SMALL TOWN – SMALL MINDS: Being Single at Lakeside
By John Comando
Sometimes I feel like I’m back in high school.
I’m pretty much retired, and traded-in life in a large metropolitan area for life in an area of Mexico where thousands of retired expats have made their homes. It’s a small town. Rumors, the business of small towns, run rampant.
It’s a town where too many retired busy-bodies have too much time on their hands. They’ve exchanged the water cooler for long lunches where they can make small talk and conjure the latest “have-you-heard” stories.
Many of us here are single, and are often the subjects of nasty rumors and undeserved insinuations.
I like to go out in the evening and dance. I have lots of female friends, with whom I like to talk. Every once in a while, I even have a date where we go for dinner. So, people often see me with different women or at places where some of us single retirees hang-out.
It seems that being seen with different women is a cause for concern among the chatterers. Likewise, women who are seen with different men or go alone to places where single men hang out, are also the subject of rumor mongerers – male and female.
And when a couple is seen together more than two times, it’s often assumed that they’re – say it’s not so – sleeping together.
Maybe some of us scandalous singles are actually looking for a relationship whether it be companionship or sexual or both. Some of us might be considered serial daters.
Those of us who have been married before remember what it was like before we got married. We’re reminded how difficult it was to find the right person – how many dates we churned through before we settled down. So how, I might ask, are we to find a relationship if we don’t date?
In my short tenure in this small community, I’ve been the subject of rumors that I didn’t know were being passed around started by people I don’t know. Occasionally I meet someone who tells me, “I’ve heard about you. You date a lot of women,” to which I usually reply, “What do you know that I don’t?” And besides, what’s the big deal if I do?
I’ve heard rumors from female friends about other guys that aren’t true. Please tell me, for example, how a guy who hasn’t had a date for six months, and hasn’t slept with a woman for over a year can get a bad reputation?
As we all know, women also suffer from ugly rumors that small, idle, minds like to foster. In this town, the chatter usually takes the following forms:
She’s just looking for a guy with money.
She’s sleeping with everyone in town.
She likes young Mexican guys.
She only hangs out with gay guys.
Most people, including me, who become the subject of rumors just shrug them off. It does become annoying, however, when I meet someone new and interesting, and she immediately says “I’ve heard about you.” Or, after a first date, one of her friends, whom I’ve never met, has whispered in her ear about what a terrible person I am and she doesn’t want to go out again. Hmmm.
Now, I’ve talked with many single retirees here that have given up on dating and consequently sex. For them, there’s a store in town that caters to their sexual needs. Sex on-demand is available – no questions asked – as long as you have a supply of batteries or there’s no electrical outage. And many of the married among us have long ago retired to separate bedrooms. Maybe it’s just hormonal changes that come with getting older. Maybe it’s due to a lack of confidence because of erectile dysfunction or bodies that don’t look nice anymore when facing the mirror.
A psychologist friend who recently moved here remarked how sad it was that so many people looking for companionship and connection, at this time in their life, are afraid to act. We all want to be socially accepted. But the small-minded jerks make it difficult for the insecure to be who they are and who they want to be. Maybe the chatterers live their lives in bitter frustration. Maybe they’re just bored. And, maybe they’re just not nice people.
I guess if I want to meet a woman for coffee, have a glass of wine, or go out to dinner, the two of us will have to dodge the daggers. Maybe even ruin our reputations. And heaven forbid we should be seen together more than two times. They might accuse us of doing…what they did in the 1960s.
But there are some of us who are alive-and-kicking. And while we’re out having fun, the busy-bodies can go have sex with themselves.
This isn’t high school anymore.