Year of the Titmouse

How is it that a bunch of folks on a nondescript planet in a boring part of the universe are smart enough to send spacecraft to explore their neighbourhood (Cassini, the Voyagers, various Mars-cars etc) AND think that astrology is valid?

Tell me true, oh sweeties.

OK, fine. That’s just the ornery Taurean in me coming out. The ability to hold mutually contradicting beliefs in the face of clear cut evidence is one of our defining characteristics eg:

-> Sure, he’s married with kids, but he says he’s unhappy and will leave them to be with me.

-> I know, he’s a drunk, but he’s a good guy underneath.

-> She says it’s just an “emotional relationship” so I’m sure they’re not having sex.

Delusion is a protection mechanism. Facts are so hard-edged that we might actually need to tell ourselves stories just to round off the edges. Buffering the brutality of our own nature and that of people we think are close to us is the lubricant of all our relationships.

Does anyone really want the unvarnished truth all the time?

River Me This

Thesedays, my precious darlings, dating runs in two rivers.

The first river is the old-fashioned kind, a river like, say, the Colorado. It starts in the Rocky Mountains as snow-melt and spring bubbler, gradually turning into Lake Mead by way of the Grand Canyon. Eventually it keeps LA alive…a dubious prospect but nonetheless the fact of 1,400 miles of downhill adventure.

The second river is newer, much shorter and without any of the history or variety. It would be like a glacial river in Iceland: short, sharp and to the point. A thoroughly modern river. A great ride.

You can see where I’m meandering to with this metaphor. Long-form relationships and their precursors – by which I mean formal dating and marriage – are like the Colorado. Although the flow might start with a rush, time and terrain change the river’s direction and temperament. Dams create reservoirs and calm, but also tail water and froth. Flat land slows the river down, and steep terrain does the opposite. Rocks make rapids. And eventually it turns out that we have to give it all to Hollywood…but it was one helluva ride.

Our Icelandic river is more of a day-trip flow. Anyone can hop on for the short ride, all we need do is hold hands and jump in together. It’ll be fun and breathless for a while, then the ride ends. You can start back at the top again (because it’s only a short hike) with or without the same partner. It’s an amusement park outing.

Trouble arises (because you knew there had to be a downside) when one or other of the participants in the River Party forget which ride they signed up for. I see this when women think they are in the Icelandic way of things, but as soon as they get wet decide they need the guy to be more of a riverboat captain. The guy who thought he was in for nothing more than a quickie, or multiple quickies in a row, suddenly finds himself being expected to pitch riverbank tents and create fires and text “good morning” every day.

Huh? I thought that by her active participation as an equal that Icelandic Rules applied here, not Red River Rules. There are no tents in Iceland; we go to the bar, drink, and decide in the morning if we want to go swimming again.

That’s it. Unless you want to try the Colorado. That changes everything.

Who? What?

Three declarations:

Hi, I’m Wombat. I’m heterosexual. 


Hello. My name is Monique, and I’m a lesbian. 


Hey there. I am Thomas. I’m gay.

Which one is the odd one out?

To my eye, it’s my own statement. No-one cares that my sexual preference includes women only, and frankly, that seems about right. I don’t care about anyone else’s either. Your congressional activities are your business.

So does that mean homosexual men and women describing themselves by way of their sexual preference sounds more natural? Maybe. But let’s examine this more closely. Is it really these folks who so publically identify? I think not. I have never been introduced to a man, to have him immediately go to his sexuality, whether gay or not. Ditto any woman. People identify contextually, viz:

Hi, I’m Pete, and I’m the network administrator. 

Hello, my name is Andrea. I’m the CEO.

Why, darling, I’m Natasha. You can think of me any way you want.

Okay, that last one was a red herring. Kinda.

..<<!>>..

It’s always others who attach sexuality to the individual.

Why does this happen? Why does my acquaintance Lindsay always end up “Lindsay the Lesbian”? It’s certainly not her. And I’ve worked with gay men before who were often referred to as “Gay….Dave/Larry/Tony”. Sure, they were homosexual, but made no more if it than I did of my heterosexuality – in fact, they were most often the least forthcoming about that part of their lives.

There is no point to my questions, other than to muse over the importance with which we rank our sexual being…and how public we make it.

Me and Me Alone

Dating advisors will tell you: for dating success Be Yourself.

Worst. Advice. Ever.

You, like me, are a sloppy mess of insecurities, half-understandings, moldy old baggage, soiled laundry and fear. A delightful and sexy melange of those elements, but still, we’re all rocky road muffins.

I hardly need warn you about revealing too much of the truth about yourself on a date. Dating isn’t based on truth; dating’s based on outfitting our dates with our fantasies. Ignoring non-compliant data allows us to dream the dream.

However, matters can progress. Date the right person long enough and you’ll find that they’ve either figured out the stuff you’ve been avoiding, or they’re ready to hear it. In either case it’s a milestone to know that:

a.) There’s no need to withhold any more, and

b.) Someone still thinks well enough of you despite them knowing the awful truth.

That’s the time you’ll find yourself being yourself without being conscious of it.

Subtext

Wombat: So who is the brunette hottie in the pic you sent?

Friend-Girl: Oh, that’s Chantelle.

Wombat: Would I like her?

Friend-Girl: Hmmmm, maybe. She’s a little spiritual for you. But I think she’s dirty – she’s always talking about her thigh-high boots and lingerie. I’m sure you’d like that about her.

Wombat: So why is she single?

Friend-Girl: You can’t ask that question.

Wombat: Sorry?

Friend-Girl: That question is off-limits. Everyone asks cute single girls why they don’t have a man, like that’s the only thing that matters. So I rule the question invalid.

Wombat: Oh. I can’t even ask the question?

Friend-Girl: Nope.

Pause.

Wombat: This is about you, isn’t it? You don’t want to talk about this because you’re sans-a-man, right?

Friend-Girl: Bastard.

Click.