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?