I haven’t been dating actively in several years. First, a medical problem set me back for over a year. I didn’t write much about it here, except to mention pain, but I was, basically, out of commission. And then, when my pain abated enough for me to date, other things held my attention.
I wrote less. And I dated less.
And then, just as I was roaring back, came the pandemic. For nearly a year now, I’ve had precisely one extramarital rendezvous, with V. It was delightful. Delicious. But it was one. And I’ve known V quite a while now, so it’s been some time since I’ve invested any energy in meeting anyone, any way.
I have barely been on OKC. Tinder has become an unmanageable, useless cesspool. I never, really, figured out FetLife. And the legions of women drawn to me by my blog itself slowed first to a trickle, and then, eventually, dried up almost completely. And I haven’t been to a bar since March 2020.
So my recent foray into Seeking Arrangement is the closest thing to meeting new women I’ve had in quite a while. And Seeking Arrangement is, in many ways, like normal dating, with extra velocity. And, with money.
Here are a few things I have learned in the last couple of weeks. Some of them are genuinely new learnings. Some, I had learned before but forgotten. Some, I never will stop learning.
1. People, generally speaking, can’t help but be who they are, in nearly every interaction: people reveal their motivation, and their character (at least, as they appear to me), very quickly. Trust, or mistrust, generally congeal slowly in me, but 99 times out of 100, if I judged people by their first three messages to me, I wouldn’t be wrong.
1a. I really want to like people, and don’t want to believe it when someone has shown me they are grasping, or aggressive, or inconsiderate, or disrespectful. Or maybe I have the omnipotent fantasy that, in spite of their negative qualities I somehow can extract the positive from them with the sheer force of my personality.
1b. I should clarify: I don’t know that people are grasping, aggressive, inconsiderate, or disrespectful outside of the context in which I am meeting them – currently the morass that is Seeking Arrangement. But within that context, as it relates to me, they may well be.
2. I don’t generally do well with (read: I don’t generally like) people who use text speak: The first time someone abbreviates you with “U” is (are?) strikes 1 and 2 for me.
3. Kik seems not to be preferred by anyone I eventually like. I remain open to concluding otherwise. But my quite large “n” here suggests something close to a hard and fast rule.
4. People for whom trust is the most elusive, alas, are generally those who are the least trustworthy.
5. Related: those who imagine they know my motivations to be other than those I claim tend to obscure their motivations.
A few learnings that pertain specifically to Seeking Arrangement and the land of compensated relationships:
1. People who are focused on not having their time wasted waste my time.
2. People for whom (I believe/they allow me to believe) money is their primary motivation – as opposed to, say, one among several – tend to be a poor match for me.
3. Everyone on Seeking Arrangement is playing out a fantasy of one sort or another. This may be true in all walks of life. It’s especially true here.
And, finally, one thing about me: my mania knows few bounds, and it pulls me like a powerful magnet to the lure of engagement with new, beautiful women.
Mania is a remarkable force, or, really, strategy: I use it to disguise pain as pleasure, by momentarily distracting from major loss with minor gain (and major loss, in the other sense, with minor triumph). By distracting from negative emotions with positive sensations. By reversing time scales such that I imagine the transcendent evanescent, the short-term long-term. It allows me to feel powerful instead of impotent. Desirable instead of repulsive. Strong instead of weak. Good instead of bad. And so on….