Monday, July 20, 2009

Setups and Mayonnaise (Marnie)

Back in 2001, I wrote this "article" for a friend's magazine endeavor. After re-reading it, I actually remember writing it and the experiences that inspired this article. Wow. Nothing like going down memory lane...I wish I were farther along than I am, but I'm afraid that some things haven't changed: I still HATE set-ups!

So, I thought I would share it with you:

“Setups are like a sandwich with too much mayonnaise”

If you’ve ever been on a set up date, you know the feeling that you get in the pit of your stomach when the ominous knock on the door happens by the guy you will have to spend at least 4 hours of your life with. You don’t know what he looks like, just a name. You of course, do a prejudgment with this important information…Dilbert Schultz doesn’t do anything for you…nor does a Mario Buccumbuso…yet, Brad Cruise or Harrison McConkie seems to spark something in you that makes you think, yeah, it could be “him.”

You tentatively walk to the door swallowing your gum (because it’s uncool to be chomping on a first date…that’s reserved for the 2nd date) giving a quick prayer that he doesn’t remind you of the kid that creeped you out in 8th grade.

As the door opens you look at his face and think silently (you hope) that you can’t be in that time of life where you are going out with a guy that looks THAT old. Yep, check the mirror, baby! You ARE getting old.

The first moments of the date are spent in spastic chatter while trying to act as casual as you can. You think, “Yeah, I’m calm…I’m cool, I’m collect…I’m rambling about my obsession with Coo Coo Roos.” So much for a great first impression.

The night is spent in trying oh-so-hard to “be yourself.” Yet you can’t pass up the chance to stress your finer points. “So what do you do in your spare time?” “I visit the homeless shelter and give blood when I can.” Sure, it’s true, but you conveniently forget that most of your time is spent in front of the TV. And of course, everything you hear out of his mouth, you judge to be a half truth – “yeah, surrrre you passed the bar the first time.” Nothing like pulling a double standard!

As the night draws to a close, you’ve both done your best to be as interesting as you can (so the report back to the mutual friend is that you were the better conversationalist). But as he drives you home as slow as physically possible (that “old guy” thing must really be true), the dreaded silence clouds over the car. You’ve already made a mental check-list in your mind of previous topics discussed. You’ve covered: his family, his career, his schooling, his hobbies, his mission, his favorite food, his favorite Nintendo game, his preferred toothpaste. Nothing is left. You dart your eyes out the window, looking for anything to talk about…ANYTHING.

“Yeah, that’s the Smith’s I shop at. It has better produce then Albertsons, even though Albertsons is closer to my house.” “Oh, you shop three times a week? Wow. That’s really interesting. I try to go only once a week. Saves on the bills. Oh, yeah. You don’t have to worry about that. You passed the bar.” Nope, not hitting it off.

You get home and get through the dreaded door scene. “Um, thanks! I really had a good time.” “We should go again sometime?” “Sure.” Could it be more awkward?

The roommates wait up and want the scoop. Did you like him? Well, he wasn’t offensive. Was he cute? He didn’t scare me, but then I wasn’t ready for him to touch me either. Did he make you comfortable? Are you kidding me? I didn’t let “me” be comfortable, it was a set-up! Do you want to go out with him? I have no idea…

The date had all the potential in the world…two seemingly normal people with a commonality of religion and apparently the same bad case of aversion to marriage. It should have worked! Yet the set-up was ruined…the moment I opened the door.

* This is not a true story although this article was inspired by real events. The gentleman is now happily married with 2 children. And that’s the way it goes…

Friday, July 17, 2009

Shopping for a Relationship (Leah)

Hmm, I tried to come up with a clever title, but I'm afraid I didn't capture my true message. Maybe it will attract readers, though, with its sensationalism! What I really want to communicate, though, is how finding a mate can be a lot like buying a house for the first time.

Over the summer three of my good friends have all bought their first homes. As a home owner myself it was interesting to relive my experience through them. When they'd come to me with different fears or stresses I was reminded of my own back in the day. It also reminded me of some wisdom I've learned about shopping for a house in relation to finding a mate.

When I first considered buying a home I went to my neighbor, Bob. He was a home owner and recently married a good woman - two of the big things I was hoping to do. I feared that by buying a home I would become stuck and less available for marriage. Bob assured me that by owning a home I would be more desirable to a man. He said he would have been more than pleased if his good wife had a home when they married. So I did it. And you would not believe this, but I got my first serious boyfriend (in years) right about the time I moved in. Oh how I loved that Phil - but then he moved and we broke up and you know how life goes. Truthfully, though, I've had a few Phils since and none of them seemed concerned about me owning a home. One actually told me that he considered it a huge asset - I think he loved me for my home.

Now let me share another bit of wisdom I gained from another Bob in relation to home ownership. This Bob was a newlywed when we were visiting one day. He was giving me advice on a relationship. He said that when men date it's a lot like house shopping. They look about and pick a home that they think is super. What makes them love that home, though, is knowing that others will want that home as well and it's a bit of a challenge to be the one that gets it. He said he was never tempted by houses that nobody wanted and that he could get for super cheap. I think he was trying to tell me that men like a bit of a chase - they want to feel like they work for her and win her. I've heard similar things from dating coaches so I think my Bob may have been right.

As for my own lessons learned in house buying, well, it was a real faith exercising experience. Just like dating, I felt like going forward in the looking and then negotiating required a lot of patience, confidence, trust, and out right luck. Just when I thought I had the perfect house things came up that made me question if I really wanted it. I also wondered if I was getting a great deal or if I was being taken advantage of. I've felt similarly in past relationships. When you start to feel more used than honored then that's a good sign to get out. I had to remember, though, that no house would be perfect. So when I am tempted to give up on things or find faults in Phil I have to remind myself of what I really want. In shopping for a house I didn't get the dishwasher I wanted but I did get the garage. It was a tough decision at the time, but I am thrilled by my decision, just as I know I'll be when I finally get my man.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Importance of Proof-reading (Marnie)

I mentioned before that I had decided to go online. I'm now on two LDS single websites. I've chosen LDSplanet and LDSSingles. I found LDSplanet to be a place where I attract men at least 10 to 15 years older than me. I can't tell you how discouraging that is! One email from a guy even said, "I wish you were younger! I'm old enough to be your dead." Yes, he typed "dead" instead of "dad." Even a better sign that we are NOT meant for each other.

I did find a cool feature that may cut down on communication from "older" gentlemen of that website. Under My Account, there is a section called "preferences." Under preferences, I can decide what age group can "view" me. Oh, it's a splendid feature!! I have limited it to 35 to 45 (I'm 38). That's the age range I'm comfortable with. Now, I am no longer getting creepy old guys sending me flirts like "love at first sight!" anymore! Now if they ONLY had that feature on LDSSingles...

LDSSingles tends to be more my style. I like how it shows more detailed information up front about the individual. I'm getting some emails from some guys my age which has been nice. One email asked me about my profile and wondered how I could hold a temple recommend if I said I never attended church. DOH!!! It appears that I failed to complete the profile and the default setting was "never attends church." It's been like this for at least a week and a half (when I first signed up) and for at least 3 emails I've sent out to potential guys that have not responded.

I since fixed it so it appropriately reflects who I am. I can only imagine what it would be like to get an email from a girl that is on a LDS website and specifically says, "never attends church." Not a good way to attract church going men - which I am looking for among other things.

So the lesson here? Double check your profile and proof-read! Oh, and change up the picture if it's not getting a good response. That helped too...

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Reporting in...(Marnie)

It’s July 5th, and I’m reporting in on my goals that I hoped to achieve by July 1st.

GOAL: Four dates by July 1st (to help me accomplish my "50 dates a mate" goal)
RESULTS: I did not get ONE date from a guy I had not been out with before! I guess I’m in a slump! Before I could at least get 1 if not 2 within a month’s time, but although I tried hard, it just didn’t happen. I did get asked out, but one guy canceled and said we would figure it out later (It’s been 2 weeks). And the other facebooked me and after I told him, "Sure! Let's go out!" He said he had to go “out of town.” It was VERY odd!! The “out of town” one isn’t a great choice. He doesn’t have any of the qualities that I’m looking for, so I may just skip him altogether. Then, I can focus more on guys that DO have the qualities I’m looking for. Of course, they appear to be currently hiding…

GOAL: Be on 2 single websites by July 1st
RESULTS: Well, I joined one website! But the 2nd one I haven’t done yet. I’ve been a bit disappointed about the response of the first website: LDSPlanet. Initial response was from 95% men that were over 50 years old. Are they kidding?? I'm 38!! I guess my profile or picture implies I’m desperate, because one is even being overly persistent. I’m blocking him the next time he sends me a “love at first sight” flirt! I guess I need to start searching for potentials myself and sending some flirts at the guys that at least “appear” normal. I’m not great at being the first to contact, but I guess it’s time to get over that. I do have faith that it will get better. I know in my singles ward, the first few months were all about meeting the crazy and creepy guys. They preyed on the new people. Once you work through them and they know you won’t be dating them, they move onto the next new batch. And then, the normal guys started to come out and approach me. Maybe that will happen on the website too. Here’s hoping!!

GOAL: Attend 3 new venues (places where singles can be) and practice 10 flirting techniques at each
RESULTS: I did attend 2 new venues where I did a great job at completing the flirting techniques. But then I had 2 new venues that I got a total of 8 all together. I blame it on timing and lack of males in each venue. Then I ran out of days in the month.

Overall, I guess it wasn’t a bad month. I didn’t really complete all my goals – ok, I did terrible! But I at least got it started. I’m hoping July is full of lots of activities and new venues to go to. We’ll see how the websites go…I’m a bit skeptical, but maybe it won’t be as bad as I think.