dimanche, avril 24, 2011

The case for not dating

In the middle of a long anecdote about his family, I start to feel that dreaded sense of ennui creep over me. But he doesn't notice -- in fact, he says at the end that he's really enjoyed our "conversation."

Another man praises my youthful looks -- flattering, yes, but oh-so scripted. Can't ya do better than that, I wonder? Or is the fact that I have decent genes (and a good photographer) all that matters to you?

Another tries, multiple times, to message me online when I've told them I'm not able to talk at the moment. One of his online co-Cupids emails me, asking me to call, with what feels like increasing desperation.

And that's not to even talk about the ones I find (with gentleness) cause to not engage in conversation.

I am surrounded, it seems, by a tide of male neediness.

Now, this isn't a rant against guys. I know some terrific men -- yes, mostly happily married to other women, but a credit to their gender, nonetheless.

And, of course I love my son, who is sensitive and giving. I'm also aware of some single guys who would, if I was 25 years younger, be wonderful dates.

But the men I meet online? I have to say that it gives me pause.

I have long thought that having an emotionally intimate, candid, frolicsome relationship with a man, after not doing well at my first, was the great challenge of my life. But recently I've seen the statistics. They say that while marriage is health-protective for men, single and divorced women do as well as married women in staying well and active.

Of course, I'm not a statistic. And neither are the men I chat with at Barnes & Noble or some other neutral arena. It's possible that I put out "I'll take care of you" vibes --- and that's who shows up.

For sure, I know men who are nurturers, often to extremes.

Some men seem to make a specialty of bi-polar women. There was the guy, in a city west of this area, who listed himself as single, but is seeing a bi-polar woman, and is constantly swayed by her ups and downs. Or the high level executive who thought he could "rescue" a bipolar woman he was dating.

It's not that I think bi-polar women don't deserve romance -- but it takes a measure of self-understanding and maturity that you have to have going in.

I'm not even going to list the fetishes I've run into online -- men who could only be intimate if the handcuff was on the bed or the costume in the closet.

There are multiple other factors that have nothing to do with quirky guys -- whether they have kids, and get the "kid thing," were ever married, or have enough shared interests that we don't drive one another nuts.

I'm guessing that a lot of women could chime in with their own stories (men, too, of course). I'm just not sure I'm that desperate for male companionship.

I think I may be approaching burnout -- it doesn't feel like a lot of fun. Shoot, it doesn't even feel hopeful anymore.

The odds that I could find someone who could reach out to me, be emotionally available, and be an equal partner seem laughably small.

As I said, I'm not just busting on guys. My ideas may be a long-delayed dose of realism -- what am I willing to take on?

I know there is a case to be made for dating.

I just can't recall what it is, right now.