Sunday, January 22, 2012

MOVIN’ A RUBBER TREE PLANT

Or something like that.

I heard the song “High Hopes” while watching an episode of THE MIDDLE this week. It felt like a knockoff of (or a tribute to) LAVERNE & SHIRLEY. The song, famously sung by both Doris Day and Frank Sinatra has endured. Despite all the dips I’ve come across in dating—“dips” may refer to my own feelings or to the other guy across the table, depending on my level of bitterness—I need to endure just like the song.

Just what makes that little old ant
Think he'll move that rubber tree plant
Anyone knows an ant...can't
Move a rubber tree plant

But he's got high hopes, he's got high hopes
He's got high apple pie, in the sky hopes.


My latest high hope ended abruptly after two outings. Egad! How is it that my “relationships” are getting shorter?! At 47, it is easy for me to feel defeatist. Could it be that the good ones are all taken? Is there something about me that is genuinely repulsive? (Who told you about my BACKSTREET BOYS 4EVER tattoo?!)

Even with reasonable evidence that I am not at fault, it is hard to keep hoping. When I went on the Plenty of Fish online dating site this morning to change a photo, I noticed that my two-date guy had deleted our messages. Not only that, he had deleted his entire profile. I can conclude that I truly icked him out or that he realized he signed back onto a dating site too soon after a recent breakup. Yes, the latter option is what I’ll go with, but the frustration lingers. It’s all too déjà-vu. I am ready—heck, OVERDUE!—for my happy ending.






So any time you're gettin' low
'stead of lettin' go
Just remember that ant
Oops there goes another rubber tree plant.


I did a quick search of profiles and found one or two possibilities. I even clicked to begin a message to one but bored myself by staring at the blinking cursor. I could not write a thing. My heart’s not there right now. A shame, really. How does one guy not being ready have such an influence my own behavior?

I’m not ready to meet another guy who discovers he’s not ready. I can’t bear for another man to decide I live too far from his tiny urban playground. And, worse, I do not want to go for another coffee where neither one of us feels a darn thing. I used to feel that every bad date crossed off another guy, bringing me one step closer. Nowadays, each blow takes me one step farther.

Maybe I’ll feel different tomorrow. I was once filled with hope. It can come back. I’ll move that rubber tree plant someday.

7 comments:

Rick Modien said...

Hey, RG. A few random thoughts:

1). Great (not to mention fun) juxtaposition of the ant moving the rubber tree plant with the challenges faced by someone, like you, trying to find a suitable partner. I appreciate what you're trying to say. (When I wrote my blog, I liked the technique of starting a post about one subject and connecting it to something else, which was the point I wanted to make.)

2. Love the song "High Hopes." Fun and light and positive and uplifting. Great image. (I'll give you one guess what I can't stop singing now?)

3. No, at your age, I don't believe all the good men are taken. They're simply a little more challenging to find.

4. No, there's absolutely nothing "genuinely repulsive" about you. (That I know of; after all, you and I have never dated. But, from what I can tell through your blogs, you are a quality man who deserves a quality man in his life.)

5. Two-date guy deleted his profile because he's not ready to return to the dating pool. Fair enough. He learned that on his own. He did not reach that conclusion because he didn't like you. His decision to take himself off the market is not about you--remember that.

6. Yes, you are long overdue for your happy ending. Hang in there. Never give up. NEVER!

7. Hey, according to the lyrics of the song, the ant ended up moving the rubber tree plant. So too will you find the right man and have your happy ending.

8. On these websites, can you not exchange emails with a fellow for a while so you get to know each other BEFORE you meet? I ask because my sister used eHarmony a number of years ago, and she and the man she's been with since met that way and did the email thing for months until they could be sure they had enough in common to warrant meeting. Sounds like a logical way to do things. I say that because you can develop connection over time. Endear yourselves to each other. Create excitement, maybe even desire. So small obstacles (like distance between you) not only don't seem so big but don't stand in the way. There's too much pressure on that first meeting (not to mention too much energy expended). Invest in each other first, if appropriate; then meet and see what happens.

9. You've got date exhaustion wearing you down. Try what I advise in #8 (if you can). At first, do it all from the comfort of your own home. (Plus, I can't help but think whatever attraction you have won't be based so much on appearance. Sure, share pictures, but only after you get to know each other, not right away. Generate some mystery and fun.

10. You are quite right. Every guy you cross off your list for one reason or another puts you closer to the right guy. It's only a matter of time.

11. I really think you need to consider dating a younger man. Even in my early-thirties, I knew I needed to meet someone much younger than me, so he didn't have baggage. I didn't need cynicism and an unhappy history. I needed someone fresh and new, with an open heart. Chris was perfect. A younger man might just be perfect for you, too.

12. You know, if you didn't really want to meet someone, especially in light of your anticipated move, you wouldn't keep going to sites like Plenty of Fish. I think you'd prefer a relationship over the move. I don't blame you. Nothing trumps love. I can't think of anything.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Rural Gay said...

Wow, Rick. You put a great deal of thought into your response. Thanks for the feedback.

You are right that I have dating fatigue. It's hard to keep trying and to keep hoping. The bad dates can be easily dismissed. It's the dead-end good dates that dishearten me.

I have tried the longer term exchange of emails on dating sites, with one lasting six months. We never did meet. I'd suggest a day and he'd always find an excuse. Two years later, he is still on Plenty of Fish. Lots of wasted energy.

You may recall another exchange that spanned nine months with a guy from Toronto. We did meet during a week in Ottawa but distance and other factors led to a fizzle out.

I can see your point, but I am not a fan of the prolonged online messages. In a time of Twitter and text messages, guys are typically brief and say things like, "how wz ur day". It's hard for me to even write that without pointing out that the lack of capitalization or punctuation comes from the sender, not me. Even when a little substance enters into the messages, I have a hard time remembering the snippets of information. For me, there is nothing like a face-to-face chance to meet.

The other part that makes extended messaging feel weird is that I will get other messages from other people during that time. I'll have spent three months writing one person without having met and then I don't know what to do with a promising message from a new person. It feels like cheating even though a first date has yet to happen. I am so loyal by nature that I cannot handle the awkwardness.

I will, however, take your suggestion into consideration. Perhaps a month's worth of messages would work. I'll look at it on a case by case basis.

For now, I'm not in the right head space to do anything but I'm sure to rebound midweek. That "High Hopes" song will help me get back on a positive track. (I prefer the Doris Day version.)

Here's to ant ambition!

JustAMike said...

Hey RG, I just want you to know there is always hope. I didn't mean to be "flip" with you on Twitter the other day when I said "I hated dating". As you pointed out in your reply here to RM, Twitter is not the greatest place for a meaningful conversation.

I didn't come out of the closet until I was 48. Then I dated (and hated it) but eventually I found my soul mate. And he lived an hour from me at the time (in the City while I live in the country). He's 5 years older than me and we met online. I don't know, to this day how, out of 7 billion people on this planet, we managed to find each other, but we did! So, I know it can happen for you too.

Also, I found PoF to be such a waste of time. I never got one successful contact from that service. Not sure why.

All the best!

Rural Gay said...

Hey Mike,
Your Twitter comment was just the quick soundbite I needed to affirm that I was not alone in finding the dating experience to be sometimes insufferable.

I do appreciate your longer comment here, suggesting that hope remains. Congrats to you on finding a worthwhile man! Mind if I ask where you and your partner first connected online?

JustAMike said...

We met on silverdaddies.com. Neither of us play the "daddy" image but it was recommended to me by a friend and I liked the set-up and met the nicest people there. :-)

Bob T said...

Hi RG,

I read your post and felt your frustration. I can't say that I have a lot of current knowledge about how to go about looking for love in this day and age (I've been hooked up for 25+ years), but I swear by the old adage "as soon as you stop desperately looking you will find your prince (or princess, as the case may be)."

It sounds like you've had some wonderful things happen recently in your life (a book published for one, high five!) so relish them and make sure that you make yourself available for all the great opportunities that come along your way. The only way to meet people is to make yourself available.

The important people in your life, who know you and know you are open to meeting new people and making friends, can help as well.

As long as you aren't looking for a shiny new uncirculated penny it is never too late to fall in love or to be loved back. The party is only as fun as you make it.

Best of luck!
Bob
@bobtyler4

Rural Gay said...

Hi Rick, Mike and Bob. Thanks for the comments. I find some amusement that these supportive remarks all come from guys in longterm relationships. You may be inadvertantly lending support to my wondering about whether all the good ones are taken!

Still, I shall trudge on. I don't feel that I have been "desperately looking" although I recognize that my blog posts can come across as full of despair. I typically only post relationship related entries when I feel a strong emotional impulse. I want to convey the honesty and the rawness that come before my more reasonable mind takes over and puts things into perspective. I hope that other single guys can relate to the dips in dating.

For the past two days, my chronic single status warrants no more than a shrug. I have my writing, my work, my dog and the business about selling my house to keep me plenty occupied.

I also know that the onus is on me if I want to date. There is no part of my work or my home environment that brings me into contact with anyone gay. The chance that I may stumble into the right situation at the right time is nil until I can sell my home and move to a more urban setting. The local coyotes have not been the least bit helpful in setting me up with a gay guy. (True, I haven't asked them. THAT would be desperate!)

Thanks for the tip about silverdaddies, Mike. I may take a peek on the weekend.