The Perils of Propinquity
Propinquity is just a fancy way of saying that something is close by. When we were at school, having lots of single young women around was quite the blessing. Being in close proximity meant a target rich environment. Parties were within walking distance and opportunities to interact with the opposite sex many. For a younger man, propinquity is a wonderful thing.
As single men move ahead in life or find themselves single well after the halcyon days of college, close proximity starts to present issues. Certainly this is true at work. Women in the workplace are verboten. Sexual harassment laws are unyielding and a minefield for men. A wrong glance, a mis-perceived compliment, even a seemingly innocent photo on a computer monitor can too easily lead to a call from human resources and an order to attend “sensitivity training”. No, that’s never happened to me. But it’s happened to men that I know and I was baffled by the accusation of sexual harassment.
For men of a certain age, propinquity is not necessarily a good thing. Social circle propinquity is wonderful for meeting women. I recommend such connections over online dating but with a massive caveat. Be warned, if a man doesn’t have the right frame, meeting women through social circles is almost a denser minefield than meeting women through work. Consider this scenario – a man becomes familiar with a woman via a social circle. He and the woman “date briefly” (my favorite euphemism for a few sexual encounters that don’t result in a relationship). The woman then reports to the social circle(s) that the man is a cad and a bounder. It requires a solid frame for a man to turn such an accusation to his favor with other single women in the same or related social circles.
Geographic propinquity can be even more problematic. The dated briefly scenario can get college-wierd when the well-over-35 woman is always at the local supermarket or consistently walking her dog in the neighborhood. If she’s not motivated by drama, it doesn’t have to be awkward. It can actually be quite pleasant and lead to meeting more single women. Now, find me a woman who is not motivated by drama and I’ll make that scenario work.
Geographic propinquity can also lead to the unexpected knock at the door. Hey, it’s nice if a woman stops by looking for companionship. It’s not nice when another woman is already at the house in the process of giving companionship. “Oh, you’ll have to stop sucking my peener, there’s another woman at the door”. That’s the game of younger men or the game of women into three-way sex. Frankly, an accomplished and mature fellow needn’t be dealing with such stress. Well, except for the sex part.
Personal story time: There’s a woman in my neighborhood – shit, she lives about 100 feet away – and she does walk her dog and I do cross paths with her somewhat frequently. She’s actually a lovely woman and is always quite friendly with me. Just tonight we met while dog walking and she offered her cheek for an air kiss. She sends out mixed signals to be sure but I’m going to be immune to any signals. I’ve subsequently learned that she’s an emotional mess with more baggage than a Pullman coach (that’s an old school analogy, look it up). I’m even reluctant to meet her women friends. Imagine if I poked her or one of her friends and yet she lives so close as almost to be in the same dorm. Shit, I’m almost 50 and have neither the time nor the energy to deal with that.
Here are the take-away lessons:
If possible, make sure they live close enough for you to visit on relatively short notice but not so close where they could show up unannounced. Easy availability mitigates aloofness and mystery. This also includes digital propinquity such as Facebook and online chatting. The man has quite the control of her narrative of him. With too much availability, a man loses control of that narrative.