When I was in college, I didn’t have very many long-term girlfriends.  And by “many,” I mean any.  So my knowledge of serious relationships was gleaned from watching my friends and their significant others.  Invariably, I would think to myself, “That poor sucker.  I’m going out to try and get laid and he’s stuck on the couch with some chick watching what the WB is touting as a ‘very special episode of Felicity.‘”  And I was happy.  I wasn’t some bitter shell of a young man, sitting on the couch, reading a self-help book because I couldn’t bear to be without a lady.  And although I fear change, it was and is always inevitable.  I graduated, and moved on to law school.

I’ll never really know if finding Ex-Fiancee at law school was because we were right for each other, or because neither of us had a real social identity.  I guess all that’s relevant to this topic, however, is that we settled in to a routine I had watched my friends submit to many times before.  But I wasn’t angry that I had settled down.  Just the opposite.  Sitting there on my couch with Ex-Fiancee, watching One Tree Hill, I couldn’t understand how I didn’t settle down sooner!  This was great!  Talking about feelings, having someone to communicate with,  and being emotionally honest in an unprecedented manner felt terrific.  In other words, I had somehow turned gay. 

After awhile, all that open and honest communication gets to be a fucking hassle.  I bet not one of my married friends would ever say that to their wives (if they value their marriage), but I guarantee every one of them thinks it on a regular basis.  I think it’s a common misconception that women are better communicators than men.  Men can communicate just as easily, it’s just that we don’t feel it’s necessary to torture another with the excrutiating detail of our daily lives.  We just keep the daily occurrences we know our friends couldn’t care less about to ourselves.  Don’t get me wrong, I think communication is necessary on many levels.  Just not on as many levels as the fairer sex.  My Dad always taught me, “keep it bottled up inside, like a real man.”  So when in doubt, that’s exactly what I do.  And I turned out just fine. 

I was with Ex-Fiancee for three years.  And while I’d love to say I miss the constant communication with her, I don’t.  I know that’s unbelievable, and it surprised me, too.  Maybe I’m a loner, or maybe I’m just emotionally unavailable.  Or maybe she talked so much I would hide Alka-Seltzer under my tongue and fake seizures just to get her to stop yapping.  Either way, living the single life has been pretty sweet.  Let me give you some examples.

Never really been a big grocery shopper.  Turns out, Publix is a great place to meet chicks.  I’m over by the fresh fruit isle, contemplating the berry selection, and a hot girl is standing next to the legumes.  I casually begin with,

“Excuse me, do you know how long rasberries will stay good in my refrigerator?  No? Blueberries, then?  See, I’m trying out this healthy breakfast cereal (for the fiber), and it’s pretty bland.  But you know how on the carton picture they always have the fresh berries mixed in with the cornflakes, and it looks really tasty?  Then you get home and open the box, and no berries! So, I thought, I’ll just buy the berries and mix ’em right in with the cereal every morning!  Know what I’m sayin’?” 

In that particular case, she called security.  But it could’ve gone either way. 

One final example of the simple joys of the single life.  Last week, I was sitting in the den playing Contra.  No one was distracting me by running their mouth and making me miss a free man.  No one was yammering on incessantly about ‘a death in the family’ or ‘serious emotional and physical abuse.’  Just me and the Nintendo.  Like it should be.  And it occurred to me: “Vegas, what if you’re doing this at age 45?” 

And then the biggest smile I’ve had in years spread slowly across my face.  My eyes began to water with joyous emotion.  Because I could, in fact, still be doing this at forty-five. 

 

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