Sunday, July 02, 2006


With my marriage only a vague memory, what is left? What fills my nights? How do I stave off boredom and loneliness?

Well, I could take up knitting. Instead, I date.

God help me.

I don't even know why I do this. I pretend that I'm looking for a relationship, but I'm not sure if that's true. Relationships are a lot of work, requiring massive energy to build and even more trouble to maintain. I thought I found the love of my life in my thirties, and that didn't work out. I'm forty-one now. Is it getting a bit late for this sort of thing?

Seriously, is it? Because if it is, I might as well just admit that what I'm looking for is just a pure physical relationship--the old rumpty-pumpty, as Roger Ebert would put it. (Sorry, I've just been listening to Ebert's commentary on the Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls DVD.) And if that's the case, well, I guess it makes more sense.

Because for that, at least, I need another person. Sure, I can go trolling for all the naked web-cam action a fella can stand (not--koffkoff--that I'd ever, you know, do that, heh heh...), but at some point, you need contact.

Emotional contact, though, that's a whole different thing. Society conditions us to pair off, to find emotional fullfillment with another person. But is it really necessary? Most of the time, when I desire someone's company for non-sexual reasons, it's usually just to save myself the embarrassment of going out someplace by myself. And often, I wind up going out anyway, by myself, and having a perfectly good time. Solitude is underrated--often, you can more fully enjoy yourself if you're not worrying about the response of the person you're with.

When I'm home, I'm probably better off being alone, anyway. Since I'm the type of person who can suddenly decide that an Ingmar Bergman double feature is a perfect evening's entertainment, Swedish angst is probably best experienced in private. (And if I actually knew a woman who was into Bergman, it would be pretty clear that she had issues of her own. Which, of course, is the type of woman I date, and is usually the reason it doesn't work. Lord, this is getting depressing...)

As you might have guessed from the tone of this thing, the only reason I'm sitting here writing is because I'm not doing what I thought I'd be doing this evening, which is to say, going out with someone. She was very apologetic when she cancelled, and given what I know about her (which is probably way too much for only two dates), the reason she gave seems plausible. I don't really think she's just blowing me off, but who knows? The worst part of dating is never knowing the other person's intentions. How can I know what to feel when I don't know what they feel?

And is it possible to write about this sort of thing without sounding like a country song?