I stepped out of a marriage of over 22 years into an odd situation at the age of 44.
Having been married for most of my adult life, and walked a less than conventional path, the roadmap of memories and tales was rather, um, let’s say: convoluted. I had done a lot of things which when examined from our cultural perception of “normal”, were far from any definition of the term.
That, surfaced immediately, when I began to ply the dating seas. I learned early on that it was best to not really talk about what I had done in life that was interesting to me. (why I did those things) and maybe pick a more banal means of explaining my life history. Made for a longer date, I found.
I applied myself to dating, in similar fashion to how I learn anything. I study, organize, and totally immerse myself in the experience. That modus left me with a long list of women to meet. So for a couple months I dated. The process is what taught me a lot about the art of the story, or for me, the weaning and reducting of the details, of the story of my life.
I would go on 1-2 dates per day. And in doing so, I learned that women tend to have a great mistrust of the tales we men tell them. The fly in the ointment being ,that I really had no agenda (for them). I just wanted to figure out what being single meant. So I dated. And dated. And dated some more. I met some really neat gals, and in process, realized that people tend to not believe much of what they are told, if it is secretly, what they want to hear.
I think that the very best example, was a woman I will call Y. Y was a beautiful Oriental woman who worked for a local Biomedical Tech company. Particularly inquisitive, she pressed me for the details of my past and present life. Keep in mind that almost two months of dating college had transpired. I was about up to my neck fed up ,in masking who and what I was, in order to carry on what would pass for a normal conversation. So I let Y know what was in my past. My athletic careers, car racing and building, radio and TV work, Company development, Environmental work, my great kids and the fond and long term relationship I had existed within, with my former wife.
Then I told her about what I was doing at that moment. Traveling as an Editorial and Commercial Sports and Lifestyle Photographer and Writer, working in Motion Picture. I talked about some of the adventures I had experienced most recently. I did the Journalistic account of the life of David F Pu’u. Who, what, when, where, why and how.
And Y simply looked at me. Unflinching. Out of the blue these words came out. “I will never let you use me for sex”. Y left me going in circles with that one. But then I realized something. People use the Art of the story, quite frequently, to gain a foothold in your heart. But the problem for Y and I, is that this was not my intention. I was simply fed up, after 2 mos of NOT telling my story, and conforming to the dance, which I had learned, really is descriptive of the dating process.
A somewhat awkward goodbye transpired, and I figured we were pretty much done. But three days later, Y called, and I reckoned that I could tolerate another date. Heck, maybe we just got off on the wrong foot. So we met in a Thousand Oaks restaurant, for a cocktail, me having driven down from Ventura, and pretty much right away, Y revealed her tack. I had not said too much this time, to be honest. “David, why are you lying to me? I told you, I am not letting you use me for sex”
My response was to tell her what I had done since we last met. Which brought up some of the wonderful women I get to work with. Y grew flustered, when I finally politely told her that I really had no sexual agenda where any woman was concerned, and that this dating thing, was me getting feet down on the ground, and learning, after being half of a couple all my life what being single really meant.
A strained hug and kiss on the cheek and a faint “see you” and I in a much relieved fashion, went back to my car. What had just happened? Well, whatever it was, I felt violated. I also realized that Y maybe had “issues” which possibly required me to run, as fast as possible, in the other direction. But here is the deal. I never run away from scary stuff. I always run at it. Makes for a better story if you know what you are doing.
So the next day I rang Y up. (I know, against the rules. Too soon) “I was wondering if you and I could meet for dinner next Friday? I am meeting friends down your way.” I had told Rick, a pal of mine who happened to live nearby in Westlake, and Kathe, a close friend and one of the women I enjoyed shooting with, the story of Y. They both reckoned she was crazy. But I maintained that I could be as much to blame as she. Well, Y said “sure”, and I went about the work week subtly, and possibly sadistically, looking forward to our “date”.
Kathe, as is her sense of humor and style, showed up looking striking in a low cut top, short skirt, 5 inch heels, and close to six feet of lithe brunette wonderfulness. I think Rick showed up looking like a version of Mr GQ rugged, on a superbike. (Three against one). The thing is, these were my dear friends. Family. We weathered the seas of change in life together. They were a part of my story, and I theirs. We loved each other. I was convinced Y was in a desert devoid of that.
So in the course of dinner and conversation, both of my friends, let Y know that I was a liar, by telling her the rest of the story about me, that we mattered to each other. As I looked into Y’s eyes and saw reality dawn on her, I got it. I understood being single, dating, everything. Anyone who a man or woman chooses to be with must merit (deserve) those precious moments that comprise the existence which we call life. Y did not. She simply was not qualified.
The next day, I was a bit surprised when my phone rang as I was on set working on a film (Vibrate mode) and it was Y. This is what she said. “Hey, I have a sister. I think you two would really like each other” Bingo. The win. She got it.
Love your life and story. It really is all that you have.
Here is a great and well timed blog by Seth Godin on A True Story.
Today I head up to Silicon Valley with my Fiance, Donna Von Hoesslin, and friend and colleague, Dr Andrea Neal to do a LOT of amazing things. But one of them, is to sit on a panel of people who are a part of a project called the Sea-Space Initiative. I just read 24 biographies. I look forward to THEIR stories and hopefully I can add some salt water from my own, as we examine Space, Sea and the destiny of mankind.
This film, by Dana Saint, and his girlfriend, is called A Story for Tomorrow. I always share it when possible. Watch it and you will know why. Have a tissue handy.
Below are a few images from the ridiculousness of my wonderful life. Each is a story. It is the only thing we have, our lives, and our story. Best thing that one can do for humanity, is to tell yours.