There’s something I’ve been meaning to share for a while now.
It’s this: I am not lying, and I am only slightly exaggerating, when I tell you that nine times out of ten, when I see a man on or near campus who appears good-looking, it is the same guy.
Not only is it the same guy, it is the same guy who I have already gone out with.
We met a few months after I moved here, when I was busy pseudo dating Tall Anglo and caught Attractive Man staring at me unabashedly at a coffee shop. I approached, boldly, and gave him my phone number. He called and we went on one completely pleasant coffee date, during which we realized that he’d had a similar interaction with my–for the record, very stunning–roommate at a campus library. Post-date he texted me that he’d had a really nice time. I never heard from him again.
(He is always very friendly when we run into each other; sometimes he even stares in a similar fashion to the way he did when we initially met. Only this time it makes me feel less intrigued and more contemplative of hitting him.)
Why have I been wanting to share this, you ask? Because it seems to capture, as well as anything could, why it is that I am moving closer to the idea of no longer looking for a boyfriend in this city and instead looking for a dog.
The other day I talked with a friend who had been considering a job in a small town in Colorado. A gay man who is unattached, he told me that–once he pictured himself living several hours from the nearest real city–he realized his folly.
“I mean, what was I thinking?” he asked. “If I was married, it’d be one thing. But being single? Hell no.”
I agreed, and told him that’s sometimes how I feel about living in Albuquerque
“Everyone here is married,” I said. “Or unattractive.”
He laughed, dismissively. “But you don’t want to work on a relationship while you’re working on your dissertation!” he said. “Relationships are a lot of work.”
I know that relationships are work. (I mean, it’s been a while, but I can recall.) But, as one of the D’s pointed out last night, I would not be the first person to write a book while dating someone. People have babies while writing dissertations. And marriages. And full-time jobs. It’s possible.
But my friend’s point does kind of strike at the heart of my ongoing Odyssean (is that a word?) dilemma: I left my job and moved to New Mexico to write. That’s why I’m here, and that’s what I should be focusing on. Largely, it’s what I have been focusing on: writing and teaching and blogging, at least (and not necessarily in that order).
I do feel ready to be in a relationship, but I also don’t feel like putting much energy into finding one. (Just, it would seem, writing about the idea of someday trying–or something.)
And in a town–admittedly, a city–in which most times I see an attractive man it is the same one who I have already dated, finding one would seem to take no small amount of effort.
Which brings me, finally, to getting a dog. I grew up with them, I’ve always loved them and wanted to have one, and always considered myself too irresponsible.
But at this moment, the idea of simple, unconditional companionship is pretty singularly appealing. And I do think that, if I committed and found the right animal, I could and would change my self-centered, space cadet ways.
I just need to find the perfect one.