Last week I went back to my hometown for a Halloween party. I even wore a costume and everything. I don’t go up there very often, and every time that I do go… I am glad. Thought I was going to say I regret it, huh? Nope. Anyhow, R and I got to the party fashionably late and in high style. Who knew that this evening would lead to my latest WTF moment…
One of the things that I enjoy about going to the hometown is that all of the pressure of socializing with an agenda is out the window. I have long abandoned the idea that this particular little slice of heaven would bring forth a guy I would want to date… or would want to date me for that matter – let’s not forget I did more than a decade of hard time there, so I have some context for this attitude. Plus, when I am there I am generally flanked by R so I have a nice comfortable landing spot, and exit strategy. This shindig was no exception to my previously established assumptions. Therefore, you can imagine my surprise to make contact with someone (new) who seemed pretty interesting, and who has an incredible back story as well. Suffice it to say I was intrigued enough that it made the next morning’s brunch conversation agenda.
Over the course of several hours of brunch Dr. T and R and I talked about the changing social dynamic we are facing these days re: meeting people, and of course the inherent distinction between his, and ours. Facts being what they are, it is a lot easier to be a dude of our – shall we say, station – or just be honest and say age? It reminded me of this sentiment from an article about all the Single Ladies:
Today I am 39 [err, the author, that is], with too many ex-boyfriends to count and, I am told, two grim-seeming options to face down: either stay single or settle for a “good enough” mate. At this point, certainly, falling in love and getting married may be less a matter of choice than a stroke of wild great luck. A decade ago, luck didn’t even cross my mind. I’d been in love before, and I’d be in love again. This wasn’t hubris so much as naïveté; I… simply couldn’t envision my life any differently.
I realized that I too have always just assumed that the whole “love” thing would just work itself out. It turns out that is a bit naive, and by the way, don’t read that article if you are still in that frame of mind: total spoiler. So, we contemplated, what was the best course of action to take in navigating these waters, (which seem like they should get smoother with maturity – not more fucking rocky)? We could all speak to different strategies coupled with equally diverse (and though often humorous, still disappointing) outcomes.
Should one “get out there” and try to make things happen even if it’s not what you were naturally inclined to do? Should you use places in your comfort zone as a “hunting ground”? Internet dating? The fact of it is, all of it made me want to barf in my cappuccino. I have always said that if I wasn’t going to meet someone doing what I normally do, and in the course of my normal life, then I wasn’t going to meet the right person. I still believe that, but the reality of that scenario is that I work pretty much around the clock during the school year, using my free time for yoga and the gym… and then I want to travel when I am not working. This is not conducive to being a successful dater (which we have long-established I have no idea how to do anyhow.) Not to mention, I don’t even know what i am looking for. This particular line of rhetoric was precipitated by my admission that I do not go out on Friday night. “I am just too tired,” I told Dr. T. “But it seems like you are always doing stuff… totally energetic,” she replied. “You can’t trust Facebook,” I reminded her.
And here it is, Friday night and I am home. Exhausted. Not at all unhappy, but completely aware that my staying in perpetuates the reality that I will continue to reduce the odds of meeting someone new and interesting or at least the bearer of interesting potential.
So, maybe it was not too crazy to consider someone I met in my hometown. Shit, I have certainly considered far more suspect possibilities in places far afield.
Information was acquired (from both sides of the equation, I might add) and contact was made. “Let’s get together for coffee or something…” “That would be great, we should have some free time coming up with the holidays…” “By the way, I thought you were gorgeous.”
And then the Facebook connection was established. I looked at his profile. I saw some things that made me go “Hmmmmmm….” [You went to Pahrump? On purpose? FOR.FIREARMS TRAINING????] But, in my typical optimistic fashion (don’t laugh I am an optimist, but of course only in the most ridiculous circumstances) I overlooked these few things. After all, had I not just spent hours talking with my best friends about how (c’est la vie said the old folks, it goes to show… ) you never can tell? Plus, you can’t trust Facebook.
Plans were made. Life went on. Two days later I got this message:
Listen, why don’t we hold off getting together for that drink. After checking out your fb stuff I realized that you and I are polar opposite on our politics. Friendship sounds a hell of a lot better at this point.
Of course, being the headcase that I can sometimes be, my first reaction was to go back and look at my Facebook page. Umm… What? I couldn’t even figure out how it was “political.” Save for the poster from my union that one of my amazing coworkers made for us to carry at the General Strike standing behind Occupy Oakland… oh, hm. Perhaps that is political. But, as a historian, I would certainly NOT miss an event like that! And as a teacher (he is one too) who in the world could be anti-union? I looked further. I had a Howard Zinn quote. Okay, maybe I am a little political. I considered all of this in a new light. But cancelling a coffee date? I shook my head. Does the guy know anything about me? Well, he is related to people I have known since I was six. He knows where I grew up, not a traditionally conservative bastion – though these days, sheesh. Everything else he gleaned from… from… Facebook?
I looked at all the stuff on my Facebook. Things I have selected to share with a very wide variety of people and re-reconsidered. It may be political. It may ideological. Hell, it may be psychological. But mostly, in my opinion, it is there to be intellectual – and I don’t mean all smarty pants, but I mean to engender thought, or perspective. Yeah, even argument. Some of the people I respect most in my life are the ones who really come at me from a different angle and are not afraid. [That would be you, Mr. Fox Island.] But in the end I went back to the same old place:
“Seriously. Am I not cute enough to override the red flags??? Do you know how many guys I have gone out with in spite of the plethora of screaming scarlet banners??????”
Wait a minute…
…perhaps Mr. Freinship-sounds-a-hell-of-a-lot-better-at-this-point is on to something here…