For my 40th birthday (nine years ago), my two best friends and I went to New Orleans. We were all well behaved. I was still married, as were the other two, and one of the other two had led a life that would have made Richie Cunningham proud. In fact, let's call him Richie Cunningham. He teaches at Yale and thus tends to be a bit on the theoretical side (like someone else you may know).
As we are exiting a gentleman's cabaret on night two of our visit to the Big Easy (hey, I said we were well behaved, I didn't say that we didn't go watch naked girls dance), Richie decides to take a poll.
Out of the three of us:
1. Who was most likely to date a stripper?
2. Who was mostly likely to live with a stripper?
3. Who was the most likely to father illegitimate children with a stripper?
I lost the vote 3-0.
But the score was closer than it seemed. During high school, our other friend, we'll call him Potsie, was actually friends with a girl who later became a stripper, and this girl had a massive crush on Potsie. So the opportunity was there. Meanwhile, Richie, despite being clean-cut and nerdy, dated all sorts of exotic women. But the fact remains that it takes a special kind of person to engage a stripper in serious conversation and not only be willing to hang out with someone who does this for a living, but to actually date her.
And that description really only fit one of us.
Still, I didn't reveal my vote at first, and pressed the other two to explain why I was the obvious choice.
Richie was quick to respond.
"Come on, Lex. Ever since I've known you, you've had a bullpen."
"Yeah, a group of reserves. If the starters ever got injured, you called up one of the reserves and next thing you know you were seeing that person. You just played by different rules, and dating a stripper doesn't seem too far out of character for you. Hell, even today you have more female friends than Potsie and I combined."
"Ok. Ok. I get it. You guys win."
Since I spent 19 years of my life devoted to one woman in a monogamous marriage, an explanation is probably in order. I knew from about the age of 15 that I would be going to law school, and there was no way I was going to get married until after I was done with school. Perhaps it was this fact or perhaps it was the fact that most of my heroes were still single in their late 20s, Joe Namath and Jim Morrison to name only a couple. Plus I grew up at the tail end of the era of free love. So why on earth would I want to settle down with one woman before I was ready?
All of this changed when I met my wife (now Ex wife).
In fact, everything changed so much that as I begin dating in my 40s and soon to be 50s, I even tried to apply what I call the "one-person rule."