As a middle-aged professional man in San Diego, I began dating a few months after my divorce. And over the next few years, I dated dozens of women from the area – and a few from out of the area.
What I found during those years of dating was that something I call “middle-class sensitivities” got in the way of my efforts to develop genuine relationships with women. Even though I’m definitely from the middle-class, my life experience over the years before I became a professional took me on the road that many working class people travel – lowly-paid alienating jobs, worrying about having to pay bills, going from one paycheck to another, borrowing to pay the rent, etc.
So, I came to appreciate the outlook of working class people, people not accustomed to the vulgarities of middle class life, to its sensitivities, and people who look to the basics in life for their rewards and understandings of their society around them. Now, I am not – or at least try not to be — a male chauvinist pig; I picture myself a modern, urban and even urbane male, attuned to the centuries of second-class citizenship that women have suffered.
Naturally, when I started dating, I would look to hook up socially with middle class women, women with college degrees, some had their own house, with grown children, with all the anxieties of a lifestyle that assumed many things. I was not out for sex – or at least not just for sex. I was looking to find a woman and establish a compatible relationship for the remainder of my life.
From relating to the dozens of women I dated during those years, I found that three things, or attitudes about three things got in the way of establishing genuineness: drugs, sex and money. I’ll try to briefly explain each one.
I smoke pot – it’s my drug of choice. I also drink booze but I’d rather get high from a joint or two than down a pitcher of beer. I’ve been smoking since college; I enjoy it – and regardless of the American public now favoring marijuana by a majority for the first time in history, I am not going to quit smoking it. Plus, I don’t do other drugs – just pot.
Now, I wouldn’t drag out a joint on a first date with a woman I just met, no, no, no. But I would test her through conversation – at first very nonchalant – to see where she stood on the herb. Interestingly enough, several females I met were actually relieved that I did smoke pot – as they did also. One even asked me to buy some for her – which I did for our second date. In the middle of a joint, she out of the blue declared: “This doesn’t mean I’ll go to bed with you.” I wasn’t expecting her to, but that was our last date.
A woman I dated for awhile was a bank executive, and she also smoked pot, and was glad that I admitted that I also imbibed. In fact, the pot smoking became the center of our dating for a while. We went to bed once – after she admitted she hadn’t been with a man for over a year. In the morning, afterwards, she became a different person, very gruff, very rude – and when I called her one day as I was feeling lonely – she told me never to call her at work again. I was so put off by this, that I replied: “I’ll never call you again,” and I never did. I guess having sex was just too much.
Many of the women I did date and who I exposed my drug habit to, didn’t mind all that much – but they didn’t want me to smoke it around them or with them or on dates …. And you can guess now probably what happened.
Now, there’s all kinds of urban myths out there about sex and dating. One I heard was that usually two people dating have sex on their third date. Well, I can tell you, that is just not true. I had sex on my first date, on my second, my fourth, and with a whole lot of people I dated, I didn’t have sex at all.
But what I did find was a general up-tightness around sex and displays of love by most of the women I dated. I’m not into casual sex, but I do believe it is very much part of a relationship between two consenting adults. A number of women I dated would feel comfortable about having sex, but they were uptight about the pot … or money.
Kissing is another matter – especially kissing on a first date. I recall taking a woman out to dinner and dance, and then trying to be polite, only kissed her goodnight as she was leaving. She grabbed me and kissed me hard as if I should have initiated the move. Somehow this upset her, and we never dated again. Another woman I met later wondered why I didn’t kiss her or have sex on our first date.
Then there’s the issue of money. I discovered many middle-class women very concerned with this subject – and this was before the Great Recession hit. After several months of dating with one person, we were getting heavy even with expressions to each other of the “L” word, but I fell into a temporary period of no funds. I asked to borrow a $1,000 from her –– and she lent it to me. I did pay her back but it took a couple of months. Several weeks after she had loaned the dough to me, she brought it up and said almost as a swear, “Never again, never again.” This really kicked me in the solar plexus. It bothered me that she would get so upset over this – and it wasn’t like she was broke herself or in need of the money. It ended not too long after.
This is not a deep psychological treatise. But what I found during these dating rituals was this middle-class up-tightness over these three areas of life – and whether it was my own fault or not, I could not establish a relationship with anyone due to these big three.
Until finally … I found a working class gal who was not uptight over the big three. This woman had grown up poor, worked herself through many industries – so had an appreciation for the bottom-up perspective. She smoked pot herself, was not uptight with money – as she had her own money problems and was very sympathetic to mine. And sex was a positive thing for her. She was not bashful or throwing herself around, but considered it as part of a good, healthy relationship.
This woman saved me, and we’ve been together ever since. So, in a sense, I’m glad that all the women I dated previously were so uptight because that led me to her.
I hope this helps.