I had dinner last night with the girls. Girls, as in two of us who are 50, and a third who will be 50 in May. There was lots of talk of dating mid-life, Match.com fiascos, and recent breakups (one for each of them, which is why they were out with me on a Saturday night). I, of course, had nothing to contribute but comments of how content I am in my manless world.
After we finished dinner, my two dining companions were intent upon having a nightcap somewhere else. Somewhere there might be men. The point, they explained, was to enjoy one another’s company and at the same time put ourselves “out there.” I, not giving a crap about finding a man “out there,” tried to beg off so I could go home and write. Or read your posts. Or research what to do with my new taxable account at T. Rowe Price now that I’ve begun paying attention to the fact that I will stop working some day and will need money to do so. Now that I’ve stopped imagining I will marry a man who will take care of me in retirement. Who will take care of the money.
Side note: While I’d like to leave matters of finance to this fat-cat financial adviser, he’s only interested in lining his pockets with my tuna. Which is why I’ve spent a considerable amount of time of late educating myself on investing.
Instead of writing, reading, or researching, I succumb to peer pressure and find myself at a bowling alley bar. Let me tell you, bowling alley bars have come a long way. This one was snazzy. We had a beer. While I am not normally a beer drinker, do you know how much cheaper a glass of beer is than a glass of wine? So in keeping with my new “saving-for-retirement” austerity, I had beer. One friend would comment that she likes “Spendy Ella” better. Well, so did I, but I don’t want to be a lawyer for any longer than absolutely necessary, and I’m way behind the eight-ball. And so I had a beer “out there” at a bowling alley bar. A bar where the oldest male was 35.
The topic turned to the search for the fountain of youth (in furtherance of the search for a bedmate) via bioidentical hormones. I bit my tongue and sipped my beer, whilst imagining rolling my eyes at them. I did the bioidentical hormone thing years ago, at a time when I was more gullible (hopeful?) than I am now, and all it did was make me hairy and broke, with a girly part that swelled several sizes with no concomitant increase in pleasure. (If I hadn’t gotten off them, would it have turned into a penis?) Eventually, I was overcome and blurted: “It’s all hooey!” That outburst, coupled with my repeated comments that I’m quite content without a man, that I find sex repetitive and boring at this point in my life, and that there are so many things that interest me more than thinking about finding a man, has probably gotten me booted from the next girls’ night “out there.”
I feel ambivalence. Maybe I should care about finding a partner. Maybe I do care and I’m just trying to temper disappointment. An art I have perfected over the years. But I think there’s something more to it than that. I think it’s not that I’ve given up. Or that I’m trying to protect myself from the downside of being alone for the foreseeable future, or perhaps, forever. I think maybe I’ve just come to realize that sometimes we don’t pair up. Sometimes, this whole thing about meaning to spend your life with your other half is wrong. This isn’t how it’s necessarily meant to be.
John Donne wrote: “No man is an island, entire of itself.” But maybe some people (i.e., me) are more suited for island life. Which is why I need to double down on my austerity. You can’t buy an island being Spendy Ella.