If you could somehow corral all my exes into a small stadium, you’d have enough crazy to power the Eastern Seaboard. Realistically, you wouldn’t even need a small stadium. I’m not that much of a stud. You could shoehorn all the participants of my romantic career into a small kitchen. Too sexist? Okay, a studio apartment. It would be a dangerous endeavor, because odds are that if you threw them all into one room, they’d eviscerate each other by lunchtime. My love life has been a lightning rod for psychosis, rage, irrational behavior and flat-out silliness. No less than four of the women I’ve been with had diagnosed mental illnesses either before, during or after our relationship. Someone told me once that ‘Hurt people hurt people’. I prefer to say that the damaged manage to find the damaged. I actually never said that until the previous sentence. I have a profound appreciation for the female race, but somehow I always draw whack jobs.
I firmly believe that there’s a wide chasm between the people you attract and the people you’re attracted to. Occasionally both categories converge, but that’s a statistical rarity. Admittedly, I am attracted to the erratic, the illogical and those who have simply gone around the bend a long time ago. My little brother likes to say “Crazy in the head, crazy in bed.” He’s right. Sex is seldom mechanical or clinical when you spend your time with women who are “a little off.” That’s being too generous. Let’s go with “totally fucking nuts.”
In my 39 years, I’ve dated a stripper, a massage therapist, no less than two former Catholic schoolgirls (who, to my great regret, did NOT hang onto their uniforms), an actress, a deejay, two nurses, a former Playboy Club employee, a marathon runner, a witch, two poets, at least two women with daddy issues, two women with mommy issues, a self-styled hippie, a philosophy instructor and a girl who had a collection of porcelain fairies. No less than three of the aforementioned were bisexuals. I will also gladly go on the record by saying that I will never date a poetess again because their brand of crazy far exceeds any other classification, genus or subspecies of the female race. I can’t really tell you approximately how many women I’ve been with because I stopped counting after eight, which was around the turn of the century. I suppose I was grateful that eight separate women took their clothes off for me and let me do things to them, and assumed that anyone else who wound up with me henceforth was gravy. So let’s just say that I’m in the low double digits for those of you keeping score at home.
To their defense, I freely admit that I have issues. I’m bipolar, I’m a Scorpio and I’m actively enrolled in recovery. Any one of those red flags would fall effortlessly into the category of ‘high maintenance’. The upside to this is that most of my subjects graduate to Muses (or, depending on your point of view or the girlfriend, comic relief) during our time together, so they reap the unintentional benefit of being written about. The downside to this is that (long after the pairing is terminated by either party) I will continue to write about the aforementioned subject long after we’re together, and it probably won’t be in a positive light depending on the conclusion or loose end we left off on. With my objective point of view, I can assure you that the end of every relationship has been the other person’s fault. Moving on, then. Not all women are attracted to me, but the ones who are tend to fall pretty hard. I had to break up with one in therapy and yet another sought inpatient treatment after our relationship concluded. Still another (rumor has it) became a lesbian after I broke up with her. I am neither proud nor ashamed of that. Good for her, though!
I’m not very good in a relationship. It’s safe to say that there’s plenty of room for improvement. Like, well, ALL men, I expend an inordinate amount of energy into the initial chase and capture and lose momentum and/or interest on the follow through. Guys (at least every guy I’ve ever known) are all about the conquest and after that, they lose interest. It could be a biological imperative, genetic encoding, Nature V. Nurture, or it could just be that most men are assholes. I will not dispute that I’m an asshole. It’s fortunate that women fall for assholes.
I wasn’t always an asshole. Like most assholes, I began life as a nice guy, and morphed into an asshole after slowly and systematically having my soul and spirit crushed by women in something that resembled a co-dependent particle collider. I do have a deeply rooted sense of romanticism and chivalry but there are multiple tectonic surface layers of assholery that have to be excavated before reaching that soft candy center.
Most of the women that I’ve been with are not the types of women that you bring home to mom. Quite the opposite, in point of fact. They have been a special breed of wrong, being impulsive, pierced, experimental, daring, exhibitionistic, well-outfitted and highly sexual. All of these traits harvest large net gains in the bedroom. Using an investment portfolio as a metaphor, there is no profit to be had over the long term, though. However, life was never boring with the majority of these girls. Thunderous sex and calamitous fights I can work with. The aforementioned is much more interesting than, say, a stable, healthy relationship with minimum peaks and valleys.
Now that I’m coming out of a five year marriage which was part and parcel of a ten year relationship, I wonder if I will sustain the same classification of woman not if but when I get involved with someone again. I’ve changed and grown emotionally in the last ten years, so perhaps the sort of girl that I wind up with next will be different. Perhaps not. I married the woman I married because she was an exact opposite of virtually every woman I’d ever been with. On the surface, she appeared to be sensible, logical and practical. This translated into an incredibly boring human being and an even more boring partner. Trust me when I say I’m not speaking out of bitterness but rather as an assessment in relation to my other subjects. In the end, it turned out that she was crazier than almost all of them after the relationship rather than during it.
Unfortunately, I am back on the meat market after ten years with no experience in the field. Times have changed, women have changed with those times and dating rituals may be different. As I approach forty, I’m faced with two options: 1.) Date someone younger in an effort to deliberately pick up where I left off emotionally ten years ago and also to avoid very real baggage or 2.) Date someone my own age and get used to dealing with, carrying and encountering great goddamned airports full of very real, very dog-eared, demolished and weathered baggage. I’m bringing quite a bit of my own to the table. I am now a proud single dad, divorcee and actively enrolled in recovery. And there’s that pesky Scorpio thing, if you actually subscribe to astrology.
By some quirk of fate, I’ve leap-frogged into a stratus of women (based on a cursory glance at *Popular Dating App*) that contains cat lovers (possibly multiple cats) who have never been married, early adopters to the stereotypical old maid (also rumored to be cat lovers), women who put their careers first before worrying about starting a family who missed the deadline, bible nuts who can’t find a date in their flock, soccer moms, angry divorcees, women who have something seriously wrong with them under the surface and as a result have never had a long-term interaction with the opposite sex and the dangerously young who are obviously supplementing their steady diet of daddy issues.
Full Discloser: I own one cat.
Fuller Disclosure: He’s also an asshole.
These are dangerous demographics, to be sure, but if history is any indicator, I should be able to cull the crazy out of that flock with relative ease and grace. Do I still pine for a dysfunctional pairing? I suppose on some level I do. Would I like to find out or am I even capable of a healthy, fulfilling, meaningful relationship? The Magic 8 Ball informs me that it’s ‘Highly Unlikely’. I’m drawn to interesting women, and to some extent (as a creative person), I’ve always gravitated towards creative partners.
Today is the first day of the rest of my love life. Note to self: buy a new pair of handcuffs.