Tuesday, July 3, 2018

First Time for Everything

I wonder what would have happened to Sleeping Beauty had she slept for, oh, say 20, 30 years or so, but continued to age. I'm thinking Shrek, but with the change preempting the story instead of driving it. And what if she was not only wizened with time (like a hag, not like a man), but she also had her lady bits unceremoniously removed, leaving her sexless in all but desire. I imagine Prince Charming, also older and wiser, mounting the steps to her room to greet her and quietly gazing down at her sleeping there with laugh lines created as she dreamt each night and age spots from the sun peaking in her window during the day, and her hair sticking to her head a bit from the hot flash that steeped her in sweat at the most inopportune moment, as it always does.

Would he embrace the woman laying prone, thus saving her life, or would he cringe a bit, think better of it, and then tip toe away?

It's a weird place to inhabit to have been a bit of a princess, sometimes with more than one suitor offering a selection to choose from and the ability to make decisions about whom to sleep with and when, to suddenly wake up and be hidden from, avoided. To go from Ariel to Ursula in the blink of an eye with age, illness, and an absolute inability to give a shit about fashion.

And then poor Sleeping Beauty has to slip past the dragon on her own, not to avoid being seen as edible, but to avoid being seen as undesirable. How embarrassing!

I've never been stood up before, and it kinda sucks. It's not as bad as movies make it out to be, but it's definitely annoying.

It was my first date in almost this century, and could have possibly been my first kiss in a full decade. I ventured into online dating after a friend, recently engaged from an online encounter, explained that for every ten people you say "Hey" to online, one will likely lead to a conversation. And every ten conversations will likely lead to a date. And every ten dates will likely lead to one relationship. It's a numbers game, apparently, and it would only start, if you do the math, with 1,000 "Hey"s. It's all about persistence. I just let batchelor buttons completely overrun my back garden, so I'm not sure if persistence is my strong suit.

But he didn't show. My son thinks it's because I'm so awkward with people, but this dude didn't have a chance to see just how truly awkward I could be. AND I was far more awkward in my late 20s and early 30s, with two little ones in tow, and I had zero problems finding a date back then. My potential suitor also didn't have a clue about my leftist politics or my feminism or the extent to which environmental concerns and basic morality affect my day-to-day lifestyle. He was good to go online, the initiator of the event, spurred on by well-angled photos, until he beheld my outer casing waiting for him, all three-dimensional and poorly lit, and he silently demurred.

LUCKILY, I had brought a book to rescue me from the tedium of waiting, and I welcome a respite form the heat. I arrived thirty minutes early to get through a chapter or two, and I sat by the door to be the found rather than the finder because I am the worst at facial recognition. I was in a bar full of soccer fans watching the match on many screens, and I would have had little chance of picking him out of the crowd. All people generally look alike to me. I thought I was just not paying attention to people until my kids came to my school, and I couldn't find them in the hallways either. It's a thing. Anyway, I was one of very few females in the place, and alone, and with a book and a beer, acting like I was just there for the A/C; I'm pretty sure I stood out.

I waited two hours.

It was exactly enough time to finish Kate Manne's Down Girl: The Logic of Misogyny. I didn't bring it purposefully, and I kept it flat on the table to avoid frightening my potential suitor with the cover; it just happened to be what I was reading at the time. And it was delicious. All about that another day.

What makes it all an an annoyance rather than a tragedy is that, unlike Sleeping Beauty, I don't need to be saved. I'm not waiting to be awakened. I cast my net from time to time when everyone's busy with their partners and I can't find a canoe buddy. Sometimes I recognize that I'm missing out on the benefits of being first on someone's list of people to please. While it's been a while since I've been seized passionately, a warm embrace is always within easy reach. And the fortuitousness of reading that particular book on that particular day helped make me roll my eyes instead of feel pathetic as it reminded me of the inane social dynamics we've accepted as normal: the princess scenarios, the authority of maleness, the routine of giving to instead of sharing with. It's not about not being chosen, not being worthy, and therefore losing the race for a mate, but about not fitting that time-worn stereotype. It's not that men are lacking because they don't rise above the superficial, but that, in our society, it's amazing that any of us are ever able to see outside of the dominant perspective of what a mate should encompass.

He messaged that he had been there, and I simply wasn't to be found, but then he neglected to responded to my reply offering another time and place with my phone number to prevent another madcap mixup. Of course I apologized for not being sufficiently visible. My son (and dating coach) is pretty sure that's all bullshit. It's just so much easier for the guy to say he couldn't find me than to say the other thing. You know: you're not really up to my standards, or you're not my type, or, even, you're uglier than I thought you'd be. So, only eight more crappy dates until I get a good one, if the odds are in my favour, and if I'm up for it.

I have a lot of books to read. We'll see how enticing the prospect of A/C is this summer.

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