Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Being ultra-choosy in a hook-up world

This past week was a weird one. It was the 3-year anniversary of the implosion of my last relationship. No doubts that it was one that needed to implode, but it was still really hurtful nonetheless. What have I been doing since then? I have been getting to know myself again, getting back into old creative habits, and doing the things I love to do with friends I really care for. What have I not been doing? Dating.

Almost a year ago, when I was still in a kind of shock over the abrupt end of what I considered a very serious relationship, a good friend asked me how many dates I had been out on since the breakup. Without a second thought, I said, "Zero," and I was met with a look that was somewhere between complete shock and abject pity. And for the longest time I wondered what would possess someone to react that way. Then I stepped back and started really paying attention to what was going on around me in a way I had not before. There was a whole hell of a lot of completely drunken and casual sex going on all around me. And I really didn't care to join in. Not in the least.

All of my life, I have been "monogamy girl," with no regrets. I made a horrible mistake in my first marriage (other than the first mistake in being 19 and being married) and I have tried not to let history repeat in every way since then. Don't get me wrong by any means. I totally respect my friends with open or polyamorous relationships, nontraditional bonds, sexuality of every shade of the rainbow, but I know better than to think any of those solutions would make me happy. I am a straight girl and I would like to spend my life with a straight dude. I still hold out hope that the right guy is out there for me, one that can be all the flavors of my personal ice cream shop and finds the same in me. As singer/songwriter Ani DiFranco once sang, finding acceptance for all of who you are is difficult and being an unusual woman, I am more than my cover just as Ani is more than her "32 Flavors."

But it is tough to put yourself out there and venture without getting hurt, to risk derision, to lay yourself bare to someone who will most likely like you "if only you could change a little bit." And it is even more terrifying when you have had a relationship in which your every flaw (of which you are perfectly self-aware) is thrown up in your face at every turn. It is a shark tank. And I do not feel comfortable swimming with the sharks. So, 3 years on, I am out in the water in a boat. It is a small boat and I am a little terrified. OK, more than a little terrified but I am here. 

Over the last 7 months, I have dipped my toes over the side of the boat twice. For a hot second I thought I might like one friend-of-a-friend. And I wrote a single note which was instantaneously rebuffed. That's cool. I value honesty more than anything. That isn't to say it didn't spark any self-doubt of my spirit, my self-image, the very core of "being a woman" (of all things), but again, I am not deluded. I know I am getting older and everything that comes with it. And today I have a current crush which is well on the way to not panning out for any number of reasons listed above or not. I am sort of OK with that too. Hey, if I am not what someone wants, why force the issue? Honest girl. Single girl. Monogamy girl. Zero date girl. I am all of those things. 

So let the sharks circle in the hook-up zone, I will never jump overboard. Let the lighthouse blare the siren song of giving up and being alone forever, and I refuse to answer the call and head back to shore. At least the stars in the night sky are pretty from out here in the waves and I have plenty of time to just think and to just be who I am. It is as close to uncomplicated as a person can be in this age of instant sexuality and little gratification, and I, for one, will take it over the other options any time at all.

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