|In 2009 there were three special anniversaries; the 250th anniversary of Guinness (I went to Ireland for that one), the 40th anniversary of the moon-landing hoax , and the 40thanniversary of me. It wasn’t a big deal, and I don’t mean because I didn’t throw a party (as it was, I didn’t). I mean it didn’t faze me at all – I couldn’t care less about my age.
I’ve heard all the clichés about life beginning at forty, and for me there’s always been an undertone to that, that says something like “Well, you’ve reached the top of the hill – the journey forward is downhill. So, try as hard as you can to put on a brave face, ’cause you’re an old person now, and if your life isn’t great yet, well… it ain’t getting any better. Go out and act like an idiot, ’cause hell, people are going to reject you anyhow, so what have you got to lose?”
I don’t feel like I’m in my forties, and most of the forty-plus-year-olds I know don’t feel it either. I don’t know what it is to grow-up. “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I’m still hoping to be an astronaut.
When I was in high-school, and being an arse in class, a girl accused me of being immature. She was gorgeous, incidentally. I’d had a crush on her, and her comment had bruised my ego, so I snapped at her saying, “If being mature means I have to be bored, or boring, I’ll stay a child forever!” A friend next to me laughed in agreement, and I sat back feeling pretty chuffed. Forgive me, Nerida.
The words stuck with me, and as I absorbed them afterwards, I realised that I absolutely believed in them too. I’ve lived by that motto ever since, sometimes to the detriment of my lifestyle, career, health, and relationships (although admittedly, I could never entirely relate to people, as it was).
I’m in my forties, but my closest friends are at least ten years younger than me. And we talk about the same things, and we like (much of) the same music, and we share the same joys and griefs. And yeah, there is that mentor/protégé relationship sometimes. After all, what sort of friend would I be if I didn’t share my experiences, and offer my advice?
I wish I’d had someone like that – I’ve had to work it all out on my own – I’ve fallen over so many times, I’ve felt on occasion that I should just lie down permanently, and save myself the actual falling part.
My friends don’t think I’m in my forties. Most people don’t, actually. I’m often confused for being in my early-to-mid thirties. I’ve even been mistaken for being in my late-twenties, but I think she was just flirting with me. I’m told I look younger than my age, but I really think this perception has more to do with my attitude than my features.
I have a house full of tech-toys and geek-gadgets. I’m creative (‘arty’ people get to mingle between generations easily). I live in jeans, runners and t-shirts (bearing tech or pop-culture references). I spend a lot of my leisure time playing video games, and listening to and composing electronic music. I’m up with all the latest tech gadgets.
I imagine that there are a lot of women who read this and think “Oh, shit… another loser with ‘Peter Pan Syndrome’.” I know that comes-off sounding sexist – I’m sure there are lots of men out there who are thinking the same of me.
To the female readers: what if we’d just been introduced and I said I’m a successful, grounded guy. I have a respected role in a leading software development company. I have a nice house and car. I’ve fathered a daughter who is now off on her own, and who in-turn is successful (she had great parents). I have creative pursuits to keep my mind healthy. I eat well and work-out regularly to keep my body healthy. I don’t smoke. I balance my healthy lifestyle with a passion for all things chocolate. Sometimes the chocolate wins. I like who I am. Sure, there are things I’d like to change, and I work on them. I’m generally happy with my life, but I’m not content by any standards – there are many things in this world, and on this Earth, I’d like to experience, before the mother-ship comes to rescue me.
What would you think? Mature enough for you? Am I a catch?
…oh, and I play video games, have every Star Trek episode on DVD, collect toy robots, wear t-shirts and trainers, and live on the set of The Big Bang Theory.
How about now? Still interested? *watches them run for the hills* lol
This is something I’ve never understood about the female humans – they proclaim to want grounded, successful men who are also creative, passionate, and emotionally generous; the female definition of mature.
Yeah, right!… I’ve yet to meet a woman who really wanted this. It starts that way, but it never lasts. The women I’ve dated have seen those things in me and were attracted to them – my intelligence, wit, boyish manner, creative flare, the depth of passion I have for the things that are important to me, and that I wear my heart on my sleeve – my vulnerability.
And then, later, they realise what it is to be with someone like that. They realise that as a musician, I can spend hours locked away in my studio with headphones on. As an avid gamer, I can spend days on the couch exploring the latest Black Mesa Facility, submerged Rapture, or 8-bit maze. As a sci-fan my house is becoming overrun with boxed sets of DVDs, and models of iconic character toys. As a philosopher, I like to have conversations – sharing of information, beliefs and theories – without fear of prejudice. …and being a good conversationalist doesn’t mean I’m only a good listener.
Women say they want these things in a man. So why do so many of them date Neanderthals?
…and I’m the first to admit that it’s probably me – my taste in women and choice of partners that has ultimately left me disillusioned with relationships. And that’s said tentatively, for fear of offending some wonderful, charming, beautiful women I’ve had relationships with. I have valued all the relationships I’ve had. Even my wife (and partner of 16 years) couldn’t relate to me on that level. She tried so hard though, she was so patient with me. And it’s not like there wasn’t love and respect between us – we loved each other very much. But believe it or not, love in itself is simply not enough – that’s just a romantic notion.
I’d come to the conclusion years ago, that although I was probably not alone, it was also probable that I would never find another like me, compatible with me. So, on my mental check-list defining the perfect mate, I’d crossed out half the list, believing that if I’d adhered to it, it would ultimately doom me to a life of loneliness – I’d decided that I’d rather fake-it with the humans than live alone.
I’d love to find a beautiful geek-girl. Someone in a scientific or technical or creative career. Someone who can recite Star Trek, sing or play an instrument, and whip my arse at Donkey Kong. That wouldn’t be hard – I suck at Donkey Kong. Someone who can make me laugh until I cry, who’s loving and affectionate, and a rascal in bed. …and if you’re listening, Universe, I’m partial to redheads.
Basically, I want to date a beautiful, female version of me; a female nerd. lol. Seriously though, I really do want someone who I can relate to, and who relates to me, on that level. But, they’d also need to be different-enough to keep it interesting, to introduce me to new things, and eager to share in my life too. I’m pretty sure everyone wants this. It’s certainly every nerd’s dream.
But it’s so hard to find that combination in someone, particularly if you’re a geek who can’t grow up. If I was a regular guy, and was into sport, into action flicks, into rock music, I’d have a much larger group of women to scan for potential partners – most women are also into these things, or at least more willing to give them a try. But I must be in one of the narrowest of niches, because I’ve never met a woman who was into the same set of fundamentals that define me. Never.
What kind-of makes it worse, is that I’ve had a woman say, “Oh, that’s not true, Sterling. You’re a catch; you’re really nice, and interesting, and cool”. And that’s really nice to hear, but ‘nice and interesting and cool’ means I’m like the Science Museum – a funky, quirky place to visit, but you wouldn’t want to live there.
I don’t blame them of course – most women want to live in a house from the pages of Architectural Digest. My house has a Pacman mural running down the hall.