The first time I ever had a real conversation with a woman was in college. I had chatted with girls all through high school. I had exchanged some ideas, but never a full conversation. Then I met Heidi and we started chatting on and off through Christmas break.

One thing led to another, and before I knew it, I was having my very first conversation. We had quite a few conversations after that, although at first I was insecure about my ability to converse. Before she met me, Heidi had lived with a man who had a very large vocabulary. She said that I had quite an extensive vocabulary myself, but men never really believe that kind of thing.

They say that you should never marry the first person with whom you ever converse. Maybe they’re right. Heidi and I married and were together for twelve years. Toward the end we talked less and less, hardly exchanging a word. Then we were no longer married.

After Heidi, I ended up with an amazing conversationalist named Asa. She had been married twice and had some other ill-fated chats, but in all that time she was never allowed to make her point during a conversation. The man she was with would talk quickly, make his point, and then shut up. Conversation over. So she felt that she had a lot to discuss with me. We talked everywhere. We talked on the beach, in the park, in a storage shed. Once, we even talked on one of those green power boxes that you find in the suburbs. I’m not really sure why they’re there. If nothing else, they are great conversational tools.

Asa had her share of problems. All my friends told me that I would be hurt, but I’m a guy. I was enjoying an amazing variety of conversational topics, so I didn’t care. Then one day Asa said that she had to focus on talking to herself. She had no time for talk with other people. She couldn’t handle the emotional commitment required to maintain a conversational-type relationship. In fact, she was sorry we ever talked at all.

Angela was just about the talking. When that ended I drove across the country. I talked to Jessica in Wisconsin, which was the shortest conversation ever. She decided that she didn’t want to talk after all. Then I talked to Robin in Las Vegas. Now you would think that someone claiming to be an expert in the Art of Conversation, someone from Las Vegas, a city that’s made half its reputation on the wealth of conversations to be found there, you would think someone like that would be a good conversationalist. You would be wrong.

When I came back I got involved with a girl from Geneva. She wasn’t the best conversationalist either, but I liked her enough that I didn’t care. When we broke up I told her that I wished we could talk just one more time. That turned out to be the best conversation we ever had.

Kristie was a dancer whom I never suspected was interested in speaking with me. We just started out as friends. But then we started chatting every chance we could get. We were slowly developing personal topics and had these deep explorations of themes, until she finally gave an oral presentation that scared her with its emotional intensity. After that, we never spoke again. Kristie was afraid of losing herself in a conversation. She thought it would limit her freedom and give a man power over her.

Last I heard, Kristie was talking with another women and seemed happy about it. I thought the other woman seemed really quiet, too quiet for a good conversation, but maybe that was just jealousy talking.

Since Kristie, I haven’t had a good conversation. There was Mary, from Texas, who was a very selfish speaker and somewhat unskilled. She never listened to me, she just waited for her turn to speak. Then there was Jen. She thought she wanted to have a conversation, but she turned out to be afraid of her own voice.

That was the last time that I spoke with anyone. Sometimes I think I’ll never find anyone to talk to again, which is stupid, I know that. I just have to try to relax and let these things happen. Still, it would be nice to talk to someone.