Wednesday, October 15, 2014

OK Stupid

One of the things that I don't blog about, well, haven't blogged about, is dating. But there hasn't been another point in time during which I have been both blogging and single. So, you can see how that math works out. But now, as it happens, I am both. I wouldn't categorize myself as dating at the moment. It's been a few months since I've had a date. For the past couple of years, on and off, I used to make time on the weekends to date. I was happy to travel to St. Louis, Columbia, Des Moines, Kansas City on weekends when I didn't have my kids. It was nice to leave town for a bit, fun to meet new people, and best of all, it didn't really impact my daily life. My daily life includes living in my home with my children. I have committed myself not to co-habitating again until my kids are out of my house. Considering that my kids in some combination or another may still be in my house for the next five years or so, it seems pretty safe to say that a serious romantic relationship would have some pre-set limitations. And I made this commitment on purpose to keep me from getting into anything too fast. So far, that has worked out nicely.

This fall, though, it became clear to me pretty quickly that I don't have time to date. I just don't. Even that fact doesn't mean I would rule it out-- but I can't go out of my way to make it happen. And I am not even successfully carving out enough time for myself, so making time for another person right now doesn't seem like a great idea. At least, in terms of a romantic relationship.

Wow, it's so hard to write about this. I am pretty frank about it in most situations. But for so long my blog has been sort of scrubbed clean of any discussion of sex or sexuality. I think I pretended to my mom (and other adult Mormons) for so long that I wasn't sexually active that I just grew accustomed to not talking about it. In fact, I don't know that my mother and I have ever had an honest or open conversation about sex. She was embarrassed to talk about it. She didn't let me watch the end of The Big Chill when I was in high school because Kevin Kline and Mary Kay Place's characters have sex so that MKP's character can try to get pregnant. She is single, she wants a child, they are good friends, and even though Kline is married, his wife Glenn Close orchestrates this deal (because she had an affair with Kevin Costner, whose bandaged wrists are the only thing we see, before his coffin is closed at the start of the movie). Anyway, those are very complicated and grownup themes, and my mother didn't want me to watch it. My mother also came downstairs and danced in front of the tv during Risky Business, because she didn't want me to watch it. It is nothing short of a miracle that I have been able to be open, matter-of-fact, and level-headed about talking about sex with my children.

I remember one Mormon woman I knew when I was engaged to my first husband. She said to me, "You know, premarital sex is only fun because it's forbidden."

I knew differently for myself at this point, and I remember trying not to stare at her in horror. I remember laughing about it later with my fiancee-- I know she meant well, but the only thing she conveyed was that, in spite of her three children, they were doing it wrong.

I still don't discuss sex with my mother, though she knows I date occasionally. One of the reasons I don't discuss it with her is that because I am single (and she is still Mormon), I presume that she thinks that it would be sinful for me to have sex. When I told my parents that my [eventual] second husband was moving into my house with me and the kids (before we were even engaged), my dad asked me if my [eventual] second husband was going to live in the garage behind the house.

It takes a very determined sort of naivety to ask questions like that.

So, deep breath, I am an adult woman, and I am sexually active. When I got my second divorce, at the age of 42, I had slept with two men. After my second divorce, it didn't really occur to me that I was allowed to date for awhile. But once it did, I joined OK Cupid and began online dating. I have learned a lot about dating that most women probably learn in college. I have learned a lot that makes me realize that dating a lot more probably would have kept me out of both of my marriages. Unfortunately, what I have learned about dating has only reinforced to me that marriage is a bad idea for me, and, probably, so is cohabitation. I like being the boss of my house. I just do.

But sex is an important part of my life. I think it's a fundamental bodily need. Sure, it can be denied. I'm not here to diss people who don't have sex or have committed to another lifestyle. But it's a bodily need that I have, so from time to time, I set about filling it. And I tested the theory that women can have sex basically whenever we want to. And after I proved that theory, I backed off for awhile and took a break from dating. I go through periods of disgust and disinterest with dating sights and particular men I've had the displeasure of communicating with. I also go through periods when I think it's really fun and that my forties have been the most fun I've ever had. I have a tendency to bifurcate, but I think that dating really is the best and the worst of times.

Because my time for a substantial romantic relationship is limited, I think I make both better and worse decisions. This means sometimes I sleep with people I wouldn't necessarily be good in a relationship with. And I do it on purpose, because I don't want a relationship-- I want sex. I know that makes me sound almost masculine, and it makes me sound like I'm using men for sex, but I promise, I've asked them about this, and they do not seem to mind. Go figure.

I'm not interested in trotting out the details of my dating life here so much as making fun of the guys I never date and never meet because they are such idiotic tools. So, I am probably going to post more about Internet dating, but out of respect for others' privacy, I will try to make sure nobody who comes across this (whom I actually like) would recognize himself.

3 comments:

  1. I'm very excited about this particular theme! Can't wait to see what you write. I met my "feyonce'" on an LDS dating site, just before I was going to quit using it in disgust because of all of the creepers, liars and weirdos I met in the process. I bet we could tell each other some stories!

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  2. "...it makes me sound like I'm using men for sex, but I promise, I've asked them about this, and they do not seem to mind. Go figure."

    This made me laugh out loud, as I know you intended. I went through a very satisfactory 2-year period after my first marriage ended, in which I indulged in a very satisfactory amount of what I termed, "Happy, friendly sex". Some might call it 'no strings attached'.

    'Using' is a loaded word, and, I think, in situations like mine and the ones you describe, irrelevant. You meet a man whose company you enjoy (even though you know he'd make a poor husband for you), with whom you share an attraction, and, both of you knowing this is for fun, you have sex. Why is this 'using'?

    Is it 'using' someone to cook and share a meal together when you're both hungry, even though you know you have no intention of eating every meal together for the rest of your life? Indeed, that you actively intend to have meals with other people?

    When neither party is deceived as to the event's intentions and agenda, nobody is 'using' anyone. But everyone is enjoying themselves and someone else, and that, if it's fun and respectful, is a good, often joyous, thing.

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  3. Do you masturbate as well, or do you stick to sex? I believe greatly in DIY, since it removes the risk of disease (not to mention rejection), and it's readily available if you find yourself in need of a fix all of sudden.

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