I had a thought last week during my 30 minute drive to work, one morning...wonder if my inability to find a man who captures my attention for more than just a few witty e-mails, clever IM exchanges and rarely ever more than one real life date has everything to do with the fact that I am literally trying too hard to find a fella or possibly just juicy material for spicy blog entries. I found myself equating my affliction to the misfortune that certain couples suffer when they giddily resolve to try and have a baby but their hopes are dashed when after repeated attempts, they get nothin'. So they go through all the necessary testing and finally wind up taking fertility drugs, but to no avail. Ultimately, after agonizing over their powerlessness to make their own baby, they decide that adoption is the obvious solution. They bring home their sparkling and new, wonderful bundle of joy and get him/her all settled in and next thing you know, the jubilant couple gets knocked up, for real! It's like once they relaxed a little because they traded in their fixation with tweaking fate for appreciating the glorious gift of the adopted baby, and subsequently, the thing they previously sought so desperately - appeared out of nowhere with very little effort at all.
I had already decided to take it easy with the online dating, for the next little while, maintaining a moderately controlled level of excitement about my big date with Travis as well as keeping all other contact at a minimum. I also adopted a more mellow mindset about cause and effect; I wrote letters to anyone I pleased and I didn't get all bunched up if I didn't hear back from them, and I decided to go for broke and aim high, this time too. I contacted a few men whose profiles taunt me practically every time I get on my favorite fun site. I always tell myself that they would never talk to me, they're just out of my league, bottom line. There was this one guy who particularly stood out from the pack, he had that surfer guy, je ne sais quoi and was like the poster child of my dream man incarnate, best I could tell from studying his profile. He was tall, fit and had a great face and hair. He had posted a candid and well-written profile which painted the image of a man who resists conforming to traditional social aesthetics, a characteristic which I am all over, and complementing his apparent alternative bent was his leaning toward a creative flair for fashion. I loved all the photos of his crazy outfits, he seemed so confident and unique, I was definitely intrigued. Feeling confident that he would never talk to boring, old me, I was cheered when I discovered that he had peeped back at my profile after busting me for checking out his. And then he looked at mine again, so I told myself it would be ok to write him a brief note, he must have been at least somewhat interested, right? "You look like the good kind of trouble..." seemed an appropriate opening line with which to start up a convo.. I absolutely could not believe my eyes when I found an e-mail from him (Anthony) with the heading, "Here comes Trouble!" It turned out his deal was dramatically different than what I had expected. He is married and has been for 20 years, although he is almost 7 years my junior. After all those years of marriage he told me that he and his wife are still CRAZY in love, more so, all the time. I couldn't figure out why he had put "Available" under the "relationship status" portion of his profile. I was really perplexed by everything I'd read, so far. Then he explained that he and his wife are polyamorists, and went on to educate me a bit about what that means, exactly. He politely told me that he did not expect me to understand nor condone his chosen lifestyle but that I seemed cool and that we had a few things in common (our jobs are similar, and we both have bunches of kids) and so if I was receptive, he would be interested in the idea of getting to know each other a little better. If you're up to speed at all, with my blog and my online dating experiences, you may be aware of the three things that have happened to me through online dating which dealt with previously unexplored territory: #1 - being somewhat rigorously interviewed by a man who was searching for a good candidate to service his sexual needs, several times weekly, for an undetermined amount of cash...mmmm, nope #2 - being propositioned to take place in sexual acts, the specifics of which I still haven't mustered the courage to disclose in my blog because they are so far out of the realm of my normally open-minded approach to sex and most things unfamiliar. I did finally come clean with Frances the other night, about the questionable acts in which soldier boy Jack heavily encouraged me to partake, and I could practically hear her jaw hit the floor! Nuff said #3: being introduced to and invited to participate in the mind-boggling concept of the cuckold relationship. I think you all know that I was this close to participating in every one of these intriguing but taboo scenarios, but something in me simply said, "No" Anthony's admission to subscribing to the ways of polyamory was startling at first, yet never rubbed me the wrong way. It definitely wasn't a matter of me disapproving, I simply had a hard time believing that it could actually work. I wrote him back and said that I found it remarkable that he and his wife could pull off such a thing. I said that for me I think jealousy would derail any foray I might make into such a seemingly complex situation, I couldn't imagine sharing my lover with another woman or women as the case may be, but that I was envious of their obvious deep love for one another, true love such as theirs was all I was really after, essentially. I just didn't see myself as someone capable of maintaining a peaceful partnership in that type of relationship. With the three other "shockers", I figured out, rather quickly that I would not fare well should I give any of them the good ole college try, but the more I thought about polyamory, the more I realized that in a weird kinda way, it might be just the thing I'd been looking for, I'd just never been able to put my finger on it, before. Personally, I would rather be one half of the steady couple who does the inviting, as opposed to being the invitee, because I really do want a lifelong companion, if possible. And this was actually contrary to a theory I'd just been discussing recently with my co-worker, Sam...We were talking about threesomes and I confessed to never having been a part of one, again my jealousy made such an endeavor prohibitive. But anytime in my life the idea was considered, it was between me and a lover, and I always put my foot down, "NO!" - I simply could not fathom watching my bf getting it on with some other hottie. Next, Sam and I addressed the minor stumbling block which was that I had never been attracted to a woman before, much less fooled around with one and I questioned my capacity to do so. I don't think I ever seriously convinced Sam that I'd never been with a chick, I have no idea why this was so hard for him to grasp, but that's beside the point...It than occurred to me, while we were mulling the whole thing over, that I actually probably could handle a threesome if could a.) gear myself up to get nakey with a girl and b.) if I could be the "third", jumping in with an established couple, then jealousy would be a non-issue, right?
One of the main problems I chronically endure in my relationships, is that after the initial thrill diminishes, a cancer of apathy and boredom can set in and if it metastasizes, well unfortunately at that point, all the fun is over. I can develop a roving eye which usually prompts an eventual break-up. A polyamorous couple enjoys the benefits of always having their main, truest squeeze, but with both agreeing that it's kosher to see other people individually or as a couple, it seems very unlikely that things would get stale the way they commonly do in streotypical one-on-one's. Cheating is a lie, and lying breeds mistrust and mistrust leads to all kinds of erratic behavior, not the least of which can be exaggerated and unfounded jealousy. Jimmy broke my heart when he cheated on me, (more than once), and I never could fully trusted him after he fessed up to his indiscretions, additionally, any time he was even slightly flirtatious with other women it sent me through the roof, I couldn't handle it at all. Polyamory appears to be truth and honesty, and yes - it is unconventional, but then again, I tend to lean more in that direction than that of traditional, well... anything. After Anthony shared the basics of polyamory, I became somewhat obsessed with the concept and fantasized about creating my very own polyamorist relationship with someone, some day.
Basically, in my little world, I earn the accurate description of being a bit off-beat, most people around me just don't "get me". Wouldn't I compound the negative light in which some folks already perceive me and my actions if I immersed myself in something so non-conformist? Could I handle the potential to be slanderously derided by folks who previously just gave me the disapproving hairy eyeball? I was certain that my few really close friends would always love me no matter how kooky my high jinks, they may roll their eyes and worry about me but I don't think they would shun me into exile. I may be getting a tad ahead of myself, here. I mean, I can't even FIND a guy to be with, much less a guy who would be hep to striking up a potentially polyamorous relationship with me. But still, I couldn't help planning my strategy to save face socially, if all of this did someday miraculously come to fruition. I thought about people who break the news to their family or friends that they are gay. I imagine that it can be downright terrifying. Sure, it may take a little while before their loved ones accept who they are, or maybe they must tolerate never being understood, but isn't subscribing to polyamory basically just a different method by which certain couples find their happiness, same as homosexuals? Yes, monogamous heterosexuality would like to think that it wins the majority by a longshot, but even if that is true, it shouldn't negate the validity of alternative relationships. So, within days of being introduced to this entirely new (to me) form of he-in and she-in, I had gone from surprise at the mere mention of it, to insatiable curiosity, then on to acceptance, next to contemplating implementing this fascinating practice within my own life and finally to plotting a method of self-preservation should I indeed decide to take a wild stab at polyamory. Phew! I was exhausted!
The next cool thing to which Anthony so graciously introduced me was a "club" in which he and his wife are active members. It's not a polyamory-based club, although Anthony told me he new a few couples in his local chapter who subscribed to polyamory. He sent me a video file which chronicled an annual, week long celebration at which 50,000 or so of the"club's" members meet to throw the most insanely raucous party I have ever seen. I was immediately and completely transfixed to the images on my monitor. So now, my curiosity about Anthony's life was extending beyond just hearing about his polyamory and into knowing more about this organization in which he was so enthusiastically involved. He willingly addressed all the mounting questions I threw at him, either through e-mail or during lunchtime phone calls. It was all very exciting, for me, the notion of meeting a whole new crowd of people all of whom appeared wide open and fun, simultaneous to educating myself further on the joys of polyamorist relationships.
I love my small but devoted circle of friends and I am so grateful to be surrounded by truly loving folks who in essence, have become my family, since I have virtually no contact with the people in my immediate, actual family. But after hearing about Anthony's club, I began to wonder if there might be room in my life to take on a more adventurous crowd of friends with whom I could fully express some neglected aspects of my personality, not the least of which is a penchant for creative dress. Around here, people consider my normal attire to be somewhat askew, and believe me, in recent years, I've been holding back, bigtime! So the thought of having a little more fun with my appearance, was enticing but mostly I was looking forward to hopefully finding a new niche within a completely different crowd of people. Since I've been an active participant in online dating, I suppose I've always been looking for a happy ending of sorts, you know with a man, forever and ever...amen. But maybe my happy ending would be in expanding my social network, not romantically, necessarily. It didn't appear that Anthony was trying to seduce me into his bedroom, more that he was offering friendship and hospitality and I felt that there was the potential through Anthony to meet many new people, perhaps even someone who might become my lover. This was exactly the sales pitch I threw at Frances to convince her to watch my kids, this past weekend so that I might attend a party at Anthony's house which was to be attended by folks who were members of the organization which was obviously so dear to Anthony and his wife Tina. I insisted that I was not going to the party to become involved in a polyamorous relationship with Anthony and Tina, which was Frances' main concern, but more to branch out a bit and hopefully make some new acquaintances. She realized that my motives were sincere and harmless and being a truly great friend, she encouraged me to go have fun but to also be smart and safe.
I got to the party in roughly twice the time it should have taken after navigating my adorable, yet totally impractical, little car through maybe the worst driving conditions I have ever endured. The sky relentlessly unloaded so much rain at a time that my antiquated windshield wipers were incapable of effectively clearing my view since the fastest they could operate was with about 2 seconds between swishes. Needless to say, I had nearly 3 miles of traffic backed up behind me because I was traveling on a two-lane highway with a double yellow line most of the way. With no interior light by which to read my mapquest directions, I was completely at the mercy of the blinding, oncoming headlights and about a half a second per passing vehicle to try and find the place where I left off reading the last time, and somehow managed to NOT drive into a ditch or into the approaching traffic. Once I finally got onto the deserted country road which was to get me ever closer to Anthony's house, I made the irritating discovery that my headlamps were rendered absolutely useless to illuminate the street signs because of unusual positioning of either the signs or my lights, so at every possible turn, I had to jump out of my car, (which incidentally, I could not leave running on even a slight incline because I have no e-brake and naturally I couldn't leave a manual transmission running in gear, UGH!) and literally walk right up to each sign, wait for my eyes adjust to the black night and then read every consecutive one until I finally reached the correct turn. Since I was already out of the car, I went ahead and checked my directions in the headlights so that I could figure out where I was going next. I ended up at a mystery dead end and after turning around and around, I decided to admit defeat and call Anthony from my cell. But out of nowhere, a good samaritan neighbor, drove out to the road where I was so obviously struggling, and clearly aware that I was in distress, kindly led me to my destination, THANK GOD! Jesus! What a friggin' nightmare!
I always travel with the ingredients with which to prepare my favorite cocktail (potato vodka, limeade, soda water and a wedge of lime) since I am particular and most people don't stock all of the necessary fixin's. I wasted no time mixing a drink out of the back of my car which I believed would alleviate my stress from the horrible drive and my mounting nervousness to enter a party where I barely knew anyone. I straightened my sassy, silver wig and made my way to the door. Once inside, I was warmly greeted by Tina and Anthony. They were perfect hosts, very kind and attentive but after settling in, I couldn't help feeling a little bit like I had thrown the party dynamic off just a touch. Their crowd is a very tight-knit group and I got the distinct feeling that my presence upset the pecking order or the balance, almost as if things were the way everybody wanted them and there just wasn't room to comfortably admit one more into the group. I was never mistreated by anyone, but I definitely drifted around on my own, a bunch.
Past experience has taught me that it's always better for me to not deviate from my usual, tried and true concoction because it simply never does me wrong. I get the perfect amount of "buzzed" and never suffer embarrassing black-outs or hangovers. Well at some point during the party I was handed and promptly drank a mystery libation foolishly breaking my cardinal drinking rule. Not long after polishing off the tasty elixir which I had so erroneously accepted, I returned to the mini-bar in the back of my car in order to fix one of my own beverages to have up at the party for later, and by the time I got to where I was parked, I was definitely feeling a bit kooky. All I wanted to do was lay down and so I did just that, in the eensy weensy stowage area of my two-seater car, for like four hours. I was awakened when someone needed me to move my car so they could get their own car out. I could not believe that I had slept through most of the party, in the back of my car, I was mortified! I managed to drag my discombobulated ass into the house where I slept for four more hours before slithering out Sunday morning, still unusually disoriented.
Saturday, before I left for the party I had read a horoscope which predicted that my plans would turn out differently than I had expected and after my little episode at Anthony and Tina's party, I was cognizant that this was quite the understatement! Once again I had put an inordinate amount of hope or faith in a situation and people to fill a void. I'm almost 40 years old. I am way too old to be passing out in my car at a party. Additionally I should be tremendously satisfied that I am surrounded by a wonderful, core group of friends who accept me despite all of my quirks, as well encourage me to embrace my peculiarities, why should I ever need to tweak that? At a certain point in life, one must appreciate the many gifts bestowed upon them, and comfortably settle in amongst them. Anthony and Tina also have an established group of friends and I completely understand that it's sometimes challenging to effectively bring in an outsider. I've been trying too hard to find my happy ending, when I should really just be grateful for the goodness already so plentiful in my life: my kids, my friends, my health, my home, a job that I like. So, once again, I am back to a beginning of sorts and drawing from the beginning of this seemingly endless blog entry, I think I will take my own advice and just chill out for a bit, and hope that maybe someone incredible just falls right into my lap, no pun intended!