Thursday, November 29, 2012

Rumors and Trust

I listened to almost three hours of a friend hashing over her crush on a co-worker.
This woman is 40.
But I listened. There have been dates, if you can call them that, but he's been stringing her along for at least eight months.

He's a very successful man, and single - so of course everyone at her work is curious about his private life. How is he still single? they wonder. He must be a player. they suppose. The co-workers talk about a married woman who changed jobs a few years ago, and they suspect there was an affair between her and Mr. Successful.

But that's just a rumor. And I told my friend, "Rumors are just rumors until you know the truth. And people will talk, especially about the single guy.  They'll just assume that he's a player and a heartbreaker because they think that is what they would do in his position."

Quite frankly, I'll bet money that even the people at my church assume that I'm out bed-hopping with random men... just because I'm single. They think that's what single people do.  Even church-going, Catholic singles.

Then I asked my friend, "If you find out he did have an affair with a married woman, is this someone you want have a relationship with?"

She looked at me and said, "Well, I'm no different. I slept with someone who was engaged, before they broke up...  but it was a loveless relationship..."

At that point I wanted to say, "That sounds like the kind of excuse people who cheat use." but I didn't want to kick her while she was down. Plus, her face revealed she was concerned about my judgment.

It's not judgmental, it's smart. If that's his level of respect for marriage when he's single, what would you expect from him when he's married?

Personally, I'm shocked that this is acceptable to her. Yes, of course people deserve forgiveness and people can change. But I don't think even that is where her heart is.
Sure, if they develop a relationship and discuss their expectations and reveal their hearts - something good could happen.
But considering a guy who has kept someone at arm's length for eight months, I'd say he's not all about communication.

This is how hard it is out there. It's easy to start compromising your standards just to have someone pay attention to you.

I joke that there are so many reasons I'm single.  I won't date married men, I don't date cheaters and I don't sleep around.  As a result... I'm very very single.
But I still think that's better than the alternative.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Thanksgiving Break from Pleasantries

I'm hibernating.

Thanksgiving Day, I happily slept til about 9:00AM. Well, almost. My nephew called me at 7:30 and didn't take the hint from my sleepy, cobwebby voice. Finally I said, "You know, it's a holiday. I was planning to sleep in! You called me at alarm clock time on a sleep in day." Which resulted in laughter when he remembered the rule about talking to me before 9:00AM (don't)  (relax, he's almost 30 - it's not like he's a little boy - plus he doesn't work, so a reprieve from such a schedule is lost on him! ) Also, he didn't take the time zone into consideration. Luckily I was able to fall back asleep.

So I slept in and stayed home. I made some phone calls and sent some texts wishing people a happy Thanksgiving. I was invited to a couple of gatherings but just didn't feel like it.  Don't feel sorry for me, it was just what I wanted.
In fact, during the approaching week, I found myself wincing when someone heard I didn't have plans, for fear they'd extend an invitation. I knew I didn't want to have to put on a pleasant face for people who don't really care. (you know - like folks who ask how you're doing, but don't want you to elaborate beyond "fine") It was just going to be too much effort to make pleasantries when I would rather just... not.

So yes, I'm hibernating. I think a reprieve from Thanksgiving is healthy every three years or so.

I stayed home and watched movies all day. It was great! Like taking a sick day without being sick.
So for your pleasure... my lessons gleaned from a day of Romantic Comedies.

I started with Sweet Home Alabama.  I'd seen bits of this movie, but finally watched the whole thing. I loved how you can't predict which guy she'll end up with. The Lesson: What being the better person looks like. (it's not a spoiler if the movie is over 5 years old...) Her New York Boyfriend loved her enough to let her go. I loved how he said, "Wow, so this is what it feels like." and there are moments when she gets too big for her britches, thinking she's better than the people who never left her po-dunk town. She has to learn how to be gracious.

Next up: While You Were Sleeping. I forgot how much I love that movie. Really really love. I really relate to Lucy - the girl with the passport that has no stamps in it - who just really wants a family more than anything. So sweet.
The Lesson: life doesn't turn out like you planned. God is making it better. God will give you just what you need. I have to learn to wait... and trust!

The Accidental Husband - I don't remember ever even hearing about this. Probably because how does anyone expect a leading lady to hem and haw over Colin Firth?!?!  Honey, you just marry Colin Firth!!!  But then... the interloper is Jeffery Dean Morgan (remember him as Denny from early seasons of Grey's Anatomy? ) Yeah, he is pretty yummy. 

The Lesson: It's one thing to go with Mr. Safe and Dependable, but if you've never given any Mr. Rugged and Impulsive a shot, simply because of your own fears you'll never know he can provide his own brand of security.

The problem with these movies though - is that the heroine had two quality men to choose from. Each was planning to marry to start out with, until someone comes and shakes up her world. Within a week they're prepared to marry the interloper?!?!?!  Not real. Come on. Who ever has TWO men to choose from!

I also watched Step Mom - which is just a great great movie!  The message for single women in the beginning of the film is... if you've never had kids you're selfish and can't possibly know how to handle kids. So insulting! But that assumption holds up in society. Everyone tells me to date divorced dads... but divorced dads assume I'm immature and not ready for commitment simply because I've never been knocked up!  (and that's before they even meet me! )

Either way, a nice lazy day.
Hope your Turkey Day was to your liking!

(photos from google image search) 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

It's Not Just Me

There are days that I think it must be me.

It's me who is undesirable, unloveable.  Not as pretty or thin as I used to be.
Or maybe men can sense that I'm not going to sleep with them... at least until I know him. So they don't even approach me.

But then I realize that so many of my girlfriends are experiencing the same thing.
First dates that don't lead to second dates.  Second dates that result in radio silence.
Not a single BAD date, mind you. Just men who never follow up again. For no real reason.

The women I know... beautiful. smart. physically fit. kind and generous.
I've always said, if these are the women on the bench in this game.... I truly don't understand it.

The saying was something like... a woman over 40 has more chance of getting struck by lightning or killed by a terrorist than she does of getting married.
But I'm convinced, most of the time that that's not me.
I'm starting to see the reality of that saying.

My friend's husband says, as men approach their 40s unmarried - there's something wrong with them. He points to his own uncle as an example. They just can't get passed doing things their own way, making room for someone in their lives.

Why is that not true for women? Who knows.
I think women are always more collaborative. More willing to work together. More willing to give and sacrifice.
Yes, men can do all that too - but what my friend was saying, is if they haven't learned how to apply those skills before this age - they're just not going to.  I think that's so. (McTwitchy does too, it's one of his excuses.) 

And don't forget, that once I turned 40 I became invisible. Men my age are looking for someone younger.  Just like when I was younger, it was the much older guys who were interested in me - and most of them were married.

It's not just me. Even so, it's hard to accept.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Journey Through the Desert

My dear bloggy friends.
I have something to share with you.  I've touched on this before, but it has had so profound an impact on me - I feel I can't emphasize it enough.

If you've been with me for a while, you know that the year I turned 40 was especially hard for me.
At the beginning of that year, I finally broke up with Mr. Burns. He was the man that I had pinned my last hopes of marriage and baby-making to, so it resulted in a very complete and final conclusion to that chapter of my life.

Shortly after that, my very best friend suffered a miscarriage, and as I sat with her in her grief - God used that time to lead me through a very dark, scary and prickly place in which I grieved the loss of my own fertility.  (Thanks to Genevra for putting the words to it.)   I can't even tell you exactly how long it took, but looking back, knowing now what was accomplished, it was a full year or more.
The extra blessing was that God put my best friend and me together to help each other through it at the same time. I couldn't have done it without her.

The bigger point is that, I HAD to go through that grief. It was such a process, that occasionally I share with others what I went through and inevitably they say one of two things.... "Oh, you shouldn't feel that way." or "You could still have babies."

Arggghh!! That is so not the point!
First of all... really? God took me through a very dark time in my life to get me here, and you're going to dismiss all that work with "Don't feel that way."???!!!

Friends. I am so much better on this side. So much easier. Sure, I'm still sad about it sometimes. But it's about finally giving up control (which I never really had anyway). And if I miraculously find love and find that I CAN have baby... that will be awesome! If not, I'm already okay with it.

Recently, I shared this with another bloggy friend as we discussed my desire for a husband. She said, "I don't think that everybody needs a partner, but I also do not think that God puts a longing for one in your heart if He doesn't intend for you find one. "

That made me realize that now I know what the journey looks like. I know that it's dark and ugly. It's scary and hard and painful. Really painful.

I'm sure it won't be exactly the same, but I know that if there is no love in my future, God will address it.  He'll address it and I'll know it. I'll know because it's a different kind of pain.  But He hasn't worked that one on me... yet. So, I'll continue to hope.

Then my friend shared this...
"Hurt is always where He starts, I find. Always. And usually a whole lot of it. This is why we must rejoice, rejoice, rejoice over and over when it hurts so that He knows that we know."
That's the thing.  My BFF and I held each other through it. (oh, and by the way, she has a beautiful baby girl now!)  Since then, she met a woman who longs for a child, and for a husband... and because my BFF thought that she was younger than us, she told her that it was still coming her way. The new friend said, no.  It's passed. She's dealt with it.  Then my BFF realized that this new friend was a woman who didn't have someone to sit with her in that grief.

I'm sharing this with you... so you might know...  you might recognize when God is working on your single friend in this way. Sit with her. Walk with her. Carry her heart when it's too heavy.
It's one thing to grieve the loss of your fertility - but having to do it alone.... without a husband to share in that grief... without a friend to just give a damn that you're hurting...  well, be a friend. Don't let that happen to someone you love.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fine Line Between Love & Hate

By now, I'm used to all the Catholic bashing.

Plenty of TV shows do it.  Even Downton Abbey is in on it,  (season three - not a spoiler ) although, at least at Downton, it's historically accurate.

Lord knows the political campaign (which can't end soon enough) spews hate not only at Christianity but at Catholicism specifically - ever heard of the "War on Women"?
Yeah, we hate abortion and don't want to pay for your birth control - we hate women.  Oh wait. I AM a woman!

It stands to reason any time I turn on the TV, I must be prepared for the possibility that my faith may be bashed.  SNL, any show with topical joke-writers. Meh. I take it with a grain of salt.

I went to catch up on episodes of a show that I theoretically shouldn't even be watching, (according to Church beliefs) But I consider myself an enlightened Catholic. 'Tis better to challenge my beliefs, be exposed to popular culture, maintain my beliefs and know enough to make a solid defense.

This show is called The New Normal - the premise is about a young woman who decides to become a surrogate for a gay couple. I've noticed in just a few episodes, that they seem to bash everyone equally.
But when I saw the beginning of this scene - one of the gay men going to confession with a Catholic priest, I cringed. Oh sweet Lord, what are they going to bash? Well, they do hit the standards first, but then...

or watch here

Color me pleasantly surprised. I think this is actually quite well-done. It's a better representation of how most Catholics (at least Catholics like me) approach the divide.  Contrary to popular belief, we don't hate homosexuals. In reality, we love them SO HARD!

I have some gay friends. One couple, made up of a dear friend of mine.  The last time I visited them, the conversation turned to the topic of the Church "hating" them. (guess who grew up Catholic?) 
I said, "No. The Church does not hate you." If so, the Church hates me too, because as a single woman, I'm not supposed to have sex either.  The difference is, I obey and you don't.

No, the Church does not hate me. The Church, like God wants the very best for me. The best for me is not sleeping with men who have no interest in marriage and family. It's not easy. My  physical desires, urges, wants and yes, needs... are all denied. Have been for years.

All because God wants the best for me. What people seem to hate about Catholics, is that we really want you to see things our way. (this is taken as 'pushing our beliefs down your throat." ) They see the Church as wanting to stifle all their fun too. To me, it's not that we want to limit everyone else's freedoms.  But if it isn't good enough for me, well I want better for you too.

And I really like what the priest says in that clip. Fight for it! Don't give up because it's hard. Go out there and grab God's best.

Okay... watched it again and loved it even more!  Also, that priest is hot... in a Dr. House sort of way! 

Monday, October 08, 2012


When my church has a social function, I still hold out hope that I might meet a single Catholic man if I attend. We had one this weekend. There were so many attractive men, I made a point of checking out their left hand ring fingers. Yeah, they each had a ring. Every last one of them.

Which supports my theory that men don't go to church until they're engaged. (Catholic ones in particular) My only hope is to convert one myself - but that seems doubly challenging, as I can't get men to hang on when I don't sleep with them on the third date - much less get 'em to go to Mass with me!!

So I was talking with a lovely woman who is married with kids attending our Catholic school.  We got to talking about some of the challenges our parish faces, in getting more people involved in activities. She seemed stunned when I said that I wish the school would put more information out on activities --- that I would love to attend school plays - or help coach a speech team -- but because I'm single with no kids, I never hear about them.

Just another way the Church has no idea what to do with single people.

This opened the conversation to other needs for community. I suggested real community fellowship, in which the single adults and families team up - study the bible together, visit each other's homes - instead of separating us like a group of lepers. "Because," I said half joking, "you married people need to stop acting like you don't have brothers-in-law and cousins that you could introduce me to!"

She laughed and said yes, she did had a brother, but she would never wish him upon me.
I hear that a lot. So many good, church going families only know of men who aren't suitable for a nice church-going woman.

Know what it reminds me of?
When I was unemployed and searching for jobs... I would hear back that they weren't going to bring me in for an interview because I was over-qualified for the position (the pay grade really).

You know what this country needs? Better jobs and better men, apparantly.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Moments That Speak the Truth

Imagine my shock that I wasn't completely flamed and chastised for my post, remembering September 11, 2001.   I really thought I'd have at least a dozen people telling me how heartless I am for making that point, about such a tragic circumstance. One that didn't even impact me first hand.

Thank you, to those who commiserate with me - not for my loss, but for my heart which labors to make sense of these feelings. Knowing there are others who struggle with the same ugly feelings.

It doesn't help us to label some feelings "Too Ugly to Speak Of". What good does it to do categorize such things? If that's the case, then no one can speak of a miscarriage, or the death of a child, or witnessing a horrible accident. When we say that some things are too ugly, or too inconsiderate, or too uncomfortable - it dismisses the heartbreak of those who suffer with it.

It reminds me of (and this is completely random) a show NBC did with Jillian Michaels a couple years ago - Losing It with Jillian Michaels. It only lasted a season, and came on the heels of her fame with The Biggest Loser -- but I do not exaggerate when I say, if it had been the only thing Jillian Michaels had ever done in her life - it darn near makes her a saint.

In this show, JM would spend a week with a single family, helping them build a routine of exercise and healthy eating to save their lives. Not surprisingly, she delved in to find out what caused this downward spiral of bad health habits in the first place.
For one family, with the parents in their 60s, it came out that their firstborn child had been stillborn or had died shortly after birth. In those days, women were told to 'get over it' and 'move on' and the husband told never to speak of it for fear of making his wife sad. So for more than 40 years of marriage - they never spoke of the loss of their first born son. Including ever saying a word to their subsequent, living children.

And the doctors thought it best not to let the mother even hold that baby.
Imagine the misery, the pain and the hopelessness of pretending for so long that nothing ever happened.

On the program, JM encouraged them to talk about their loss. To cry about it, to grieve. To FINALLY grieve! I cried and cheered at the same time, excited that this hour of television could possibly help thousands more families to heal from a similar hurt.  For that reason, I will always respect Jillian Michaels. (Oh man.. I looked and I can't find the episode - but if you're interested watch this one... amazing: Losing It With Jillian - Native Americans & Diabetes)

My point here, is that is damaging to declare some things too ugly to talk about. It doesn't help anyone.

Contrastingly, and back to 9/11 - my friend asked me to watch this documentary of The Falling Man 

This documentary looks at one of the most stunning, tragic realities of the devastation and desperation of that morning. The people who jumped to their deaths from the World Trade Center towers.
A fact has been all but erased from history. Too tragic.
Talk about things too ugly to talk about.
Quoting the documentary, "Lonely, ten second journeys. A very public way of dying."

In watching the video 11 years after the fact, I feel the impact of the tragedy of all of those losses.
One man, ( at 12:50) recounts his last conversation with his wife, "She said to me, that she loved me. She said to tell the boys that I love them. I was shocked that she was saying this to me. I said, Of course I will, of course I will but it's going to be alright."

He didn't know he was wrong. Clearly, hoping against hope that all would be well.

Then as the documentary goes back to the crowds of people clinging to hope of finding their loved ones, one woman stood out. Her heartbreak spoke directly to my heart when she said, "If I don't find him I have to start all over again. It took me my entire life to find him and I don't know what I will do without him." (37:49)

That is the kind of pain I can relate to. I know, because I've spent my entire life looking for someone too.
I can imagine the agony of having finally found him - just to go out on the ashy, soot-filled streets desperately hoping to find him walking around delusional, as opposed to the reality of never seeing him again.

That woman knew the agony of waiting her whole life to find someone to love, and the knowledge that she   had him for a brief moment and now he's gone.

It all leads me to imagine just how glorious that brief moment was.
I imagine that man spent his final moments thanking God for letting him know that woman.

That is what so many of us are looking for. Even if it's just a moment in the grand scheme of the universe.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Thoughts and Memories of 9/11

I remember so much about that day. I was working in news and that was the biggest news day of all news days.  The only way to get through a day like that  is to just put your head down and go - no time to feel, not much time to think. Check your heart and soul at the door and pick it up when the work day is through.

Then, when the day was done, I drove to the gym and sat in my car for a few minutes as the events of the day finally crashed over me like a wave. Drenching me and pulling me under, until I was unable to breathe and dissolved into tears. It was the first moment I could feel the pain of what happened that day. The lives lost. The sheer horror.  The pride of watching rescue workers running to the danger when everyone else was running away. Knowing people simply disappeared.
I composed myself, then went inside the gym long enough to see more of the never-ending coverage on the TVs , dissolved into tears again, then I left.

I remember later, talking with a good friend of mine who told me that he was fixated on the stories of people trapped in the towers, or on the plane that would meet it's demise in PA.  Those who made their final phone calls - told someone important to them that they loved them, and sent messages to family.

My friend paused, preparing to say something I will never forget... he said, "I can only help but wonder, if I were in that situation, who would I call? Since I don't have a wife or children, I supposed it would be my parents. And knowing that, sort of depresses me."

I knew exactly what he meant, even though I had not thought of it that way until he said so.

Over the coming months, we heard all the tragic stories of wives who lost their husbands, left to raise their families alone. And I know this is terrible to say, but even then (I was 31) I thought, "But at least you were married. At least you knew there was one person in this world who loved you. Enough to marry you. Someone to build a life with, someone wanted a future with you, no matter how long or short that future is.  Someone who loves you so much, to whom you are so important... that you're the one they need to talk to in the final moments of life.  That means something, and you are so blessed to know love like that whether it was for 10 years or 10 months." But mostly I thought, "I feel that loss every day - and I've never even met the man I'm mourning."

I know it's not polite or compassionate to share these thoughts. I'll be accused of being unkind.
But this is my truth. I know it is devastating to lose a love. I don't deny that. I am sympathetic.
My sister and my dad both left this earth without warning.
I can only look forward to meeting the love of my life one day, and hope that one of us gets to say, "I love you. Goodbye."

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

You Heard It Here First - A Winner!!!


Congratulations Kathy  -  you are the winner of Erin Ann's new book You Heard It Here First!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Everyone else...  the book is available right now on Amazon, 99 cents for the Kindle version and Erin Ann is offering the paperback at a discounted price of $7.99!! ( that's compared to the original price of $13.50 - Erin is just that sweet and generous!)

Kathy - we'd love for you to stop back and tell us what you thought of the story! I'll put your review on the blog!

Thanks for playing!


Monday, September 03, 2012

An Ounce of Compassion

Oh some relationships are more than hard.  They're disappointing.
I've had a friend who has become less of a friend over the years. And through the past few years... that woven cloth of friendship has raveled down to a bare thread.

That thread snapped last week. Right about when I said something that didn't validate her perfect life and ideal existence.  Yes, she's one of those women who has it all, a doting husband, beautiful kids, with a charming house in the ideal neighborhood... but she feels inadequate if she can't decorate the kids rooms with Pottery Barn.

What I said wasn't exactly unkind... but it clearly didn't give her the warm fuzzies that she gets from everyone else in her life.  I'm sure she saw it as an unwarranted attack. What I'm sure she'll never see - even if she reads this, is that she instigated it just as much as I did. Yes she did.

See, when I went through one of the roughest times of my life - I was unemployed and had just broken up with the man I thought was my last chance at getting married and having a family, AND I was turning 40, which put an especially fine point on all the hardships - she decided it was too hard to take my calls. She told me later that she couldn't take the negativity.

Oh, well I'm sorry my life is so unpleasant for you. Some friend. Some human.
What kind of person sees someone go through a rough time, and just drops them?!

All she had to do was say, "You know, you don't deserve this. You would be an amazing wife, and it hurts me that someone with a heart as big as yours doesn't have someone to share it with." or "Oh my, I don't know what I would do in your situation without a job! Are you doing okay?"

But she didn't. (In fact, she said things like, "Unemployed since April? You must have had such an AMAZING summer!"  Um, yeah, I sat at the pool all day every day, not the least bit concerned with finding a job or trying to feed myself.  Or the time I was interviewing for a job I'd rather not take, but for the circumstances, I had to - she said that I should decline the job so someone who really needed it could have it. As if I didn't need the job, because since I'm single, my mortgage is paid for by fairies!!) 
No. She saw something that was hard and she turned her back.

All I needed was a little validation. Then, over the years, we still kept up on FB (which is a mistake) so all I ever saw was her asking for validation - that it was okay for her take time to exercise everyday - or okay for her to leave the kids with her hubby and escape to Starbucks to unwind.  And I thought all of that was okay. Sure - every mom deserves that. But it was the fact that every time she asked for validation, she got it. Twenty comments of validation at a time!!

And I thought, it's not fair that someone who couldn't validate me in a crisis - can get so much validation from the universe for things that aren't even hard! Then I would think all these other friends, who think everything she does deserves a laurel and roses, are going to be surprised one day when they need support, to learn that they're suddenly too difficult to love.

Yeah, I admit it made me bitter. I guess I'm negative, but she's the most deserving person on earth.
She wants a cup of coffee and the world sends her Starbucks gift cards.  I want a job, and I'm ignored. (or vilified for drawing unemployment!) I want love, and no one cares.   So forgive me if it pissed me off a little that she's constantly asking the world for more and getting it - and I ask the world for basics and get nothing.

So a friendship died a messy, stabby death.

Just an ounce of compassion on her end, might have been an antidote to gallons of bitterness.

When we don't validate our friends' hopes and desires, when we don't acknowledge that they're having a hard time or suffering a loss... it's like saying that you think they deserve their misery.
And if that's what you think... I guess that's fine, but don't pretend to be their friend.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

You Heard It Here First - Book Giveaway

Exciting news!! 
Your bloggy friend and mine, Erin Annie, has poured her heart out on paper (a keyboard really, but you get the idea) and has self-published A BOOK.

Here's the official synopsis from You Heard It Here First: 
One day a financial blogger, the next, a TV expert on a political scandal. Haley McAdams' on-air epiphanies and liberated writing style, have landed some powerful men in hot water and there are consequences to pay.
That's an exciting start - but there's even more to it than that. It's part romance, part political thriller and 100% engaging. 

What I love about this story is the heroine, Haley McAdams, because I can relate to her. She's a hard worker, she's taken her hits - plenty of them - dusted herself off and sets her mind on doing what it takes to do more than just get by. Like me, she knows there's no point in dreaming of prince charming to sweep in and take care of a lady. But that doesn't mean it can't happen. ;-)

This book is the sort of story you'll be happy to share with your niece, your mom, your aunt - you won't be bashful about passing it on because Erin Annie didn't cave into the pressure of the standard secular storyline that demands a sex-filled climax and conclusion (pun intended!) 

Instead, she developed her characters, allowed them to have conversations that address the things that most authors skip over - the sorts of things real people MUST discuss. In particular, how does an adult couple negotiate a chaste relationship?  It happens. In my life, it tries to happen and fails. Can it work if Haley finds the perfect man? 

You know what else stands out in this story? Haley has parents. And relatives. And dear friends who weigh in on her life, influence her decisions - just like real people with real relationships. Haley lives by her principals and has people who hold her accountable.
There's more to the story than getting the guy. 
There is drama and intrigue in a well-told story that caused me to while away more than one beautiful, sunny day because I couldn't tear myself away. 

Oh. Maybe I should shut up and let you read it yourself. 

You Heard It Here First, is now available on Kindle and Nook! 
(Paperbacks won't be available for a month!)
For a limited time you can buy it for just 99 cents on either Barnes and Noble or Amazon. Once the paperbacks are available, the price will go up to a more realistic retail price. Buy it now for a steal!!
Or better yet, how would you like to win it?
  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Oh yes! Comment below, and then say that you did on the Rafflecopter link. Get two more entries by following Erin Annie on Twitter. 
Let's see... why don't we give it a full week... for everyone to enter and I'll announce the winner next Wednesday. 

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Advice on Both Sides

I've been reading advice and etiquette columns since I was eight years old.
There wasn't much to read in our local newspaper, and the advice columns were right there next to the funnies.
As an adolescent, I thought this was a good way to avoid making stupid mistakes as I navigated my own way through life.  To be sure, I've never taken up with a man who abandoned his kids and cheated on his wife. No drug problems or other addictions. I consider that a success!

I still love advice columns. I read almost all of them.

Last week, there a was a letter from a woman in her 30s who was concerned that her enthusiasm for marriage, might be scaring off her dates. She explained that while she's not sharing this obsession with them, she fears that they're picking up on it. and turning on their tails as a result.
Sorry, I can't find the link back... I read so many of these columns, I can't trace my rabbit hole path.

But in the comments section, after the advice... people who don't even know the letter writer, started pouncing on her - urging her not to be so pathetic (sound familiar?) To give up the idea of marriage and to stop sharing her silly dream on the first date.
Now, doesn't that sound like the Telephone Game that teachers employed in school to teach us a lesson? Where did she say that she shared these fantasies with her dates? It didn't. Where did she say she was dumping anything on them on the first date? She didn't.

It sounded to me like she's simply afraid her enthusiasm is noticeable and scaring off men. I think we all worry about that to some degree.

The comments that bugged me most though, were those that advised, less than politely, that she should focus on doing the things she loves... getting out and being active and then someone will love her involved,  fulfilled self.
Yeah it's good advice. But what happens when it doesn't work?
I've had plenty of people give me the same advice, whether they know me or not - whether or not they know what I've been doing with my life for the past 20 years.

Let me tell you something, I rocked my 20s.  I had a high profile job, I was in great shape and I was out doing things I enjoyed. The men I dated at the time were divided into two types; the devout Christians (not Catholics) who were a bit overwhelmed by my enthusiasm for intimacy (not that we went too far, but I guess I was still too big of a challenge to their chastity), and completely secular guys who couldn't believe I wasn't dying to sleep with them even though they had no plans for commitment.
When I reached the end of my 20s surprised that I was single, everyone told me that it must be men are intimated by me - with my great, highly visible career, and the fact that I was in awesome physical shape. I didn't really believe them, but figured there was a nugget of truth - and it was easier to believe that than to think that I wasn't appealing.

In my 30s, I suffered through one layoff that hit at my self-esteem, then I moved to another state for a job which wasn't exactly in my chosen profession - and I didn't feel good about having to explain what I was doing for work, because it wasn't the impressive high-profile gig I'd had in the past.  It messed with my identity, but I still threw myself into my community, volunteering, exercising, roller-blading around the see-and-be-seen park at least three times a week.  I was dating a lot.  I actually met a couple guys while rollerblading. Still single, and people still telling me that I was just so great, men still found me intimidating.

So as I approached my 40s, I thought that if I was just too intimidating for all these men maybe I just have to tone it down.  I saw that the fact that I could take care of myself, provide for myself, buy my own home -  was probably not attractive to men who feel like they should be able to provide for a woman. Actually, I wanted to attract those kinds of guys... because all I was meeting was guys who wanted strings-free sex and certainly weren't looking for marriage.
Then I went through a couple more bouts of unemployment - which wasn't easy - but I figured maybe the fact that I was more vulnerable would cut down on my intimidation factor. Even so, I was still self-sufficient (unless you count earning unemployment benefits as being dependent - but I earned those too, so...)

In short... I've been on both sides of independence. I've been on both sides of awesome. Both sides of doing my own thing.
So when strangers and people who don't really have an investment in my well-being tell me to just be more awesome and enjoy myself, and the right man will come along -- I have to resist the urge to kick them in the shins.  I was awesome.  I AM awesome. It doesn't work.  God wants more of me, and I don't know what to give Him. And I don't know why I have to give more than all the people around me.

I'm just saying, if this is the advice you're giving single women, reconsider saying it aloud. Unless you know for a fact that she's been sitting on the couch for the past 38 years waiting for a man to drop through her ceiling, just shut up. You're not helping.
If you really want to help, go poll some single men about their thoughts on independent women. That might help.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life Unexpected

The reason I started this blog was to give a voice to the forgotten single woman.
As I settled into my 30s, not married, I began to see how I didn't fit in.

Look at my early posts, even joining my church congregation for donuts after mass left me standing alone - women my age had children and only spoke to other moms. The men couldn't talk to me because their wives might give them the hairy eyeball. Older men and women also had kids, and conversations about summer activities or Christmas plans centered around their children. As they shared anecdotes, I would offer my experiences as a child and then I'd get the hairy eyeball -- because they had the impression that I was making it about me, when really, I was offering the childhood experience I knew of and it happened to be 30 years ago.  I've never seen the joy and anticipation on my own child's face on Christmas morning. Give me a fricken break!

Then my own friends were getting married and having babies and they typically fall off the radar for a while.

Those that didn't get married, struggled with dating like me.  But eventually they'd move in with their boyfriend and wonder why I'm not getting past the third date - expected-sex-with-someone-you-don't-even-know -gauntlet.

All the while, I've felt I could relate to what's going on in other people's lives, or I would at least try to.  Lend a sympathetic ear. Offer to help with their kids. Show up at a loved one's funeral.  But it seems no one can return the favor.

The other night I was out with a group of people from my church.  A handful of married couples, and a handful of single women, one single man. As stories were exchanged, there was laughter and smiling and continued conversation.  But when a single person shared a life story, everyone seemed uncomfortable. There would be a lull until a married spoke again.

One of the other single ladies and I, got on a tangent of online dating and the plague of men's shirtless, bathroom mirror self-portraits!  For the love of God - why?! we exclaimed, laughing.  The marrieds looked horrified, asked what we were talking about, and once they were enlightened, quickly changed the subject.  Oh my. That's uncomfortable, let's talk about pleasant things.  Oh how they're glad they married years ago and avoided all that horror.  Well, lucky you. So much for relating to us.  The reality of my life is unpleasant. I guess we'll talk about your kitchen remodel instead.

The blessing of this blog has been feedback from women like me, a lot like me or just a little like me - who relate to the same struggles.  The life alone. The challenges of dating. The frequent disappoint in dates or in others who just don't know what to do with us.

So no, it's not about sunshine and unicorns all the time. But this is life.  Life unexpected.

I never expected to have to introduce myself to so many strangers, and tell my story to hundreds of men who were going to do nothing with it. Oh how draining!
Over time, you figure out what to share and what to leave out.  And then again, you learn that the nugget you should have left out for one man, might have been the nugget that makes the difference for another.  Maybe you should have told him.  Now you second guess yourself.  That's when dating becomes a chore and I'll be honest - I don't even know what to say anymore. All this dating has made me socially awkward.  What is worth sharing with the next person?

If I haven't sounded happy and blissful all the time, try to keep in mind that I dealt with three of the past six years unemployed and another year underemployed. You don't know stress until you have lived that.  Remember too, I had no support system. My parents were in another state, with hardly a clue of what my struggles were. My friends here thought I was living a life of relaxation, not going to work! People at church must have thought I had a trust fund or wealthy family supporting me, because they offered not one word of encouragement through that terrible struggle.

In that same time period, I went through two messy breakups with the one man I thought I would marry.
Just when I thought I had everything rolling in place, a good full time job, dating again.... my dad died.

So yeah, for a long time I had no good news to share. People don't like that. They stop calling. Rather than try to encourage that person, most will avoid them.  Resulting in even less good news to share.

Someone with a support system might have an easier time of it. But because so few people in my life relate to me, to my experiences, to my situation and struggles - I feel even more alone.  That has been a great mystery to me, that people who are never married can relate to married people's problems.... but the whole world started out single, yet the minute they're married they can't relate to single's problems. Mystifying.

The worst thing I did, I think, was to lose my blogging groove. There have been really supportive, fun, encouraging women here  - even more when I was blogging regularly. Over time, I imagine my story became less fun to follow.  I am sorry for that, but one of the most precious moments in my life was seeing all the comments and support from my bloggy friends when my dad died a year ago. I can't thank you all enough for that.

But the one thing I have done here is share honestly. Hopefully I've shined a light on the dark side of what many women go through ... so that when you see someone else go through it, you're inspired to show up and to hold her and to love her through it.

That is what my bloggy world has done for me.  The best of you have been here to lift me through it.
Thank you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

In Support of Strong Female Literature Characters

Not since dear Lizzy Bennet and Laura Ingals Wilder have we found the heroine of a book with strong values, who is headstrong, and won't compromise her morals or ideals for a nice tidy story resolution.

Have you ever wished you could watch a movie or read a book and not cringe at the decisions the female lead makes, usually in an effort to get the guy? In the past 10-15 years, much has been written about even our well-known fairy tale princesses, and how it's always the ingenue young girl who has to change to get her prince. Ariel gives up both her family and her fins to charm her prince. Never mind that in the Disney version.. she barely knows the guy.

My friend (and yours!) Erin Annie is writing that book! A trilogy actually.
I've had the honor of reading the story that started it all. There's adventure, political scandal, and a budding romance. All told with a sense of altruism, volunteerism, and get this - parents and family that are present! and normal! along with strong Christian values.
"Why can't we have a strong, smart, conservative woman as a heroine without compromise? Isn't it time our values were represented accurately in entertainment and media?" ~Erin Ann McBride
This book is like nothing else on the market right now - and that's why she needs your help. Traditional publishers wouldn't touch this book without forcing changes in the character's ethics to fit today's mainstream, secular culture. A smaller, niche publisher would limit the book's exposure to certain religious pockets. Erin plans to self-publish so that she maintains control of story and the message.

But self-publishing isn't without it's costs... Erin Annie explains,
"For this type of book to succeed it must be above reproach. It must be accurate, perfectly edited, and above all else, an exciting and engaging read. To ensure the top quality of a self-published book it takes more than just a passionate author. It requires editors, graphic designers, and other professional services, to produce a high quality self-published book."
I'm so proud of her! If you would like to be a part of getting a fine story, with a heroine you can relate to - out into the world... would you consider donating to her Kickstarter campaign? Or forwarding this to someone who would?

You can be a part of putting a genuine story about Christian values, and a strong no-nonsense, capable woman, in the hands of young women who could be influenced by a positive role model. This is the book series you'd be happy to see your niece or daughter reading, rather than wondering what sort of impression a silly vampire romance is going leave!

Really, if you can tally off the names of 'romance' books on one hand in less than a minute - that feature the  woman changing for the man or for society, compromising what she believes in or greatly changing herself to please others - don't you agree that our culture needs a wholesome, yet exciting story like this?

Not sure yet? Here, read the first chapter... about Haley McAdams.

As I said, I've read it. Let me tell you some of my favorite things:
Our heroine, Haley McAdams, is the kind of woman who simply does the right thing without even thinking about it. She's not holier-than-thou about it either, it's just that she doesn't flinch under pressure. She's so solid in her beliefs, she doesn't have to waver. I know women like that - doncha just love them?!
Also, the story isn't packed with improbable romance. There's more to it than getting the guy. There is drama and intrigue all in a well-told story that quite frankly, caused me to burn up some very lovely weekend afternoons because I couldn't tear myself away from the computer for reading it!

Please think about contributing to help get this published... there are plenty of rewards in it for you. (see the kickstarter page sidebar for details)

Hey, for fun... in comments here, name any books with a heroine who holds her own - Like Elizabeth Bennet and Haley McAdams. (it'll be easier to name all the Disney Princesses who change for their prince, won't it?)
Also, let me know if you contribute... or if you'll promote the campaign on YOUR blog!!

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

To Have or Have Not

I have a favorite little restaurant that makes the best spinach salad you've ever had, and mouthwatering organic pizzas.  Mmmm.

I frequent the place so often that the owner knows me and stops by to chat and see how my meal is - every time I'm there. More often than not, I bring a friend with me, and he loves that I'm always introducing his place to more people, who also end up loving everything he makes!

Recently, I was there with a friend who was approaching her 40th birthday. When the owner stopped by our table to see if we were enjoying our meal - she asked about his business and he explained that they're working on opening another location, closer to where I live. (Yay!)

He's around our age, and somehow the conversation turned to my friend's upcoming birthday and the fact that she's not looking forward to it.  He asked why, and she responded that she's just not any where near where she thought she'd be in life at this point.  I sympathized, having turned 40 myself in the same situation just a couple years ago. I nodded and said, "Yep. Turning 40 really sucks."

Our proprietor friend looked confused and said, "That's funny. I didn't feel that way at all."
"Well, that's because you have all those things. You have a wife and two kids, a home, a thriving business. It's not having all that life stuff we were told we'd have that makes it hard." 
(they're not rich, but they're happy together and happy that their restaurant allows them to make a living doing what they love) 

"Oh". he said, looking at my friend, "Did you want to get married and have kids?" his voice belying a bit of disbelief, as if -  if one wanted that, one would have it. He had no idea it was elusive.

My friend lifted her chin, trying to hide a heart-breaking expression from covering her face - but it was there.  She nodded, unable to speak for fear of dissolving into tears.

A kind man, he turned his gaze to me in an effort to take the pressure off my friend.
"You too?"

He was bewildered. Truly bewildered.
In all his life it had never occurred to him that there were 40-year-old women out there living a life they'd never expected.

I have my theories, and they start with the contraceptive culture.
Once feminism insisted that all women should have all the sex they want without the risk of becoming pregnant... thinking that would give women freedom... it all went wrong.  I think those same feminists don't even realize that it instead, turned men into cowards.
Now that we can delay our childbearing years - males have delayed becoming men. They play the I'm-not-ready-card well into their 40s.

My friend, the restaurant owner wasn't one of those men. He met the woman who would be his wife and locked in. Maybe he has days that he envies his single men friends who haven't settled down... but it never occurred to him that the women his friends are dating, doing and leaving want something more.

Then there's the notion that I only recently discovered, that some of us women are single because we put our careers ahead of marriage and family. That every single one of us, turned down every man that came along because we wanted a fabulous career. As if we should have all been counter clerks until we were "rescued" by a man!  Excuse me for wanting to do something interesting and fulfilling, and not expecting Mr. Right to come along when I turned 23!!!  (I did expect him to come along at 27. So I wanted to do something interesting first.) Some of us took the initiative to take care of ourselves and then watched as all the helpless women got snatched up and married.

That, my friends is why I write this blog.
It's not because I'm obsessed with marriage. It's because I know there are millions of women out there who deserve more than they're getting.
Those same women whose friends and family don't even know or acknowledge that something is missing from their lives.
We all go out into the world each day, work hard, volunteer, have fun, have laughs - and some days going home to an empty house is a relief.  Some days, the empty house is a dagger in the heart.
Twenty-nine days out of 30 we hold our heads up and charge through the door and make it our home.  Then there are days that it takes every fiber of our being to climb into bed alone. Again.

That not only are our God-given instincts to love, nurture, to physically love a man, to cuddle and read a child a bedtime story not being met. But our need to have that loss acknowledged isn't being met... by our churches, by our families or by our friends.

I am here to at least acknowledge that Yeah, it sucks to have so many needs and desires unfulfilled. It sucks even worse to have your emptiness ignored by everyone who is important to you.
If you were married and had a miscarriage, there would be someone to acknowledge that loss. (not everyone because let's face it, people suck.) 

Maybe someones sister-in-law will read this and realize some of the things she says are hurtful or at least not helpful.
Maybe someone will recognize that their friend isn't a selfish woman who is putting off growing up - and that it's HER notion (not reality) that her friend isn't a grown up because she's not married or doesn't have kids.
Maybe someones mom will realize that it's not so much her daughter is picky, but rather, a very high probability that most of the men she's met are emotionally immature and unavailable.

Maybe if any one of those things happen - there will be more understanding in the world.
And less hurt.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Single People Can't Do Anything Right!

You just can't please all of the people all of the time.
And no matter what you do, someone will criticize.

In the world of dating, people will tell you that "You have to put yourself out there!" and after months or years of putting yourself out there they'll ask, "Have you REALLY put yourself out there?" or "He's not going to fall through your living room ceiling you know!"

But then, if you really make an effort to put yourself out there... soon you'll hear from naysayers, screeching, "Don't try so hard!" "Oh my, you seem so desperate."  Um, weren't you the person telling me to put myself out there - to make an effort?

Let's not forget the people who decide that if you're single after a certain age that you're just too picky. But then, if you make an effort to widen your scope, and consider some of the men you may have overlooked before...  suddenly you're desperate!

Someone on the internet is very persistent in telling me how pathetic I am to be seeking love in my life.  I imagine from the point of view of someone who has been reading this blog the past couple years, it may seem that dating is my only concern.

Fine, I'll admit that after wasting three years on Mr. Burns, I was determined not to waste any more time. Knowing now what not to look for, what to avoid and what qualities matter most to me, I feel I'm ready for the right man to come along.

In the meantime, I'll write about the absurdity of men who post shirtless self-portraits in their bathroom mirrors, as if THAT's going to find them the love of their lives! And about men who over share about their divorce because they're newly single and forgot how to socialize.

This is the stuff single women face, and I'm here to show them that they're not alone out there, and that yes, it is odd for a man you've already met to try to contact you again through the dating site instead of with the phone number you gave him! Maybe there are some men who could learn something too!

The fact is... I don't have time to write so many blog posts any more. I'm working full time and I'm enjoying the warm weather after a long winter... so the posts I do write are about some of the things that stick in my craw.  And these days what really sticks in my craw are the thoughtless, careless ways people treat other people.  I see it not only in my dating life, but in my friend's dating lives as well. People just don't know how to treat people any more.

In an effort to stay on topic... I don't write about the volunteer mentor program for women in prison that I've been involved in, and how I met some of my dearest friends in that volunteer pool. Or offering my photography services and time, free of charge for a non profit organization that needs photos for their website.
Why? Because this blog is about dating.  Always has been, always will be.

Considering that the blog was created to share stories about dating - it seems perfectly plausible to me to keep the focus narrow.

So if it's just so very very sad that I recognize a call from my creator to love and be loved... to be a wife and mother...  and to be a mother with a partner, and not selfishly (from my perspective - no judgement here) bring a child into the world without the benefit of a father... knowing that I would have been forever changed without the influence of my own wonderful father....  then fine, I'm a sad, pathetic person who loves love and family. 

It's really, profoundly awful that I have so much love to give, and a big generous heart to share. 
Yes, I'm so needy that I spent the night in the ER with a friend on her birthday just so she wouldn't be alone while being subjected to tests. I am THAT self-centered. 

Am I supposed to tell you that I spent every spare minute of the last two months of 2011 sewing a quilt out my dad's clothes so that his youngest grandchild would have a tangible reminder of the man who loved like no other? 

No one gets a full picture of my life here.  Just a snapshot of the things I choose to share. 

But when the people who DO know me and love me and see ALL the aspects of my life, tell me that they just can't see a world where I don't have a family of my own, because it's so clear that I have so much love to give, and so much thoughtfulness and generosity to offer... who am I to argue? 

The views expressed in this post are mine and mine alone. Some views are expressed with dripping sarcasm.  I am not responsible for the state of mind of any readers who don't understand dripping sarcasm, and I refuse to apologize for any part of my thoughts or ideas. Anyone who doesn't like what they read here, is not required to read it. 
Sincerely, TRS

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

New Rules

I made a new rule a while back... I don't answer the phone when I'm on my way out of the house.
Never fails, I mean to bring something to a party... or something I'm supposed to return to store on that side of town... and if I'm talking on the phone, I ALWAYS forget something I'm supposed to bring with me.  So finally it's a rule... no answering the phone.

Which leads me to...

Am I the only one who gets annoyed when you're on your way to meet someone, or on your way to an event... and the person you're meeting keeps calling your cell phone while you're driving there?
Maybe it's just me, but it's so annoying.  Perhaps it's because, hey.. I'm going to see you in two freaking minutes! Keep your pants on!

Maybe it's because I can remember when we couldn't reach people instantly, and if you said you were going to be there, you were going to be there.  I guess it makes me feel like they're doubting my commitment to the commitment.

Sort of makes me think of why I'm a cat person, not a dog person.  The person who needs to know you're on your way is needy, like a dog. I prefer those who chill out and wait, like a cat.

Just a thought I've been sitting on today.

Friday, June 01, 2012

How About Retro Dating?

Technology has dramatically changed our world. Some for the better, some for the worse.
As I've said before, social media, text and even our simple cell phones have impacted the dating world in such a way - it's making it practically impossible to date.

I can think back to when I first learned to text, way before the smart phone. I was meeting some folks at an event, one of whom was a guy from my church that I was kind of interested in - but we hadn't gotten past just being friendly. Running late for the event, which was popular enough to take up a lot of parking - I texted my charming friend, asking him to save a couple seats. To this day, I recall the relief of being able to contact him without having to work up my nerves to do so. How nice, I can see why guys prefer such low-risk methods of contact.

As you know, it's only gotten worse!

It's nearly impossible to get anyone you meet on an online dating site, to graduate from texting to actually communicating.  I'm starting to believe that for this reason, so many of us are single.
Therefore, I have a rule that I won't meet a guy if he won't call me and set up a date. (seems like a no-brainer huh?) We need to have a conversation. If they can only text me, I move on.

Then even when you get to a couple phone conversations, even a date... most guys turn back to casual texting. To me, that's a sign that they're not interested. Maybe they're juggling a few different women from online sites -- maybe they're just lazy.

This happened with Mr. Accent. We went on a few dates and I actually really had a good time with him. Given our opposite work schedules, and that he had his kids on his days off - it seemed okay to me to text, because we weren't even awake at the same times except for the narrow windows in which we could see each other. But after a while, we didn't have conversations at all. Making it really hard to get know each other. When he appeared to have fallen off the planet - I gave it a few weeks and then texted him that I was disappointed that he couldn't bother to tell me he didn't want to see me any more.

He implemented the bewildered guy act... and we started texting again, setting up a date again, only to have him disappear again.

So, I'm further convicted that no phone conversations = no dating.

Remember the last guy who set up a date with me and then also disappeared?  (see previous post)  I was conflicted about that, because I know that he's an avid motorcyclist - and part of me thought that his disappearing act was so out of character that there was good chance he had wrecked his bike and was lying somewhere in a coma!  Really, it was the only way to explain not hearing from him.

I mentioned the situation to a few guy friends. Some told me to cease contact altogether. A few other guys said, "If you really think it's something unusual and not just a blow off... text him and ask if he's okay. If he blows you off, there's your answer. If not, you'll find out something."

So I did. I texted him this morning. Rather than the snarky, "Hope you're okay. Call me when you're out of a coma." that I WANTED to send.... I said, "Just wondering what happened. Are you okay?"

He responded that since I didn't answer some of his texts, he figured I wasn't interested.  I told him that I only had texts from him up to a certain conversation/exchange - at which point he realized that  -HELLO- text is not all that reliable!!

I further explained that after I checked if we were still on for Tuesday, and he said yes... that I expected him to call me and pin down our plans.  That when he didn't, I figured he blew me off.

He responded that he saw the error of his ways, and asked permission to call me to set up a date soon.
I said that's okay, but only if he's serious.

Why serious?
Because #1) I'm giving up on this dating crap for starters - so he'd better make it worth it.
#2) I've already had enough experience with guys who summon up their pride once they're called out on bad behavior only long enough to have the last word. If that's all he's doing, I'm not playing. But if this was an honest mistake - he was a nice enough guy to warrant a second chance.

I'm about to start a campaign to train men how to date again.  Rule number one --- when in doubt, behave like it's the 1950s and pick up a stinking phone.  Don't count on technology for courtship if you really want to be taken seriously.  So we'll see how this plays out.

I know some of you are thinking that I'm quickly giving up on my giving up on dating.  Not really. The guy that I met deserves a chance at this. The next phone conversation (if there is one) will tell me if it's worth it.  Then it's done!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

It's Over - The Fat Lady Sang

About a year ago, I talked with an older woman from my church.  An older single woman. She is someone one of the priests had identified to me as someone who had never married and who I ought to relate to. Apparently, she'd joined a convent when she was younger, and left the order.

When we finally had a conversation, I realized that she seemed to carry a certain bitterness which she tries to cover with personal platitudes. She told me that's she's glad she never married because she didn't want to be, "... as miserable as everyone else." I don't believe it for a minute. I think she has convinced herself that the marriages around her are miserable because it makes her happier. Sure, some folks are miserable in their marriages, but I wouldn't lump them all in that category.

I tried to share with her how hard it is for me to be alone, and to mourn the fact that I probably will be for the rest of my life. She very sincerely told me, "It gets easier."

Well, that just ticked me off. No way can it get easier to be alone.  The past 22 years have pretty much sucked for me in that regard. Another 22 years of the same sounds awful.  It made me even more determined to find the man who would be my husband. He just HAS to be out there.
(don't get me wrong. I have been happy and fulfilled... but being alone sucks. there's no getting around that.)

As you know from my last post, I met 18 single Catholic men last weekend. Whoopie.
It's hard to know if the men were really that unappealing or if I am just so jaded that I wasn't going to accept any of them.

I went out with a guy a few weeks ago, and had a really nice time. We both did. We couldn't go out again for two weeks because I went out of town. When I returned, he called to try to lock me in for a date. The following weekend was already booked for both of us, and when I offered him either Tuesday or Wednesday he eagerly offered, "Both?"  We settled on Tuesday, looking forward to it. We only committed to the day, we didn't decide anything firm.

By Monday afternoon, he still hadn't confirmed solid plans so when I responded to his prior text, I asked if he had a good weekend and if we were still on for Tuesday. In his very positive, high energy way he texted back, "Yes! Still on for Tuesday!", but by the time I left work on Tuesday I still didn't have a time or a place for our date - much less word from him.  It didn't look good.

I waited until 6:00, put on my running shoes and headed to the park for a run. I heard a few pings come through behind the training app on my phone and decided to check for messages after my run. They weren't from him.  I still haven't heard from him.  What. The. &$%@#?!

So now, I can't even get a second date with a guy who asked for two dates!!
I'm not interested in any of the men available to me.

That's it.
I quit.

For years, I've laughed at people who told me to quit looking.  I can't quit looking. It's too important. I want it too much. How can I stop hoping and wishing and praying? How am I supposed to ignore the desires of my heart, put there by God Himself?

This is how. It's realizing that I'm just spinning my wheels. There is no forward movement. No progress being made.

I quit. I'm not looking any more. I'm not trying. It shouldn't be this hard anyway.

I've already grieved the loss of my fertility. That I will likely never experience pregnancy and childbirth - the experiences which make up the crescendo of womanhood.  I did that last year with the company of my friend who suffered a devastating miscarriage. We were blessed to share our grief with one another and support each other through it.

Now, I believe I've grieved the fact that love will never happen the way I expected.
If I trip over the guy, maybe I'll go out with him - but I'm not trying anymore. I'll date, sure.  But I'm not going to be as invested in it.  Instead, I'm going to get back in shape, save my money and start planning that trip to Italy.

It's over.
And I'll do my best to not become bitter.

Wish me luck.

(oh, and please be decent in the comments. This IS my heart I'm laying out here.  Have your opinions, sure - but don't come in my house and spit on my floor.)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Selection Rejection

Le sigh.

A friend and I went to a Catholic Speed Dating event last weekend.  I was kind of excited, because I felt a  prompting to go after a few distinct signs led me to it.  I signed up for the event thinking I might actually meet my husband.

I mean, I'm realistic. I know what the pool of Catholic men in this area looks like. There would be a majority of socially awkward 40 year olds and hopefully one or two guys that would be worth getting to know.

Going in, it seemed like the odds were good, considering there were more men than women there. But in reality, it was a lot of work starting conversations every five minutes and trying to size of the man in front of you.  By the time there were about five men left to meet, I was exhausted!!

There were some very nice men there... sweet and kind but alas, no attraction.
There was one man that all the women complained to the organizer about - he was a real creep.

And then there were a few men toward the end who I knew had to be at the top of the age range. As I saw making their way around to my table, I thought, "Not bad looking, not great - but if the personality is there, there's a possibility." Some guys just don't do -over 40- well.  Particularly when they don't have wives to help dress and groom them.

This won't sound charitable at all but, come on guys - you just paid good money to have a shot at a dozen smart, attractive women and you show up in a faded, worn polo shirt that's so threadbare, the collar doesn't even stand correctly any more. Not to mention a healthy crop of nose hair, or the dried spittle crusted on each corner of your mouth. Surely, you don't think any woman is going to get amped up to kiss crusty spittle - so I can only imagine you haven't noticed - which I find remarkable.

Even if I didn't have a 10X magnification mirror in my bathroom, I would still notice the stray eyebrow hair, minuscule blackhead, or the occasional wild hair that could sprout from my chin or next to a mole.

Granted, this is a great difference between men and women  - the attention to detail. But really?  You don't FEEL the dried saliva on your face?! You don't notice when your nose hairs brush the top of the sandwich you're eating?  Can't see the frayed fabric fibers sprouting from the collar of the shirt you've obviously worn at least weekly for the past seven years?!
I hate to break it to ya buddy, but if you're oblivious to your own appearance to such a degree - how could I entrust you with MY body?!

Sure, it sounds shallow to focus on these details... but rest assured, it wasn't the hair or the spittle alone.  The absence of a sense of humor. The recitation of his resume rather than a sharing of his favorite things. There just wasn't a connection. At all.

My friend made the same observations, although she thanked her lucky stars that she didn't notice the dried spittle - probably because she was concentrating on not throwing her drink in the face of the creepy guy!

She declared the entire experience a bust! Didn't check a match on any of the guys.

I forced myself to check the box on one guy, who seemed like he deserved more than five minutes to make his case. I doubt he's my husband though.

It's suddenly more clear why so many people are single.
Friends, you just can't wait until your 40s to find your match.  At this point, I almost recommend marrying the wrong guy in your 30s just to avoid this crap. Lord knows, it's easier for divorced people to get remarried than for a single person to marry after 37.

Godspeed my friends.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

If I Had the Answer to THAT...

Why are you still single?
Well, gee - if I knew?

I've always hated that question. Um, pretty obviously, I was born that way. Perhaps less obvious, because I'm not married. Haven't met the right guy. The right guy didn't ask?
I'm not pretty enough? My boobs are too small? I'm too Catholic?

You know what? Why don't you go ask the men over there why THEY think I'm single. Maybe then we can get somewhere!

But you know something, bloggy friends?
The only thing worse than constantly being asked why you're still single....
is when they stop asking.

Suddenly, I have to wonder if it's quite obvious to everyone but me why I'm still single.  Did everyone figure out that maybe I'm a shrew?  Or worse, now that I'm over 40, do they all think the race is over? (I think they do! And that makes me sad.) 

Of all the times I've heard, responded to, or ignored that question... there have been a handful that actually flattered me.

My favorite was about a year ago.  My friend was newly married, pregnant and had invited me over for dinner. At her house, I love to work in the kitchen and I was merrily chopping away at some vegetables - sort of doing my version of the chef from The Little Mermaid... telling the vegetables what I was a going to do them... employing my range of silly voices, "Ah, I chop you up, and now you're going to fry!"

My friend's new husband overheard my goofiness, smiled broadly and said, "How are you single?"
My heart melted.  I thanked him and gave him a hug. It meant so much to have a really good man say such a thing.
That's what I prefer to hear. An acknowledgment that I'm fun, and appealing and that someone IS missing out by not asking me to share his life.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

They're All Married

In my job, I am frequently sent to some big industry conferences. Not my industry, but the industry related to my company's services. Let's just say it's an industry dominated by men, so basically I'm in convention centers with hundreds if not thousands of high-powered, successful men. Having dinner with them (in bulk - conference style) and maybe drinks during the conference-wide cocktail hour.

Needless to say, surrounded by these men in their gorgeous European cut suits, and smarts just oozing out of their brains... I frequently glance at ring fingers to see if there's an opening for me.

Let me tell you something. Every last one of them is married.
Every one.

You know why?  Because they're smart and successful - and quite frankly, they didn't get there by themselves. These men were able to get as far as they have because they have someone at home, supporting them. Maybe even financially, at the beginning of his career, but certainly taking care of the house and the kids and his meals while he's out conquering the world.
Ha. You think he picked out that gorgeous suit on his own? Think again. His missus is responsible for that.

I'm serious... I didn't see a single man at either of the last two conferences without a wedding ring.
Maybe it's because they have that kind of drive in the first place, that they had the confidence to commit to a woman years back, knowing their lives and careers would be better for it.

Back in my dating world, for example, I'm often shocked when I encounter a guy who claims to be my age - but looks years older, weary and out of shape.  I think, good heavens, how did he age so badly?  Then the answer is clear... because he didn't have a wife. Men are happier and healthier with a wife, because left to their own devices, most men will eat less healthy foods, and visit their doctor far less.

So now, for women like me - it's either date someone divorced with their emotionally scarred brand of baggage - or date someone who's either never had the desire to share their life until they realize something's missing, or someone who's been playing dungeons and dragons for the past 15 years while drinking soda, beer and eating chips and never exercising!

So I guess what I'm saying... by paraphrasing that old song that Cher sang...
If you want to happy for the rest of your life
Geez man, get a wife! 
And of course, I'm still taking applications!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Dating Fatigue

Oh... I swear sometimes I just don't even know what I'm doing.
I honestly think that after this many years of dating, instead of getting good at it - it's impossible to do it right.
It's like an athlete practicing the perfect swing, or pitch or shot or volley.  Sure, the more you practice, the better you get at it. 50, 100 times, maybe you're learning something.  But 50,000 times... there must be diminishing returns. Your form gets sloppy. You get muscle fatigue. Eventually you hurt yourself.  Eventually you can't even tell what you're doing right and what you're doing wrong.  You lose track.

That's what's going on in my dating life.
On top of that, I have advice coming from all different directions.  Don't kiss him. Don't have sex. Don't text him. Don't call him. Let him pursue you.  Gah!

So I've tried that.
There was a guy last summer that I liked. I really liked him. But I wasn't sure if I was attracted to him.  I mean, I thought he was good looking but I wasn't feeling the za za zu. (Meaning, I couldn't picture ever wanting to tear his clothes off!) I thought this was a good opportunity to try out the no kissing rule.  
Looking back on that, he lost interest.  I'm sure he thought I wasn't interested.

The no sex part, I can handle.  I'm a pro at it. Believe me. (although I want desperately to find my husband already and have lots of sex!!! He's going to be SO lucky!) 
But I can't not kiss a guy that I'm attracted to. And because I'm so starved for physical intimacy, (I mean, if we start counting from age 20 I've been dating for more than two decades!!  And it's been more than a year since McTwitchy) I make the most of the kissing.  In fact, I think I take it too far, unintentionally.  I actually forget that while I can kiss for hours and still rein in my urges... guys can't. Then they're frustrated, and stop calling the frustrating girl.

See.  It's a vicious circle.
Because I want and need intimacy - I get a little intimacy - and because of it - I am starved of said intimacy.

This may be my entire problem.
I mean, at what point to does one explain that you're dating chastely? That yes, you love sex and have a better than healthy sex drive - but that he's not going to get to experiment any time soon, and that's why people should get engaged in six to nine months of dating!!! I mean, you can't bring that up on the first date. Do you have that conversation before you even kiss? That seems awkward too.
And when you only get 3-4 dates... when the heck CAN it come up?

I really wish men would want to discuss this stuff instead of giving up because they're confused.

That combined with the fact that though out all the years I've been dating - the communication surrounding dating has changed.
When I started out, you met guys in real life. They called and asked you out. The plans were firm. You both showed up at the same place and there were no distractions like cell phones and texting, not to mention 20 other women lined up on some dating site.

When you liked someone, you had a couple phone conversations a week if not everyday.

Now, a guy who MIGHT be interested will text you to see if your available. It would be nice if they'd call to firm up the date - but you can't really expect that.
The last few guys I've dated recently, don't call me in between dates. They text to arrange something and the moments once a week we are face to face, is the only time I get to have a conversation with them.
Is it any wonder it's impossible to start a relationship?

Any advice from someone who's been in the dating world recently (not married/engaged in the past 4 years) of how to encourage proper dating?

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Agency - A Review

Ooh... how exciting... my first requested review!

Funny how this blog world works... I'm connected to the author of this book through one bloggy friend, Erin Annie - and one real life friend, the author's sister Keli!  (Erin Annie is a real life friend now too!)

So, it's not too awkward that I won a free copy of the book from Erin Annie's blog give-away is it?

I don't care. I love free stuff. I love good books. And I love any mutual friend of my friends, real life, bloggy or otherwise!

Now for the review!

This is a fiction based on reality. Semi-autobiographical?
Shantal was a fashion model in her college years and I'm guessing into her 20s, perhaps beyond. What we all typically think of as a glamorous career, tended to conflict with the beliefs of her Mormon (LDS) upbringing.
In Agency, the story is lifted from her actual experience, but because it is fiction she can take some liberties, maybe add some juicy details and probably tell some stories that she might not otherwise tell!
If that's not intriguing enough to pique your interest... well then, you're nothing like me.
I loved reading it just for the ability to wonder what was truth and what was fiction!!

The book tells the story of fictional Michelle Campbell, a smart, beautiful college girl working her way through school in the late 1980s.  A mentor suggests modeling as a way to earn money for college.

It's the sort of story I like to immerse myself in. I become the main character for a week or two - so when I read a chapter or two before bedtime, I became a young beauty who turns heads, and attracts the terribly attractive, godly man I've been looking for my whole life! All the while she's pursuing modeling, he's pursuing her.

She's not sure she has what it takes to model, but finds that it's fun and eventually lucrative.  Additionally, the modeling world, even in Utah, provides access to an exciting world and culture unlike her sheltered upbringing. That's the opening for conflict in the story, along with Michelle's desire to get an education and make something of herself rather than marry young and start popping out babies.

Personally, I remember that ambition, but it was hard to tap into while reading, because my ambitions have since changed dramatically. It was the big 80s -- hair was big, shoulder pads were big... careers were big.  I too, wanted to have a career and then have babies, preferably with a man who was going to be Mr. Mom to my Diane Keaton/ Baby Boom character. Now, in my old age (okay, it's just middle age) I'm screaming at Michelle's character... "TAKE THE MAN!  TAKE THE WONDERFUL, COMMITTED, GORGEOUS, FAITHFUL MAN!!!  You'll never find one of these again! You're lucky to have found him at all!!!"

All the same, I enjoyed every page of the book, even when yelling at the main character.

My only negative issue is that while the book was set in the 1980s the author sometimes makes references that don't fit the time period - for example, name-dropping designers who weren't household names until much later... and referring to skinny jeans, which is a 2010-present reference. In the 80s, everybody's jeans (with the exception of mom jeans) were tight enough to cut off circulation, they were called Levi's 501's!  And who knows, in the fashion world, perhaps those designer names were up-and-coming to those in the know.
Even so, that's rather picky of me, considering the book wasn't written as a period piece.  But, in the interest of full disclosure, I'm the kind of person that gets irritated when the characters on Downton Abbey utter terms outside of the colloquialisms of their era. Other people don't even notice, but it's a bugaboo of mine!

The final verdict is, Agency is a fun, interesting read. There's enough drama and a touch of suspense wondering how her career is going to go versus how her relationship is going to go... with plenty of tension in other relationships due to Michelle's moody nature.
There is also a thread explaining the LDS faith and culture where it factors in, dispelling myths.

You can learn more about the book and the writing process from the author, Shantal Hiatt here and here. And buy the book here! 

Congratulations Shantal!  Great job!

Monday, April 02, 2012

A Little Bit of Laughter in My Life

Okay, it's been four dates with Mr....  ah... Mr... hmm guess I'll call him Mr. Accent for now. Because his accent just makes me smile.  Heck, it's not even that, he makes me smile and I think everything he does is cute... but when I remember it all I hear it in his accent.

It really ought to be more than four dates by now, but we have opposite work schedules and by opposite... I work during the day Monday through Friday and he works at night including weekend nights.  That combined with when he has his kids, we can only see each other on Saturdays.  And we've had to skip two Saturdays due to scheduling conflicts.  Yeesh.

I really don't know if this could be a lasting relationship or not. Seriously, my dad would roll over in his grave knowing I'm dating a 'foreigner'!!
But the honest truth is, I haven't had this much fun dating anyone in a really long time.
When we hang out, it's all joking and teasing each other, sharing stories and laughing.

The highlight for me so far, last Friday we were texting to arrange our Saturday date.  Once we were settled, he shot me one more text saying, "I want to hear you laugh."

Can I tell you, those were the sweetest words, which got a big smile from me.  See, I have what some people call an obnoxious laugh. Those are the people who don't like me. I know a true friend right away, when someone says they like my laugh.  There is no in between - you either love it or hate it!  (In fact, even Mr. Burns had a shaky relationship with my laugh - you know, I laugh, he rolls his eyes. There's a clue.)   But Mr. Accent can't wait to make me laugh just so he can hear it.
10,000 points for Mr. Accent!

It probably helps that we share the same sense of humor. Which I find remarkable considering we grew up on separate continents!

In fact, we share another idiosyncrasy that has to do with memory.  I tend to word-associate. If I'm trying to think of A... I need to remember B in order to remember A.   He was trying to tell me what town something was in, and named a town to the north, telling me that wasn't it. At first I couldn't imagine what town he was thinking of... then he said, "It has to do with the town ______." which is a town to the east.  I immediately said the name of the town he meant, which is actually opposite... to the west!   And we both knew how we knew! Because when you want to get on the interstate to go either east or west,  the sign for the exit lists both of those towns. So if you mean C, say D.

Oh well, that was probably boring for you.  But the gist of the story is, I'm really enjoying getting to know Mr. Accent.  But with so little time together, it's been hard to get to know more about him.  Since he's generally awake when I'm asleep, and visa versa, we don't chat on the phone. And if we're awake at the same time, he has his kids who are small and need his attention.   Any advice there?