Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good Questions

Let's talk about dating tactics.

In the comments of an earlier post, Anonymous Pablo posed a couple of questions about my dating strategies.  I started to answer him in the comments but realized I had enough commentary on the subject that it might as well be a post of its' own.
This is not only an answer to Pablo - but also possibly to any long-married types who make the same suggestions, and wonder why these 'apparent tactics' aren't considered by the unintentional singles they know.

So... let's get to it.

Pablo asks...
"...if you want a man that can go to mass with you , why don´t you start looking inside your church or other churches, I mean men that are already there."
You make a valid point, one that has been made to me for many years now... to look inside my church for an eligible man.  The fact that I am at Mass every Sunday at one church or another... suggests that I have obviously looked there.
The sad fact is... single men don't go to church.  The only time we see single men (at least at the Catholic churches I go to) are once they are engaged. Then, all of a sudden they are interested in following the faith in order to qualify for a Catholic Wedding Mass.   But you see, once they're engaged... I sort of consider them off the market!

I am a Eucharistic Minister at my church... which means that I am one of the lay people who distributes Holy Communion at Mass.  In doing so... I see everyone in the congregation, up close and person as I share with them the Body and Blood of Christ.  Most often the only single men I see are under age 25! (or over 50!)

I am also a Lector, (one who reads scripture at Mass) so I am up in front of the congregation on a regular basis.  As a result of that... I am up there for all to see as an available single woman. (not to say that I serve in that capacity for that reason... but ... you know... there it is.) The point being, I am very active and very visible in my parish, so you can trust me when I say there are no single men there.

I do have a friend in that church, who is a single dad.  I have socialized with him and others in the church... and I do like him enough to be interested - but it's pretty clear he is not interested in me, if in 6 years he hasn't approached me in that way.  For the record... he doesn't seem to be interested in dating at all - his focus is on his child. I believe we have a mutual respect and admiration for each other - but that is where it will end.

I also occasionally visit other churches - and I do not encounter single men there either.  The Catholic Church doesn't really have any type of singles ministry... so there is no way for us to get together if there WERE single Catholic men. We only have the option of church-wide socials, which really aren't a draw for single men or singles in general.

In fact, if you were to give single Catholic men the same advice - to look for a good woman at church -  they typically balk at the idea.  I have been single for many years... and whenever that suggestion is made, they respond almost as if it's a blasphemous thought! (McTwitchy and Mr. Burns included) They think it's disrespectful to the Mass to intend to meet chicks there.

It is also well considered, (much has been written on the subject - unfortunately, nothing I am able to document here) that many men stray from the church once they graduate from High School and leave home, not to return until they are ready to get married.  The common thought on this is that men seem to feel that reliance on a higher power shows weakness.  Somewhere along the way, men are influenced to value their own accomplishments over seeking assistance from an Almighty and all-knowing and all-powerful God. It usually takes the influence of a woman they love to get them back in church.  The prospect of raising a family seems to be an incentive. (as evidenced by my single dad friend, mentioned above. Raising his child is incentive for a God-filled life)

Pablo also asks...
...why don´t you tell the guy all these things you write here,try to be clear from the beginning, before you meet him. The worse thing or one of the worse things is that the signals are not clear for the other person, so say want you look for and what you want in a clear way, so you can be sure he got the message from the begining.(sic) Thats (sic) my opinion."
Also a good point.  If you saw my online dating profile, you would know that I make it as crystal clear as possible. 
In fact... how about an excerpt? This is one paragraph of my 'About Me' section:

"My faith is important to me and I need someone who appreciates that, as it's not going to change. I am a lifelong Catholic and would really like to find a good Catholic man - I could be open to a man of another denomination, if he's already active in his church and serious about his faith.
If you have checked "Spiritual not Religious" or "Other Religion" I am NOT for you. Trust me on this. I need a man who, like me, is going to put God first. It's not easy and I don't always succeed... but that's my goal."
Is that clear enough?

What I have noticed about online dating is 1) most men don't bother to read the profiles. They just look for pretty faces and then message women based on attraction.  I think they see the writing as 'noise'.  As a result, I get a lot of inquiries from men who identify as "Not Religious" or "No Religion".  (despite my profile plea not to! ) On occasion, I have responded to such inquiries with a simple, "Did you read my profile?" Then I get a message back about how I am closed-minded, conservative or prudish. Yay.

2) When the only nibbles you get are from the wrong types, it's tempting to consider that maybe you are being too closed-minded. Maybe their idea of "Not Religious" means they haven't gone to church in 15 years but they're waiting for the woman who inspires them to return.  Should I take that chance?  Would it be better than no date at all?
Sometimes you have to take some risk.

Then there was the guy who identified himself as Catholic - and within 10 minutes of his first text to me... asked what I was wearing!  When I responded that I had made it pretty clear that I was looking for a church-going Catholic man... and that I felt it was too soon in the getting-to-know-you stage to inquire about my undergarments, he responded by texting me a line or two from the "Our Father" which was clearly meant as sarcastic. (which I didn't appreciate at all.) A few more texts and it was clear he was just  looking for bed buddy.

Dating is tedious at best. Online dating is just a minefield.
I'd really like to know how men experience online dating... because if their experience is as bad as mine... I just don't even see the point.

(I have heard from some men that their nemesis online are women who are looking for what might as well be called 'financial sponsors'.  They make up stories about needed car repairs, house payments... and just milk men for cash.  You would think if that's what men encounter... they'd be thrilled to find women like me!)


Anonymous said...

I see what the problem is: Catholicism (it was a joke...joke?).It seems single men in your region don´t believe in transubstantiation, or maybe you are visiting the wrong dating sites. If there are no catholic singles in the zone try catholic dating sites, they do exist!! google this: "catholic dating sites".
At least you will find catholic people there, so you dont have to worry about:"not religious" or "spiritual", you will just have to consider all the rest.
I made those obvious suggestions in the previous post because thats what they teach singles in evangelic churches, but if you pay attention you will find a lot of single men in catholicism, the priests!! thats a problem.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post!! Can't get more clear and upfront than that, lol.

Dan.Eliot said...

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Genevra said...

Honestly, you nailed it. I've heard from men that online dating is far kinder to women than it is to men. Which kind of makes me wonder how in the world it is so popular then.

TRS said...

I just found the above, anonymous comment in my spam comments folder... I didn't even know I had a spam comments folder until today.

In answer, Yes. I have tried Catholic dating sites. My experience there was men who would send me smiley faces and hearts and virtual flowers... but never make a move to get to know me or try to meet me. (or anyone else for that matter). At $40 bucks a month, I just can't justify putting up with junior high, "sending notes in class" style flirting. Why is it so much to ask a man to act like a man?

I don't know who the above anonymous was from... but there was another comment from Anonymous Pablo in my spam folder... accusing me of censoring his comments.
I just want to say .... those are my rights! This is MY forum. Unlike a newspaper or news station, I am not bound by the rules of the FCC or even the First Amendment for that matter... to post whatever anyone wants to say. If I don't like it... I get to delete it. And again I say... if you want a forum for your own thoughts and comments... get your own blog and do so. My forum isn't necessarily your forum.

Mandi said...

I'm so sorry there aren't single men at your parish - there were several single men (single father, divorced, and never married) at my old parish and I got to know many of them well because they were active in the same youth ministry groups I volunteered for. Many of them (actually most of them) were actively looking for spouses. Unfortunately, I know what you are experiencing at your church, because there aren't many men at all at my current parish (many women that I know are married attend church without their husbands even). I think that it may be a regional thing.

I met my husband on a Catholic dating site (Catholic Match) so I would have suggested that, but I saw you already tried it. Have you tried Ave Maria singles? From what I've heard, that site is more geared toward people who are serious about the faith and looking for spouses than other Catholic sites. I knew two married couples that met on there and they were in their 30s and 40s, so I think that may also play into the fact that singles are more marriage minded on the site. Perhaps you've already tried it though.

Anonymous said...

That was my great comment and you have the right to censor my comment if you want, this is your blog 100%.