I’m in my 40s and single. I’ve been single, except for a couple of relationships in my early 20s. Since then it’s been a couple of flings here or there. One time there was a budding relationship but too many red flags were ignored until they weren’t. Even our first date was a disaster. We had matched on a dating app. I was at home in sweats watching hockey when she got back to me that she wanted to meet that night at an awards banquet for her restaurant. She asked me to put on a suit but I didn’t have a suit ready, it wasn’t wedding season, so I did business casual. Went to the event, met up and she said I’ll see you afterward I need to work the room. Ok… We go to grab dinner afterward and I’m texting people in our TGS Slack that I’m going to die. She’s driving 15 mph in a 40 mph zone and not looking at the road, talking to me the whole time. Other weird things would happen such as receiving texts from numbers I didn’t know asking if I was dating anyone. Weird, and she eventually admitted it was her. In the end, every time we went out she’d get hammered and pick a fight with a guy. I’m about as average height as it gets and def not a fighter. That’s when I realized, I might be everything SHE needs but she was nothing I needed. Bullet dodged.
But that’s how it’s been. Things go well until they don’t. Had one recently where things were going pretty well but too hot and too heavy. She wanted me to keep clothes at her house just in case I could stay over. While that would be cool…eventually, I’m not about it a few days into the dating process. Sorry, I got a comfy bed at home. Then another one seemed to go great but due to a simple miscommunication and Verizon not releasing my cell phone to a new carrier, I was without the ability to text for a day and a half. Apparently, that was enough. Tried messaging in the app explaining what happened and texting from BOTH phones to no avail.
It’s at this point I’ve gone on dates, some good, some bad, some awful. I distinctly remember a date years ago when I was religious. On a scale of 1 to 10, I was a 4 or a 5, my buddies who went to mass at least once a day would be a 10, and she was a 27. It was a Bang Bang Mongolian Grill, great stir fry but way overpriced. I ordered a second meal because it was all you can eat and I’m getting my money’s worth damn it. It’s to the point I’ve had enough of the crazy town and it’s time to go. She looks at me in total seriousness and asks me the greatest question I think I’ve ever heard up to that point. “Hey, do you know why we have so many natural disasters?” No, I’m not sure. “It’s because we love war and gay people”. Allllllright, we’re done here. Don’t remember her name because I changed it to “HATES GAY PEOPLE” on my phone and never talked to her again. This was years ago but it’s an experience I’ll never forget.
These days I’m not terribly religious. I get it if people are into it, but it’s just not for me. I don’t mind others being religious but ask that they use it for making the world a better place and not for hate. Religion itself can be great for individuals and they can be more at peace with the world, but it can so often be used as a tool for the evil that I just can’t do it anymore.
With people so concerned about me being single, meeting someone at church is a suggestion. But once again, not religious so that’s not going to happen. So where else can you go? The bar? That’s the same thing it’s been for decades, even before the internet and dating apps.
Now that I’m in my 40’s, dating is what it is. Nine times out of ten it’s a lot of work for nothing. Wasted time and energy for a little reward if at all. Dating apps are what they are, basically an adult version of Hot or Not. Maybe a message that probably doesn’t get a response, maybe go on a date, rarely go anywhere.
And this is where I guess I’m different than most. Seems like a few people in my life are really concerned about my dating life, more so than I am. At the end of the day, I’m satisfied. I get to do the things I enjoy. Nobody tells me what to do. I don’t have to worry about kids or inlaws or any of that.
There was a time I wanted to be a dad, it seemed like something I really wanted but as I got older, I just don’t. The dreams of having a son to play catch with just weren’t enough. I didn’t get couples that wouldn’t have kids, but now I do. Once again like religions, it’s not for everyone and it’s not for me.
Same thing with marriage. Once again, what’s the point? I’ve got a coworker that has been in a relationship with the same guy for years. Another coworker has been married before and refuses to get married again despite living with the same woman for decades. Why do they need the title? Why do they need to make it “official”? It works for them and everyone else should respect that.
When you get older you get more comfortable. Your routine is what it is and that’s a hard thing to break. So if you meet the right person you have to sacrifice that for a chance on someone being the ONE? I don’t see the math in that. And the few times I’ve thought this might be it, it never has been. I’m absolutely an open book, but there are some things that aren’t for everyone. Nothing personal, just things that not everyone gets to know. Changing yourself to fit someone else’s needs? No thanks, man. Asking someone to change themselves for me? Also no thanks. Sacrificing the things you enjoy and the things that make you, you just to be with someone? I’m not seeing the math in that.
To quote Patton Oswalt, “I don’t care where the things I like come from, I just like the things that I like.” That’s me. I’ve never really been the one to follow the crowd, a buddy dubbed me nonconforming in high school and that seemed to ring true. I don’t get into things because other people are doing them. I’m very specific in my musical tastes but it’s what works for me.
A piece of advice I get is to not talk about certain things ON a date. So I shouldn’t talk about my passions and hobbies. Yes, I enjoy playing hockey and take my bowling WAY too seriously but it’s what I’m invested in. Yes, I love beer, cats, and trains. I don’t really care if the third one is nerdy and if preferring cats over dogs is “weird” for a guy. Also, let’s just say it – people get just short of calling dudes who like cats certain words that are no longer allowed in our culture, and rightly so.
Society needs to tell people what they should value and how to live their lives, I’ll just never understand. I just don’t get the peer pressure of keeping up with the Joneses. I don’t need the latest and greatest phone or TV or any of that. I am an AV snob because I studied film, audio, and video for my degree. I’ve been behind the lens of a camera since I was a sophomore in high school and always had sensitive hearing. It’s what nature gave me. But I don’t need a $4,000 TV to keep up with someone on social media. Once again what’s the point? Go get yourself a Hisense TV. Seriously, they’re great. Check out RTINGS.com for some great reviews on them. I’d love to have the latest and greatest Sony or Samsung but man, that’s a lot of money.
I don’t get society needs to tell people how to live their lives and what to think. I just don’t get it. You must get married and have kids? Why? Most marriages fall apart. Yes, there are people that fall in love and stay married forever. That’s awesome. But there is also the fact that people change. You weren’t the same person you were when you were in your 20s and your spouse isn’t either. You can grow apart and there’s nothing wrong with that. Legit, it’s fine, it’s human nature but society has to pick out a hero and villain in everything. Sometimes you’re both, sometimes you’re neither. I’m not saying marriage is wrong, I’m just saying it’s not for everyone and people shouldn’t be shamed for it.
Sometimes we’re ok just being us and being alone. The only shame that comes with that is the societal notion that it isn’t normal and that you should feel bad or ashamed for it. Honestly, being alone is the ultimate freedom. Do what you want when you want. No honey-do lists. No nagging. No nonsense. There is peace to it. I’m not thumbing my nose at those who are in successful relationships. I’m truly happy for you and a younger version of myself would have been really jealous. But with age comes perspective and self-searching. We’re not going to use the wisdom word here because it’s not worthy here. But sometimes when you carve out your own path or it’s carved out for you, you find yourself where you need to be. You find your home. You find out where you are destined to be, if you believe in that. In the end, all that matters is what’s between your ears because the rest of the world is just often noise.