Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Women 101

I'm at kind of a low point in this area of my life at the moment- not the lowest I've seen in my days, but I can see it from here. No, things are not exactly comin' up roses, as the song goes. More like the stuff used to help them grow . I guess that's something though, right?

You can use a variety of metaphors here. It can be like a class- Women 101, in which you can excel, squeak by, or have to keep repeating. I can't help think of my poor friend Larry, who flunked High School Algebra for two years running and had to take Shop(wood and metal, respectively)for the latter semester each year. "Well, we've got Larry back with us again", the teacher was supposed to have said, that second year. Just what you want to hear.

  So here I am, back in class again, trying to get it right. (Well at least I made a pretty cool ashtray last semester..)There are things I know about this subject, but apparently not enough to get a passing grade. Just gotta study harder.

  Actually, the classroom is probably not the best metaphor here. Meeting and having a successful relationship with a woman, if you have to pick a metaphor(any metaphor..)has more to do with the world of work. It's a job. Something you have to work at, and keep working at. And like the world of work, harder to get sometimes the longer you've been unemployed. If you're out of either game for awhile, it can't help but show. You damn near secrete it. The incipient desperation which ends up serving as job/girl repellent, and keeps you from getting what you want and need.

 Of the guys around my age, a relationship is something they've either had forever or given up on ever getting again. Most of us have a marriage behind us, maybe several. But the ones my age who don't have a relationship now, at this point in their lives,  have pretty much thrown up their hands. It's just never going to happen again.

Me, I've gone back and forth with this whole relationship thing, as far as its likelihood of happening again in my lifetime. I've had periods where, like many of my unattached middle-aged brethren, I've simply thrown up my hands and given up. Abandoned all hope, as it were. But I've also made subsequent stabs at it, reinstated my efforts. 

At this point, retired from the world of work, and having all the time this implies(though I still guard it) I'm taking another look at the picture. I've had a lot more single time than coupled time in my life, so I can handle bach'ing it- this gets easier with time- and could probably handle it if another coupling never happened again- but still, you like to think that as long as you're alive and kicking, it is still possible. It can happen in your lifetime. 

I like to think that I have learned a few things along the way about this subject, in all the times I've had to repeat it(this probably works best if I alternate metaphors here), before being once again banished to the realm of Industrial Arts for the latter semester. One thing I have picked up about women(if not the woman herself), is that you have to be clear both about what you want- and, more importantly, what wants you. And the trick is of course to have both of these in some kind of alignment- which often involves(sigh)compromising the what-you-want part of the equation so both parts will fit together. 

And that's the tricky part. The alignment, the mutuality. It's easy to meet them, but every Dobie Gillis out there has a Thalia Menninger he wants(but doesn't want him)and a Zelda Gilroy who does. But of course he's not interested in Zelda, for any number of reasons. Maybe, like the old Groucho Marx line, he wouldn't want to belong to any club that'd have him as a member(there's got to be something wrong with it/her), or maybe there's just no chemistry between them. In their case, I always thought there was a basic spark('propinquity, Dobie'), but he just thought he could do "better". 

I've definitely had my Dobie times in this life, with plenty of Thalias I yearned for and never got. And a few Zeldas, whom I guess yearned for me. If I determined it was just Groucho talking in my head, I'd usually go back and give it a shot. But sometimes it's just that they simply don't do it for you, for whatever reason. And then it's best to just move on, rather than pretend something you don't feel.  

So I've been on both sides of the unrequited fence. At least it gives you perspective, and thus makes you better(more gracious)as both a rejecter and rejectee. Let's hope anyway. 

The other thing I learned in Women 101, is that(like most problems or difficulties) you have to take at least some of the responsibility yourself. What could I be doing that I'm not? What am I doing that might be counter-productive, what should I stop doing? I do think that you can get a momentum going in your life towards what you want. This is something I've found to be already happening. Okay, I haven't started the exercise program I'd promised myself I'd do, but I've found myself straightening up a lot around here lately for no apparent good reason. 

Right before I met the woman I ended up marrying(okay, and divorcing later, but..), I felt like I had this going. Meeting women was becoming easier, and I was even collecting a few phone numbers. You can't control what happens to you, and particularly others' behavior, but you can set things in motion- things that may(or of course may not)take you right to your destination. Win or lose, you've done all you can do. 

So. I've got more work to do on my part- the exercise thing-but I feel like I'm moving forward all the same. Another shot at passing Women 101. Something will either happen or it won't, but as long as I've done what I can on my part, either outcome is fine with me. The worst that can happen is I'll end up back in woodworking or metalshop. If only the teacher didn't blurt it out: "well, great that we've got Roger back with us again". Oy.