The hunt for a mate has changed since the swinging ’70s.

But maybe not as much as you might think.

Single bars are great if you want to stay single. I don’t.
illuminated signs, New York subway stations, 1977

The water gets murkier every day, but the search must continue….Angler seeks mystical mermaid who swims a different stroke.
− newspaper personal ad #90,026, Dallas Observer, 1990

The water still gets murkier every day, yet the search continues.
− online profile #80,846,400, PlentyofFish.com, 2018

A grimy mixture of marijuana smoke, sweat, and body odor engulfed the Volkswagen Beetle on this steamy June evening.

Dean and I had just spent a fruitless few hours in some Dallas discos, trying to meet women significantly younger and less attached than the one we presently encountered. Our journey from there led to this parking lot adjacent to a porn shop with peep-show and glory-hole booths.

Dean didn’t need to get women high to attract them. He also didn’t need to meet them in an adult bookstore parking lot. But then, neither did I. The previous summer of 1979 featured a seemingly endless array of clubhouse parties at the Dallas apartment complex where we lived for a few months to get away from our parents’ houses, where Everclear flowed from fountains and attendees wore little, if anything. I don’t remember much about that summer, except I starred in some of the most epic jungle-rules water volleyball games of my life. And it was incredibly easy to meet women at those parties.

But a year later, that scene seemed like ancient history. Here we were, outside a grimy porn shop, trying to decide whether to accept an offer from an older married swinger. Go figure.

In a certain light, Dean could have been mistaken for Mac Davis, another Texas native who played a Don Meredith-like quarterback in Peter Gent’s 1979 release, North Dallas 40. Dean, who had the well-built body, blue eyes, and curly hair to match Seth Maxwell, wanted to act like Davis. He would have killed to play a role like Davis did in that movie. Kurt, a friend who formed a facetious Campus Kings fraternity at the local community college we all had attended, gave Dean a nickname that was part-sarcastic, part-serious: “Nation’s Top Hustler.”

To Dean, when the woman in the next car offered him a joint, it would be downright impolite to say no. It didn’t matter that her husband was inside the porn place, probably masturbating to some Debbie Does Dallas ripoff as they spoke.

“I’m a romantic at heart,” Dean told his new friend after numerous minutes of small talk. That included his story about how he obtained an honorable discharge from the U.S. Air Force after telling his supervisor that the military lifestyle ― with its hazing, screaming officers, and menial tasks ― sucked. “I’ve always been that way.”

The woman laughed. “Oh yeah?” She gazed into his eyes. “Want to get romantic in Grand Prairie?”

“Yeeeeooowww!” yelped Dean. “What do you have in mind, exactly?”

She got out, exposing more of her ample bosom, and leaned against Dean’s Bug. “Whatever you like, darlin’.” She glanced at me. “Your friend can join us, if he wants.” Then she focused on the porn shop. “I have to wait for my husband, though. He likes to watch. I’ll go check on him now.” She turned back to us. “Don’t you go anywhere, darlin’.”

As she walked off, Dean nudged me. “Aha! This could be really interesting, huh, Kev?”

“Could be.” I was curious and a little turned on — after all, I was 21. But I didn’t really feel like playing exhibitionist role games. And I didn’t feel like being in the middle of a ménage a trois with one of my best buddies. Talk about awkward. “You don’t know what they might do,” I warned.

Dean thought for a few seconds, then laughed, “Well, hell,” he drawled, “I guess I don’t want some old guy poking me in the ass while I’m trying to pork his wife!” He nudged me, letting out another trademark “Yeooowww!”

“Yeah, Dean,” I replied. “That shit would cramp your style.”

When Swinging Susie returned, Dean let her down easy. I glanced back at her as we drove off. Her face still wore a dejected look.

Yet, Dean was all smiles. “Hey, I got her number!” he exclaimed, nudging me again. “Yeeeooowwww!” I wouldn’t return to that porn shop. But Dean probably did, though he never admitted to going back.

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In that summer of 1980, the relatively carefree days of Carterism, college grants, disco, and free love were on their last legs. Reaganism, weighty university loans, MTV, and AIDS were about to crash society in cynical, mind-numbing waves. I had one more year left in college and didn’t know what the hell I wanted to do, not with a career, not with a romance, not with my life. I had tried to play college basketball until a bum knee blew that pipe dream. I wrote for my college newspapers and a local daily but wasn’t sure I wanted to spend my career doing that. I had tried to date a few young women until I neglected to call soon enough, or called too soon — I usually had to use my mom’s phone in the kitchen where everyone could listen to your conversation or a pay phone where some jerk would be yelling at you to get the hell off it. So I wasted my time in discos and worse, searching for something that seemed unattainable and idiotic, yet necessary to get on with your life.

Every time that summer when I awoke, hung over and frustrated, I vowed not to return to the scene of the crimes. Yet, I always did, of course.

At a disco in the Old Town area of Greenville Avenue, Dean and another friend he met at a gym that I nicknamed “Dean II” cornered some older divorced women at the bar. We had gone there to meet a friend of the girlfriend of Martin, another college buddy, who wanted to set her up with Dean for some reason that literally escapes me.

By the time Nancy and her friend showed up, the Deans had almost left with the bar women, and I was deep in conversation with a Kansas City newcomer about the JFK assassination and spooks. KC surprised me because she knew a lot about those subjects. She even bought me some beers. I offered to pay for them, but she said, “Haven’t you ever heard of women’s lib?” I didn’t want to admit how little I had followed the women’s movement as an unenlightened college guy, especially if she was buying. I played along.

At one point, KC left to go to the restroom and Nancy asked what I was doing with her when she was there with her friend. “Oh, just hustling this babe, here,” I replied, trying to be funny. That didn’t improve her mood. Nancy and her friend soon left. I couldn’t blame them. We were like so many other young jerks after a few drinks, and they were better off without us in such a state.

It wasn’t long before Dean broke up my budding romance with KC by handing me the keys to his Volkswagen. “But Dean, I’ve never driven a shift,” I protested.

His eyes lit up. “You’ll learn, bitch. You gotta do it. I got a hot one here.”

He was right. I did learn. I only had to grind the gears a few times and pushed it backwards by myself once when I couldn’t find reverse. I had gotten KC’s number, but when I called her two days later, she acted as if she didn’t know me. Maybe she didn’t like me leaving. Maybe our budding romance was just one of those alcohol-fueled, temporary flirt-fests that wore off like a hangover. Maybe she was “waiting for John Travolta to come along and take her away to Fantasy Island,” I wrote in a journal. Yes, I actually kept a journal that summer, for some God-forsaken reason.

I again swore off nightclubs, but hell, that was about all we had in the ’70s. We didn’t have online chat sites or email or texts or dating sites like PlentyofFish.com. We did have CB radios. We could cruise Forest Lane or hang out in the parking lot of the local Jack-in-the-Crap, if not the porn shop. I spent one night talking into a CB, asking if there were “any beavers out there.” I might have gotten one answer from a female, but most were truckers who laughed at me or pretended to be females. Not exactly my idea of how that script should have gone.

One night late in the summer, Al, another high school and college buddy, called out of the blue. I hadn’t seen Al, who had a steady girlfriend, all summer. He was a good basketball player and made the Lake Highlands High varsity our junior year, then opted to quit before becoming a senior. “I just couldn’t take [Coach] Wells anymore,” he explained. I completely understood.

Earlier that summer, I had run into Coach Thompson, the old eighth-grade coach whose tryouts I quit after he made everyone duck-walk around the gym multiple times and tried to pin a nickname on me that I loathed. I was there to play basketball, not walk like a duck and be stuck for the rest of secondary school with a goddamned stupid nickname.

Of course, Thompson spied me in the parking lot outside some Dallas clubs and restaurants that summer. I seemed to run into everyone hanging out in a parking lot. That was the best idea people like me had back then to try to meet the opposite sex. Funny thing is that the parking-lot idea worked for me, as far as meeting women, more than actually going into the clubs.

I wasn’t as enlightened or wealthy as New York advertising exec Michael Block, who in 1977 rented illuminated large signs in subway stations that read, “Single bars are great if you want to stay single. I don’t. If you’d like to meet and get together, just send a picture and a short note to: Michael, c/o Box 2331, New York City, NY 10017.” He received some 20,000 responses, mostly through the ensuing media coverage, and later wrote a book about the experience. But even that massive response didn’t work; Block was still single a decade later.

“Shay! Is that you?” I can still hear Thompson’s loud, drunken voice. The coach had nodded to another man with him. “I cut this guy in eighth grade. But he went on to be a star in high school.”

I sure didn’t remember it that way, but I had let Thompson’s account slide and just laughed. “I don’t know if I was a star.”

“Why did you cut him?” the other man asked.

Thompson looked at me for a second as he struggled to recall. “Because he couldn’t walk back then!” he finally blurted out.

I had no response to that but another laugh. We shook hands and wished each other well. Thompson, for all his uncouthness, wasn’t near as bad as Wells. The latter coach was such a great judge of talent that he told me in tenth grade not to try out because I wasn’t good enough. I ignored him and saved his ass in the first few games of our varsity season by playing a leading role in some come-from-behind victories. Then, Wells found a reason to bench me. That wasn’t the worst part about him, though. He was a real pervert, something most everyone knew but no one ever had the guts to confront in person.

Cruising to the Bachman Lake clubs in Al’s Corvette, we relived those days. “Remember when Gibby and Jud walked out into the crowd of drill teamers and cheerleaders wearing only towels?” That was the type of attention-grabbing senior prank high school kids did back then.

Al laughed. “Gibby was crazy.” The son of popular children’s television show host Mr. Peppermint, Gibby Haynes later became lead singer of the punk-rock band Butthole Surfers and one of the school’s more famous alumni.

“I got a call from Gibby last year. He tried to recruit me to play hoops with him down at Trinity.”

“You should have gone.”

“That would have been a trip.” Who knows how my life would have turned out? I could have been the public relations manager of the Butthole Surfers. That would have been more fun and an easier sell than, say, doing PR for Donald Trump. Not that I wanted to do PR. I wanted to be a real writer like Mailer, like Hemingway.

As we neared a parking lot outside Cotton Eyed Joe’s, numerous women waved and yelled at us. The Vette was a babe magnet. We walked through the lot, and a group of inebriated females stopped their car. “You’re cute!” one yelled at Al. She exited the vehicle. “Let me pinch you!”

Al looked at me quizzically. I shrugged. “C’mon, give us a thrill,” the young lady persisted. This was almost four decades before the “Me Too” campaign changed the landscape of such advances. Before he could protest, she pinched Al’s butt. “Wheeeeewwwww!!” she yelled, climbing back into the car.

We watched them drive away. “Doc, what kind of a place are you taking me to?” Al asked.

I laughed. “You never know what will happen.” I didn’t usually frequent country places, but this one formerly was probably the largest disco in the city. It was still packed after it switched formats. Sometimes I needed a change of scenery from the disco venues.

At the bucking machine, Al ran into a young lady he knew at college, who was with her boyfriend. We soon left to take in the usual place, After the Gold Rush, sometimes referred to as “After the Gold Fuck.” I saw a girl who was in my high school English class. She said she had been married, and I didn’t like my chances with her. We soon split.

As we were walking outside, more women stopped and convinced us to follow them to La Bare, a male strip club. We balked at going inside, sitting in the parking lot and talking for more than an hour. Sharon grew up in a small North Texas town and detailed alleged college police corruption in the form of officers splitting drug cash and more. I kept questioning her about it, taking mental notes that would barely register in my drunken shape. She seemed impressed with my journalism background. As we left, Sharon said, “I’ve really enjoyed talking with you. It’s not what I expected.” She handed me her number on a slip of paper.

“Yeah, it was nice,” I replied, taking the paper. “Hope to see you around some time.”

That’s how it was in the heydays of disco. You usually ran into people again if you hung around those clubs enough. If you played it cool enough, you’d eventually score. At least that was one philosophy I had heard worked. It never worked that well for me, though, back in those days.

But in the Internet age, something worked fairly well. Perhaps it helped that I was older and more worldly and targeted a different demographic. I also knew more about what to say to not appear like a complete clueless asshole.

The newspaper personal ad craze

Oh, love is the crooked thing…
[But] one cannot begin it too soon.

W.B. Yeats, “The Young Man’s Song”

Before I made it to the Promised Land of seemingly unlimited online women, I had to undergo some growing pains. I had to experience some periods of awkwardness, some downright weird, wild stuff.

There was the legal secretary, a former student of controversial Texas metaphysics guru Teri Hoffmann, who after holding my hand for a few poignant moments announced that we had been married in a “past life.” There was the pretty, divorced Moscow translator, who on the same night we met, flashed a diamond ring in my face and proposed marriage as a potential road out of the homeland that she felt was too repressive to exist in any longer. There was the slightly older lady who after picking me up in a Dallas nightclub and getting a bit intimate that same night, acted like she didn’t know who I was when I called the next day. Okay, there was more than one of the latter.

There were some sweet ones, including Marie, who I dated off and on for several years. I was too caught up in trying to be the next Mailer to get tied down, however. Once out of college, I tried numerous ways of meeting women, with most having about the same success rate as hanging out in discos and parking lots. Kurt would make it his mission during some excursions through the eclectic Dallas nightlife scene to see how many women he could insult. He figured that would make him stand out against all the guys trying to butter them up with bullshit. One of his favorite pickup lines in a club was to ask some unsuspecting young lady to dance, and if she said, “No, thank you,” he’d quickly shoot back, “Don’t thank me, thank God someone asked you to dance.” Kurt claimed his method worked better than most. All I can say is it never worked for me.

While most shocking or witty lines didn’t work, my best approach was just standing around a club with drink in hand, waiting for some woman to ask how tall I was. Friends who really had to use witty lines seemed a bit envious about my method, but most admitted they would do the same thing if they were an inch taller than Michael Jordan.

Rarely did these nightclub excursions result in more than that one evening of romance, and truthfully, there weren’t many of those. I started going to church singles groups, volunteering with social organizations, accepting any invitation to a party. Sometimes work assignments, such as interviewing a former Penthouse Pet of the Year, led to intriguing possibilities. I never managed a real date with her, but we became friends and attended a few of the same parties.

Dallas had more single people than most cities back then — and still does. Today, the share of single women [60 percent] and men [57 percent] in Dallas rank among the top six nationally, with Washington, D.C., Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles having larger single pools. In the 1980s, Dallas and Houston split the title of the Divorce Capital of the country, which only increased my odds of meeting available members of the opposite sex. The divorce rate has declined since then, but by that time, I had moved to D.C., a city with even more single people than Dallas.

Rather than hanging out so much in clubs, I concentrated on finding romance through volunteer organizations, parties — such as some with a club for tall Texans − and work. I met plenty of women, including during travels through Europe and India, but didn’t date anyone for longer than a few months until Hannah, the daughter of a psychic. After ending that in 1990, a friend turned me on to the wonders of the newspaper personal ad, the precursor to online dating sites. At first, I had the same reaction as many people.

“C’mon,” I told my friend, “I’m not that desperate.” But as I considered the options, it didn’t look so bad. Newspaper personals had actually been around in one form as long ago as 1695, according to British historian H.G. Cocks. My friend showed me some of the responses he received, including one ad that attracted about 50 phone numbers from women expressing interest in meeting him. His witty notice had been named “Personal Ad of the Week” by the alternative weekly Dallas Observer.

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I decided to take this ad business slowly by answering a couple, which resulted in one interesting date with a German teacher who drank vodka like it was water. I floundered through the rest of that summer before taking the plunge and writing my own ad with a fishy theme [“Catch of the Day,” “Don’t nibble, dive in”] that also won “Ad of the Week” and attracted about 30 responses.

For about a month, it seemed I did nothing in my free time but meet women. Like an addict, even when I found a lady I really liked, I’d always call another. The urge to discover if I’d fancy this one even more won. I was amazed at the quality of responses; most were intelligent, attractive women who were bold and curious enough − and perhaps bored and tired of conventional ways — that they risked taking a chance with this process if it could help them find Mr. Right.

Some responses bordered on the weird. The first letter was a 20-page tome interspersed with Biblical quotes that ended with, “I would pull you out of the water and encourage you to labour for the Lord.” Another respondent candidly admitted she practiced witchcraft, but only the “good” kind that deals with nature and not negative spells. She also revealed she retained a pet tarantula.

Some who I wanted to see again would be put off when I didn’t call back within a few days. Of course, not everyone I met desired to see me again; one woman broke a date by saying she had another romance ad rendezvous, herself. But I’d just go on to the next, my confidence buoyed by the growing stack of phone numbers and letters.

I eventually dated a woman who had shared interests in nature, museums, foreign films, the creative process, and New Mexico landscapes for more than a year. But something held me back from a full commitment, and I started writing more personal ads following the end of that relationship. My friend, who had written more ads than me − some of which resulted in long-term relationships − convinced me to attend a romance ad-writing party sponsored by the Observer in 1992 at the Dallas Press Club. There, I met my future ex-wife.

Our breakup more than a decade later led me to agree to move closer to her Pennsylvania hometown and gain joint custody of our two young kids. Eventually, we even shared a large house in a D.C. burb for almost three years, partly to save money and partly to allow our kids a glimpse of the nuclear family lifestyle, before returning to singles life. The home had a basement with a separate entrance, where I often stayed. That was a good five years before ABC broadcast the sitcom Splitting Up Together, about a divorced couple living in the same house and garage apartment. Like usual, I was ahead of my time.

‘Other lives to live’

From the hungry gnaw that eats me night and day,
From native moments, from bashful pains, singing them,
Seeking something yet unfound though I have diligently sought it many a long year.

Walt Whitman, “From Pent-up Aching Rivers”

When I think back on the first few years of our separation, I wonder where I sustained the energy to work a full-time job, do much of the raising activities for the kids, and pursue a more active romantic lifestyle than in my pre-marriage days. I didn’t really sleep much, but when I did, it was sound sleep. I didn’t take drugs, rarely drank, and ate mostly healthy food. Something kept me interested beyond the chats on ICQ and Yahoo Messenger.

Maybe my addiction was the excitement of the initial stages of intimacy, the newness of another partner. I developed my own way of attracting women by being nice and respectful, but also sometimes letting the wilder Gemini twin take over. When I traveled to Steve’s wedding in Arizona, I rendezvoused with a security guard who I had chatted with through Yahoo the night before the event. A year or so later, I began a long-distance relationship with a graphic artist from Dallas who I met through a Democratic singles site. When the distance became difficult to sustain, I focused on local relationships and found I could maintain those for about a year.

One was an intriguing, attractive nonprofit advocate who shared interests in politics and more. We tried a couple of times, but something, mainly me, always seemed to get in the way.

A 2015 trip to Dallas provided an interesting reunion with Hannah, who I hadn’t seen in almost 20 years. She was having marital problems to the point of separation and had moved into her mom’s old home with her stepfather and brother. She didn’t have a job and had to raise her daughter virtually alone. She obviously needed a friend and searched deep — very deep − within her past baggage to locate me. I guess I could try to be a friend, even though the situation would likely only reopen raw wounds.

Our reunion was a bit awkward, especially at first. We barely hugged in that initial greeting. After giving her a little gift of a jug made by Virginia glassblowers, she mentioned some past escapade we took. I laughed, nervously. “I’m trying to forget about that time,” I admitted.

“Don’t forget too much,” she smiled. “What do you want to do?”

I looked away. We had to get out of her room. “Let’s take a drive.”

We drove south down Preston Road, past Valley View Center and Target, where Hannah had worked. That was also near the Galleria mall, where we often went to a movie or to ice skate.

We continued past the Unity Church, the high-falutin Preston Hollow and University Park neighborhoods. We drove close to her old house near another posh burb, Highland Park. Residents included no less than George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, former Gov. Bill Clements, and Hall of Fame Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman.

“Do you ever go by that old house?” I used to mow the lawn there when I dated her.

“Not in a long time. The last time I did, the new owners had renovated it. I barely recognize it.”

I turned on Mockingbird Lane, driving through the SMU campus with its new football stadium and Moody Coliseum, where Dad had taken me to see the old Dallas Chaparrals pro basketball games, SMU basketball games, tennis tournaments, and more.

“Are you seeing anyone?” she suddenly asked.

“Am I seeing anyone?” I repeated, stalling for time. It was hard to tell these days. A “relationship” with a woman who lived about 100 miles from me was getting hard to continue, primarily due to that distance. I saw a pattern in me entering relationships that were all-but impossible to sustain for the long-term.

I felt Hannah’s eyes burning a hole in my head. “Well, are you?”

“Am I what?” I laughed, then glanced at her. “I guess I’m still trying to figure some things out.”

“I’m not. I can’t stand men these days.”

“Me either.” I tried to laugh again.

“You don’t like talking about this, huh?”

“I don’t like talking about what?” I then pointed to the La Madeleine near SMU, the café chain’s first one that French-born businessman Patrick Esquerré opened in 1983 with the help of famed Neiman Marcus exec Stanley Marcus. “Remember how often we’d go there and see Roy?” Roy Williams, legendary civil right advocate, co-author of a local history book, and co-plaintiff in a landmark federal voting rights lawsuit in the late 1980s that changed the city’s political system, was there so much he joked that it was his office. Usually when the cafe’s pay phone rang, it was for him.

“Oh yeah, Roy. How’s he doing?”

“He’s hanging in there.” I had taken my kids to see Roy in the hospital a few days earlier. He was recovering from a stroke, and he talked with Preston more about sports than anything since that was what most interested my son. He had this public reputation as an acidic firebrand, but when you met him in person, that dissipated. He knew how to charm people, to meet you where you were. Roy wouldn’t have much longer to live, but you wouldn’t have known that by our visit.

I stopped the car by the old duplex off Mockingbird near Greenville Avenue, which I shared with Steve in the early 1990s before moving to a condo with my ex. The house hadn’t changed, and the street was as dark as ever, with no streetlights and few porch lights in sight. That was the first place where my ex and I had spent the night. I almost forgot that, but as I gazed upon the small front yard, I tried to recall how I felt during those days. I was excited, happy, eager to tackle life. I thought I had found a lifelong partner. Then, it went as dark as this street.

“Did I ever see you here?” Hannah asked.

“No, I lived here after we stopped dating.”

“Why exactly did we stop? I can’t really remember.”

I tried to think. Not much registered. “I don’t really recall, either. I guess we figured we had dated long enough, and it was time to move on.”

“Why was that?”

I remained silent almost a moment too long. “Maybe… we just had other things to do, other lives to live.”

“Are you glad you moved on?”

I laughed. “C’mon, let’s move on from here.”

“Okay, but you have to answer my question at some point. Even if it’s not in front of me.”

“Okay.”

Down Greenville Avenue, we laughed some more, recalling nights of checking out the scene at various nightclubs like Tango, a place with replicas of big dancing frogs on top. Most of those landmarks had long since gone bankrupt. “You thought you were so cool there,” Hannah laughed. “You would go in those clubs with sunglasses on. It was so hard to get you to dance.”

“That’s because of Mailer’s book. Tough guys don’t dance,” I laughed both at my joke and how I really wasn’t all that tough. I just feared making a fool of myself, though that usually wore off with a few drinks. “At least I wasn’t wearing a gold chain and leisure suit, like in the ’70s.” Thank God there weren’t cell phones with video cameras in the ’70s and ’80s. I would have certainly ended up in one of those viral stupid-white-dude-dance videos.

Soon, there was less and less to say. So I drove back north to almost Plano. I walked Hannah to her door. “Come on in for a few minutes,” she said.

I averted her eyes once again. I couldn’t fall completely under the spell. “Okay, just for a few minutes.”

Inside her room, I found myself wondering if she felt the same as she did long ago. But I had been around the block long enough to know that every action has a reaction, a consequence. So I compromised by holding her, but not for as long as she wanted. Of course, it didn’t feel the same. No matter how much you want to, you can never quite rekindle a lost romance to the flame it once seemed to be. You only have so many shots. And then it’s gone, leaving a mere phantom of a memory that makes you wonder if anything ever really happened.

Reflections on the MeToo affect

In the summer of 2017, the MeToo movement was still a few months from becoming the national phenomena that altered the landscape of online and in-person flirtation, as well as workplace interaction. But something had an effect on my success rate that summer, as I rarely convinced a woman to meet after our initial encounter.

A woman who I met at a café in early July texted me a couple times after our initial tryst, which I thought had gone well. But that suddenly stopped, and I didn’t know why. Had I said something she didn’t like? Or not said enough to interest her further? Or ran up against too much Internet competition?

The same thing occurred with other ladies I met at various restaurants and cafes. Some seemed more interested in merely going out than me in particular. One from Idaho was really intriguing as we shared more than a few common interests. But perhaps I was not warm enough to maintain her interest, and she hopped on the Internet train to the next stop.

Another who seemed to be more of a friend wanted me to pick her up for a second “date.” As we approached my car, she wrote down my license plate and relayed it to a caller in front of me. That’s what I would want my daughter to do in a similar situation, but it still didn’t make me want to see her again. Yet another seemed to have a good time but told me as we departed that I wasn’t her “type.” Then I messed up another budding romance by trying to get intimate too fast.

As Harvey Weinstein and others justifiably became snared in the MeToo web, I decided to take a break from the hunt. It’s a good time to reflect on where the male-female dynamic is heading. Perhaps it is leading to a blending of genders, where everyone has almost the same amount of male and female genetic qualities. Perhaps we will get together in other ways, ones that we have yet to imagine.

As for the MeToo movement, I see it as largely positive. It’s clear that most of us have made some mistakes — some more and larger than others — and we should reaffirm a commitment to treat others with more respect. Those who have committed actual assaults should be held accountable, though the punishment phase is more sketchy when the court is held more on social media than before a judge and jury.

I still think that meeting a potential mate on your own terms is harder than it should be. I doubt I will ever remarry, though I am not totally closed to that possibility. Perhaps some of us are just not cut out for such ties. About half of my good college friends — Steve, Martin, Steve — remain married. Dean divorced after having five kids with his wife. Kurt never married. Not really any surprises there.

Sometimes, I find myself longing just a little for the seemingly more carefree days when Everclear flowed from apartment-clubhouse fountains. Most days, I wouldn’t want to go through all that again. Though if I had to, I’d want to do so with my present-day knowledge. And skip stopping at that porn-shop parking lot.

Written by

Written for 45+ newspapers/mags. Written some books — see https://www.amazon.com/Kevin-J.-Shay/e/B004BCQRTG. Visited 48 states, 30+ countries.

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