my_lost_mind: (hiding)
or.. "What's still really fucking weird in suburbia"

I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out how I can get out there in the big wide world and meet guys in my age group who are single, have similarly eclectic interests (or at least compatible interests) and are open to the idea of dating (vs. casual encounters).

I joined a few meetup groups and have been attending events in my local area but have found that at most of these events women outnumber the men (at least) 2 to 1.    While this is great for general socializing and getting out of the house "not being bored", it's been disappointing as far as meeting single guys is concerned.

Last weekend I attended a meetup event that was made up of mostly single men and women in their 50s and older.  I was lucky enough to end up at a table with several women in their mid-late 50s who were great to talk to - we bonded over experiences in the alt.(dating) realm.  I shared tales of dating in my 30s when it seemed like an endless string of one-night-stands, booty calls, and dating guys who were fun while it lasted but ultimately disappointing.   I explained that I never met anyone suitable on match or okcupid (both terrible experiences for me 10+ years ago) but I did meet a couple guys via craigslist back in the day.

We chatted a bit about dating sites in general, and they said they had some acceptable experience through POF and adultfriendfinder, but it occurred to me that the reason why they were successful is because they were not looking for a steady monogamous dating situation.  They were looking for no-strings hookups and were willing to accept married men, flaky younger men, and/or men who were just looking to explore the various (alt.sex) urges they had to repress in their primary relationships.   These women accepted cheaters, players, and a grand parade of "unavailable" men just to be able to satisfy their urge to get laid regularly.

One of them said something that was actually a bit sad.  She wanted human touch, contact, and if it meant resorting to being someone's booty call she was willing to put up with it vs. going months, years without it.  Another woman said she routinely went for massages so that she could experience being touched in a way that felt comforting.

While I applaud their candor and sexual freedom, I found this appallingly disappointing.  Is the pool of available, acceptable men (over 40) really that small?

I decided to do a bit of recon, and spent a few hours researching various online dating sites.  As I stated above, my experience with online dating 10+ years ago was disappointing at best.  On one site the only "winks", smiles, pings, etc.  I received were from men 20 years older than me (old enough to be my father), or men that obviously had never read my profile and were just randomly clicking on the profiles of single, white females in a specific age range.  

I responded to many profiles, but never received a response back.   Far too many of the profiles of men in my age range were looking for the "slim" or "fit and athletic" females who were 10+ years younger than them.  This was 10 years ago when I was still in my 30s.    Guys in their 30s were looking for women in their 20s - in theory because the 20-somethings were not in a hurry to have babies, would put up with a more "casual" thing, and of course, women in their 20s are less likely to have wrinkles, grey hair, and less cellulite on their thighs. 

What I found while reading these reviews is that this world does not seem to have changed much.   In some cases, it's become worse. Some of the site reviews I found had a long list of complaints about less-than-ethical billing practices and a high percentage of "fake" or inactive profiles.  It also seems like the Nigerian money scammers have taken their primary targets from bulk email to trolling online dating sites.

Sounds like pretty poor return on investment, even if that investment is only time.

I have to admit that doing this research, and gaining that insight from talking to those women older than me made me feel pretty darn angry.

I never really felt that online dating sites were a viable option for me because my personality doesn't translate well in an online profile.  I also believe in honesty, and would never resort to posting a photo of myself from when I was "slim" (20 years ago!).  I'm not obese, but I'm certainly not built like a marathon runner.  If these men are only basing their decision on looks, and eliminating women who are even a bit overweight, then obviously they're not anyone I should be wasting even a second on.

I'll also admit to having a "type". This type is not really limited to a specific physical type.  However, if a man posts an online profile with one photo that obviously looks outdated, or he's got that fish-eyed gaze that makes him look like one of those guys from one of those terrible "true crime" news shows AND he cannot spell or cannot write, it's no deal.  My type has to (at the very least) have a functioning brain.

What this all boils down to is that I really can't go back to the online dating websites and expect to see better results than I did 10+ years ago.  The hard truth is that it's still more or less like an online shopping site where both men and women are flipping through profiles like they would flip through products on an online shopping clearance site.   I'd say it's probably like one of those stupid online "bid" sites where you pay so much for tokens to bid on shit only to realize, after wasting a bunch of money that it's just another form of online gambling.

I've never been a lucky gambler.

I would rather go without, be single, and just take my chances with attending meetup events than risk my sanity and self-esteem by subjecting myself to the grand parade of players and scammers online and hoping to find a diamond in a sulfur mine.

Falling Down

Monday, December 31st, 2012 11:00 pm
my_lost_mind: (FML)
 I've been thinking about the whole notion of falling in love with someone, and how falling in love can at times, feel like falling down a flight of stairs.

Sometimes, it's those stairs on the front porch of your house, it's not a bad fall but you do end up with a bruise on your ass, or a skinned knee.     
 
Other times, it's like taking a tumble sideways, down a metal fire escape on an icy winter morning.
 
You're not quite sure how you managed to survive without breaking your neck, but you know that you've just donated some flesh to the iron gods and might need a few stitches to close the bloody gash in your shin.   
 
Ow!!  That fucking hurt!

I should have a wall of trophies for all the times I've fallen and bruised my ego so badly that she threatened to call the cops and file charges of abuse.
 
The real problem is that I always let my heart top my head, and my brain is a very bad sub because she never seems to remember the safe word until that moment just before she blacks out.    The words never make it past her lips, and when she wakes up, heart has already gone and ruined things by falling for someone who is either crazy, cold as a freezer-burned roast, or has no interest in having a relationship with someone who seems boring compared to their last girlfriend.
 
...but my heart knows what she wants
 
I've already droned on about this particular subject in another post so I'm not going to bore readers with it again.
 
yawn.. yeah.. get on with it already...
 
I guess the real problem is that I'm a total head case.   I always seem to pick the guys who fall into the category of "he's just not that into you", but instead of running in the other direction I just twist myself into some impossible pretzel shape that should qualify me as lead acrobat in the Cirque du Fruitcake.
 
I've also been known to get involved with men who seem one crisis away from taking a leap off some tall building or running off to join a cult. The last long-term relationship I had (explained in gory details via previous posts here) was with a guy who had to get drunk the first time we had sex.   Why on earth would any sane woman choose someone like this?  He was my physical type,  appealed to my geekier interests, and I needed to get laid.   What should have been a short-term fling turned into a four year codependent nightmare.
 
You must remember this... a kiss is just a kiss
fucking  does not equal love
the fundamental rules apply
that there are no fucking rules...
 
Ten years ago I dated a guy eight years my junior who I fell for after dating him for only a couple months.   I don't think I gave the poor bastard time to realize what hit him before I attached myself to him like a barnacle and started showing up at his apartment several times a week.   He wasn't very good at telling me what was on his mind, I just automatically assumed that if he wasn't telling me to get lost  that I must be his girlfriend.  Most men appreciate free sex provided the woman is at least moderately attractive, fun, and doesn't place too many demands on them.
 
After 5 months he did tell me to get lost, but only after I had gone off and purchased a condominium in the same housing community where he just purchased a condo.   I had some deranged notion that  it would be fun to be his neighbor.    Oh yeah, it was great fun after we split up and he started dating other women.  The fun turned into dysfunction when we would continue to hang out as "friends", getting drunk together and watching old Star Trek TNG episodes, sharing tales of our latest romantic mishaps.
 
My girlfriends should have had me committed at that point - I had gone round the bend and couldn't figure out where I had left my big girl pants (let alone my self-worth).
 
This was indeed, an amazing feat of stupidity - a fall down the most rickety of fire escapes.
 
Did I learn anything from this particular fall?
 
Only that I continued to suffer from some weakness for musicians and that some mysterious virus they transmit infects my brain with a dangerous form of amnesia.
 
I only seriously dated one musician after that disaster.   He was a strange impish fellow who was a mediocre painter obsessed with his own importance, working as a trolley driver for a local tour bus company.  He was a fairly decent singer / saxophone player who would also practice the didgeridoo on weekends at some inhumane hour of the morning. 
 
He and I didn't have much in the way of chemistry, nor did we share a ton of common interests aside from art, politics, and some of the same music.     What we did share was boredom, lack of money, and a shared interest in not being bored and broke.  The dude was sufficiently weird to hold my interest, and I think my presence fed his ego and need for someone to tell him how cool he was.  He and I lived together for a handful of months before he started disappearing for longer hours into the evening.  Eventually he just announced he was leaving and that, was that.
 
I was more rattled by the loss of the second income than I was at losing him.
 
Come on, surely you must have ended a few relationships in your lifetime!  Otherwise you're just bullshitting us!!
 
Of course!   There were a few:   One physically abusive guy, two alcoholics, one guy that lived 250 miles away, one guy who was not only a hoarder, but did not own a bar of soap (truth!), and a couple of guys I dumped because "something more interesting" came along.    No, I'm not proud of this track record.
 
So here's where I get to my point in this whole sordid mess and try to make a very long and convoluted story a bit shorter.
 
“I've been thinking with my guts since I was fourteen years old, and frankly speaking, between you and me, I have come to the conclusion that my guts have shit for brains.” 
― Nick Hornby, High Fidelity
 
When I am lucky enough to meet someone who rings my chimes for any number of reasons, especially if there's chemistry and common interests shared, I tend to get emotionally attached to these folks at a fairly early stage in the relationship.   I suddenly find myself feeling like a giddy teenager, ignoring the fact that the whole teenager thing was over more than 30 years ago, and I should really be more grownup about the way I manage my emotions.
 
It's a strange manifestation of some addictive personality traits.  A feeling that is a bit like standing in line for hours at the all-you-can-eat buffet of life only to find that what's left is some cold roast beef, some stale rolls,  sushi that smells like the beach at low tide, and one perfect slice of chocolate cheesecake.
 
Do you wait for the buffet to be refilled?  Or do you take the cheesecake knowing that it will cure your hunger temporarily, give you a great sugar rush, but make you feel guilty and nauseous after you've eaten it.
 
Too often I've wandered off with the cheesecake, gobbled it down, felt the sugar rush and then promptly passed out face down on the empty plate.
 
I need to engage my brain in more of these decisions and learn to sit with my hunger a bit longer.
 
One-sided relationships, booty calls, and other forms of ambiguity have only resulted in spectacular falls down those mystical fire escapes.
 
I'm bloody tired of scraping my brains off the pavement and tucking them back into my skull.  
my_lost_mind: (unhappy)
There are a few letters to people in my life that I would never send for one reason or another. Either the person has been gone from my life for a number of years and I have no way to reach them via the electronic universe or via the post, or sending a letter would just disrupt a fragile balanced puzzle of a past vs. present relationship. These are just words stuck in the corner of my mind that want to get out and breathe.

Dear Comet,

The first time I met you a couple years ago, you and I were strangers at a party. I remember thinking you were a curious fellow who told some great stories and seemed to be bursting with knowledge. I also remember being preoccupied with so many other things that happened that weekend, and what was going on in my life back home at the time, that really didn't get much of a chance to connect with you.

The second time we met was at the same social gathering, one year later. It was Friday night and you were quite drunk, but remembered me. I had developed a strong aversion to drunk people, as you can recall I was living with a dysfunctional alcoholic at the time who was making my life hell. My best defense to my own ambiguous feelings was to gently scold you, saying how impossible it is to have an intellectual conversation with someone who has been drinking too much. I also mentioned that if you wanted to talk to me, really talk to me, you should not be quite so drunk the next time we meet.

The next day we spent a little bit of time together, although you were seriously tethered to your friends and they seemed to be more interested in keeping to themselves than inviting in an outsider. Truth be told, I really only wanted to get to know you, to spend some actual time talking or hanging out since all you were to me at that point was a figment of my imagination, wrapped in a complicated human form. I was seeing what I wanted to see, and because you would not, or could not talk to me alone nothing seemed to shake that feeling in me that you were some sort of mystery that needed to be solved.

I wanted to know whether or not my gut feeling, my instincts about you were correct or if this was all the product of my imagination, just looking to feel some spark of joy, something to feel hopeful about. The riddle would not be solved until I could prove myself wrong, or be pleasantly surprised to prove myself right.

Later that night, we connected again - another party - voices lost in a crowded room. The whole experience felt like most of my high school years, I had no idea if you were thinking of me in the same way, if you were curious about me, if we had anything deeper in common aside from what we shared in our brief conversations. We talked about music, Star Trek, our trials with trying to get by in a tough economy. We also talked about our strange families, and you told me a sad tale about yours. This brief conversation only made my feelings for you more complicated - was this triggering that old inner need to rescue, or were you someone I could really connect with because we shared similar painful journeys in life?

I could say something poetic like, it felt like we were two comets that just happened to zoom past Earth at the same time once every year, only to disappear into the cosmos again following our own unique but distant path. To be more direct, it felt like I was losing my mind. How is it that I can only spend a few hours a year with you? Seriously, departing that party on Saturday night felt awful for me. I wanted some sense of closure, one way or another, and all I got was more ambiguity. It felt like leaving Brigadoon, not knowing if I would ever find it, or you again.

Yes, you're right. I was still living with my ex at the time and trying to stay in touch was going to be complicated, but you knew that he would be leaving. You knew that he and I were no longer a "couple" and I was not coming onto you from the perspective of cheating on someone else. I really just wanted to get to know you better. You never gave me your phone number, but I gave you mine, and my email address, and snail mail address, and we became friends on FB after that point.

However, the only time we ever seemed to "talk" to each other on FB chat was when one or both of us were going through some particularly bad time. I remember the time you told me that my ex would escalate his crazy before he moved out (and he did), and you seemed genuinely concerned. Maybe that was just what I wanted to read in your words. I remember the time we chatted on FB this past Spring when you were down on your luck, feeling hopeless, and I sent you money without you asking for it. Once again, it felt like something I should do because it felt like something I would hope someone would do for me if I were in that same place.

I felt a connection to you that now seems foolish, false, and a product of my imagination.

When I didn't hear from you again for a few months, only to have you pop up again on FB chat, once again down on your luck and needing money, I started to see through some of the gauzy netting I had been viewing you through. You seemed to be in a perpetual state of going from one crisis to another, unable to get out of the cycle of shitty bad luck that you had found yourself in. Still, I found it hard to judge you. I wanted to feel compassion, still wanting to get to know you. I continued to effectively "stalk" you on FB, for what it's worth. Waiting to see if you would comment on a post I had made, reading your updates hoping that something good had happened in your life Nothing.

How stupid is that? Really. I know you don't have consistent internet access, but how is it that I managed to get myself sucked into thinking we could actually cultivate a meaningful friendship by FB alone? I'm sorry Comet, but I really thought at some point you might see fit to call me, actually call me on the phone (since I had given you my cell phone number at least twice in the past). You have no idea how much a 30 minute phone call would have meant to me, just to hear your voice, to have a real conversation.

We didn't see each other at the social gathering this year - you couldn't afford to go. I get that. You asked if I wanted to attend a different convention in September, closer to where you live. Truth is hon, if I were less jaded and more foolish, I would cough up the money to go to that con just to spend time with you. I've done similarly foolish things in my life, but did so knowing I would reap some small reward from taking that risk.

I'm not like that anymore, and I don't have any faith left in our paths crossing again unless you actually make an effort to connect with me. I hate it when I'm wrong about someone, and I feel worse when I realize I've been doing nothing more than cultivating an unrequited crush, instead of trying to form a friendship.

You're getting this letter because I'm moving on, as I should have months ago. I can't deal with the teenage drama of FB stalking, trying to turn fantasy into reality, and still not having one fucking clue what you're really all about. If you wake up someday and decide that you actually want to get to know me, then pick up the damned phone and call me. Don't send me a PM on FB, don't post some shit on my FB "wall", you know my name, look up the number.

Yours Truly,

That Girl






March 2013

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