In some respects taking any heed of what I write here could be akin to listening to the advice of a colour-blind individual about how to decorate. While they could easily know enough to get by there's going to be details that they just can't see.
In the past few years I've seen many friends get married, and there's now 6 weeks until I will have attended yet another friend's marriage. Unfortunately, I've also seen a few relationships that seemed solid fall apart.
I never found myself in the common teenage romance; unsurprising when I was geeky and almost completely disinclined to talk, even to my friends. Once I left school I spent three years in a course where there was, at most, four women out of at least 50 students. If not for the fact I was attending the course because my cousin was I'd likely have spent close to half the first year not interacting with anyone in a significant manner. As such, while there were other women around (friends of friends mainly), I wouldn't have managed anything more than friendship with any of them, even had I wanted to. In the year and a half between finishing at Tech and moving to this side of the city I didn't really spend any time with anyone, apart from the need to go buy food I basically left the bedsit to get books to read. For a short while there I had developed a friendship of sorts with a young woman that also liked some of the same TV as I did, mistaking her attitude at one point for interest, only to be told she was a lesbian when I questioned her.
When I went flatting in 2003 I started socialising due to my sister, and to a lesser extent one of my other flatmates. Early on that was mainly R18, the young adult group from RBC, the first meeting of which I attended also happened to be an evening where I was for some reason believing that one of the women was talking to me for a reason other than an attempt to get to know the new guy. Later on I got involved in a Shadowrun game and started socialising with some of them and their friends away from the game. R18 quickly branched into actually going to RBC, which also led to evening services at SBC for a little over a year.
My last year at that flat saw the biggest change I expect I'll experience in the realm of relationships. I'd been out gaming, came home and found someone I didn't know in the lounge with my flatmates. After about 30 minutes she had come the conclusion I should be dating her flatmate. A couple of weeks went by before I met the flatmate in question and I was attracted from the beginning. With her in a long distance relationship and a single mother however I decided there wasn't any point in thinking about anything more than friendship. A few months later she'd ended that relationship, we'd spent a lot more time together (including me spending time with her daughter), and I was wondering if there might be something develop. It took until a night we were watching a movie together, sharing a blanket because her home was cold, and she made the move to hold my hand.
Obviously things didn't work out between us (for a variety of reasons), and I've no doubt that it's made me more reluctant to initiate anything with any of the few women I've known in the years since that I otherwise might have. (Not that I was ever going to be asking a lot of women out.)
Of those women I have found myself attracted to over the years I have yet to find any real common factors, besides a lack of prominent tattoos/piercings and her not using offensive language. There's been a redhead, a blonde and a couple of brunettes without even working to remember all the short term attractions; one of the woman is about half a head taller than me and another is about that much shorter; body shape has varied from skinny to overweight; age has been a couple of years older to a few years younger.
When considering the possibilities it's been easy for me to think of things that would cause issues though. I've never been keen on travel, most of the women I know are (or at least I perceive them to be). I expect few women would be keen on dating a guy that's so comfortable living at subsistence level. Communication is something I've never been good with, even compared to other guys it seems, so I don't think it's just stereotypical male reticence. The only time in my life I thought being a father might be wise (or even simply not unwise) was during the relationship mentioned earlier, now I'm sure that I'm much better off as the "weird uncle" sort of figure to the children of my friends.
There's a couple of good things in how I expect I'm perceived; the frequent identification of me as "a nice guy" and the fact I'm good with children. I doubt there's a lot else.
Yet again, this deviated from where I was thinking it was going to go. I could end up writing more of these posts. Especially if I keep getting short breaks at work because of machine stoppages.