So I’m in Puerto Rico now, Visitors, because my son asked me to come see him accept an award from AGC, the Association of General Contractors. Frankly, I find that to be manly as can be. This kid did a project that landed him a week-long, all expenses paid trip to Puerto Rico, a cash gift and a nice plaque, and he asks his mother to accompany him? How secure is that?
This got me to thinking about some recent escapades I’ve had with some remarkably insecure baby-boomer men. See, I’ve discovered that single men my age (just turned 50) can be categorized. Category 1- about 1%. Never married. What’s up with that? Heartbroken? Ok, but for decades? Mommy issues? Rather just be single? Ok, fair enough, but can we quit pretending we’re interested in a solid relationship with a woman?
Category 2- Widowed. Another 1%. Of that tiny fraction, about half have no business dating, they need to grieve their wives, and not kid themselves they are OK. Get busy boys, it’s a lot of work, trust me on this. The other part of that fraction? I’m not sure they actually exist, except once on a blood moon I see a happy, settled, widowed man announce his engagement. Generally to a widow.
Category 3-and buckle up- 98%. Divorced And Fragile As Hell. There’s a gentleman in my life, we’ll call him “Mitch”, who’s company I really enjoy. He’s divorced, bright, educated, hilarious and capable of great kindness to me. We recently had a discussion where he admitted to me that he was ‘as intimidated as hell’ by me.
“Really? By me? What on earth is that about?” Mitch and I had great talks.
“Well, I guess I’m old fashioned, but I think the guy should be the provider. You know, make more, give his lady things. You don’t really need anything from me. ”
“I drive around in my beater cars, and live in a little house in Broomfield.” Mitch pauses.
“Mitch. What. Seriously? You own those things. You have 20 percent left to pay on your house. I’d much rather be driven around in a beater you own than some fancy car you have out on payments. You know this. I also admire your discipline about your house. You know this too. ” Mitch and I talked a lot about economics.
“Well, I don’t know, Victoria. You’re beautiful and driven, and financially better off than me. That’s just kind of intimidating.”
Visitors, maybe because I’m more firmly established in my widowhood. Maybe it’s because I’m fifty. Maybe it’s my manly son, who had a secure man as a dad for 18 years, but I just couldn’t stand it. Mitch’s paycheck isn’t that much smaller than mine, and are we really so fragile?
“Mitch. You’re just going to have to deal. I’m done apologizing for who I am. If we’re going to be friends, than accept me for who I am and what I do. ”
THAT was six weeks ago. Yep, not a word.
Another, this one a divorced business associate. You folks know I dabble in real estate. I’m negotiating a little bitty condo deal right now in Denver. The owner has his mother, yep, his 70 plus year old mother, respond to all of my negotiations.
Recently, I laid out a fairly short list of inspection objections, totaling about three grand. His MOTHER nearly ripped my head off . I was bossy, I was demanding, I was uninformed, and the answer was no.
Fine, I walked away from the deal. The son, FINALLY, sent me a meek little email asking if I would still be interested if the conditions were met. I got what I knew was reasonable, and the son made a jaggy little comment about ‘how I drove a hard bargain’. Really? What makes you such a wuss? It’s just business, and didn’t you learn not to take that personally your first job? Honestly.
Seriously? Say it isn’t so, men. Please.
Still another, someone I thought was a dear friend. Divorced, ex- military, we had been friends for a couple of years. We cycled in and out of each other’s lives, a delightful ebb and flow. Recently, we had a lovely dinner together. I thought about it afterwords, and decided I was done with the incidentalness of things, and wanted to see my friend more.
I sent him an email, and made some suggestions. A picnic at the lake? A bike ride? A hike in the park?
Poof! Like magic, my friend disappeared. That was three months ago. Thinking the best, I sent him a couple of texts. “Are you OK? Kids all right? Everything OK in your world? ”
Not a word. Then “Friend, did I offend you? What’s up? ” The silence was deafening. Sigh. What else to think but I some how broke something fragile in this man. Again.
Well, for heaven’s sake. How frustrating. Nary a male soul my age to be found who isn’t a quaking flower, unable to deal with a strong, self-directed woman like me.
So I’m stumped, Visitors. Suggestions? I like men, I’d like one in my life. But I utterly refuse to be something I’m not, to cater to a frightened, oversensitive, fragile man. What do you think? Am I being to hard on them? Suggestions and thoughts are welcome.