I try not to be a paranoid or superstitious person. I am an atheist (although not the kind who spends his life trying to “disprove God exists” or so forth) who went to a Catholic elementary school and whose mother is an ex-Christian turned Buddhist (seriously). Yet I occasionally have moments of spirituality or superstition; usually in the sense that I am uniquely cursed. I’m sure as someone who has mentioned being cynical and pessimistic at least once, that’s a surprise. Yet sometimes I wonder if it is more than just my own defense mechanism or psychological neurosis.
It seems that whenever I seem to be attempting to make inroads in terms of my dating life (or lack thereof), something seems to happen in my life which takes far more priority. As a teenager, I imagine my style was cribbed from the fact that my grandma’s declining health and faculties she essentially lived in our apartment roughly 90% of the time (as well as mother becoming disabled and unable to work by the end of the 1990’s). In college, entire years worth of time were taken up helping mom in her efforts to supervise the armada of home care attendants for Grams in her own apartment and seeing to her care. By the time I graduated college and got my first decent full time job, I was literally spending one to two weekend days a week helping with Grams’ care with mom miles away. Then six years ago Grams died and then came the rush to settle her affairs and apartment and have mother move back home (since by that point she had essentially been living with Grams for over two years). Then came unemployment and the frantic search for work while resources dwindled. Then came a steady but low paying job for years with fluctuating salary.
But this summer, if not since the start of the year, I felt a sense of change in the air. I wasn’t making much but I had gotten used to it. With me fighting a losing battle against time in terms of being an inexperienced virgin (by the time one’s more than a year past 30, they’ve entered what I call “Monk, Circus Freak, or Serial Killer Territory” in terms of social opinion), I’ve felt a special urge to “crap or get off the pot” in terms of dating for months. Yet there was always a hesitancy due to nerves, budget, and a fear that once again some family or financial crisis would arise and make such worries as fretting about being lonely and untouched feel like passing quibbles.
Well, true to form, it happened again. At the end of June the company I work for did a major overhaul of their business model in which my position became obsolete. While not fired, it meant I would have to adjust to a new role with a salary which is lower in the short term and more unpredictable in the longer term. For the last fortnight things have worked out okay, but only because I had a week’s notice to start saving for some bills. I have no idea what August or the fall will look like, and whether I can keep things up in terms of production. Even when I am doing well, there is more stress and pressure to perform than there had been for the last couple of years. This has caused my efforts to find a new and better job to increase substantially (to the point that I am taking two tests for federal/state jobs this month) and for me to have less justification for spending money which I may not be able to count on for anything beyond budgeted items. My biggest “luxury” are comic books and that averages $20 a week (or occasional DVD splurges). Even cheap dates in the city cost enough to take a chunk out of my piddly budget, which is obviously the problem with being broke and why that’s understandably seen as a flaw for men in dating. Unless you’re awesomely handsome or talented in the arts (music or painting especially), a guy who’s broke is seen as a loser. On the plus side, my schedule has become more “normal”.
In addition, the website which I’ve been writing comic book related articles for since 2009 in a freelance capacity shut down. While the money I got for it was always minor, it was a blow to my ego as I liked being considered a professional writer in some capacity as well as being a professional in the business involved with my hobby even in a small fringe capacity did something for me which I can’t describe. It certainly made me more interesting seeming. Losing it was an added blow to my ego at a time where I was worrying more about finances and job stability for the first time in years. I am trying to land a spot on another website in addition to exploring my day job options, and am even considering starting my own blog just to get back in the article writing habit again. But it is something else to deal with right now which has made hopping on OkCupid and trolling for dates a waste of precious time.
So now any plans for dating go on the back burner. Again. And soon the summer will be fall and then winter and that limits options for dates anyway in terms of daylight and cost (as most cheap dates are outdoor dates). Again. And before you know it, it will be 2017 and I will be older. And so the cycle repeats, ad infinitum. Yet what alternative do I have? Try to go on dates and admit right off how broke I am? Blow through finite resources (including a savings account which is in low triple digits) to go on some dates? Burn through time I should be spending looking for better gigs or emotional fortitude I will need for that job hunt in messaging a gazillion women hoping for the one who will talk to me, and then the one out of those who agrees to a date, only to have it end with in all probability in a “meh”?
This is one major reason why losing out on romantic experience when one is in high school or college is time which can never ever be made up. During those times there is usually less stress over finances and job pressure if only due to ignorance or youth or both. Being a grown up means more grown up concerns and priorities. Paying the bills and making sure there is food on the table and clothes being washed and so on takes priority over trivial things like making up for lost time, or even happiness. It’s the curse of capitalism, perhaps.
If it was truly meant to be, if I was truly meant to find some love out there, why would things in my life seem to grow harder and harder and more stressful every time I even considered taking more active steps towards it? I know this is close to “woe is me whining” territory, but this has been a common pattern in my life, and it has always stunk. Every time I ask the universe for a sign, it gives me one; that sign is always one that makes me miserable, is all. But at least miserable is better than dead, or homeless, or so on.
Another lost summer, another lost year. Another lost ember of hope. And officially my second year running what I call “my lonely man blog”. And so I remain…the Dateless-Man. But at least I am not currently the Jobless Man.