html xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml" xml:lang="en" lang="en"> From the archives: Options

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Options

A few years ago, the question “What is the worst feeling in the world?” came up in a group of friends. Some people had to think about it, but I knew instantly what the worst feeling in the world was. The worst feeling in the world is when you fuck up, you knew you were cutting corners because mostly you can get away with it, but this time the bad thing is about to happen and the consequences will suck and it is your own damn fault. I felt it in the seconds before I rear-ended someone and I felt it for months when I was in a job I couldn’t do well.

Since then there’s been a new worst feeling in the world, and it is closely related. This time the feeling is that I am doing this wrong, but I don’t know why it is wrong, and the bad thing could well happen and the consequences will be awful, and I can’t find the wrong part to make it right. This is the feeling I get when I wonder why the seven-year ex didn’t marry me, and why I haven’t seriously dated anyone since. And you know what? I’ve put together a mighty nice life, so if I didn’t want kids, I could keep enjoying myself and figure this out at my leisure. But I do want kids; not having them would wreck me. The deadline for that is not yet, but it isn’t entirely remote either. If I thought I had made progress, or understood the problem, or knew what to do, I wouldn’t get so panicked. But I don’t feel any closer to figuring this out than I did three or four years ago and I can’t let more years pass.

Something has to change, and there are some obvious options. My appearance? Dress like a girl and go back to my fighting weight? Oh please no, being there hurt all the time. Meet more people? That’s what this is. It was a big decision in itself; there’s no way you would know this, but I have long been a fairly private person. Settle for someone I’m not head over heels about? No. Being by myself is better. Have kids on my own? Well, that’s an option. Although it isn’t absolute, I’m afraid that choosing to have kids on my own is also a choice not to have a partner. So far I’ve wanted both, but kids and no partner is better than no kids. The day for that decision may come. A new city, one with men like me? Maybe. Maybe I am not winning over the sharp, funny, in-love-with-their-discipline men of Sacramento because they are few and far between, and also married.

Maybe I have to change locations, because Sacramento has worked for everything but finding me a partner. The only place I would move would be to Oakland, where my sister is, but perhaps that would open up a whole new pool of dorky men? It’s not like my girlfriends in SF are calling me to tell me how great it is to date in the City and how they go out every night with wonderful men who are anxious to settle down. But a friend took me to a show in the Mission a few weeks ago, and I was amazed at how many single men who seemed more or less like me were in the room. Not that they were scoping me, but that they existed. I can’t think of any gathering here that would have something similar; everyone seems paired off here.

Oh man, I don’t want to move. I may have mentioned that I love it here. But the nice thing about facing your absolute worst case is that all other options are better. Maybe I should set a deadline.

51 Comments:

Blogger Megan said...

Hey y'all, feel free to comment if you have something concrete or specific. I don't want to hear generic reassurances about how a great girl like me will surely find someone, though, because they are 1) boring and 2) almost entirely discounted by the fact that you have never met me in person.

If you have to say something, you can tell us what the worst feeling in the world is. Then we can all have a good cry.

12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan - it is much easier to meet new people in a city where you have an established and large social network. Don't move - what you have is both rare and precious. Also -great blog. Did the kitten get a name yet?
-dithers

1:06 PM  
Blogger Abby said...

Megan - Just found your blog yesterday through Marginal Revolution, and felt like I was reading my own diary. (Of course, I don't get nice comments on my diary. I don't keep a diary either, but those are details.)

I (obviously) haven't found the solution to the worst feeling in the world, so I can't pass it on, but I can agree that it sucks big time.

My instincts are:
1. Stay where you are if you are otherwise fulfilled. Location probably isn't a very significant variable.

2. Dress more feminine in small ways (it is a universal signal, after all) but don't do the things you really hate such as fight your weight. I doubt the issue is that you need to be somehow more beautiful, just need to send a clearer reminder to men and to yourself that you are seeking.

3. Be open to the most random encounters and don't prejudge. A corollary would be to make a point of doing something (anything) differently than you usually do, because your social routines aren't working. You will probably meet your future partner through a series of random chances, and to increase the likelihood of having everything line up, you need to gamble more, depressing as it is.

4. Keep blogging, if only so we can all find out what happens.

2:01 PM  
Anonymous tony said...

good god, don't move thinking you're going to meet more men somewhere else! I did this back in '99 -- moved from Sacramento to Seattle -- because I wasn't meeting enough single women like me, and it didn't work. If you move away from your friends and community -- both of which you love -- it just seems you are crippling yourself for the hope of a longshot.

2:33 PM  
Blogger capella said...

I'm sure you have thought of and dismissed this, but it seems like the easiest and most common way for women to attract men for the purpose of a serious relationship is to make themselves less: less intelligent or at least less intelligent-seeming; less attractive (I think gaining weight might actually help more if you wanted to do whatever it takes to get married); less independent, less confident, less at home in their own lives. For some reason women who really need a man manage to find one, and usually a pretty good one at that.

2:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can't really agree with the people who say "don't move." Fitting that your post was titled Options. In choosing a place to live, it seems to me that you should primarily be concerned with option value.

Think of the set of men you will meet during your search for a partner as draws from a distribution. The distribution has a mean and a variance. Option value is the value, to you, of the variance.

And here is why variance is good. Since you are swinging for the fences, or maybe throwing a hammer into the end-zone is a more appropriate methaphor, (i.e., trying to meet someone who knocks your socks off), you get to toss out all the bad draws and only keep a very very good draw. High variance makes it more likely that you will meet some real duds (but who cares, you'll only see them once), but also makes it more likely that you will meet someone super (and that is the goal).

Now, having the "quality" of people you meet have a high mean is nice. But in terms of finding someone who blows you away, you should be willing to accept a somewhat lower mean for a higher variance (after all, you are looking for that guy way out on the right tail of the distribution). That is, you should be willing to meet somewhat less desirable people, on average, for meeting a wider array of new people, since the main thing you care about is the quality of the best draw not the quality of the average draw.

It sounds like Sacramento, for you, is a relatively high mean-low variance environment. You are happy and comfortable, but not meeting the sort of new, exciting, un-coupled men you would like to. Another city might not be as comfortable and you might not have as many friends around (lower mean), but it might offer the sort of crazy new experiences and encounters that lead to meeting the person you are looking for (high variance). Option value.

3:12 PM  
Blogger Dennis said...

Well, if you saw a bunch of single guys while haning out w/ me in the city, then clearly the solution is for ME to move back to Oakland, and for YOU to come visit me to meet boys! (And, sure, visit your sister & her kids while you're there). I love it, more reasons for me to move back home!!

3:28 PM  
Blogger capella said...

Go to Italy for six months.

This is likely not feasible for you. But if you could get your company to send you to a foreign country, or at least a very different city, or if you could take a little bit of time off to travel (two months, maybe) or if you are looking to change jobs anyway, it could be really great. You would be giving up your great Sacramento life, but only temporarily, and you'd be gaining an experience you would remember forever. You might meet your future husband (people meet more people, and develop bonds more easily, when they are out of their comfort zone). Or you might come back to Sacramento with some new thoughts on how you want to conduct your life or at least the marriage-and-kids part of it. This is a dramatic suggestion, obviously, and not for everyone, but sometimes when you can't see a way forward the best thing to do is move sideways.

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan, I am not saying you should have kids on your own, what do I know? But I married a woman with a daughter and they are both great, it was never a deterrent for me and it has always been a big plus.
Tyler

3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A time limit is a pretty good idea. You know just what will happen, too: your deadline will pass, you will commit to new arrangements in another city, and then you will meet someone in Sac-to.

4:02 PM  
Blogger melbourne.train.girl said...

I am liable to agree with what Capella says. Two friends of mine are leaving to go overseas, and we were having this very discussion just last night. We came to the conclusion that the reason you always meet someone when you are on holiday is because you are much more relaxed, and very much outside your comfort zone.

5:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Worst feeling in the world: screwing up AGAIN, still knowing that you shouldn't have done it and it is your own stinking fault.

Megan, have you thought about joining a church? (Do not do this solely for 'dating' reasons, obviously. But it is certainly a different subset of men. There will be a lot of chaff, but at least one or two handsome grains of wheat.) If that's not your thing, I don't know. But I certainly wouldn't move: it sounds like you love Sacramento.

5:41 PM  
Blogger Mark said...

After reading the first sentence, I decided to play, too, and had an answer instantly:

Making an entirely avoidable mistake that leads to the death of one of my children. Very close to your original answer, except with the infanticide twist for the multiplier bonus.

It's hard to comment on the relationship thing, given the poor knowledge I have of you personally. I'll give you some throw-away "wisdom" instead.

My wife, whom I love dearly and work very well with and hope to spend many many years with, is NOT the person I would have constructed for myself to marry a priori. But we were compatible, and found each other at a time where we were both very desirous of building a relationship together.

I think people might fall into the trap of wanting it to be "perfect" right up front, whereas my limited personal experience is that perfect is something you asymptotically approach over time, working together.

6:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As others have mentioned, moving to a new city can work very much against Meeting People unless you are prepared to be very outgoing -- more outgoing than 99% of people are comfortable being in my experience. Having just one or two friends in the new locale is in many ways worse than being entirely alone. The obvious plus to moving to a new city is an immediate introduction of thousands of new potential dates. But you have to be willing to capitalize on that and that means work which generally means a significant change in your life.

Like Buckaroo Banzai said, "Where ever you go, there you are." Too many change locale without being willing to change themselves. That just means the same problems in a new place. (And a new place probably means new problems on top of the old ones.) Moving to meet people is a high risk, high reward situation -- it can work but you have to understand what you're getting yourself into first.

It is nearly impossible for us out here to figure out what is wrong with you because it is almost certainly something that will not be conveyed in text and a few pictures. If I had to take a random guess it would be that you put out a combination "buddy/want-children-now" vibe which are two of the deadliest things on Earth. Unfortunately, your friends are unlikely to be much use in diagnosing it because a) they don't want to hurt your feelings even if they do know the answer, and b) they obviously like you and *know* you (obscuring the effects of "first impressions"), having made it past those first few meetings.

The best way to figure out what the problem might be is to ask someone who is likely to know: a guy you have recently met that you find attractive but who has not asked you out. It isn't clear how often that happens to you versus simply not meeting anyone at all.

If you are at all spiritual I second the suggestion to try out a church. It is a large source of new people and they usually organise a ton of social activities.

6:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan, have you read The Year of Yes?

7:07 PM  
Anonymous John said...

My worst feeling - realizing as it happened that I had just accidentally and inadvertantly betrayed and dramatically hurt someone I loved, and ended up better off because of it.

It sucks to hurt your friends, but it really, really sucks to profit from that hurt.

Now, as for your problem.
I would imagine that you're too eccentric and free-spirited for most guys, and for the rest, you're probably too intimidatingly full of energy. Especially for a guy in his 30s.

Now, my wife's sister recently married a 34 y.o. rock climber. In my experience, avid rock climbers are risk tolerant, full of energy, and eccentric to match :)

I'm sure you've done that, you've apparently engaged in every outdoor activity known. But maybe you should join a rock-climbing club. Or start a rock-climbing club. Or something like that.

Also, you are probably at the point where might want to consider divorcees with kids from their previous marriages. Coach soccer or little league to find those guys.

Oh, and like the previous poster suggested - read The year of yes.

Good luck!

7:32 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Man, I'm falling behind.

- I think the kitten's name is Annie, although I don't know if that is short for Tyrant or Piranha. Either way, she owns the place now.

- I've thought of it, but being "less" is fucking unacceptable, and I could never pass anyway.

- I loved the options analysis, because I was going to describe my life here in exactly those words: high mean, low variance.

- I definitely put out a 'buddy' vibe, probably because I've been the only girl in large groups of boys my entire life. I should check with Tracy and Margie, but I would be surprised if I put out much of a "want-kids-now" vibe. Writing about it here is another big change for me; this is kinda the first I've ever told people how much it means to me. My sister was really surprised when she read this.

- It's hard to beat the special bonus infanticide.

- Synagogue, not church. But I don't believe in god, so I don't see how that's an option for me.

7:33 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

In fact, I can think of a few times that a new mother has said that I was good with babies and had I ever thought of having kids of my own? 'Cause, you know, she never wanted kids that much, but it was so much better than she ever thought.

Oooh! The other good one was the woman who was saying her husband has been begging her for kids, but who would ever want to be pregnant?

7:45 PM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

Megan, I'm a bit confused here. I'm going to take you at face value here, you want concrete remarks and not generic platitudes. Furthermore, you like problems to be solved in concrete ways using data and not speculation.

So where are the data? There are specific data that are relevant here, namely:
A. Ratio of single males / females in the Bay Area vs. Greater Sacramento Area.
B. Ratio of single male engineers / all females in the Bay Area vs. Greater Sacramento Area.
C. Sheer numbers of single males or single male engineers in the Bay Area of Greater Sacramento Area.

All of this data is available from the census, although it will be a few years out of date.

Why this data in particular? Because there are many factors relevant to your decision, but I would think (and you could correct me) that the single most important factor relevant to meeting somebody is availability. The more people, the more chances to meet somebody. [This is a simpler analysis than the options analysis]

You can look these figures up easily; you probably have the census at work.
The fact that you haven't could mean a number of different things:
A. You think this analysis is flawed
B. You're planning to, but haven't gotten around to it.
C. You're busy entertaining us, so you expect us to (after all, we're your blog crush, so we should bring you data and flowers).
D. You are trying to elicit our descriptions of the worst feelings in the world, not our analyses.
E. You know what the data say, but don't actually want to confront it.

As a matter of fact, we can guess what those numbers will look like, right? The Bay Area is probably the greatest concentration of engineers in America, if not the world. When I lived out there, most of those engineers were male, and the female:male ratio was better than it was in most major conurbations.

The options analysis points in the same direction - I'll bet that you have not just greater numbers but also higher variance (over whatever dimensions) in the Bay Area than Sacramento.

Now, you're perfectly entitled to ignore these numbers.

In fact, I'm being a class-A ass here. You seem to be a very pleasant person, and your writing is amazingly entertaining. It's just that you've been pretty clear about the kinds of problem solving you like to do - concrete, empirical problem solving, not touchy feely - but ... you're not doing it w.r.t. this question. Yet.

p.s. I'm really not this much of a jerk normally. Especially with people I've never met. Like you, I just get frustrated when there is data and it's not being analyzed.

7:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hey megan, I feel you! I'm 32 yrs old and divorced after marrying when I was 22 then divorced at 26. Havne't been in a relationship since, putting most of my time/energy toward work/career. I'm also worried about becoming too set in my ways to be able to change.

Just a thought but perhaps if you applied the same discipline and energy that you apply toward work instead/in addition toward finding a mate, it may just come to you?

Hopefully not too simplistic - Where do guys you like hang out? What kind of women do they like?

8:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Unitarian synagogue? ;)

9:38 PM  
Blogger Cladeedah said...

When my friend decided it was time to find a husband, she moved to Palo Alto. I believe she frequented many of the Sunnyvale Irish pubs, where the geeky-guy-engineer to girl ratio is like 20:1. Within a year, she was engaged to a very nice Boeing engineer. Same thing worked for another one of my girlfriends who ended up with a software engineer.

If I was there, I'd go shopping for tight booby-shirts and cute shoes with you. I'm sure that would solve all of your problems. Never underestimate the power of the boobies.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

Sexy Claudia,

I never underestimate the power of my boobies on you. Honestly though, I'm not sure men are as easy.

10:28 PM  
Anonymous sarah said...

Go lesbian.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Megan.

As you point out, most of us who follow your adventures don't know you. You seem outgoing and would have a lot of guys interested in you.

Do you think you should make a move on one of your male friends?

1:03 AM  
Blogger Sweet Coalminer said...

1) stop being so heady. Think less. I think this is some kind of a defense mechanism, but I'm too tired to explain it any better than this.

2) Stop calling them "boys". You're looking for a man at this point. The ex was a boy. Seriously. I would never call Cory a boy.

3) You still need to work on drinking more. Will help with thinking less.

4) I vote for white water rafting. Instead of Ultimate. You've exhausted the Ultimate men.

5) In regard to your moving question, Yes!!! Yes!!! Forget Silicon Valley. Move to Alaska. Many men. Lots of water. Beautiful. I guess. I've never been there. But if I were in your shoes, that's exactly what I would do. It's what I would have done after law school if I hadn't met my soulmate already. :)

6) I agree with Claudia: more boobs!

1:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

more after reading all these responses...
Consider reading a book on body language. If your body sends out a comfortable, sexy, confident, open vibe all the time, then you are effortlessy manhunting all the time, increasing your chances of finding someone. Also, use that rack (and the occasional dress never killed anyone). Love Tyrant, and bravo on your braveness - dithers

6:09 AM  
Blogger Macneil said...

You want to find a geeky guy, yet you won't consider internet dating?

Seriously, put up an ad on Match.com. Instead of expanding your search to one additional city, expand it to every city.

Heck, post it up on your blog first and we can help deconstruct it for you. If you fit into special groups (e.g. vegetarian, environmentalist, religious, concerned republicans) you can find dating sites specifically for that group.

Put up the ad and forget about it. Delete the replies that don't interest you. The cost to you is so low, yet the potential gains are so high.

I met my wife over the internet and I don't know how I could have met someone who loves me more.

For myself, I found it very hard to find a woman who wanted to commit. (This indeed is hard to find in a woman in her early to mid 20s, certain bible belts excluded.) Online, you get to lay it all out on the table, in a positive way. It becomes an amazing filter.

Perhaps for now you could only take the first step of posting here a pseudo-ad? If there's enough reader support, you should then go for it for real.

7:28 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

MacNeil,

What do you think this blog IS, if not a giant personals ad?

7:50 AM  
Anonymous eric said...

If its not working -- like you said, try something different. Anything. And just keep trying different approaches until something works.

And also, you aren't alone in your problem. Not that that is particularly comforting.

Good luck.

7:54 AM  
Blogger Macneil said...

Hey Megan,

"What do you think this blog IS, if not a giant personals ad?"

It's certainly a good appendix to a personal ad. However, it isn't saying (so far as I know) "hey, guys, if you are interested email me." But that's precisely what a match.com ad would be saying by virtue of existing.

I'm not sure if match.com is even the best dating site out there now, but I just mean any dating site. (It was five years ago that I met my wife.)

So far your blog has attracted married men and economists. A singles site would at least attract unmarried economists. Or, perhaps many single men have emailed you since your blog got popular. If this is a reasonable personal ad, then great. But if you aren't getting quality replies then it might have to do with the difference between the kind of guy who would reply to literal personal ad versus the kind of guy who emails random women who have blogs.

8:24 AM  
Anonymous Ennis said...

You do realize that you don't need to live in the Bay Area so much as date there. Engineers are likely to be working Mon-Thursday nights away.

Maybe for the short term, you could have your married friends bring single men with them, when they come to enjoy your company.

8:36 AM  
Anonymous shannon said...

I pick up the men playing pool. I originally started out on the foosball circuit, small specialized group much like the ultimate guys, only far less athletic, but pool draws a much larger crowd. You'd be surprised how many guys are suddenly interested in playing once a hot girl is on the table. I'm not really looking for a relationship right now, only sweet ass, but I still think you could meet a relationship guy this way. Plus it's fun.

8:45 AM  
Anonymous UnderwearNinja said...

I'm going to an animator BBQ in SF Saturday. You could meet me there, and I'll get you in so you can scope all the animators. I promise they're passionate!

10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Too bad there isn't a decent pool hall in Sacramento. Just one more reason the bay area is better than Sac. There are 2 excellent pool halls on the peninsula, and a few other decent ones around as well.

But, I started playing pool again thinking it would be a good way to meet people. The people I meet playing pool aren't generally all that interesting, and they tend to be very non-athletic.

10:42 AM  
Blogger Omar said...

Megan:

I'm wrestling with similar sorts of questions (though from the vantage point of a guy). I'm still young enough but, relative to all my married male friends, I feel like I'm approaching my "sell-by date." To further muddle things, I recently went back to grad school where I'm a decade older than most of my classmates. While that might sound ideal for a man on the make, it hasn't worked out as such. Without boring you with the details, I like Boston (where I'm in school) but think I'm far more likely to meet Her in NY where I lived before school (Boston:NY as Sacramento:Bay Area).

So far, my milage has varied and I can't tell you that living in one city and dating in another has been especially fruitful. That said, Boston and NY are a ways apart whereas Sacramento is less than a two hour drive from Oakland (1 hour and 23 minutes if maps.google is to be believed). Could you date in SF and the East Bay and still live in Sacramento?

Also, I'm gonna take the unpopular position that losing weight is one of the best things a single person can do to improve his or her prospects. I think the benefits of weight-loss on the dating market, however, are far less important than the benefits to oneself in terms of health and wellbeing. From what I can tell, you appear to be a picture of fitness so I don't have a good gauge of what getting to your fighting weight demands. Either way, all of us would benefit from eating more fruits and veggies and eating less high-fat and processed food. For single folks, the benefits are simply amplified. Check out diseaseproof.com for more on the wonder-twin powers of produce.

Finally, after an embarassing amount of reading various relationship books, I have become persuaded that great marriages are largely a function of smart selection while dating. In other words, a lot of folks (me especially) tend to date good prospects for long periods of time hoping that, with work, the relationship will really blossom. The hard math is that a better approach would be to date a lot of people for a short time in order to find the one or two with whom it's great from the get-go. This is especially bad news for folks like us who may not feel like they've got any strong leads. Unpleasant though it may seem, I believe the underlying strategy remains sounds and I'm trying to muster the will to go on a lot of okay dates with the hope of hitting the jackpot. One book I found helpful in this department was Will Our Love Last by Sam Hamburg. Ignore the cheesy title (while reading the book on the NYC subway I wrapped the cover junior high-school style to avoid embarassment). If that book tickles your fancy, I'm happy to recommend others.
- Omar

11:49 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

UnderwearNinja - if I were around this weekend, I would definitely take you up on your offer. I need to get down to SF anyway. But I'll be in LA. We should go to Pub Quiz some weekend.

2:29 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Speaking as a very happy eharmony.com customer (eight months and a week married), I suggest it as a useful tool to find like-minded people.

Megan, I sense (poorly, perhaps) that you enjoy writing. If you try a relatively long e-mail 'get-to-know-you' period, you may be able to get more of a sense of your potential mate than meeting in person. 'Our e-mail/letter courtship' was three months long; long enough to ask hard questions, long enough to find out both big and little things. By the time I started to talk to her, I felt like I knew her a little.

I might also add that we were separated by three states, so traveling was a significant barrier. Communicating within the Sac/SF area makes meeting much more tempting.

3:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. As others have mentioned, there are sites other than eharmony.com. I'm guessing they work just as well.

3:23 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Mm, good point about eharmony. Probably the most marriage-oriented of the singles sites I've seen.

Also, it's my general way of thinking that, to meet someone who is like you, it's best to be the most you-ish you can, in which case you might bump into someone who's also being you-ish.

So, for example, in Sacramento, you're more likely to meet someone who likes Sacramento, likes the sort of things that a person who likes Sacramento would like, and does the sort of things that a person who likes Sacramento would do.

If you were just comfy in Sacramento, then I'd say, whatever, you can play Ultimate in Oakland and meet Ultimate-y people there. But you LOVE Sacramento, and it takes a pretty particular set of characteristics to LOVE Sacramento, so living there (or wearing a Sac-sy t-shirt) may be one of the most effective singles ads you can post.

8:19 PM  
Blogger LizardBreath said...

An appearance comment:

Screw the fighting weight, you sound as if you are firmly within the 'men don't give a damn' zone, and being skinnier won't change anything.

Dangly earrings, on the other hand, I say as a generally boyishly-dressed slob, are a suprisingly low-effort way of indicating that you're trying to look cute, and may therefore respond well to an approach.

3:38 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Match.com? If anything, you want Consumating.com.

12:43 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Never met you in person so this is all BS. But I enjoy spewing BS, so here you go.

Like it or not a relationship WILL change your life. You WILL lose touch with some friends during a relationship. PROBABLY a few will get closer. The balance of the way you spend your time WILL change. Your core values shouldn't change, but I'd expect the spin you put on them to change quite a bit.

This is all a good thing as long as you aren't too attached to today's life and you seem to be really attached to the way your life is today. I've grown really wary of women who's lives seem totally full and settled except for the lack of a man. There are a lot of women who expect that "commitment" means that the man will commit to being manipulated until he fits her life and preconceived idea of his role. Being tied to a person like that has a simple name: Hell.

When I meet women who seem to have "It All Figured Out" I know that there's really no room for me in her life. She'll either keep me on the sidelines and we'll never get past simple play dating or she'll take me in and then try to wipe my brain clean and engineer me into the role she's preconstructed for me.

Since I'm dishing out dating advise online to a woman I've never met before I might as well just forget any notion of restraint. Your blog screams to me that you're not interested in flexing and shifting with a relationship. Men, at least the ones you'd want in your life, can sense these sorts of things. Any man who is serious about wanting a wife and kids kind of relationship and has any amount of self knowledge and self respect will run away from that vibe. Of course they don't have to avoid usually. Women who are totally comfortable and settled and not looking for any change other than executing a mythical "add 1 man" operation are usually not meeting many men anyway.

My best advise to you really would be to stop seeking a man so much as change. Don't go for random choatic change nor focused engineered change. Go for the middle, where you're constantly listening for new feelings, new people, new connections, new activities. Look at each one, see if there's a good reason to avoid it, and if there isn't prefer it simply because it's new.

Being smart, cute, horny, and interested isn't enough. You've got to be ready to build a life for two (or more if you want kids) out of the canabalized parts and pieces of the two lives that went into the relationship. Canablaizing your old life isn't always easy, and being good at it takes practice. It doesn't hurt that the very act of changing your life around for shits and giggles will bring you into contact with new people in times and places where you'll be stimulated and wide awake.

8:38 PM  
Blogger Scott Calvert said...

Ugh, the errors in gramar in my last post only appeared to me after I posted it.

8:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe have more of an open mind about men you meet? Its hard to imagine there that in an enitre city, there are few if any men that would deserve you.

I think there is a tendency among some segment of people to be overconfident in their own abilty to select the qualities in the opposite sex that will make them happy. Two things happen as a result:

1. They pass over people who they are actually highly compatible with, because they fail on some arbitrary or mistaken criteria that is actually irrelevant, or even detrimental, to their future happiness with a mate.

2. They spend much time finding fault with others, but don't critically examine their own pressupositions.

What's worse, a number of such folks consider critically examining their own criteria--asking, is there something wrong about demanding X from a mate--to be a kind of weakness, akin to "settling."

But in fact, I tend to think that most people are bad judges of what makes them happy and the key to happiness is realizing how fundamentally bad we are at selecting what will make us happy. Realizing you're wrong is the first step on the road to humility in this department, and therefore a good sign!

6:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Megan - Not sure if someone already mentioned this, but a lot of theose single men like you that you saw in the Mission district aren't available - they're gay. Given the location, I'd say most of them were.

11:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, you're getting a bunch of new readers because of a link from Volokh.

In regard to the commments that suggest joining a church to meet men, and your reply that you're apparently a Jewish atheist, not a Christian one: if you don't believe in God, what difference does it make if you don't believe in Christ, either? You just might find love in a liberal Lutheran church where members actually believe in science.

9:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What you have asked to have dscribed has been named:

It's a clong. Google it.

He and I coined the words years ago. "Clong." It can be defined as a sudden rush of shit to the heart.

We decided it’s what you suffer, as a lawyer, when you say to your secretary, "When is the last day to file in the Smith matter?" And she looks it up and says, "Yesterday." That’s when you suffer a clong. Or you’re home with your wife and you’ve had some leftovers for supper and you’re sitting with your feet up on the coffee table and watching junk television, and it’s about 8:30, and your hostess calls and says, "Where are you? We’re holding dinner." That’s a clong.

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Date men who aren't white.

8:28 PM  
Blogger capella said...

i think this scott calvert guy is onto something, although i'm not sure i'd put it the way he does. i think it's true that there are a lot of men - including smart, interesting, wonderful men - who have a strong need to be with someone who is just waiting to mold her life around them. perhaps this is because they think all the women with pre-existing full lives have only a small "perfect man"-shaped hole that they would have to fit into, rather than being willing, or even eager, to evolve in unexpected ways for, or with, the right person.

... although, come to think of it, this has been largely my experience with men: either they wanted me to fix/shape/define them, or they wanted me to be the girlfriend piece of their already-cut jigsaw puzzle. so maybe this is how many or most women are as well.

10:13 PM  
Blogger Megan said...

8:28 Anonymous:

Like my ex of seven years?

11:17 PM  

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