I’m not sure I’ve blogged much about my romantic life in the past 2 years, except copious, vague poetry. Suffice it to say after six years I’ve somewhat “adapted” to the San Francisco dating scene. And by “adapted”, I mean totally changed the way I think about relationships.
Was talking with an old friend in Montana this morning about how San Francisco is this kind of exciting urban environment where a lot of people come to play, and not as many come to stay. Many are attracted to the startup atmosphere, the hopes of striking it big with a good idea, and catapulting one’s wealth and/or social status with a couple years of hard work. A lot of foreigners (outside the US) come to play the game, come for the perceived opportunities to be had in a money-flush urban environment.
The impact this has on dating is what one of my born-and-raised local hikers referred to as the “Six-Pack” dating strategy. You have six guys you are dating, and chances are you’ll get to see one every few days, while the rest are off exploring their myriad other opportunities, and/or moving away/leaving the country. It’s a Player atmosphere. This is quite different than the Millionaire Matchmaker’s version of finding and locking down your potential mate and insisting on no sex before monogamy. A girl has needs after all, and I’ve found that although you can take a big risk after 1 or 2 months and attempt to go into stage 3 lockdown monogamy mode, it’s simply impractical mostly in this environment. ESPECIALLY if you are still exploring yourself as a human being and re-learning how to function in relationships. I’ve found multiple relationships to be really really helpful in getting to know myself better and ultimately, increasing my overall happiness and capabilities to set boundaries and expectations that align with said happiness.
As synchronicity would have it, as I was leaving the morning coffee shop conversation, the local talk radio program was doing a feature on self-proclaimed “sluts”. Why are you being “slutty”, what’s your motivation for having more casual relationships, etc. as opposed to being faithful to just one partner. It was mostly people calling in to say how many partners they have and why. And there was a wide spread in motivations: Someone angry at an ex and having “revenge sex”, some declared they were just horny, most trying to cover it up in some way, hoping the partners wouldn’t find each other out, for example. Of course shame would be expected of someone calling in to self-proclaim themselves a slut. As a high point in the feature, the winner was the least shameful of them all, a human sexuality college major who had 5 lovers, works in a sex shop, and is a bondage model.
But besides him, it was mostly just pathetic. There are no meaningful conversations taking place about any appropriate relationships outside of marriage/monogamy, and that’s sad and I think hurtful. Most people need to date a lot to find a partner who will complement them well. This can be a scary process at first, but the more you open up and let go of your fears and patterns that don’t serve you, the easier it gets, and the more likely you will be to learn what you really need and consequently get your needs met. With all the divorce in the world right now, divorcees and people coming out of long-term relationships need dating strategies that work in the new era. Divorce sucks. I just spent 4 days helping a neighbor file 4 years of divorce proceedings. Totally depressing.
People should not be afraid of pursuing multiple relationships, but there needs to be honesty and communication. The relationships that don’t fit will naturally atrophy, and those that are strong will thrive. It’s a more organic way of dating — planting seeds, and seeing which ones, with the help or curse of the environment they are planted in, will thrive over time. That is likely to earn one more longer-lasting love I think. And at the very least, more authentic relationships. Of course, women on loudly-ticking biological clocks will fight this strategy. But as the oldie goes: “You can’t hurry love, you just have to wait. Love don’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take.”
And speaking of being in a hurry, the other theme today was idleness vs. busyness. I was fortunate to spend the entire morning playing with kids and the afternoon canoeing on a lake and sleeping in a hammock. And it was awesome. PM shared this great NYT article about society’s trend of keeping everyone very busy, as if busy is a positive indicator of success somehow. From children to adults, our lives easily become over-scheduled, and idle time is seen as a luxury. I know for a fact my last week before coming to Montana was over-scheduled and as a result I started hating my life. I will be striving to return to California with the aim of limiting my scheduled activities to 2 or maybe 3 a day, max. When idle time becomes zombie time, that’s often a good indicator that the TOO BUSY line has been crossed.
Here’s a reference to a poem I wrote earlier this year, my first attempt to say WHY people are so busy: http://www.eachlittlemystery.com/no-kiss/
To greater happiness…