Guest Column: The fantasies and realities of a seasoned “bachelorette” by Ms. Jennifer

Credit: Friends. Pablo Picasso

I binge watched The Bachelorette.   Of course, I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s like crack.  I plan to write to the Bachelor.abc.com and nominate myself for the show…25 men all vying for my undivided attention and traveling the world going on dates in Iceland and Portugal.  Yes, sign me up!   But don’t hold your breath.   There is a reason they pick all attractive 20-30 years old women, right?  Anyone wanna see a semi-retired, middle aged stomach, gray hair in their 60’s or thereabouts?  Besides, I don’t look good in a bikini.  But young or old we are all addicted to this fantasy/young love.  

And, yes, I was in love with smokin hot Roberto…. and, if it couldn’t be me, was excited when he won and proposed to Ali.   I watched the entire thing (please keep in mind before you judge me that I was working most of the time) and after it was over, I googled their name to see if they were still together.  Drum roll: they weren’t.  After reading that there was–you know– the feeling after coming off the high?  Somehow, they couldn’t maintain the romance and sexual energy after living in the real world for a little over a year.  My fantasy got run over…maybe I shouldn’t have checked? 

So why do I, like millions, refused to let go of the fairy tale as advertised in the media? I think it’s because we need to believe in make believe even if it’s Hallmark packaged.  Is it the idea that someone else will “complete us,” not exactly, but we want, understandably, someone by our side, but we also hate having someone standing too close, right?  

What are we do with this dilemma?  I’m surprised as shit how ingrained this fairy tale is—apparently, I can’t shake it.  Of course, I’m smart enough to pretend I know it’s bullshit, that I’m completely independent, but as soon as I find myself getting attached, I can’t seem to find the right balance.  Chronic dating was one way to avoid this pitfall.  No one can ever get too close…you just move on the second you smell the shit.  

I also watched the show to see how another human being deals with betrayed.  I watched as Ali stood up for herself when she found out one of the guys had a girlfriend back home and was really on the show to promote himself and his wrestling career.  He cowardly storms off the set without allowing her day in court, but she confronts him as he’s running away.   She doesn’t Jerry Springer on him…she just calls him out.  So, it’s also a show about letting go and being graceful.  I also studied the faces of the men when they got rejected for hints on how to deal with it the next time it happens to me.

Meanwhile, back in my real life I walk a tightrope between my current life and my past life.  Despite the fact that my past life is dead I still think about it.  It’s like I’m trying to taxidermy my memories.  Hold them in perpetuity where nothing else can happened to them.  Freeze them in time.  Maybe as people get older, since their lives typically become boring and monotonous, they have to hold onto their past because there is nothing currently happening.  I see that looming.  As my energy wanes and I give up my dating life, I resort to watching the action on the TV.  But I was never the type of person who liked to sit on the sideline.  I’d rather play than watch.  On the other hand, it’s much easier to watch. You’re not really involved, it doesn’t really affect you, what vulnerability is there? The risk is negligible, but the reward is like masturbation– it’s over in a spurt. 

My real-life dating game, which once was exciting, has become scripted.  Like now I know a good date means nothing other than an encounter.  That took me awhile to understand for I always thought if it was “good” why not want more?  Because people don’t really want to change their lives and incorporate another person into it.  And, well, I don’t have the energy to pursue not just some guy (beside the guy is supposed to pursue me like the Bachelorette (!), but some fantasy relationship.  And that’s why the Prince Bachelor shit is coming up, because I’m looking at the problem of aging and running out of time. 

I’ve talked to a couple older woman who have lost interest in sex.  They sounded more relieved, rather than sad.  They are over it (sex and a relationship) or maybe they only want it when they want it.  That sounds about right.  It’s like having an aging parent or dog they are tired of the full-time responsibility, but a lover on the weekends might work.  Reality or fantasy, does it matter if it works?

Once upon a time, I wanted that full-time partner so badly, but the longer I’m alone, the more I question if this this truth or fiction?   A friend offers the perfect solution.  Find that female dominate relationship where I get OSOD (oral services on demand!) beyond the dick types.  Men who worship pussy are far and few between at least in New Orleans. I haven’t met anyone who wants to worship the pussy, my pussy.  Most are seeking a temporary fix. As I settle into watching life on TV, I don’t have to actually ACT.  I don’t have to take a risk or struggle.  Real life is messy.  Suddenly I find myself with a small dilemma (Mr. Amigo is okay if I want to keep dating, but he doesn’t want to feel used if I also continue to see him)-Perhaps I still want my cake and more cake on the side.   

Dating has had its pleasurable hours, but maybe I put too much pressure on it like it could repair some old shit. I’ve threatened myself if I can’t keep the right balance. I’m going to have to go it alone.  This is a great incentive to keep my emotions in check (not repressing them, but to modulate and regulate myself).  My parents didn’t know how to do this, but I can no longer blame them.  I’m simply too old.  I’m trying to use my words more wisely, but also experimenting when the best option is to say nothing.  When to let things go, when to say something, and how to say something and when to swipe.  This takes discernment. 

Space and timing are critical.  It is something my last boyfriend tried to teach me.  I always saw his behavior as avoidant and controlling, but maybe it was something else, too.  Mr. Amigo told me recently that part of the reason he keeps some distance is to protect me from getting hurt.  Protection was not something my parents were able to do so it never dawned on me that this was on his radar.  I guess it comes down to trust and experimentation.  I don’t need to steal another person’s lifestyle. I need to develop my own. 

Motivations and intent are complicated. In the end I know the key is to “date myself” and spend more time with my own self-interests.  Why do I “lose myself” when I fall in love?  Is this simply what women were trained to do?  But then there are the bitchy woman then men learned to pamper and indulge who don’t fall all over themselves to find a project.  Can a good co-dependent become that woman?  And if that doesn’t work, I can always resort back and find another project!  So, Prince Charming can’t make up for the loss of never being spoiled or protected growing up.  I’m in the middle of breaking up with that fantasy.

Age is also a factor in our breakup. I’m starting to see I’m going to be on the sidelines, and I don’t like that idea.  I want to be on the road trip with my daughter who is driving now across the country rather than get a text message with the photos.  I have to accept increasingly I won’t be able to keep up, like it or not, I will have to sit on the sideline.  Giving up dating is giving up something resembling youthful optimism.  I’m stuck on that one last love affair, the one last fantasy, the kind I saw on the Bachelorette.  Where the guy picks me up in his arms while running into the inviting, turquoise sea without hurting himself or me while letting me know everything will be okay.   Maybe I should stop escaping reality?   I will deal with my own anxiety/sadness/loneliness when it comes up.  There is no Roberto-daddy-God-Prince waiting who will fix everything for me.  Why should there be?  Anyway, I’m too old for that shit.  Meanwhile, I’ll let y’all know if I hear from “Bachelor Nation.”