Alone

It’s February, the Month of Love.  As such, it’s a good time to talk about relationships and such.

There was some speculation in the comments of this blog a few weeks ago about my relationship status.  Alys and Audre were discussing whether or not they should buy garish (they didn’t use that word, but I can only assume) hats for hypothetical nuptials.

Well, as these things do for a sensitive poet-warrior like yours portly, it all came crashing down—not with a bang (giggity), but a whimper.

So, here I am at thirty-seven, unmarried and hanging out with my dog.  Frankly, I enjoy it.  I keep busy with a lot of projects and side gigs, as well as my main job, and after living on my own since I was twenty-one, I have grown accustomed to being alone (now with a chubby canine sidekick).

Of course, my fat dog and my hobbies won’t change out my catheter or perform the Heimlich when I choke on Chef Boyardee.  Having someone around to wipe the creamed corn from my chin when I am old would be nice.

These days, though, I’m pessimistic about the odds.  A couple of years ago, photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire addressed the issues facing conservative Christians and modern dating in a piece calling for the return of matchmakers.

Two years on, the situation has only grown bleaker, and not just for yours portly (though I do think my advanced age psychologically is disqualifying for a lot of women; “thirty-five” sounded better than “thirty–seven”; the latter smacks of being too close to forty, which I suspect is across the Rubicon for the kinds of women I like).  I detailed some of the problems in a series of comments on photog’s post two years ago.

Here is what I wrote at the time:

Dating is a real wasteland, photog, as you correctly intuit. My very sweet (now ex-)girlfriend of about a year broke it off with me a couple of weeks ago—a hard blow, but necessary, and there are no hard feelings—but I was reluctant for things to end because of how awful the dating marketplace has become. Women make a virtue out of being crass, and it kills me how many women flount [sic] their “fluency” in “sarcasm” as a positive trait.

I’m thirty-five, so I can’t be overly picky, but is it so much to ask to find a good Christian girl who is kind, supportive, and traditional? Such women are, increasingly, unicorns.

The frustration I and other young(ish) men face is that we’ve done everything right, and are pretty solid on paper. I’m financially stable, a homeowner, debt-free, hard-working, reasonably competent, a hustler (in the sense that I’ve always got some lucrative side gigs going), multi-talented (musician, writer, etc.), funny, and am affable and agreeable—and, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I would say I’m reasonably handsome (and I dress well, but not ostentatiously). In a better, vanished time, I’d have several kids by now, or at least would be swimming in babes.

And before anyone says, “No one deserves a date,” that’s not what I’m saying. And, sure, I have my flaws—many of them—and can be difficult or ornery about certain things. Who isn’t?

But if a guy like me—kind, talented, not deformed, hardworking, sober, stable—struggles, what hope is there?

It’s rough. I like the matchmaking idea.

Of course, about five days after I wrote that post, I went out with my most recent ex, and proceeded to do so for nearly two years.  While that didn’t work out in retrospect, the situation wasn’t completely hopeless.  She was a good woman who knew how to cook and bake (and liked doing both), and was interesting in quilting, sewing, and even mild homesteading.

She was also a Branch COVIDian and a lukewarm Christian, but in this age, men—at least not in my position—don’t have the luxury of making those disqualifying qualities.

I dabbled briefly in the dating apps again, only to find them fetid pools of squalid mediocrity and lasciviousness (even the purportedly “Christian” ones!).  The trend now is for girls to use apps as a funnel to their Instagram and Snapchat profiles; from there, they can increase eyeballs and get paid to endorse products as influencers (or, as I am finding to get clients—many of them are real estate agents).  They also use these apps to lure men to their OnlyFans accounts, where they engage in pornographic e-prostitution.

If it’s not that, it’s a plethora of single mothers.  I feel for single mothers, as many of them were taken for a ride (in more ways than one) by some unscrupulous baby daddy.  By that sympathy only extends so far:  asking me to raise another man’s child is a big request.  I’m personally not comfortable doing that in the vast majority of cases, unless the woman were tragically widowed or the like.  That’s perhaps to my detriment, but the notion that any man should be guilted into taking on the burdens of someone else’s poor decisions is absurd.

Of course, there are plenty of single mothers who fell for the modern feminist mantras about “making it on my own” and being a “strong, independent woman.”  Our society lavishes single mothers with praise, acknowledging (correctly) the challenges of raising children alone while also (incorrectly) taking that as a sign of virtue.  Any woman with children who has left a good man (not talking about an abuser or the like) just because she thought she had better prospects or he didn’t “treat me like a queen” is a wicked person.

These are the same women who will write that their kids are “my whole world.”  Note that this same phrase is how childless women describe their pets.

Ladies, I probably don’t have the luxury to expect this, but here is a pro-tip:  men do not want women who are “fluent in sarcasm” and who don’t know how to cook (sure, I can cook for myself, but it tastes better when you do it).  We don’t want to date our “bro” or “one of the guys.”

You don’t have to be super hot or sexy.  Just be real, humble, and supportive.  Seriously, that’s all we really expect.  Men are turned on by pretty much anything, so unless you have a goiter growing out of your neck or are missing limbs (and some freaks are probably into that, too), we’ll find you attractive—if you are kind and supportive.  I tend to date very educated women (the last three were an attorney, a psychologist, and a chemist; my very first girlfriend ended up as an archaeologist), but, honestly, I would happily date a hairdresser or a waitress if she trusts my leadership and is kind-hearted.

After a few bad experiences (and one particularly harrowing one), I ditched the apps—which, just a few years ago, worked pretty well for getting dates with reasonable, normal women—and am just going to be content hanging with my dog and playing piano.

To that end, here I am covering Heart’s “Alone“:

I committed the cardinal sin of filming this in portrait instead of landscape, which might explain my recent lack of success with the ladies.

This post is not to be bitter or jaded; instead, I hope it is a clear-eyed (and humorous) assessment of the current state of dating and relationships in 2022.

Bring on the matchmakers.

47 thoughts on “Alone

  1. I think there’s too much pressure placed on relationships. Are you in one? Are you getting married? Why aren’t you in one? Get back on the horse, man!

    I’ll never understand why it’s anyone else’s business what your relationship status is and why some people feel pressured about it. Whatever you do in your life is your business and from my own perspective, I couldn’t care less if my friends are in or out of a relationship. As long as you’re happy, that’s good enough for me.

    One of the aspects of my Christmas movie article published on TCW was how people in these films badger their friends on their relationship status. I don’t get it. Why should it matter?

    The only advice I’d offer to you is not to rush in. Do what you do and the right person will come into your life and trust me when I say, the right person always comes along when you least expect it. She did with me. For now though, enjoy your work and life. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • I don’t feel pressure to be in a relationship. I feel like I have a good deal to offer and am a good man, but I don’t think that counts for much these days.

      I’m definitely not looking to rush anything. I think I’ve done that in the last few relationships, and it never seems to work out well. Also, I’ve never dated anyone who was closer than an hour away—one of the perils of being single in your late 30s in the rural South. There’s nobody around who isn’t already married.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for your honesty, Tyler. How much time do you spend asking the Lord questions like, Should I: (date, date that person, get married at all, ask a specific person out, etc.)? Holy Spirit would certainly give you the very best directions and advice.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Okay, hopefully third time lucky getting a proper comment up.

    Tyler, I am so sorry to hear of your girlfriend woes. Although far too old now to worry about such things for myself I would heartily advise avoiding online dating apps. From what I have read and heard anecdotally if you want to hang onto your sanity, your self respect and your worldy goods STAY AWAY from them. Clever, career oriented women are all very well but a home centric girl who wants to look after her children herself and make a comfortable life for her husband is a rare find and a jewel to be treasured. If you happen across a sweet young woman serving you coffee or checking out your goods at the supermarket, gofrit. I really hope you find someone to fully share your life one day, in the meantime I will put the expensive and tasteful hat back in the cupboard for a future date.

    Liked by 4 people

    • LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL !!! “… or checking out your goods at the supermarket, …” has a TOTALLY different meaning in America, lol! Omgosh – can’t stop laughing!

      Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks, Alys. I am not all that worried about it, just a bit discouraged. Indeed, I’m pretty discouraged with life in general at the moment. It seems a bit like a monotonous routine, even though I enjoy a great deal of variety with lessons and classes (I LOVE teaching lessons). Still, just kind of seems like everything is in a holding pattern.

      Of course, no one cares if you’re feeling depressed or down unless you’re a Instagram thot, haha. But I will be okay. Thanks for commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. “… not deformed …” I wish you could have heard the belly laugh!

    What you really need to do is think about your feelings on marriage. Would you like to be married? Do even like the idea of marriage?

    I found this very telling, lol, “… if she trusts my leadership …” Ummm, Port – it’s a partnership. You might consider it a ‘merger’ – you (warts and all) join with x-ee (warts and all) and become one happy, lumpy unit.

    I know a thing or two about marriage – I’ve been married twice; 24 yrs. the first time, 26 yrs this time (and counting). The person who leads is the person who has the best strength in a particular area; if you’re good at math and handling the finances, you lead – but if she’s better at it, she leads. It’s a combination of talents and strengths and weaknesses.

    Liked by 3 people

    • True.

      Each brings something to the relationship and it is about a partnership rather than who leads the other. If you’re fortunate enough to find someone who is your best friend too, you’re in heaven. After nearly 14 years together, Tina and I can still sit up until 4/5 in the morning chatting each others ears off. In Tina, I have been blessed with brains, a great sense of humour and beauty as well. Plus she’s a gamer. I’m the luckiest man in the world! 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

    • That makes sense re: the partnership. The Bible is pretty clear about who is the spiritual leader in the relationship, though. But I realize I am asking for the impossible, especially in this day and age. I don’t think I am cut out for marriage. I’ll probably find some desperate Third Worlder to take care of me in my dotage and run off with my decades of hard-earned savings.

      Liked by 2 people

      • If I was in your place, Port, I just wouldn’t worry about it. If you want to find someone, carry on as you are and she’ll appear. In fact, being yourself is the best way to go about it – then you might end up with someone who has similar interests and a similar outlook. Finding someone isn’t something that should worry or stress you. Do what you do and let the chips fall where they may.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s very much the approach I am taking. I think a lot of my current frustration is a sense of regret about my life decisions over the last fifteen years, and a sense of being stuck in a rut.

        Oh, well. The Lord has been good to me, and I am thankful for what I have. There’s just gotta be more to life than saving for retirement—ha!

        Liked by 1 person

      • HA! Yes, I think that is a big part of it. I have been dwelling a lot on the fact that I am likely to be a.) a genetic dead end and b.) forgotten within one or (if I’m lucky) two generations of my death. It feels like my life has been an example of wasted potential.

        But that’s not the point, is it? We have a better life waiting for us.

        Liked by 2 people

      • As did I, Alys. And at 40 no less. No fool like an old foo. But in truth, it wasn’t all her fault, I knew the problem, just couldn’t solve it.

        Where to meet? Well, I met nine the first time (outside of her work) at Christmas Eve service at the local church. And what;s the problem with existing kids, she had 3 two of which ended up calling me Dad too.

        But remember, in rural America you’re marrying a whole lot more than a girl/woman, you’re marrying a family, and that matters. My marriage didn’t work out, but I still have a good part of her family as friends.

        Now I’ve been divorced for better than 25 years, and its fine, but would it be better to be married, Yep, but it’s not something I’m gonna worry about, that’s kid’s stuff, live your life, and if it happens great!, if not, Good.

        Liked by 3 people

      • Your tale is not a ringing endorsement for marrying single mothers, Neo, haha. Kudos to you for being a father to those kids. I just don’t think I have the nobility or sense of self-sacrifice to do it. I’d consider adopting a kid, but in the case of single mothers, it’s either a.) she dumped the dad, which doesn’t bode well or b.) she let herself get bamboozled by some slick talking Romeo. Best case, he’s a psychopath or something and she had to flee from him; it’s not a situation I want to get into. That’s a big ask, too, for me to commit my resources to raising some other dude’s seed.

        I hate to be so callous about it, but that’s the way I look at it. I know that doesn’t scream Christian charity, haha, but it’s a risk I’m not willing to take.

        You’re definitely right about marrying families. Girls I’ve dated have actually been a bit intimidated by how close my family is.

        Anyway, I think I’ve got a lot of hang-ups—as these comments are revealing—and I’m better off hoping for my niece and nephews to arrange for my care in old age. Lord knows I’ll have plenty of retirement money squirreled away for that purpose (gulp—I hope!).

        Liked by 2 people

      • All depends on the woman, and the kids. I was very fond of hers long before we got married, and a lot of their support came from their dad. My advice is to never make hard and fast rules. Lucky for me since skinny Welsh gingers are bloody rare around here! 🙂 You’re well past the age where your going to find an acceptable girl without some sort of past, you know.

        My problems were very atypical, our schedules gave us about one day together (when we were both awake) every six weeks, that is simply not enough.

        I made the same decision some years ago, my nieces will see that I do OK.

        Liked by 3 people

  5. We can all get stuck in a rut, mate. It’s why Tina and I are still unmarried and why our lives haven’t progressed the way we’d like it to. That said, we’re still alive and have the opportunity to do the things we need to as time progresses. You’re 37 mate. You’ve got plenty of time left to you and when you’re ready, no doubt you’ll get out of that rut and into a place you want to be.

    Don’t sweat it. You’ll be fine. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. There are so many feminists these days, without knowing the true meaning of it.
    Shouting stuff like “treat me like a queen” , “I don’t need a man” and “I can wear whatever I like”.
    They are ruining the image of women!

    I have heard many stories about dating apps and indeed, most people are on there to become social media influencer. Probably both men and women do that.
    I am so happy that I found my man 7 years ago and I am not planning to ever let go.
    Plus, he enjoys my cooking. But I had the best teacher (my mum) 😄

    Liked by 2 people

    • He sounds like a good man, and you a good woman, Andrea! I bet your cooking is great, too!

      The “treat me like a queen” thing really bugs me. I mean, I think I _do_ that regardless—not lavishly, but I take good care of the women I’m with (I bought this last one a [very nice] Kitchen Aid stand mixer our first Christmas together)—but the expectation that you should just be showered with gifts and luxury is ridiculous.

      What have you done to earn that treatment? What do you offer besides a pair of boobs and the vague promise of intimacy? Most women now just seem like a headache waiting to happen, haha. I’m sure women think the same of many men.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I don’t know why it’s just come up but I’ve finally had the chance to hear your version of Heart’s Alone. Crikey man, you really pounded that ivory! Loved it! 🙂

    I have a request for another cover but you’re not going to like it – the challenge, I mean. The track is brilliant.

    Screenager by Muse. I’d put up the link but WordPress gets cross when I do that! Flick up Youtube and type in Screenager Muse Hullabaloo. The live version is probably the best version of that song.

    Liked by 1 person

      • Give it a try. You’ll find notes in your vocal chords you forgot you had.

        One of the first tracks I learned how to play was Unintended by Muse – easy to play on guitar and piano. Matt Bellamy really goes through the whole range of vocals on this, as he does on Screenager, and when you play it, you’ll find your voice reaching and surprisingly achieving those notes.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Well, as a man in my mid-50s I can say that age is no intrinsic barrier, though it can be an issue in regards to what sort of woman is interested in you. In other words, from your 30s on (exact age depending upon how you look) you can expect to attract a certain number of young ones with daddy issues or looking to be kept. Or, at least, that’s been my experience and not the weirdest or most disturbing of my dating experiences over the years.

    Of course, you’re a Bible Belt Christian and that’s going to make finding a relationship (Nice guys don’t finish last; they largely aren’t allowed in the race at all) – as they’re normally defined – harder because who you’re looking for is less common and the ones that are out there are either “damaged” or taken. LOL You might want to find yourself a nice Pagan woman since our women tend towards being good homemakers and tend to possess the skills and a lot of the outlooks that were once more prevalent among Christians. 😉

    But hey! Take my words with an entire salt lick. I’m poly and am just under 20 years into a fulltime, live-in, one-bed threesome – with various combinations of the three of us having “part timers” as well. Your mileage WILL vary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your words of unorthodox encouragement, jonolan. You’re right—I don’t think the poly lifestyle is for me, haha. You also hit on something that I think is very true: a lot of “Christians” lack the perspective and skills that used to be commonplace among us. I love the “Bible Belt,” but there’s a great deal of cultural Christianity, as opposed to actual faithfulness, down here.

      Haha, I’ve run into the “daddy issues” thing before. It can be quite disturbing.

      Like

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