“Apparently I wouldn’t have gotten along with Oscar Wilde: he said sarcasm was the lowest form of wit – and I’m a very sarcastic person. But when my sarcasm is directed at “you” it is because I like you and am picking up on the subtle aspects of your personality. I think where Wilde missed the point in his critique was that he failed to recognize/acknowledge that sarcasm requires awareness, nuance and timing. It requires you to be in tune with your environment. Wit may be about sharp wordplay, but so is sarcasm. It is often ironic and always tinged with satire. The two are kindred spirits if not bunk mates. If I stop giving you a hard time then the writing is on the wall…. I always take it a little farther than it should go. I’m a habitual line-stepper (Chappelle’s Show anyone?)… I will always be the devil’s advocate – challenging the given in the name of the possible is vital to a growing self/relationship/society. Don’t rest on your inherited beliefs! I aim to be a man of the people. We can learn a lot from those we don’t think/choose to interact with. I hope to increase my comfort in this realm by breaking bread, clinking classes and sharing conversation with those who I don’t typically run with. Humbling experiences and new perspectives make us better people… Give me an empty forest (with my dog in tow), a loud rock show (dog will stay home for this one), or a quiet backyard with a good book (with my dog by my side), and I’ll show you me in my element… Sometimes I find that other people can speak for me very well; either through a good quote or a thought-inspiring poem. Other times I find that I am the only one that can convey my thoughts, and sometimes the only one that understands them… I try not to have expectations, but I’m often loaded down with dreams. I know how to separate the two… I’m pragmatic with an overlay of wanderlust. I’m diplomatic. I’m fiery, though quick to cool down. I’m extremely self-aware (at least I think I am anyhow), and I hope that I am aware of your wants/needs/comfort… I don’t think we ever do, or ever should, stop learning. So tell me about yourself – I’m listening!”
This is verbatim from my online dating profile. It pains me to admit this publicly. I despise social media while appreciating its utility. Yet here I am, putting myself out to the world to be judged in an instant, and for me to judge even quicker. Online dating is like fishing for an average looking guy. You gotta throw the line in the water 100 times before you get a bite. I imagine most ladies have to do little work in this realm aside from filtering through the losers. When I was younger, I used to go out to the bars a lot. It was how I met women. I think I was most successful after midnight. But as I got older, going out till the wee hours became less and less appealing. The only way I’d learn to operate with the opposite sex was through dim bar lights and light beer by the barrel. Now I’m simply an uncultured creature with no social-sexual skills. So as much as I hate social media (I don’t have Facebook, Twitter or Instagram), I find myself on dating sites. My skin shivers as I admit this to you…
I’ve actually used them off and on now for a few years. Sometimes I have decent success (depending on how you want to measure that), sometimes there are periods of dormancy. It kind of reminds of college when this guy in my fraternity would try to wait out all the other dudes to get the last girl still at the party. That’s what it feels like now: I’m waiting for a bus that may never come. But they do, eventually. And it’s enjoyable, for a little while. And then it’s not. Usually. As I’ve gotten older I think I’ve gotten a little bit of that biological instinct to “settle down” (no kids though, never!), so I feel I vest more time and energy in trying to find someone to do that with. But when you bounce around from soul to soul, it becomes exhausting. Sometimes I wonder if it is worth it. And then I wonder if that really is what I want. I mean, I like my life the way it is, I’d just like someone to hang out with romantically from time-to-time. That’s the problem. I want them on my schedule. I don’t think I want a full-time relationship. I also don’t think I look forward to sharing space, at least not all the time.
While I understand compromise is inherent to a successful relationship, and that I’ll never find the “perfect” lady, meaning that I have to be flexible and not so idealistic in my search, I also wonder if a life without any sort of intimate connection or romance would be so bad. I think about the reasons I don’t want kids – have never wanted kids – and I try to look at similarities: expensive, headaches, major responsibility and potential heartbreak. Hmm. Sounds eerily familiar to the potential downsides of dating. Don’t get me wrong, I still have a strong sense of lust; I mean, after all, I am human. But is the need to partner up just a social construction? Do we really need to be with someone to be happy? I’ve had several relationships and tried to be in several more throughout my life. They’re all littered with the debris of frustration and disappointment to some degree. As much as I try to buck the system and walk my own path, I have to question if that is what I should do in the world of dating, too.
When I’m out and about in town and I see a middle-aged guy (or older) doing things by himself, especially when it’s eating or at a bar, it is kind of sad, though. I always assume he’d be happier with someone, but maybe he found out the hard way that it isn’t all a bed of roses. Maybe he was with someone and that someone drove him crazy. Maybe took all his money. Maybe broke his spirit. Who knows? Then I look at people in supposedly happy relationships: on the outside they look like the perfect couple, but often that is not the case. I try to cut out nuisances and irritations in my life as much as possible. Those are bound to creep up in any relationship if it lasts long enough. There is a line in a song by the great band Car Seat Headrest that goes, “If you really want to know yourself, it will come at the price of knowing no one else.” Maybe it’s worth the try to not know anyone else? Or maybe that’s just giving up?
My parents have been married almost 50 years. I think they dated in some capacity off-and-on for about eight years before that, too. That’s a long time. Are they happy? Yes, I guess so. They have a lot in common but they no doubt drive each other crazy from time-to-time. But are they happy truly, or by necessity? We become attached to the things that are in our lives for really long times. It isn’t always rational. When my maternal grandfather died, my grandmother died less than nine months after. I can’t help but think it was because she missed him so much, even though he was in really bad physical shape for the last several years. My point is, aren’t we just setting ourselves for heartbreak in some form by coupling up and cohabiting? Which is stronger, the feeling of love had or love lost? I don’t know. All I do know is the search for love is a pain in the butt. It shouldn’t be this hard if it’s supposed to work. I don’t think the saying, “if it’s easy it ain’t worth it” applies here. If it is necessary, like food, water, shelter, oxygen, clothing, then it should be a lot more intuitive on how to make it work.
Don Juan’s brother, Ron Juan
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