Friday, March 28, 2014


Conversations about being unattached often stumble over the painful misconceptions of others. This became apparent several times recently when I mentioned that indeed I would like to eventually end up in a fulfilling relationship again, but did not see it happening anytime really soon. And that I envied some couples, because they seemed so suited to each other.

Men suggested that I do things differently.

Women advised me to change and reform.

Neither gender picked up on the one crucial flaw in their arguments, namely that I have no intention of drastically changing what I do or who I am. Which is as it should be. It would be an exercise in dishonesty otherwise, venturing deep into opportunistic territory.

No, I have no intention of hanging around on the Berkeley campus in hopes that a charming female historian or language professor will eventually speak to me about a book I'm holding, which may possibly lead to sharing coffee, and then perhaps at a future time dinner together (male suggestion).

And equally no, I shall not quit smoking, shave off my goatee, and join a gym (female suggestion).

The only overlap between the two types of not-exactly-welcome advice seemed to be tweed and dogs. Both men and women believe that I should wear tweed. And dogs, according to both sides, are a real "chick magnet".
Clearly, Harris herringbone and a hound are the way to go. This would qualify as both "self-improvement", and "doing things differently".

It should be just as clear that that isn't going to happen.


It is dangerous to mention in public that one is single, and not entirely satisfied with that situation. Listeners will fixate on their own fantasies of otherness to invent alternate paths, which usually reflect their own lives.
The subject is like a bone thrown into a dog pile; it is the one thing that they will not stop analyzing and ripping into detailed shreds. The bachelor existence is the unmarked slate onto which many people can't resist projecting their own preconceptions.

So, to state it simply:

I am single.

I am not very happy about it.

But I'm not going to fake a damned thing.

I am not desperate enough to pretend interests or partake in pointless activities, nor waste any time pursuing superficial hook-ups. It is extremely unlikely that I will ever be that desperate.

And, given that I would far rather not go to extreme measures in the search for a suitable soul mate, it is quite doubtful that I will be in a relationship in the near future, if ever at all.

One can be quite happy in life, while still being disenchanted with solitude.
I do not see myself prowling college campii wearing tweed with a dog.
Nor trotting on a treadmill at the gym, glowing and shaven.
I have no urge to put on a false face.

Equally not part of the programme: accounting courses for secretaries, basketry, intro to third-world lit, singles nights, hiking clubs, tango lessons, paragliding, sky-diving, happy hour at the Red Room, meetings of the Upper Tenderloin philatelic society, yoga, bridge, trivia night, Christian social clubs, joining a congregation at any random synagogue - church - or gurdwara, study sessions for Buddhist scriptures, chamber music, rock concerts, mixers sponsored by match dot com, hanging around the student union wearing sunglasses, meaningful European movies, Justin Bieber, watching sports with friends, cooking classes, walking around with an artistic attitude, saving the planet at all times, volunteering at a random charity, or attending events of a snooty "cultural" nature.

Colour me between apathetic and pig-ass stubborn.
Twirling frantically would be just silly.

On the other hand, what will attract me like a buzz-fly to horse manure, is someone with a keen insight into or interest in history, languages, odd literature, and a liking for cheap snackipoos and cups of milk-tea.
If the smell of a pipe doesn't offend her, so much the better.
I do have a tweedy coat; I just don't wear it often.
I like dogs, but do not own one.

And, crucially, I am not a dick.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:

All correspondence will be kept in confidence.


e-kvetcher said...

Very interesting. You bring up a philosophical question that I myself have not found a satisfactory answer to.

I found it fascinating that when people suggest you change, you interpret it to mean "be fake". Does this mean you believe that it is not possible for someone to change their behavior and or appearance in a sincere way? Do you believe that everyone has an innate "true nature" which cannot be substantially modified?

The back of the hill said...

No, not quite. But change has to be from oneself, rather than to match the concepts that other people have about what they would do differently.

But the stubbornness is indeed almost certainly innate nature.
Easily "ameliorated" (or softened), difficult to "modify".

e-kvetcher said...

> But change has to be from oneself

Sure, ultimately the change has to come from oneself, but conversely, often it is hard to see the need for change from within yourself.

Abstractly speaking... Not saying this applies to your specific situation.

Anonymous said...

" I am not a dick."

But are you sexy? Are you, for instance, a total studmuffin?

That is also fairly crucial.

Anonymous said...

It seems to me, it should be relatively easy to meet someone at the market, bookstore, or coffee shop. Then you know you have something in common.

I met my wife when I went to her place of business to perform service work. But neither of us was looking for romance. We ended up talking like old friends and it has been like that ever since.

It's odd when your single. Everyone tries to hook you up. It never woks out... I once went on a blind date, and she didn't think we were compatible. She set me up with her twin sister. Awkward.

The best advice I can give: be your self. And don't be shy. If you waste time fretting over introducing yourself, and she doesn't go for you, you still feel like a tool. Chalk it up, get over it, and move on.

And my wife never says a word about Latakia fumes in the house...

Anonymous said...

Very much enjoyed and related to your article. I'm single now since 2008 and surprisingly I'm finding that in general women don't find me nearly as disagreeable as I had assumed.
But more surprising is my own lack of interest in becoming committed to a new love interest.

My stated reasons are similar to your own from an intellectual standpoint. But overridingly I’m a lazy guy and I don’t want to change or make concessions to my life. I like my life the way it is, I’m free to follow my own path and to raise my children as I see fit.

Still… the children blossom like spring flowers; next year I will loose my eldest to higher education and I’ll be down to two. Parting is such sweet sorrow; the day will come when my best friend and daughter will depart for university and I will be truly alone with my G-d. But at least I’ll have that naked room I’ve been waiting for.

To thine own self be true. When G-d wills it, He will send that book worm you seek. BTW, I already checked the places of worship…love was found but not a potential wife in sight.


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