Last February I found myself in a rather discouraging place—dumped and dejected, wiling away my time with designer LEGO sets and DiGiorno pizza. Unbeknownst to yours portly at the time, I’d embark on two relationships: a short-lived, doomed-from-the-start imbroglio with a hyper-progressive, anxiety-ridden schoolmarm, then what I thought might be “It.” It didn’t last, and I found myself in a similar mindset around Christmastime.
Ironically, watching It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) helped immensely. George Bailey’s frustrations and struggles very much mirrored my own (except that he resented his big family and happy marriage), and I understood his character’s despair and broken dreams palpably.
I’m in a better place—no need to send Clarence—but some of those enduring frustrations still hold fast. I’m not nearly as bitter about it as I was when I wrote this piece, but no amount of frozen pizza can mend a broken heart.
With that, here is 1 February 2022’s “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 meant 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.
11 thoughts on “TBT: Alone”
I went through a similar period in my twenties but found that if you stop looking for it and get on with your life, love will find you. God gave me Tina at a time I really needed her. And she’s not just my partner. She’s my best friend, my life, my everything. It’ll happen for you too, mate. When you stop looking, God will provide.
February, by the way, isn’t the month of love. Every month is. Businesses and hospitality do well out of it, sure, but if people need one day out of the year to declare their love, their hearts really aren’t in it.
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Yes. I have stopped looking, and suddenly I am doing pretty well in this area.
I’m the same way about Mother’s Day. I don’t need a holiday to know my kids love me.
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It’s a bit sad to think that some people _do_. GULP!
It is! If I were ever in trouble or needed help, they’d be here faster than a blink of an eye. Knowing that in my heart – what kind of store-bought something is equal to that? I am richly and many times blessed.
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I don’t normally read old stuff – life changes by seconds and minutes and when a year or two has gone by, not much from even the recent past relates to the current group of seconds and minutes.
I read the entire article – your work is always well written. I found and recognized the red flag as soon as I read it. I think you’re delightful – articulate, funny, caring … but this is the red flag, “… if she trusts my leadership …” Did you hear the breaks scream? The walk two people take is shoulder to shoulder, not one person being two steps ahead and the other two steps behind. People can only follow if they choose to be led. A relationship is two people whose strengths improve both and whose weaknesses are halved – I pay the bills because I have the patience, Lon keeps an eye on the ‘big picture’ of our finances and we discuss any major outlays. Neither one leads; we march side by side.
I know what the Bible says about the man being the head of the family – which also mentions he’s to love his wife as Jesus loves the Church. Jesus was selfless as He proved when He allowed His death on the cross. The head of the family strives to be that way as well. A favorite joke among Christian women is … yes, the man is the head; but the woman is the neck. We turn the head if the head is heading toward a brick wall.
In your circle of male friends, does anyone have a sister or cousin or female friend? How about hosting a get-together to scope out those women? How about women in your political endeavors? A cup of coffee and slice of pie after a meeting is a safe (for the woman) place to get to know someone better. Church, home of good Christian women, can be a wonderful source of expanding the dating horizon.
You’re not too old to find lasting love. Dame Judy Dench (marvelous English actress) is getting married – she’s 70 years old and as excited as a teenager.
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That explains a lot. Tina never turns my head if it’s heading towards a wall. That’s why she’s the clever one and I’m fghjhvdc f2f gh! 😂😂😂😂
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Yes, yes, yes—you called me out on that “red flag” last year. And, yes, I understand that Christ Loves the Church sacrificially. You don’t have to remind me.
Let me follow-up: I do appreciate your comment and your insights. I’m well aware about all of that. I’ve definitely changed my perspective since I wrote this a year ago.
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You’re right about that red flag, Audre. Relationships, as you know, work when you’re arm in arm, shoulder to shoulder. If one of the two charges in like a bull in a china shop, it’s never going to work. The partnership has to be equal.
Tina and I are coming up to our 15 year anniversary but if I’d entered this relationship with leadership in mind, it wouldn’t have lasted 15 minutes. We have our own strengths and we share the burden on our weaknesses. That’s the key and it’s a mark of our love that Tina hasn’t throttled me for nearly 15 years of bad jokes! 😂
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