August 11, 2007

On Love, Marriage, and Why at 33 I've Yet to Find Either

As I begin writing this, an old friend of mine from Rutgers is in Cancun getting married. In fact, by the time I finish editing and proofreading this piece -- and barring a last minute case of cold feet -- Miss Grace Lim will officially answer to Mrs. Steve...

Mrs. Steve... Hmmm, that's a good question!

I don't want to go off on a tangent, but I have absolutely no idea what Grace's new husband's surname -- and by extension her new name -- is. Now I've only met Steve a couple of times, and from what I've been able to surmise, he seems nice enough -- and surely worthy of being Grace's husband. Besides, Grace doesn't strike me as the kind of girl who would stick with the same guy for ten years (as she did with Steve) if he were a real scumbag. Or even worse, abusive -- at least I hope not.

But finding out to whom I should address my wedding gift is something that I need to put on my "to do" list.

Anyway, with Grace's marriage, I am now the only person my age I know of (either family, friend, colleague, or otherwise) that is either A) not already married, or B) not in a serious long-term relationship.

And yes, it's beginning to suck.

For the record, I haven't had a "real" girlfriend since I left the Air Force and moved back to South Jersey. That was in 1999.

Initially, I had a good reason for this: I wanted to take a break and live the life of a bachelor for a while. And I got to admit, for the first couple of years I liked the freedom of being single. But the Chris Harris of 1999 had no idea that "a while" would turn out to be eight years.

Now it's getting frustrating, and not just for me.

Call me crazy, but I am convinced that my grandmother went to her grave thinking that her oldest grandson (me) was gay. Not that there's anything wrong with that, of course. "You are what you is, and that's all it 'tis," right? But I'll forever be haunted by the last image I have of her as she lay dying: a long, cold, stare from her death bed. In her final years, she was always pestering me about my social life -- or lack thereof. Those steely-eyes were trying to communicate to me her dissatisfaction that she would die without ever seeing her first great-grandchild.

All of which leads me to this: Why am I 33-years-old and still single anyway? I guess if I had to explain it, it's more of a fear of the unknown than anything else. I have high standards in a potential mate, and I'll be the first to admit that. I'm afraid that if I make such a commitment, and choose the wrong woman, I'll be condemned to a loveless marriage and be financially saddled with children who despise me -- a worst case scenario if there ever was one.

So I guess that explains why I've been so pensive -- or at least that's what I'd like to think. My severe lack of social skills sure doesn't help, either.

Then again, because I have such standards, it stands to reason that I've missed out on someone who -- while not "perfect" -- I'd probably be happy spending the remainder of my life with. Its just that I was too pig-headed to realize it. I can easily count on two hands the number of girls I've known in my lifetime that may have fit this description.

But in all seriousness, there's got to be somebody out there for me, right? (Yep, Chris, keep telling yourself that.)

Oh by the way, if you are a single, smart, moderate-to-attractive looking female in your 20s or early-30s; are into South Park, the writings of P.J. O'Rourke, the Philadelphia Eagles, and can tolerate one man's addiction to collecting baseball cards; please inquire within. Race and religion are not important -- at least to me anyway. (I cannot vouch for the rest of my family.) Apply to be Chris Harris's baby-mama today!

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