Sunday, August 28, 2005

Never Sleep with Anyone Crazier than You Are

There was a time, when I was forty-two or so, that I found myself single and employed. For a while I felt I was the least desirable person on the world. All my time was spent on running a factory and helping its people to be productive. Then reality struck.

Evidently it was a mark of distinction to be a regular-looking single male in Southern California who was gainfully employed, and who was nice to women. The way I discovered all this was not easy, but it was fast. It wasn't long before women began to make themselves known as single, or wanting to be single. At the time I couldn't imagine why they were interested in me. (I had spent my previous years as the skinny little brother whose two older siblings were very handsome and attractive to good-looking women.) I was older than most of these ladies and couldn't take them seriously.

But serious they were. I dated a few of them before realized I needed answers to two questions. One was, "Are you really single?" and the other was, "How crazy are you?"

The answer to the first question had to be yes for obvious reasons. I had no desire to interfere in someone else's household. But the need to have answers to the second question is more subtle.

It seemed that there were many single women out there who were a bit unstable. Perhaps they had been divorced for ordinary reasons, but they did not respond well to their new situation. Or, perhaps they were divorced (or never married) because they were not stable emotionally. In either case, they were a potential problem for a stray male who already had enough problems of his own.

I had to date a lot of attractive, concerned, caring, willing, daring, nubile, crazy young women before I found a few old enough, wise enough, and sane enough that I wanted to spend time with. They were attractive, too. But I was willing to give up a lot of points on attractiveness in order to find someone with an integrated, interesting personality. Happily, there were a few such women available.

A person not into psychology and other such black arts, I had to use common sense to discern if a woman had a core in her life. A core, or an anchor showed up in various ways, but either it was close to the surface or I took a hike, no matter how nice the package looked. The term "core" implies values, and values imply some kind of thought. There seem to be more rootless people around than there are well-grounded people. I wanted to find one of those women with some roots. And in that I was fortunate.

But I was called a lot of names first.

I do not know who was first to establish the maxim, "Don't sleep with anyone crazier than you are," but I commend his (or her) thinking to all folks who find themselves in the same position I was in.

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