I'm thinking about men.
So far, I'm just thinking. I don't seem to have time or energy to do much outside of my work, my daughter, and my home, all three of which are all consuming. I am not working out right now and feeling the sluggishness of that, in addition to the sluggishness of a thyroid run amuck.
But I'm thinking....
My finances are coming under control. They have a direction, and that direction is positive.
My home is coming under control. With a refi, I'm going to be able to do some necessary repairs.
Katherine is doing great.
My job is positively, unbelievably great. Not only does it pay the bills, but I enjoy it.
My head is in a pretty good place. I'm proud of myself for dealing with what needs dealing with in my life, and for owning my mistakes, and for doing my best to make my life its best. Aside from one major cancer freak out where in the space of five minutes I convinced myself that death was imminent, the gremlin in my head that says "it'll never work" is mostly pretty quiet these days. The gremlin that says "you're a fraud, and you're not worthy..." merely whispers every now and then, and has stopped shouting.
Friends and family, all in good working order.
Self care, improving.
And perhaps because these things are in order, I find myself wondering about love, romance, dating: men.
I clearly don't need someone to rescue me. Look at me, rescuing myself! And I don't need a co-parent; I do a great job on my own, and Bryan is improving. (Katherine is with him on vacation, and they're having a great time.) I hired someone to help with the yard when it became clear that I couldn't manage it well, and I managed to get the car fixed without any input.
But I don't want a man in my life to complete me, or to fix me, or to rescue me, or to take things down from high shelves, or to do my dirty work. I don't want a man to pay my bills, or to keep me safe.
But I think I'm starting to want the company of a man, or men, again.
When I went to the doctor to discuss my thyroid issue, I brought up the issue of sex after divorce. I pointed out that I have only had one sexual partner since 1995 (and I think it's fair to say that I've been re-virginized in the divorce), and that I don't know much about navigating the landscape of a new sexual partner. We talked a bit about awkward STD conversations (and I got a list of possible symptoms that made my eyes water - yikes) and staying safe, and I pondered out loud that I didn't know if I wanted to have some fun to blow off steam or if I was looking for partner material right out of the gate. I know I'm "safe" given my own history and clean bill of health, but that list did take some of the fun out of the prospect of playing around.
As much as I'd like to have some fun - did I mention it's been a while?! - I think that for me it's not nearly as fun if there isn't an emotional connection, a deep one. Not only would I enjoy some naked romping - who wouldn't?! - I'd love some long beach walks at sunset. (Hey, don't laugh. I live in a beachy area on the west coast, where the sunsets are spectacular.) I'd love a partner to see plays and movies with. I'd love a hiking buddy, and I'd like to get into cross country this year in addition to my regular snowshoeing, and it would be great to have a handsome man to drive into the mountains with, listening to NPR or music or flirting. I'd love to meet someone after work on my non-Katherine days, perhaps for a glass of wine at the great French restuarant down the street from my office - I want to wear high heels and a skirt and enjoy the attention of a man.
And in the middle of it all I'd love a man to lean over, look me straight in the eyes, and kiss me slowly. Mmm hmm, I'd like that a lot.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do about any of this yet. Online dating seems, well, tired. I'm not opposed, but I'm not sure that all of those lists and questions are the way to find an interesting person. And I hang out with women, and the husbands of those women, and have few to no single men in my life. I don't really want to wait until the divorce is final - that takes so long! - but wonder if I ought to.
So, more questions than answers; on the subject of men, I have very few answers, actually.
Well, I do have one answer. I know this much:
I value myself, and any man I meet needs to value me, too. I need to respect the men I date. I'm not a one night stand. I'm interested in exploring bodies more slowly than that, in tandem with exploring the whole person. This may be a problem in a society where women who do not put out by the third date are considered prudes, but I'm okay with that. (Okay, but possibly lonely!) I am a strong woman, and I want a strong man.
No action on my end - I'm not 'putting myself out there' yet. I thought I'd wait a full year after Bryan moved out to begin dating, but maybe not.
But the idea of that kiss, on a beach or in a restuarant..... mmmmmm.