Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The woman I'm not looking for

A friend wrote asking, basically, how my love life was going.

"Was" is the appropriate tense of the verb here, as my quixotic love life seems to be a thing of yore, relegated to the past. But then perhaps that is because I may have experimented enough for one grand and storied lifetime. Or... or the nature of the experiment has changed, morphed into something more internal, more calm, more patient, more self-assured.

Which just goes to show that most people should probably NOT get hitched until they are past 35 or 40, at least. You can't know what you want until you know yourself. The more variables there are, the more dynamism, the more there is to know, and the more you are aware of the nuances and the cul de sacs, the longer it takes.

My friend had written to say she was glad to have her boyfriend, though, as I see it, their ties are tenuous, their communication, much less dedication, often obtuse, even absent or obfuscated. I know that we are all limited in different ways, and he comes close to satisfying some of her basic desires. She said he veered from feeling weak and withdrawn to "being the jovial prankster."

I did write back to my friend, and here are a few paragraphs, here revised, from that letter:

I really like that phrase: "the jovial prankster."

I think all the most interesting guys (myself included, of course) go back and forth between melancholia and being the jovial prankster. From "life of the party" to "contemplative" at best, "melancholic" at worst. Not as far flung as bipolar. Bipolar would be the extreme version. Something less extreme is best, of course. Of course most men are not particularly contemplative, at least not articulately so. So no wonder women wonder about them. Men crave virile strength and something to hunt or fix, then the down time to rest up for the next big kill. Pushing papers or shuffling stuff around doesn't bring out the best in any one.

As me right now, I am not inspired or motivated to jump in and do the work. I am drawn to those who are both witty and gracefully self-assured. But many seeking a partner seem rather edgy and reveal resentment and even anger issues, which, in anyone, seem not the best choices of attitude. We all know the radar on "needy." Well, there is also radar on bitter.

We owe ourselves grace and peace, and that's more important than anything we might think anyone ELSE owes us. We owe ourselves our own good behavior, which is based on patience and peace and a lack of competition or expectation, much less guilt and painful fear or fretting.

I don't think I need to experiment with women any more (meaning dabble in a relationship that clearly has limitations or discomfort, much less potential animosity).

Meanwhile, I do know the kind of woman with whom I'd like to share some quality time: She is above all compassionate (without being slovenly sentimental). She is empathetic yet intellectual, alternately sassy and soothing, also lyrical, even literary. She risks flippancy and deep concern. She is witty, wily, and worldly (a passionate and wise citizen of the globe, aware of and engaged in the world, not overly domesticated, nor decidedly parochial or provincial or patriotic). She is Aware with a capital A and yet still sees dashing Absurdity (also with a capital A) as the sparkling and stellar antidote. Seize the day, seize the precious ironies and the scope of human drama, woeful and wonderful.

Carpe Godot.

I think keeping my eyes open and seeing those around me, but not looking, not seeking, is the best way to go, for now.


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