Thursday, January 26, 2012

Economic Impact

Last night I made an effort to watch the St@te of the Uni*n address. I think the fact that I fell asleep through the better part of it is irrelevant... I was tired.

So, although I heard him address unemployment, and assume he tackled the economy while I napped - I can't be sure if he tied them together appropriately... the tragic result of the insane unemployment rate combined with the cruddy economy equals something even the smartest pundits and candidates have yet to comprehend....  it's absolutely killing dating!

I'm not kidding.

Either I am especially attracting men who are underemployed or unemployed, or it IS an epidemic.  Or both.  (I think both.)

Part of the attraction may be the fact that I've suffered through both unemployment and underemployment myself and I know what a blow to the ego it is. If it broke me emotionally, just imagine what it does to men.
Men who have been raised and trained to understand that they need to have good jobs, make money, climb the ladder - they've been told that women expect it (somehow at the same time the feminists were hollering about women not needing men - thanks crazies!) 

Based on a basic understanding of sociology and my own experience, I understand that men have a very difficult time even trying to date while suffering the blow to the ego that is working a job beneath their experience level and or pay grade. They feel like less of a man, which they shouldn't - legitimate unemployment (especially in this day and age) should not be considered a mark against one's character. It happens to the best of us. It happens to all of us. (it really does, if it hasn't happened to you yet - you're lucky lucky lucky!)

More importantly, it's impacting MY dating life.
Sweet Mr. Hometown Boy had his job cut to part-time months before we met. He took on a part-time retail job to compensate but of course it doesn't make up the difference. He is stressed, and a little embarrassed and we can't make a date because he feels he must take the random extra hours he's offered when someone else blows off their shift.  He's responsible like that.

Here's the one guy in MONTHS - almost a year's worth of them, that I actually like, am actually attracted to and makes me laugh with his goofy-like-me sense of humor... and after many lengthy, enjoyable phone calls (after our first date) I don't think he's going call again. He's too stressed out by his financial problems and his employment status to properly date. Even though he knows I understand and do not judge him.

When a man feels like less of a man, he just doesn't have it in him to woo a lady, no matter how interested he is - and especially if he's interested.
And Hometown Boy isn't the only one, McTwitchy suffered the same affliction... and a few years back there was a very handsome guy I had a crush on who was working at the local hardware store while between jobs in a very lucrative field.  I ran into him a year ago, and he finally explained about it - but still didn't ask me out! Bah!

This is why our government really has to take unemployment seriously!
It's impacting my dating life. And that's just wrong.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Online Weeding ... er .... Dating

It occurs to me that as much as we all are different... we all expect different things in online dating.

I have a friend who is much younger - early to mid 20s - who is annoyed that guys send her messages through the online dating service. She thinks that if they are interested they should just call her.

Now, I would be creeped out of my mind to get an unexpected phone call from some random guy who only knows I exist because of my online profile!  So I encourage her to respond to their inquiries and move forward from there.

On the plane back home from Christmas vacation, I sat next to a nice young man, and our conversation turned to our experiences in online dating. I told him that I realized it's more complicated than it seems, because I make a lot of snap decisions based on profile pictures.
If the only pictures they have are self-portriats in the bathroom mirror - I pass. It tells me he doesn't have any friends. That he hasn't even been to a party or a wedding in the past two years!

"The only thing worse," I said, "are the guys who take their picture in the bathroom mirror..." "...with their shirts off!" my seat mate finished for me, agreeing.  They are looking for hook ups, and have little more than their abs to offer, I concluded.

I recently met a guy from my last dating site who told me that his strategy is to just contact the women who are online while he is online. I found that very odd, and told him that when men IM me while I'm online, I tend to assume they're looking for a hook-up/booty call - and I ignore them.

So, OH MY WORD! If there are these sorts of miscommunications, misunderstandings and mixed signals how on earth does anyone ever meet?!??!

I nearly missed meeting Hometown boy because he wasn't up for making conversation via the dating site email.  I'm typically frustrated that many men want to get right to meeting or right to the phone calls.  It feels, to me, like they're rushing it. I want to know that we have something in common, that he can carry on a conversation... before I go to all the trouble of picking out an outfit and fixing my hair and makeup to go on a meeting date!  I guess I want some guarantee of success! Or I'm just lazy!

With Hometown boy, I noticed his resistance and was slightly annoyed. I thought I'd help him out by asking him questions (via email) about some things we had in common. He later told me that he felt like I was putting him on the spot. I finally understood his perspective when we had our first phone conversation, and it took him a while to warm up but once he was comfortable - we were clicking pretty well.

Because I am a communicator by nature, a writer, a talker and a reader... I sort of expect everyone to operate the same as I do.  Hometown boy made me realize differently.

Another man who wanted to meet without, what I considered, a suitable initial email exchange, responded back rather gruffly that he wasn't looking for a pen pal.

Still another wanted to meet without an introductory phone call - which goes against my not meeting ex-cons rule (I'm looking for the link to that story) and I finally said good riddance to him.

Oh, and the anti-pen pal guy also took issue with what he called my lengthy profile writing (which, by the way, wasn't any longer than his - the difference being that I provided information about my values and interests and he instead, logged a series of one-liners) which leads us to the assumption that "Nobody Reads the Profiles Anyway."

I read the profiles.  Of course I do.

And if he says he's separated, not divorced... I delete.
If he says he's spiritual but not religious... I delete.

Let's do a little informal survey here... and tell me what conclusions you draw about certain actions.
I'm thinking of doing a series of posts that we could share with men - to open communication and to perhaps make it easier on all of us.

Monday, January 09, 2012

In Defense of Tim Tebow

Whew, this is long. My apologies in advance.

I'm about as far from a football fan as you could imagine. I just barely understand the game. The finer details of the sport are lost on me - but I get the gist.

These season though, I've been a bit more interested. I give the credit to my interest to Bronco's quarterback Tim Tebow. I couldn't ignore it if I wanted to. There are articles upon articles about why people love him or hate him. About his fourth quarter comebacks, his wild throwing style (or something - I don't even know what that means!) And obviously about how he wears his faith on his sleeve.

But because I live in Denver, home of the Broncos, the topic of Tebow comes up a lot. The men I meet tell me what they think about him, and ask my opinion. Kind of like a religious litmus test.

One date told me, in the first 12 minutes of my meeting him, "I love Tim Tebow. He's great, heck I'd marry the guy! But I don't like all his religious posturing."

Another date was more blunt. "I hate Tim Tebow. I don't understand why he gets so much attention." he continued, pointing out more details of the Tebow effect.

It's obvious to me that those who dislike him are bothered by his outward signs of his faith in God.
At the start of any interview, he thanks his Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
This REALLY bothers people.

Some point out that they think it's silly to think that God cares about a football game.
MY DEFENSE: Well, God cares about what we care about. But no, I don't think God is pulling strings on the outcome of the game like the SNL skit suggests. I do think it's important to point out that no Christian or Catholic football player is reaching out to God for a win.... rather, they are thanking God for the talent and the ability to play well and avoid injury. 
Then Tebowing became a verb. The action of taking a knee, and striking a contemplative pose.

This action seems to have taken the place of his making the sign of the cross, for which he also took heat. The critics even nag about him pointing skyward (which really only looks like the "Number One" sign.)  

Another guy I met complained that Tebow is using these gestures to look pious and get attention.
MY DEFENSE: I imagine that when young Timmy played high school and college football, he made a habit of either crossing himself or pointing heavenward, to thank his heavenly father for his talent and concentration. Back then it was probably no big deal, since it's preferable to showboating. But then, when it was obvious he was going to be a highly ranked draft pick, and TV network cameras showed up to document the start of his career -- well, people started asking questions and forming opinions about his actions and about his intent.
Those opinions turned into criticisms. But what was he supposed to do? If he dropped these actions, he'd get criticism about changing himself to fit the mold that other people want. He continues, and gets criticism for constantly drawing attention to his faith. 
He can't win this battle. If he did these things before the media frenzy, if he quits, people will attack him for caving to pressure. 
I suspect that the stance we now know as "Tebowing" was an effort on his part to take a reflective moment in an inconspicuous way. Then some reporters asked what that was about and he's honest enough to tell them - so the media jumps all over that too. I give the man credit for being who he is, sticking to his convictions and not caving into the pressure to conform to what makes everyone else comfortable. 

A few years back there was a lot of discussion about NFL players showboating in the end zone after a touchdown. Silly, funky little dances, sometimes amounting to beating their chests like primitive man slaying a wooly mammoth for food. I've never liked excessive celebration in sports, although I think a little happy jig never hurt anybody. (I partake in the occasional happy dance myself, thanks.)

Excessive celebration, on the other hand, amounts to grabbing the glory. Making the touchdown should be enough. Punctuating it with a fist pump or a big smile is fine, but when a player beats his chest and points to himself in celebration, it is, to me all about the glory. I think it's ugly to focus the glory on oneself. By pointing heavenward, I see Tebow making a small gesture that gives the glory to God - which I think is much more appropriate.

So when people get all spun up and complain that Tim Tebow shouldn't be bringing God to the NFL  football field, I point out that everyone's okay with another player taking the glory for himself, but giving the glory to God is frowned upon?  That is messed up.

It shows what a religious-phobic society ours has become. (just look to the current presidential campaign for more proof.)

If Tim Tebow is held out as an example of a godly man (and I don't know that he is - I only know what I've read.)  and can show our phobic society that religion doesn't make one a freak - then I'm behind him.

He's a target. All of the attention is attributed to the media just waiting for him to mess up. Fifty cameras a day just waiting for him to drop the F-bomb, or get in a fight, or uncover a child out of wedlock...  God forbid someone sees him with a girl on a beach vacation!

Still other critics complain that he's not that smart. That he says the same thing over and over in every interview. 
MY DEFENSE: Well, no kidding. First of all, he's young and yet to get in his groove for dealing with the media. But remember, if there's a microphone in front of his face there are millions of people just waiting for him to say the wrong thing. Waiting for any one thing that they can twist or spin to point to just so they can say, "See, it was all an act. No one can truly dedicate themselves to God and live a 'normal' life."
Tebow has set his own standard, because there are millions of people waiting to knock him off of some imaginary pedestal. It's hard to stand up for Christ when you're facing the scorn of the secular world.

Luke 6:22 - 23
22“Blessed are you when men hate you, and ostracize you, and insult you, and scorn your name as evil, for the sake of the Son of Man. 23“Be glad in that day and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven. 

The most divisive issue, is the complaint that he talks about God every chance he gets. And I will say, I understand the sentiments of overkill. This is the one area where I think he might be better served to choose his audience, choose his opportunities to spread the word of God, lest he become like a noisy gong or clanging symbol. I think we know from experience that if people think they can predict what you're going to say, they're going to tune it out. (refer to noisy gong here.)

But, if he feels it's part of his mission do so, he will deal with the criticism.  Maybe the secular world's idea of overkill is exactly what the secular world needs right now.

What irritates me about the hate directed at Tebow's faith-filled actions, is that everyone blames young Tim instead of realizing that it's the media circus that is making a show of it.  I really think Tebow is pretty subtle about it, if it weren't for all the cameras.

Recently, I learned that there is a prayer circle on the field after EVERY NFL game.
It's something they never show in sports coverage... the players from both teams who choose to participate, kneel on the field praising God with gratitude for their talent and sportsmanship. So hundreds of players have done this after every NFL game for years... and the media largely ignores it - but they aim all their cameras at one Tim Tebow, making an example, and sometimes mockery of him.

God bless him for holding his convictions amid all this pressure!

I say, "Tim, keep doing what you're doing. If you change mid-course they'll eat you alive!"

If more of us could stick with our beliefs and proudly stand by Christ when it gets uncomfortable, or embarrassing or even dangerous.... what a wonderful world this would be! I respect TT for putting it out there, and being an example. Somehow, it's making the game more exciting too!

credits: 1)  2) 3)

Friday, January 06, 2012

Mister Updates

I suppose it's time for a date update.

The last male mentioned was Mr. Potential.  Woah, that one ended weird. Everything was going nicely, although there was no smoochie time. I mean, there were a few sweet kisses and embraces, but no more.)  I wasn't sure if I was attracted to him - which is a major hang up for me.  I thought he was an attractive man, no doubt.... but I found him small and skinny (I'm speaking of stature... don't get carried away girls!) which had an impact on my 'desire'.  It's all very tricky to anticipate desire when you're abstinent!!!

Even more difficult, trying to explain to a man (even a Catholic man) about your chaste intentions.  Any advice on how to handle that is appreciated.

Back to the story, I was sick for a week - he was busy for the following week... so we didn't see each other - but he hadn't called either. I texted to say I was looking forward to seeing an event he was involved in, he encouraged my presence so I went to see said event and talked with him.  He apologized for his absence, saying he'd have time for me that week - then I never heard from him again.

So weird.

Then, I met a man at my church... (I know! Can you believe it? That NEVER happens!) and we went out a few times.  He's very nice, interesting... but something about him makes me uncomfortable... and it's nothing I can put my finger on. I only know that I'm not real comfortable with him and I have to respect that feeling.

The really difficult part of that is that he hits all the points, 1) he's Catholic and I met him at church 2) he wants to be married - not afraid of it and 3) he introduced me to family members (sibling and in-law and their kids) early on, and was ready to have me for Thanksgiving and to meet his mother when she visited before Christmas.  These are the things I'm always wishing for... but somehow made me a bit uncomfortable.

That really bothers me because for some reason I feel like every guy I like doesn't like me and the ones who like me, I'm not interested in.  Gosh it's so frustrating!

Then, I met another guy online - we'll call him Hometown Boy.  He's from my home state and my alma mater - so when we started talking on the phone we connected pretty easily. We arranged a meeting at one of my favorite places. When I walked in, I saw him standing in the back and thought he was even cuter than his profile pictures, so a smile naturally spread over my face.  When he noticed I was there, and recognized me, he smiled just as broadly.  Good start.

It had snowed a few inches the night before and it was really cold, so as we parted he asked me to call him when I got home to be sure I made it safely.  When I did, we talked for another hour and a half!!

We talked a few more times, and made plans for a little destination trip that I was really looking forward to. His work schedule changed and we had to scrap the evening trip. Then we discussed whether to spend New Years Eve together... and ultimately decided not to.  Since then, I hadn't heard from him aside from a text on New Years day. This confused me greatly, because he MUST like me.  Guys don't talk for hours with girls they're not interested in.  Then finally he called me tonight - just when I thought he fell off the planet. He's a little sloppy about setting up a definite date but I'll blame that on his erratic work schedule - because he did ask, he just didn't make it firm.

So Hometown Boy is still in the running.

In the meantime, I met a couple of other guys from the dating site before my subscription ran out.
One of them seemed to be a contender until he told me that he voted for Obama and would vote for Obama again! I literally set my jaw on the table! Took a few minutes before I could speak!

Then another guy who promptly told me that all of his friends have hated every woman he's ever dated. I could only think he either has terrible taste in women, or he gives his friends too much say over his love life, or his friends are right. Either way, I don't think I'll fit in. I might entertain another date, but that kind of information shouldn't come up on a first meeting! Sheesh!

So that's the update.  Not sure if I've met Mr. Right, but I have certainly met someone interesting.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Visiting a Dear Friend

I did something for the first time today.
Something I've thought about doing for a few years now. There's no good reason I haven't done it before. I can only blame timing, and ignorance and uncertainty.

But tonight after work, and after the gym (not the best case scenario) I went to spend time with Jesus.
I went to Eucharistic Adoration.
This means that body of Christ is on display in a church or in a special side chapel dedicated to adoration - and the church parishioners dedicate themselves to have someone with Christ at all times.  (more in the link) The body of Christ is not to be left alone.

I went to the Garden Chapel of a neighboring church, as my parish doesn't have an adoration chapel.
I didn't know quite what to expect, but I have heard people describe their experience as sitting in the presence of Christ, very peaceful and comforting.

The moment I walked in, I was drawn in by the beautiful monstrance, holding the host. I genuflected, knelt down in a pew and looked at the body of Christ, instantly moved to tears! Here I was, sitting with the Savior of the World, my Lord and Savior! As comfortable as meeting with an old friend. A friend I should see more often.

It was peaceful. We had a conversation.
I asked my God to lead me where He wants me to go. I know I've been pushing for my own way for the past ... I don't know... ALL my years.  That's it. I give up. You show me the way. Please.

Sunday, January 01, 2012

When Freedom is Limiting!

I have made some new friends at church... which is, of itself, an answer to prayer.
One couple in particular, is my age, and very engaging.  They are 'pursuing' my friendship, which is very, very cool.

Today, we talked about our New Year's evenings... I went to two parties, one a low-key event at a friend's home - the other, a packed venue with a live band and a handful of friends.

My new friends, by contrast, described a night at home with their kids and an early bedtime. They teased me that they couldn't do the wild partying like I did, because they're married with children. I smirked, then informed them... little do you know, I would rather have the night at home with an early bedtime with my hubby, if only I had a hubby.  I only go out, because I have to - to meet people.
(yes, I know that I can choose to stay home, other options...  this was this year's plan) 

So the husband of the couple, in an effort to ease my burden, pointed out that as a single person, I can do as I wish, without consulting another, and urged me to enjoy that - as long as that is the case.

This kind of pandering usually bugs me, but this guy is sweet, and I knew he was well-intentioned. It was actually kind of cute that he was making the effort.

I explained that I've had plenty of time in my life to do as I wished. To do what I wanted without consulting anyone else. I'm ready to be a part of a team.

He persisted, until his wife (who understood my position better than he did) cast a sideways glance and said, "What are you saying honey?" implying that he was arguing for the single life despite his own married bliss.
First, he briefly attempted to argued that he was consoling me.... and then, realizing his defeat, he put his arm around the mother of his children and said, "Why would anyone want to be single? Yuck."

Ha ha.  I'm really going to like this couple!!