Coming back from a presentation I commented on this beautiful park and lake we were driving past. A buddy in the car said that the park was also a great place to meet girls and offered to loan me one of his dogs ’cause “girls love dogs.” I just thought that the park was a pretty.
Then Brother Matt mentioned during his recent Florida visit that my current and persistent lack of a girlfriend was causing mom to openly worry whether I’ve changed my gender preferences. Thanks mom. The truth is I’m beginning to wonder: have I become lazy, too cautious or too picky when it comes to dating?
This is hardly a new phenomenon. I went through a pretty long dry spell after breaking up with a live-in girlfriend in the early 90s. One friend spoke up at the time and said that he and my other friends were worried that I’d given up on having someone in my life. I was just beginning my teaching career and pretty much every waking hour and ounce of emotional energy was being poured into surviving those first few years. I thought I was, for the first time, being smart and acting like an adult. Apparently not. Damn.
Another friend, who knew that I’d been very fortunate with the level of attractiveness of my former girlfriends and female friends, said that I needed to expand my preferences beyond curvy playboy playmates. Out of frustration she quipped that at our age all the good ones were already taken anyway.That one left a scar. I mean, if all the good ones are taken and I’m not taken then does this mean that I’m not one of the “good ones?” Shit. That didn’t leave me with a particularly hopeful sense of having a future with someone I found attractive.
So at least one part of moving across the continent over a year ago was to get a new start on social things. And as much as I’d been warned to not have high expectations by two very good friends who have lived in the area (I mean, after all I’ve spent a lifetime spoiled by all the pretty people in Southern California), my dateless-state is not for a lack of attractive women where ever one goes. So, again, am I being lazy, overly cautious or just too picky? Sitting here staring at these words reminds me that the fact that I reflect and try to think through all of this is just not normal for guys, so my well-meaning friends say. Ack.
When I was in the process of moving here one friend suggested a couple websites, like meetup.com, where one could easily meet like-minded individuals centered on common interests. I signed up but never got off my butt. Another avenue to meet new people would have been to join a church. I used to inwardly chuckle when someone suggested that I should check in to see the size of the singles group before getting involved. But I couldn’t see making my choice of church based on some babe-meter. I had other issues about churches, so I never really even considered this as a meaningful option. In fact, being as busy as I’ve been over the past year, getting involved with anything for the purpose of meeting women hasn’t been enough. Put another way, there has to be a value to the thing beyond just meeting women. I am the complete inverse of several of my good buddies who’s main reason for doing anything is to meet women. That’s just not me. Don’t get me wrong, I love meeting new people and I generally find the people I encounter fascinating, but given how busy I am there are scant few hours dedicated to meeting these fascinating people.
One of the take-aways of my last relationship was how much better things seemed to come together for me when I’m in a relationship just in terms of energy and a sense of purpose. It’s not that I need someone for these things as much as having the benefit of someone to share the journey with, just in terms of bouncing ideas off of and getting outside of my own head on a regular ongoing basis. At the same time I do have a very full life with my career and writing and just the stuff that fills each day that I’m not entirely convinced that having as much freedom as I have isn’t much better than the complications of letting another voice into my life. Part of the problem is that I am very good at adapting to living all on my own and convincing myself that I really don’t need anyone. Too lazy, overly cautious or just too picky? I think I need to work the “friends” angle and just get out more to be with other people and find the joy there. No pretenses, no props, no re-inventions, nothing that’s not really a part of my life and passions. I’ll dare to go to the park without the borrowed dog and see what happens. 😉 jbb
Image: Peteca toma seu banho by elbragon, http://www.flickr.com/photos/elbragon/3183246877/ retrieved on 10/15/2009, Creative commons/attribution license.
Image: Past Girlfriends by Joe Bustillos, http://joebustillos.com/wp-content/uploads/2006/05/mygirls-1.gif retrieved 10/15/2009. Creative Commons/attribution license.
image: Jessica at Laguna Lake by TravOC, http://www.flickr.com/photos/travoc/89394031/ retrieved on 10/15/2009, Creative Commons/attribution license.