The above pair is my favorite pair of shoes on the planet. Shoes, clothing, perfume, makeup all make me extremely happy. The above pair I don’t wear often, but every time I step out in these I feel quite happy when they are on my feet. Right after I got this pair of nearly perfect footwear there was a problem. The sole of the heel broke off, and I didn’t realize it until I got them home. The wear and tear of walking around on them like this had begun to grind down the heel. I took them too my best shoe repair shop and for only $12 were repaired to a condition that was better then when I bought them. The sole that the repairman placed on the shoes was thicker and stronger than the original. Since my divorce, subsequent meltdown, massive depression and the recovery that followed I feel a lot like my favorite pair of heels. Surviving my crisis and the hell that followed it has actually made me stronger as a person and a better potential mate for a partner, but the rest of the world doesn’t always see it that way.
I have written about this topic before in other blog posts. In another article I called it “The Shiny Penny Syndrome”. The idea that no matter how nice a partner you have in front of you, there might be something just better around the corner so why bother investing in keeping the partner you already have. We have an epidemic of this mentality in New York City. It only gets worse as we age and the older and more world-weary a person become the most banged up and tarnished they might seem to a potential suitor. From the email and comments I get I have to think it is a common problem throughout the US, especially single people over 35.
I have read numerous articles about men getting so fixated on porn that real women do not measure up to the glorified standard of their virtual lovers. A porn star is always young, ready willing and able with proportions and assets that few real women posses. Never mind the porn star cannot actually be touched or embraced, or listen to a man’s problems, comfort him while he is sick or just sit quietly next to him on a sofa watching a movie. The porn star is always the predictable and controllable. She won’t call him with her own problems, won’t demand that he go to a party with her friends, won’t beg him away from a game, she won’t have a moody day when she wants time on her own, and she won’t nag him to do the dishes. A porn star is always convenient, she does everything expected of her and nothing more.
Women also do this, expecting their perfect match to not only be kind, caring, and an amazing lover but also physically fit and taller than average. The guy has to live close and have a good job, but not one that takes him away or causes him to work 14 hours a day. He must respond to text messages, phone calls and always be emotionally available but not a wimp or too sensitive that he comes across as feminine. He must love her friends and all of her interests and hobbies and never even think of straying or even look at other women. Some women are hoping that the perpetually young, financially stable, quirky but masculine lover from their favorite romantic comedy will just bump into them on the street and change their lives forever.
Of course not every man fixates on idealized porn perfection and not every female wants some wealthy living breathing Ken doll with a stock portfolio to rival Mitt Romney. But what gives? Dating since my divorce has just left me feeling like a disposable girlfriend, good for an amount of time, then discarded without too much fanfare. I have difficultly bonding anyway, so this type of behavior just makes me more wary, and more emotionally distant and distrusting. Humans are more than the sum of our parts: a nice ass, pretty eyes, a good job or a decent apartment. Why do we treat each other like this? Why do I keep hearing stories from friends both male and female that sound the same. Guy meets girl, gets really excited then drops her like a hot rock because he finds too many “deal breakers”. Or girl meets guy gets really excited and then drops him when she realizes he isn’t exactly what she was looking for in a partner.
For some people in the dating pool, other human beings are nothing more than an object. A new person is like a new pair of shoes thrown away when they don’t quite live up to their expectations. The shoes looked so ideal at first, but once worn the shine is gone and the shoes tossed. Meanwhile cluttering the universe are thousands of bright, shiny, new shoes that will surely fulfill expectations. Perhaps it is our “You can have it all” consumerist mentality that is always preaching the gospel of never-ending search for perfection. Why have a girlfriend with cellulite when you can have one with smooth thighs, never mind that you are 45. Why have a boyfriend who is losing his hair, or is your exact height when you can date someone who looks like a movie star and runs a hedge fund to boot!
Are we turning into spoiled children who will never be satisfied? Does our culture run on nothing more than pushing the next big thing down our throats? And to get us to want more, more, more we have to feel bad about what we already have? I don’t think we are quite there yet, and I hope we never get there. After all we are human beings with flaws, dents, hang-ups and emotional baggage…and not just a lousy pair of shoes.