Trip Start Nov 08, 2006
260Trip End Ongoing
I, relatively early on, let the conversation go where it naturally goes: what do you study, what do you want to do, what kind of life do you think you will lead? Any number of roundabout questions requires me to be upfront about a couple of important issues. One is religion, because it’s not the kind of thing people compromise on. If someone is churchy, well I’m not, and we probably won’t enjoy dating for very long. So I start with that, usually in a humorous and only mildly sacrilegious sort of way. If they’re still around, then I have to bring out the big guns. As families are mentioned I point out that I have cute nieces and nephews, but that I don’t want kids of my own. At all. Ever. And that I don’t really see the point in marriage either. It’s an archaic religious institution with no place in a modern relationship, particularly if there are no logistical issues caused by having kids. So I never want to get married. Ever. At this point you can often hear the woman’s uterus spasm in anger at the idea that some arrogant prick would not want to plant his seed in there. This is usually followed by a long silence, broken only finally by 1 of 3 responses:
1. The girl says she definitely wants kids and couldn’t date anyone who doesn’t, and in fact people who "hate" children (the way I obviously do) must hate themselves and mankind and Jesus. So I find out she wasn’t real thrilled about the first topic. And she’s pissed because she now realizes she shouldn’t have ordered a salad because it doesn’t matter if I think she’s fat. So she asks for the dessert menu, and occasionally the waiter’s phone number. Then the waiter says he loves kids and is just working his way through an elementary education degree and stayed up all night making crucifixes for impoverished Catholics in Africa. We do not go out again. They’re now missionaries in Mozambique with half a dozen kids.
Option 2. She says marriage is the last thing on her mind on a first date. She hasn’t even decided if she wants to spend an entire evening with me, which is why it’s an early drink/snack thing, not really a dinner date. And the audacity that I think she would care what my opinions are on any matter of consequence is laughable. As anyone knows, such brutality can occasionally lead to a torrid love affair, but for me it’s usually just the brutality. Check please. We’re done.
Option 3 is that she agrees completely and we’re pretty much on the same page. She is also a modern thinking woman and has numerous goals and ambitions beyond childrearing, and she’s independent and enjoys her space and doesn’t NEED a husband. She doesn’t NEED to be taken care of. It sounds like we’re agreeing, and it’s close enough that we may date for a few months or a few years. But when the conversation is brought up later, amidst tears and plate throwing, it usually turns out that while she doesn’t NEED a husband, she can still WANT a husband. And if I loved her, even if she didn’t NEED to be taken care of, I should WANT to take care of her. Plus, she thought I'd change my mind after a while, because saying EVER didn't make it clear. At this point I’m wishing she had hooked up with the waiter, or stabbed me with a crucifix years ago. Somehow explicit isn’t explicit enough.
The things is this. I’m no catch. I know that. I tell them that. I don’t want kids because I don’t intend to have a steady enough job to raise them, and I don’t want to live in the same place long enough for them to get settled in a school. I never wanted a relationship where a single individual had to be all things to one person. The math doesn’t work, and that’s usually what a marriage ends up being as the years wear on – one person replacing the dozens or hundreds we surrounded ourselves with early in life. And then when that person fails to be friend, mother, brother, poker buddy, gardening assistant, shoulder to cry on, handyman, mentor, student, and everything else possible, then resentment creeps in and poisons a relationship that you have both agreed must last for all of eternity. Seems nasty.
So why does date A, B, or C want me? They don’t. A and B knew quickly, and C comes around. What I never expected was a D. Someone who was literally unlike everyone else, in part by being so uncannily similar to me, but just as much by being everything I wasn’t, which means it was precisely what I needed. Impossible I’d say. I’m a cynic. Even months of perfection couldn’t convince me. No fights for a year? No arguments? In love more every day? A year would have to turn to two. Two? Then three at least…which would have to turn to four….and five and……..