29 January 2005
Whereas with a bicycle, you just climb back on
It's such a conundrum. I want things that are in conflict with each other. I crave intimacy but fear what it brings. I don't want to be alone but the word "commitment" sends shivers down my spine. I want to be close to a woman, but when that closeness is offered I back off. The fear of being hurt again causes me instead to hurt someone else. I want to go slow but then I race ahead, only to shift into reverse a little while down the road.
I feel like a caricature of guys I used to scorn as "assholes". I don't treat people like this. I'm an honest man who cares about the feelings of others. I wish I could use my grief, confusion, and general male stupidity as an excuse. But thats not good enough. When you become involved with someone as a friend, lover, or something more, you have some responsibility for their feelings. I've been so damn self-absorbed that I haven't done nearly enough of that. No more. I've always considered myself to be a nice guy. But even nice guys can hurt other people. If anything, they have greater potential to do just that.
I don't have any trouble using grief, confusion, and general male stupidity as an excuse, but that's just me. Still, I know this territory all too well: being alone has its drawbacks, but if someone were to offer to fill in some of this empty space, the first thing I'm going to think is not "Thank you, thank you," but "What's going on here, and what's going to screw it up?"
Not that anyone actually is offering, of course.
So what's the solution? I could just sit home and not date anyone. That would certainly solve the problem. But I crave adult female companionship. Other people who don't have it all figured out are out there dating. I should be able to do it too... right? Part of the problem is that I haven't done much real "dating". I got married when I was young. Got divorced and had a couple of torrid flings. Got married again. Now I'm 43 years old and less experienced in the dating area than your average 23 year old. I don't know the rules and I don't know how to manage the expectations.
I haven't had that second marriage, and I'm eight years older, but otherwise I could have written that paragraph. Sitting at home is the path of least resistance, and I've done quite a bit of that, but I'm doing less of it these days. And what's more important, I think, is that I'm doing less of it without any expectations: if something happens, wonderful, and if it doesn't, well, I'm no worse off than I was, and at least I got out of the house.
One of the reasons I've kept up this site for almost nine years is to document the details of my life while I still have the ability to do so. One unexpected fringe benefit is the fact that when I'm tempted to bewail how nothing ever happens in that life, there's an abundance of evidence to tell me to put down the damn hat already, or at least quit talking through it. And if nobody seems to be rising from the hormonal horizons with the visceral impact of, say, Ursula Andress in Dr. No, well, it could be just that I'm not paying attention.Posted at 11:02 AM to Table for One