College was a really good time.  A good time to learn and grow.  To experience adult life for the first time and to be on your own is just an exciting thing.  (notice how everything I mention about the college experience has nothing to do with  school) And of course being exposed to relationships in a more grown-up environment where women expected you to be more mature.  You had more freedom to do the Adult things that you had to sneak around to do when you were in high school.  But of course at 18-21 you are really just a kid “playing “ grown up.  Your mind is pretty narrow still and all of your decisions and assessments are based on your immaturity and our somewhat innocent perspective on the world.

I can’t remember when was the last time that I bothered to ask a woman how many people she has been with.  Partly because we’re grown ups and that really shouldn’t matter.  Another part is because I suppose at this point in my life I don’t want anyone asking me that question in return.  And in today’s single environment once you open up the conversation to that sort of stuff you run the risk of finding out a bunch of stuff that you really don’t want to know.  The sort of things that can make your skin crawl a little bit.  And I am not just referring to someone having more than a few sexual partners.  I’m talking about multiple partners at once, same sex-partners, family members, dolls, former guidance counselors etc……all sorts of stuff that just blows my little simple mind.  But I think back to being in college and that being so important to me.

I was the master of doing background checks when I was in college.  I was very guarded about picking up the reformed freak.  Anyone who attended an HBCU can attest that there are very few people who come to college with absolutely no one who has any sort of knowledge about who you were at home.  (I did….but I acknowledge that I was clearly a one-off.) Of all the girls that I dated, I usually found someone who knew them or knew of them at home and could validate for me whether or not she was some woman of ill repute who had come to college and tried to pull the wool over my eyes.  And I remember always hoping for someone to give me the best case scenario for her when she was in high school which was to have someone tell me…..Yeah….. shorty went to high school with me.  She had a boyfriend all through the 10th, 11th and 12th grade. Hearing that for me sort of gave me the approval that she was not some loose out of control girl who screwed everyone in her senior class.  Pretty silly assessment, I know.  But I was young.  Naive about what was important in women and what was not.  Plus the fact that I didn’t have a plethora of really serious relationship experiences gave me no real understanding of what some young woman who I wanted to date may have gone through.   And for as judgemental perspective that was, based on my immaturity, an equal level of my apprehension with some women was based upon my prideful bravado.  I have always had a problem with being with a woman who someone else has discarded or thought not good enough for them.  One man’s trash is another mans treasure has always been a dumb ass statement to me.  When was the last time you saw your dad looking in the next door neighbors garbage for something he could use? My pride just would not allow me to deal with a woman who had been with a guy I felt was a rival, a guy who I thought was a bum, or a woman whose entire dating history was public knowledge.  But as an adult you learn to not think in those terms quite so much.  The thing that stays in my mind is more so whether or not that statement is cliché because I have matured beyond it or because it is highly unlikely that at this point in my life I will deal with a woman who doesn’t have some sort of past.

So as an adult I have brought myself to a place where I have to analyze what is an “acceptable”, or more importantly  “unacceptable” past.  And this is so drastically different as an adult than it is as an immature college kid.  In college guys don’t want girls with any heavy relationship experience………as adults we aren’t to keen on being a woman’s first love.  In college it was never cool to date the ex of a guy who seems like a complete cornball because in your mind it makes you feel like she views the two of you in the same vein, when in your egotistical mind you are clearly the shit! In college you never wanted to date a woman who had been with a lot of guys, but as an adult you……….well……we still don’t want to date a woman who has been with a lot of guys.  But at 30…..what’s a lot? Take a woman who started “dating” at 18.  Let’s say she had on average 1.5 partners a year for 12 years.  That is very reasonable in my opinion.  Hell!  I don’t think that it is unreasonable to think that a woman could average 2 partners in a year.  But look at where those numbers put us.  Somewhere between 18 and Awww hell naw! I would have never dreamed that such a number would even be possible for a woman to attain when I was 18.  But growth changes your perspective.  And age can pile up experiences.  Good and bad.  And I just can’t bring myself to be as dismissive about this sort of stuff now post 30.  Plus, when I meet women now, being from all over the place, it is so much harder to get a good background check on them.

Even though I have matured I would be lying if I said that I was not afraid of being that guy who tries to turn a hoe into a housewife.  Pardon the expression.  But where I have grown most is not holding a woman’s partner count as the defining criteria of what a hoe is.  (That is such an awful word.  Fits a description but the word itself is such an awful pejorative.) And I think that I have narrowed my concerns down to two particular things.  I don’t want to feel like someone who I am with is promiscuous and willing to betray my trust for the sake of an exciting rendezvous with an old lover.  And I still can’t bring myself to be accepting of having to continually run into the lovers of your past.  I am not a jealous type and I don’t consider myself extra sensitive…….but I just don’t want to constantly see some guy that you had a short fling with.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I am mature enough to meet your ex-boyfriend who things didn’t work out with.  I am secure enough to meet that guy who was your parents favorite and the man that they wished you would marry.  But I am honestly too prideful to endure the mental gymnastics that having to be in the company of men that you had a brief, strictly sexual, fling with are certain to bring.  That is not something I ever want to have to endure.  Maybe it’s because I think he doesn’t have a respectful opinion of you.  Maybe because I think he is smirking at me because he has had something that I want to believe is only mine.  Maybe I am just foolishly prideful to a fault.  Maybe because this is the case with more than one guy!  Whatever it is….that’s just what it is.  One of the things that I don’t believe I can change about myself.

So what do I do?  Women have pasts.  And the older I get the more extensive becomes the past of the women I date.  But more importantly so does my own…………  Lost in this analysis is what I am doing.  What skeletons do I have in my closet?  What woman looks at me and snickers when she thinks of me as her last summer jumpoff, or her winter boo?  I don’t know.  I do know that I have managed to do a masterful job of never having two women that I have dated meet each other or casually being in the same place even.  And I don’t think a woman has ever really discounted me for having a messy past.  But then again…….I am The Reasonable Bachelor.  Not The Reasonable Husband.  Ironically, I guess the women with the pasts I want to avoid might be trying to avoid me as well.

@JacksonBracey

Jackson.Bracey@gmail.com

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