Last week, I was “forced” to cook dinner for a guy I dated a lifetime ago. I wanted to interview him for this blog and the only way he would agree to it was if I cooked for him. (Sigh). So I did.
Though we didn’t make it as a couple, he and I have remained friends through the years and it was a fun night. Why didn’t we make it? There’s no one specific reason, but I do know that we have different sensibilities about a lot of things. For example, he didn’t understand why I would get mad when he would use my toothbrush. Eeeeww!
John (as in “Doe”, because he won’t let me use his real name) is a youthful 54-year-old executive in the entertainment industry. I wanted to interview him because I write a lot about my own spinsterhood and was curious about the male experience. I don’t pretend that John is representative of other men who’ve never been married, but I found his responses to my questions rather intriguing.
John has always dated a lot, and I find what he’s doing now particularly interesting…meaning I don’t know quite what to make of it. He has a woman… and then another 2-3 on the side, so to speak. He’s a nice guy, though, and this is a reminder that I often don’t know what some women are thinking. (More about this, later.) Here’s John’s take on a few things:
How his family impacted his view of marriage:
My Mom didn’t really have a life outside her children.
My Dad shocked me. When he was dying, he expressed regret that my sister had not married, but he said he didn’t recommend it for the boys. He and my mother were married for 45 years and I couldn’t believe he was saying this. I later found out that he had another woman.
Why he hasn’t gotten married:
Marriage is not something I foresee because there’s no benefit.
I probably also have some fear of commitment…being held accountable to another person, losing my freedom. I don’t want to hurt anybody.
I always struggled with whether I could be faithful. Some of my married friends say ‘Get married and f*&^ around.’ I didn’t want to do that. Divorce is traumatic.
I like knowing lots of women…having semi-relationships with them. A desire for safety keeps me from wanting to connect to them on a deeper level…because I don’t know what that deeper level even means. I’m just not that kind of dude that needs somebody all the time.
I’m in a relationship up to a point. A woman wants your time. She wants to know ‘why can’t we spend weekends together?’ I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to be with one person that much. And how would I explain it to the others? I haven’t met anybody, yet, who’s made me want to give up everybody else.
On that relationship:
I guess you could say she’s my girlfriend. I want her in my life, but I’m not turned on by her anymore. We haven’t had sex in 5 years. She’s like a ‘safety’ for me. We’ve been together 13 years and have seen each other through a lot. We’re in each other’s lives. I do love her.
This relationship doesn’t allow me to get emotionally close to anyone else. I know this is dysfunctional.
NOTE: So, John has a girlfriend who he’s been with for 13 years, but they don’t have a sexual relationship. He fulfills that need with the 2-3 other women in his life. As far as I can tell, this works for everybody involved.
Sex…then and now:
When I was young, I never went a weekend without sex. Now, sometimes I don’t want to be bothered.
On being a male spinster…okay, bachelor:
I’m alone, but not lonely.
On the societal pressure of having never been married:
I don’t pay attention to it. I’m busy trying to handle my business. It never feels awkward because I meet too many married men who are unhappy. I don’t believe marriage works.
Because he works in the entertainment industry, John spends a lot of time in clubs. He left dinner the night of our interview at 10:30p to go meet a client at a strip club. That’s the nature of the business. He laughed that he would have preferred to go home.
I think one thing I was struck by was how many women he has access to. A 54-year-old man can still date as much as he wants. I think the pickin’s are a lot slimmer for a 54-year old woman.