Millions of people around the world are trying to find love online as we speak. For years I was one of them. In the wake of my divorce in 2007, over a period of five years, I went on hundreds of dates — most of which went on to involve a sexual liaison of some kind — because I was searching for someone to replace my wife, and because it was easy and I was trying to outrun my pain. Click and you’re on.
I expected to be able to find something perfect out there in the ether, beyond my laptop. I went halfway around the world looking for the perfect woman: from Sydney to New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles. A burlesque dancer. An escort. An actress. All incredible women with so much to give but who couldn’t deliver the instant bolt of love I had convinced myself was a prerequisite for any long-term relationship to blossom.
When I did get that “glimpse of eternity”, to borrow a great line from Stephen Vizinczey’s In Praise of Older Women, with an eccentric but beautiful artist who lived just around the corner from where I live in Sydney, our love affair ended after six months.
Out of the mouths of babes. She was absolutely right.
Last year, I wrote a book that was published in Australia called Laid Bare: One Man’s Story of Sex, Love and Other Disorders. It was the story of my comprehensive marriage breakdown, my even more comprehensive mental breakdown, my sexual escapades in Australia and the United States as an accidental but hardcore “player”, my quixotic search for love in the age of the internet and, most of all, how I came to repair the fractured relationship I had with my daughter, who was four when I divorced.
During the writing of my book — and later, in the car with my daughter — I became acutely aware of something that was not only missing from my own life, but also seems to be in danger of disappearing from all our lives. And yes, it’s patience.
We seem to have lost patience with everything. We don’t read books like we used to. We channel surf. We move on if a web page takes more than five seconds to download. We throw away perfectly good things. It’s quicker to replace something than repair it. We take our smartphones to dinner. We no longer listen and absorb. We like. We poke. We tweet. We put up selfies on Instagram when we just can’t bear to be in our own company for more than a few minutes.
When something comes along that’s newer than what we already have, our instinctive reaction is to throw away and upgrade, as quickly as possible. Just look at the ridiculous cult of Apple and its products. People sleep outside a store overnight to get their hands on a phone? The world’s gone crazy.
Read the rest at [Your Tango].