Singles ads. Well, they usually start with photos.
Of those six images, five are from 2013-2016; one is ten years earlier. Not that pictures necessarily capture a person: I, myself, would be more interested in videos. Like these:
The pics and videos say that I am poor, skinny, intelligent, fun-loving, and not ugly. This is not highly informative; you could say as much about millions of people. So let’s narrow it down a bit:
So, OK: poor, skinny, fun, presentable, JD, MSW. Now we’re getting somewhere. But where? An Ivy League lawyer, driving a car like that?
I guess you could say I have atypical priorities. In a nutshell, for many years now, I have been prioritizing writing and other self-expression. Like in this poem:
But mostly I’m not trying to produce art. Mostly I’m trying to present what it’s like to be me, in this world. Like this excerpt from my log of a ten-week camping trip in 2013, when I had left one city and had not yet chosen a residence in another:
September 18. Let me try to sum up what this has been like. I decided that the best word for my camping experience at Lake Meredith National Recreation Area is “wonderful.” I decided it’s not “fantastic” – it doesn’t have every pleasure known to mankind, and in some regards it’s a bit challenging – but it is really wonderful. The people have been nice. . . . And the outdoors living experience – well, that part of it really is fantastic. I spend a lot of time smiling. I never did entirely stop singing in the bathroom. I look around at the sunrise, sunset, and even just midday, with the susurrant wind bending this tall grass, and I just laugh out loud. It happens every day. I cannot believe how pretty everything is. The days last so long – we see long sunrises and sunsets. There is time for everything. I am grateful for my orange juice and all this other stuff that tastes so good. I am writing these words at a laptop under a full moon that’s bright enough to read by. . . . The song that keeps coming to mind:
This must be just like living in Paradise
And I don’t wanna go home
I ain’t never goin’ home
And, you know, it has just occurred to me that that may have been the issue with Sterling. It may not have been that Sterling was an especially bad place. It may have been just that I came back into contact with civilization, to a greater degree than I had been during the several preceding weeks, and various things about it surprised and hurt me. I have been away from people, or perhaps from excesses of people, or perhaps from people who have become too complacent. Maybe I have just been away from whatever it is that Sterling represents, that I would find in a thousand other communities around the country; maybe there was just a bit of reentry shock.
Unfortunately, most of life is not a campspace at Lake Meredith. Most of life is — well, for me, it’s like I wrote in another piece: I don’t fit well in this country, to the extent that it isn’t very friendly, honest, intelligent, kind, thoughtful, or fun. It could be so much better. I am writing to explain how it could, and why it should. I don’t know that I’ll have much impact. But I might, and anyway I think I should try. It sure seems like a better use of my time than some of the goofy jobs I’ve had — including practicing corporate law on Wall Street.
So now I think I have narrowed the focus considerably. There are not millions of people like me. I’m not even sure there are thousands. You’re welcome to review my other materials to learn more about what I mean, when I say that I am trying to express what it is like to be me in this world. But for now, I am going to turn to the other side of the question: what am I looking for?
Much of what I’m looking for is what I’ve already described: someone fun, honest, friendly, intelligent.
I think I’ll show you a few images, and then ask some questions:
Actually, as I think about it, I’m not sure any questions are necessary. I was going to ask things like “Who is Vladimir?” and “Do any of these pictures show the Dolly Llama?” But now I think that, if you got through those images without being completely offended, that’s a fair start.
So let me review and clarify. I am intelligent, fun-loving, skinny, and poor. I am poor because I chose not to be a corporate lawyer or, more precisely, because the things that made me a misfit in corporate law (e.g., trying to be honest) have made me a misfit in much of today’s America.
But then, there are different ways and places to be a misfit. I guess one must choose. Where I tend *not* to be a misfit is in relationships. This subject is complex, but let me offer a few observations:
- In a relationship with someone new in your fifties, sixties, or beyond, there will be arguments. We have spent all these years developing our uniqueness, in countless ways large and small. It can take a long time, and a lot of work, to accept and appreciate this new person, and all the ways in which s/he is different. It can be very rewarding to have him/her as an established part of your life. But getting there probably won’t be easy.
- If your previous relationship(s) had no arguments, that’s probably because one or both of you was holding back on your real feelings. Holding back may be advisable in specific areas of established incompatibility. But, in my experience, holding back as a general strategy is dysfunctional. It is really best to be honest with your partner, and to believe that s/he is honest with you.
- Good argument requires a desire and an ability to fight fair. If your style involves throwing every verbal weapon at your partner, as soon as your feelings are ruffled, then you are probably not going to have a good relationship. You and your partner should tend to emerge from an argument with a renewed belief in yourself and in each other.
I guess I’ll leave it at that, for now. If you support writers, or are looking for a long and happy relationship with one, please drop me a line (or respond via an anonymous link). Don’t be shy, and don’t let geography stop you.