Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Glowing like the metal on the edge of a knife

I'm kind of sad that I won't be able to date for at least the next 7 months. Because of trucking school, and then being alone on the road all the time for at least 6 months after that. Yes, I'll be able to pay my bills and get my financial ducks in a row, but I won't be seeing any action.

What a pisser. I'm used to having a revolving door of men—a steady flow of boyfriends, dates, flings, friends with benefits, etc., which I usually refrain from blogging about, because relationships are so drawn out and complicated and writing about them can be overwhelming because there are so many details that are critical to the story, but with so many details the story grows into an unwieldy cyst.  And who wants to listen to that tripe anyway?  But then I remembered that, when properly edited and smoothed out, dating stories can be hilarious, like they are in this book:

If I want to tell some funny dating stories, though, I'd better start soon, because I'm getting so old that in a few years no one is going to want to date me anymore.  As a woman, I have a shelf life, and that shelf life will end in my early thirties. Sad but true!  So I only have a few years left to get my romance act together and get something permanent going, and trucking will take 7 months or more out of that. That's like a 7-month fee on my debit card of love, man. 

What to do?

You know, if I could force myself to be attracted to women, my romantic life would be a lot easier.  From a young age, I've had great success at building and maintaining intimate, long-term, fulfilling female friendships, and my girlfriends and I sometimes even say things to each other like, "Why can't I find a man who's as cool as you?" and "If I were a man, I'd marry you," and "Listen to us, bantering and bickering like an old married couple." 

Now if only we were lesbians, then we'd marry each other and wouldn't have to call each other all the time to vent about the latest idiotic thing our men just said or did and the resulting emotional or financial fallout.  Sometimes I'm convinced that the perfect society would be a matrifocal one where the women were in charge and the men were just kept in cages as studs and brought out on leashes for breeding purposes.

I'm kidding.

But if we fed and exercised the men well, would it really be so bad?  

Unfortunately I'm not a lesbian, however, so that plan is shot.  My hormones are directing me to pair bond with a male, not a female, even though females are prettier and they smell nicer.  Did you know that pair bonding is instinctual in humans, and one of the universals across cultures? It's programmed into our DNA, the same way that desires for eating and sleeping and reproducing are.  So it's not my fault. I can't help that my genes are programming my endocrine system to produce hormones that make me want to latch onto some poor sap and squeeze the life out of him. I can tell myself in my brain all day long that it's wrong or stupid to want a pair bond and a gaggle of juveniles, or that I should be patient and not rush anything or make any rash decisions, but whew, every day, those hormones keep a-pumpin'. I am marinating in hook up with some guy and make a baby immediately hormones. And it is a BATTLE to hide that and put on my happy/sane mask and pretend to be interested in much else, let me tell you what. You wanna know who's quietly going nuts? This chick.

I also want to be officially married, as opposed to dating someone for 20 years or having a baby-daddy, because being married is a powerful status symbol, and I'm insecure about my social status. And let's not kid ourselves that marriage is about "commitment" or "morality" or any of that shit.  You know and I know that it's mostly a status thing, particularly for women.  If you're a single woman, especially an older single woman, society pities you. If you have a boyfriend, that's better, but if you're married, that's the grand prize. There is no higher social status for a woman than being married. Wait, yes there is—being married with children. There is no higher social status for a woman than being married with children. I know this by the way people talk about marriage, about weddings, and about married people, and because anytime I met someone new in a social setting, that's one of the first things they ask. "Are you married? Do you have kids?" Nobody ever asks where I've traveled, if I speak any foreign languages, what college I went to, how many writing prizes I've won, or what is my interpretation of current movements in the Middle East. No. Everyone wants to know if I'm married and if I have kids, if I have been externally validated by a husband.  I guess like a parking ticket or something. And when I simply say no, the frequent reply is highly-raised eyebrows and a slow sympathetic nod, "Oh." And sometimes an added, "Well, I'm sure it'll happen for you someday." 


I think for men it's a little more acceptable to be older and unmarried, because then you can play the swinging, adventurous bachelor card, especially if you dress well, have a glamorous-sounding job, and have a series of hot young girlfriends, like George Clooney. No one thinks George Clooney is a pathetic loser. But if a woman is older and unmarried and out having adventures in the world, what is she? Either a carousing slut or a "cougar" or a lesbian. And who wants to be labeled any of those things? But if you say, "I'm a married woman!", that's synonymous for, "I'm a respectable woman!" Those two phrases mean the same thing. 

There are times, however, when I do just want to have a little fun in the meantime, while I'm waiting for Captain Awesome to make his appearance.  What I've found kind of strange though is that the media portrays men as wanting nothing more in life than constant, commitment-free sex, but the few times when I've actually offered that setup to a man, he's gotten super offended and angry. Just the other day I asked an ex-boyfriend for a casual hookup, and he got all pissed off and accused me of treating him like a piece of meat. Which made me laugh, because he didn't really have anything else going for him but his piece of meat, but also because he was always "the woman" back when we were dating. He was the one who listened to Enya and had really delicate feelings and was prudish, inexperienced, na├»ve, fragile, and easily offended. Now he was hurt that I was treating him like a chew toy. I know, I know, it's the worst news of a man's life: "Oh, no!  A randy redhead wants to have her way with me all night long!  She only wants me for my huge cock!  She doesn't even want to talk about feelings or relationships!  I'm so upset!" [runs off to a corner to cry]  

Hey wait! You forgot your teddy bear!  

What a loon.

And what a she-devil I am, corrupting the sweet, innocent, 30-year-old men-children of my generation, like Anne Heche's character in Cedar Rapids

So apparently men have feelings and want to be admired for their personalities and whatever.  Okay. Being the modern, open-minded person I am, I'm willing to consider the idea that men are people too, and not just beefy chew toys, or chewy beefcakes, or cakey beef chews?  I get that they face their own set of stifling pressures from society.

I don't know where I was going with that, but I have known and dated some very smart and interesting and cultured men, but I've noticed that the smart ones also tend to be very cold and calculating and tend to hate children, which, hello deal-breaker.  The smart men I've dated don't want casual hookups either, but they also don't want to get married. What do they want, then? Maybe they want a lifelong girlfriend, which is the #1 thing I myself and the women I know definitely don't want—all the responsibilities of a wife with none of the perks. Screw that. If I'm going to be cooking and cleaning for you and bleaching the skid marks out of your boxer-briefs for the rest of my natural life, you'd better believe I want some serious ice on my finger and to be the default beneficiary of your life insurance.

Did you know that single women are less stressed than married ones, but that single men are more stressed than married ones? In other words, being married increases a woman's level of stress hormones in her blood, while being married decreases a man's level of stress hormones. I wish I could remember where I read that study so I could provide the citation, but I want you to know that a scientific study has been done in which both medical tests and surveys indicated that marriage makes life more difficult for women and easier for men. 

Go figure.

I guess I just hope that I'll eventually meet someone really great and that it won't be like that, and that most of the time it will be good and nice and equal. My excellent girlfriends keep telling me that one day I'll meet my match, someone who's not a child himself or needs a mommy to wipe his ass or bail him out of jail. But the truth is that some people never meet their match and therefore stay single until the day they die. I have a sneaky feeling that that's going to be me, because I can't seem to tolerate any particular boyfriend or lover for longer than a year, usually less. Eventually they just drive me nuts to the point where I can't take it anymore and I dump them.

I've never been dumped, and thankfully never cheated on. A couple of my boyfriends even wanted to marry me, but it was pretty clear that those unions would've ended in divorce, because if a boyfriend already makes you feel sad, tired, angry, and disappointed all the time, he'll probably inspire those same feelings in you as a husband. Uh, thanks, but no thanks. I was trapped in a terrible marriage before to someone I couldn't respect, and I'll be damned if I step into that bear trap again.

Some time ago I read this book:

It's about how women these days are too picky in their twenties and thirties, and then end up all alone when they're 40 or 50 and no one will marry them because they're too old. I think the book was intended for those really persnickety women who dump men over silly things like having uneven earlobes, and I certainly don't have that attitude, but it still made me rethink a few things. Well, it also encouraged me to stay with Mr. Whiny for way too long.

Anyway, the book advises us women to pick three non-negotiables, or things we simply cannot do without in a mate. And we only get three—no more. I've been going over that in my head ever since I read the book. Which three would I pick? Sometimes my list looks like this:
  • He's intelligent and not a fucking dipshit.
  • I enjoy his company.
  • We have a lot of the same political/religious views.
And sometimes I shuffle the following items in and out of that list:
  • He's honest.
  • He's not a cruel, sadistic, twisted sociopath.
  • He's reliable.
  • He's faithful.
  • He treats me well.
  • He can discuss important things in a calm, mature fashion.
  • He's easygoing and doesn't have temper tantrums over spilled milk.
  • His manners and social skills are passable. E.g., he says please and thank you, he doesn't let doors slam in people's faces, he offers to help carry something when someone's hands are full, etc.
  • He doesn't hate children.
  • He's not horribly deformed or diseased and is able and willing to reproduce.
  • He doesn't chronically stink like dirty gym socks, rotten hot dogs, or wet feces.
But apparently I can't have many or all of them, because that's 11 too many things, and the book says I can only have three. Realistically, it says, I can only ask for or expect three good qualities in a man.

That made me laugh just now. What? Only three good things? Pshaw. Forget it then. I have way more than three good things to offer, so why should I only get three in return? And my girlfriends have way more than three good things to offer, so why are we women capable of offering so much more—and expected to offer so much more? No wonder marriage is so stressful for women. Not only do we have to deal with glass ceilings, unequal pay, sexual harassment, and being the most frequent target of domestic violence, but we're supposed to be gold-hearted high-earning supermodel nymphomaniac gourmet chefs who are allowed only three measly qualities in our men in return. What bullshit. Send me to Lesbos. Maybe I can be reformed out of my straight ways.

Well, it doesn't matter anyhow, because I won't be dating or trying to find a tolerable man for a long time, because of my job. I won't have any romance news for you, grasshoppers, probably until next fall, if then. No more Stevies, no more Stefans, no more Mr. Cheesebrows, no Mr. Whinys. No more adventures of Little Red Riding Whore. Even though I so far haven't found men to be very good companions, at least when I'm dating I feel like there's hope, like maybe Captain Awesome is going to be the next one to be spit out of that revolving door. But when the revolving door stops, then there's no hope.

So depressing, I know.  Now I've thrown you a few crumbs of scandal and intrigue and you'll keep coming back for more, and I won't have anything for you.  How will you manage?  How will you be able to stop wondering whether I have a boyfriend, am engaged, or am finally married with kids??