I'm Living Alone and I Like ItOr so I often tell myself. Of course, I don't live entirely alone, having to share accomodations and a certain amount of my time with the Grandmother. But sometimes I get that old mating urge, and have to wonder where in my messy, lazy life I could fit another person, a man of some description, someone to have sex with and go out with, but who will invariably come equipped with needs and wants of his own?
My father once passed on to me a piece of wisdom that the Grandmother gave him a long time ago: never sleep with a girl you wouldn't marry. It must have cost her a lot to say such a thing, to admit out loud that people do indeed have sex before they get married, and often with people they wouldn't ordinarily want to look at in a lighted room (much less over a breakfast table for forty years together). But the subtext of her statement was, "be sure beforehand that you wouldn't mind being married to her, because she might just get knocked up and you'll have to marry her." That's the way things were done back then: men went around sticking their dicks in to places without thinking about what might come out (and they still do, to this very day), and girls who wanted husbands often used that particular ploy to get them. That is, in fact, exactly how I came into being and why my parents married in the first place.
Somehow that little nugget of wisdom found its way into my psyche and took root, even though the practicality behind it doesn't apply to me. And nowadays the first thing I ask myself, before I start pursuing a man for even the most casual purposes, is whether or not he seems like he'd fit into my life as a mate. Will my Grandmother like him? Will my friends like him? Is he in recovery or at least generally sober and familiar with substance abuse issues? Will we have enough in common to have something to talk about for the next twenty or thirty years? Does he have good enough taste to get good birthday presents? Can he cook and clean, and does he seem like he'd expect me to cook and clean? And most importantly: How would we look together?
This mostly comes up in relation to my height. I never pursue men who are shorter than 5'11" because I feel like a pituitary freak when standing next to such men for very long at a time. I also never pursue men who are noticeably more masculine than I, for fear that I will look even nellier than usual by comparison (actually, the same applies in reverse...I'd really hate to be noticeably more masculine than my mate). I wouldn't want to live with a man who was prominently better- or worse-looking than myself, fatter or more muscular in any really distinctive way. And yet I don't want him to be just like me, either ("book-end" couples are so boring). And all this rather severely limits the number of people I am likely to pursue.
"Why are you telling me all this?" you must be asking yourself by now.
It's all something to do with Jeff, the sammich-man at our local luncheon spot. I find him very attractive, and seeing him at lunchtime is often the highlight of my workday...but I have absolutely no desire to date him, and this confuses my coworkers. He has hot brown eyes and the cutest little smile and nice hair and a tight figure...he's also obviously handy around a kitchen, and his pastries are utterly divine. On the other hand, he's around five-nine, a little too short for me; he's also very outdoorsy, enjoying such inexplicable sports as snowboarding in winter and mountain-climbing in summer—these two things alone put him right out of the running. But my two coworkers (JB and BB), happily- and rather recently-married women, feel that I ought to be mated somehow, and BB in particular feels that I ought to pursue Jeff (mostly, I think, because he's the only available gay man we both know).
But I don't want to marry Jeff, I just want to watch him make my sandwiches and get the occasional heart-fluttering smile from him. And so I won't date him. But BB keeps asking "WHY NOT?" and so I have to sit and think about The Why Not. Whenever someone challenges my indirect or automatic decisions, just as when someone challenges my automatic or innate beliefs, I have to defend them in the usual scientific-method academic manner. And so this is the scientific conclusion: I want a husband, or at least a steady boyfriend, not a date; I understand that one must date in order to find a husband, yet I do not have room in my life for a husband right now, and do not intend to settle for something more casual as a time-passing measure. And so I remain a solo act, despite society's and my coworkers' and my body's multiple urgings.
So I can tell society that, and I can tell my coworkers that. But how do I convince my body? The best I can do is keep it distracted with things like this: