When you’re jealous of those who are getting divorced? “Houston we have a problem!” I’ve never been married, I don’t know what it’s like to go through the good and bad times. I have no idea what it’s like to wake up next to someone on a regular basis for a long period of time. The only regularity I’ve ever had in a relationship was regular disappointment and lies, and regular bad sex. I’ll talk about that later. I want regular, and yes even divorce, I feel like I’m the last woman standing. I was single for 9 years, (Insert cobwebs joke) and now I’m starting to wonder, is the mid to late 30’s dating world actually worth it? I mean, when you live in the country and the best that’s available is either over 50, divorced and bitter, psychos, sociopaths, idiots, addicts, ex cons and just plain crazies, it really makes you think, “I’m gonna die alone!” When a good-looking single man who has none of those issues arrives in town, its like watching seagulls descend on a french fry. When women in my community see this man they seem to lose their minds and attack, taking no prisoners. Even the married women start thinking about leaving their husbands. The real kicker? That succulent french fry always ends up marrying someone from out-of-town. With pickings so lean, you tend to make decisions about men that you would NEVER make under normal circumstances. Yep, and I just made some mind numbing dating blunders recently. More on that later too.
Time, that elusive thing that just gets shorter and shorter and goes faster and faster as you get older. When I was a kid I didn’t really pay attention or care about it or have any concept of it, I simply patiently waited for it to pass. In my teens it seemed to slow down to a crawl, and I had an over abundance of time. Then in my 20’s things started to get real, but still not as urgent as when I finally reached my 30’s. In my 30’s everything became a rush to the finish line. When you have a death in the family or if a peer dies, it’s like warp drive is engaged, suddenly your mortality is staring you in the face screaming at you, “Get your shit together, you don’t have long!” When you become a parent it slows time a little bit. As a parent you’re simply not aware of it due to your attention being constantly averted by your kids. I know it’s clichéd, but it really does happen kind of overnight, you wake up and look in the mirror and suddenly wonder who the hell you are and how much you’ve missed while caring for your kids. How does this have anything to do with dating?
Dating when you’re between the ages of 15 and 22 is great, because it’s as if your life is just beginning and there are a million fish in the sea and they are just all waiting for YOU! It really is like bounding through a field of flowers, or spreading your arms and singing, “The hills are alive with the sound of music…” For many of us our confidence is at its highest, we have very little baggage because we haven’t really experienced anything yet. Everything is heightened, we feel so deeply about everything, and it’s like being on a perpetual high when it comes to love. When it’s good it’s really good and when it’s bad it’s like you’re dying with every breakup. Little do we know for many of us it’s all downhill from there. As we get older and experience more and more we also gather more and more “baggage” and so do our potential partners. That once fresh passion of bounding through the flower laden fields in our 20’s, becomes a mine field and instead of singing we put on battle armor just waiting for the next hit. Too much work? We lose interest. Too much passion? It seems like too much drama. Too much of anything, including relationships, and suddenly we find ourselves in our late 30’s single, bitter, pessimistic and kind of lazy when it comes to pursuing a relationship. Adding children to that equation just makes it even more complicated. That once fresh feeling of time being endless is gone replaced with panic and frantic searching for a partner, like a starving hound sniffing for a meal in a swamp full of quicksand.
I do realize this is a very country-centric view-point. I have friends in the big cities, and it seems they don’t really start living till their in their mid 30’s, whereas I feel like I’m knocking on death’s door and a failure at 37. Same idea when it comes to single parents. City folk seem to be far more progressive when it comes to single parents, while us country folk are forever stuck in a 1970’s cultural perception of single parenting or worse the “welfare queen” stereotype, which, if you read the statistics, is just plain dumb. I guess its like women’s hairstyles in the country, forever 30-40 years behind. (Yes, I really did see a woman with big hair and curled bangs the other day.) Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally guilty of rocking some sideways ponytail action or just putting it all on one side, but big hair? Um…unless its a banging afro…No! I digress. There is a certain kind of urgency to marry earlier in life in rural towns, that simply doesn’t exist in the same way in urban settings. So when you’re 37, never been married, single with a preteen child, and looking for a partner, hell— you might as well be walking around with a giant red A on your chest. Just call me Hester!