Monday, August 11, 2014

Dating Theory

This past weekend, I spent a few hours in bed with a guy that I'd been trying to meet for a long time.  I'd first contacted him online back in the beginning of the year, but then I had to go to Florida to handle some matters for my mother's estate, and I'd been a bit overwrought and then a lot busy, and I just dropped the ball.  But I contacted him again a couple of weeks ago, and after he accepted my apology, I floated the possibility of a date, and he'd said that he was very busy (Maybe it's the same everywhere: I don't know.  But in the DC area, when you ask any guy how he's been, the answer is always "busy.") but that he would like to meet me, and that we would have sex on the first date.

I had some reservations about his pronouncement.  I think sex on the first date is a fine idea, but in my experience, a lot of guys get pretty freaked out by sex on the first date.  They assume, I think, that because you want to fuck them, that's really your only (or at least primary) interest in them.  Or something like that: who really knows what guys think?  Most of them don't really understand themselves, and if they do, they won't tell you.  I have long since ceased to get angry over this state of affairs, but it's nonetheless a fact.

In any case, this guy gave me his phone number, so I called him Sunday, and he explained to me that he always liked to have sex right away because people are at their most unguarded right after sex, so you have the best conversations then.  Also, he said, he always knows within ten minutes of meeting someone whether or not he's going to be romantically interested in him.  Dating, he explained, is like buying a house.  You know right away whether or not you want the house.  Anything after the first ten minutes with a guy is basically just an extended home inspection where you determine the flaws and decide whether you can live with them.

What he said made a lot of sense to me, but I mentioned to him my experience of guys meeting me, having great sex with me, and then freaking out because (gasp!) we had sex on the first date, and he said, "Those guys are fucked up, and you don't want anything to do with them, anyway."  He also said that his way was much more efficient.

On some gut level, I agree with this guy's theory.  I (and I think I'm remarkably un-fucked up, though I acknowledge that I'm not objective) never freak out because I had sex with a guy on a first date, and I always feel like I have the best conversations post-coitally (or intra-coitally, of you talk during or go for a second round) precisely because everyone's less guarded.  And God knows that coffee or dinner can be a very painful first date experience if the guy is a putz.

On the other hand, I've noticed among my friends and among guys online what seems to me to be a tendency to dismiss guys out of hand for what strike me as remarkably shallow reasons. And I remember thinking that the advice I read somewhere to never write a guy off until after the third date made sense, at least if the first date isn't an unmitigated disaster.  Men often have a lot of hidden depths, and they are often very bad at communicating them.

Anyway, this guy's forthrightness was very refreshing, and after twenty minutes or so on the phone, he invited me over for a shower, sex, and conversation, in no particular order, and about three hours later, we agreed that we could probably be good friends but that there was no serious romantic potential.  And getting to that point involved a significant amount of fun, though perhaps not as much fun as one might have getting to a different conclusion.

So efficient, yes.  Fun, yes.  Probably not for everyone, though.  As well as that process might work for me, I try to keep in mind that what works for me won't necessarily work for other people, and there might be some great guy out there that I could get into a relationship with but only if I wait until the third date to bed him.  If I even want a relationship that is.  Sometimes I think I do, but then again, I have a perfectly good house already, and it did very well on the home inspection.

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Year That Was

So, yeah, it's been almost a year since I posted.  I think that excuses for long absences are self-indulgent, but once it gets to be more than a few months, I also feel like I have to at least acknowledge the hiatus.

Anyway, I don't have any explanation for the first couple of months of not posting -- beyond the obvious lack of something to say -- but then shit really did start to happen.  Last December, my daughters and I were down in Florida for a just-before-Christmas visit with my mother.  It was a Saturday, and she made us all breakfast, and then the girls and I went shopping for a couple of hours, and when we got home my mother was dead.

It took us a few minutes to figure this out because she was sitting in a chair at the kitchen table, and it looked like she'd fallen asleep, so we all tiptoed past her.  Then when I came out to talk to her about what was going on with the rest of the day, she didn't answer, and then, well, I couldn't find a pulse, and my oldest called 911, and there followed a lot of CPR and paramedics and police officers and funeral home employees and calls to relatives and lawyers and and and. 

I don't know what all else to say about it.  I've had a long time to process it now, and as deaths go, it was maybe about as good as we could have hoped for?  There's every indication that she went very suddenly, and she had just spent time with us, and I guess that's what she would have wanted.  My father died four years ago, after a long illness and a period in a rest home, and overall, quick is better.  But still, it's undeniable that having your mother die sucks, and it was not something I was expecting to have to deal with for another ten years.

And having no parents at all is just weird.  As Mr. Wilde said, "To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose both looks like carelessness."  I find that statement sits well with the surrealness of suddenly being an orphan/patriarch at 52. 

Anyway, a lot of the last eight months that wasn't taken up by work or the kids has been taken up by estate management.  My brother and I were named as co-personal representatives (Florida doesn't have executors), but everyone agreed that it would be better if I handled the estate administration. (So much paperwork!) It's a relatively modest estate, and when it's all done, the 1/3 of it that I get won't be enough to change my life currently, but it might be enough -- if prudently invested -- to let me retire a couple of years earlier.  And given that I'd expected to inherit nothing but some pictures and perhaps have to pay some nursing home costs, I'm fortunate to be getting anything.  But I'll be glad when the administration is finished.

In other matters, life continues apace.  At the end of this year, I will have been at the same firm for ten years, and I appreciate the stability among so much change.  My oldest daughter returns to Bolivia next week to do her second year of teaching fourth grade there.  I was surprised that she decided to return, but I'm pretty sure this will be her last year there. She loves the kids and teaching, but there's been some culture shock ("all the men are Catholic and sexist").

My youngest goes off to college this fall.  She'll be attending St. Mary's, in Southern Maryland.  I'm really glad that's where she chose to go.  The college admissions process these days is nothing like it was when I was a senior in high school.  These days, almost everyone uses the same application form, and it is, apparently, a somewhat frequent practice for colleges to increase applications by offering to waive the applications fee.  At that point, the applicant really only has to click her mouse to apply, which is why my youngest had offers of admissions from places like Hofstra and Wichita State (prompting the only absolute declaration I made during the entire process: "I may be a friend of Dorothy, but I am NOT sending you to fucking Kansas").  But in the end, she went for a good school that's only two hours away and that won't leave her with a lot of debt on graduation.  I don't know how I ended up with such sensible children, but I'm both proud and grateful.

All of this together means that in about another month, I'll become an empty nester (unless you count Luna, who's as sweetly weird as ever), for at least nine months of the year.  I have no idea how I'm going to cope with that, and I'm a little nervous about it, but I reckon I'll adjust.  Maybe I'll blog more.  Seriously, I might, but for obvious reasons, don't hold your breath on that one.