Suppose you live on an island. On this island live 49 women, 49 men, and you. Suppose each inhabitant of the island is in an exclusive romantic relationship except you. There is absolutely no one left for you to date. Everyone you meet is already taken. Suppose then that you find out that most of the inhabitants have changed partners over the years. They are never single for long but jump from one exclusive relationship to the next in a very short time – too short for news to reach you before it is too late. You then realize it is not your ineptitude at finding suitable partners that has kept you single your whole life, but the uncanny ability of other singles to find each other before they find you. Suppose also that you then discover that the way they are able to do this is by cheating. Even while committed to one partner, they are on the lookout, sending out feelers to see who might be available soon. They get put on unofficial waiting lists for if they should ever find themselves free. Some start actually dating their next partner before breaking up with the previous one.
What do you do? You know that you would be a better partner than most and you know you would never cheat on anyone, yet nobody seeks you out and you have nobody left to seek out. Should you be single forever? None of these people are officially married. Some of them have only been together a short time. Some of them may be close to breaking free any day; you have no way of knowing. Under these circumstances is it really wrong to do what literally everyone else does by requesting people to leave those they are already dating in order to date you?
This is similar to the situation I find myself in. I can count the number of single women I’ve met on one hand. One I was literally on my way to ask out only to learn from my best friend that he had asked her out the day before. He already had a girlfriend, but unknown to me had broken up with her four days prior. Another was swept up in similar fashion at the last minute by someone she knew at school. Several women told me they didn’t know if they had a boyfriend or not – meaning things were rocky at the time. I thought it best to make sure things were really over rather than try to destroy what was in those cases a de facto marriage while they were still trying to work things out. Several guys have told me they met their wives while they still had boyfriends to compete with. In thirty-six years I’ve been on only one date (and I’m not sure it even counts) in part because I respect monogamy. No one else does.
Nobody ever just dates around to get to know multiple people before making a decision. They do not ask each other on dates one-at-a-time. They ask to be a regular boyfriend or girlfriend. Those extremely rare times that someone remains unattached, they are told they are “playing the field,” “using people,” and “afraid of commitment.”
I like people. I especially like girl people. They are interesting objects of study when they aren’t getting after me for petty things. I’d like to meet more people to get to know them, but they are already taken and have no time left over for me. I never get the chance to even learn about anyone to find out if we should date. I never get the chance to find out if we have any common interests or aspirations. I have nothing to base attraction on except looks. What should I do?
Here’s a better question: What are you doing Saturday, beautiful?
My name is Dan. I am an author, artist, explorer, and contemplator of subjects large and small.