Having begun a few disclosures about my own experiences of the dating game last time, I’m prepared to lay before the public the entire body of wisdom that has accrued to me from my amorous adventures of yesteryear. But I must post a warning: if death by boredom is possible, my accounts may pose extreme risk to the reader.
(Seriously, there’s a highly relevant point to this excursion—but I won’t be able to reach it in one post, so please stay tuned.)
I was sent to a rich kids’ school by two hard-working parents whose means were very modestly middle-class. To everyone concerned but them, it soon became painfully obvious that I didn’t belong on the campus of that elite K-12. An uncomfortably memorable event occurred when I was in sixth grade. A blonde girl whom I was sweet on—but had never found the courage to speak to—told me with a high dose of vitriol that she hated my guts and wished I wouldn’t return next year. The abuse was so random and vicious that it entered where there was no armor to slow down the arrowhead.
A couple of years later, I conceived the same sort of steal-a-glance-now-and-then obsession for another lovely blonde thing. (I’ve thought many times since those days about the “not me-ness” represented by the blonde and blue-eyed, as if I were attracted to features as far from the stigma of my own dark-eyed person as possible.) This girl was of a classier sort, and we were all rather older; so when she became the first and last person I would ever ask on a date in high school, she turned me down very gently. God bless her soul! She already had her sights set on a college lad who was Pre-Med—and whom she would marry and divorce in one chapter of what must really have become a Hallmark Channel kind of life.
Meanwhile, the sexual revolution was raging. I was so eager to depart my high-rent penitentiary that I graduated after eleventh grade (I’d taken extra classes and made top marks in most of them), against everyone’s advice. Free at last! What I didn’t know was that I, an innocent of almost unbelievable naïveté, was entering a land where the bad rap on Sodom and Gomorrah had been rehabilitated by a new “love” amply supplied with long hair, weed, and guitars: the academic world.
In the interest of safety, I will skip over the years that left me with three degrees and a fiercely reclusive, misanthropic nature: otherwise, I might bore myself to death. A single skirmish might well summarize many: an absurd date with the daughter of a Baptist preacher. I thought she, at least, might be just about my speed. To my mind, everything had gone great in that initial encounter. It took me almost half a year to figure out that Miss Sunshine and Salvation really didn’t want to see me again—that she’d expected not to spend that fateful evening at my digs and held me accountable for an extreme humiliation before her roommate. But… her father was a Baptist preacher! This just couldn’t be!
Since I’m keeping score… yes, she had strawberry-blonde hair.
I caught on quicker in ensuing episodes of similar caliber; and there were also one or two comedies where the “desperately single” tried to haul me in. I was lonely, but my life raft wasn’t growing loose and squishy. While I reached the ripe age of thirty almost as socially inept as I had been at fifteen, I’d managed to become a pretty shrewd observer of people, if only because I personally was seldom more than a supporting actor in any scene. I wasn’t interested in someone who just needed to check a box in order to win the esteem of a certain social circle.
In any case, graduate school offered few specimens of this kind: on the contrary. The “best and brightest” were all about building a career and squeezing in diverse romantic interludes as time allowed. And they were horribly miserable, which probably accounts for why so many had drug and alcohol problems. The males who hunted through their lives like cavemen looking for just enough meat to last a week were moral invertebrates. They took responsibility for nothing, though you might mistake them as having principles to hear how they railed against “bourgeois hang-ups”. Of course, the would-be feminist free spirits who supplied most of their sexual diet’s menu claimed to endorse the same lofty utopian goals; but a girl has to know subliminally when she is being used, even when she keeps repeating to herself that she’s getting even more use out of her user.
As much as I wanted to curl up in a self-pity of utter isolation, I could never convince myself that these “successfully socialized” creatures were were happier than I was—were not, in fact, agonizingly unhappy. No wonder some of them decided to seek companionship only in the same sex! That decision was being driven by cultural, not biological, conditioning… and the culture was in a state of advanced decay.