Monday, January 25, 2010

Saying good bye for good

A wise woman (Madea) once said that some people are meant to be in your life for a lifetime and some only for a season. FYI, most people you encounter in your life are "seasonal" people. They are meant to stay just for a little while and teach you some sort of lesson.

A man who proved to be a seasonal person tried to come back into my life.

In August 2009, when I first started my online dating escapades, the first man I talked to consistently was "Derrick." We were really clicking and connecting at first. In hind sight, I realize that all my excitement about Derrick was only because he was the first gentlemanly man I talked to online. Anyway, I was eager to meet him at first, but he was less available than even me. The IM's dragged on for a couple weeks. Over time, however, I grew less interested in him romantically for various reasons, and I became less eager to meet him. He was more interested in me than I was with him. Before our date, I used my childfreedom as a sort of "get out of jail free" card. I asked if he wanted kids someday (it wasn't clear in his profile). When he said "yes," I told him I could only be friends with a man who wanted kids. It wasn't possible to be more than friends.

The daily IM's stopped instantly. In fact, the next day, when I logged on, he logged off right away. It could have been coincidence, but I assumed that it was deliberate. I took him off my "favorites" list. It hurt for a minute that he could be so cold toward me so abruptly, but I really wasn't interested in even being friends with him anymore.

Flash forward to January 2010, and who should IM me? Derrick. Four months of no communication from him whatsoever, and he says, "Hey hey." Thankfully, I was at work and about to start working for real, so I told him I was busy, etc, and logged off. Later on, I logged back in and blocked him.

Some might say my move was harsh. However, after four months of no communication, I assumed he wasn't interested in being "just friends," especially since he was so cold and bitter in our last contact. Either way, it's not a good sign. He's so bad with rejection that it takes him four months to resume talking to someone who friend zones him? Had he tried with someone else, failed, and therefore tried to talk to me again, like a backup plan? I've done a great deal in just four months. I don't need any more needy people in my life. I don't need anyone that emotionally troubled in my circle.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Discerning Vocations

This year is a year of discernment for me. Hang on Catholics, I'm not considering the nunnery. "Discerning vocations" is what I'm calling my journey of figuring out whether or not I'm meant to stay single, which I am reflecting on with prayer (hence the religious terminology). Now, I think every Catholic woman, particularly every perpetually single Catholic woman, considers becoming a nun. So yes, I've toyed with the idea, but I don't think I'm being truly called to it.

However, I do admire the lives of the nuns I met. Volunteering, running youth programs, running cities, teaching the poor, running summer schools in Ethiopia, working for social justice, how amazing! They are proof that you don't need to get married and have kids to have a full, meaningful life. They truly inspire me.

So, because I am wondering if I am willed for a vocation of singlehood, I subscribed to some nun blogs and a "spinster" blog, basically people who are living a perpetually single life. I want to see what a single, husbandless life has to offer and if I really prefer that over the status quo for women: marriage (and kids). I would like a life that's a happy medium between marriage with kids and the convent life. Perhaps marriage without kids? I know a marriage sans children is not a "Catholic marriage" according to Canon Law, but there are married Catholics with kids who aren't devout, practicing Catholics...

As I've said, I never really tried dating, so this is my year to try. If this year yields no boyfriend, then I'll "stop trying." My single life is pretty good and satisfying. I just want to see if there's an amazing guy to share my amazing life with.

I tell you, though, that if the year was 1010 and not 2010, I definitely would jump into the nunnery. The nuns 1000 years ago were a lot more "free" and educated than the married women back then. Look at St. Hildegard of Bingen.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

"How to be more attractive to guys"

My inner, independent feminist is ashamed to admit that I did google this recently. I did this because upon reading the little that's out there about men putting women in the friend zone, I found out that the main reason men "friend zone" women is apparently because they don't find them attractive. The stereotype is men care the most about looks and women care the most about confidence.

I think I'm cute, but I recognize that I don't fit the magazine images of women. Well, I don't know any woman who looks like a supermodel, but I certainly am not as "girly" as some of my friends. I don't wear heels or makeup often. I don't have long hair. I usually dress modestly. I'm a bit of a "girl next door" type. So I began to wonder if I'm too much "cute" and not enough "sexy."

Well most of the resources were kind of inane and many were so unfeminist. Actually, a lot of the suggestions for "how to attract guys" I already knew. My inner feminist is not cool about the idea of sexing myself up just to catch a man. However, there was one suggestion I liked, and I actually found this out back in 7th grade but never jumped on this truth. Not surprisingly, I was not a "catch" in junior high. Who wants a goody-goody nerd that doesn't put out? Well on the day of our field trip to an opera, I decided to wear a red velour dress. It wasn't exceptionally revealing, but you could see my legs from the knees down and it was red. I got many compliments that day from junior high boys. I couldn't believe dorky me was getting male attention!

More than ten years later, I'm googling "how to attract guys" and what keeps popping up? "Wear red." I took a peek at my wardrobe and realized that I have very little red. So I went on a bit of a spree this weekend looking for red clothes (specifically deep reds and burgundy).

Now, I'm not convinced that suddenly I'll have men falling at my feet and asking for my number if I dress in red. However, I will say that when I tried on a red dress, I felt sexier. When I gazed upon myself in a fancy red dress, I said, "Damn!" I held my head (and chest) a little higher.

Maybe it's the attitude is most important anyway. I bought a casual red dress and a fancy one as well as a red blouse. In them, I wanted to flirt. I felt womanly. Maybe that's what really will make all the difference.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

How to recover from being friend-zoned

Recently I blogged about how I'm not 100% fine with the Nate situation. He was the most recent guy to "friend zone" me. It is especially difficult to get over it and move on when you've hit a dry spell in the online dating world. No new guys emailed me in December 2009, hence why I tried Speed Dating. It's hard to move on when you have no other prospects, at least it is for me. And there were no singles events happening this month that looked good to me.

Well, I'm pleased to announce I hit my goal for January! I have a coffee date with Steven, a man I have been talking to online for about a week. In the online dating world, it's best not to draw out online communication too long. If there's a "spark," jump on it and meet. Steven seems cool, like he'd be a good friend at least, but I know myself, and I don't want history to repeat.

Walter friend zones me. I get vengeful ("I'm gonna make him WISH he said yes!"). Then I start thinking I will remain single forever because it won't get much better than Walter! It takes me a month to get over him until Nate comes along. I'm lukewarm about Nate, then I meet him in person and get smitten. He friend zones me, I get vengeful, then fatalistic and he becomes my "favorite male friend" until someone else comes... You see how I've already done this twice, and I'm determined not to get smitten after one or two dates with Steven only to get friend zoned by him as well.

The best way to get over being friend zoned is to stay active in the online dating world. At the very least, log onto all the sites so that you come up higher in results, i.e. "flamencokitty was last seen in the past 24 hours." Answer messages that are actual messages, not ones that are simply "Hey beautiful, msg me." Basically, keep practicing being "single and looking," even if it's half-hearted, until you actually feel it wholeheartedly. Keep going, even if your heart is saying, "No, just wait! He might come around! You might get that rom com ending after all." Keep communicating with (a) new guy(s), even if you're not feeling that "spark" initially. Remember that your lukewarm feelings might be just because you haven't gotten over the last guy completely. It may not be because the new guy is totally lame.

Well, Steven has mostly passed my main dealbreaker, which is "no desire for children." He is "undecided" because he's open to whatever. Hey, I'll take that and give him a shot.

Friday, January 8, 2010

How "Christian" Should I Be on the First Date?

There was interesting discussion on eharmony's advice website regarding whether or not to discuss faith on the first date. This is an issue with which I sometimes grapple.

For a long time (ever since I became "interested" in boys), I said I only wanted to pursue romantic relationships with Catholic men. However, I never could get into a relationship with any Catholic guy (or actually any guy). Also, when I decided to actively choose childfreedom (rather than "waiting to see"), I realized I had to expand my dating horizons beyond Catholic boys. All the good Catholic boys want to have a litter of Catholic children. For me, children is the dealbreaker, and I don't yet know if religion has to be.

In terms of whether or not to bring up faith on the first date or early in the relationship, I don't bring it up unless my date brings it up. Because my dates have all been with guys I met online, though, they know I'm Catholic before we meet in person (it's in my profile). I also mention in my profile that faith is important to me, but I'm not perfect and open to dating people of different faiths. On a Christian site, I go on about all the Christian groups with whom I'm affiliated.

Now, it seems logical to bring up religion right away if that's really important to you. However, even though I don't consider myself an evangelical Bible-thumping Christian, if I bring up too much about my faith too fast, I know I'll come off as an overly righteous "Jesus freak." It's not that I'm ashamed of being Christian or am trying to hide it. I believe the best way to evangelize is to LIVE like a Christian. But I guess if you're the type that's, to put it nicely, very open and assertive about your Christianity, then you have to put it on the table early with a, "This is who I am, take it or leave it" attitude. If you need someone with as assertive as faith as you, though, you probably should just stick with Christian singles sites.

St. Francis said "Preach the Gospel at all times. When necessary, use words." One of the songs we sometimes sing at Mass has a line that says, "And they'll know we are Christians by our love." I prefer to "show" that I'm Christian rather than "tell" that I'm Christian.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Staying in the friend zone

Since I started my dating escapades in August 2009, there have been two guys with whom I wanted to pursue a romantic relationship, and both just wanted to remain friends. Not surprisingly, this is common in my life! I am living proof that men aren't the only ones who are friend-zoned. I'm over "Walter" (name changed), the young man I crushed on during September. It took a month for me to get over him 100%. Now I can't believe I was ever infatuated with him!

Well, the current boy, "Nate," dropped the friend zone thing on me in mid-December after I confessed my like for him, and I am still not 100% over him. If I could quantify it, I'd say I'm more than 50% over him. We started talking and hanging out in October. Yeah, I know some say you should never directly tell a guy you like him. You should do what's gender-appropriate, meaning be indirect and "drop hints." Women are socialized to be indirect and subtle. But it wasn't a disaster when I told Walter I liked him, so my inner feminist doesn't care about that rule!

I told Nate I'm okay with being friends, which is true. I am just "okay" with it, not ecstatic. However, I refuse to do what guys have done to me in the past when I told them I wanted to stay friends: completely disappear. I will not shy away from hanging out with Nate or talking with him just because my heart isn't totally through with him. I must confront the situation. My heart should heal within a couple weeks. She always does.

Anyway, I hung out with him yesterday, and although I was getting closer to being 100% through with Nate, the butterflies fluttered back. We went to a museum, then to one of my favorite cafes and had a great, deep conversation. It is still frustrating to me that I connect with Nate on so many levels, that we share so many similar long term goals, and that we agree on my dealbreaker, which is no desire for children ever. Yet we stay "just friends." It's hard to find a date who's childfree! Even guys in my age group have the baby rabies. My friend, "Amie," said perhaps he'll change his mind, that maybe it will work out after we've known each other longer than a few months. Again, we just met in October. But I refuse to wait around hoping for a rom com ending, where "no" turns into "yes." He confesses that he loved me all along but was too scared or whatever. If he said he wants to stay friends, I should just believe him and move on. I might have just made my first male "platonic soulmate."

So I have 27 more days in January to find a date/singles event, so I need to get a move on that, despite the fact that my heart still pines a little for Nate. It doesn't help that now I'll think of him whenever I open the fridge. He let me pick out something from the gift shop, and I picked a sequined strawberry magnet. It sounds cornier than it really is (totally cute :-) ). I know he only got it to reach the $10 credit card minimum purchase, but that's actually the first "gift" I ever received from a guy.

Is it a blessing or a curse that I encounter so many gentlemanly and friendly guys when none of them ever want a romantic relationship?

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Chatrooms aka Social Wastelands

In my continued attempts to "put myself out there" in ways most suitable to my introverted personality, I decided to start going into chatrooms again. When I was circa 14 years old, I was a regular in a few chatrooms. I talked to people from all over the world, mostly about our favorite music. I had joined chatrooms relating to my favorite bands and TV shows. Now, I know that there are perverts, pedophiles and sexophiles in chatrooms. Occasionally, I'd get messages asking for A/S/L and if I wanted to "cyber." However, chatting was overall positive, friendly and fun. Also, I have a couple friends who actually met their spouses in chatrooms. So I figured, why not check these out again after about a decade hiatus?

Wow. What has happened? I downloaded ICQ again and perused some Yahoo chatrooms and was appalled by the caliber of people in those particular rooms! Everyone was just asking "A/S/L?" and looking for a good time, to put it politely.

I decided to go into a "Christianity" chatroom in hopes of doing some faith sharing. I ended up in a "debate" with some Atheists and was trying to defend my beliefs and faith at 11:00 at night. Needless to say, I was not in the mood for a fight, I mean debate :-P. I basically asked why these Atheists were in a Christian chatroom, and they answered that it was a public chatroom and therefore it was okay to debate about Christianity there, a somewhat adolescent "it's a free country, there's no rule AGAINST it," response. True, it was a public chatroom and it would actually be very un-Christian to make a chatroom where non-Christians weren't welcomed. But come on. It might be "legal" for a non-Christian to be in the room, but is it really moral to go into a Christian chatroom with the intent of proving the silly, illogical, blind-believing Christians wrong, of picking a fight? If I went to an Islam chatroom, it would be to ask a question, without agenda, i.e. "What's the criteria for meat to be halal?" or "Is it law for Muslim women to wear burkas, or just an optional practice?" I wouldn't be trying to look for holes in their answer and pick a fight! That's disrespectful.

Anyway, after the cybersex requests and attacks from Atheists, I decided to abandon the chatroom idea as a means for meeting new people, at least for the time being. I wonder if the #Jamiroquai or #SailorMoon rooms still exist, and if any of my old online buddies still go?