On (or around) November 7th, 1994, your faithful narrator last exited the world of coupledom. Some might say he was cast out unceremoniously for no fault of his own, and they’d be right, but that’s neither here nor there. What this means is that I’ve been a voluntary bachelor for 20 years now — no committed romantic relationships whatsoever. But let that number sink in a bit. 20 years. I’ll even write it in Spanish: veinte años. At that time, Bill Clinton was president, OJ Simpson was on trial for murder, grunge ruled the still-viable radio airwaves, and no one — absolutely NO one — LOL’ed. There were no DVDs, Harry Potter, Playstation, the Euro, and even the Web was virtually unknown and certainly not what it is today. It was a primitive time, but we all managed somehow.
Over the years and up to today, I’ve remained a curiosity to many coupled friends and associates. Being of the age at which many of my peers have been in long-term relationships (not to mention, parents), I can see that the very thought of being without each other for a week or two, let alone completely single for two decades, fills some with what I’d imagine a desperate form of terror. “How could he survive without a girlfriend?”, “Doesn’t he want love?”, “He’s probably a serial killer.” Okay, that last one might not be on the minds of many, but I do get a lot of off-track assumptions.
Frankly, I’ve heard them all. But let’s expand upon the more popular ones:
“Don’t you want what WE have?”
No, not specifically. The things that work to make your relationship aren’t necessarily appealing or relevant to me. I’ve witnessed a myriad of relationship dynamics, expectations, and paired interests in my 4.6 decades of life and, far too many times, I’ve literally cringed at what I was watching. And don’t flatter yourself or think you’re about to make some grand “gotcha” point at any moment. I envy nothing I’ve seen that I could not otherwise receive from a pet, a prostitute or a close friend.
“You’re too picky”
I’ve never understood the notion of forming a heavily compromised relationship. I cannot like what I cannot like, and I’m too old to start trying. To qualify: I am very realistic and know my expectations are reasonable. No need to defend them here.
“You’re a handsome guy, I don’t get it”
Sexual attraction isn’t a problem or THE problem. I’m offered enough sex these days whereby most of it holds no significance or newness for me. Too often, it’s a stale re-run. [Plug in Doug Stanhope routine here.] That’s not necessarily the fault of the ladies. It’s merely the equation of time + experience – passion = old hat.
“Let me hook you up with my friend”
This is often a disaster and shows me that far too many sincerely well-intended people don’t know me as well as they should. Mostly, I’ve been introduced to ladies with qualities my friend likes, and not what I like. This is comparable to giving me a bottle of absinthe for my birthday because YOU like absinthe and never bothered to ask me if I like absinthe, which I absolutely don’t. That’s what it feels like.
“You should go out more often”
All this does is facilitate random exposure to disappointing humans.
“Do you like guys instead?”
No. Not at all. As a heterosexual member of the male gender, I’m forever shocked that women want to fuck us at all.
I’m not opposed to a romantic, long-term relationship. A part of me likes the prospect. I simply do not meet anyone with whom I have more than a sexual interest — and even that is fleeting. I know how it all goes. And the older I get, the less relatability I feel to more and more people. Incidentally, women happen to be 50 percent of that. So I require a profound connection at this point lest I fall prey to the law of diminishing returns. Barring that, being alone is preferable. I’ve said it for the last 20 years and I’m well prepared to say it for at least 20 more: Offer me something better than what I already have and currently enjoy, and I’ll consider it. All else is error.
Of course, I realize that this isn’t the way of the masses. Too many people hook up with bad partners (particularly when they both are too young to settle down), fascinated by easy sex and some ego-stroking. Throw in some sentimentality and a perceived path out of Lonelytown, and it’s all hearts. Habituation and time will do the rest. At least until the messy divorce in which you, dear fellows, will lose much.
I don’t live my life that way and willfully choose to avoid such obvious traps and the lack of thinking that follows. I abhor stupidity and weak-mindedness. And I don’t just talk the talk on that one. At any time in the last 240 months, I could have parked my self-respect at the door and jumped into any one of a dozen offered romances that, in those specific cases, would have been disastrous. And while I don’t want a friggin’ medal for all of this, I am quite proud of my foresight and strength. Tis my blog. I can gloat.
Hey look! I wrote something!