“The List, Version 2.0”

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Back in 2010, I crafted what became known as “The List.” It was a simple collection of ten or so rules I put in place in case I would ever consider getting into a relationship. The rules seemed common-sense to me (“must have a car” and “must have a job”) but some met with quite a bit of negative feedback (“must not have kids”). At that time, I made no attempt to explain my rules, unless I was pressed into doing so.


Even though I have removed myself completely from the dating scene until at least August of 2019, I am going to create a new “List.” I’m sure it will be very similar to the previous version, which has been lost over time, but I feel like now is a good time to do it, since I am clear-headed and have 11 months to make it into “law.”

So, I present to you, The List, Version 2.0:


RULE 1 – MUST BE SINGLE

This may seem a little over-obvious until you understand what I have dealt with. I’ll give a perfect example. In 2006, I met a girl I took a liking to, she was cute, intelligent and had a great sense of humor. The first time we went out, she told me she was divorced and gave me a little insight into her life. A week later, she told me she needed to be “honest” with me and announced that she was separated, not divorced. A short time later, she told me she was not exactly separated, they were still living together to “share expenses.” I cut my losses at that point and found out a few weeks later they were expecting their second child. Fortunately, I had never laid a hand on this girl.


RULE 2 – MUST HAVE A JOB


Just suffice to say I have had enough experience dealing with good-for-nothing, worthless, jobless, hopeless, penniless pieces of garbage. Period. If you can’t support yourself, you need to find a way to start doing so, not expect some guy to do it. Especially if you’re toting around numerous children. That’s trashy. No decent man is going to walk into that kind of a situation. At least not knowingly.

RULE 3 – MUST HAVE A CAR

See rule 2. I see relationships as a 50/50 proposition. If you can’t come and see me as often as I come and see you, it’s suddenly a 75/25 proposition. And that doesn’t work for me. I also have no desire to run a taxi service. If I did, I’d be an Uber driver.

RULE 4 – NO CRAZY EX’S

If your ex is going to show up at the house with a gun, or follow me or threaten me, he’s just begging to get his ass kicked and I have no desire to be staring at assault charges. I am not taking hold until your ex has let go… and you have let go of your ex. In 2006 I met a beautiful woman who worked at a local hospital.  One day, her ex-husband showed up at the hospital and proceeded to bust the windows out of her car.  That’s not going to work for me.  My ex’s are left in the past, where they belong. I do my best to completely forget I ever dealt with any of them. If you’re still hung up on yours, then you need to get over it, or you guys need to work things out and get back together. Just keep me out of it.

RULE 5 – NO MULTIPLE BABY DADDY’S

If you’re in your 30’s and have more than two kids with more than two guys, you are not relationship material, you are community property. No man wants to introduce a woman like that to his friends. Especially if her reputation proceeds her. No man wants to get laughed at because his woman has been everybody’s woman. I am not making any open-ended judgments here, just keep that away from me.  I am not going to date a woman I am ashamed of being with.  That’s absolutely ludicrous.

RULE 6 – MUST BE LOCAL

I’m not doing long distance. Period. It’s not even up for debate. If you don’t live within a reasonable distance, don’t even flirt with me. If it takes an hour or more to get to your house, I see no reason to even give that a consideration. I’m too needy. If I am in a relationship, I expect to actually SEE my woman. Regularly. Not once a month or even once a week. You can’t get to know someone well enough barely seeing them to know if the relationship can go forward. Long distance does NOT work.

RULE 7 – MUST PASS MY BACKGROUND CHECK

If there is a chance we are going to start seeing each other, I’m going to do some investigating. No one wants to go into a situation completely blind, and I always like to see what someone’s reputation is like on the street. Admittedly, I have found out that people don’t always like to tell the truth until it’s too late, but I’m still going to see what your reputation is like. No one wants to date the Whore Of Babylon.

RULE 8 – MUST BE CLEAN

This covers a multitude of areas. No STD’s. No arrest record. No drug use. Must bathe. Must keep your house clean. I’ve had enough dealings with trash to last me a lifetime and I don’t want to deal with it any longer. And I never will again. So if you can’t keep yourself and your home clean, and you can’t stay out of jail or off drugs, piss off. I’m too many levels above you and it’s not going to work out. Find someone who is more on your level. The jails are full of meth-heads you should hit it off with.

RULE 9 – YOU MUST ACCEPT ME FOR WHO I AM

I’m 41 years old and I’m not changing for anyone. I love watching baseball and smoking cigars and time spent by myself. I like to sleep in my own bed, alone or otherwise. I don’t use drugs and I don’t waste my life in bars. I’m a bit of a “geek” and proud of it. I’m not going to alter my life for a woman. I’d rather be alone and do what I enjoy than be with someone who can’t accept me for who I am. Non-negotiable.

In closing, if you are able to jump through all nine of those hoops and we have a mutual attraction and compatibility and you’re single in August 2019, then we’ve got a good foundation for a potential relationship. If you come up short in any way, then I wish you good luck in your future endeavors and hope you find someone more compatible with you, because I’m not. And at my age, I see no reason to settle for less than I deserve. I’ve spent far too much of my life settling when it comes to relationships.


Thank you for reading. God bless, and have a great day.

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“Do I look pretty?” … and other stupid questions women ask, and shouldn’t…

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I am going to rant about something that has been grinding on me for well over a decade.

Are you required to compliment your significant other, regardless of the truth? This goes back to the old “do these jeans make me look fat?” joke of years’ past. But I want to dig a little deeper than that. I want to look at this situation deeply, from the inside.

Everyone who knows me knows that I am straight-up honest. If I find a woman to be attractive, I tell her. Not in a condescending way, but truthfully. If I don’t find a woman to be attractive, I don’t tell her. There’s no sense in lying to someone about something like that. Especially since beauty is only skin-deep. I think it’s best to just be honest.

From 2006 to 2009, I would argue with a significant other on a regular basis about the fact that she had to, as she said “beg for compliments.” I think that speaks for itself.

The truth of the matter is, I did not find this woman attractive and felt no need to lie to her face in order to make her feel like I did, even when both of us would have known I was not being honest. She was 305 pounds when we met and could barely fit through the door.  I felt it best to keep my mouth shut. My options were to lie, or to change the subject, or to try to angle my way out of it, i.e. “you have a great sense of humor” which would have been so transparent any idiot could have figured it out.

So, what is proper protocol here? Do you just go ahead and say “you look absolutely marvelous?” when you are about to throw up in your mouth a little bit? Do you tell the truth and say “you know, I have never really found you to be all that attractive and honestly, I have seen elephants that were smaller than you.” Or do you respond with “I refuse to answer that question on the grounds that may answer may tend to make you want to split my skull open with an ax?” Is there really a correct answer here at all?

Personally, I kept my mouth shut. All that did was lead to arguments, which would probably be the universal response from women, ugly or not. So if a woman knows a man is not attracted to her, what is the point in even asking him to give an opinion?

Earlier this summer, I went out with a woman who I was absolutely captivated by. And I was very vocal about how beautiful I thought she was. If I say it of my own volition, is that more meaningful than if I have to be coerced into saying it when I don’t mean it?

I think the bigger question might be why I date women I am so attracted to but only get into relationships with women that make my colon clench and make me nauseated.

Maybe there is no “correct” answer to a conundrum like this… And I can live with that…

The Experience Of Love…

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This is a difficult piece to write, but timely, given the fact that it has been the topic of many recent conversations.  Not in specifics, but in the generalities of love.

I have, however, put this blog together in my mind a thousand times.  As I talked with people who tell me they have experienced love, I find it not only fascinating, but I also find it to be baffling.  And I wonder what’s wrong with me that I’ve never been able to experience these feelings with anyone.  It’s like someone is speaking Greek.

Now, when I talk of “love,” I am referring to the love of a boyfriend to a girlfriend or a husband to a wife.  Not love of family, of children or of parents, or even the love of a good friend.  I am talking strictly of love with no prior, or no blood, connection.

This idea amazes me because not only have I never experienced feeling that way about someone but no one has ever felt that way about me.  And that’s the part I had so much trouble understanding.  Love has to be a two-way street.  No way around it.

So as I have talked to others about their concepts and experiences with love, I realize I have literally never experienced this emotion.  Or really anything close to it.

I spoke to someone recently who said when you’re in love, you never want to leave the side of the person you are in love with and when you have to, you cannot wait to return.  You swell up inside when you see them.  You can’t stop thinking about them.  In a way, they become your life.  Or, they become the most important thing in your life.

First, to address “never wanting to leave the side of the person you’re with.”  I can say in all honesty I have never been around a significant other for more than 48 hours at a time and by then I was ready to get away as fast as my feet could carry me.  I believe very much in the old saying, “familiarity breeds contempt” because it is so easy for me to just get literally sick of someone to the point I don’t care if I ever see them again or not.  I can honestly say, in every long-term relationship I have ever been in, all I could think about was getting away, putting distance between us and showering as quickly as possible.

I can’t imagine being around anyone 24/7 and actually wanting to and anyone actually wanting to be around me that much.  The closest I ever came to that would have been in high school, and that was more that she wanted me around to keep an eye on me.

Next, to address “when you’re away, you can’t wait to return.”  I don’t think that far in advance.  If I’m going to be away, I’m away for a reason and that reason will be the point of my focus.  I’m certainly not saying I haven’t looked forward to seeing a woman or two or ten in my time, but I am saying that I’ve never been in a situation where I couldn’t wait to see a woman again.  No woman ever held my interest to that degree.

This idea may have been more of a byproduct of marriage than anything else, and since I have never been (nor ever will be) married, then it doesn’t apply to me anyway.

Next, to address “you swell up inside when you see them.”  I don’t understand that at all.  I do understand feeling panic, nausea, aggravation and stress when seeing someone, as I have experienced every one of those with various women over the years.  I guess you could also say I understand the opposite, because I have felt deflated at seeing some girls.

I have felt a feeling of joy and pride when I see my son, so I am assuming it is some kind of offshoot of that feeling.  I just can’t imagine feeling that way about a woman.  Wow.

Finally, to address “you can’t stop thinking about them.”  I have experienced this, but I am pretty sure its in a totally different context.  I’ve cried, I’ve been sick and I’ve been in a state of almost catatonic depression and been unable to think about nothing else than a few women I have known, but I am pretty sure that doesn’t count.  I think this was meant to say that love means thinking nice thoughts about someone, not “I wish you would go away and never darken my life again,” because that one is consistent for me.

I have had dreams about girls while I was dating them, and that stretches as far back as I can remember, but the dreams themselves were usually based on my getting away from them, so I think even subconsciously I was working from that depressed point of view.  These dreams usually involved me being in a “last man on Earth” type of scenario, which meant the women in question had basically disappeared and I was unable to find them.

Now, understand, I am not saying in any way that love isn’t a real experience and maybe it even lasts a lifetime.  I’m not trying to put the concept of love down, or say it doesn’t exist.  I’m simply saying it has never existed for me.  All of this is completely and totally off base with me.  I have never experienced any type of feelings even close to these.

I’m also not saying its not feasible that I could “fall in love” in the future, but at this point, as jaded and disinterested as I am in this whole thing, as well as the fact that I make myself as inaccessible as possible, I think the odds are greatly in my favor that I will never have to deal with this kind of thing.  But, there’s a chance I could be wrong.

For those who have experienced it, I’m sure love is an amazing thing, because it sounds like it would be.  I just don’t think its for me.  I like to think of myself as the ultimate lone wolf, and I’ve always felt that way.  I’ve been anti-marriage all my life.  That will never change.  I can’t imagine being married, but I guess if you actually were in love with someone who was in love with you, marriage would make sense.  I don’t see it.

So, going forward, I am happy just to feel the love of friends who care about me and family that I still have contact with who care.  It could be worse.  It’s not like I’m an island unto myself or anything.  And as the popular saying goes, you have to love yourself before you can love anyone else, and I’m still kind of working on that part.

And if I never experience what its like to love a woman and have her love me in return, well, I guess that was just God’s will.  And I certainly would not question that.  If a couple of years down the road I meet a woman who fits the bill, then I would be open to it.  I’m not ready to call it a day just yet, though I am for the rest of this year.  And if I miss a chance that comes along in 2018, well, that’s on me.  But I think everything happens for a reason and if I’m supposed to be with someone someday, it will work itself out.

Peace.

Relationships: An Outsider’s Perspective

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As I was visiting with my mom a couple of days ago, she broached a subject I was hoping we would not have to discuss:  Relationships.  The reason I hate discussing this with her is that I don’t need to be reminded that my taste in women is atrocious and that every time I have been in what would loosely be termed “a relationship,” I passed up a lot of better options to settle for far less than I deserved every single time.  I know all of this, and have to live with it, but she feels the need to remind me.

But this discussion was different.  It wasn’t about my poor choices and stupid mistakes of the past, it was about the future.  And I had not given much thought to the future.  I have been living with a day-to-day perspective throughout 2018, and the idea of thinking a day or a week or a month ahead isn’t something I had been doing to any extent.

I have, however, discussed it a bit with my two closest confidants at times.

The last time I was single for an extensive period of time, I had a list of rules to help me weed out the losers from the potential winners.  It wasn’t the type of rules that most people think of (specific height, weight, hair color, etc.) but was more guidelines to separate the trash from the treasures, i.e. “must have a job,” “must have a car” and “no crazy ex’s.”  The kind of thing a nice, middle-class girl should have.

The problem with that kind of thinking is that I looked past the more obvious points I should have been considering, like “is this someone I can stand being around for more than a couple of hours?”  Or, “is this someone I could marry in the future?”

To make matters worse, I not only totally disregarded those obvious questions but threw my guidelines away as well and settled for everything I never wanted.

This time around, I’m smart enough to put everything into perspective.

To put it a little more simply, as I said to one of my confidants a couple of days ago, “I want a woman I can’t live without, not a woman I can’t live with.”  Which means I not only want a woman who fits the obvious prerequisites (mutual attraction, mutual interests, etc.) as well as my own personal requirements (the aforementioned job and car, etc.), but also now fits the questions I should have been asking all along.

Obviously, this is going to thin the herd down to pretty much nothing.  And I’m OK with that.  Because at this point, at 40 years old, I shouldn’t have to settle for anything less than I actually want, and I am perfectly and totally happy as things stand.

So, I sat down again with mom today and said “at this point, given everyone I have met and where everything stands, no, I’ll never be in a relationship again.  Granted, that could change tomorrow depending on who I meet, but right now, no.”

If I don’t see a future with someone, I’m not going to waste the present on them.  It isn’t fair to me and at my age, I’m ready to either settle down with someone, or settle down alone.  And since I am living pretty comfortably right now, I see no reason to change that for someone unless she is going to be a permanent part of my life.

I wish everyone would adopt my philosophy, as a lot fewer bad relationships would result and the dramatics that result from those bad relationships wouldn’t happen.  Of course, I realize some people thrive on bad relationships, as a way of getting attention online or from friends.  Realize that this isn’t healthy or good for anyone.

I am going forward, alone or not, the wheels will roll.  If there’s someone out there that is my “forever,” then eventually I’ll meet her.  If not, I’m going to be happy and enjoy my life anyway.  I don’t need anyone to completely me, I’m a complete person, as is.  But I am not closing the door to anything that may develop down the road.

There is White Sox baseball to watch, fine cigars to be smoked, excellent food and whiskey to be consumed and life to be lived.  And that’s what I’m doing.  I’m not settling for less than the best in any facet of my life going forward.  Ever again.

Peace.

My Thoughts On The Anti-Valentine’s Day Sentiment…

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There seems to be more and more anti-Valentine’s Day backlash every year by the single community, to the point of calling it “Singles Awareness Day.”  With this being my first single Valentine’s Day in seven years (and only the second in the past 12 years) I think I am in a bit of a unique position to see things from a very different perspective.

Yes, Valentine’s Day reeks of commercialism and it puts a lot of people on the spot who normally wouldn’t want to do the things that Valentine’s Day requires.  Some people hate to spend money on anyone but themselves.  Some people hate to spend money.

But you know what’s worse than spending Valentine’s Day single?  Spending Valentine’s Day in a relationship with someone who hates you and that you hate in return.

Imagine being in an unhappy relationship when V-Day rolls around.  Imagine that no matter what you do, it’s wrong and unappreciated.  Of course, you get used to that when everything you do every day is wrong and unappreciated, but it has a little extra sting on Valentine’s Day.  Add the requisite complaining and that makes for a great holiday.

Naturally, the perfect Valentine’s Day would be spent with someone you love who loves you in return, and those of us who are single won’t have that.  But spending the day and night alone is a lot better than some of the other options, you can take that to the bank.

Take my advice, and be happy if you’re single on Valentine’s Day.  It’s not perfect, but it’s not the worst situation you could find yourself in.  Appreciate yourself and be glad there’s no one around to ruin February 14th for you, year in and year out.  If you’re legitimately happy being single, be your own Valentine.  If you’re miserable being single, quit complaining about it and do something about it.  Meet someone.  Fall in love.

But if you’re like me, and you’re just happy to be alive and you’re happy for those who are in love and have someone to share their lives with, don’t take away anyone else’s enjoyment of the day.  I’ll take single V-Day over miserable V-Day every single year.

Peace.

Me First: Why I Like Being Incompatible With Everyone Else

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Over the years I have been called selfish, obstinate, sometimes even hateful and weird.  Not because of anything I’ve done, but because of what I don’t do; I don’t “fit in” with most people.  I see absolutely nothing wrong with this.  I am true to myself, and I am true to what I love.  Because at the end of the day, I have to live with myself, and I don’t have to live with anyone else.  So, the idea of altering anything about myself to try to “fit in” with someone else is not only phony, it’s disgraceful.  But a lot of people seem to do it.

Relationships have been dreadful for me,  for this very reason.  I have never had anything in common with anyone I’ve been in a relationship with.  The closest would probably be my girlfriend in high school, and what we had in common could be counted on one hand.  I mean, we liked to watch “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and we were both big Garfield marks, and we liked a few similar movies, but other than that, nothing.

My most recent “real” relationship, though.  Whew.  I was in a relationship for a few years with someone that, I can say with all honesty, had nothing in common with me other than the fact that we both ate food and breathed in oxygen.  You couldn’t have found two more mismatched people if you sat me down beside a cannibal from New Guinea.  This woman was many years older than me, which meant we were dealing with a generation gap, but it was in the wrong direction.  She wanted to be “hip,” so she told me once that “anything (movies, music, TV shows, etc.) older than two years old is garbage.”  I, meanwhile, hate most everything current and crave classic music, movies and shows.  So, the upshot of this is we spent every evening watching two different TV’s, or doing everything we did apart from each other.  Most times, not even in the same room at the same time.  It was beyond ridiculous, and stupid.  It was a complete waste of time for both of us.

In situations like those, you can choose to stay with this person who brings nothing positive into your life, and its basically like having a hanger-on because a lot of times they keep you from doing things you enjoy in life just because they don’t like it.  This has been a consistent problem for me.  And a lot of it is based on the fact that I am selfish and obstinate.  I am not changing for anyone.  Isn’t the fact that you would need to change who you are to fit someone else being completely dishonest to yourself?  Why do that?

Here are some examples of me being “obstinate” and “selfish:”

1.  I am a Chicago White Sox fan living in North Central West Virginia.  I am an island unto myself in that respect.  This area is Pittsburgh Pirates country, since I live around 90 miles from “The ‘Burgh.”  So, naturally, anyone I meet who is a sports fan will ask me “why are you a White Sox fan” and “why are you not a Pirates fan?”  Well, because that’s who I am.  I started following the White Sox in 1991.  I’ve invested nearly 27 years of my life into my team, not to mention thousands of dollars.  I’m not about to throw it all away just because there are no other White Sox fans in my area.  That’s not being true to me.

2.  I like classic movies and TV shows, and I haven’t watched anything really “current” since the mid-1990s.  Also, I never watched “Friends” or “ER” or “Seinfeld” or any of the shows that everyone else seems to have spent their lives watching.  I also don’t watch anything currently on TV, other than White Sox games on MLB.TV.  People look at me with disbelief and disdain when I mention “no, I don’t watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ or ‘I don’t watch ‘The Walking Dead.'”  This is amusing when I meet people who begin conversations with “oh, my God, did you see…” to which I can shut them down right there and say “no, I didn’t.”  Ask me who won the White Sox game.  That, I know.

3.  I’m my own man and don’t need anyone to “complete” me.  I can enjoy my own company, ad infinitum.  I’ve really never experienced this concept of being “lonely” because I have so many things that I enjoy doing, and that are things I do alone.  I don’t need anyone’s “help,” because nine times out of 10, it’s more of a hindrance than anything else.  I’m not saying I’m not appreciative of people wanting to help in certain situations, but most of the time I prefer to do things myself and do them in my way.

4.  I’m happiest when I am in solitude.  When I can think.  When people aren’t yelling at me or trying to make me do things I don’t want to do, or screwing up my schedule and ruining my day.  I rarely ever ask anyone for anything.  I wish that were the other way around sometimes.  And I’m not talking about friends asking friends for an occasional favor, I’m talking about a constant stream of noise and directives and demands.

Looking at it from an outside perspective, I think I would be hard to live with.  Of course, I have never been in love before so that could make a lot of difference in how I would feel about the situation.  If I loved someone, maybe I could make some adjustments.  But just from looking at me and where I stand now, I just like things the way they are, and I don’t need any interference.  And because I like things this way, I see no reason that I would need to change them, whatsoever.  As Sammy Davis, Jr. sang, “I gotta be me.”

Ultimately, I have no issue growing old alone and enjoying my own company.  In the event that I would ever meet someone who has more in common with me than those I have dealt with previously (and that wouldn’t take much), I might have an interest in looking in that direction.  I also have no trouble with social dating, a night out, dinner and a movie, with a girl who I may have absolutely nothing in common with because when the night is over, she can leave and my life continues, nothing has to change.

In closing, I just want to say that there are more important things in life than whether or not you are compatible with other people.  Be true to yourself first.  If you never have anything in common with anyone, that means that you are more unique than the people you are dealing with.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  There’s a world out there, just because you are an army of one doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it.  I’ve had dinner alone, watched movies alone (in the theater and at home) and that’s just part of my every day life.  You should live it.  Enjoy it.  Because you will always have yourself to share it with.

Peace.