WARNING: I'm in a bad mood right now. Don't read this if you don't want to hear (read) me complaining. If you read it anyway, don't say you weren't warned....
10 1/2 (approximately): The number of years that have elapsed since, as an 18 year old, I thought it would be a pretty smart idea to get married on June 23, 2001.
9 (approximately): The number of years it has been since my ex-husband and I separated for the third and final time. (After he left, came back, left, came back, then told me he was leaving again. I told him not to bother coming back if he left. So of course, now our divorce is my fault because I told him not to come back.)
4 years, 2 months (almost exactly): The number of years we've been officially divorced. (Someone wouldn't help pay for it (because it was my fault), so it had to wait until I could afford to do it myself.)
Once a year or less: The approximate frequency with which either of the above two facts bothers me in the slightest. (In truth, I'm much more likely to celebrate those same facts on any given day.)
And if I'm gonna be totally fair, it's not him specifically I miss. Okay, actually I don't miss him at all... like I said, in retrospect I'm glad he's gone. I mostly just miss the bed not being empty. Odd if you consider that for the greater part of our marriage we worked opposing shifts and were never in the bed at the same time anyway, but I digress.
In general I've adapted pretty darn well to the single-parenting lifestyle. Since we separated I've managed to get myself a college degree, get myself a job, get myself an apartment, and somehow raise a kid who isn't screwed up in the head (yet). I can kill my own spiders, perform my own basic automobile maintenance, move my own heavy stuff and open my own jars. I have managed to keep us fed, clothed and housed for the most part without even the aid of monthly child support payments (someone doesn't pay them). Some of the above successes are partly attributable to supportive family members, both blood relatives and church family. And a lot of it just attributable to the fact that I do not need a man to survive... I learned that about 9 years ago when he walked.
Of course, that same fact is also the source of my current dilemma. Or at least part of it. That's just the problem... I don't need a man. Most of the time I don't even want one. Sometimes I entertain the notion that the ideal arrangement for me would be one of those marriages where you maintain separate houses and have sleepovers. (Actually, were it not against my religion, the ideal arrangement would probably be more what is termed a "friend with benefits"... no legal entanglements whatsoever.) Some would say that I've never even been in a healthy, functional romantic relationship and just don't know what I'm missing. They're probably right about that, but what am I supposed to do about it? It ain't exactly raining men around here... in fact, it's been more of a nine-year drought. And yes, there have been a couple of close calls in those nine years, but they mostly served to make me realize even more what I don't want to put up with.
Yeah, maybe that's the problem. Having nine years to think it over has made me really picky. I have a long list of deal-breakers. Like these:
NO SMOKING: If you want to poison yourself slowly, go for it. Just do it far away from me. I already tried being married to a smoker. It didn't work for me and I won't do it again, which is why I won't even bother dating a smoker. I don't date people who have zero marriage potential, and smoking is an automatic disqualifier. Sorry!
NO DRUGS: Again, already tried this one in a marriage. It doesn't work. I am not and will never be "420 friendly", and yes, pot is a drug. Go stare at the walls in your own house and stay outta mine.
NO FIXER-UPPERS: This is a more recently adopted rule. Women in general are guilty of this and I think probably Christian women doubly so... we meet someone with a sad and tragic past and we get this romantic notion in our heads that we can somehow make it all better with the power of love or some trite BS like that. Yeah, well, guess what... it doesn't work that way. If a guy has more issues than TV Guide and/or more baggage than the average United Airlines flight, don't get involved.
And before I start sounding too negative, the deal-breaker list isn't my only list. I also have a "must-have" list. Because I work for Head Start and have been thoroughly PBIS indoctrinated, I'm going to call them the "be" rules.
BE a Real Grown-up: I already have a kid. Not looking for another one at this point. I do not want to feel like your mother or your babysitter. Any potential man should be like me in that he is completely capable of functioning solo without anyone to clean up his messes (both literal and metaphorical). Any potential cleaning up of each other's messes would be purely by mutual agreement to do so, not necessity or obligation.
BE Funny: Sense of humor. It is a must for anyone who is going to put up with me for more than, say, five minutes. It is also a must for anyone that I am going to have to put up with for more than, say, five minutes. Witty banter skill is an absolute requirement.
And as if that didn't reduce the field of potential candidates enough, I threw this one on:
BE a Christian: And just like that, I've narrowed my potential field of choices down to two! (Either of which could potentially be reading this... hi guys!) And I'm not saying that there are no other single, Christian men in the universe, I'm just saying that I don't know any personally and I have failed to stumble across any in the last nine years or so. That's all I'm saying. If I insist on church-going, faithful Christian men, the number of proverbial fish in the proverbial sea decreases exponentially.
But I guess really this was just a very roundabout way for me to say this: I'm lonely tonight and want someone to cuddle with. Just tonight, though. I'll probably be fine again tomorrow.
Song o' the Day: While not strictly related to the topic at hand, I'm gonna go with "Just Tonight" by The Pretty Reckless, because I have it in my head right now. See/hear it here.