Dating in Weird Town, USA
Divorce hit me hard, even though I thought I was ready for it. It signified failure, loss, and the end of a life we’d built that I thought was what I’d always wanted. So, like the age old cliché, I ran home to Mama. Back to the town I never thought I’d want to live in again, back to Weird Town, USA. I thought that the lower cost of living in such a small town and the beautiful summers would be such a change from my East Coast life that it would comfort me. Not to mention having the support of my mother and sister, no small thing when life as one has known it has been flushed down the toilet.
I’d gained a lot of weight during my 20 years of marriage. I look back at it now and realize it had to do with being unhappy, boxing up a huge part of my nature that couldn’t co-exist with my husband, and feeding myself in other ways instead. So, when I arrived in Weird Town I decided to join a gym. (Working out…another thing I hadn’t done in 10 years or so!)
The first week there, as I painfully moved from machine to machine I overheard a conversation a group of women were having regarding dating. Since I knew I’d be in this dating pool very soon, and they were more or less in my age group, I blatantly listened in. And, after several minutes of discussion this is what they came up with as the list of items a man had to possess in order for them to consider dating him:
- a car
- a driver’s license
- a job, and
- he couldn’t live with his mother.
REALLY? Really? My head was spinning. Coming from the East Coast I had the sense that the bar was being set WAY TOO LOW. Raise the bar ladies! Where was humor? intellectual stimulation? shared activities? good looks? I realized I was much older than the last time I was in the dating pool but my needs were still the same. The items on their list were things that I had always taken for granted as a given, then my list carried on to good looking, a good dresser, a good dancer, a great conversationalist, intellectually stimulating, makes me laugh until I cry, gives me lots of freedom, can hang with my friends, and has a REALLY DIRTY MIND. There’s my list for consideration and I may be leaving a couple of things out (like no children who want to fry in oil any woman who looks at their Dad and isn’t their mother). I went home wondering how these women could have come up with such a minimalist list.
I’ve now been dating in Weird Town for five years and it is quite possible I’ve already been out with every unmarried man between the ages of 45 and 65 in this town (and a couple of married ones who forgot to remind me they had wives at home!). And now I get it. I understand my fellow gym mates and their pathetically short list. Because now I realize if one waits for a man who possesses more than those minimum traits, one will be spending a lot of time home alone or out with girlfriends.
The truth of the matter is, if you can find a man in Weird Town between the ages of 45 and 65 who has a car, a driver’s license, a job, and doesn’t live with his mother you had better snatch him up fast before the hordes of attractive, creative, successful single women descend upon him.
So, you can sit and wait for that perfect man believing that someday the universe will stop laughing and answer your prayers. Or, you can do what I’ve decided to do and get busy enjoying your life and your women friends and not worry about whether or not you’ll ever have an intimate, monogamous relationship with a man again.
Off and on I decide to give dating another try, but these days I look at it more as a hobby, something similar to golf, crocheting , or pool. And every once in a while a man comes along and reminds me that I’m female and that there was a time when the world and I were both younger and men desired me.
July 17, 2011