Stories of Seclusion: Ugliness Pushes a Man into Isolation

A man is beaten down and into seclusion by society's reaction to his looks.

Posted Jun 05, 2015

Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain
Source: Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain

In previous installments in this series on reclusiveness, I made the case for a minimally social existence, then tips for making it work, an internal debate on whether to be reclusive, and yesterday, six types of reclusiveness.

Starting with yesterday's installment, I'm offering composite stories of reclusive people drawn from my clients and other people I know. Here's today's:

From an early age, Jonathan had suffered the double whammy of being overweight and considered by the kids to be ugly.

For example, when they chose sides for softball, if they needed 18 kids and there were 19, Jonathan would usually be the one not picked. And if selected, they usually stuck him in right field, where he mainly just stood there for nine innings. One time, he understandably wasn't paying attention when a ball came out to him and he didn't even notice it. An angry teammate ran out to him, grabbed his glove, and threw it down the sewer to the laughter of other kids.

In high school, he asked a girl out. "No." Another girl. "No." The third time, he asked a girl who was almost as overweight as he was. Her response? "You gotta be kidding." At that moment, he decided to have as little to do with people as possible. His first move? To deliberately get kicked out of school, and so almost without provocation, he told a teacher "Fuck you" and punched her in the stomach. It worked.

He walked himself into a truck driving school and began his career as a long-haul driver, as solitary a career as exists.

The years from 18 to 50 were relatively uneventful and spent mostly in solitude. But at age 50, now driving a beer truck, he inadvertently ran over a 70-year-old woman. He felt terrible about that and visited her every day in the hospital. And after all those years of being alone, despite their age difference, he felt empty, open, needy, and he married her.

But quickly, he found himself overreacting to criticisms she made of him and he grew resentful of the compromises one must make in a marriage. And four months later, he got the marriage annulled.

Jonathan has returned to his hermited life and plans to continue that indefinitely.

Marty Nemko's bio is in Wikipedia.