by Steve Clem on September 20, 2012

Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

A recent chat with my mom went something like this:

Mom: You should cut your expenses if you’re struggling.
Me: You mean I should stop drinking Patrón and eating caviar every night?
Mom: Well, you spend a lot of money going on dates. You don’t need that in your life.
Me: That’s pretty easy to say while you’re sitting next to the guy you’ve been married to for 53 years.

If I had a nickel for every time a friend or family member asked me why I still go on dates after all the train wrecks I’ve had . . . well, I’d have a shit-ton of nickels.

From hickey-girl dates to parking-lot foibles, from heartbreaking relationship to heartbreaking relationship, I’ve seen about every nook and cranny in Relationshipville and her twin city, Datesville.

I’ve taken a few extended breaks from dating and relationships in the six years since my divorce, but never with the assumption that I was done forever. It was usually to focus on my boys, and myself, and to get my own house in order. I never threw in the towel. Just took a little breather.

So when I hear people questioning why I date, it gives me a mild case of GFYitis. Especially when it comes from someone who is happily in a relationship. In case you haven’t noticed, I can be quite the attention whore. It’s hard to be an attention whore with a mirror, and my blog and Facebook aren’t necessarily the best use of my time when looking for said attention, as my father points out to me on a regular basis.

I want a woman by my side who I can laugh with, who can laugh AT me and WITH me. I want a partner who looks at every day as a chance to learn something new about each other. A chance for a new life. A life that involves exploring this crazy-ass place we call Earth. The good and the bad. Together. As Hallmark Card as it sounds, I want to have my last first kiss.

And I know with every day that passes, my odds may diminish for finding The One. I still may end up the crabby old man who yells at kids for looking at my lawn, while perusing my postage stamp collection and petting my beloved cat. But given who I am as a person, I think I deserve better than that, and I won’t let it happen without a fight.

So I’m gonna date like a mofo, and there’s not a damn thing any of you can do about it, yo!

A Jason Mraz song currently riding the airwaves creates a schizophrenic reaction in my brain. “I Won’t Give Up” tells the story of a patient love between two people. I once thought of a particular person when I heard this song, but I’m evolving to envision a faceless person when it comes on the radio. I know she’s out there, and to her I say this: “I won’t give up on us. Even if the skies get rough, I’m giving you all my love. I’m still looking up.”

I want an “us.” I still believe, wherever you are.

* * * *

Steve Clem is a divorced dad, a recovering Republican, and a Prisoner in the Tundra. He is in The Guinness Book of World Records for being part of the largest Hokey Pokey of all time. He was the founding editor of the Iowa City weekly The ICON.

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