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Sunday, January 04, 2004

Pros vs. Civilians

At times I envy the married man. There is a form of loneliness that no married man seems to recall, even if their relationship with their spouse borders on hatred. But shed no tears for me, for the flexibility of a single life has considerable benefits also. So in the contemplation of the new year, here is an analysis.

I have had a very busy end of year. Basically I've spent quality time over the last few months with a couple of providers from Seattle and Southern California (SoCal), a former provider who wants to be a girlfriend, a former ATF who just likes to have fun (but is getting older than my sweet spot), a former girlfriend, and some buddies I've known for at least twenty years (all married).

Around November I scheduled a several days trip with a Pacific Northwest (PNW) provider. Then I spent five days in NYC with a former NYC provider who currently lives in Norway. Then I spent Thanksgiving in Florida where I met a former regular provider of mine randomly at a bar, and with whom I spent a few days in the Bahamas (I posted about this here). In December I returned to Seattle to catch "Battlestar Galactica" on television (depressing) and then spent five days at a resort hotel on Vancouver Island with a former girlfriend. I made it back to civilization in time to catch the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy day, and then went to LA where I split time with a SoCal provider and some old friends.

I'm at a crossroads. I have been searching for either my next steady provider or next steady girlfriend, and it's been tough going. I have been hobbying and dating for a decade, and frankly I feel that the experiences are changing. Girlfriends are quicker to demand committment, and I'm starting to want to date providers in a civilian manner. I'm not sure why, but it's happening.

So I spent some time thinking about my recent experiences, and what I liked the most. Being the fiercely quantitative person that I am, I built a weighted analytical model. Now let me have a little missive about numbers. Many people like to rate things. It's a natural tendency. Although arguably it's better to stack rank things (for example, x is better than y) rather than rate using absolute numbers. So I will disclaim numerical ratings.

The PNW provider tied for highest score in this model, but had poor availability. She's damned difficult to schedule, harder than the gal who lives in Norway! It's really a shame since it's nearly a deal breaker. I've considered several times just walking away, but other attributes, that she's just a great gal, keep drawing me back.

The ex-girlfriend ties for first place even though she is most expensive and least reliable. Sometimes reality isn't as good as fantasy, I guess. Or maybe she isn't as practiced at it. Of course, it's also possible I have a skewed view of the terms "girlfriend" and "fun"; if dodging kitchen implements thrown at your head qualifies for a fun girlfriend, she'd be at the top of the scale.

My ex-ATF regular is next. She is the only girl in this comparision older than I am, and it's showing. But she is a classic courtesan in the skills department. Graduate school degree, well read, entrepreneurial and free-spirited, and uninhibited. She makes me feel young with her infectious enthusiasm for all things.

In a somewhat distant third rank is the ex-NYC provider in Norway who wants to be a girlfriend. We met three times several years ago when she was a provider through an "international agency" in Manhattan. She returned to Norway to attend school, and we've corresponded quite a bit over instant messenger. We had lunch in Norway about a year ago. She has always been hinting that I should invite her for a travel vacation and that the experience would be extraordinary. So she came to NYC over a winter break they have over there, and it was fun. She is young and remarkably uninhibited, and dresses provocatively outdoors and seems to hate clothes indoors. She clearly saw our five days as an opportunity to impress. To give you an idea of her lifestyle, last summer she spent some time travelling all over Europe with an even cuter girlfriend, having menage-a-trois with race car drivers. Now she wants to settle down to more boring stability. Gee, thanks for thinking of me. ;-) But she has potential, maybe the most potential of all.

I'll be in Mexico later this month with the ex-girlfriend.

I have to cut down a few options, since I also DO work sometimes. Not sure what to do. But it reminds me of a conversation many years ago with a tax advisor. I was stunned by the amount of tax I was paying (after all, I used to be poor). He told me to keep perspective, saying, "It's not a bad problem to have."