Tuesday, April 24, 2012

It's on the line.

My parents are four years apart in age.  They were married when my mom was 17 and my dad was 21.  They met while my mom was working at a drive in restaurant my dad's parents owned.  My dad stole a milkshake.  And so a romance began that has lasted them 27 years.

Fast forward out of the 80s and you'll find dating has changed a little.  While relationships aren't necessarily moving any slower these days, the way that they start is quite different.  In general, people keep to themselves--heads down, noses stuck to cell phones.  I'm just as guilty of both of these things as anyone out there.  The nice man at the grocery store tries to make small talk?  I give non-committal yet friendly responses and move on quickly.  

So what's the logical next step for dating?  That's right.  Go online.

In 1998 we were all charmed by Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail.  Who doesn't love to come home after a long and stressful day in reality only to find a message from someone "I like you.  I care about you.  I want to help you."  There's something bewitching about that.  Something about getting attention from people who don't even know you that boosts the ego enough to just make your day all the better.  Your self worth is validated, even if the person validating it doesn't know you from Adam.  And, after seeing Ryan come off so good with the charming yet surprisingly down-to-earth Hanks, who wouldn't want to take the that leap of faith and end up with a lifetime of perpetual bliss with a guy like him??

According to a couple of online sources (and's most recent television commercial), one in five new, committed relationships start online.  Why is this?  

The perks: 

  • It's a meet market. (Pun intended!)  Right before your eyes you can see pages and pages of available men all looking for available women.  You can filter them by height, body type, age and working and past marital status.  Now you can flirt with, wink at and talk to men without even having to go through the displeasure of actually having to bump into them and wonder about their statistics.
  • You can choose to either ignore or accept some one's attention without having to actually worry that you'll come face to face with them if you decide you're just not interested.
  • Like Facebook, it gives you a little glance into the person's life as they see themselves.
  • You can choose to make yourself as attractive or unattractive as you want.
  • You get to take them with you right on your own personal phone--it travels wherever you go. Whoever said you never know where you're going to meet someone was on to something!
The down side:

  • Other people can also make themselves as attractive or un (though why an un I couldn't guess!) as they want and you have no way to prove or disprove them.
  • You've never actually met the person you're talking to. For all you know the guy who's chatting you up is nothing like how he's portraying himself to be.
  • When chatting online, there becomes a distinctive social line that's blurred.  In the last two days I have been approached for phone sex and an attempt was made by a 48 year old man (the same age as my father, by the way...)  to chat me up saying he'd like to get to know me a little bit better. 
  • You can spend hours talking to someone only to meet them for the first time and find that you have absolutely no chemistry with them.
  • Most of the people I've met in my own age group are just looking for a hook up.
  • You're put face to face with other's poor grammar choices.

So, here's what I'm faced with right now: Is online dating an effective way to meet someone?  I've known several people who have met their spouses online.  For many, it seems like a great alternative to traditional dating.  But how much can you really know about someone from speaking to them online?  What am I sacrificing from not just meeting people around me the traditional way? At what point does shameless flirting online desensitize you to being charming and flirtatious in real life?

Man wanted: Now taking applicants

As a single girl I pride myself on being able to do things for myself.  I can change my own tires, fluids and lights; I can build my own furniture and program my own tv; I can move heavy stuff and hold my own against the ornery, rude and nasty people of the world.  One thing I cannot do, however, is reach high places.

I'm short.  My driver's license says 5'5" but that's on a good day when I've gotten a full night of sleep and plenty of fluids.  When standing on my high kitchen chairs I maybe reach six and a half feet...add heels and I get to about 6'10"--8-ish with my arms raised...but here's my problem: ceiling is 10' high....

So what do I do??  The floor of my 10'x10' cell is currently covered with bins and coolers.  Having such a small room, it's imperative that I keep things at least semi-orderly...but for the LIFE of me I can't even get those darn bins up!  And to make it worse:

my closet is very much already full.  

Typically, I'm a fairly resourceful individual.  After the chair and the heels and the pillows stacked on top of the heels didn't work.  My next thought was to post an ad on Craigslist.  I thought it could read :  "Looking for a man to raise me up--a top shelf man who knows how to stretch. Text only, please."  But then I realized that would only end poorly. My next thought was to ask the roommates...but let's be honest, they're the same height as I am and not as strong. My final thought was to get my 6' tall best friend over here to tip it up for me.But the thing is like 50 lbs and the last thing I need is for her to fall off the chair and break her back right as her final semesters of school are starting.  

Likely, the boxes will sit on my floor until I find a place for them...but this is my question for you, dear reader [s(hopefully plural!)] what things have you encountered that you've needed a man to do for you?  I'm all for girl power and feminism, but what things are you just physically or mentally unable to handle on your own that a man/your man/some man that you know has had to help you with?  What, exactly, are men useful for? 

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Just Friends

One of the hardest things about a breakup is the aftermath.  After the crying and the tears and the mourning is over, when reality has sunk deep into your soul that this actually, really, truly is how things are one must still wake up every morning with one truth:  He's still out there.  The awful thing about a break up is that, even though you're no longer "together" you're still in each other's lives.  There's the separation of the belongings "Do you want these plates?  Or should I keep them?"  There's the forced conversations and texts and questions from casual acquaintances who haven't yet heard asking the inevitable "So!  How are you and your man doing these days??"  Not to mention the innumerable texts, tweets and Facebook updates all reminding you that he is still out there and he is moving on with his life as happy as can be.

And then there's the other thing.  There's the staying friends thing.

I'm not going to lie, I hate staying friends with an ex after we break up.  I would rather he just fall off the face of the earth and I never have to see, think of or hear from the guy again.  Usually, though, I'm the one doing the breaking, so it's an easy desire to have.  In this case, though, I'm the one who got broken.  In this case, he's the one who suggested we still be friends.  In this case, I'm just enough in love with him still to be willing to go for it.

Let me tell you this little secret, dear darling reader--being friends freaking sucks.  There's no way around it, really.  For all the above mentioned reasons, it's hard to still have someone who you're crazy about close in your life and not be a major part of theirs.  It's hard to see the updates on Facebook of flirtatious or fun things happening in that person's life.  It's hard to know that you're only allowed to see that person with prior planning and scheduling so that you won't overlap with the other girls/friends he has around.  Also, it sucks to know that you're no longer the cause of that person's happiness.

They say if you love someone then you let them go.  Well I say that's bull.  What should you do if you love someone?  You fight for them.  You hold them close.  You shield them.  You do whatever you can to make them happy.  But you don't, under any circumstances, let that person go out of your life.

And so what is my elucidation of the day?  Part of me, the part that's feeling a little bitter and neglected wants to say the lesson is to not love or to not stay friends with those who you used to love.  But no.  That's not realistic. And anyone with a dreamer's heart will know that the only true happiness for a romantic is in that love, and is in that hope, and is in that dream that some day things will be better.  And so the lesson is instead, despite the heartbreak and the hurt, the disappointment and the feelings of inadequacy and emptiness, to love, to fight, to stand strong in your love. Even if the person you think should love you back--the person you're fighting for--doesn't and won't ever return those feelings, some day, someone will deserve that kind of fierceness.  Some day, someone will love you back just as strong.

You can't keep your grasp tight if you aren't willing to exercise it.  And so I flex my love, even though it hurts.  Even though, like a muscle tearing, I feel sore for days after.  I flex because I know, some day, that love muscle will build up and I'll be stronger.  Some day, that'll be enough.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

The single girl has been gone for a while. She fell in love. She found a man she wanted to spend the rest of forever with. But now she's back. She's working in Utah. She's figuring life out. But while I'm figuring it all out, I'll probably carry you with me because now, more than ever, I'm searching for a happiness that thus far has only slipped out of my grasp.