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The Richness and Beauty of Life

February 5, 2008 | 3 Comments

Mr. Keillor,
I'm a nearly 6-foot-tall, slim, not unattractive, yet never married, former English major turned massage therapist. Oh, I've had relationships, but I guess never the right one. Did I mention that I turned a certain age last year?

So, my question is this. As a lifelong shy person, what should I do to alleviate my Midwestern city apartment-dwelling isolation? I'm so lonely and confused that I actually attended my first Unitarian church service last Sunday.

I love music, especially what they call roots and Americana, PBS, good books and your show, which I'm listening to alone on Saturday night. Advice columnist types always recommend volunteer work. What would you suggest?

Stephany B.
St. Louis, MO

A single woman I know recommends which is not a dating service but simply a place where you can sign up to meet persons of similar interests — say, a skiing group, or a group interested in independent film, or roots music — and maybe you meet people you like, maybe not, maybe you're lovestruck, or not, but at least you're out and about and in the swim and talking. I think that love comes from conversation and conversation has to be practiced. Which is not easy for us shy persons, but we must force ourselves out of the shell of self-pity and into normal playful connections with good-hearted people.

And people who share some interests are where you should make connections. It really helps if partners have mutual enthusiasms and can plunge into something together whole-heartedly — go off square-dancing or skiing or campaigning or listening to music you love.

When you're a teenager you're more likely to be moonstruck and go head over heels for the idealized stranger across the crowded room but a mature experienced woman is more likely to be drawn to someone because she likes him and enjoys his company, a friendship out of which a romance blossoms. Massage therapy, like writing fiction, is a solitary line of work, so you need to force yourself out of the routine and build a social life, otherwise you will wake up having missed out on much too much of the richness and beauty of life. There is time. Get out of your apartment and into the pool. Enjoy the mission.

P.S. Your phrase "not unattractive" is probably midwestern self-deprecation but you should address this, for the sake of your own self-esteem. Don't be non-unattractive, darling. Be beautiful. In your own heart, be beautiful, and also take a good hard look at the hair situation, the clothes closet, the whole deal. We shy persons tend to live in our own heads and if we intend to get out and mingle and connect to people, we have to look in the mirror and — "Whoa. What's with the ponytail?"


You are right on!
At age 19 (in 1969!) I
married with stars in my
eyes. After 30 years and
much pain I finally said "enough."

I learned to sail and sailed with
a group of women -- we were all
"in the same boat" (pardon the pun). We
were single, age 32 to 65, and had our
love of sailing in common.

Then one day, when it was least
expected, I went on a co-ed sailing
trip and met the love of my life.
We've been together eight years
now -- married and living "happily
ever after."

Oh, did I mention he's an English

Please keep encouraging all of us...

San Clemente

I am the person who posted this question regarding my situation. I have a great deal of respect for you, Garrison, and very much appreciate your kind and thoughtful reply.

I will try...

St. Louis

Perhaps some Powdermilk Biscuits, and are you getting enough Catsup??

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