Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Why do stores hate my body?

This isn't directly related to virginity or singledom. However, it is about the plight of the modern American woman and has been on my mind the past 24 hours. :-P So I wanted to blog about it.

I was doing some after-Christmas shopping with my fellow virgin friend, Amy. After a couple hours of finding nothing, I whipped out my phone and put on my facebook status, "I don't understand why stores don't like my body. I'm not the only one with curves in this city!"

Oh the slew of comments that followed! I don't think I've ever had such an active discussion on my status. Basically, everyone agreed that shopping sucks and it's hard to find anything that flatters your body. The crazy thing is, it's hard for everyone. EVERYONE. Well, at least everyone who responded to or "liked" my status. Not all of them were curvy. One girl was short and lamented that she can't find anything either. She has to get clothes altered. Even one guy said he can't find any clothes.

I don't HATE my body. I like having curves, though I do wish the butt was a little smaller! It's not fun shopping for pants or skirts when your hips are two sizes bigger than your waist (according to the clothing makers). I just get frustrated when clothes that suit my frame are not "in style."

I know what looks good on me. I'm not a poor grad student anymore or a broke teenager who doesn't know any better about what clothes to get. I hate having to "settle" for second-best (or third-best) clothes even though I now can afford to pay more for nicer stuff. It used to be I had to settle for not-as-flattering stuff because it was the cheapest thing that could get over my hips. I can pay $50 for a flattering skirt now (which I did, by the way, on this shopping trip because I couldn't find one like it anywhere else).

I think about "What Not to Wear," that TLC show where the hosts make people throw away their old wardrobes, give them lessons on what to buy for their body, and send them off to stores with a credit card to buy new clothes. Some people would break down and cry when they put on clothes that actually flattered them. "Wow, I have gorgeous legs!" "Hey, I do have a nice rack!" "I never thought I could look like this." It's so true! When you finally put on a pair of jeans that are actually cut for you, when you put on a dress that shows off your best assets, oh my goodness. It can drive you to tears, especially after years of walking into stores that have nothing, of seeing "beautiful" people on TV who look nothing like you. No matter how highly you think of yourself, it can be discouraging. And you settle. You settle for the "best you can find," instead of the best.

And how often do women settle in their lives? The clothing shopping experience becomes a metaphor for women's (perhaps everyone's) lives. You know what you want out of life, you know exactly what will make you happy, but you can't find it and don't know where to look for it or how to attain it, so you "settle." You settle for good enough. The good enough jeans, the good enough dress, the good enough dinner, the good enough car, the good enough job, the good enough boyfriend. Sometimes good enough is all you need (like a "good enough" tomato), but when everything in your life is "good enough," especially if you're a dreamer, you want to pull out your hair in frustration. Life is too exciting, there's too much for you to experience, yet you're stuck in the ordinary, the "good enough."

So my friend with the generous thighs and I buy low-rise jeans that we constantly pull up every time we sit down, because even though the waist is too big, we need to get jeans that fit over our big butts. We need mid-rise or high-rise, but guess what? Mid-rise jeans that are relaxed in the thighs are not "in style." Instead, all the mid-rise jeans are tight through the thighs right now. We have a hard time finding jeans that are tight in the waist and loose in the hips.

The glimmer of light in my facebook comment string was by the end, I put together everyone's recommendations for curvy-friendly stores. It shows how necessary it is for women to get together, share our stories, share our wisdom, even if the wisdom is about something as "unimportant" as where to buy cute jeans. Individually, we have little clue how to go about our lives, but together, we can do this!

By the way, here's our list in case you need some ideas:

"Seven" at Lane Bryant
"St. John's Bay" at J.C. Penney
Fashion Bug
Old Navy (sometimes)
the maternity department at any store

I also typically have good luck at New York and Company and H&M.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

What's it like to be a "spinster?"

Apparently, a ton of fun!

Last Saturday, I went to a party hosted by someone in the Book Club. A friend of hers, Rosie, also attended the party. I mostly hung out with other Book Clubbers but Rosie made the rounds and eventually stopped by our little cluster.

Rosie is in her late forties, unmarried with no kids. She is also a seasoned partier! She lives in a suburb that's about two hours away by the suburban train. She decided not to take her car into the city because the forecast called for a heavy snowstorm. So that night, she had packed a bag with a change of shoes (she was in stilettos), money for taxis, and was on her way to another party where she was going to crash for the night. This party I attended was mostly middle aged people by the way. I think I was the youngest one there, and I'm in my late twenties. So this wasn't drunkfest. People drank wine and just a couple bottles of beer brewed at local breweries or in people's homes. No tequila shots and Beer Pong.

Anyway, Rosie talked a little about some of her travels. She also discussed her annoyance with people who just wanted to talk about their kids. She liked to talk about ideas. She mentioned a book club she used to attend where the women would talk about the book for five minutes and then start talking about babies and all things child-related. Torture! If I spend a few weeks reading a book, I don't want to talk about it as a group for five minutes!

So I related to her love of travel and love for intelligent conversation. She was also gorgeous! She looked ten years younger, slim, few wrinkles, big eyes, shoulder-length straight hair with a slight curl, tanned skin. She said she had no regrets and believed in living life to the fullest, taking chances. I told her I wanted to be like her when I grew up. She said she knew senior citizens whom she hoped to be like when she "grew up!" She said that it was important for us women to have role models, older women to look up to.

Listening to her, I envisioned the possibilities for me if I remained single. Rosie lives a full, exciting life. She has the energy and zest for life of someone in her twenties, yet speaks middle-age wisdom.

I won't soon forget Rosie. Single, middle aged woman today are redefining "spinster." They aren't sad old maids, knitting home alone, lamenting their lack of husband and children. They are being "fully single," doing everything possible that a single person can do. If that's the life that awaits me, singlehood won't be such a bad thing after all.

Oh and Mark, my most recent crush, was there by the way, and we barely spoke to each other. Such is what happens at parties. He spent an hour talking to a new girl, who we clubbers suspected was a new love interest. I was even able to sincerely ask if he got her number. But he stated that she was with someone else. Rarely do I witness a straight guy talking so much, so intensely with girls in whom he has no romantic interest! He and I talked about a book (of course) later in the evening, but not much more than that. Just further confirmation of his lack of interest in me. My crush came back for a second when he revealed that he can play the guitar. I am a complete sucker for guitar players! Ability to play the guitar is a much bigger turn-on for me than ability to bench-press 100 pounds. But after talking to Rosie, I wasn't lamenting my single status quite so much anyway.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

adventures on plenty of fish

I'm trying to be active on, but now I'm remembering why I didn't go on that site for several months.

There are no "catches" on plentyoffish. :-P

Seriously, do all guys just click on girls they think look pretty and send them a "wink" (or whatever it's called on pof). Do any guys read the profiles of the women they find attractive?

Once again, I'm receiving a couple messages per day that say, "Hey gorgeous, wanna chat," or something similar. There is no indication that they read my profile at all! No, "Hey, you like dancing. What kinds of dance?" It's like they all just copy and paste a stock message into every message (if they bother to send a message).

One man earlier in the week actually read my profile. But here was the issue. On my profile, I say that I tend to be more outgoing online than in "real life" (though I am less reserved once I get to know someone). I also said that I am not afraid of the "Where do we stand" conversation, so feel free to ask. Dude messaged me and said, "Both of those are red flags, but I'm still interested." The message also stated that basically I would have to prove to him why he should consider me. I don't have the exact message, but that was the gist. He also said I suffer from "online balls." I don't want to try and figure out what that means.

I wrote him back saying, "If introversion and open communication are red flags for you, we don't need to communicate." I then blocked him. Harsh? Perhaps, but telling a woman that two things in her profile are "red flags" is not the way to win her over! I already did my "proving" in the profile. I'm not going to chase any man online.

Another man was not interested in reading my profile, even after I responded to him. He had sent me a "wink" on Sunday. I checked out his profile and he actually looked kind of cute. Most of the guys who message me, I don't find attractive. However, we had nothing in common other that we were both Catholic and liked animals. He was undecided about kids. So I messaged him and asked what it was in my profile he found interesting. He admitted that the wink was really based on appearance. He asked me to instead say 3 "must know things" about myself, but not funny, nice, honest etc. Again, I already wrote my profile. I said, "Well, if you read my profile, you'll see I have a lot going on. I really can't summarize myself in 3 sentences. What are three things you want to know about?"

Haven't heard from him since Tuesday. Don't think I will.

I actually take time to write my profile. I actually spend one-two minutes reading profiles of guys I find interesting. I expect the same courtesy. Read my profile before you message me. Is that really so much to ask?

I've messaged a few guys, but haven't heard back. Such is the game I guess.

Now I'm really starting to think that the guys on pof are just looking for sex. They don't even want to spend the effort reading a couple paragraphs about someone.

I tried the paid websites and got nothing. I refuse to pay any more than I already am for that stupid elove. Other people find "love" for free. Why can't I?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Why choose virginity?

I usually avoid two posts in a day, but today I was reading about stay-at-home daughters and Purity Balls. I thought, "These people are nuts!"

But when I said, as a teenager, "I'm going to be a virgin until marriage," it put me in solidarity with these crazies.

When I think back on why I chose virginity in adolescence, though, I realize that despite being connected with these loons, I wasn't exactly like them. Firstly, I was able to choose it. Stay-at-home daughters don't choose their destiny or how to explore their sexuality. They go straight from home to husband, with no time on their own to even think about getting their cherries popped.

I thought about conversations I had with my mother. Of course, she encouraged me to wait until marriage (she only had one partner before my father, her husband), but she still said, "If you do have sex before marriage, use protection!" So there was never pressure from my mom to stay a virgin "or else." It wasn't so much about being pure because God says that's what purity is (even though that became part of it for me). It was more about protection of my body, heart and soul. Protection of the body from pregnancy and STD's, protection of the heart and soul from the heartbreak of breaking up with someone to whom you lost your virginity. Meanwhile, my dad said, "No dating until you're 16!" I was a little too obedient to that! But he said it was because teenage boys were immature and only interested in sex. I went to an all-girls high school so I don't know if that was true for every teenage boy, but the junior high boys sure seemed that way...

I think there's a difference between telling your daughter to be a virgin to please God and telling your daughter to be a virgin to protect herself. I guess both can be problematic, but at least in the latter it's more about your daughter, not rules. My parents taught me that I shouldn't give it up to a guy that didn't deserve me. My mom told me over and over, "your body is a temple, and was only designed for a king." That statement can be problematic too. I think my body is not just designed for a man's pleasure. But again, that statement is taken out of the context of a discussion of how wonderful a person I am, how precious my body is, and how I shouldn't just throw it around at any guy who flirts with me.

And I never thought for a second that abstinence-only education should be taught in public schools! I went to public schools through junior high. In the late 90's, we learned about abstinence and contraception. I liked that the best protection against pregnancy and STD's was just to not have sex. Obvious, straightforward, and you don't have to worry about taking pills or fiddling with condoms or getting tested...protected sex seemed like such a hassle. Get to the fun already!

Again, my stance is in transition. I don't want to have an oppressive definition of femininity or female sexuality. As a teenager, I didn't feel like I was missing out or that virginity was holding me back from living a full life. My early twenties were quite full and amazing, even without a boyfriend!

But now I do feel like I'm missing out. Now, I feel it's a lie to say being a virgin is still liberating or empowering me, helping me live a full life. Now, something's missing...

And I definitely don't want to be mistaken for the SAHD's or Purity Ball people! But if people still talk to me like someone who's had sex, I guess I'm not as loony as the fundamentalists.

Going...going ...gone!

No, not the virginity.

I am currently crush-less, or perhaps in-between crushes.

I finally found out indirectly that Mark actually plans on having kids someday, or at least assumes it. I never knew for sure. I don't often bring up my childfreedom in casual conversation, especially with people I only see once per month. The crush was waning, but this kills it. Those blinders have fallen off and now I'm seeing all the ways we aren't compatible anyway. If only I knew he wanted kids earlier!

It's always a mix of liberation, boredom and disappointment when a crush terminates. Who can I daydream about in idle moments? Who can I fantasize about when my thoughts wander before bed? I guess I can just daydream about celebrities, but it's not the same.

Yet I also feel “normal” again. When I listen to a love song, I won't imagine a crush singing it to me. When I watch a romantic comedy, I won't imagine myself and the crush in the leading roles.

And my searches on online dating sites, which I've resumed, won't be so half-hearted. I changed to a better picture and already got a few winks and messages, but if it doesn't look like the guy actually read my profile, I ignore the message and block the guy. Cruel? Perhaps, but I actually put a lot of effort in writing my intros. So, if a guy is actually interested, would it kill him to spend a couple minutes reading my spiel? How do I know a guy isn't just winking at everyone and copying and pasting the same message (for example, “Hey, ur beautiful. I like your smile. Let's chat”)? I take time to read profiles. Take time to read mine! It's especially annoying when guys who want kids (or worse, guys who have kids) message me. That further makes me think they didn't even read the basic stuff!

I'm slowly starting to get excited again. In my “real” journal, I've started mapping out a plan for “putting myself out there.” Yes, I'm planning. Yes, I'm being strategic about it. Not just letting it happen or “waiting” for Mr. Right to come to me. When I didn't try, nothing happened. Now I'm trying. Still no relationship, but at least I've dated now. If I didn't do online dating, I'd have no dates at all.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Am I dateable?

For awhile, I've been seeing myself as undateable. I guess it's normal to go through periods of high and low self-image. I wouldn't exactly call it self-hate or a total lack of self-love, more like some sort of acceptance. "Well, I'm not anyone's type, I guess." I have felt like giving up on dating, or at least on trying. I have felt like just "waiting" and "letting it happen" as opposed to being more proactive, like it's a waste of time for me to try dating because no one wants me anyway. I have been feeling like so many of my qualities are unwanted in a date.

Thoughts running through my head: "I'm vegan. Who would want to date someone who can't eat everywhere? Where would we go on dates?" "I don't want kids, ever, and most guys out there want kids. And the ones who don't want kids are all Atheist or non-religious." "I'm sexually inexperienced and won't put out on the third date or whatever that rule is, and every other girl will." "I'm a practicing Catholic, and nobody wants someone religious because he'll think I'm some brainwashed Jesus freak." "I can't tell a guy I have taken bellydance because he'll either think I'm a whore or flighty. How many people think, 'intelligent' when they hear someone is a bellydancer?" "I like reading, but not all kinds of books. A reader won't think I'm intellectual enough." "I like pop music, but an intellectual guy will think I'm mindless and unsophisticated if I say I like pop music." And on and on and on.

But then I remembered that there are millions of guys out there. Millions. And if a guy is my Mr. Right, being vegan, Catholic, a bellydancer, reader, choosy with the cherry, a lover of pop music and childfree won't be a turn-off.

So for the past few days, I've been changing my self-image back to something more positive! True, I'm not every guy's Ms. Right. However, that doesn't mean I'm NOBODY'S Ms. Right. My Mr. Right will have no problem with going to restaurants that have something for me besides a house salad (I don't need to go to an all-veg restaurant, but I don't want only a salad, I mean I didn't get these womanly curves by eating salad my whole life). He won't think less of me if I like pop music and bellydancing. What straight guy wouldn't be turned on by bellydancing? He won't think I'm a total prude if I don't put-out after a few dates. He'll be willing to wait longer. He won't care if I don't like every piece of high literature out there. I like reading classics, but not all of them. He'll respect my religious practices and won't think I'm a mindless sheep, drunk on the opiate of the masses. And perhaps most importantly of all, he'll either be undecided about or totally against having kids someday.

So I'm at least trying to be active again on the dating websites and trying to stay alert, awake for "sightings." I can't just sit around and "wait." That didn't work. Most of my dates have been with men I met online. So I need to be proactive. And I need to remember that though I may not turn every guy on, I'm SOMEONE'S wet dream.