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  • Writer's pictureBrande Victorian

For Once It Would Be Nice To Meet A Man Without A Situation

We locked eyes as I strolled through the foyer trying to find a seat. From what I could see of his head through the mass of people, he was attractive, and from the death stare he had on me I assumed he felt the same. Immediately, he broke through the crowd and asked me my name. He said he had to run and take care of some business but asked if he could have my number and hang out with me and talk at the networking party when he returned. His demeanor gave me good vibes so I obliged, and just as he said he would, he returned, rung me up to get my location, and sat next to me so we could talk.

The conversation flowed well; quite well actually for people from two distinct cultures who'd just met. We sat on benches across from each other and to lessen the distance, I suppose, said suitor began to stroke my hand. I let a few strokes go by and then took a glance down at our somehow intertwined hands just to acknowledge the moment. I wasn't really sure how I felt about such abrupt physical contact but I didn't have much time to consider that, as a glimmer of light caught my eye and disrupted whatever possibly normal and unexpectedly romantic scenario that seemed to be going on. There it was, a piece of metal on a finger that shouldn't be on the hand of any man stroking the hand of a woman who doesn't have a matching piece of jewelry. And there I was, pissed -- not so much because the man was married, but because now I was gonna have to check him.

I took about 60 seconds just to be sure I knew my opposing left from my right and that the ring was indeed on his ring finger. And then I considered one brief moment of the benefit of the doubt -- maybe they do class rings differently in South Africa? Then I just felt an ickyness at his boldness, pulled my hand away, and asked flat out, "What's that?"

His grabbing of my gold costume ring from Aldo in response and asking "What's that?" in an attempt to equate the significance of his ring to mine let me know his was as significant as I'd thought it was. He told me a tale of an arranged marriage to a woman he barely knew that was just too conveniently stereotypical for my American stomach. I looked him squarely in the face and told him: "You are such a disappointment."

His face let me know my choice of words was a bit harsh and the truth is they weren't solely intended for him. It was a summation of my feelings toward the entire male species which has left me, in a word, tired. Even if I could believe his arranged predicament -- which I liken to men in New York who claim their marriage is just for papers and then spend the night ignoring their wives' phone calls asking where they are -- for once it would be nice to meet someone without a situation. As I told the man that night, It's very disappointing for a woman to have to consider unexpected and unpleasant realities of a man's life on first meeting -- or to think you met someone decent only find out he's an adulterer, or to have a man tell you he doesn't have kids, send you a Facebook request and the first thing you see is a pic of his kid. There's nothing enjoyable about that and it pretty much shits on what's supposed to be the best part of dating: the getting to know you phase. That's why I'm over having to consider kids, wives, ex-girlfriends, live-in exes, live-in babymamas, trying to get my own place, no career-having--ass men.

Whenever people ask me what I'm looking for in a partner I say the male version of me.1 realize on first listen that sounds like an incredibly cocky statement but I don't mean it to be at all. What I mean when I say that is I have a good-paying job, career aspirations, my own place, no children, and no ex-boyfriend or husband who's going to pop up and call anyone I'm dating on some crazy shit. (Full disclosure: That did happen once, but it was years ago.) The most situation-like thing you're going to get from me, if you catch me before the year is over, is some credit card debt. Now as far as this mouth and my moodiness -- well that's where I need a man who's better than me because I probably wouldn't deal with that my damn self -- but by engaging me or even dating me you are not going to immediately be bombarded with other people or nonsense to consider. And I consider that a pretty big plus.

A friend used to tell me I'm looking for a white picket fence type of scenario but that's not true. I know nothing is perfect, but I try to keep my life as unnecessarily uncomplicated as possible simply because I know life is hard enough as it is and I don't want to purposely make it any harder than it need be. So when I'm constantly meeting men with complicated lives, it's disheartening. Yes, I know, as my mother so kindly warned me a few years back, "It's going to be hard at this age to meet someone without kids or who's not divorced." But could I just meet one every so often so I know they're not unicorns? And does the opposite of he doesn't have kids or an ex-wife have to be some complicated living arrangement that makes me uncomfortable just thinking about it?

Obviously, I don't immediately discount men because of these situations, which is how I know just how rampant they are. I'm just curious if this is all that's out there in the 30-plus dating world. If so, I guess I should make my peace and be happy if I find a man with a situation instead of finding myself in a situationship. One could consider that a silver lining but right now I still don't want it.

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