I've heard it in dance clubs, from a chance encounter with a professional matchmaker and a woman I fell in love with this summer: "You're just not ready yet." But my favorite line is from one 30-year old cutie who writes a dating blog who told me in a deeply inebriated state, "I'd so make-out with you and date you but you're damaged goods." I didn't even have to make the determination myself; women just tell me it's too soon after 12 years of virtual matrimony for me to be emotionally available for someone else. I've heard the formula for waiting one month for every year you're in relationship - it kind of makes sense. After rebounding from a 4-year relationship into an 8-year one, I determined this time around that I would wait some time before committing to the next one.
The fear that arises at the end of a breakup is universal: you conjure images of a life of involuntary solitude involving a lot of T.V. dinners, dateless Saturday nights and going to movies alone. You feel like you'll never be loved again, that you're too old, fat, bald (don't have that problem) or out of practice to meet someone. You feel like you'll lose the security and comfort of something so safe and familiar. Those fears kept me from leaving my last relationship for at least a couple of years before I made the commitment to end my ambivalence.
Back in March, on my first weekend of singledom, I found myself at Happy Noodle with a male friend who was determined to mentor me through my new found freedom. Like a patient who'd just gotten his tooth drilled (I have lots of experience with that) and had yet to experience the pain when the novocaine wears off, I was in a state of bliss after my breakup. Enter the New Jersey Jewess in full princess mode who had high leather ass kicking boots up to her mid-thighs, carefully cultivated eyebrows, a good dose of make-up and a voice like J-Lo. At the bar she overheard me say I’d just broken up with my girlfriend; she stared at me with her hazel eyes and demanded to know what had happened. I began the odyssey of telling her about my past 2 relationships….and she told me about her past one which she was still getting over. She is a matchmaker by trade, a Sex-In-The -Wrong–City girl with no apologies for aggressively and directly stating her point -and I loved every minute of her Jersey girlness as I have a long history of Jersey women in my life. She said that if a man breaks up with her he can just go eat shit and die because he doesn’t value her. Like me, Jackie is a Scorpio and not afraid of a 2 hour intense penetrating conversation that spanned the realms of astrology, madams, escorts, ex-lovers and most amusing, the list of men that she had to sleep with before she could get married (which hasn't happened yet). She had recently completed the list by doing a very attractive black man she’d met at a conference in Florida who unfortunately had a small cock. She demystified the notion of black men’s prowess saying “I just had to find the only black guy on the planet with a small penis.” Penis size became an important part of the conversation as she told me about donkey dong, the guy with the 10” schlong. I asked if she’d gotten her cervix split by him but she apparently handled him. Somehow, women have a desire to tell me everything. Someday maybe that can earn me some money. Then she went on to talk about the big dick swagger. Well endowed men walk into a room feeling important and secure. She feels she’s now an expert at sizing up a man before exposing the goods. As a professional matchmaker, she knew just the right woman for me. I didn't know if it was going to cost me hundreds, or thousands, to meet this supposed soulmate, but she wouldn't divulge who this potential future mate was because she thought I needed at least a year to be ready for another relationship.
I’m now almost 8 months into the void, and, well, there’s been quite a marked absence of exploring voids. I’ve stumbled through dating like an awkward zit-infested teenager with a cracking voice; as a serial monogamist, I’ve been accustomed to the next female suddenly appearing in my life and becoming a long term partner. I’ve always viewed dating as an artificial construct involving awkward blind dates, match.com dead-ends and forced conversations with women who you’ll never see again. I’ve never understood why people refer to long-term live-in relationships as “dating.” But now I’ve warmed up to the sociological meaning of dating. It’s a Darwinistic enterprise in which you check-out the opposite gender to ultimately breed and further existence on the planet. In the process, pheromones are excreted, pre-mating dances occur and a choice is made. In my previous and now shattered belief system, I just waited for karma to roll around and jettison the right person out of the ethers to shack up with.
It took about 4 months of solitude to be ready to ask someone on a date – and I went the safe route, choosing a woman I knew had been attracted to me. It went well, but a few days later I met another woman I believed to be the ONE. Our first date, a hike, was pure magic and we’d planned a whole summer together that first day. She was one of the most gorgeous, elegant women I’d ever met, and I thought I’d just been handed the keys to the golden door. I was so convinced that she was it and that we were meant to be together, that I wasn’t listening to her: that she really wasn’t ready for me and that she wasn’t sure she wanted a relationship at this point in her life. She also thought it was too soon for me coming out of a major relationship to be involved with someone so seriously. She tried to get me to lighten up, to just have fun and enjoy knowing one another. But in my serial monogamist style, I honed in on her and tried to make her my woman. I enlisted a psychic, a couple friends who were well versed in astrology and my community to affirm that I had a future with this beautiful soul. I generally trust my instincts and live intuitively – by this measure, I was 100% sure that we would come together – I felt that everything in the known universe pointed in that direction. Despite my powerful desire, and a summer of dating one another, a relationship wasn’t materializing. I had to accept the painful realization that it wasn’t going to happen despite the potential that we both acknowledged was there. I had built a glass house around her and projected its image into the world. When the brick of reality hit the house, it shattered at my feet.
So what to do with all that heartache from an unrealized dream? I unblocked my Match.com profile, and met a tall, sexy German woman in Denver. After 3 dates it’s going really well. I have no expectations of what might happen – we’re just really comfortable in one another’s presence, so much so that I find I don’t have to say much. Now all I have to do is refrain from using my faux German accent around her.