I recently had an exchange with a friend about finding the right man. I’ve had this exchange with more than one person, and for reasons passing understanding, some women will not take me at my word. (I have no idea what men think; at least they are not trying to set me up with unknowns on the internet.)
The issue is that relationships take time. I know how to find a pretty face on the web. Then what? I’m not going to fall into bed with—or even seriously date—someone I don’t know. So the next step is taking the time to get acquainted. Which takes, you know, time.
Some women friends have tried to point me to the right bar or the best music venue to pick up guys. Last year, a woman I worked for—I had thought of her as a friend for several years—made it very clear that I was merely a utility. At the end of a project, she discarded me like a used paper towel. In addition to dealing with the confusion and hurt, I had to re-examine the entire relationship. One huge warning flag I missed was her perpetual desire to get me to use an internet dating service. I had spent a significant portion of our conversation time saying more than once I said I wasn’t willing to spend the time to develop a relationship. Yet, when we were traveling together, she crawled into bed with me and took my laptop to show me how easy it was to find “a boyfriend” on the internet. Her refusal to hear that “I don’t have time right now” really means “I don’t have time right now” should have been an indicator that she wasn’t paying any attention to me as a person. Friends who don’t listen are probably not friends.
I had spent a lot of conversation explaining my life to this woman, but she couldn’t hear past her own viewpoint. Although she claims to be a feminist, she evidently thinks that finding a man is important for women, and she’s not my only “feminist” friend who thinks like this.
My life is not focused that way. Right now, and for the past several years, I have been working several part-time jobs at once in pursuit of career development and in an effort to stay above water financially. My goal is to be settled in a primary career by—well, by now, was the idea—and have a secondary career going as well. None of my career fields will pay a living wage, so I will always be bi-vocational at least. Such is the nature of careers in public service work and creative arenas.
In addition, I have a history of being dismissed. I’ve been ignored by some of the men in my family as well as by partners—and the occasional “friend.” So if I have to ask for or demand your attention, why would I trust that your interest in me is real? Why would I hang out with a man who’s not really interested? Why would I hunt for one?
If a gentleman is interested in me and shows me that, I’m likely to respond. If things look promising, I’ll make the time. But I have a life, and while I miss sex and intimacy and partnership, I know I don’t have the time to mount a search. And because I’ve been dismissed more than once, I’m not likely to trust anyone I would have to pursue.
I’m single because I can’t have what’s not there, and I can’t take what’s not offered. Show me a connection is there, offer me an opportunity—I’ll clear the time. But I have too much life to live—too much interesting work to do—to spend my time hunting.