For the most part, I enjoy my life. It wouldn’t suit everybody, but it suits me. I play classical music on piano and cello. I compose strange electronic music in my computer. I write magazine articles, fiction, and even an occasional non-fiction book (Picture Yourself Playing Cello is now on Amazon). I read, do chores, teach music lessons, work out at the gym, chat with a few friends on Facebook, maybe watch a movie on Netflix.
I’m seldom bored. On the contrary: I usually have a to-do list wherein three or four things await my attention.
Every now and then, though, I start feeling that I’d like to share my life with someone. Not, certainly, because I crave excitement. Excitement doesn’t interest me much. It’s more that I’d like to be able to share life’s little satisfactions and little dissatisfactions on a daily basis by talking about them with someone who cares.
Yesterday, for instance, I hung six of my father’s paintings. I’ve just moved into this house, so I had to make numerous decisions about which paintings would work best on which walls. When I finished, I had a feeling of satisfaction and pleasure. I had odd memories of a few of the paintings. I would love to be able to chat with somebody (and preferably somebody who will be sharing the house with me!) about the choices that needed to be made, about my memories, and about the satisfaction that I felt afterward.
When I finish teaching a cello lesson and the student leaves, I’d like to be able to walk into the other room and say to someone, “That young man is very talented! It’s a pleasure to teach someone who has real talent. And hey, do you want to go out and have Chinese for dinner?” When I’m alone in the house, I have no one to share the feeling with, and that’s a lonely place to be.
We anthropoid apes are social creatures. As are most mammals, for that matter. It’s not surprising that I would feel this way.
So how would I meet a woman to date and possibly develop an ongoing relationship with? This is not an easy question to answer. I’m not sociable by nature — I just don’t get out much. I would probably enjoy social occasions a lot more if I were there as half of a couple, but when I’m alone and surrounded by couples, I feel uncomfortable and out of place. I usually leave pretty quickly. (And please don’t mention singles events. Those are even worse!)
Recently I thought I’d give the online dating thing another try. There are several large websites where you can search for potential matches — I’m now listed on four of them. These sites may work swimmingly for other people, so I don’t want to criticize them. In fairness, all I can say is that they don’t seem to work well for me.
The first and biggest slice of the problem is cultural. I just don’t have much in common with most of the women who are posting profiles of themselves. I find profiles from women who love to travel, who love to entertain (which I guess means having friends over for dinner), who love going to ball games (which may be a lie, but it tells you they’re looking for a guy who loves going to ball games and they’re prepared to deal with it), who love dancing and skiing and scuba diving and wine-tasting … I’m sorry, but what a depressing spectacle! Why on Earth would anyone go to a ball game when they could be playing Bach or Haydn on the piano?
Here and there I find a profile of a woman whose lifestyle might be closer to my own. But other difficulties are waiting in the wings. None of these women, so far, lives in my immediate area. I’m looking for someone who lives within ten or twenty miles of my house, at most. Having to drive for an hour in order to sit on the couch and watch a movie — not fun. And what if we got serious and wanted to live together? Who would move? I couldn’t move, because I have cello students here in town. And frankly, I’m not interesting enough to ask a woman to move an hour away from her entire circle of friends in order to live with me. I wouldn’t want the responsibility of entertaining her, and I don’t have a large circle of friends for her to get involved with. No, I need to meet someone local, someone who is already a part of this community.
And then there’s the age thing. I wasn’t too good-looking 30 years ago. Today I’m probably more stable, more responsible, more confident, and more outgoing than I was 30 years ago, and I’m certainly better off financially — but I’m not any better-looking. Aside from not being obese and the fact that I bathe regularly, I have little enough to recommend me in a physical sense.
Nor, to be brutally honest, do most of the women whose photos I’m looking at. A few of the 60-year-olds do have a detectable cuteness factor working in their favor, but I’m pretty sure those gals have a lot of choices in the male companion department. A guy who thinks it’s fun to spend three hours in an evening writing computer code in order to do a little avant-garde composing may not be at the very top of their list. The cute ones, culturally speaking, tend to be the ones who want to go out dancing.
Logically, I understand that I need to be prepared to date women who are 60 years old. I’m not an idiot … and I’m not rich enough to interest a younger woman, more’s the pity. But the heart is not logical. My heart knows what it wants, and it doesn’t have a strong romantic interest in women my age. I’m not blaming myself for that. My desires are, I’m sure, an entirely normal and predictable result of a healthy human instinct.
If I were to meet a woman who lived here in town, whose interests and lifestyle were similar to mine, I’m sure I’d be happy to let my heart come around gradually. But I do think my heart would have an easier time of it if she looked more like Reese Witherspoon and less like Bea Arthur. If you think that’s male chauvinism or skewed values or something, all I can say is, you don’t know much about human instinct. I’m not claiming for a moment that my feelings are praiseworthy or even defensible in any rational manner. All I’m saying is, those are my true feelings. I would expect a woman who was considering me as a potential mate to have similar issues.
But you know, I think I found pretty good places to hang all of those paintings.