I don't write about this much because a] there are few 'daily life' subjects about which I remain so fundamentally ignorant, b] there are so many other blogs talking about relationships with more insight than I can ever muster and c] I don't care as much as I used to.
And yet there are times when I wish - well, I don't know what I wish.
I am the last leaf on my branch of the family tree: no kids, no brothers and sisters, no parents. My family support network is non-existent. Sometimes – like maybe twice a year, although it used to be more often – I wake up in the middle of the night and feel completely and totally alone. I feel as if I were perched on the edge of a huge black abyss and about to fall in.
But is that something that can be 'cured' by a relationship? I suspect I would still feel that way sometimes, even if I were involved with someone. And in those times when I've been 'with' someone, there have certainly been occasions where I've stared into the darkness in the general direction of the ceiling and thought to myself, 'What the hell am I doing?'
I get two kinds of feedback from platonic female friends. One is that the rap on me is that I'm too eccentric (ie, too many cats, junky car, etc.) and 'uninteresting' (which I would call too low-drama), and the other is that I'm too emotionally unavailable.
I can tell you that being emotionally unavailable is the aftermath of years of being emotionally too available, and 'unavailable' seems more attractive to women than 'too available'. But the reason I seem emotionally unavailable is that I actually am emotionally unavailable.
Sometimes I meet someone I find interesting. Then I find myself thinking, 'Well, now what?'
And I don't know. I just really don't know. I don't mean the "do I say 'hi'/does my hair look okay/is there cat hair on my shirt" stuff. I mean now what?
I have joked in the past that when I see a woman I find attractive my mind immediately fast-forwards to the scene where the whole thing is over and she's at VZD's with her girlfriends drinking cocktails and dishing about what a pathetic bastard I am. But more accurately, I'm mentally fast-forwarding to the part where her best friend doesn't like my clothes, or she thinks I need a sports car, or her kids are racing around on a sugar high, or I need to take her to some formal art museum soiree or whatever, and Cold Mountain is starting to look good again.
And I find myself thinking as I'm looking at or perhaps talking to this interesting woman, 'Okay, suppose I ask her out? To do what? What do I want to do?'
Well, what I want to do is sit quietly and watch the world go by, which is not a date.
I don't want to go 'on a date.' I don't want some ritualized consumer experience in which we each learn whether we're interested in having further ritualized consumer experiences with each other. I don't want to go to a movie. I don't want to dress up or even put on a sports coat and slacks. I don't want to go hang out on the periphery of a circle of wealthy and influential people (or poseurs). I never went to a Hornets game and can't imagine why I ever would. I don't even watch TV at home.
I don't want any 'Omigawd – omigawd. You won't believe what ___________ did last night' drama.
When I turned fifty, I felt like something needed to change about the way I approached relationships. I wasn't sure what, but something. There needed to be more - well, dignity isn't the right word, but something akin to dignity.
I look around and it seems like hardly anyone I know is doing any better with this than I am.
And I'm old and fat now and covered with cat hair. Well, I've always been covered with cat hair. But cats are pretty low drama, and I like that.