fan of biographies, but when my
yoga meditation teacher started quoting Steve Jobs, I figured the book was worth looking into. There’s a section where Elizabeth Holmes talks about him helping her get out of a cult. See, Steve and his friends were all into Zen and Eastern religion and things like that, which is probably why my teacher likes him.
As part of their spiritual exploration, Liz had joined a group that made her cut ties with all her old friends, including her boyfriend, who was Steve’s best friend. To quote the book, Steve ignored the injuction, stormed into the cult house, dragged Liz out, and made her drive him to Portland even though she couldn’t actually drive a stick shift. That’s a manual car, to those of us that don’t live in America.
Apparently, Steve literally scared her straight. He put his head on her lap and went to sleep, even though she swore she couldn’t drive. Sheer terror of killing the sleeping man gave her the courage (and instant driving skills) to get them safely to their destination. Liz says Steve had that way about him. He could make people do things they didn’t believe they could.
The situation got me thinking. According to the book, Steve deeply insulted Liz the first time he met her, but they went on to be great friends. He was like that with a lot of people – abusing and offending them, yet they couldn’t get enough of him. It made me wonder about two things – jerk appeal and the true quality of love.
Lots of guys complain that nice guys finish last. They say the best way to get a girl’s attention is to be mean to her. That’s why so many good guys get stuck in the friend zone while the assholes of the world get all the girls. It seems like a counter-intuitive conclusion, but observation rarely lies, even though stats (and interpretation) often do.
I saw a tweet a few days back – I forget who it was by – that said your asshole of an ex is the most dangerous one, because if he/she ever comes back, you’ll be completely confused. They treated you so badly that when they suddenly want you back, your brain could die from the overload, putting your current (and perfectly healthy) relationship in serious trouble.
I can’t even begin to analyze that (disturbingly true) scenario, so I’ll go with this instead. In the anecdote above, there are two guys. Guy A, the boyfriend. The one who was told to get out of her life, and said okay. He loved her, so when she gave him up for *God* he accepted it. Some people love like that. They’ll give you what you want, even if it kills them to do it.
Then we have Guy B, Steve, the boyfriend’s best friend. He said, “Look, I don’t care what you want. You’re being stupid. That cult is bad for you, and I’m going to drag you out of it, whether you want me to do it or not.” And that’s exactly what he did. He gave her what was best for her, even though she didn’t want him to.
And here’s my question – which of those two men loved her more? The one who gave her what she wanted, or the one who gave her what she needed? And then, did both motivations come from the same place? Did the boyfriend let her go because of love … or (lack of) esteem?
Did he want her to be happy with or without him? Or did he have insecurities deep down about not being good enough for her? After all, you can’t force someone to love you, or to be with you … can you? As for Steve, was it about helping a friend get out of a potentially dangerous situation, or was it simply about manipulating people and getting his own way?
Now, let’s get to a much more basic conundrum. Please note that there is NO LOVE TRIANGLE in this story, but if there was, who would the girl choose? Wouls she pick the guy who insults her and is consistently mean to her, yet came up and saved her life – in a mean, forceful, manipulative way?
Or would she pick the sweet guy who put her desires above his own and was ready to let her go simply because that was what she wanted? Sadly, the answer to that question is painfully obvious, and it says a lot about relationships today. Jerks rule the world, and nice guys really do finish last. I just hope this is one lesson my baby girl won’t take to heart.
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