When we are gloriously young and enjoying the best shape of our lives, the world seems vast and full of promise. It is easy to meet people, to date and break up and find someone new almost immediately.
Eventually, those biorhythms settle down from the unrelenting horniness of early youth and you meet a guy, or a girl. S/he seems to be the One, and you go for it.
You make a commitment, a life, and the years go by. You get settled in, pursue a career, and do your best. Maybe you start to get a little extra pudge around the middle, and maybe your hair starts to lose some of its extra thick shine, but that’s OK, because it’s happening to her or him as well. You are on this journey together, towards getting older and becoming wrinkled beyond all youthful recognition.
But this is not a happily ever after fairy tale.
Somewhere between thirty and forty, there is a shift, a change in the dynamic of being together. An edginess emerges, a sharp dissatisfaction with the lack of sex or shared interest or anything besides the day to day drudgery of waking up to work, eat, sleep, repeat.
So you split, and you find yourself adrift looking at Plenty of Fish, hoping that Cupid is OK enough. Online dating seems vaguely invasive and inappropriate, like hiding a porno or erotic novel under your mattress.
But this is the way it is done these days, right? So you try, above average effort–no bathroom selfies or decades-old yearbook photos.
And you wait, sifting through the twenty-somethings looking for free room and board, the grieving or past-date party animal in their thirties, the bright sports cars of midlife crises and the lounging by the pool portraits of wannabe playboys. Or girls.
Finding someone new is tricky, but you persevere, never realizing that figuring out how to fit together is the actually the hardest part. You have to ease in alongside whatever trauma s/he has suffered, and the lies that s/he has heard before are a minefield waiting to blow up your newfound happiness.
Perhaps you struggle past all that. No one wants to be lonely, or dating wouldn’t be a billion dollar industry. There is someone for everyone, and at last you find a solid candidate. S/he is nice, and you feel lucky to have found one another.
But, as I said before, this is not a fairy tale. Because the hard work isn’t over yet. You’ve spent the past twenty years staying up late playing video games to burn off steam, but s/he likes to go to bed early. At 6 a.m. s/he’s up and out the door for a morning run, while you grope for sleep to come back and stay a while. Just as you manage it, the front door shuts with a bang and you hear your special someone humming in the shower.
Fuck it. Up you get.
Saturday comes around, and it’s date night. Earplugs grant you the gift of sleeping in until nearly noon, and by 3 p.m. you’re energized and ready to go! You both hit the town or the trail or whatever it is you both love to do together.
For a few hours, everything is wonderful, a re-affirmation that s/he is definitely the right person just for you. So much to see and share and do! You are both perfect, together.
But then 9 o’clock rolls around, and s/he is yawning and fading quickly. You go home, and while you are getting a glass of water s/he falls asleep on the couch, snoring gently.
No sex tonight, then. Just like last weekend.
You watch her or him, so sweet in sleep. There are so many fantastic qualities about this person, and dating is such a cesspool.
Perhaps it will work out better next week.