Sunday, March 04, 2007

Left Scratching my Head, Do I have regrets?

So I was talking to what I like to call my, “professional friend” one day. Okay, I pay her some and the insurance makes up some of the rest of it, that's why I call her that. I say that, but it's true, she has become a friend, but keeping her professionalism has been important for both of us, so the mix is good.

I said to my PF, “I get tired of being alone and lonely, being single has gotten very old, I've done some of the things that gay men do to make friends, but I want quality friends and out of those quality friends maybe there will be someone who will be special and we'll be special to one another.” You see where my line of thinking is going so I don't need to bore anyone with the rest of it.

PF suggested to me that I try to find a group who “has a passion for something that you have a passion for, how about starting a knit/crochet group, you seem to like that a lot.” PF is wise, that's why she is a professional friend.

Sparing you the technical details of this yarn, get it, yarn? I'll keep you from needing two cups of espresso while reading this part, the group got started, I had an idea of what I thought that we should make together and Clicking for a Cause was on its way, and I would say that we have been productive. While I have met a few folks that I really didn't know before, what's more I have come to know a few people better and I enjoy their company, that part has really paid off and the fact that there is also a product that comes out of the group that helps others, well, that's a great thing too.

In late November, near Thanksgiving I received a call from a man who was trying to get a group together to knit in a tony knit shop in town, I agreed to go and encouraged a few who knit in Clicking for a Cause to go too. John agreed to go and at the first meeting there were the usual awkwardnesses that come with being in a group of people that you don't know. With that in mind you live in hope that the next meeting will be better, and I suppose that it was. At the second gathering of people you see if your first impressions were right. As in any situation like this you learn that you are wrong about some, right about others, but you also realize, or should, that they are looking at you and wondering too.

This past week there was an interesting experience and just like King Midas' barber I've felt the need to go to the meadow dig a hole in the ground and whisper that King Midas has donkey ears, so here I am, spade in hand. All of the men in this group are what my friend Brad calls, 'mos. That's short for homosexuals, I think he hates the term gay, because many of us aren't as bon viant as the word gay might imply. Somehow and I am still a little foggy on this one, one of the men in the group referred to his, “ex”. Then another referred to his three, “exes.” Personally I thought that triple X was something else all together, but seems I really don't know what I'm talking about in this case. Happy to be purling away on my project and keeping my yap shut on the subject, Mr. XXX turned to me and said, “Don, you must have done very well, you haven't mentioned any exes.”

“That's because I have none.” I replied with confidence but not with the sense of ire that was building within me.

“Wow, then you found the love of your life right off the bat, how did you do that?” XXX questioned.

“I'm not partnered.”

“So how long have you been single?”

Now I'm at the point where the sarcasm is building and if I don't let some of it out, I'm surely going to need more than one of my anti anxiety drugs when I get home. “Well, I said, I've been single since, let me see, I was born in 1960, there was that two month little dating game that didn't go well at all, I guess if you wanna figure from the womb it would be 45 years 10 months.” While one of the men in the circle smiled, the sarcasm fell on deaf ears for the most part. Actually I hoped that XXX aka Perry Mason would stop with his line of questioning. Somehow I knew that I wasn't at the end of this and I'm sorry to say, I was right.

“Do you regret being single?” He asked.

“Yes, but only on days that end in Y and months that have an R in them.” I replied, going back to my less obnoxious tone of voice though I could hardly stop being sarcastic. Trying to tell myself that maybe he just didn't understand that, a) it was none of his business and I was being too polite to say so in a group. 2) maybe he was gathering information for a thesis but didn't want to say so in an effort to keep me from being less than candid or III) he really didn't understand how hurtful questions like this are for the terminally single.

Not able to contain myself any longer I went on to say this, “Yes, I regret being single, I think of it often, for some reason I have a hard time meeting the kind of people that I want to meet, I don't like bars, so I won't be finding anyone there because they, (bars) make me incredibly uncomfortable. I've tried a couple of other places that didn't produce even a few, “good friends,” I've tried another place that I know there are like minded people, but it doesn't seem to have exactly what I'm looking for, (and it feels less comfortable all the time) , and for many reasons. I joined a group like this because I thought that I might make a friend or two, I've done some things that I'm not proud of in an effort to maybe just on a fluke meet someone, that little mission didn't pan out either, though if you don't try you don't know.

But I have come away with some wisdom in all of this too, there is a saying that goes, 'Better to be single than to wish that you were.' I buy into this because I have some gay coupled friends that can't stand one another, they can't get away from one another quick enough but they have a lease together or bought a house together and can't find a way to get out from under that and not go broke. I know couples that will sit in a gathering pawing one another so that everyone thinks that all is well and then go to the parking lot afterward and argue, scratch and hiss because they have different ideas of where they would like to go for brunch or dinner and have no concept of the idea of compromise. That bothers me, frankly, it scares me.”

I took a deep breath and said, “At this point in my life there are times that I think that my biggest regret is not being a monastic, I know that it's not too late for me to convert to Catholic and I'm on my way after a few psych tests. I regret the time that I've spent energy thinking that being single and alone is shameful, it isn't and I don't know where I got the idea. I don't regret though never having been in a relationship that I couldn't figure out how to get out of because I was so miserable that I was having the very thought to begin with.”

“Well, I just wondered.” he said, as if I had only said, “yes, I do regret being single.”

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