Seriously, I think I need a Nobel Prize. No, actually. Scratch that. What I NEED is the millions that go with it. I DESERVE the Nobel Prize.
I mean, here I am. Totally unfunded (understatement of the year) yet still managing to develop totally sound, totally innovative theories about life. Genius, that's what this is...
So. My latest theory.
Tomorrow is a day that I have loathed for way more years than I've liked it. Yup, St Valentine's Day. It was fun for probably 13 years, and crap for all the others, so I'm not hopeful about tomorrow.
Seeing everything all lovey-dovey-fied on the Internet in the last few weeks set me to thinking about love and relationships and the like. Because OF COURSE I'm an expert.
Let's back up a bit, to my glorious youth. First off, it was far from glorious. Really. My youth can pretty much be summed up in 10 words: submissive, unrebellious, got good grades at school, totally missed out. I was invisible to everyone but my teachers. My parents had no clue as to what kind of person I was. I was never asked out on a date, never went on a date, never had a date to the hideous school dances (the British equivalent of the Prom) I had to go to. I had male friends, but that was it. No romance at all. And never a single Valentine, naturally.
I left high school and went away to a university as far from home as I dared, without realising that I'd actually chosen the most English university in Scotland, almost entirely peopled with kids from the same area that I had just left. *sigh*.
I made friends, plenty of friends in fact, and many of them remain close friends even today. But I was still wholly invisible as a potential "date". My male acquaintances (not friends) used me as a means of making contact with my eminently desirable room-mate. My male friends confided in me. So, once again, never asked out on a date, never accompanied to dances or whatever. Just a few very dissatisfying (and, let's be honest, frequently humiliating) one-night stands as a result of drunken shenanigans. Hmmm.
Things only slightly improved on moving to France after graduation (don't worry, I'm getting to my theory, honest), but not much till 1996, when I hooked up with my now ex-partner. We were together for 14 years (I'm clearly and all-or-nothing type) and pretty happy together for most of that time.
And now, well, I'm back to the "nothing" part again. And this is where my theory kicks in. The longer I spend alone - truly alone in a relationshippy sense of the word - the more I realise that I don't actually want to share my life with someone any more. I like being able to eat porridge at 4 am, stay up all night watching Mad Men on DVD and drool over Don Draper. I like being able to get away with not doing any housework for weeks on end. None of that (and more like it) would be possible if I had to share this home with someone else.
What I DO crave, however, is a date. Somone to make me feel special, make me feel safe, loved. Someone to take the strain when it all gets too much for me (like right now, for example) Someone with their own home, their own income, their own life, but still time for me.
So my theory is this: the longer you're single, particularly if the singledom is involuntary and a source of pain and/or anger, the less likely you are to want to go down the coupledom path again. And the more likely you are to want just casual flings. You really do get used to being alone, and the idea of having to go through all the compromise crap again is just horrible. I'm pretty sure I couldn't do it. I'm pretty sure there isn't a man on earth capable of putting up with me on a permanent basis (hell, I can barely put up with me...). Not even Johnny Depp.
The problem with this theory is that my pitiful "casual fling" and dating history makes it highly likely that this whole subject is a moot point. I'm more than likely never going to have any contact with a man ever again. Dating sites are out of the question - I don't want to meet "the perfect mate" or whatever vomit-inducing phrase these sites use. I also don't want to "pick up guys" (I never managed that when I was young, I certainly wouldn't now. And don't want to. Really.) So there's no solution. Well, other than having Johnny Depp just turn up on my doorstep and whisk me off on a hot, no-strings-attached date, that is.
The Shadoks claim that if there's no solution, there's no problem, but I disagree. This is, for me, a very real problem. I would very much like the company of an attractive, solvent, sane man (can you tell I've been burned?). Just not one that lives in my home or thinks I'm weird for eating porridge at 4 am. I would love to have a nice, attractive man wrap his arms around me and tell me all my troubles will disappear, but I don't want to be in a couple. I love my independence, I hate my loneliness.
Maybe a toy boy is the solution, but I doubt it. Really young men truly don't do it for me (remember, I teach students, so I see plenty of young men and they are like aliens to me - undesirable aliens) and I'm pretty much the anti-cougar (no seductive talents AT ALL).
So what can I do? Drool over Don Draper and Dr McDreamy? (Actually, McDreamy doesn't do it for me either; sometimes I prefer Dr Karev, sometimes I prefer Denny (except for the fact that he died)...) Wait for Johnny to split definitively from Vanessa (and make the leap of faith required to end up with me)? Live vicariously through others? Give up?
Clearly, the last solution is the easiest to put into action. But also the most depressing. Which is why I'm approaching tomorrow (actually, today now) with rocks in my heart and lead in my soul.
St Valen-effing-tine's Day.
Remind me to let the Nobel boys have my bank details. That money would at least keep the hounds from the door...