Most people believe that relationships are based on chemistry. But in order to see if chemistry or physics work (don’t forget about the laws of attraction) you have to meet enough men to see if there is any chemistry to begin with. So it really starts with mathematics and the laws of probability.
I figured the more men I met, the more probable it was that I would encounter someone to whom I am attracted (physics), and someone who alters the chemical composition of my brain (chemistry). Although math was never one of my best subjects, I knew enough to realize that doing nothing to meet men would yield nothing.
Normally I shy away from math and science but this is rather simple math. That’s the good news. The bad news is I’m talking long odds here. But I try not to get discouraged because I know it’s the long shots that pay off the best.
After 20 years of settling, I was unwilling to “settle” for just anyone – and so I was prepared to drink a lot of coffee and use my newly acquired experience to make some discerning choices. I had quickly come to realize that drinking coffee has become the modern day equivalent of kissing frogs.
I had met quite a few men who had dazzled me with their charms. Could this be him, I wondered? So soon? They may have been good looking, wealthy and well educated but they were also cheap and rude to waiters. In the beginning I used to think that they would improve over time. (But that only happens with wine.)
Yes I confess, when I had much less experience, I had, hmmm how should I put this, made allowances for behavior I wouldn’t accept from a friend let alone a stranger. There I said it. How humiliating. But everyone makes mistakes. The good news is, it’s not the mistakes I made, so much as it was the lessons that I learned.
Was I so needy, starved for attention, lonely that I found things acceptable with a stranger that I wouldn’t tolerate in a marriage? Yes, I guess I was, but not any more. So what happened?
I stopped taking things so seriously. I decided to have fun. I didn’t approach every date as if it were my last, and every man as if he were my last chance for happiness. In my age group (middle aged baby boomers) there were plenty of available men out there. I just had to meet them. And I did.
So here it is. If you break 100% down into equal thirds you get 33.3%, 33.3% and 33.3%. Let’s put aside the .3 % in each third (or the 1% that they add up to) for now. I’ll come back to that later with specific examples.
In the first 33% – I’d meet a man and I think he’s great. But he doesn’t feel the same way about me. It’s always a little disappointing when he doesn’t call for a second date even though I thought things went swimmingly. Oh well, I think to myself, there goes a perfectly good date to my niece’s wedding.
In the second one third of the dating pool, he thinks I’m the next best thing since golf and a grey goose martini but alas, he doesn’t do it for me. So I dance around the idea of a next date, and I tell him I’ll be in touch. Of course I never am. Okay so right now things are about even.
Finally, in this last third, we meet at the café, shake hands or exchange a peck on both cheeks (since I live in Montreal) and we both decide that this is not going beyond coffee. This is the easiest of all three scenarios because we both can tell the truth without having to worry about hurt feelings. In fact, these have been some of the most enjoyable dates I have been on because we’re playing for fun and not for keeps.
So where does that leave me? Well, with the one percent accumulated over each of the thirds. As I said it’s pretty long odds. (More on that one percent later!) But at this point in my life, I have had enough of settling and compromise so I am willing to wait. Most people would rather be happy alone than miserable in a couple. The grass may seem greener on the other side of the fence – just make sure it’s not Astroturf.