The other night I had a chance to share Happy Hour with two eligible bachelors! Imagine my delight when they both agreed to be interviewed for my blog as long as they were anonymous. As it turns out they both had A names, so I'll just call them the A-men. (Adam, if you're reading this, I want you to know that you're the original A-man... )
OK, back to the A-men. So these guys are both good-looking guys -- in their forties, but they could pass for being in their thirties... good hair, no beer bellies, energetic. A1 has never been married and A2 is divorced, but his marriage had been very short. Neither of the A-men had kids and their lifestyles (from what I could gather) seemed active and "Boulder-ish." Even though I'm only a couple of years older, I felt quite a bit more... suburban. I live in family-oriented Superior. I've been a soccer Mom. Before long I'll be a soccer Grandma! But nevermind... this is about them, not me. I'm just saying that I think single people with no kids typically have even more of a single lifestyle than those of us that do have kids.
What surprised me is that these good-looking single guys had the exact same kinds of concerns as women have! I had originally assumed that if they were single, it was because they probably were afraid of commitment. I admit, that's usually my first assumption, especially for the never-been-married set. But after talking to them, it didn't sound like fear of commitment was an issue at all! In fact, A2 said that in his relationships, he was usually the more "clingy" (or at least, the one who wanted to spend more time together as a couple...) Both guys sounded as though they really wanted to be married, or at least in long-term relationships, but just hadn't found the right woman.
A1 asked rhetorically something I know I've often thought myself, "You gotta start questioning why I'm not in a relationship. What's wrong?"
We talked about the universal phenomenon -- we're interested in people who aren't interested in us, but usually not interested in those who are interested in us. Or maybe we're initially attracted to someone, but once we get to know them, we realize it's just not a great fit.
A2 described this feeling of not really being ourselves because we want our date to like us. We jump through hoops, trying to be the person we think they want us to be. Even when we know we shouldn't, we can't help ourselves. "It just shouldn't be that hard," says A2, claiming he won't do that again.
We also talked about getting pickier as we have gotten older. We've been through enough relationships to know we shouldn't overlook the red flags. And, as we get older, we're more settled in our independence. When you haven't had to compromise for years and years, it's kind of hard to look at giving that up. Another thing that most of us older daters have are the scars of broken hearts. Once you've been through a very painful breakup, as much as you may long for a new long-term-relationship, it may be hard for your heart to open up to someone new.
I argued that men have it much easier than women. I said that it seemed there were many more single women than men in the area. The A-Men disagreed. In fact A1 (a fellow-geek) and I tried checking Boulder demographics with our iPhones, but we were unable to come up with any conclusive results about singles. (We did, however, find that there was an overwhelmingly high percentage of men and women around 20-years-old, undoubtedly due to the University, which made me think I might have much better luck finding a mate in Florida than in Boulder...)
A2 felt that finding an available woman in Boulder was very difficult because there were so many good-looking people to compete with. Boulder is full of beautiful people, we all agreed. I thought this logic had some holes, though. There are attractive men and attractive women everywhere, and they are usually the ones in high-demand. If A2 moved to a place full of ugly people, he wouldn't have any competition, but he probably wouldn't be too interested in the women, either.
The bottom line, however, is that these single guys were not so different than single gals. I could relate to many of the frustrations... Even though we each are different in our histories and our lifestyles, there is a bit of a common bond amongst older singles. I was really impressed with these guys -- they opened up enough to share a vulnerability that many men wouldn't. It helped me realize that in many cases, single men struggle just as much as single women.
I stayed at Happy Hour way too long -- how often is it that I get to pick the brains of men about relationships? -- but it was worth it. I wish I would have had the answers for all of us...figured out why we (when we were all so clearly wonderful) weren't in relationships. I really don't know, but at least for that night it worked out well for me, because, after all, I had a wonderful evening enjoying the attention of two handsome men. And so I'll end with a small prayer of thanks: A-men!