Dear Steve –
Thank you for putting yourself out there for public flogging every week.
I’m a year 55 year-old single hetero woman, living in Santa Fe for 27 years. I love men and often give and get great sex when the opportunity presents. I wish I could be a lesbian because, from what I’ve observed, I think I might have a better chance at a meaningful relationship and great sex too, but I can’t seem to bond with more than my cat, who gives me no sex at all but will sleep with me every night.
18 years ago, I had a conversation with a hetero male friend and I remarked that there seemed to be no available hetero men in town and he jumped on the comment saying ‘Oh, no, the problem is that there are no women here’ which allowed us to see that the problem was with us – not with actual supply of men and women. I was blown away. He found his first partner only a year ago and they just now bought a little house together.
All these years later, I still don’t know what the hell is wrong with me. I have done work on myself. There is obviously more to be done or I would be ‘fixed’ by now. And yeah, it smarts that he got what I want. Being alone doesn’t hurt like it used to, and I am resigned to it because actively seeking a partner doesn’t seem to work. I work with the public in a fun retail situation and speak with men all the time that appeal to me, but I feel no connection happening.
Enough of my bitching – I think people that fail to connect w/others wind up in a place like Santa Fe. I have observed that we seem to have a constantly growing contingent of independent, intelligent, creative, tenacious, and overly-concerned-with-self individualists. I think many believe they need to be self-centered to accomplish whatever it is they need to do, and that doesn’t leave much room for anyone else no matter how lonely it gets. I include myself from this group.
And then there are the ones who are never without a partner, even though the partners change. What’s up w/that?
Thanks for your journalistic integrity in staying true to your beliefs. Fuck ‘em if they can’t let the rest of us laugh. And thanks for defining ‘rim job’.
-Just “Another child growing old”, to quote ol’ Joni Mitchell.
First, some people are always in a relationship because they’re rich, or funny, or attractive, or well-adusted, or have no personal boundaries whatsoever and sleep with anything that moves (and no, I’m not necessarily talking about myself). Second, I think it’s good that you’re not having sex with your cat and I recommend you keep it that way. Third, you must have lots of gay friends to use the word hetero so much. Fourth, Santa Fe is in the American West, the place where independent loners are supposed to be. Westerners like their space and it’s hard to meet people with all that space around you, but it’s better than being single while surrounded by millions of other people. If you’re single in New York, you probably have personal issues. Sure, we have our issues here, but if you’re single in Santa Fe, you’re not just a self-absorbed narcissist, you’re part of a proud Western tradition. Let’s move on.
I don’t think you need to be ‘fixed’ because you don’t have a romantic partner (though you may need fixing for other reasons). Like many people, you’ve been brain-washed into believing that romantic love is your main purpose in life. If Marx had lived in America today, he would have written that romance is the opiate of the masses, not religion. Just watch any movie – ninety percent of the time, it ends with a man and a woman getting together – even if it’s an action movie (like the first Die Hard or Finding Nemo). Don’t punish yourself and don’t be jealous of your friend who finally found love (however, if he eventually gets married, get him something cheap for his wedding, like a toaster).
Perhaps you’re right that Santa Fe attracts self-centered people, but other cities (like New York, Los Angeles, and maybe even Washington, D.C.) have their share of self-centered people as well. Personally, I think Santa Fe attracts flaky, unrealistic people – many of whom left relationships elsewhere that went badly. And by people, I mean middle-aged women who’ve always wanted to be an artist/astrologer/psychic who’ve just been divorced/betrayed/widowed by their former alpha-male husbands and decided to come to Santa Fe to start over. Middle aged men rarely come to Santa Fe to start over. When a man starts over, he does it in one of two places (depending on his wealth) – somewhere inexpensive (like his parent’s house, or Mexico) or somewhere with a beach (like Florida, or Mexico). Santa Fe is expensive and has no beach. Women come to Santa Fe for the art, the culture and, and the ability to wear hideous amonts of turquoise in public without people staring at you. These are not big selling points for your average heterosexual man. Most of the men in Santa Fe were either born here (or near here), went to college here, or their car broke down while driving through. Men don’t move to New Mexico – they get stuck here (that is why New Mexico, the ‘Land of Enchantment,’ is also called ‘The Land of Entrapment’). I’ll set aside the gender question and just say this – realistic, pragmatic single people do not move to Santa Fe. Why? Because realistic people desire career opportunities, good schools, and the ability to fly non-stop to Europe.
Being unrealistic is a greater obstacle to relationships than being self-centered. Look at Donald Trump or Britney Spears, they’re always in relationships. Britney Spears may or may not be self-centered, but she is realistic (maybe too realistic). She married a guy who’s physically fit, but he probably can’t spell the word ‘conscience’ (or ‘duck’). And you don’t have to be rich or slutty to get away with being self-centered. Lots of (foolish) people are attracted to self-centered people because they think self-centered people must know something about themselves that we don’t. But, unrealistic people will never find true love because their romantic expectations are… unrealistic. Those people would have the same problems whether they lived in Santa Fe or Philadelphia – the difference being that we have better views. If you’re lucky, you’re problem finding a partner is that you are unrealistic, that you are expecting too much from a man (like good looks AND good spelling).
If you’re unlucky… well, let’s just pretend that you’re lucky.