About men

I'm in my mid-30s and I have five key questions concerning love, life and the opposite sex.

By Cary Tennis

Published September 11, 2003 7:07PM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

I am in my mid-30s, recently divorced, single for the first time since I was in my early 20s, and I have spent the last six months surveying the field of available men. This survey has provoked the following questions, which I hope you can answer for me.

Thanks. I look forward to your response.

Concerned About My Options

1. Is there such a thing as Love at First Sight? A: Yes. But your sight must be good in the dark.

2. Is there such a thing as Unrequited Love and, if so, what causes it? A: Yes, there is unrequited love, but more often it is unrequited lust. Again, your sight must be good in the dark.

3. Is it ever OK to date a man who hates his mother, assuming she didn't beat him or try to sell him into child prostitution? A: It is OK to date a man who hates his mother, unless you plan to take over the role of his mother, in which case then not.

4. If a man is still single in his 30s, is there any possibility he's not an alcoholic? A: Yes, it is possible that a man who is still single in his 30s is not an alcoholic but is instead fickle, solitary, obsessive, gay, religious, a player, too small, too big, too huge, too talkative, too late, too early, too fast, too slow, too hungry, too sloppy, too unkempt, too unpromising, too full of himself, too uninterested, too intelligent, too stupid, too angry, too submissive, too indecisive or too selfish. He may also be addicted to heroin. But, funny you should ask, I was single in my 30s and was, alas, an alcoholic.

5. If one were to decide to eschew any further attempts to have romance, relationship, sex, etc., what would be some good alternative hobbies/activities to take the place of the aforementioned for the rest of one's life? A: Unfortunately, there are no perfect alternatives to romance. Like romance, they are all but painful reminders of our human imperfection. "Monopoly" begins to repeat after 10 years or so. Playing the market ages you. The horses drive you mad. Gardening is too solitary. Hang-gliding makes you giddy. With rock climbing, the insurance will kill you. Philately is for dilettantes. Art collecting is for the rich. Writing ruins your skin. Surfing is seasonal and the injuries are severe. Travel is broadening but will bankrupt you too. Poetry makes your teeth go bad. Drinking works only short-term; the booze will take your wallet in the middle of the night just like a bad hooker. You could be a decorator, but you'd have to change your phone number. Dogs are fun but their politics are suspect; they're all closet totalitarians. Mice are fine for men but bad for women; they make women jump on tables. Snakes are only for shirtless adolescents. Photography will keep you awake in the darkroom. Lepidopterology was good for Nabokov but he was one of a kind. Cooking will sustain you but you'll get fat. Politics will break your heart. Religion is only for the pure and the criminally insane.

I could go on, but you get the picture: You might as well fall in love.

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Cary Tennis

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