I’M A ONE-MAN GUY

by Steve Clem on April 16, 2010

I’m gonna bathe and shave
And dress myself and eat solo every night
Unplug the phone, sleep alone
Stay way out of sight
Sure it’s kind of lonely
Yeah it’s sort of sick
Being your own one and only
Is a dirty selfish trick.


“One Man Guy,” by Loudon Wainwright

When I went through my divorce four years ago, my good friend E.C. Fish, who had gone through his own divorce already, burned me a CD full of songs that have become very personal anthems for me. Included was the song quoted above and linked on youtube.

At the time, the song didn’t really describe me. I was hardly living a life of solitude. After being with just one person since I was 18 years old, I did what any red-blooded man would. I was a dating whore.

Fast forward four years, with a few serious relationship gone bad thrown in for good measure, and this life is definitely me now.

But as the song states, it’s not something you should pity me for. Hell, I know quite a few married friends who would KILL to be able to be in my shoes, though I’m not sure why outside of the “grass is greener” mentality.

Regardless, in the past 12 months plus, I’ve really become comfortable in my own skin (which doesn’t mean I wish it to stretch or sag so much where it shouldn’t, but I’m comfortable nonetheless).

Between frightening images of me as “the 80-year-old guy who sits his front porch yelling at kids who come in my yard” I have learned a valuable lesson. If you can’t be ok on your own, you can’t be ok in a relationship.

I didn’t make a purposeful decision to be single the last year, it just felt right. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t worried about making someone else happy (other than my flesh and blood of course).

I was focusing on me. What made me happy? What kind of people did I want in my life? What were my goals for myself going forward in regards to my sons, my career, my social life, and how did the people in my life fit in with those goals.

Over the last year, as I focused inwardly, I began to get better at rejecting the bad energy around me. Pushing people out of my life who brought that energy with them. Most importantly, I learned to start saying “no” to people asking me for favors. Was it selfish? Maybe. But was it good for me to do it? A resounding hell yes.

So while I make my Hungry Man frozen TV dinner, watching infomercials at 3 a.m. in my boxers and a smelly t-shirt, I don’t ponder for one minute why I’m here and not somewhere living a “normal” life with a wife, 2 kids, a picket fence, and a dog. I embrace it.

Do I want the good life, to know what it’s like to grow old with someone and wake up every day feeling lucky to have them in my life? I’d be full of crap if I said no.

But I don’t need it. And THAT is the secret to my happiness.

‘Cause I’m a one man guy in the morning
Same in the afternoon
One man guy when the sun goes down
I whistle me a one man tune

* * * *

Steve Clem originally published this piece on the blog A Prisoner in the Tundra.

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