Finding a partner in lockdown
[This is a blog post written in late 2020 but which I thought was inappropriate to publish. However, it struck me that a number of other people might have been in a similar situation. To this day I cannot bring myself to use a dating site, but I suspect I am not alone.]
During the first lockdown in 2020 it dawned on me that my search for a potential partner was doomed to never get off the starting blocks. To put it bluntly I was seeking a girlfriend or a partner but had no idea how to get started, so what was I to do?
Friends and work colleagues had stern advice: get on the internet. “It’s obvious you need a partner so pull your finger out – and here’s a list of websites to try”. How do I get started? “That’s easy, just write down what sort of person you’re looking for and the internet will come up with someone”. Sometimes the phrase ” what do you have to lose” was added by way of encouragement. Well, my dignity for one thing. And embarrassment for another. It all seemed so impersonal and distant. And in any case how could I reduce the woman I would like to spend time with to a few words without seeming fatuous?
Lockdown happened. All of a sudden everyone was pretty much going nowhere, and most of us were not being seen by anyone. My friends had presented me with a challenge: describe the kind of person you would like to meet. How was I going to do that without a frame of reference?
As lockdown progressed I found myself watching more television than usual, and it struck me that I was drawn to certain women in certain shows. I like her! I really like her!! Yes, there was something about certain women in certain television dramas that I was very much drawn to. Of course, I realised that I was attracted to the character rather than necessarily the actor, although there seemed a somewhat fuzzy line between the two.
So, here they are! Television characters (fantasies?) I am very strongly drawn to. Now, the question is: what do these women have in common? I have no bloody idea, so good luck with answering that. To my friends and colleagues: how do I begin to put into words what I am looking for on a dating app?
In no particular order:
Simone Missick as Misty Knight in Luke Cage
Kat Dennings in WandaVision; Thor
Lana Parrilla as Regina in Once Upon A Time
Sonequa Martin-Green as Michael Burnham in Star Trek Discovery
Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones
Archie Panjabi as Kalinda in The Good Wife
My partner for many years – Rena – is pictured here. I took this photo in 1994 in southern California, wearing her favourite Billie Holiday t-shirt she bought in New Orleans. She passed away in 2015.
Whilst watching the Once Upon A Time series all over again on Disney+ I found it uncanny how close Lana Parilla’s character was in mannerisms, dress and looks to Rena. Not incidentally as the evil queen, but the character she became in later series!
More recently I was struck by how similar to Rena the Penny Johnson Gerald character Dr.Claire Finn (The Orville) was.
Now, concentrate. What do these women/characters have in common? What could it be that draws me to them to the point where I would love to bump into any one of them in a Manhattan bar? Remember, it is not looks alone that is important – although they are all very good-looking women – it is how they are as the characters they play: feisty, irreverent, independent, strong-minded.
It would be great if some insightful person reading this could discern some pattern to my attraction, or at least a pointer in roughly the right direction. If I am forced to describe the kind of person I am drawn to – and I am not convinced that this is the right approach at all – what words do I use?
During this exercise I got to thinking about my previous girlfriends, which would surely provide a good frame of reference. But no, I came unstuck there too.
To this day I still very much like all of my previous girlfriends and the women I have been close to. I do not know how common or rare that is, but if I were to bump into any of them tomorrow I am fairly sure I would be very pleased to see them. There have also been women I have adored – like my teenage infatuation with someone called Sue – but where a relationship just never got started.
Anyway, I think I have embarrassed myself enough so I shall draw a line under these Covid rantings….