The Love Life Based Ramblings Of A Terminal Over Thinker.

Brace yourself, it’s a long one. You can leave if you want to. I understand.

I’ve been single for just over a year now. Initially it was a horrible place to be, as with any recent break up I was convinced that the person I’m no longer with, was the only one for me. Clearly I was wrong, and even knew it at the time, but familiarity, emotions, pride and fear conspire against logic in such circumstances, leaving one a blubbering, pathetic mess. In my defence it had been seven years of relationship that had produced a little person, so my attachment was at least understandable. After I snapped out of it there was the next phase: the unhealthy need to find a replacement. I spent a good few weeks determined to snare a new mate, certain that I needed one, that I couldn’t be without. Thankfully that passed, and as the months fell away like soggy biscuit I felt pretty well adjusted. My mouth occasionally bent into an unusual shape that others referred to as a ‘smile’, and I was able to go out for drinks with friends, return home alone, and not feel a failure – happy and comfortable with myself and my situation. It cannot last.

Recently I have noticed a new face at work, and as may be obvious, it is a female face that greatly appeals. Now, for the first time in a long time, I am interested in someone for reasons other than desperation and self pity. Which is nice. On the other hand it does signal that I have to face facts by either getting proactive or choosing to do nothing and remain alone. It’s a dilemma, I’m sure you’ll agree. I’m alright, I mean, I guess. I quite like me so I feel I deserve a nice lady person to spend time with. I don’t feel I need to be with someone but it would be nice. However, although I have acquired self worth and a passion for life, I have not yet made peace with rejection. Rejection can suck my balls. Also, being ready to ‘get back in the game’ means dating. Apparently. And I’m not sure what dating is.

Most of my friends tell me that Internet dating is the way to go, and in theory it sounds ideal: No face to face contact with potential rejectors, the ability to spend as much time as needed making oneself look appealing (pretending to be someone you’re not) and, unless I’ve misunderstood one particular acquaintance, a vastly increased chance of no strings, physical fun. If you reassess those plus points from the unenviable position of being me, they start to become negatives. No face to face means almost certain lies. I’ve got nothing against fat, stupid, ugly people per se, but if they’ve described themselves as slim and intelligent with model looks, even the most understanding among us would feel slightly manipulated. This applies to being able to make yourself look good too. If you don’t look good that’s fine, just don’t pretend you do, and if you must pretend you do, expect a very cross, shallow man come the end of your first meeting. As far as no strings, one night stand, sweaty pleasure goes, it’s not really for me. I like to know someone a bit before I get to know them a bit biblically. I know, what a loser. Finally, I’d have to admit to a bit of snobbery on my part. There is – in my mind – a stigma attached to finding love on the webs, it just seems, I dunno, a bit pathetic. I realise countless happy couples would argue otherwise, but incase you haven’t worked it out yet, I don’t really listen to other people. And anyway, I did sign up to one of the more free, less gaudy sites, and my dizzying honesty didn’t attract much attention. Turns out that the heading ‘I don’t want to die alone’ isn’t the best way to attract the electronic female population. Who knew?

So no Internet dating then. Which leaves me with the option of approaching strangers or waiting for friends to make friends with people I’d sleep with, and that those people in turn aim low. Neither of which is thunderously appealing. My own social group has shrunk somewhat during the years I was involved with my now ex, many have moved far away or become involved in their own currently happy couplings, that for some reason means they don’t leave the house. Those who still know I exist regularly forget to include me in evenings of debauchery, using the totally reasonable excuses that for a huge chunk of time I made myself a recluse, that I have a child for half the week, and that I used to be much less fun. What I’m saying is that it’s difficult, yeah. It’s difficult to feel normal about walking up to someone you have never met, let alone spoken to, and ask if they’d like to accompany you to the cinema/restaurant/pub. It’s been a bloody long time since I’ve had to do it and in all honesty even then I didn’t, favouring sitting still and staring at girls until they come over out of pity or fear. It’s nothing short of a miracle that I’ve produced offspring, even just the one. Still, I know that at some point the desire to have someone to dilute the me that I am stuck with for eternity will become so great that I’ll risk sauntering up to a young lady. I shall put myself forward. Or a version of me that is slightly more palatable.

Which brings me on to being yourself. In my experience this is either the greatest thing you can ever do, or a first class ticket to social outcast city, the outcome very much depending on whether you’re a nice, friendly, people placating sort of a guy or an abrasive arse. I’m not comfortable describing myself as the latter as I don’t think that it’s entirely true, but I’m definitely not the former. I’m a grower. I require that time be put in, to understand where I’m coming from. I’m an air-fix bloke: all the pieces are there and if you put in a little effort and a lot of patience you can end up with something pretty good. And sticky hands. Thing is, is it better to be overlooked but true to yourself, or bend the light around you a bit so that you appear slightly less, well, arsey. I’m not sure, and it depends on how badly you’d like someone to be there when they switch off the machine, but I think I’m going to try being more me than usual. That way when the other person grows tired of me they will have no choice but to list the real reasons they now loathe me, instead of saying “you’ve changed”. People don’t really change, they just get tired of keeping up the illusion of near perfection.

There are two other basic concerns. One is that of being a parent. As mentioned in a previous post, having to care for a tiny human takes up a lot of time and this can make meeting people tricky. Hell, arranging to see people you already know has to become a finely tuned, A-Team like operation, and if you could get your kid to drink that milky white liquid you might be able to get them on that plane. Sucka. As well as the time aspect I do wonder if being a single parent works as well for a man as it does for the ladies. See a young, lone mother at the park with her pride and joy and you think “how strong, how brave. She has risen above so much to walk tall and proud. How attractive. I want her”. If you see a single man at a park with a kid you think either “what’s he done wrong” or “pedophile”. It could scare people off, that’s what I mean here. The second concern is that I’m not sure that sexual intercourse is like riding a bike, by which I mean that surely you forget stuff, not that it’s not wobbly, dangerous to do on the roads and that doing it drunk invariably ends in falling off. Use it or lose it, I believe the phrase is, and though I’ve definitely not lost it yet (I just checked), it’s not been used for a while.

So there we are, a simmering pot of neuroses, paranoia and good old vanilla cowardice. They’ve been like old friends, and like old friends I intend to ignore them so that I may find newer, better, sexier ones. Anyway, ultimately the decision will be made by alcohol. As is so often the case. If it wasn’t for mixed gender gatherings in poorly lit drinking establishments, the human race would be flagging somewhat. Someone I like will be there when I’m drunk, and drunk me will open his surprisingly confident mouth. Booziness on her part will soften the blow, making my drivel sound oddly alluring and one of us will think, “well, I’m drunk, and I can put up with this person. They’re about my league and I’m feeling horny, let’s see how it goes”. And then we’ll see how it goes. 

Until it’s gone.

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