There is a great division out there in the single life. I got married waayyyy too young, oddly I was more independant and more sure of exactly what I wanted when I was 20 years old than I am now approaching my mid thirties, and I can say that I know exactly what I want and mean it, but back then it was instinctual. No second guessing. I knew that I was ready to commit to one person. And even though we eventually crumbled to dust, I can say that I was devoted and meant that commitment up until the very bitter end when it was irretrievably broken. Coming out of a decade long commitment into the single life, it was hard for me to even concieve of dating and what it was supposed to be like, what lied ahead for me. I had a serious relationship almost immediately after my separation, fresh off the turnip truck, with a horrible person, deep down in his soul...a swine. It seemed like a bad ending at the time, but looking back it is just laughable now. The whole thing ridiculous, especially when I read old blogs about us. I was definitely still in the mode of playing house...because that's all I knew.
Then I played the field for a while, had fun dating. It was a thrill for me to meet new people, get cheap attention, validation that I was desirable after so many years of feeling invisible and insignificant. Completely absorbed in the raising of my young children, unaware of what was cool, out of touch, awkward socially outside of my circle of moms. A whole new world opened up for me on every other weekend off duty and out on the town. I guess every divorced woman goes through that to some extent. Drunk on freedom, absurd compliments about how intriguing I was and many many cocktails sent my way. All of that was perfectly natural. Things began to take a different tone when I took a part time job at a bar.
I had never spent much time in bars prior to this. I mean I guess I went out and had fun, never felt like I was missing out on anything...I was just never really interested in sitting on barstools for any length of time. I had other things filling my time; three children, friends scattered all over the place, a million sparks in my interest; multiple projects gestating, practices and progress. Roots in many things, all of which I loved. I just needed to make some money. Nights were my best option, so a bar seemed like the perfect fit. There are choices in life that are benign, and some that suprise you with infinite joy...and others that infect you like a cancer and break you one cell and one moment at a time. Bar life is full of many pleasures, and void of any substance...but the pleasure can be blindingly delicious, and once you get a taste of it, you forget why you worked so hard for the substance that slips away one night of revelry at a time. Drinking to celebrate now and then in my former life was replaced with drinking to take the edge off of lonely nights, boring nights, long days, and to bond with other drinkers who were lonely, bored and having long days too. The more drinkers you bond with, the bigger your network of drinking buddies becomes. Their birthdays become a reason to drink, their break ups become a reason to drink, their job loss becomes a reason to drink, the newest sports season, the next great live show, the next holiday youre trying to forget or celebrate, or simply beginning of a new week, or the end of a shift. The more nights you have bonding over the spirits; dancing, and laughing, and sharing your stories the bigger your web of social connections grows, and before you know it you have a reason to libate 7 days a week if you want to. And all the people are genuinely interesting, and unique, and intelligent and witty and funny;good people with good intentions and high hopes. And they get you through, and you get them through and you make a million epic stories to tell...it's an overwhelming siren call of fun. But it comes at a price, because all that pleasure fills you up at the expense of all the real things in life that were missing in the first place.
This is where the perpetual bachelorhood comes from. Bars. When you have an extensive social network like that to maintain, it doesnt jive with someone