Let me offer a theory on relationships, dating and romance. When it comes to these things, there is no accurate theory. There are too many moving parts: emotions, commitment phobias, personalities, histories, distances, preferences, situations, other people, etc. that make the “book on dating” as irrelevant as a cookbook in prison. But people love making theories, nevertheless.
Love is a bit like the great science of economics in this way. “Well-informed” prognosticators like to offer their reasons and predictions, but the market doesn’t abide by logic. It goes up and down by the bear or the bull, and no matter what these experts like to claim, no one has a leash or a whip big enough to control the tide. So it is with love.
I offer this to completely discredit my own theory on relationships. Why do I do this? Because I don’t want anyone taking me seriously. So here goes.
I believe that you can divide the dating pool into two types. First, you have the ones who like to date around. They enjoy variety, levity and commitment-free intimacy. They have the uncanny ability to enjoy the other person without becoming emotionally attached. Second, you have the ones who are looking to commit from the get-go. They take themselves seriously and they expect others to take them seriously as well. They date, but only if the other person has some potential to become a long-term partner. For simplicity’s sake, let’s call the first group “Daters” and the second group “Crazy People”.
I use the term “Crazy People” with all the endearment in the world, for I would group myself among their brood. We crazy people…we’re not picky as the common misperception paints us to be, we just tend to see problems 5 miles down the line. The logic goes something like this: If I see an irreconcilable issue in the relationship, be it 1 month from now or 6 years from now, why get started? It’s just going to end in heartbreak, or way worse, an unpredictable collection of awkward moments.
Don’t tag me with all the flaws of that line of thinking, I only know them too well. It’s no secret that I’ve been saddled with years and years of romantic futility. In fact, I consider it the great frustration of my life that I’ve never been in a long-term committed relationship. This fact has led me to question the core beliefs of the Crazies, though I don’t believe I’ll ever be fully rid of it in my lifetime.
If that was my theory, here is my dissertation. I believe (or perhaps hope) that among the Crazies, we all have a golden age. For some, they may come of age early, like some of my friends who are getting married at the age of 25. These humans, I consider the luckiest of all, the lords of all creation. They have a sense of knowing, they fit together, everything in the universe is telling them… “OK…you’re never going to find anyone better. DO IT.”
I think if we were all to introspect for a bit, we’d discover a keen sense of what that age might be for us. Some feel restless in their early twenties…they’re not ready. Some feel ready to settle in their 30’s or 40’s, it’s time to act.
As for me, after much contemplation, I’ve determined that my golden age is in the vicinity of 68, more or less.
I arrive at this number in two ways. First, my tastes and preferences have indicated to me that I’m an old soul. When I was 8, while my friends were playing Cowboys and Indians, I was playing Pretend Librarian with my poor 6-year-old sister, who I forced to check out the same book over and over again.
In college, while my friends were taking shots of Grey and Soju, I was clamoring for trips to Napa Valley where we could wine taste until the break of dawn.
Even now, when the club scene is still within the age appropriate index, I prefer rainy days, next to my window, with a historical biography by David McCullough.
I abhor new technology and I’m acquiring a taste for cigars.
The second and more telling reason for my advanced golden age theory, is the fact that women above the age of 60 have, what can you say…Obtrusive Lust for me.
They like to touch my arm, they like to comment about my looks, they tell me that if they were my age, they’d snatch me up like a fish. LIKE A FISH!
Would I rather have 26 year olds pine for me in this way? Yes. Would I wish these grandmas to stop? Please God, yes.
But such is my lot in life. More often than not, what ends up happening is that these older women tell me all about their beautiful granddaughters. It seems to matter little that they’re 15 or 16 years old, they tell me I’d be wise to hold off for 4-5 more years (for legal reasons, of course). That I’d be a happy man if I did.
This happened to me while I was visiting my grandmother the other day. Right before I left for New York 6 months ago, I stopped by with my sister to say our goodbyes. She met us in the lobby and we ran into a friend of hers. As I have become accustomed to, my grandmother’s friend grabbed my arm, commented on my incredible movie-star looks, and “mentioned” a granddaughter that she had. I bowed sheepishly, thanking her for her compliments and went about my way.
Flash forward to the other day. I visit my grandmother and in her room is a large bouquet of flowers. Inside is a $20 bill. I ask her who that’s for. She says for me. I say thank you. She says it’s from her friend who met me in the lobby 6 months ago…would I like to go visit? Luckily, my dad saved me from a fate worse than death (Maybe getting set up with a 15 year old high school girl isn’t worse than death, but it’s close).
If you think I’m making this story up, ask my sister, who got nothing from my grandma save for a box of Ritz Crackers and a comment about how ugly she got.
Don’t feel bad for me though. While for most people it may be all downhill, I’m on a steady, incremental climb to my golden age of 68. Then, I’ll meet my Doris or my Beatrice or my Daisy, and all the waiting will have been worth it.
But like I said, don’t take me seriously.
Cuz that would be sad.