“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.

“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.

Misery and Depression… And The Long Road Back To Happiness

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About six months ago, I sat in this very chair and was reading an article about the effects of depression on your body.  As I read, I began to realize exactly where I was in life; in the clutches of crippling depression.  Insomnia, heart problems, headaches, fatigue, weight gain, a weakened immune system…  It was like reading a list of the problems I was facing on a daily basis.  The worst part was, I didn’t realize I was miserable.

I had been programmed by those around me to think that I couldn’t be happier, because it would reflect poorly on them if society knew how unhappy I was.

The mind can be tricked, but the body, not so much.  You can be in a horrific car accident and break every bone, and while you can tell yourself that you’re not in pain or that everything is fine, that body cast will paint a much different picture.

There I was, for years on end, absolutely miserable.  Hating everyone I dealt with, just wanting to be alone, crying myself to sleep at night, my hair was falling out, I was 80 pounds overweight, I developed ulcers and, within the past year, even started to get migraine headaches.  But I kept telling myself I had to be happy.

But inside I knew I was miserable.  You can’t be around people on a daily basis that you hate with every fiber of your being and somehow be “happy.”  You can’t throw your life away and expect anything good to come back to you.  Ever.  It just doesn’t work that way.  If you want good in your life, you have to put it there yourself.

Luckily, circumstance decreed otherwise and those people have been eliminated from my life forever, and in less than three months my whole world is changing.  I have lost 17 pounds, I haven’t had a single migraine headache since early December, I can actually sleep at night and wake refreshed in the morning, my blood pressure is dropping, my ulcers are finally straightening up, my hair stopped falling out and I don’t feel the overwhelming, non-stop feelings of misery, doom and depression that I felt for seven years.  Just by the elimination of people I hated from my life.

From the time I was 15 I always said I would never live to see 40.  It was just a premonition, nothing concrete ever happened to give me that foresight.  But now I realize there was some truth to it.  At the age of 40 years and six months, I actually started to live.  The old me is dead.  The “me” that hated to get up in the morning because my bed was the only place I felt “happy,” that couldn’t function due to headaches so bad I became disoriented, that laid in bed awake every night for four or five hours before a small amount of sleep would overtake me and then I could have nightmares about the unhappiness in my life.  That “me” didn’t make it far past 40.

So, to anyone who reads this, I’m pleading with you, don’t lie to yourself.  Life is too short and precious to be spent being miserable.  Don’t throw your life away.  If there’s anything in your life that is making you miserable and unhappy, get rid of it.  It’s not worth it, no matter what it is.  There is so much happiness to be had in the world today, don’t let anything, and especially anyone, ruin it for you.  You’re worth more than that.  I lost seven years of my life to crippling depression and I’ll never get those seven years back.  But, if I live as long as my grandfather did, I could have 52 years ahead of me to enjoy life and actually be happy.  I plan on taking advantage of them.

Don’t let society, or anyone’s manipulations, make you unhappy.  Don’t allow yourself to be used and abused and taken advantage of just so someone else can be happy.  It isn’t worth it on any level.  Your life is your own.  To live as you want.

I want to say that I thank God for the life I was given, I thank my friends and family for seeing me through it and I thank providence for getting me out of the misery I was in for all those years.  Many a night I laid in bed and begged the Lord to end my life before the sun would rise again.  Now the sun has truly risen.  I wouldn’t trade my life right now for anything or anyone, and I am happier than I have been in probably 15 years.  And a whole lot healthier.  With a lot more support and love than I have ever had.  How many times lately I have said “today was a really good day.”  Those were so few and far between in the previous seven years I could have counted them on one hand and had fingers left over.  Life is what you make it.  And this is mine.

In closing, you are given one earthly life.  What you do with it is up to you.  If you want to get into a situation where every day feels like it would be better if it were your last, then you need to wake up and understand that there’s more to life than that.  There are wonderful people and places and things to enjoy.  Hobbies and food and drink and movies and shows…  Why allow anyone, or anything, to make you unhappy?  Let it go.  Take a deep breath, and walk out into the world.  And enjoy it.

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.

A Manifesto On Marriage

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This blog entry is going to offend some people, especially those who are in a happy marriage.  I want to preface this piece by saying that these opinions are mine, and mine alone.  I have carried these beliefs with me since I was at least 15 years old, regardless of what life may have been putting in front of me and what mistakes I made, or was able to avoid, for that matter, over the ensuing 25 years.

There are a couple of quotes that helped to craft my views of marriage.  The first was in the film North To Alaska, when John Wayne’s character, Sam McCord, said “a wonderful thing about Alaska is that matrimony hasn’t hit up here yet.  Let’s keep it a free country.”  The second was compliments of legendary British comedian Benny Hill, who sang “why make one woman miserable when you can make so many so happy?”

I do need to point out that I have never been married, so this is not going to be a hit piece about an unhappy marriage.  This is simply going to be my thoughts on the institution of marriage, and why, deep down, I would have never even consider marrying.

There have been three times that I have had marriage pushed at me, and all three times were ludicrous, in their own way.  And together, they brought me to this point in my life.

My first experience with marriage began when I was 17 years old.  Yes, 17.  I was having marriage pushed at me by a 15 year old I was dating at the time.  Fortunately, I was kicked to the curb at 19 and was able to avoid that situation before it would have been feasible.  But it was a bad omen.

The second time I had to deal with this was in 2005, and this is where not getting married was cast in stone for me, though I didn’t realize that until just recently.  The woman in this case lived nearly four hours away, and we were not dating or in any kind of relationship whatsoever.  She wanted a husband, period.  Didn’t matter who, didn’t matter where.  When I told her I did not love her and did not want to marry her, she simply said “you’ll learn to love me.”  Luckily for me, some idiot did finally marry her and I can only imagine the hell he must be living.

My final experience started well enough, I had just had sex with a woman nine years older than me (she was 37, I was 28) and as we lay there she said “I’m just going to tell you now, I’m never getting married again.”  This, of course, allured my interest, as we knew nothing about each other and had met only three hours earlier.  So, if she was not interested in marriage, to the extent that I was not as well, we definitely had solid footing beneath us in terms of our futures.  However, that was short-lived and within six months I was having ads from jewelry stores shoved in my face on a daily basis.

Now I don’t want to just outline my own experiences as to why I think marriage is dreadful, I want to look at some actual facts and figures that support my theory.

First, let’s remember that half of all marriages end in divorce.  That is mathematical fact.  Let’s also remember that a majority of women marry men of a higher economic status.  That means that in a community property state, women are coming out of the marriage a lot better off than they went into it and men are coming out a lot worse off.  And in an unhappy marriage, remember this:  If you leave, you pay.  If she leaves, you pay.  This was especially significant to me, as all four of my “marriage experiences” were of a lower economic status than I, which left me to wonder if their interest in me was real, or if it was purely mercenary.

Second, people change over time.  There’s a reason the early, happy days of anything are known as the “honeymoon” period.  In today’s world, the honeymoon period can be over before the marriage even begins.  The days of people rushing into marriage, while still happening, are not as prevalent as they were in previous generations.  We know more about each other for longer periods of time than we did in the past.  And that can be a blessing.  It allows us to not make the mistakes that may have been made in days gone by.

Third, and probably most important, takes me back to my younger days.  I believed (and still do) in the concept of “social dating.”  Rather than dating someone exclusively and letting numerous other opportunities pass by, date someone new every time you go out.  I did this and it was the happiest year of my life.  I got to spend time with a lot of different women, I had a lot of great experiences and lived a lifetime in one year.

However, I found this is frowned upon by society in general.  My sister, who lives beside of me, called me one Sunday afternoon after seeing four different cars with four different women in my driveway over a 36-hour period.  She told me how horrible this was and that I should go out with one girl and see if I “fell in love” with her and if not, then move onto the next one, and so on.

This sounded absolutely absurd to me.  I likened it to test driving a car.  You don’t go out and buy a car and drive it for a couple of weeks and then decide if you like it.  You test drive it, as well as other cars that catch your interest, and then decide which one is best for you.  To me, the idea of dating someone exclusively to see if you like them or not is like walking in a circle and wondering why you haven’t left the room.

Yes, this idea flies in the face of conventional thinking.  But I always made my intentions known from the beginning.  We were going on a date, or we were having an evening at my place.  Everything was open and aboveboard, and the only thing that was ruled out was a relationship, especially after one date, regardless of how well everything went.  I was told at the time, however, that women would try to “stake a claim” on me, and that did, in fact, happen, in spite of my directives.

Sex played a role in this, of course, but it went far beyond that.  As long as there is a mutual physical attraction, sex can happen regardless of the circumstances.  You don’t have to have anything in common, or even have a good time with them outside of the bedroom, to have a good time sexually.  But spending time together on a platonic level put me in a position to want to meet more and more women.  The sex was a given; I wanted to also enjoy myself sitting and watching a movie with someone and then know that, when the date was over, they were walking out the door and leaving.

The concept of socially dating is completely at odds with the concept of marriage, but in my opinion, so is the concept of being happy.  Unless you believe in soulmates, and you happen to somehow meet yours, and you are truly, 100% totally in love with them, and you can stand being around them between 12 and 24 hours a day, every day, for the rest of your life or you can stand the idea of half of everything you own walking out the door with them when the marriage fails, then I don’t see anything to be gained from getting married, at least from the male point of view.

From personal experience, I have yet to meet anyone that I could spend so much time with that I would not have to get away from them at some point.  The man cave came into existence for this very reason.  The very definition of a man cave is “a male retreat or sanctuary,” which is specifically for getting away from the man’s wife.  When you need to get away from your wife, and have a special room to do so, that tells you that you may need to look into getting away from her permanently.  Women can be insufferable, so why invite one into your life on a permanent basis which is legally binding and may cost you dearly when she leaves or you ask her to leave?

I prefer solitude, I like my own company much, much more than the company of anyone else.  Now, don’t misunderstand, that’s not to say I don’t enjoy anyone’s company, because I do enjoy the company of friends from time to time and that can be either platonically or sexually.  But at the end of the day, if it came down to being alone or being with anyone else, anyone of my choosing even if they were completely out of my league, I would choose to be alone.

Though if Rihanna asked if she could move in, I may make an exception in that case…

I jest, of course.  Though an extended stay would certainly not be out of the question.

I see marriage very similarly to a prison.  You lose your freedom.  You lose your possessions.  You lose your ability to think for yourself.  You lose your ability to make the most basic of decisions because you have someone else standing over you whose one goal in life, is to mold you into the person they want you to be, not to accept you for the person you are.  I find that whole idea to be nothing short of horrifying.

Looking back, had I ever gotten married, I don’t think I would be alive today.  I couldn’t even begin to imagine married life.  I would have basically given up everything, and to make matters worse, I would have been marrying someone I was not in love with and who didn’t love me for me, the upshot of which was I would have had to change.  And I have no desire to do so, now or in the future.  Any of those three options would have been horrible, and I am so fortunate that the concept of marriage hasn’t been breached in my life since 2009.  I intend to keep it that way for as long as I walk this Earth.

Through the grace of God, luck and intelligence on my behalf, my record is clean and “divorce” will never be a word that will have to run through my life’s story.  And neither will “marriage.”  I have no problem with relationships, even long-term relationships.  But once you sign your life over to someone, once you put in writing that you are now someone’s “property” until you die or they decide to toss you over for a better offer, you have put yourself into a position that there is no positive outcome with, and several negatives outcomes that far outweigh any happiness you would find.

In closing, let me say that, if you are married and happy, God bless you.  Ignorance is bliss.  If you are married and unhappy, then you have fallen into the trap and I hope you have a good prenuptial agreement, and even then, they are not necessarily binding, so when the end comes, be ready to lose your shirt and a lot more.  If you are not married and considering it, please read and re-read this post.  Take into account everything I have said, everything that could happen going forward.  You think before you step in front of a moving car, because we know what the result of that will be.  Well, “walking down the aisle” has an end result as well, and we know the chances that it will end badly are equal to the chances it will end well.  And if you’re like me, and you haven’t been married and are not going to in the future, then congratulations, you’re on the right track in life.  Keep going, and enjoy yourself.  There’s a world out there, don’t tie yourself down and miss it.  Don’t look back on your life with regrets about choices that you didn’t have to make in the first place.  Make the most of your life and of yourself.  Live it up.

Peace.

My Thoughts On The Concept Of “Soulmates”

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soul mate  ˈsōl ˌmāt/

noun a person ideally suited to another as a close friend or romantic partner

This is the concept that there is one person…  one…  out of 7.6 billion people on earth that is your “soulmate.”  That one person is ideally suited to you.

Those 7.6 billion people are scattered all over the world.

What if your soulmate lives 3,000 miles away?  Or 10,000 miles away on a different continent?  What are the chances that the one person who is “ideally suited” to you lives within, say, a 30-mile radius?  Those are worse odds than winning the lottery.

I have had this disagreement with multiple people, multiple times over multiple years and every time I have it, it pushes me further away from ever being able to believe something so childish and stupid.

Now, don’t misunderstand me; I’m not saying I don’t believe in true love and that you can actually completely and totally love someone you do not share blood with.  While I personally haven’t experienced that feeling, I do think its possible to be completely in love with another person.  But that does not make them your soulmate.

A soulmate, by definition, is someone you have to have a lot in common with.  So you not only have to love this person, but you have to have similar interests and more than likely a similar background.  I have friends that I have a lot in common with, over a broad spectrum, but that does not mean they are my soulmate(s).

I have been in two long-term relationships (each lasting over two years) and both of them broached the idea of being “soulmates” to me.  The first was the closest to an actual soulmate I have ever had.  And I would go so far as to say that was my only experience with, or the closest I have ever come to “true love,” which is sad considering that ended when I was 19 years old.  I’m 40 now.

The second was probably the furthest from a soulmate that I could imagine, I had enemies that I had more in common with than I did that one.  We hated each other but stayed together for several years, for reasons I can’t even begin to describe.  There was a palpable dislike between us, in addition to having absolutely nothing in common besides a strong dislike for each other.  The day she mentioned “soulmates” to me I laughed in her face.  Without an ounce of regret.

Getting back to the first one, the closest I have had, we were able to revisit things 14 years after we split up.  It was then that I realized that, while she was the closest thing I had to a “soulmate” and to the experience of “true love,” that wasn’t what it was, because there were no feelings of “love” when we reconnected.  Lust, yes.  But not love.  We had incredible sex in the mid-1990s and again when we reconnected, but that does not make for a soulmate or a true love, that just makes for a good sex partner.  Nothing more.

Sometimes people will say “you just haven’t met ‘the one’ yet,” which is fine if you believe in that kind of thing, but suppose “the one” moved away 30 years ago, or died, or married someone else?  Is there some kind of guarantee that you will actually meet your soulmate or is it just the luck of the draw that you can find that “one” person?

All of us are unique individuals, with various likes, dislikes, interests, feelings, thoughts, morals and personalities.  We are not made to fit together like puzzle pieces.  I’m not saying that it’s not possible to find someone that you have a lot in common with (though I am also saying it’s extremely unlikely to find anyone that similar) and from my experience I’m lucky to get a 50% match, let alone anything on a “soulmate” level.

The older I get and the more experience with people I get, the more I believe I am 100% correct in my feelings on this.  At my age, the pool of potential “soulmates” has shrunk considerably from where it was when I was, say, 18.  And I absolutely know my soulmate was not in my past, which means if such a thing existed, she would have to be somewhere in my future.  Now, in the event that I move, as I am planning to do, does that mean she is already in the area I’ll be moving to or will I meet her here before I leave?

Also, let’s look at this:  If someone wants you to change who you are, could they possibly be a “soulmate?”  The very idea that you would have to change yourself to fit into someone else’s idea of what they want you to be should automatically disqualify them from being a soulmate.  That goes completely against the concept.  Both of my former relationship partners wanted me to change, some a little and some to the extreme, and the fact of the matter is I’m not changing for anyone, and if I find someone who accepts me as I am, then I may be willing to be more open-minded.  That hasn’t ever happened.

I know people will say that there are couples who were married 50, 60 even 70 years and died minutes apart because they couldn’t live without each other.  That’s fine, but that doesn’t prove “soulmate” to me.  My parents have been married for 41 years, they can’t function away from each other and the only time they aren’t within speaking distance is when one of them goes to the bathroom, and they do everything together, but they have nothing in common.  Not the TV shows they watch, the music they enjoy, the movies they enjoy, the food they like or their hobbies.  They are not soulmates.  By any stretch.

Which brings us to the point of people who think they are with their soulmate, but they just either (a) don’t want to be alone or (b) they think they are in love.  But if they were to sit down and list their partners traits, in terms of things they like about them and things they do not like about them, they might be surprised at the end results.

I need to say that I’m not trying to deter anyone from trying to find someone to spend their life with, but do it with a little common sense.  There is no one out there that’s a “perfect match” for you.  But if you can find someone that you have a lot in common with as well as a strong connection and attraction to, by all means, go for it.  But don’t assume that because you both like pizza and you both have socks on at the same time that you are soulmates.  Use some basic human intelligence and just enjoy yourself.

In closing, I just want to say that I will go to my grave believing that soulmates do not exist, that true love may be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that not everyone gets, and lust is a lot more prevalent than either soulmates or true love, and there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, because if we all waited around for our soulmate to find us, the human race would have ended centuries ago.  Be smart about it.

Peace.