“Why do women always leave me? Why do they dump me for men who wear turtleneck sweaters and smoke a pipe? I mean natural yoghurt eaters. ‘Reliable’, ‘sensible’, ‘dependable’, and lots of others words that end in ‘-ible’. They’re obsessed with house prices and spend half their life at antique fairs looking for bargains and drinking wine. It’s never beer, is it, it’s always wiiine! ‘What do you want on your cornflakes darling?’ ‘Oh, I’ll ‘ave some wine please!'”
—Red Dwarf (S2E4, “Stasis Leak”)
Before I start, yes, this is another “girl troubles” post, so if you’re sick of me going on about my love life (or lack thereof), please feel free to post a complaint in the comments section. I assume there’s someone out there actually reading this…? Well, for those of you left, this is also an “unapologies” post, because I’m making a stand for who I am.
To summarise recent events, I have been “sort of” dating someone — an “older woman” (but young-looking due to being Oriental) — but it’s come to an end because she prefers someone else she was seeing at the same time to me. She still wants to be friends, but here’s the thing: even though we got on well and could talk for ages about whimsical things, and even though she herself is geeky and into anime, she felt I was “immature” and “too much like a teenager”.
Yes, I know, what an enormous revelation, but stick with me here. I don’t drink to get drunk, hang around in a gang of yobs or call random people “fag” in online games, so what’s the problem? I can envisage only two alternatives:
- I’m not grown-up enough, and need to put away childish things, force myself to wear suits all the time and enjoy adult pastimes like wine-tasting; or:
- Society itself has a bad attitude, and I’m fine just the way I am.
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of things I want to change about myself (as you’re only too aware if you’ve been reading this drivel long enough): my social anxiety, my quickness to anger over silly little things, my tendency towards introvercy, my pessimism over changing my life and meeting someone (which leads to brooding and hence to full-on depression), and my inability to concentrate on… er… ooh, a page of Red Dwarf quotes, I’ll read that for 20 minutes instead of writing in my blog…
Sorry, where was I? Ah yes. I have a lot of psychological problems, no doubt about it, but I’ve been combatting all of these through a combination of exercise, yoga, Meetup.com events and studying IT through an agency that will compel me to get on with it. One thing I don’t hate about myself, one cancer I don’t want to hack out of my being and grind beneath my heel, is the fact that I’m a bit childlike, that I enjoy video games, Beavis and Butt-head, heavy metal music, Doctor Who, horror films, chocolate, and soft drinks.
(Mind you, my sort-of ex couldn’t even really put her finger on why she found me too juvenile for her tastes: a general impression, something about referring to TV shows she’d never heard of…?)
Okay, so I don’t have a house or a mortgage, and I can’t drive, and I make silly jokes rather than being earnest all the time. So what? I’ve had a steady job for many years and have savings, I work out and eat healthily, I don’t go out boozing with “the lads”… I don’t even support a football team (not that there’s anything wrong with doing so, but it seems to be the only fun thing “real men” are allowed to enjoy). I have problems, but I’m not a total deadbeat who needs a woman to “fix” him (ironically, I’d probably have more success with women if I was). A manchild? Certainly, but is that even necessarily a bad thing, if I behave responsibly?
I yam what I yam, and while I strive to improve myself both mentally and physically, I don’t see why I should have to turn myself into a boring old fart who goes on about house prices, just because our society thinks adults, and especially men, should only be able to enjoy the Harry Potter novels if they’re reading them to their own children (I read the first four back in 2000-1 on the recommendation of a female American friend), and that anyone who doesn’t choose to work overtime, drive a car (in London!) and otherwise put themself through all sorts of “grown-up” stress isn’t a “real” adult and would thus be a burden rather than a potential mate.
Here’s a rhetorical question, but you can answer it if you want: should I change something fundamental about myself, something I actually like, just to attract women who would probably bore me, or should I change the parts that I hate, such as my shyness and anxiety, and keep looking for someone who makes me happy, and who is made happy by me? Am I alone because I’m so very, very different to “normal” blokes, or is it solely because I haven’t met enough women due to my introvercy (and not asked enough out due to love-shyness), and should I hold on until I meet someone who would love me because of my childlike whimsy, and not despite it?
Hey, should I just lie about my age and date younger women, or would they be too genuinely immature for me? I’m pretty sure I’m done with older women — I want to find someone I can grow old with, not someone waiting for me to catch her up (probably with hands on hips and a disapproving frown… yeah, and her hair in curlers…), and miss out part of my life. Yes, I’ve been in arrested development since my teenage years, guilty m’lud; but if I’m not “mature” enough for women my age, isn’t that the loss of women my age? Are they perhaps old-fashioned, and does the future lie with the young?
(Of course there are heterosexual women out there of around my age who want to enjoy life rather than endure it, who aren’t hung up on what a man earns or whether his interests are “grown-up” enough, who don’t think theme parks are just for children, who might enjoy my sense of humour — even my tendency to impersonate Beavis and/or Butt-head, or Kenneth Williams, at anything vulgar-sounding — and who might even play video games with me… but they’ve all got boyfriends or husbands!!!)
Anyway, I don’t imagine I’ll always like the things I like — $DEITY knows, my tastes have changed over the years (I used to hate the very idea of violent horror movies, for example) — but I won’t give up the things I enjoy just because they make most single women look down upon me as a manchild. Maybe that’s why they’re still single — in which case, by rejecting me they’re actually sparing me from a boring, prosaic life.
On the other hand, I could always just not tell them I like heavy metal until we’re married… as Basil Fawlty would say: don’t mention the Gwar! I did once, but I think I got away with it…