Lonely single guy tired of being lonely and single seeks person

I'm frustrated and lonely and tired and tired of being frustrated and lonely and tired. Plus did I mention I'm lonely?

Published October 12, 2007 10:29AM (EDT)

Dear Cary,

I've seen you give advice to women recently, so what advice do you have for the average single guy?

I'm in my late 20s and have been single since the Clinton administration. I have a job I enjoy where I earn a pretty good living, I volunteer and am involved at my church, I have hobbies both solitary and social, and as far as looks go, I'm not gorgeous but I'm not hideous either. I'd say average is a good description in almost every way.

As I've also said, I've been single for years.

I hate it.

I can get by well enough by myself, but it's lonely. Most of my friends are married, so if I hang out with them, I'm a third or fifth wheel. Most of the people I know at work have or are having children and that's a further separation. It doesn't seem like I know anyone who is at a similar-enough life stage to share what I'm going through.

I try not to let being single stop me from doing anything I want to do. I go to movies and out to dinner alone. The last few vacations I took alone -- which was nice because I did exactly what I wanted, but books aren't great company at restaurants.

The loneliness has been getting to me. I've contemplated moving, switching jobs, and other major life changes just to try to meet people, just to fix one problem, but I know that's a setup for disaster. It's just I've been single for so long that I'm frustrated with being continuously frustrated. It's wearing me out.

I don't know what to do. I've tried online dating, blind dates, speed dating, and giving up on dating. On the rare occasions when I do go out, I never seem to get a third date. The common denominator is me, and I can't figure out what I'm doing wrong or why I feel this way.

So, do you have any advice for an average guy that doesn't seem to have any luck dating?

Average Guy

Dear Average Guy,

Dating as a social construct is meant to achieve the exact opposite of communication. That's the problem with trying to make friends by dating. Dating isn't for making friends. Dating is for mating, political alliances and property exchange. Dating is a dance conceived by the elders of the tribe as a contest. It's about becoming part of the tribe.

You eliminate all communication so that it becomes apparent what tribe you belong to. If two participants in the contest can survive in a landscape barren of explicit communication, then it is likely that they are from the same tribe and thus compatible for marriage and property exchange.

There are a million ways of saying this. Dating is a highly over-determined ritual, redolent of capitalist class distinctions, etc. The point is that it's not such a good way to make friends. However, if you understand this, you can subvert the dating paradigm by piercing the veil and risking the wrath of the elders. Or you can go bowling. That is, you can find some socially horizontal, class-neutral, peer-centered ways of encountering people who are eligible for friendship.

To say, Hey, let's be friends, is to pierce the veil. For some people, it will only indicate that you have no idea how to behave on a date.

But if you're with someone intelligent and daring, you might say, Will you be my friend? You might say, Let's go to the movies every Thursday night for three months just to overcome the deadly tedium.

Ha ha. Good luck with that. But I'm half serious. Really.

Now, here is the other thing. Climb a mountain. Any mountain. Pick one. It doesn't have to be made of rock. It can be a mountain made of film or whipped cream. Just make sure it's high and climb it. Do something hard that might have consequences if you don't pay close attention. That will wake you up and put the color in your cheeks. The other thing is: Ask somebody to be your friend. Say to somebody: Be my friend.

That's all. I mean, I wrote a ton more but it was mostly boring.

Pierce the veil. Climb a mountain. Put some color in your cheeks. That's all.

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