Last weekend, I attended a private traveling exhibition presented by the Smithsonian Institute. The lobby of the Viad Tower was filled with high-society types (and me) and lined with tables manned by scientists and researchers from Washington.
My favorite was a paleontologist specializing in prehistoric whales. He had recently returned from Chile, where he oversaw the excavation of a huge whale burial ground unearthed during freeway construction. To hasten progress, his team digitally mapped each specimen in Chile then used 3-D printers to create scale models back in the U.S. How cool is that?!
As I strolled from table to table, I couldn’t help but think how much my ex-girlfriend Mulva* would’ve loved the event.
How to turn on a sapiosexual
If you’re a regular reader, you likely know that I was in an off-and-on relationship with Mulva for most of the last year-and-a-half. Sadly, we took Facebook’s “it’s complicated” to a whole new level.
When I returned to Arizona in September, my counselor asked me why I kept going back to Mulva.
My initial answer: Because I’m a sadist?
Then I got serious. Beautiful. Outdoorsy. Educated. Minimal. Spiritual. Sure, that was all there.
But it wasn’t until today – a full week after the Smithsonian event and well over a month since my counselor broached the topic – that the deeper truth struck me.
More than perhaps anyone in my life, Mulva possessed an intellectual depth and broad inquisitiveness that drove me wild. She read books. She attended lectures. She stopped at every goddamn turnout and scenic vista on drives through national parks. She had an open-minded passion for life that exceeded my own.
In short, the girl knew how to meander through the world. And I loved that about her.
Unfortunately, I’ve found this quality to be in short supply on the dating scene. Maybe they’re distracted. Maybe they’re comfortable. Maybe trying something different has never occurred to them. Hell, five years ago, it certainly hadn’t occurred to me.
Whatever the reason, far too often in the last few years, I’ve been underwhelmed and uninspired by my choices.
Friends with benefits (but no sex)
Fortunately, I’ve made a handful of valued friendships that fill my soul in the absence of a partner. I may not see these people often – certainly not as often as I’d like – but I know I’ll be inspired when I do.
What book are you reading? What’d you learn on your last adventure? What are you working on in counseling? The answers always deliver the goods.
As I’ve read Where Men Win Glory, the biography of Pat Tillman by Into the Wild author Jon Krakauer, I’ve been struck by Tillman’s passion for his life, deep intimacy with his friends, and love for his wife Marie.
Of course, I’ve heard all this before through ASU’s cult of Tillman, but it strikes much deeper when reading his own journal entries and letters. Tillman detailed one visit with his wife, brother, and childhood friend while on a short leave from the army thusly:
“The hours the four of us spent were not in a whirlwind of action, drinking, or traveling. We simply drank loads of coffee, ate coffeehouse treats, and talked for hours on end. We just ran for hours without a break, or a dip in quality.”
Substitute the coffeehouse for a campfire and that’s my kinda evening. Mulva would’ve dug it too.
Alas, in my experience, such meetings don’t come along often. And, five years after my engagement ended, I’ve decided romantic opportunities of the type are equally rare.
* Of course her name wasn’t Mulva.