Dating for Martians: The Meandering Conclusion

Ulysses Ship

Is this really the end?


~ This is a continuation of Dating for Martians: The Trail of Gentlemen Callers ~

I should’ve known I didn’t really want to meet new people. More than anything, I should’ve known that you could write all the ingredients you want, but the computer isn’t going to cook up some man to make you forget all other men — the ones from your past, and the ones from your present.

It was December and I was about to leave for New York. I had recently reactivated my online dating account.

“I don’t know why I thought I had the time or desire to meet anyone. I’ve had to turn down offers for drinks, coffee, tea, opera, Malibu hiking, motorcycle rides…” I said to Man Friend.

“I don’t see you in a relationship,” Man Friend said. “Have a fling.”

“I don’t do flings.”

I tried once, a one-night thing that turned yearlong.

I’ve been in fact, a serial monogamist since the age of eighteen. I’ve had several excellent, five-year relationships followed by several excellent ex-boyfriends who remained in my life.

To the outside world, they probably come across as regular people. But to me, they are exceptional. I can’t imagine my life — or myself — without them. Even S., who is gone, is an active force. I still break down over his death once in a while, which I imagine will always happen. He is after all, the one who was with me when I was a surly teenager, and in the sense that I grew into a kinder adult because he was there for the transition, he never left. He knew my heart before I knew it.

“You are loyal in an unusual way.
It can confuse people.
But not the important ones.”

He said that to me a couple of years ago, leaving me with quite a lot. Thank you, beautiful Shane Dunne. I’m glad I put his name in print. I should have done it sooner.

How to get back to the online dating conclusion… In truth, I’m sick of these dating posts. I don’t want Gunmetal Geisha to be about a subject that was meant to be a side note.

The day after posting The Trail of Gentleman Callers, I woke up in a dark mood and lacked any desire to bother with the final Martian Dating installment. My head was under the covers and I didn’t know whether it was day or night. The ceaseless writing had put me off my sleep and eating. I slept no more than four hours at a time and I skipped classes, grocery shopping and meeting with friends.

The crazy tree branching in my head had to be out of me before I could get back to my life.

I almost hoped to collapse from exhaustion, hit my head and get amnesia so that I could be done. A writer friend said he admired my monomania, and this made me disgusted with myself: Did I come down to being a person obsessed with her blog?

That particular day, I lay awake in bed thinking as I do, feeling the thoughts like a horde of chomping mice in my head.

Why had I felt the need to do the I am bad, I am bad dance in the “gentlemen” post? Why was I intent on sending some message of I don’t deserve your love and attention? Didn’t my existing guilt subject me to enough mental punishment without having to add phrases like I had left a trail of carcasses?

In December, I set the location to New York on the dating site, and accepted one meeting.

The way I see it, first meetings ought to be light on obligation, such as over beverages or a walk in the park.

In this case, he offered a Vespa ride through Christmas-lit Manhattan and it happened to be a glorious 65-degree winter night. I recognized him because he was holding two helmets as I walked out of the building.

He visibly took back a step when he saw me. Later over a drink, he told me he’d reacted that way because for a second he wondered if he was being pranked. You walk out in jeans and barely wearing makeup, but you have this movie-star quality, and I think, what the fuck?!

Men can be so good at compliments.

Of course, they know some of us eat it up.

You have class, he kept saying, so much class. And when I took out my six-year-old phone that had four push buttons lost like missing teeth, and a few more curling off not unlike rot, he hugged me. You’re so cool! He exclaimed.

There was just no losing with him, and I was grateful. Having gone to New York emotionally tattered, I found his warmth kind of healing.

We were the very definition of simpatico. We laughed a lot and didn’t run out of conversation. It’s not unusual for online dates to talk about the dating site, and he was particularly experienced with it. So instead of making assumptions about my interest based on our rapport, he asked me straight out if I saw us going anywhere romantically. My appreciation of him grew.

I looked him in the eye, already fond of him, and gently shook my head, “no.” He took it with grace, a nod and a sigh.

“I’d still like to invite you to a Broadway show tomorrow night,” he said. “It won’t be a date.” Was he like me, capable of putting aside romantic notions and still enjoy good company? I accepted his invitation, and learned that yes, he was.

I will never forget him.

I returned to Los Angeles about a month later, regenerated and whole. The inhabitants of New York — my niece, her mother, my brothers, my parents, my best girlfriend, and A. (my ex-boyfriend) — had healed me from my winter wounds. For the other, profound Shane wound, we all put together a New York memorial.

Gone was that cavernous yearning in me that I always confuse with the need for passionate love.

You’d think it was at this point that I took down the online dating profile. But instead, I set the location back to Los Angeles.

People seeking partners assign guidelines for the potentiality of spouse, home and children. Perhaps by not setting those limits, I have too many options. Adding the fact that I maintain unconventional relationships with my exes, I’m left with both the luxury to deconstruct the nature of relationships and the reluctance to give up any freedom.

“Your dating posts are an H. instruction manual,” said Man Friend. I’m of course, H., but the manual is for my own instruction more than anyone else. And then I understood. It isn’t so much that I’m obsessed with my blog as I am navigating my psyche.

Before I shut down my online dating account for good, I met the Perfect Man. That was two months ago.

But I stopped seeing the Perfect Man romantically.

Yesterday he inquired after my well-being. I texted back, playfully asking if he thought I might’ve received death threats after making a lot of male readers hate me with the “gentlemen” post. So he made a joke about murderers amassing outside my building as he nursed his own wounds. I told him to hush and wait, that I hadn’t even gotten into the “Perfect Man” story yet.

“That’ll be when the women turn on you too!” He wrote.

I laughed. He might be right.

It’s probably supremely narcissistic to think of someone as your personal angel, but that’s how I see him. All he’s ever done is make me feel good.

It’s no surprise then, why I grapple with guilt.

I want to keep living in the world I’ve created, the one where I get to make my own rules, like in the Star Trek holodeck. It’s rarely, if ever, about sex for me. I’m deeply affectionate, but the wild child in me is sometimes like a high school virgin.

I have to live with constant duality. I think I want a non-traditional relationship but then can’t imagine anything other than monogamy. I vacillate between flitting social butterfly and cave-dwelling bat.

I reach inside and shake hands with the interior of a person, cramming the getting-to-know process into several intense sessions in a row. Some people expect it to always be that way. But in the end, I’m a person who retreats into her alone space.

Those in my circle get it. When people know you, they understand your inconsistencies. Like Shane understood. But when they don’t, they get hurt.

Yet I tell their stories, like when I pay tribute to the man with the Vespa. I hear their tales in my head and repeat the words like incantations. I’m Scheherazade and live another day because of the people whose stories I tell.

Or maybe, all this talk is a different delaying tactic, Penelope weaving the shroud and keeping her suitors at bay. Until the return of Odysseus.

The truth is, I don’t know. And it’s taken me five installments and nearly ten thousand words to reach this conclusion.

Cathartic Monkeyism

  • Navigating the psyche is no easier than the seas in the Odyssey.

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  1. …and yet, it is not really a conclusion at all is it GiGi. Such a spacious and abstract heart is sure to find company claustrophobic and solitude agorophobic without a hint of inconsistency. You are a living Picasso, a talking Van Gough and you will never die. LLH&R REDdog

    1. An amazing comment; you’re a poet.

  2. lrconsiderer · · Reply

    Just wait, and breathe…and wait some. I know you have this notion about age (if I’m frank, I had the same one, and it turned out…the way it did) BUT you are who you are who you are.

    You are On Purpose.

    You are all things and sometimes not much. You are sixteen impossible things before breakfast and sometimes Favourite After Tea. You don’t have to make sense or follow patterns or conform to anyone else’s (or your own) idea of ‘should’.

    Stop tying yourself in knots, and keep blogging.

    And if you haven’t read it yet (chez moi, because you kindly said you were interested) top recommendation is this:

    1. Waiting and breathing… I shall try. “You are all things and sometimes not much,” is a lovely reminder for all people. Je vais chez toi, maintenant, avec plaisir. And to discover more delicious tea and impossibility…

  3. maurnas · · Reply

    I love this post, you are fantastic. I could go on and on praising you.

    1. I must think the same of you because I love seeing your little avatar.

  4. Paul · · Reply

    I actually think you are more like Odysseus than Penelope. Right down to the name – Odysseus means “trouble” in both the sense of causing and receiving. That seems to be your current issue: you feel you are causing pain for potential mates and are feeling unsettled because of that. Also Odysseus was a master of changing appearance and voice – much as an actor (like you) does. He was a great traveler as you have been. No, if anything you are an Odysseus of the psyche. Which brings us to the other major factor in his life – the gods were seriously involved in his day to day stuff.

    You seem to have reached an apparent paradox in your life – the balance of gregariousness with alone time – needing (wanting) love from another special person and the exploration of self (generally a solitary undertaking: self-love, in a positive way). Personally, I think that this apparent contradiction is at the heart of most people but is a continuum: some more to being with others and some more to themselves. I suspect your challenge is that you seem to have a strong need for both. The interesting part of this is that if you examine the concept of a supreme being, most scripture supports a similar dichotomy. On one hand it is generally accepted by those who believe that a supreme being created life to love, with love, for love – defined loosely by Socrates in Plato’s Republic as “the desire to be one with”- which implies more than one existence. On the other hand it is also generally accepted (again by all who believe) that a supreme being is One – omnipresent and omniscient. An apparent contradiction similar to the one you are experiencing. So, as we’ve discussed before, what you need is not to choose one path or the other, but rather to find the overarching concept under which both can co-exist. You find that and you can alternately use the lower concepts as desired without sacrificing one for the other.

    I suspect that the apparent dichotomy in the Supreme Being definition is created by our perspective. We are “looking” up at God while God simultaneously exists within us. If we can try to look at our existence from the perspective of God, we would likely see that we are in part determined and defined by God to allow us to have choices and thereby to create ourselves from the base he has given us. So, that all said, you need a different perspective that is over-arching to include your apparently paradoxical needs.

    Oh, as an aside, say hello to Simon (the spider) for me. I’m glad you let him live free!

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more! I almost had a violent reaction envisioning myself embodying her rather than him. Penelope ONLY for that one sentence.

    Odysseus of the psyche — I like that.

    I shall hold out for an overarching context / concept. (Simon the spider is in the corner snickering at that sentence.)

    Once again, a fascinating, inspired text by you.

  6. Absolutely wonderful. I have loved reading these posts. You write with such elegance and honesty I am just in awe. The conclusion about your inconsistencies is so fantastic for me to read as it’s like looking in a mirror in that I don’t have to deconstruct my own psyche because you’ve summed it up and articulated it in a way I’m not sure I’ve ever been able to. Thank you for sharing. You and your blog is a constant source of hope and inspiration.

    1. Thank you so much, Joanne, You are incredibly lovely for saying so, and I’m grateful to have you as a reader. It makes me strive to reach the standard you describe.

  7. Nana · · Reply

    I agree with J.B’s comment above that your posts are always a source of “hope & inspiration.” Even when it’s seemingly about dating, it’s all actually about “knowing the self” and a journey of self discovery, that all helps us, the readers, to reflect on our own selves and find that sincerity (the most important quality), which you have.

    Btw, you’ll be proud to know that my jet lag has helped me catch up on your posts while on vacation (currently 3:30am in France)!

    1. You’re too good to me.

      I have jet lag too. And I’m not even traveling.

  8. My first time on your blog, and I’ve been here close to an hour now, meandering from one post to the other. Your writing is awesomely inspiring and your frankness, endearing. Bravo!

    1. I’m happy to know that you spent time on different posts, thank you. And of course, for the wonderful feedback. Much appreciated.


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