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29: Ian Hannon

March 10, 2011 | by  |  Confessions of a Lonely, Single Guy
Two weeks passed, and the shitstorm just didn’t end. Friends were angry. Co-workers whispered behind my back. Girls stopped talking to me. And, of course, since the posting of the most recent CONFESSIONS, there had been no shortage of hate-mail to keep me occupied.People calling me a date-rapist. An asshole. Every woman’s nightmare.

I know, because I sat up late one night and read every single one.

I deserved them. I knew that. Hell, I agreed with most of them.

I knew where I’d gone wrong.

And I knew I never wanted to make a mistake like that again.

It’s amazing how quickly a paradigm shift can take place, once the pieces are in place.

And, after months of flailing in the dark, how suddenly a moment of clarity can strike.

I knew the score: just like what had happened with Steph, I’d screwed up. I’d let my ego take over, been intoxicated by power, and now, all I could do was take my lumps, accept what I’d done, and hopefully learn something from the experience. I’d hurt people. Women I barely knew. Women I knew well.  One of my best friends. My journey had taken me to some dark, unsavoury places, and, in sharing the depths of those experiences, I’d become a lightning-rod for public anger. It’s not like I was the first person to ever get carried away, or behave callously, or look for a magic bullet for dating. I’d just happened to explore my experiences in a public arena.

It was proof that the old adage still held true: Don’t kiss and tell.

And, unfortunately, I’d done both.

What was actually more alarming, though, were those vocal and stupid enough to jump to my defense; the kind of people I had, in my foolishness, been trying to emulate. These idiots walking around, calling themselves “Ladies’ Men,” defending to the death my right to walk around treating people like crap for no good reason. Those men you so often saw in clubs and restaurants, obsessed with getting their “body-count” as high as they could, with hitting that 23-average I’d read about so long ago, turning their masculinity into nothing more than a numbers game, a game that could have just as easily been soccer, or hockey, or Call of fucking Duty for all they cared, but instead of kills or points, they were racking up something altogether different.

And, for a few short days, I’d been one of them.

I spent those two, shitstorming weeks holed-up in my apartment.

During that time, I was in nothing but a daze, a constant zombie-state of working, commuting, sleeping. Eating ice-cream straight from the container. Sitting in my underwear, taking bong-hits, watching awful movies on

I called Leon, and apologized.

I called Brittany, and did the same.

Hell, I even called DJ StrangeLove.

Told him I was sorry. That we hadn’t left things on a good note. Asked to meet, and sort things out. Told him that, for what it was worth, I couldn’t have done it without him.

And so it was, that a year and three weeks after it had all begun, we met at a small cafe downtown, for what would turn out to be the final time.

He sat across from me, slumped over a black coffee, hair greasy, eyes rimmed by dark circles. It had been some time since I’d properly seen him: The man who’d laid the groundwork for my journey. The man who’d been my mentor, my wingman, my arch-nemesis. The man reputed to have a body-count in the hundreds, the man who’d had dozens of threesomes, who was said to have slept with the population of a small Yukon town. The man’s man. The ladies’ man. The Legend.

He didn’t look good.

In fact, he looked as though he’d just spent the last twelve hours as a human speed-bump.

And, on his back was the same rumpled white dress-shirt he’d been wearing the first night we’d met. The same subdued tie.

“Dude,” I said, edging into the seat across from him. “What’s with the get-up?”

“Living the dream.”

“Doing what, exactly?”

“Same thing I was doing the day I met you: looking for work.”

I blinked, surprised.

“You work?”

“Laugh it up…”

“You lose your job or something?”

“I’ve been unemployed thirteen months, darling.”

“Oh. Are you looking for something specific, or-?”

“Dunno, man. Times are tough. At this point, I’d pretty much take anything, but, I can’t even get a job at a goddamn coffee shop. Turns out, I spent so many years trying to learn how to pick up women, I don’t know a hell of a lot about anything else.”

“That sucks.”

“Tell me about it. I had to sell my car. Pawn off some shit. I’ve been living in my parents’ basement since last January. I’m nearly ten grand in debt. Hell, my girlfriend had to pay our membership to the Swinger Club this year. Shit’s retarded.”

We sat in silence. DJ StrangeLove sipped his coffee.

“Damn.” I sighed. “Your life’s a lot different than I thought it was when I met you.”

“Oh, yeah? How so?”

“Well, you know. There’s this Legend around you.”

He raised an eyebrow.

“Is there?”

I laughed nervously.

“Yeah. You know… People talk. Like, that story about the six chorus girls in the Arts Club show…”

“Um. It was the Gateway. And it was only two of them. And I didn’t even sleep with the second
one. We just messed around.”

“What about the houseful of women?”

“That was my girlfriend’s house. Those are her roommates.”

“What about the threesomes?” I asked, desperate. “The triple-digit body-count? The sleeping with the population of a small Yukon town?”

He guffawed loudly, sitting back in his chair.

“Are you serious, man? Who told you that?”

“I don’t know. I heard it somewhere.”

“Well, it’s bullshit. None of that ever happened.”

He sat forward, exhaling loudly.

“Jesus. I wish I had the life that everybody seems to think I’m having. I mean, yeah, I’ve had sex in groups, but that’s just because I spent years figuring out how to do it, and I’m lucky enough to have found somebody I love who’s into the same things as I am. Otherwise, we hang out with friends. We play board-games and shit. Dutch fucking Blitz. We argue about whose turn it is to take the garbage out. I’m just a dude, man. Whatever people are talking about, I’m not that. Hell, I don’t know if anybody is.”

There was another silence.

“So, I’m sorry about how things turned out,” I offered. “I should have listened more. And I shouldn’t have yelled at you like that.”

“No worries, man. And hey, you learned something, right?”

“Yeah. I’m pretty clear. Probably clearer than I’ve ever been.”

He clapped me on the shoulder.

“Good, man. Good. I was pretty worried there for a second. Thought I’d lost you.”

“I’m sorry I dissed The System.”

“Hey, I’m not sure you even know what it is.”

I sat back, extending my hand.

“Well, I appreciate everything you’ve done.”

“Not a worry, sugar-plum. Just keep on the straight and narrow. I told you to be your Best Self, remember? Not your worst.”

“Thanks, man. Really.”

“No problem.”

He extended his fist.

“Pound it.”

I shook my head. Then, I offered my hand. He smiled, considering for a moment.

And, for the first time since I met him, DJ StrangeLove shook my hand.

An instant later, he belched so hard, he vomited slightly into his mouth.

“You okay, man?” I asked, after he’d settled. “You look pretty ragged.”

He chuckled, shrugging.

“Well, you know, the first time you sleep with somebody…”

I laughed.

“How many somebodies was it exactly?”

“A few.”

“No way. A blonde, a brunette, and a readhead?”

He shook his head.

“So close.”

“Well, there’s always next time.”

“Are you kidding me? After this weekend, I need to spend a year in a monastery.”

And that was that.

I slowly made my way home, scarf knotted tight against the cold, and reflected. DJ StrangeLove had been wrong about one thing: I did understand The System. I understood it, I recognized its validity, and I appreciated what it had done for me, but I knew that, in the end, it was nothing but training wheels. The goal of The System was to help you fake it until you made it.

And you “made it” when you were confidently living a life that was attractive.

Not just attractive to others – not women in clubs, other men, or your friends and family, but attractive to you.

Because, if you didn’t eventually strike out on your own, and develop yourself, all those little tricks wouldn’t get you anywhere.

New clothes made me feel better in my own skin. It’s the same reason women dress up for a night out: It’s not for us; it’s so they feel attractive and powerful in themselves.

Touching people was something I’d never been able to do growing up, and learning to do it allowed me to feel confident with friends, acquaintances and surroundings.

Talking to strangers was a necessary part of life. Not just for picking up women. At job interviews. In the supermarket. The doctor’s office. The skills I’d learned were helpful in ways far greater than the scope of my writings for The Dependent. They were skills I should be using everywhere.

My journey wasn’t about women. It wasn’t about meaningless sex. Hell, it wasn’t even about becoming a ladies’ man. As far as I’m concerned, the real journey is to become somebody who’s comfortable interacting with the people he wants to interact with, regardless of gender, if and when the need arises.

And, strangely enough, as a result of this realization, I was also comfortable being single. More than comfortable. Empowered. 60% of Vancouver’s population is single. Hell, more people are single the world over than at any other time in history. Being single isn’t a consolation prize. It’s just as legitimate of a social status as marriage or a relationship. And, until you’re fully comfortable being single, there’s no way you can be doing anything but plugging other people into the holes in your life that need filling.

On my way home, I sat three rows behind two men I’d met briefly at the Social Fluency workshop; a short, sandy-haired gent with a memorable smile, and a down-at-the-mouth Asian fellow with prominent acne. They were engaged in something of a pickup, crowding around the woman in the seat opposite them.

The sandy-haired one leaned forward.

“Excuse me…” the sandy-haired one said, leaning forward a tad too much. “My friend and I have a question.”

I chuckled morbidly.

They’d figure it out eventually.

Then, on my way home, after grabbing a cheap shwarma, I stopped at a tiny shop on Main, and bought a plant.

A Ponytail Palm, to be precise.

Not for anybody else. Just for me.

I watered it, placed it in the window, and then sat down at my keyboard, in the hopes of composing a piece that would draw a satisfying conclusion to this whole drawn-out mess.

Fitting, I guess, that it ended the same way it began: with a plant. Well, a plant, and a magazine article.

Ian Hannon is currently lonely, single, and a guy.



  1. Nice work man.

    In the end, you gotta be true to yourself, and only a few were built by whatever they’ve experienced to be actual ladies men.

    Unless you’re an outright psychopath, you’re bound to have this realization at some point, and I hope the self loathing and such doesn’t come back to bite too hard. That’s really the worst part.

    The thing about the game is that its getting played by people using many different rules, but you gotta abide by your set of rules or face your own consequences when you look into that mirror.

    Best of luck.

  2. Integrity is the key. Glad you’ve recovered it.

  3. tight

  4. Wow. Is this the spot where we all cheer that you found comfort in your own skin and are a happier person?
    It must be difficult living up there with all that white male privilege, where women are the unfortunate casualties of your own self-aggrandizement.
    Your actions and attitudes towards women have been disgusting.
    It is embarassing that the Dependent would publish someone who advertises the objectification and sexualization of women.
    Go to the Women’s Memorial March next year and gain some perspective on the impact that patriarchy’s had on people in your city.

  5. Wow, you’re a moron.

    That’s certainly a win for sociopaths everywhere. You managed to successfully turn a stream of incredibly abusive and distasteful acts into a glowing feeling of personal satisfaction. Congrats. Now that you’ve wrapped up this article you can begin your column on how to trap and kill small animals.

    I guess the only person who really got away safely is Maggie.

  6. The ending to whole of the articles was cheesy, I’ll give it that. Whole plant thing, na. But, the growth you had throughout the whole of these articles is exemplary. If found this whole deal last week and read all your articles in a day or two. Being a lonely single guy myself, you helped me see how easy it is to just step outside ones own bubble and move forward. Your change wasn’t easy, neither is mine. I’m looking to change myself, and these things you posted gave me a few pointers to being what i want to be myself. I’m not looking to be a ladies man, but a man, an image of how I want to be. Reading these have added to my growth, to change myself to see that interaction, and every peice of it or allot of it, is only in my head in fears or misgiving. I hope that these articles will stick with me in the long run, I am sad they are over.

  7. So, “Seriously???” …. what makes you think Ian is white? (I doubt the guy in the photos is actually him).

  8. Gonna miss Ian’s crazy adventures.
    As for those who are shocked an appalled by this brazen display of white male privilege, I say this:

    Welcome to the 21st century. The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Speaking of which… Ladies, should I wear the Kenneth Cole Rockets in Oxblood or just plain black?

  9. Oh no! every human being with any lick of common sense is mad at me! I better toss a Disney ending at them and bow out now.

    Good Riddance.

  10. Oh, no! Every puritanical, socially inept, self-righteous idiot on the internet without the tiniest whit of forgiveness or understanding of the human being’s capacity for change is making their impotent rage known on The Dependent’s comment board after reading one or two chapters of a year-long story, and then jumping to dumbass conclusions!

    It’s an examination of what it means to be a ‘Ladies Man’, stupid. And this dude’s been brave enough to share a year’s worth of his own biggest failings to illuminate that.

  11. Hey,

    I’ve read all the articles, and I enjoyed them. At times uncomfortable, for sure, but still an interesting look into the male psyche. What heterosexual male hasn’t wanted at some point to be the ‘ladies man,’ perhaps not in an overtly sexualized way, but to be desired in some way? I think Ian does a good job in pointing out the failings in this line of thinking in the end, though it is unfortunate so many people needed to be hurt to learn this lesson.

    My two-cents is that you mentioned early on that this was all ‘practice’ for when you meet that one special person. But I would argue that, while learning to be more confident is a good thing, the person you should end up should love you regardless. Real human connection isn’t a ‘trick.’ It does require courage, but it requires us to be ourselves, faults and all. Cheesy as that may sound.

    The writing is honest, and that is what is ultimately important. Not always kind, or sweet, but flawed and human.
    I enjoyed it.

  12. Hey Ian,

    Loved the entire year and 3 months and reading your articles. On the bright side of all that you have gone through you have grown as a person and that is something to be proud of. Great job on the articles. I agree that every man has his own rules and I think we have to live with our actions so by striving to be the best of our selves and not the wurst of our selves we all can grow at paces we are comfortable growing. Best of luck to you in the future Ian and who knows we might run into each other on the street. Keep you head held high bud just maybe take things a little slower. : )

  13. Ian,

    Just read all your articles over the last day or so (exam procrastination)

    Super interesting read and I applaud you for writing about something so personal. Recently moved to Vancouver and the social dynamics here have been something to get used to – eg. how everyone plugs themselves into their ipods the second they leave their house only to remove upon arrival at destination. Your stories have given me some ideas about how to break down interpersonal barriers and talk to some new people and I thank you for it.

    Good luck in your future.

  14. hahaha. What is with all the comments about “white privelege”?

    1) who says the real guy is white?

    2) only white people direspect women?

  15. I know, hey? Self-aggrandizement? White male privelege? Wow. They sure make first-year university students sanctimonious these days, don’t they?

  16. Hi Ian. Having just moved to Vancouver 8 months ago from the UK I have been totally confused about the dating scene!! Let’s just say I’m HOPELESS at flirting, and I am oblivious to all hints dropped my way – so sometimes if a perfectly nice man approaches me and says all the right things, I still manage to ruin it somehow.

    Your articles made me laugh and understand the whole ‘game’ a lot more. I’ve also picked up some nice tips to help initiate conversation and show interest. Some of your little tricks reminded me of certain guys I know. I wander if they have been reading this, or if I have met you?

    As for your last few entries. It’s a shame that you lost your perspective and used your new found confidence for the worst. I’m sure those girls (whether they read this magazine or not) will feel pretty unattractive and disposable right now – huge confidence crusher. I hope if you ever see them again you (1) buy them a drink and (2) let them know in some subtle, genuine way that they are actually great.

    Anyway, it was an enjoyable read, thanks for sharing with us at the expense of your reputation! Maybe with a bit of luck, your next adventure will have a happy ending. Life is all about trial and error right!

  17. I applaud you for writing all this out and putting your name out there. Screw the haters.

  18. You’re worse than Carrie Bradshaw.

    If you hadn’t been so rotten to some of these women you would have ended your escapades with more than a house plant and a fanbase that now hates you.

    Good luck Ian. I really hope you’ve been enlightened from douchebaggery.

  19. I somehow stumbled across this story, got hooked and I’ve been reading it all night. Unfortunately, I can’t even focus on what I once loved about this because all I can think about is how disappointed I am in this ending.

    I’m even more disappointed in the author.

    Ian, man, what’s your deal?

    Seems like all you learned how to do is be an even bigger loser than you were in the first place.

    Instead of lessons with a “pickup artist” it sounds like what you really need are some therapy sessions with a good shrink.

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