Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Lies of The 40 Year Old Virgin

Don't get me wrong. I love "The 40 Year Old Virgin," because I'm a sap. For those of you who don't know, the movie is about a man who is, well, a 40 year old virgin, and his dating escapades. He soon starts dating a woman in her forties. He doesn't tell the whole truth about his sexual history, initially, for fear of losing her, etc, though they agree to no sex anyway for 30 dates. Once he finally reveals his virginity, she is totally okay with it. No surprise, no shock, no running for the hills.

That's precious, gives me warm fuzzies and fills me with hope, briefly. The hope is brief because upon googling, "Would you date a virgin," the discussions by real people are discouraging to a 20-something virgin. At least here, here and here, a good number of people say "No." Often, the people who say "yes" are either under 23 years old or say "yes" because they want the glory of deflowering someone, like it's a sex merit badge. So the idea that a non-virgin (with kids) in her forties would be totally cool with dating a virgin seems unrealistic when a great deal of nonvirgins in their twenties and thirties wouldn't even bother.

One "no" answer that particularly struck me was when a man said he wouldn't want to be the one to take that woman's "innocence." It reminded me of the "Myths: Dreams, Fears and Idols" chapter of Simone de Beauvoir's The Second Sex. In that chapter, she discusses the myths men have created about women, how they make us seem like some otherworldly, incomprehensible beings. She goes on to discuss how these ideas about women have helped men keep us in a subordinate, "other" position. So on that forum, here was a man putting some lofty idea on a virgin's sexuality: "taking her innocence." By that statement, he made the virgin woman untouchable, too pure to be defiled, childish (and you know you can't have sex with children!)

True, we virgins might have strong convictions about maintaining virginity until marriage/a committed relationship, but we aren't goddesses! We're people, we're flawed. We also have a sexuality. Virgin does not necessarily equal "innocent." Sex is everywhere. We know about sex. We've taken sex ed.

I never required any man I date to be a virgin, but sometimes it looks like my chances of having a relationship with a nonvirgin are nonexistent. Sometimes I think I might as well make that a requirement.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Dating Resolution

Tis the season for New Year's Resolutions. I'm sure the blogosphere will have plenty of posts about people's resolutions, but mine actually relates to the blog, hence this post.

I try to keep resolutions easy and attainable, and with the exception of 2009, I keep them. I never make weight loss a goal, because a) I know I probably won't keep it and b) I believe lifestyle changes are more important than quick fix, temporary diets.

My goal for 2010 has two parts. First, I will update my blog once a week. Given the amount of time I spend on facebook, I think I can find time weekly to update! Secondly, I will either date one new guy or go to one singles event every month. Honestly, these really are just continuations of things I started in 2009 anyway, but again, I like to make my goals attainable. Of course, if I catch a boyfriend by the end of the year, goal 2 will become null and void. I didn't make that my resolution because that's a bit too lofty for me, I think. It'll make my dating escapades less fun and add more pressure to every date, i.e. "I must make him fall madly in love with me in this one hour date! I only have 10 months to find love!"

After a bit of a dry spell in December, I started talking to a guy on okcupid. We'll see how that goes. Perhaps he'll be my January date. If not, I recently joined some Singles meetup groups, so we'll see if any of those groups plan something for the coming month. I must stay active and keep meeting new people. I mustn't get discouraged! Even if I don't find a man by 2011, this'll all improve my conversational skills and bring me wisdom about dating.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Report back: Speed Dating

Last Friday, before the hustle and bustle of Christmas took over my life, I experienced my first taste of Speed Dating. Speed Dating is basically grownup musical chairs with drinks and conversation. The women sit as the men rotate from girl to girl. You have a brief date which each man, then each person circles "yes" or "no" for each date on their scorecards. This particular speed dating had 16 men and 16 women, and each date was 4 minutes long.

I've heard mixed things about speed dating, and movies like "40 Year Old Virgin" certainly don't help speed dating's rep! However, I think people who are disappointed in Speed Dating tend to expect too much from it. They expect to actually get a longterm relationship or spouse out of it. Some do, most don't. I took it as an opportunity to practice my conversational and flirting skills with new people. It was another way for me to get out of my shell. To my delight, I was successful at keeping the conversation going with all my dates. I used open-ended questions and talked about more than just my job. I also avoided hot topics like politics, religion and family (if someone has parent issues, it can be a hot topic). Also, the majority of men were professionals. No 21 year old college boys! Most of them put their best foot forward for the event (one was drunk).

I don't know who said "yes" to me and no man from that night has contacted me, but that's okay. That wasn't my goal. Also, the Speed Dating company charges another $10 on to find out who said "yes" to me. They emailed me a "match" with his phone number and email, although they sent the same match to my friend. Going with a friend made it easier for me. I'm not ready to go to singles events all alone yet! I need moral support. Anyway, IMHO, if a man who spoke to me last Friday was so enamored by me, HE can call me. I'm not chasing after any man, certainly not after one 4-minute date! That's one gender role I've learned to accept in my dating quest: let the male be the chaser. Let him pay the ten dollars to find my contact info. I refuse to chase a man who's just not that into me.

So yes, I'll try it again. I don't take it too seriously, which makes it more fun, and although I would like to find a spouse or longterm boyfriend by the end of next year, I also just want to have fun. Flirt for flirt's sake. No expectations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

All Men are Dogs?-"Fall madly, passionately in love with yourself"

Early in my attempts at online dating, I listened to this on a friend's facebook profile. Very inspirational, and I need to hear it lately.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Read this Book!-The Shy Single

Most people, I imagine, learn how to date by just doing it and asking their friends for advice along the way. However, I'm a bit of research-nut. When I get into something, I read about it. Dating is no exception. So I headed to my favorite public library last week and picked up some books about dating. I threw the books in my basket and covered up the titles because I suddenly was embarassed to be taking out dating books. I hoped the person checking out my books didn't judge me and think "How lame is she that she needs to read 5 books on dating?" My inner, self-conscious 13-year-old emerged ("OMG, everyone is looking at me and judging me").

One of my favorite books of the bunch is The Shy Single: A Bold Guide to Dating for the Less-than-Bold Dater . Although I'm not quite as shy as the book's intended audience, I especially found her breakdown of the 3 stages of a "shyness attack" helpful and applicable to my over-analytical self: 1) Fear of initiation, 2) Circuit overload and 3) Payback. I especially related to the "payback" stage, where one continually runs through past experiences, focusing mainly on what she did wrong. The author gives tips and exercises to help the shy person survive and leave those 3 stages. She also gives reflective questions throughout, which helped me flesh out reasons why I'm single (more on that another day). It helped me solidify my strategy for successful dating.

I definitely plan on buying this book after I return it to my library, and I highly recommend it for any shy or introverted dater.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Inspiration-"Am I old enough for sex?"

The inspiration for this blog came from a recent post I made on Yahoo! Answers. Apparently, I convinced a girl to save herself for marriage. Truly, I was not trying to impose my beliefs on her! She was a virgin in a conundrum, and I thought she would benefit from my insight. Lo and behold, she chose my answer as the best answer. And I thought, hey, maybe this is what other virgins and shy, under-experienced non-virgins need. Maybe they could use an anonymous friend who is going through what they're going through, and maybe that friend could be me (and whoever else I can sucker into following my blog).

So here's the question and the answer that brought about this blog:

How old should you be to have sex?? Really old or really young?? I'm getting ready to have it and I want to know if it's the right choice!?! I am 20 years old.

I don't think there's a specific age. However, I don't think you should do it because you "feel" ready or think you're "old enough." Feelings are fleeting, and just because you want something doesn't mean you should have it (think chocolate and french fries).

As others have stated, you have to be ready to handle the potential consequences of sex. Have you looked into the different forms of contraception? Also, just because you have sex with a guy doesn't mean you'll get married. Clearly, you don't want to have sex with just anyone. Because you've waited so long, do you think you could handle breaking up with a man after having sex with him?

I'm also a virgin (and older than you!) for religious reasons, but I do know that the first time can really hurt for women. There could be bleeding, soreness, etc. Assuming you have a boyfriend already, is he worth the initial pain? Are you willing to let him break you in knowing it'll get better later?

If you've really thought thoroughly about all this and you're in a committed relationship, then it sounds like you're ready. If this is a "I like him, he likes me, we're in heat, I'm sick of waiting, let's go already" kind of thing, I think you need to keep your pants on and do some thinking first! I think you also should have had a conversation about his sexual history first and find out if he's clean of STD's.