Monday, September 23, 2013

The Way to a Man's Heart

Or - you are what you eat?

My sweet friends invited me for dinner tonight. A lovely time with friends, an adorable baby and silly  toddler, and my friend's wonderful cooking!

And there is always insightful wisdom from my friend's husband, as he tries to solve the problems of the single women in their world.

He told us about a theory held by himself and his brothers. That the kind of food you like to get when you go out to eat is indicative of the personality of the spouse you're looking for.  Yeah, stick with us here!

So one woman said she likes to try foods she hasn't tried before, what she hasn't tried cooking for herself. Okay, it also stands that she is looking for qualities in men that are the qualities she doesn't possess herself.  Ahhh.

Then our host explained that he asked his uncle, known to be a bit of a womanizer, what he wants when he goes out to eat... the answer... "Greasy, cheap and easy!". Yeah so that holds up.

I also like to order foods I don't make for myself. But the overwhelming factor is always around my food restrictions and allergies. When I go out to eat, it's typically a process of elimination. I scan the menu for the few options that meet my food restrictions with as few substitutions or changes as possible. On a menu with dozens to 50 dish options, I can usually choose between three. (And that's fine with me. I choose really fast.) I'm just looking for something I CAN eat!

Then we all laughed when we realized the theory holds up! At my age, and with my religious preference... I'm down to finding a man who is likely divorced, and if so has an annulment, and a few other qualities that are obviously hard to find, like still being open to having or adopting a child together.

Heck, my food restrictions are easier to accommodate than finding someone right for me!

But, the theory holds up!
What do you like eat when you dine out?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Quick Takes - Emergency Edition

I had this week's QuickTakes all planned out... but I'm begging for your prayers for Denver, surrounding suburbs, and the front range instead.
We just got a year's worth of rain in less than 24 hours.
After a summer of wildfires destroying homes all over the state, this is just too much.
One of the news stations stated it perfectly, describing "the rains that came too late and stayed too long."
I'm safe and well. I really do have the best luck avoiding harsh weather wherever I live.
But blocks away, neighborhoods have been evacuated. School for Friday is cancelled.
Heaviest on my heart and most in need of prayers is my dear friend's dad who lives alone in an old house in a canyon.
She heard from him Thursday morning, the basement was already flooded, there's a creek just yards from the house. The road into the canyon is washed out, so even area law enforcement can't reach him or any neighbors. (obviously, no cell phone service to begin with and the land line is out.) 
When the family last heard from him, he was getting gear together to move to higher ground. But there is danger of rock slides, not to mention the elements over night. He's not a young man. Heavy rains in canyon areas can be unpredictable, and the flooding, swift and wild.
Please pray for his safety. This family has had much sorrow already this past year.
I'll save a spot here for a joyful update on my friend's dad. It just has to be joyful. Please dear God.

GREAT NEWS!!!  He's alive and well, sitting in the house that is still standing (though the basement is flooded) with a group of neighbors who are all camping out there. One of the group was able to hike up a ridge of the canyon to get a phone signal and call out!!
They are still waiting to be rescued. Let's pray that goes well!

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Dating 101 - Advice for the Guys

The other day an acquaintance of mine posed a question on her FB wall. She explained that a man who was interested in her, keeps calling her with last minute plans. She asked if she should just agree to go. She's interested, but annoyed with his methods.

As you can imagine, most of her female friends encouraged her to tell him she needs more notice to go out with him. Some men encouraged her to demand more respect, she's worth it. Then there were a few men, and one in particular who just didn't get it.

The guy who didn't get it posed the argument that if the opportunity just presented itself, she should be game. What's the harm, you're a fun girl.
I agree... concert tickets fell in his lap the day before the concert... why not?! Sure, go. It's spontaneous and exciting. Although I will say, his chances improve if he has taken her on at least one proper date already.

That doesn't seem to be the case. This guy is avoiding the effort it takes to date properly. 

As I read the continued conversation, HeDoesn'tGetItGuy asked why the potential dates tactics bothered her. She astutely explained that the fact that he's asking her as an afterthought, makes her feel that she's not important to him.
Which is completely accurate. Any man who can't call a woman up and  ask for a proper date three days in advance is okay with breadcrumbs.  Most likely, he doesn't want to invest in a relationship. He is trying to see what he can get with the least amount of effort.

The exchange became increasingly frustrating as HeDoesn'tGetItGuy chided our lovely heroine for not "explaining her feelings" to her potential suitor, and then devolved into "Don't force men to follow all these rules!"

I wanted to chime in and explain to the doofus, that he's mistakenly looking at this as a case by case situation.  It's not. This young woman is not building a wall of rules  --- and she's not actually dealing with feelings.  This is 100% about BASIC DECENCY!

She's not upset about this one guy's behavior. She's upset because men today no longer know how to date. They don't seem to know the basics about how to treat people.
It's not entirely their fault. Between the internet and texting and IMing, communication in general has turned murky.

Rest assured. Some things don't change. Share this with the men in your life who date.  We're about to get serious.

Asking a woman out

When she gives you her phone number use it. Use it to call her and have a conversation. Don't text! You can't expect her to agree to dinner or even coffee if she has no idea what it is like to have a conversation with you.  We're talking at least an hour, maybe three of her life she will never get back.  Like all great experiences, you need to build up to it.

Ask her out at least three days in advance. If you'd like to see her on Friday, call her Tuesday night. Maybe Wednesday if it's been a busy week.  If you ask her a full week in advance, you're really wooing her!

Call her again a day or two before the date to confirm details. Make sure she knows where to meet you, what time, and maybe a suggestion of what to wear.  I'm serious. If you say it's a concert, but it's actually a concert in the park, she's going to plan completely different outfits. Is it a long walk to the venue? She wants to be ready with comfortable shoes. If you don't do her this courtesy, don't complain when she says she can no longer walk in her high heels.  You didn't warn her!
About confirming the details: Do your best to have a plan for the date before you call and ask her out. Be ready with the where and when. These days, when a guy asks us to go out with him Thursday night, but doesn't say where and when - we're pretty sure he's going to flake out. We're not planning to go on that date. If you say you'll call again to firm up the plans - DO IT!  and don't text her the plans either.  If you do, we're sure you're still going to flake out. 
Communicate! Don't ask for a date and then stop communicating for the days in between right up until an hour before your date.  Come on! If you want her to be excited to spend time with you --- you're going to have to do some build up! No one wants to date a stranger. Are you interested in this girl? Then talk to her.
Are you just so nervous and don't know what to say? Here's a script, "Hi Jenny, this is Jerry. I just wanted to tell you I'm looking forward to seeing you on Friday."  Honestly, that's it. The conversation will build from there. Confirm the time and place. Chat a little but don't stay on the phone too long.

After the date

Call her!  Tell her you had a great time. Set up another date. Same rules apply. Rinse and repeat.

You should plan the first three dates. Yes, find out what she's interested in, but it's up to you to plan it. Even if she lives in another part of town, don't cop out with - "Why don't you pick a place, since you know the area better."  Oh my geesh, that is so annoying. You have the internet. Use it! Now, you can say, "Do you have a favorite restaurant?" or "Tell me your two favorite places." then YOU pick one. Seriously, you pick.  Oh and don't expect her to call you during this time period. She will return your calls, but she probably won't initiate a phone call. This is good.
After three dates, you can call with last minute tickets to her favorite band. Or, you just found out your friend is in town and bunch of you are getting together for dinner tonight. And she has the right to decline.
But always remember to plan dates throughout your courtship. 
You pick, you plan and you pay. You plan the first three dates - maybe four*.
This gives her time to determine if she wants to know you more. Then maybe she'll invite you on a hike, or an outing with friends, or she'll prepare a picnic in the park. But she should not treat you or reciprocate until you've taken her out three times.
That's right, she's not reciprocating until it's time. Now don't start whining about how expensive it is to date. I had lovely dates with a man who took me to street fairs. Two different street fairs two weekends in a row. No admission fee - just buy her a corn dog. Fun. It gave us lots of time to talk and experience one another in various situations.  (oh, but do tell her whether you're planning to stop for dinner, or if it's going to be fair food. She may want to eat before she leaves home if you're just planning on nibbling.)

If you have found that you didn't enjoy her company, don't leave her hanging.  Tell her you enjoyed meeting her, but there's just not a spark.  (this is universal code for "I'm not interested" - we all accept that. No spark. Fair enough.) You don't need to say anything hurtful or feel a need to BeReallyHonest - just thank her for her time and move on.

Make an effort to get to know each other. Yep, I'm talking about communication. Don't just ask a girl out on the weekends, without talking to her in-between. You're supposed to be interested in her. If you don't ACT interested, she won't think you are.

You should learn something in this step. If she is rushing you off the phone or sounds bored, she may not be interested in you. She may be legitimately distracted, and if she says so, believe her.
But if she is constantly tuning you out, move on.

Don't text. Now, this may be different for you younger folks - I understand that's how you communicate. Talk with her about it. Ask her preference.
My rule is, if you want to send a flirtatious hello, or tell her you're running 5 minutes late, you can text.  Do not text her to set up a date.  Do not text her because it's less trouble than calling her.
If you like her, talk to her. Texting is the least amount of effort you can put into communication. I suggest making an agreement not to text until you're "in a relationship".

These are not arbitrary rules.  This is all about common decency. 
Every woman will appreciate these efforts. Use them all, every date, every woman you date. 
Even if she seems a little uncomfortable with the formality. If that's the case, it's because she's been dating inconsiderate men before you. Show her she's worth it. She'll come around. 

If you are dating a woman who doesn't appreciate these efforts, you may find that you are not actually dating a lady. 

If these efforts seem like too much, or not worth it, then just face the fact that you're not really interested in the woman - or even dating for that matter. If you're really interested in someone, these are things you would WANT to do. Let that be your litmus test. 

* The three date theory is courtesy of Cynthia from Veil of Chastity. It's pure brilliance. We women tend to get excited and mentally planning our weddings after one good date!  I extend the idea to four dates because after dating Mr. ShouldBePerfectforMe, it wasn't until after four dates that he blamed God for his decision to stop dating me! I'm pretty sure God didn't tell him to share the revelation via email!!! 

Wednesday, September 04, 2013


Let's call it Bait the Catholic.
It's kind of like Devil's Advocate, but with more stupidity.

I was baited today and I'm still steaming.
It started with an innocent conversation when someone kindly asked me if I wanted kids. Yes, I had wanted children, I had longed for a family, but I'm 43 now and single so we're not banking on that ever happening.
A reasonable person would say, "Yeah, I can see that. That's too bad."

But you know how it is. Another voice chimes in. "You COULD have a baby if you really wanted one."
Well, I'm not going to go into how I don't have sexy time with men I'm not married to, so not so much. I shouldn't have to explain that in casual conversation, with a conversation interruptor.
I'm certainly not going into the fact that if I didn't feel right about having a baby by myself when I was young and fertile, and had endless energy... it's even less likely that I'm going to decide to have a baby by myself when it hurts to walk through IKE@ wearing sneakers!! And I can't touch my toes to begin with. If I wasn't having sexy time with non-husbands when I was young and h@rny, I'm not going to suddenly start now!

No, I'm not getting into that with someone who is baiting me.
But I did say, "What am I supposed to do? Spend 2/3rds of my salary to put a baby in day care while I work 43 hours a week just to put a baby in daycare?"  I figure referring to cash flow problems is the easiest way to appeal to secular do-what-you-want-that's-all-that-matters-anyway types.

She continued, "That's an excuse."
Um, no. That's a reality. I'm a single woman in an occupation that seriously, pays me only a few thousand more than what a year of day care costs. If I would have ever gotten married, I knew I could easily make the argument for me to be a stay-at-home mom. It's silly to work if your take home salary after day care expenses is just enough to cover your travel expenses to and from work. But I digress.

She threw it out there. You could have a baby if you really wanted to.

No. I want more than a baby. I want a family. And I want any babies that come, to have a family. A mommy and a daddy. Not a stressed out, broke mom with no resources and no family nearby.
And in order for that to happen, I need a husband.

Then I did have to resort to explaining how in order to have a husband, I had to live in a different era, one in which men saw a reason to get married. When society started telling men we didn't need to them to have babies - they heard it! They've responded accordingly! That's fine for you maybe, but you've ruined it for women like me.

She said it again. "That's your opinion."
Oh super. The great secular argument. Every option is an opinion.
I wish my brain and mouth would engage in the moment, because I should have said, "No. It's not my opinion. It's the truth. It's the truth of the Bible and the truth of the Catechism.  There's a right way to do it if you can help it. And I'm not here to please myself, I'm here to please God."

Maybe I AM more stubborn than selfless, but if you're speaking to someone who is obviously counter-cultural by way of being Catholic... putting up straw men about how I COULD have a child if I really wanted to is just insulting and rude. You know how I'm going to answer, and you're just trying to win an argument rather than listen to what I believe and why it matters to me. You're trying to shoot holes in my faith.

What you're really doing is trying to validate your choices and opinions.
By that reasoning, yeah, I could have a ferr@ri if I wanted one... I could steal it and drive it around until I got caught.
Want to live in a spacious, luxury mountain home? You could if you wanted to .... just stake out a nice place and attack the family, lock them in the basement and enjoy the place. You could live there if you WANTED to.

Like I said, maybe I am more stubborn than selfless. Maybe God would be absolutely fine with me having a child to love and raise in the faith. Maybe my holding out for a man who shares my faith and values is purely stubborn and not what God intends for me.
After all, I have plenty of relatives who aren't waiting for marriage for s@x and babie, and God is not striking them down. Maybe my holding out was silly. At least I would have loved someone.

Sometimes I picture myself arriving at the pearly gates and God and Saint Peter just shake their heads, sadly. "Oh TRS, you could have had so much more. We admire your fight, but you were fighting the wrong battle."