I didn't avoid men completely. I'd always thought good looking men were a joy to behold. But I also knew that they were dangerous. Not by themselves necessarily but in a relationship with me or even while beginning one. Their presence and personality knocked me off center; caused me to fall into a hole filled with vague and disturbing memories from my childhood.
In my twenties, I had dated a number of men. And the ghost of my father tainted my choices. The ones that jumped off the page were those that offered a concealed level of excitement and danger. I didn't realize that men that drank a lot can be risky. In fact, I thought all men, like my father and his friends, drank heavily. Binge drinking. And so, my strategy of following what seemed familiar and comfortable enabled me to enter into relationships that were unstable for sure and often personally dangerous.
As I began to get my feet back on the ground with the help of Dr. Lebensohn, it seemed wise and responsible to avoid the challenge of negotiating life with a male partner. In addition to the possibility of a calmer life, the lack of a relationship would prevent having a child. I had been counseled by my doctor not to have any. The fear of the effects of Thalidomide - a 1960s drug causing babies to be born without arms or legs - filled the pages of Life magazine, graphically demonstrating how powerful new drugs of the era could cause horrible birth defects even while reducing serious discomforts during pregnancy. Even the medical community was frightened. And so during one visit to his office, I was confronted with Dr. Lebensohn looking me in the eye saying "Miss Goin, you will need to be on drugs the rest of your life and should avoid getting pregnant. How do you feel about that?" I was surprised to find myself nodding in agreement. I may have even smiled. "Sounds like a good reason to keep my distance from the opposite sex. " It was clear that I was a coward or perhaps beginning to find my way.
To be continued ...