Yo Ho (A Single’s Life For Me)

So here’s something you may not know (nor care) about, but I’ve been down the aisle twice, neither trip ending happily ever after.

Actually, “down the aisle” is a bit misleading, because neither ceremony included an aisle, in the commonly accepted sense. Maybe that was my problem; maybe a church wedding would have made a difference in the longevity of the respective marriages.


The first one was for all the wrong reasons. I was pushing 30 and thought I should be married, she was 23 and living in her parents house and wanted to be out on her own. Early in the relationship, she invited me to accompany her to an anniversary party she was throwing for her parents at her church. During the festivities, I was introduced to the priest, who commented, “I understand you might be part of the family before too long.” That should have raised a red flag, but I chose to ignore the remark, prefering instead to pour yet another glass of beer.

The eventual wedding was held not at her church, but at a courthouse in downtown Akron. The “ceremony” performed by the justice of the peace was short and sweet, much like the subsequent marriage (if you leave the “sweet” part off). The next morning she said, “This may have been a mistake,” and eventually I had to agree with her. We lasted about three years before calling it quits. The parting ended up being so amicable, however, that we shared one lawyer between us, and the only reason he sat with me at the hearing was that my name was listed first on the paperwork. Afterward, we walked down the steps of the courthouse, shared a quick hug, and went our separate ways. After about six or seven months apart, we began speaking on the phone a few times a month until I moved to Pennsylvania. I haven’t seen her in over 20 years, but one of my brothers tells me he runs into her frequently and she’s doing well. Good for her.

A few years later I met someone else through work at a management meeting at, of all places, Walt Disney World (by the way, this has seriously nothing at all to do with my Disney obsession. That was in place for several years beforehand). After the meeting was concluded, I went back to Ohio, she to New Jersey. We kept in touch throughout the next year, and cemented our long-distance relationship at the following year’s meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona.

We got together two or three times afterward, and in September of 1992 she left New Jersey for Ohio. We married in April (the wedding itself deserves its own blog entry: it was held in the party room of the apartment complex we were living in; the actual ceremony was held in the middle of the reception; the Best Man’s name was Laurie; our ring bearer was a collie), became pregnant during our honeymoon Cancun in May, and gave birth to a beautiful baby boy in February of 1994. Financial considerations forced a move to her parents’ home in Pennsylvania; she and Cameron went in May of ’94, I finally found a job there and joined them in December.

Because of the circumstances of the beginning of our relationship, everyone said it wouldn’t last. And damned if they weren’t right. It barely lasted 12 years. We had a good ride, but in the end, we grew in different directions (the 15 year age difference between us may have been a contributing factor). We parted the closest of friends. In fact, she owns the small company I work for. I spend holidays with her and her family (mine’s still in Ohio). I live literally two minutes away.

That was five years ago. Since then I’ve been introduced to various women by various friends, and I’ve had various crushes that I’ve never followed up on for whatever reasons. But nothing’s taken hold, and I’m at the point where I think, “That’s OK with me.”

Looking at some of the relationships around me only reinforces my desire to remain unattached.

I have a friend who is a successful bar owner. He has a lovely wife and three darling kids. He also has regular dalliances with several of his female employees; only oral sex, though, because that’s not really being unfaithful.

I have another friend, a few years older than me, who’s been dating the same guy for about 8 or 10 years. The dude’s a real S.O.B. When he wants to go on a fishing trip or spend a few days on his own doing God knows what, he picks a fight with her and doesn’t call her until he’s ready for some female companionship again. They’ve gone on trips to Atlantic City where she’s awakened in a hotel room by herself, not knowing where her boyfriend is or how long he’ll be gone; when he finally shows up in late afternoon after a hard day in the casinos, he bitches at her for not being ready to go anywhere. When she complains about this sort of treatment, he comes right out and says, “You know I’m an asshole.” Yet she puts up with it, because she’s afraid she won’t be able to find anyone else at her age.

A couple I know is going through a very ugly, nasty divorce. At least it will probably be a divorce as soon as one or the other of them have enough money to spare for a lawyer. They got married 10 or so years ago, nice little church service (hmm…maybe the Where doesn’t play into it that much after all), had a cute little blond daughter…and things just fell apart. He decided he needed some space and moved into his own place, found a girlfriend, gave the wife barely enough money to pay the mortgage on their house (hey, he has his own rent to deal with), but still popped by to use her computer and eat her food. The husband lost his job and is in the process of filing bankruptcy and recently got a DUI, after browbeating the wife because, in his opinion, she drinks too much.

The kid has spent a lot of time being used as a pawn; she’s been displaying some behavioral problems.

What’s ironic to me as an observer is, when the husband started dating one of the wife’s high school friends, the wife found out from one of the husband’s close friends. He called her (or texted her; who knows these days) and said that her husband was fooling around with a good friend of hers. The ironic part is that the wife and the husband’s good friend had had an affair of their own a few years ago. Pot, kettle, etc.

Anyway, as I look at all this, I’ve decided that I’m perfectly content with my drama-free life. No one to walk on eggshells around. No one to explain things or make excuses to. If I want to get out of bed at 3 a.m. and drink a martini naked while watching a M*A*S*H DVD, I can do that without making excuses. If I want to sleep until noon on a Saturday, nobody cares.

Companionship? I have a 15-year-old son with tastes similar to mine as far as movies and music go. I enjoy his company, and he tolerates mine. We both play guitar, so we spend a lot of time playing together, though his tastes run more towards Metallica, while mine are more Beatle-oriented.

Lonely? Sometimes. Until I start thinking about a lady sitting alone in a hotel worried if her boyfriend is alright, when he’s in fact feeding his gambling habit and not thinking about her at all. Or until I remember a little blond girl crying because her parents are living apart, and her father telling her they’d be a happy family if her mother would stop drinking.

No, thanks. I’m quite content for now. In a few years I may wish I had someone around to bitch at, or to take care of me in my declining years, but in the meantime…

I nap in the daytime, and stay up all night.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
Eat steak and Fruit Loops by dawn’s early light.
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.

Wear red shirts and green pants and socks that don’t match,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
Keep eggs in my fridge ’till they’re ready to hatch,
Drink up me ‘earties, yo ho.
Yo ho, yo ho, a single’s life for me.

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