I was having dinner with a buddy of mine, we were having Pho. It's one of the late night things to do in my area of So. Cal. Rich and I are good friends, we go way back. Typically when we go out to eat we use the time to catch up on major events that are going on in our lives or to dish on things happening to our friends and family. It's what good friends do afterall! However, this conversation was a little bit different than all the ones we had before it. It had to do with this woman he has been dating… It's not that he was dating a woman; what was different was how this woman made him feel.
Rich is a traditional values kind of guy. Raised in a Catholic family and faith, he doesn't smoke or drink… at all. He has a long list of expectations that a woman must meet in order for him to bring her home to meet his family. Typically, when Rich dates a girl they don't stay together for too long on account of Rich's long list of “must haves.” It's something I've prodded him on over the years.
I've long felt that when a person dates around a lot it's for a few different reasons:
- The person just isn't ready to settle down and they just want to go out, make connections and have tons of fun and have a lot of sex while they're at it. They don't know what they want, or haven't given it a lot of thought.
- The person hasn't found someone that has been able to live up to their expectations… Or
- The person simply hasn't found someone who engages them in all the necessary ways they need to be engaged. Those are my three reasons and I'm sure there's plenty more, but these are the most common ones I see. Off-shoots/variants exist, but owe themselves, ultimately to the core three reasons I outlined above.
Rich straddles each of these items, I feel. In his younger days the guy just dated a lot. Now that he's older I find him dating the same types of girls that he was dating ten years ago. That sends off an alarm to me… Just sayin'. Needless to say, it's something we always come back to and I ask him: “Brosef, look, why are you wasting your time with these women that you know can't make you happy in the ways you need to be happy?” He always shakes his head and replies, “I dunno, man. I just don't know!”
Fast forward to this past Friday. We go out for Pho again. This time, the guy is beaming over this girl he's seeing, he proudly produces a photo of her. He was proud of this girl and she was fully clothed in all the photos he showed (a rarity for this cat, mind you). I nodded approvingly.
“But what?” I inquired. Apparently she has a kid, according to Rich. I told him that as we get older and date older women the chances of us finding a similarly aged woman with no children of her own grows smaller and smaller, like a penis tucking itself inward on a bitingly chilly winter day. This bit of wisdom bounced off of Rich, much like a raindrop bounces off of his Murphy's Slicked Hair. The child was a deal breaker for him. He said to me, “Bro, this is God punishing me.I just know it. It's for taking advantage of single mothers when I was younger! God is saying ‘Here's the woman you want, but with a kid. Enjoy!'”
I looked at Rich and listened and realized just how effective the Catholic Church has made the Guilt Trip. I'm not a religious sort of fellow, but if I think I can explain something to a person by using religious examples then I'll go with it.
“Rich,” I said, “look, don't view this as punishment. View this as a test that God has put before you. If you decided, in some way either by god or by drawing your own conclusion, not to date this woman then try to understand what you gained.” He asked, “Well, what would I gain from this woman if I stopped dating her.” I told him the answer was simple. I told him that for the first time, he's met the kind of woman that he wants; now he knows that a good woman that can engage him and share similar values does exist and that he needn't revert to dating these young women who are still finding themselves, if his current relationship dissolves.
I don't think Rich will stay with this woman due to how his family would perceive the arrangement aka the kid. It sucks, but I'm not here to judge. It is, however, interesting to see people discover something about themselves and begin to question the things they hold closest to them.
Now, Rich knows what he wants. As Uncle Ben said to Peter Parker: “With great power, comes great responsibility.” How very true that is. Rich has unearthed the power in knowing what he wants. Now that he knows, how will he wield this new found knowledge?