No Country for Good Men

I didn’t hear the term “fuckboy” until I had been on this planet for 39 years.  It’s a pretty self explanatory term, but if you need some clarification, here is the definition :

fuckboy

or fuck boy or fuckboi

A fuckboy is that guy … the one who doesn’t respect women, but relies on them heavily. He’s distant, doesn’t care about other people’s time, and won’t commit. He’s self-absorbed, does stupid things, and fucks with others’ emotions.

I’m sure if you are a woman reading this, you know all too well about this particular breed of “man”.  The saddest thing that I’ve come to realize is just how much the world of fuckboys has taken over.  Their bullshit is everywhere and It’s ruining things for those of us who don’t want to live in their morally ambiguous world.

You see, when my marriage fell apart, it was because of fuckboys.  Their disrespect for what I believed in and held close to my heart tore my entire world apart.  But that’s just part of it.  The truth is that my ex wife was already scorned by men long before I met her, mostly from her deadbeat father and less than amazing step-father. Add to that a long line of disappointing and morally challenged boyfriends and the deck was already stacked against any man who has the intention of being honest and true.

The opening monologue by Tommy Lee Jones in the Coen Brothers adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel No Country for Old Men is about Ed Bell’s disillusionment with the world in which he is living, compared to the way the world used to be; the world as he wishes it would still be.

I remember a lot of people being frustrated with this movie when it first came out, because it ends with Ed telling a story about a dream that he had.  The screen cuts to black and there isn’t any tidy resolution.  I always wondered why people didn’t pay more attention to the opening scene, because all of the explanation is right there.  As the world changes and evolves, it often can become unrecognizable as you get older.  When my parents were kids, they would leave their front doors unlocked.  Like Ed said, several sheriffs that he knew wouldn’t even carry a gun.  Boys would court girls and show up at their family home to meet their parents before a first date.  When I was a kid, if I wanted to talk to a girl on the phone, I had to do it on our one house phone that was in the kitchen.  I remember my sister and I wanting more privacy, so my parents bought a longer chord to stretch around the corner, but we still had to talk quietly.  My parents and my relatives all had/have classic love stories.  They’re all still married and they have all endured their share of good times and bad.  I didn’t grow up around infidelity and marital discord, for that I know that I am extremely lucky.  That stability and belief in the tenants of marriage and commitment made me who I am today.

The problem is that the world of my father and uncles and grandfathers is long gone, and I don’t like the world I find myself in today.  Before I met and fell in love with my now significant other, I went on one date with a girl I met through a dating app.  During our initial pre date conversations, she told me that she was at the end of her rope with dating, telling me that she had dated so much that it could qualify as a second full time job.  She told me that she was so sick of “fuckboys”.  There it was, that word.  I asked her what that meant and she launched into a diatribe about the disintegration of the world of men.  She told me that guys are non-committal, always want sex on the first date, talk to multiple girls at a time, “ghost” her out of nowhere, don’t pull chairs out, open doors, etc, etc, etc, etc.  The list just went on and on.  When I tried to explain to her the kind of man I am, she didn’t believe me.  It sounded exactly like what a fuckboy would say to get close to her and get what he wanted.  I told her that I had a Camaro that I drive on the weekends.  Unbeknownst to me, that was not only a fuckboy car, but I was almost certainly a fuckboy.  It didn’t matter that I was almost forty years old and had loved cars all of my life.  It didn’t matter, because in today’s world, my kind didn’t exist anymore.

So I find myself drifting in a sea of constant suspicion and doubt, because the flippant and damaging world of modern men has created a world where I don’t belong.  Good men these days are forced to prove themselves over and over, working to convince those around them that their kind actually does still exist.

The first is the suspicion around the end of my marriage.  Why did it end?  It was obviously his fault.  He probably cheated or was abusive.  He probably wasn’t a good husband to her.  He probably drank too much, or hung out with his boys instead of his wife.  There’s always a reason behind why divorce happens, so be careful with any man who is divorced.

The second is the constant suspicion of infidelity and dishonesty.  Women have been burned so much by callous and indifferent men that they just naturally assume that all men are the same, and I don’t blame them.  Dating apps like Plenty of Fish have conditioned men to look at love as something outdated and disposable.  Once you encounter one tiny thing that may not be perfect about a woman, there are thousands more at the swipe of a finger for you to try out.  What’s the point in committing or investing yourself emotionally in anything when it’s so easy not to.  Putting in hard work and building a solid foundation for a life long relationship is like building a fire without matches and gasoline to men.  It’s antiquated and the skill doesn’t matter anymore.

The third is that good men have to clean up the messes left by fuckboys, while they are trying to build and nurture a true love story.  Men who are committed to doing the right things and trying to love a woman the way they saw their amazing fathers love their amazing mothers, have to battle every step of the way.  When the stress comes and there are bumps in the road, the first inclination for women is to pull away and prove that they don’t need a man, because they’ve had to do it so many times.  There is a callous that has been built up by years of shitty behavior by men, and it can be hard to soften up again.

I’m trying my best to be the type of man that I know that I should be.  Being out in the world again and starting over with love at forty years old is like watching your seventy year old dad try and use his iPhone.  Being old fashioned isn’t always a bad thing.  Some things were better in the old days.  Life was more meat and potatoes and love was about the magic of finding that one person who completes you, not for one night, but for the rest of your life.  Treating your lady like a queen and being supportive and nurturing aren’t a sign of weakness.  Making mistakes and working to always try and be a better man, so that you can honor and protect the amazing gift that love can bring to your life should never be outdated.

I don’t care if this is no longer a country for good men, because I was never going to not be one anyways.

“They say the eyes are the window to the soul.  I don’t know what them eyes was the window to and I guess I’d as soon not know.  But there is another view of the world out there and other eyes to see it and that’s where this is goin.  It has done brought me to a place in my life I would not of thought I’d of come to.  Somewhere out there is a true and living prophet of destruction and I don’t want to confront him.  I know he’s real.  I have seen his work.  I walked in front of those eyes once.  I won’t do it again.  I won’t push my chips forward and stand up and go out to meet him.  It ain’t just been older.  I wish that it was.  I can’t say that it’s even what you are willing to do.  Because I always knew that you had to be willing to die to even do this job.  That was always true.  Not to sound glorious about it or nothin but you do.  If you ain’t they’ll know it.  They’ll see it in a heartbeat.  I think it is more like what you are willing to become.  And I think a man would have to put his soul at hazard.  And I won’t do that.  I think now that maybe I never would.”

She Lives 1,000 Miles Away

Go ahead, tell me that it’ll never work.  Tell me that I’m crazy.  Roll your eyes when I tell you that we met through Instagram.  What are you going to do, quit your job, sell your house, move across the country for a girl with kids?  She’s going to pick up everything and move there to live with you?  Have you thought this through?  Make sure you know what you’re doing!  Make sure you’re not playing with fire!  Do you know how much work kids are?  What if her family doesn’t like you?  What if your family doesn’t like her?  OMG she has tattoos?!  Have you tried Match.com or Eharmony yet?  Maybe Christian Mingle?  Take things slow.  How can you already be in love?!  When’s he moving?  When’s she moving?

Who?

What?

When?

Why?

Where?

How?

ENOUGH!!!!

Stop it.  All of it.  Why do we have to go through this when two souls find each other and want to be in love?  Why does it have to be a problem when it doesn’t fit into everyone’s idea of what a relationship should look like?  Why does it have to evolve in a way that makes everyone else comfortable?

You can’t explain love.  You can’t fit it into a box.  It doesn’t make sense.  It doesn’t happen when you want it to, or when the timing is perfect.  Love isn’t a straight line.  It doesn’t have smooth edges and brilliantly polished surfaces.  You can’t choose who you fall in love with.  You can try, but it can lead to a very frustrating and limited existence.

After my divorce, the idea of dating was horrifying to me.  I dipped my toes into the cesspool of dating apps and that did little to assuage my fears.  Endlessly shopping for potential love matches seemed so contrary to how I felt about the process of falling in love again.  Dating apps have taken all of the spontaneity and unexpectedness out of love.  If there’s one thing that you don’t like about the person you go out with, you know that there are thousands of more options to choose from.  You don’t have to try anymore. Everything is temporary.  Sex is always implied.  Chivalry is officially dead.  Infidelity seems to almost be an eventuality.  How is it ok that love and commitment has deteriorated so much over the years?  For those of us who long for that traditional romance that can last a lifetime, the state of things these days can be very disheartening. Why are we always looking for the better option, rather than appreciating what we’ve been given and working to evolve and grow the connection that we have?

up cute quotes " we come to love not by finding a perfect person but by learning to see an imperfect person perfectly.

It took a long time for me to accept being divorced.  I fought through two separations that I didn’t want.  I put up with emotional infidelity and forgave more bad behavior than I want to admit, but I did it because I took the vows of marriage to heart.  My parents have stayed together through all of their struggles, only growing closer and stronger through the years.  Both of my grandmothers unfortunately lost their husbands to health issues, but those men remain the loves of their lives.  My aunts and uncles have all stayed married to their first loves.  Divorce had never been a part of my life, until it happened to me.  I was so embarrassed by the fact that it was happening that I had to hit rock bottom before I could admit that it was over, even though it had been for several years.  I just couldn’t let it go.

So here I am, in love with a woman who lives 1,000 miles away from me and trying to navigate in a world where organic and spontaneous love belongs more in a science lab than in your dreams.  Guys aren’t opening doors for women anymore, or pulling out their chairs for them.  They’re too busy swiping and hoping that the next one in their feed will be “perfect”.  They’ve lost the ability to see past the aesthetics of everything.  God forbid that a man be vulnerable and sensitive.  GROSS! Everyone is selling themselves now, curating an online persona that is more marketing strategy than life story.  Women have become so hardened by how men have devolved that they are instantly suspicious when a sensitive, caring man comes along.  It’s like when you see a story about some guy who disappeared from society and went to live off the grid, only to be pulled out and thrust back into society.

Look, don’t get it twisted.  I absolutely understand that those who love us need to know that we are going to be safe and taken care of.  I know that questions have to be asked and I know how important it is to have the support and confidence from those who are closest to us.  My problem is the built-in stigma around what we think of as non-traditional relationship scenarios.  People are still falling in love every day, but true love seems so much harder for people to accept when it doesn’t “look right”, because everything is such a mess now.

I wasn’t trying to fall in love, but I did.  It happened before I even knew it.  The planets aligned, the stars collided, my karma account was full, God’s plan for me was revealed, I got lucky, things happen for a reason, etc, etc, etc.  What I do understand is that no matter what you believe is controlling this life and pulling the strings for you, if you don’t recognize it and grab on with both hands when it’s presented, you may very well run out of chances.  So what if it’s not ideal.  So what if you meet online.  So what if you have to change your life to make it work.  Love is the reason why all of us are here.  At the end of our lives, we will only be able to live on in the hearts of those we loved and those who loved us.  Everything else is only temporary.

So I’m going to be the man who I know I am and I’m going to love the way that I believe I should love.  The road forwards may be crooked and bumpy at times, but it’s the road I’m choosing and I’m going to follow it.  So ask your questions and tell me what you think, but also take solace in the fact that great love stories can still happen, and that there are still men and women out there who are willing to take the leap and trust the process.

 

 

Song of the Day 9/20/2018

 

She Cooked For Me

I’m 39 years old and I’ve never had a woman I love cook for me, besides the women in my family of course.  My ex never learned to cook and she never cared to change that.  I did all of the cooking, every night.  I didn’t complain because I enjoyed doing it, even though there was never any reciprocation.  I was good at it too.  Still am, but I would be lying if I said that my heart didn’t yearn to feel that love that comes from preparing a meal for someone.

My parents and my Grandma taught me how to cook.  We didn’t eat out much as a family and we always made a point to sit around the dinner table each night of the week and share a home cooked meal.  Family recipes and traditions have always meant a lot to me.  Sure, my mom definitely made some clunkers here and there (pot roast leather and baked fish come to mind), but she always made the effort, because she loved us and it made her happy to do it.  She made some great things too.  Now that my parents are retired, my Dad has taken over the bulk of the cooking duties at their house.  He’s great at it too and he often has me over to eat and share in his creations.

The age old cliche’ that the most important ingredient in any great meal is love was proven true to me this past weekend by my girlfriend (hate that word, what does it EVEN mean)?  This was her first visit to my house, in our growing (long distance) love affair.

That’s right, she cooked for me.

Lord.Have.Mercy.

We went to the grocery store together on Saturday and attempted to purchase coherent ingredients, fighting to stay focused through the electricity of our intense connection.  We have both been through terrible divorces that challenged our ability to trust and believe in the hopes and promises of love, so to feel those feelings again in their purest and most powerful form was a truly transformative experience, at least for me.  I sincerely hope it was for her as well.  I THINK the feeling was mutual. *wink*

First thing that she did was make me football snacks on Sunday.  The fact that she even wanted to sit down and watch football with me was amazing and incredibly sexy.  Never experienced that one either!  She took it a step further though.  She LOVES sports (Hockey fanatic), was actively involved in the game AND rooted for my team, even though I had to agree to root for her team in return (Broncos…..eye roll, amirite?!)

Look, let me be perfectly clear.  I am a progressive traditionalist (made that up), when it comes to relationships.  By no means do I expect a woman to cook for me and be “barefoot and pregnant”.  Gross.  I believe that love should be a partnership and that both participants should encourage and support the dreams and desires of the other.  You’re only successful if your power can come from your collective strength and commitment.  I believe in shared experiences and that boundaries and defined roles shouldn’t exist in a truly successful relationship.

But I digress.

If you truly appreciate your wife or your girlfriend, then you know how incredible it can be to just sit back and watch them be their transcendent selves.  You know how amazing it is to smell their perfume in your house, watch them move, feel the softness of their skin and to just be in their presence.  What a piece of work a woman can be.

So ANYWAYS……….she cooked for me.

We had a great time on Sunday, especially when we fell asleep on each other halfway through the Broncos game.  Hey, who knew they would come back?!  Yesterday though, she took things a step further.  Amongst the melancholy and infinite sadness of our first visit coming to an end, she decided to prepare the rest of the food that we had purchased, so that I would have meals to eat for the rest of the week.  She knew that I could cook it for myself, but she insisted on doing it.

She thought I didn’t really like it.

She thought it wasn’t that big of a deal.

She was wrong.

While I was busy breaking down about the inevitable goodbye, she was opening her heart and making sure that she left her love for me to experience for days to come. While I ran to the store to get a couple of things to preserve the dinners that she created, she was busy leaving hidden notes around my house, to let me know all of the reasons why she loves me.  When I got home, the house was full of amazing smells and there she was, listening to her music and being the amazing person that she is, making sure that I was taken care of, even though she was MY guest.

When you’re trying to come back from heartbreak that you never wanted or thought possible, you never believe that you will find love again, let alone find someone who is the epitome of everything that you always wanted, but here I am with that very thing in front of me.

So yes, for the first time in my 39 years of existence, a woman I am in love with cooked for me.  She doesn’t fully understand what it meant and I’ll never be able to properly convey that to her, but it absolutely meant the world.  She doesn’t know how much I needed it.  It’s not about the food, it’s about the love.  It’s not about what you cook, it’s about the act of preparing something that nourishes and comforts the ones who have your heart.  It is love in its purest form.

So I’ll eat dinner tonight and I’ll say thanks for all of the love that she has already given me.  I’ll let her spirit nourish me and I’ll remember how lucky I am for all of the love that I have been fed throughout my years.

I’m hungry for more.

 

SONG OF THE DAY FOR 9/19/2018