Lost in lust

Why does he leave me to go rollerblading on the esplanade and surf Match.com?


Cary Tennis
June 14, 2004 11:10PM (UTC)

Dear Cary,

I'm a successful 42-year-old woman. I've achieved some large goals in my life, traveled a good deal, recovered from a divorce, and have come to terms with not having children. I recently bought my own home and have two amazing dogs plus friends and family.

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Why is it that single men around my age are so afraid? Or, what the heck are they afraid of? I'm pretty much as real as they come -- no games, no waiting for the proverbial white knight, frog prince, or whatever. I have a good job, am financially secure, very pretty, smart, creative and a good lover, very passionate. Sure, I'm a bit of a snob -- want quality vs. quantity, or both if I can get it -- like manners, good teeth, and someone who actually has a job.

Men see my pastoral home, two dogs and garden, stick their tail between their legs and run to the nearest young waif that will have them. Do I remind them too much of their mother? Am I too settled? Too comfortable? Nothing to conquer, seduce or chase really. If I dig the man -- on 80 percent of the levels then I'm his -- no fuss, no muss. Is that such a turnoff? And if so, why? Is it really all about the chase?

Why has being honest become such a turnoff? Why can't I hold this man that I've recently fallen for, who I know completely digs me, and tell him how much I want him in my life? Why must he pull on his rollerblades to surf the esplanade while also searching Match.com while still recovering from our long hot weekend together? Heck, I'd do his laundry, cook for him, and satisfy his every desire -- is that so repulsive?

Lost in Lust and Wanting His Love

Dear Lost in Lust,

Why, indeed, are single men around your age so afraid? What are they afraid of? Could it be that your material success and worldly confidence make them fear that they will not measure up? Could they be afraid to experience feelings of shame and powerlessness in your presence? Could your big pastoral house indeed symbolize the womb from which they passionately desire to flee even as they simultaneously long to return? Possibly.

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I have often heard a woman say that a particular man turned her down because he was afraid of her. But I have never heard a man say he turned down a woman because he was afraid of her. It just isn't something men say. A man might say he just wasn't into her trip. He might say it was weird, she was too pushy or too intense. He might screw up his face and say, Oh, I don't know what it was. He might even admit to feeling nervous and uncomfortable. But I'm not sure fear is always the right word for a man's reluctance to become further involved with a woman. What then should we call their reluctance to stick around, their haste to re-lace the rollerblades and cruise the esplanade? You could call it fear, or you could call it a love of freedom.

It's certainly possible that your achievements do cause men to feel things they're not used to feeling toward women, but are quite accustomed to feeling toward other men. For instance, a lot of guys don't really like other guys who have a lot of expensive things and big immaculate houses. Guys sometimes feel insecure or bored around that kind of scene, not because we secretly envy it and are conflicted, but because we think it's a big load of hooey. It's not interesting. Nothing is going to happen next that wasn't planned already, and that's boring. We don't want things to be all that perfect. Ambitious, successful people are fine to see on television. But up close they can be tiresome. One doesn't really enjoy being constantly impressed. Instead, one wants to enjoy the free and generous flow of spontaneous humanity, a good joke and a fine meal perhaps, maybe even an enjoyable outing on an expensive boat as long as it isn't lorded over us. Mainly we like to enjoy ourselves, not have to ooh and aah over everything. So your material success could be weirding out your men, but more with boredom than with envy or fear. If you were a man, you'd understand that.

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Cary Tennis

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