The Men in Review

Starr Cochran

During an astrology reading I was told 2021 was my year for learning about relationships. Of course, my thought went to romantic relationships. At the time the comment didn’t resonate much with me. It was the end of the year and after a quick mental recap of the main players in my world over the last year, I didn’t feel I had a significant takeaway from any of them. Besides, I was seeing someone for a little while and even though we refused to label it, let’s just say, it was easy and comfortable, and we were enjoying each other’s company. And when is there a lesson during the good times?

Then again, perhaps my conclusion was a bit premature.

The year began on the heels of the most memorable Christmas Eve I had ever experienced. I had just re-upped my membership to an online dating site after a two-year hiatus when we met for a glass a wine. He was everything I could have hoped for and then some. Or so I thought. After a couple of months, he moved on and I was left to ask: WTF?

I shook off the hurt and confusion by throwing myself into dating. Luckily, I had many opportunities. Unluckily, most were first dates and virtually interchangeable. Now, that’s not a criticism. They were all nice men, just not my guy. For those looking for their last bride, the interaction resembled more like an interview than a date. I watched them go down a mental checklist of questions, which determined compatibility and desired wifely attributes. And there’s nothing wrong with that. They were clear about what they were looking for and they were out there doing the work. (BTW the answer to the Do you cook? question is always no.) At times I felt their desperation and frustration, but unfortunately, matters of the heart isn’t just about checking boxes and clicking on some commonalities. Oh, and speaking of interviews I had met a guy who was looking for his next sex partner. Talk about awkward first date conversation. Again, it doesn’t hurt to ask for what you want, but it’s a challenge to swallow the main course when…well, you get the idea.

Others told me stories…personal, sad, painful. In my experience most men don’t have the same type of friendships women have and sometimes the dates evolved into something short of a therapy session, which was okay with me. We all need someone to talk to, and perhaps who better than someone you’re never going to see again.

I had a few second and third dates. Most of the time it was to verify what I had felt on the first was correct about them, about me. And it was. Once or twice, I wasn’t feeling anything one way or another…next.

Of course, there were those seeking a hook-up, one looking for a sugar mama, and quite a few who I walked away from scratching my head. Not clear about what or who they were looking for…maybe it was because they didn’t know themselves.

Sprinkled in between the meet-and-greets were a couple of trysts and some endless texting with men I would never face-to-face. The more memorable ones were the almost-30-year-old virgin who was saving himself for marriage yet really wanted to have sex, and another who loved to take pictures of his cock and send them to me. Whatever gets you through the day, I say.

In the midst of all that activity I invited a past lover back into my life. At that moment I was seeking a respite from the trials and tribulations of dating. And for a few months he was just that. We picked up where we left off, and it was wonderful. But then as before, I realized he was not emotionally available, and probably never would be for me.

A road trip took me out of state to meet a guy I had connected with on a dating site. We had a great visit there, and he came to see me for a weekend. All fun, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on what wasn’t working or going to work. Sometimes we need to take things at face value.

In the end we all show up to the dance…each with our own music and moves and needs and wants… each of us looking for a partner to enjoy a song, an evening, or a lifetime. After a year of many dances, I learned that just as important as the who may be, so is the how…how you are as a couple in a relationship defined by you, for however long the music plays for the two of you.

Haven’t we all been mesmerized watching a couple in fluid motion as they glide across the dance floor. Even as an observer we can feel the connection. Boy, that is what how looks like.

As we begin this new year, I hope you find your version of that kind of how with your special who.