Ever walk into one of those huge-ass bulk candy super-stores at the mall or airport? You know the ones—with floor to ceiling acrylic tubes and bins or glass jars jam-packed with candy. Every kind imaginable . . . M&Ms, jelly beans, lollipops, caramels, toffees and taffy, etc. BTW, did you know, there are over 3000 types of bulk candy? Because in these places, it’s all about variety sold by weight—and individual selection. You take a plastic baggie and choose to your predilections. Now keep that visual in mind . . .
Dating, i.e. finding a life partner—or even just a bed one—is not unlike browsing and shopping in that aforementioned candy store. In fact, it’s annoyingly similar. Especially in the virtual reality of online dating. Yep, a literal worldwide web of endless possibilities to pick from. Like candy, not every type is to everyone’s taste. Candy-wise, I personally love black licorice and prefer dark chocolate. I don’t care for white chocolate, don’t like Starburst, and truly hate whatever those “feel the rainbow” ones are. (Or maybe, it’s just their asinine commercials?) Oh! And as a totally immaterial aside . . . you don’t even want to know how the Urban Dictionary defines “feel the rainbow!” Or maybe you do? No judgment. Just saying.
Back to candy. What you like is what you like. Whether in regards to taste (cinnamon, peppermint, sweet, sour, fruit-flavored) or type (chewy, powdered, wax, soft, gooey center, hard, rock, the kind you suck . . .). And yes, I’m still talking about candy. We all have our preferences, be they flexible fondnesses, absolute likes or non-negotiable dislikes.
Now let’s talk about men. What you like—or are attracted to physically, emotionally or even spiritually, is also a matter of personal taste. Whether tall, dark, blond, six-pack abbed, wiry built, tatted up or clean-cut . . . whatever. It’s what you like. Your preference. Mine (if you’re interested) has long been dark-haired, usually bearded and exotic. At least until I met a near shave-headed strawberry blond. WTF! But que sera. Laughing its cosmic ass off, the freakin’ Universe saw some fucking need to sneak a white chocolate kiss into my usual bag of 85% cocoa-covered truffles. But I digress . . .
Physical appearance is only the start point. In picking a partner, we also pick and choose desired attributes and qualities. If we are on a second time around (or more), we’re also prone to pick the opposite of what we had. POS ex was a type A, workaholic with a lousy temper? Well then, Bill the Chill looks extra mighty fine in comparison. And if Larry, former boyfriend (with an emphasis on boy), was a lazy loser? Well, come on down, goal-oriented and driven to succeed Dan the Man! You get my drift.
Ergo, whether online or off, dating and/or starting over is like standing in a mega-store candy store. They give you a plastic baggie with a “fill-to” line and a weight maximum. Yeah, sorry. But in this store, it’s not all you can eat—or pay for. ‘Cause in life, you don’t get to have it all. You have to weigh options and make choices. Hopefully, smart ones. So, ladies, here’s your metaphorical baggie and an allegoric scoop. Pick what you want in the quantity you want (up to the line and weight max they gave you.) You may change your mind (often) before you decide upon the “just right” mix for you. In fact, I’d be surprised if you don’t vacillate at least a little. And FYI, it likely will take more time than you’d like. But patience, ladies. It takes as long as it takes.
Unfortunately, however, in our microwave/high speed data/instant gratification world, a lot of us have lost the ability to be patient. Spoiler alert! Some things just don’t happen on demand, neither can they be hurried. In fact, if you try, you’ll fuck it up. But we’re human (ergo, flawed.) We want it all now! We regard time as an adversary, an enemy to harness and control, if not conquer. Setting a long-term goal and then working toward it by putting in the hours and “paying” one’s “dues” are concepts pretty foreign to most millennials in the workplace. Sadly this impatience has spilled over into our personal lives. When did forming a relationship acquire a timeline and falling in love a countdown clock? Yet I have seen countless Facebook posts by women of all ages asking “how long?”
- How long before it’s ok to sleep with him?
- How long should we be emailing before we meet face-to-face?
- How long is normal to go between texts once we’ve been texting for a couple weeks?
- How long before I can expect him to call or at least text daily?
- How long should I stay with him if he’s not committing?
STOP! Repeat after me. It takes as long as it takes. And BTW, I have to go on record. There is a profound difference between “smitten” and “smothered.” Ladies, sometimes less is more, and quality matters oh so much more than quantity. Or maybe it’s just me? But if you are talking on the phone every day, what in God’s name do you have to talk about in person? To me it sounds like a recipe for boredom—if not an express ticket to over-before-you-know-it. But then again, I’m writing a blog called “single” at 60. So what the fuck do I know?
Now, assuming you are either: A.) not offended or B.) still reading, let’s turn focus to men in that selfsame aforementioned candy store. And was there EVER a better analogy for males online dating!? But it’s offline, too. Nature of the beast, I’m afraid. And an inherited gift from their ur-ur-ur-ur-grandfathers. They are primordially programmed to want to share the wealth. Don’t blame me. I’m just the messenger. Evolution and “survival of the species” necessity are at fault for their “don’t put their seed in only one basket” proclivity. And here’s another spoiler alert! Monogamy is not in their hard-wiring. Therefore, “less is more” just ain’t a connate concept in Don Juan’s wheelhouse. Moreover, “more” is often not enough.
So with all that in mind . . . picture if you will, today’s single male. There he stands in life’s candy mega-store with his little plastic baggie, pondering an abundance of choices. And let’s not kid ourselves, ladies. First on his list of wants? Sexual chemistry and physical attraction (NOT the same!). Then comes all the rest . . . secondary considerations and tertiary traits, such as kindness, open-mindedness, generosity, intelligence, emotional or financial stability, etc. I figure his inner thought process goes something like this . . .
- Can I trust her?
- Is she fun?
- Can she cook?
- How much baggage does she have?
- Does she have a past I can’t accept?
- Is she too clingy? Too independent? Self-absorbed or opinionated?
- Do I like her? (NOT the same as love)
- Is she the type to stand by me if things go to shit?
- Do I miss being with her when I’m not?
Ladies, he’s got to figure it out for himself. What—if anything—he decides is important beyond sex. It doesn’t matter one damn bit-o-honey if you’re Good & Plenty, when mr.Goodbar wants Reese’s Pieces and Almond Joy. So, do try to take it less personally if you don’t make it into his goodie bag. (Yes, do as I say . . .) And trust me. It’s going to take him time to decide. Especially if he’s on his 2nd or 3rd or more go-around. If he’s been hurt or burned, his heart is guarded like a literal 100 Grand Pay Day. He’s not risking it—at least not willingly. It’s why some run away or back off—only to show up again. And again. Or at least, so we might like to think or hope? But remember, hope has a dark side. We women will rationalize the hell out of something if it’s what we want. Or maybe that’s just me? Whatever. My article, my contention.
But the hard truth is, he’s in no hurry to settle on a selection. He knows the store stays open a whole lot longer for his gender than it does for ours. Remember, too, man is a trial and error learner. He’s not only apt to try it out and spit it out—he’ll prefer to do so. It’s in his DNA. Women, on the other hand . . . yeah. We will just buy the damn nutty nougat and take it home. Even if we don’t like it, a lot of us won’t discard it. We don’t want to hurt its feelings. (Not that a gob of caramel has feelings, mind you. It’s a metaphor.)
Here’s my thinking, at least in regard to my circumstance. It’s an unconventional perspective, I’ll admit. But again, it’s my circumstance—and my article . . . in contrast comes clarity. So, go right ahead, Oh Henry Oh Henry . . . Look at the choices. Line up your favorites. Sample away if you want or need. Unless you taste-test all the chocolate options, white, milk, and bitter sweet, side-by-side, I guess you can’t be sure? Metaphorically speaking—’cause I’m not indulging your ass in any ménage-a-trois or more. Yours truly is strictly a one man/one woman woman. No judgment. Just saying. Eventually—or not—you’ll figure it out. So will I.
And besides . . . who’s to say what might happen should The Universe suddenly slip into my mix an 85% cacao ganache-centered, hazelnut-coated truffle? Metaphorically speaking . . .