Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's all about Drew (Marnie)

The other night I was flipping through the channels and saw Drew Barrymore being interviewed by Jay Leno. I don't know about you, but I've always liked her. She's had a crazy life...her parents didn't look out for her and she got into drugs, alcohol, and the party life - even entered rehab - all before she was 13. She's also had her share of many relationships - multiple marriages and engagements that ended. But I've always liked her. One thing I've admired about her is that she has always had a positive attitude - no matter what experience she had just gone through. This girl could have become even more crazy and whacked out because of her terrible upbringing and even from her genes. (She comes from a long line of alcoholics.) But she cleaned up her life by 15 and has maintained an upbeat and hopeful outlook. She's always talking about being happy and finding the good in everyone. That's really impressive for someone who has lived the darker side of Hollywood.

I was once again reminded about her positive attitude when Jay asked her a question about her being single. She had the best answer I've ever heard. It went something like, "Yes, I've been single 9 months. And I love being single right now! What a great opportunity! I can focus on my work and on my friends. And really, the prospect of a new love is exciting! It could be right around the corner! How romantic!"

Those words really humbled me. Why can't I have that kind of excitement about my single status? Why when someone asks me if I'm dating someone I get defensive and start trying to prove I'm working on finding a mate? And it is so true what Drew said - love CAN be right around the corner - and it often is. Especially if you are in a good place and generally happy. There have been several times in the last couple of years where I've had a good attitude about my single life and had hope and faith that a relationship was just up ahead. And I was right! And I don't believe that's a coincidence. And even though those relationships didn't end up in marriage - ok, not even close - all of them have ended up being a significant experience with someone - and I have some great memories and learned some important things from each of them.

I think because we talk so much about eternal marriage, we think that we are always failing if our relationships don't end in a trip to the temple. But dating and relationships is about finding the right person to take us to the temple. So really we aren't failing; we are separating the wheat from the chaff! And that goes for when the guy breaks up with us. Because if they don't appreciate us or want to make the effort to commit, they are DEFINITELY considered chaff and not right for us!

(Of course, trying to keep that in mind is easier said than done - especially if you fell in love with that chaff...)

My good friend - who is now married - always had the best philosophy about dating and relationships. She believed that relationships were meant to teach us things and that they were necessary and important BEFORE we get to the right guy we marry. Too often I go on a date thinking, "can I marry him?" instead of, "do I want to spend the next date with him?" or "What can I learn from this guy?" And each of those relationships I have had taught me TONS of things I needed to know and helped me with the next one. I think having my friend's outlook on relationships and dating can really help when that relationship does end and disappointment sets in. Because it's no longer a failure, it's a learning experience. And as another good friend told me: Life is a laboratory. There is no failing - just a lot of experimenting!

Bouncing back from a disappointment or even keeping a good attitude after a long spell of no dating is the hardest part. But it's so necessary if you are going to get to the next relationship. You have to keep hope alive and believe that there is someone else out there that will really appreciate you and want to spend time with you - even if it's for a little while.

It's all about getting that hope back. If you have just an inkling of hope, it can grow! Especially if you nurture it with positive feelings, hard work (usually means going to singles activities and flirting), and a whole lot of faith and prayers. And as that hope grows, you really can't help in feeling those positive vibes and feeling happier about life and your current single status. And then those positive vibes will be returned back to you - sometimes in the form of a really good date - and even a relationship.

So I really think Drew Barrymore has a good thing going! And I plan on responding the same way next time someone asks me if I'm single.

You know, I never thought I'd say it (because really, she married Tom Green!), but from now on I'm going to try to be more like Drew!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I apologize to the men in my dating pool (marnie)

Ok, so I’m feeling a little guilty about something I said in my last blog. I compared my dating pool to a bushel of overripe apples. Yeah, its not the meanest thing I’ve compared men to, but it isn’t a good one. Nor is it respectful.

I used to have a very dim view of the opposite sex for a time (ok, all through my 20s). They could never do anything right! And if one male misbehaved, I slammed them all. And I did this in my every day conversation. Yeah, you wonder why I didn’t get married before I was 30, huh??

Well, I’m a reformed slammer of men. I don’t think pointing out the faults of a group of people have ever built bridges to understanding that group of people. It’s better to take the positive and focus on it. I know one of the things I desire most from people is understanding and compassion. And I know I have some really shallow points about myself that I’m sure some other people don’t like. But I would much rather them focus on my really good points that I’m proud to have worked on and actually achieved. So shouldn’t I also give that much courtesy to others?

And the truth is, I have met and dated some wonderful guys! Wonderful guys that have been in my same social status predicament. And if I truly have changed, I shouldn’t be comparing these guys to rotten apples. That’s just rude!

A girlfriend of mine was telling me about her boyfriend and some of the things he’s done for her as they’ve become closer in their relationship. She has a hard time believing he really digs her a lot and it’s hard for her to see when he is sacrificing and making her priority. But because I’m an outsider, I can see it as clear as day! What a great guy! Not perfect, but he tries so hard to do what’s best for both of them. It’s good to see a man committed to putting his girlfriend first and trying to work as a team as they figure out their social agendas (both family obligations as well as their own wants and needs). He is an outstanding man that really is a good representative of how many good men that are out there.

Yeah, I know. They screw up. They come off as selfish brats sometimes. But they also come through, too! And I know that as I’ve focused on their good points (harder to do when you’ve recently been rejected, mind you), I’ve found I’m happier and more upbeat about the future. And I’ve dated a whole lot more. Sure, some of those dates haven’t been my favorite, but it’s nice to be wanted enough for them to take me out!

So, I apologize to all the men in my dating pool! I think you are tremendous! And even though some of you don’t prefer my company, that’s ok too!

As that primary song goes, “Kindness begins with me….” - I pledge to keep seeking out the good in the men I know and even point out the good things I see they do when I have the opportunity. Not only will it help me keep positive but it will reinforce those behaviors that often go overlooked and unrecognized. It will also help me identify the kind of man I’m looking for to date and eventually marry. And that’s a win-win situation.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

To Celebrate or Not to Celebrate (Leah)

I wanted to post something I’ve been thinking about but I don’t want to be “negative.” We’ll see how it goes. This week one of my single guy friends sent an article to me about Valentine’s. It basically stated that it’s a retailers’ holiday and should be boycotted for the sake of true love. Bob full heartedly agreed with the article. I’m one to shun “the establishment” and I too hate to think I’m being “sold” anything so normally I’d be agreeing with him. Well, maybe it’s because I’m happily connecting with Phil these days, but I found myself disagreeing. (Maybe if I’d read the article during a between-Phils stage I’d have agreed with it.) Anyway, because this anti-vday article got me thinking about how men (Bob is a guy and the author of the article is a guy) view the holiday I began noticing how other men I know (married friends, co-workers, etc) view the holiday. And I was surprised and a bit sad to see plenty of v-day haters. I get the impression that they don’t like it because they feel manipulated. Nobody likes to be manipulated. I think in the world of expressing emotion there can be a lot of undue pressure put on men to express things they may feel, but would rather not express on command or in a rote way. It DOES seem that society has trained us to think that the only acceptable form of expressing affection is in the form of candy and flowers. Well, with all this thinking I decided that if a man really wants to buck the system and be independent and non-manipulated by the retail industry he can find plenty of alternative ways for expressing his emotion. As for the date he does it – I say it never hurts to have an excuse to show some love. It’s like ward temple day – sure you can go when you want, but it’s sort of nice to have a set date to do it in case you tend to forget and there’s something communal and good natured about doing it with others. Celebrate!

Friday, February 13, 2009

maybe if more men recited poetry (marcia)

With Valentines Day coming up, I thought I'd share my new favorite poem that Clue recited to me when we were just starting to get serious. It totally worked.

The Bread and the Knife by Billy Collins

You are the bread and the knife,
the crystal goblet and the wine.
You are the dew on the morning grass
and the burning wheel of the sun.
You are the white apron of the baker,
and the marsh birds suddenly in flight.

However, you are not the wind in the orchard,
the plums on the counter, or the house of cards.
And you are certainly not the pine-scented air.
There is just no way that you are the pine-scented air.

It is possible that you are the fish under the bridge,
maybe even the pigeon on the general's head,
but you are not even close to being the field of cornflowers at dusk.

And a quick look in the mirror will show
that you are neither the boots in the corner
nor the boat asleep in its boathouse.

It might interest you to know,
speaking of the plentiful imagery of the world,
that I am the sound of rain on the roof.
I also happen to be the shooting star,
the evening paper blowing down an alley
and the basket of chestnuts on the kitchen table.

I am also the moon in the trees
and the blind woman's tea cup.

But don't worry,
I'm not the bread and the knife.

You are still the bread and the knife.
You will always be the bread and the knife,
not to mention the crystal goblet and--somehow--the wine.

Happy Valentines Day!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Persistence and Patience (Marnie)

I’ve just finished reading, If I’m so Wonderful, Why Am I Still Single? By Susan Page. She has a lot of insightful information in that book! Some of it really hit home and I’ll go into some of the issues I identified with in later posts. But one of the principles she talked about is Persistence and Patience. She says the key to getting married is really to keep dating and not give up. Don’t burn yourself out, but just keep trying and trying. Well, easier said than done!

These last few months have been about me working on my mantra and actually living it. The gist of it is that I believe I can meet some great “potentials” and date them. That means not only repeating this mantra several times each day, but living it. I’ve gone beyond my normal comfort zone of attending parties (several on New Years eve alone!!) and functions where I can meet the kind of guys I want to date. I’ve flirted, done the security guard stare, and tried to be as open an approachable as possible. It’s a lot of work and I’ve had my moments of awkwardness and disappointment. But I have had some success. I even went out with a couple of guys – even one that I really thought there was a real possibility.

But unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. It’s sad because I really thought there could be something there.

I kinda feel like I’ve been through a bushel of overripe apples – studied, examined and found the best apple that looked the tastiest out of all of them, took a bite and realized it had lost all of it’s flavor. It was such a promising apple!! And now after a whole bushel, not one apple that fits my needs. I feel so deflated from the last apple that I can’t help be think discouraging thoughts such as, “really? This is the best there is out there?” Or, “What are the chances that I find a guy that has what I’m looking for AND is emotionally ready for a long-term commitment? Or even wants me back?? Is that even possible???”

It seems so futile. And I just want to throw my hands up in the air and walk away because the emotional investment and risk taking to just meet guys and try to encourage them to ask you out leaves you in all sorts of vulnerable positions and completely drained. Who wants to do THAT again? Especially when the options can look so bleak at times.

Well, I’m not into self-pitying for too long. I believe this book. Not because it has some magic answer but that it speaks truth. Statistically speaking, the more you get yourself out there and take risks, the sooner you will stumble into the right guy that is ready for something real and meaningful (aka marriage).

So until I find some new good possibilities and find who I’m looking for I’m going to keep repeating over in my head, “persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience, persistence and patience.”

Hey, I may even cross-stitch it!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Love Languages (Leah)

I just tried writing something for work. It got lost in a careless computer button pushing error. I tried to rewrite it and came up dry. So, instead, I’ll try to post something on the blog!
I’ve recently been discussing the challenges of dating with a friend whose boyfriend hates gift giving and thus hates holidays. As a gift giver herself, she’s extremely sad about this upcoming weekend. In fact, I bet she’s convinced her relationship won’t last past Saturday. I can’t blame her. Every time I try to think of “tomorrow” I can easily scare myself. I keep focusing just on today. In her case, though, it seems like some serious consideration of the love languages is called for.
Have we all read it? I think it’s been around for awhile. I read it years ago – three or four Phils ago, actually. It’s taken me awhile to figure out my love languages. I’m pretty sure mine is quality time. I love it when a friend calls or visits and just spends time catching up hearing all my woes. I am also big of physical touch, but I’ve learned the hard way over the years that touch doesn’t always equal love like I thought it did. Gift giving, my friend’s love language, is not spoken by her boyfriend, thus giving her a bit of a challenge in truly expressing her love, or feeling loved. Gifts make me happy, but only when it seems like a gift that took time and attention, and the love is felt in the exchanging of gifts. Words of affirmation may be a big one for me. All I know is that in the years I’ve been dating I rarely hear them – I wonder if it’s just not a guy thing. When Phil expresses himself in words, like that, though, I feel like I’m flying. I know that all love languages speak to us, but if you have a primary one that your significant other is not especially talented in expressing then you need to be aware that it’s time for you to learn a foreign language. I really do believe the languages can be learned – both in giving and receiving. Wouldn’t true love be shown if I managed to express love in a way that means a lot to Phil, even if it doesn’t come terribly naturally for me? Now if I can only figure out with more confidence what his love language is. I guess I better ask more questions – do some finding out!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Caution: Dating Causes Humility - and Sometimes Humiliation (Marnie)

So all those non-dating years from 16 to 30 really has left me miles away from being properly experienced for dating. I'm sure everyone has had their learning experiences about what is kosher on a date and what is totally taboo. I've watched lots of chick flicks trying to make up from a huge lack of personal experience, but sometimes I just choke!

Like for instance, the guy I've been waiting to ask me out for months caught me off guard when he called me and asked me out. He asked me for a night I couldn't go. Instead of doing the appropriate, "Oh, I'm not available Friday night, how about Saturday night?" all I could do was ramble about how I had to go to a stupid function and how I wished I didn't. I knew after the conversation that he would think I was just being polite and trying to let him down easy. It was so sad that I didn't have enough experience (or brain cells) to spit out what I SHOULD of said to give him the proper vibes to encourage him of my interest. I CHOKED.

I knew he wouldn't ask me out again (call it intuition or revelation, whichever), so I took a chance and asked him out to something I needed a date for awhile later. Luckily he said yes. I was having such a relaxed, good time with him that night that I started forgetting I was on a first date - which can be dangerous.

Now the dating books say that on a first date you are supposed to be on your best behavior, try to watch what you say and not be offensive. On a first date, a lot rests on first impressions when it comes to getting that second date. Did I remember that? No! I just kept spewing - talking off the cuff and not really thinking about what I was saying. (I couldn't help it!! he was really easy to talk to!)

Then I heard a huge generality coming from my mouth, "Yeah, I never want to be rich. Rich people are snobs and their children are spoiled rotten and become menaces to society" and so forth. At one point he said, looking rather serious, "how much does a person have to make before you consider them rich?" Because I don't know this guy all that well, I knew I had gone into dangerous territory - what if his family WAS rich and I just offended him and his family? Maybe he was rich!! WHY WAS I STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS???

This is of course not the first time I've made a fool out of myself or learned the hard way about the rules of etiquette on dates or to put it bluntly - what turns a guy off...there really are too many to bring up.

But stuff like this reminds me why I've avoided dating for some many years - so many opportunities to look silly or say something embarrassing. Now that I'm in a time in my life that I am dating and practicing a fair amount, it still brings me down that I still have so far to go before I'm not making silly blunders like this. UGH! What I wouldn't do for rewind buttons on dates!!

Before you think I feel too sorry for myself, I know this goes both ways and guys have their humiliating moments. I've witnessed behavior by dates that I know they wished they could have a "do-over" (like we used to get as kids when playing kick ball).

I went out with one guy who had a cow because I beat him at a card game and INSISTED on a rematch instead of just going to the next activity. When he did beat me he rubbed it in my face like he had done something great. He later mentioned that he felt bad for acting like that.

And then there was the guy that went ON and ON about his stomach and bowel problems. That wasn't fun to hear - and I didn't ask.

Then there was the guy that talked the WHOLE night about his ex-wife and how mean she was. And then to top it off he bragged about how he got kicked off a dating website for "inappropriate" behavior - three times!

I'm sure all of them thought later that maybe they shouldn't have said what they said during the night. I know I regretted hearing it.

But sometimes it turns out ok in the end. A friend of mine once told me that on her fist date with her husband, he stood up from the table at a restaurant and acted like a monkey - literally. She later asked him why he did it. He admitted that he was just trying to impress her and that's what came to his mind to do right then. He regretted it.

It worked out in the end for them - because they got married - and I guess if there is really "something" between two people, it won't matter in those silly embarrassing moments. But many times have I made a snap judgment on a guy by one thing he said? He is trying to impress me as much as I'm trying to impress him! Maybe I should be giving more "do-overs" myself. I know that's what I would want.

So, that cute guy that I went out with and hoped he would call to ask me out again? Yep...didn't call. Here's hoping it wasn't the "rich" comment and instead he left town for the weekend! Maybe next week he'll call???

Ah! Humility...What a glorious thing! (insert sarcasm here)

The question of the week: what's the most embarrassing thing you've done or said on a date?