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  • It's not like survival-instinct fear; it's social fear, romantic fear.
    When I ended my marriage lo those years ago, I was deathly afraid that I was ruined.
    I was worried that since I had spent so much time kissing someone one (kind of bad, honestly) way, holding someone one way, fucking one way, that basically I'd learned everything wrong, and would only know how to do things that way for the rest of my sorry life.

    I didn't know how to communicate, and was partnered with someone who had the same affliction. So routine trumped exploration and we got used to mediocrity in those affairs.
    I spent a decade faithful as a dog, only touching one person, modifying my interactions to suit hers, the approach and consummation and follow through of lovemaking codified into a definite process with definite steps, more ritual than experience.

    Shitty to think about it that way, really, but it seems accurate.
    These are the lessons we learn.

    At some level, before and after that relationship, I used to worry that I would make some sort of critical error that would instantly whisk me to some sort of permanent human female-wide blacklist.

    As it turns out, of course, all of those fears were total nonsense. They ended up being just as ridiculous as they sound above, the remnants of adolescent insecurity.

    The situation resolved itself not because I had some sort of wonderful latent talents buried, as much as I'd like to believe that (and would like you to believe that), but because I learned this: everyone is always figuring things out.
    Everyone is on the quest.

    It's a funny thing, this need for companionship, emotional and physical.
    We engage each other, we explore each other, we adapt to each other and learn, and those explorations and adaptations are what quickens the pulse and bring that marvelous tightness to the chest.
    You get better at choosing those you're going to engage, better at realizing that there are larger forces in the world at play than your shitty or remarkable game, take things less personally, view others more critically and yourself less so.

    You can't entirely divest yourself, of course. In endeavors of the heart and loin there is no way to be fully dispassionate when you are the product, when rejection is necessarily personal and directed squarely at the contents of your personality and physique. Acceptance is a different side of the same coin: small successes become large and if you believe your own bullshit you can set yourself up for a pretty nasty fall.

    There are those participants that deny this, that claim comfort and confidence and done-ness, but there is no done that I've seen. At least not outside the confines of the monasteries.

    Re-engaging the world this time, after another long period of (this time sometimes lapsed) monogamy, I am much more secure in these things. I have both seen more and done more, and I have learned much.
    I wish I'd been able to bring this perspective to younger incarnations of myself, but it doesn't keep me up.

    So there you go. I'm back out there and making a run at it. I still do a little more bird-dogging than is dignified (see photo), but I've made peace with the process and have been pleasantly surprised, and hopefully have also been pleasantly surprising thus far.

    And far as I know, I haven't made the blacklist yet. But it's early.
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