Posts Tagged ‘single’


Unconfirmed Bias

January 14, 2014

When I was a kid, sitting on our family room floor with my large box of mixed Legos, and I needed a particular color, I had a fun little trick I’d play with my brain. I thought I was special or magical; probably everyone does this. I’d tell my brain to only see Red, say, or Blue, soften my focus, and with just a little concentration, I could make all the Red or Blue pieces pop to the front of my vision in the big mixed bin. As long as I knew what I was looking for, I could make it stand out from the pack.

It’s sort of a kid/Lego version of Confirmation Bias, right? I’ve decided what I want to see, and therefore see it, in sharp contrast to the rest of its surroundings. So what happens, then, if you’re looking for something, but have no idea what the thing you’re looking for looks like?

I recently had a buoyant but intense conversation with a former lover, debriefing what had happened between us a year prior. It became clear over the course of our talk that I had fallen into a problematic pattern I’ve enacted with more than one man in my life – conflating, without mutual understanding, sex and romance.  

The word Romance was his, not one that easily rolls of my tongue, because, I realize now, I haven’t got a clue what that word means. I mean, I understand what he was getting at – in his head we were friends who were fucking, in mine – especially where I was in the midst of some external emotional stresses from which I was seeking escape in his arms – a switch had flipped and I found myself fabricating a different story of our relationship. He’s right. I can’t argue with it. But what I’m realizing more than anything is that I’ve never known anything else.

My sex life started late. Wicked late. I was 24 before I not only lost my virginity, but had my First Time with a lot of other behaviors I think most people dispose with in their teens (use your imagination). Without recapping the entirety of my analysis the short answer is, I don’t know why. There were lots of factors, not the least of which was a horrible relationship to my own body, which I’ve written about plenty. I finally learned how to let sex into my life, but I don’t know that I ever learned what it means to seek out love, to seek out romance, to seek out partnership – sex always struck me as the only gateway to love, romance and partnership.  All I seem to know is if a guy I’m interested in is interested back, I better jump into bed before he disappears, give all my power away, and cling desperately until he breaks my heart.

I mean, that’s rough, but it’s been pretty status quo for almost a decade.

I don’t know what romance means. I don’t know what love means. So how do I go looking for it? How do I make the particular human color palette I seek and deserve pop out from the white noise in the back, if I have no Bias to Confirm. The thing is, I’m not convinced any of us have a really solid idea of what the hell these terms mean.  Maybe people stumble into various situations then label their experiences “love” and that’s what that means for them. I googled “What is romance?” and got a fascinating definition: “A feeling of excitement and mystery associated with love.” I mean, the word mystery is built right into that shit!

They tell you to marry your best friend, but don’t wind up in the friend zone! You can be a friend with benefits, as long as those benefits don’t include intimacy. And you can be fuck buddies as long as you don’t pal around on the side. Is this just me? Am I the only one completely confused by what all this adds up to? I have no idea what a real partnership will look like, I haven’t had it yet. And the problem goes both ways – I neither know the shape and nature of the Lego I seek, nor the shape and nature of the space it has to fill. That is to say, I don’t know what I am in a true partnership, I don’t know how a man fits into the space of my life.

Did other people get manuals I didn’t get? I often feel that way. That there was a “How To Be A Straight Woman For Dummies” to which this Dummy was never privy. I wasn’t asked what my prince would look like as a child. I was asked what I would be. What I would do. How I would use my brain. This is a great thing. But at what point did my womanhood in relation to someone else’s manhood get obscured by the pursuit of all my other ‘hoods?

If I don’t know even know what spaceship I’m trying to build, will I ever be able to find the piece I’m missing?