I have been told in all earnestness that I need a woman in my life. I'm sure there are any number of reasons that a friend might make such a comment but this particular bit of advice was inspired by a quick look at my housekeeping habits. I won't go into details but I live with three dogs and two cats so let's just say that I have a high tolerance for dust bunnies and rolling clumps of pet hair. I think my friend's advice was based on the presumption that no self-respecting woman would tolerate such conditions and so I would be motivated to clean up my act (or at least my house). I do not deny the validity of this line of reasoning but perhaps the assertion should not be that I need a woman for this reason, but that I need a housekeeper. I think I'll take that under advisement.
But the comment did lead me to reflect on the women who have been in my life and I have come to a realization of sorts: they have all moved away from me. I'm not talking about the women I have married, because I can understand how someone who has lived with me for a while might want to get as far away as possible - as Willy Nelson famously said, "I have come to understand that I am not easy to live with." The phenomenon I am describing involves women who have been in my life in less intimate ways.
Most recently, the massage therapist I started seeing only a few months ago and with whom I was extremely satisfied, sent me an email saying she's closing her practice and moving to Arizona. That reminded me of the woman who was my physician many years ago who suddenly relocated all the way to California - her (male) partner is still here and still my doctor - he never told me why she left. Hair stylists that I really liked (Gina, I'm looking at you) have all moved on to greener, far-away pastures. And the day-care provider that I relied on when my sons were young - you guessed it, she closed with short notice and moved away with her new husband (that had a tragic ending which still makes me sad). Even my sons' grandmother who was so supportive of us when their mother left us eventually abandoned Maine for a new home in Tennessee. And so it goes.
I haven't fared any better with social acquaintances since I've been single again, either. A couple of years ago I met and became friendly with a woman who had recently returned from living in Nicaragua (where she did some amazing charitable work on behalf of families who lived, literally, in the dump) - we hit it off quite nicely and a friendship seemed to be burgeoning when she quite suddenly and unexpectedly moved to Massachusetts. That's not as far as some of the others went but still far enough to put a crimp in a budding friendship. More recently, I met yet another woman who seemed to have serious friendship potential - we met for dinner, exchanged emails and seemed to be hitting it off when she disappeared. And when she reappeared some months later, she was in Georgia! Go figure. (For the record, we maintain an email friendship and if she returns to Maine this Spring as she wants to I am hopeful that we can explore the possibilities for sharing more of our shared interests, which seem to be many.)
So what's up with that, I wonder? I'm pretty sure I'm not responsible for the exodus of so many women from Maine but still I wonder, why do so many women of my acquaintance move out of state? I don't know the answer, but I think my next massage therapist is going to be a man - they seem to stick around longer.