Saturday, December 22, 2012

More Than Sex, Less Than Marriage

On the flip side of my frustration with dating in this town, I'm not interested in goal-setting love in the form of deciding to marry the next person I date--before I've even met him. The way I've heard some women talk, you'd think going on a simple date was the first day of marriage or something. Yikes. Look, if you've ever branded yourself a husband hunter, this poet thinks you're doing it wrong. Now, while I'd love to find someone who I not only want to but can marry because the circumstances line up with the feelings, I have zero interest in a roommate, even one I'm engaged to, unless I do get married. Then, yes, I will of course live with my husband (I won't take his name, though, not even in hyphenated form; sorry if that gives you a sads).

However,

I've been living alone for about a decade now. A lot of people will read a sentence like that and take it as a depressing commentary on my life, as if it's one devoid of men or dating or fun or pancakes in favor of sitting in front of a phone, a landline phone, like a relic, waiting waiting waiting. The word itself, "alone," has become an indictment, some Victorian gasp, as if you just sit there in an armchair clutching said arms, staring, waiting for that time when you "have someone to cook for." Even through the lonely phases, I have to say it's the general negative attitude about unmarried women that depresses me most. Just as the always-togethers, a group I've been a member of at various points, don't understand not having someone there, I've now come to wonder how it is that some people are so upset about being by themselves, even for brief stretches, that they endeavor to always be in a relationship. To me, that comes off pod-ish, like that goal setting thing of putting the form before the content. And if you're someone who can't live alone, or can't be single, are you someone who can really love, or can really be with someone? If someone's always there, how do you even know? Whatever the answer to these vast answerless questions, I find it's people like this who are the most judgmental of single women.

After years of roommates, with some being...unstable, and now years of unfulfilling dating in nyc, save for some romantic dalliances and a long-distance relationship, the urge to find a stable, wonderful long-term partner again has increased, but I also know that can be like bottling a rainbow, especially if I stay on this coast, and I am, at the same time, less inclined to put up with crap. Mocking me as too picky, arrogant, damaged, too old, cold, cat lady, blah blah blah, does not change that. And watching the altar racers or the procrasinators limping there (who just, above all, including how miserable, bored, unfulfilled or frumped out they are, can't bear to be aloooooooone) has made me realize that, whoa, my experiences with dating have apparently been good, as I don't feel desperation so much as desire, desire driven higher by the confidence that I have more to offer and give today, even as the culture devalues me for being a woman now over 35. Still, once you've had it good, the games of managing down expectations, negging, control, etc., do not read, do not appeal.

A lot of people do compromise to have kids, which is only natural to an extent, but I've seen it taken to what appear to be some pretty grim extents. I would like to have a kid, though am not willing to shack up with someone I'm not both in love with and enjoying a mutually positive, supportive relationship with just to attain a goal--what a cold way to view the creation of a human life. I would also love to live in a country where my tax dollars go toward covering health care and where misogyny is not so rampant. These two variables put a real and tangible damper on my desire to procreate. Who knows, I might have five kids if I had been born in a more civilized civilized land.

Capitalistic business model relationships may be all the rage, but this kink leaves fun and happiness to take a backseat for what feels like far too many people in my age range--or, going to the other extreme, as we low EQ Americans are wont to do, it's all about fun, a casual time, not looking for anything serious right now, predicated on the belief that partnerships can't be fun, it would seem. So, fling or forever, people!

Well, right now I want more than sex, less than marriage. That would seem to pose a problem, given the latter dichotomy, but it seems a much healthier way to approach dating than seeing the person as a disposable sex time or a this-could-be-my-one-true-sooooouuuuulmate. So, I'll stick with the healthy approach. And it occurs to me: I like my life. I like running it, I like deciding how and where to live it, I like pursuing my own endeavors. And I like men who like to do the same. Wherever they are.

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