never married, over forty, a little bitter

long-term thinking

When I moved out of L.A., I left behind three potential job opportunities. One would have been a promotion and the other two would have been lateral moves into positions located in two of the toniest zip codes in the country. With one of the latter, I could have walked to work, as I was able to in the position I left.

Now I’m looking at taking one of two potential positions (that is, if I even get an offer) that are several rungs down the ladder. In fact, they are the equivalent of where I started thirteen years ago. The pay is a bit dismal and the commutes are twice as long as I would prefer.

Thus my glumness for the past few days. I’m starting to realize, however, that things are brighter here than they appear.

In terms of the offers in L.A., the promotion would have been a grind and would have removed me from the possibility of meeting anyone other than my coworkers during the workday. In order to have a bearable commute, I would have had to move to an area that would have eaten into all the promotion money. While the lateral positions were in glamorous locations, in reality most of the people in those locations are married, and I probably wouldn’t rate a second glance from the ones who aren’t. If I had moved to be closer to work, I would have paid a small fortune in rent.

The potential job locations here are a suburban area with lots of professionals (most probably married) and an urban location with a hipster flair. Although I don’t have a great deal of faith that I’d find a partner in either place, the odds are greater that I would do so than in any of those potential job locations in L.A. While I hate the idea of commuting, in the long run, promotional opportunities here are in much more desirable locations than they were in my L.A. organization. And reviewing the pension and benefits, I’ve realized that they are much better here.

Perhaps I am rationalizing, but I think I’ve made a good strategic decision in the long term.


Yesterday I had lunch with an old friend who is attractive, funny, hip, well-educated, and gainfully employed. He has a girlfriend, but we’ve stayed in touch over the years. I enjoy his company and made him laugh over my hammed-up tales of woe.

It was one of those afternoons that reminded me why I moved back. In L.A. I made little headway with men of his caliber– not just in the dating realm but socially as well. I remained too much of an audience member for anyone to get to know me and appreciate what I had to offer.

I read an article a few months ago about people moving to Buffalo from New York City. A woman was quoted as saying that in N.Y.C., she had tons of opportunity to consume culture, but in Buffalo she has much more opportunity to create it.

I keep reminding myself of that quote. I do miss the variety of cultural events that were on offer in L.A. This city is far from shabby in its offerings, but they are smaller league, and I’m more interested here in being a participant than a spectator.

I do get a pang sometimes when I listen to podcasts and remember the depth and variety of talent L.A. has to offer; however, I superficially knew many of those people and our relationships never went beyond being placed on Facebook invitations to shows. As I wrote long ago, it was a strange dynamic, being invited into someone’s personal life virtually but not in reality.

I knew that if I moved away, I would have many “what if” moments, where I would wonder what would have happened if I had remained in L.A. just a little bit longer. Maybe I would have eventually befriended the people who most intrigued me? So I remind myself that six years is more than enough time for that to have happened, and I don’t want to look back and realize that decades of my life passed by while I remained in “what if?” mode.

false equivalencies

Now that I’m taking community college classes I’m surrounded by men and women in their twenties. Let me be frank here: youth is no guarantee of beauty.

Sure, there are a few stunners around– young people with beautiful dewy skin and lithesome physiques and a great sense of style– but they are without a doubt the exception. Many, if not most, have some appeal but are awkward or have acne or are overweight or underweight or have not yet developed a sense of style. And I know a lot of people my age who are in far better shape physically than a lot of the twentysomethings running around.

The stunners, I imagine, have more than their fair share of suitors. When men complain that women are bombarded online with emails, are they referring to a small number of unusually attractive young women? It seems to me, if these men are older, they would be much better off broadening their age range and thus boosting their odds of finding an appealing partner.

Or maybe it has nothing to do with age for some of these men but everything to do with “getting back” at their female peers.

The one exception I can think of is men who are playing the fame game. From what I saw in L.A., if a man was in the game at all, even if he was on the outskirts and broke, he could score a younger and hotter woman than himself. I knew creative, talented guys in L.A. who, if they had hit on me, I would have had a very difficult time being physically attracted to, and I am far, far from picky. Yet in every case, it seems, they have ended up with a cute young girlfriend.

I suppose I saw the writing on the wall and had to give up.

public confessions

A few years ago on a dating site, my answer to the query “the most private thing I’m willing to admit” was that I liked and had wanted kids but had come to terms with not having them.

When I checked out online dating this time around, I saw that a man in his forties had written a similar response to that question, answering something along the lines that he’d come to accept that he’d missed his window for having children. He was also willing to date women his own age.

He didn’t respond to my email, but he influenced me to go back to my original answer for that question. The next man I wrote emailed back that he felt similarly about children– that he felt the time for having them had passed but he’d come to terms with it. He is also willing to date women his own age.

He is the only one I will be going on a date with, and other than that, I’ve stopped looking online and will go back to real life. Hopefully we will at least have a nice conversation.