We have strong values and beliefs and seek companions with the same. This drastically narrows the dating options, leaving us to wonder, is their any chance of finding a match?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Online Dating: Take 2

My online dating experience is already over, but as promised, I am back to complete my series of thoughts on the subject.

What I found is that if you put up a photo when things are looking good (fresh highlights, tanned skin, wearing red), and you write a cutesy profile, boys will come to you. I find this in itself to be incredible. To some I am considered an attractive gal, but I have never been the girl who is asked for her phone number from strangers. I'm not sure that I've ever been "hit on" in any sort of public setting. It's possible it happened and I didn't notice, but the signals were never obvious enough for me to realize that a boy was looking my way.

So, because of growing up always being the sidekick to the girls getting the attention, I have become accustomed to not being noticed. I have dated, and guys do pay attention to me, but it's generally when they have gotten to know me, therefore I find it fascinating that when the circumstances are different, i.e. an online photo and brief write up, I am capable of getting bombarded with attention that quite frankly, becomes overwhelming.

In my first week I had 4 dates, 2 with the same guy. I already shared my experience with Buddy #1 in my first post on this topic. Buddy #2 was a lunch date and we had a great time chatting about travel, careers, etc. He seemed to really enjoy being with me, but then as soon as he asked which church I attend and I gave him the answer, all interest faded. I was okay with this as I did not feel any romantic connection, but I was interested in this noticeable change in his body language and attention to me. Dropping the Mormon card can really shake things up. Needless to say, there has been no further contact from Buddy #2.

Buddy #3 was the high rolling sort of fellow who wined and dined me and took me on a very expensive second date. The Mormon card was dropped with him before we even met, so the first few minutes of our meeting consisted of him repeatedly asking, "So, you can't have sex? Are you one of those good Mormons who actually practices that?" Once we got past that, I had fun with him and we had a great intellectual connection. I came away from our dates thinking the world is full of great men and I can find guys with whom I enjoy chatting for hours, however there was a void in our conversations, and I realized that was because my core values, my beliefs which mold my character and life, were never discussed. Anyway, he turned out to be a total manipulative psycho, so no loss there.

After my last experience with Buddy #3 I ended up deleting my profile and turning away any other guy who had tried to meet up. I know the method of making online introductions and meeting can lead to lasting relationships for many, but I don't see that working for me. I also realized that even though I was suddenly opening up my dating pool to interesting, successful, intelligent guys, I was missing a spiritual connection. That may be the only connection I can make with most guys in the Mormon world, but I realized that at the end of day when I am thinking about the kind of companion I want, I wouldn't skip on the spiritual connection for anything. In conclusion, I continue my dating quest with less effort to go out of my way to meet guys who do not share my religious beliefs, but I am also open to anything and know there is a world out there of people who may want to learn about what I believe and adopt those beliefs for themselves.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shut Yo' Mouth!

We here at 'Plight of the Religious Dater' are (as far as I know) of the smart, sassy, strong variety. We're here, we're single, we don't want any more bears! (name the show)

That being said, today I feel like a kvetch. Seraphine over at Zelophehad's Daughters said it much better and probably with more intelligence and compassion (fangirl alert!), but it's been on my mind so I'm taking a crack at it, anyway. Here's the sitch: you're visiting your home ward and run into your old youth leaders. Or perhaps you're in a new family ward. Or you're at a family picnic and run into your Aunt Sharon whom you haven't seen in a few years. Or maybe you're having tea with your mom. (ack!) And you hear one or more or a combination of the following:

"You're still single? *awkward silence* Well, good for you for being so strong!"
"I have a brother in law that just got out of rehab. He's got three kids and is kinda obese, but he's single, too! Can I give him your number?"
"Oh sweetie, it's okay. You're totally going to find a super hot, hilarious, sweet guy...in the next life!"
"Yes, this is my husband." *grabs man's arm*

I have heard a variation on all of these, and I'm sure there are many more. In every situation I have fortunately bit my tongue and smiled and said something mild in response. Time and experience have taught me this ever-important skill. I do realize that most people are simply trying to be helpful and nice and don't mean anything by their comments. But these comments highlight the unnerving assumptions that exist in LDS culture about 'older' singles. That we're:

a) At the brink of suicide
b) Desperate
c) Easily comforted by unfounded platitudes
d) Out to steal a married man

In my experience, these are by and large not the case. Yes, there are exceptions. For instance, I know a few women who are greatly comforted by the notion that a wonderful, righteous, foxy man awaits them in the Millenium, and I don't begrudge them that one bit. It just doesn't do anything for me. And perhaps there are single women out there secretly plotting to steal away that 39 year old father of five in all his pot-bellied, balding, carpooling glory...but I haven't met them.

I don't think I need to explain why these assumptions exist. You know them already. In a highly family/marriage oriented church that hasn't yet bucked the cultural tendency to marry young, it's to be expected that people will have trouble relating to you when you don't fit that norm.

How to deal? Ignore and have compassion. People usually mean well. And if they don't? Screw 'em. You know that you're pretty stinkin' awesome, that you're doing the best you can in life and that things will happen when and if they happen. Rock on.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Location, Location

I still need to complete my series on online dating, but first I wanted to further discuss the topic addressed by Francine on Geographical Impairment. I think it is something to which most LDS singles can relate. I have asked my self those same questions for years and at times have felt that I needed to stay in the "Mormon Centers" of the world or I would never find anyone. Other times I have believed that upping the quantity doesn't necessarily up the quality, and that you can find love anywhere.

Many years ago when I was studying at BYU and living in Provo, Utah (Mormon center of the world for those of you unfamiliar with our church), I remember nearing my graduation and feeling very panicked about the future. Was I worried about trying to find a job with my generic B.A.? No, I was worried about leaving Provo and never finding anyone to marry. I couldn't leave Provo as a single! So I stayed, dated a guy, and a year later I still left Provo in a state of singleness.

As I already mentioned I have gone back and forth on deciding where I need to live, and what are the most important factors. I have lived on 4 continents, in 5 countries, and in 7 cities. Some have been Mormon centers, and others have been cities with very small LDS communities. Each place has provided diversity, new experiences, and a new dating pool, however one thing has always been the same: I remain single.

What I have concluded from my history of moving around, and feeling the pressure to live somewhere with a lot of singles, is that you can meet someone anywhere. For every story of two people meeting and falling in love at BYU, there is a story of someone going to a ward in the middle of nowhere thinking he/she will be the only single, only to be introduced to another single and then finding true love.

Therefore, I think it's about identifying your needs for happiness and contentment, and finding a place that satisfies those needs. For the past 2 years I was living outside of North America in an area with less of a Mormon culture, and less members. The dating pool was smaller, but people networked and we still managed to date. When I came to the age of YSA expiration, I decided that I wanted to be near my family, and that I also wanted to live in a city with other LDS people in my age bracket. I knew that I needed a network of people in my situation so that I could survive attending a family ward without a family. Living here has proven to be what I need at this point in my life and although I have struggled with finding a good job and good friends, I am happy being with my family and I have had more dating opportunities than I did even back in the Provo days.

Francine, not sure if any of that was useful, but those are my thoughts.

Hurray for Fans!

Yeah, we have our first follower! Welcome, Jessica! I logged in to write a post, but I'm going to dedicate this one to you and start another one.

Thanks for following and we would to have you join in with the comments.

A big thanks to Fei for being our most faithful reader so far and for keeping the comments going on her own!

Friday, October 8, 2010

The Shrew

'The Taming of the Shrew', one of Shakespeare's goodies...You know, I truly wonder if he foresaw the plight of the religious dater. As I give you a run down, guess who my character soul mate is.

The run down is this. Katherina and Bianca are the daughters of a wealthy widower. The youngest is fair, sweet, quiet and accommodating and has a good number of suitors pounding at her door. In contrast, the eldest is a bit more lively, opinionated and shrewish...which equals zero suitors. Their father lets it be known that no one is to marry his popular younger daughter until the older one is wed. Problem is no one will touch Katherina with a ten foot pole!

Have you guessed? Yep...

Once upon a time I was the younger daughter in this scenario. I had little life experience, I had not really seen much of the world or educated myself enough to really have an opinion on much. I had the blessing of youth and my body maintained a shape that required little attention or work, only just out adolescence. Now getting into my late twenties I finally I know what I want, have less patience for stupidity and more inclination to voice the fact and I have ideas and opinions. I joke now that my brain has finally grown to it's full size, although my body is perhaps a little exasperated and doesn't have the skills to effortlessly hold everything in. At times I feel like jelly not fresh out of its mould but after it's been poked with a spoon.

That is correct. I AM THE SHREW*.

Now, although I am absolutely fine with my identity as a shrew, the fact of the matter is that where I am, most men my age don't want a shrew. In my experience most Mormon men want to marry Bianca not Katherina. Tell me that this is not so. And ladies, there is nothing wrong with being Bianca...but what I have noticed is a strong, independent woman is a less favourable choice than a fresh from Young Women, woman who has a little more to learn in life I guess. Remember this is life according to me and is not the be all or end all.

Once upon a time I went on a few dates with this guy. He was cute, a bit mysterious and seemed to like me enough so I thought I'd explore it, try something new like being a bit more assertive in that area. I was watching carefully for anything a bit suss, I had heard some things- nothing horrible but I wanted to find out for myself. On one of our dates he happened to get a text msg from a girl he'd met on the weekend and proceeded to text her during the duration of our whole date. Hello sussness. Unfortunately I was still willing to put the feelers out there to see if he was still interested in me as this girl was from a different state. He went for the girl, who I found out was much younger than me...Rejected using useless metaphors about balls in courts. Later on a bit deeper into his relationship with this lass, he came over and chatted to me about her immaturity, implied some unsteadiness in her spirituality and made a comparison with me. My side was more favourable.

So the question is why didn't he go for me when he had the chance? I was as attractive as her, I was fun, easy to talk to, doing everything I could to be a good person, I had a job, was good at lots of things, far superior...tick tick tick....? Right?

As I considered this dilemma I busted some brain cells but came to the conclusion that he needed a damsel in distress, someone to think he was amazing and build his ego, someone who relied on him temporally and spiritually. The shrew just didn't do that!! I realised that this particular guy didn't need to feel less by being around someone who he felt didn't necessarily need him. And it was true, his priorities were not my own in the gospel and he sensed that.

Now in the play, an eccentric man named Petruchio volunteers to 'tame' the Shrew and marry her for her large dowry. His motives seem to change and he is adamant that he tames and makes her love him. She fights him all the way but eventually he, due to his quirky ways, rough exterior, hard headedness and a love of a challenge wins her love and manages to tame her.

Finally, the point of my saga. Girls. There need only be one man that tames the shrew and he will tame you and you will love it. Don't lament that you'll dance barefoot at your siblings' weddings but be the best you can and prepare to make room in your life for someone else. Petruchio didn't so much as make Katherina into a stepford wife by curbing her spirit and making her a different person - he showed her how to harness it, and their relationship developed. He didn't need her to build his ego up and to place him on a pedestal but allowed her to be his partner and equal. So. Never fear, for the Hortensios, Lucentios and Grumios...are not for you. For although Petruchio's ways were slightly unorthodox and perhaps considered as abuse in this day and age, he worked hard and earned the love and respect of a strong independent woman.

The end.

* A shrew or shrew mouse is a small mammal with the appearance of a long nosed mouse and small sharp, spike-like teeth quite different to that of the rodent. Despite its appearance, its bite is quite painful.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Geographical Impairment

Some of us live in places where YSA Wards and Midsingles scenes abound. Where the problem is how to sort the wheat from the chaff and find your needle in the haystack of fellers out there.

And some of us do not.

Some of us live in places where we literally know every single LDS man in our city. Sure there are a few move-ins and move outs every year, but the fact of the matter is that I know that am not going to meet anyone new when I attend church singles events. I know exactly who will be there. I know exactly what (who) my options are.

I LOVE my city. It's a spectacular place to live. The people are great. The city and surrounding area are unbeatable. My apartment is fantastic. My ward takes in a large geographical area, so it's splendidly diverse in every way. I have a circle of wonderful friends whom I adore. I just love living here. But sometimes I wonder whether I should move...

Here's why: I'm a firm believer that if we keep doing what we're doing, we're gonna keep getting what we're getting. And if I keep living in a place that doesn't allow for forming many new relationships with new men - I can probably count on the same very small offering of new social opportunities.

It's a delicate balance. I think there's something to be said for the numbers game - if there are more LDS men in a city, the odds of me finding one to date will increase. Heck -even if I were to move to another city with a small LDS population, the number of new options would be greater than if I stay put.

But there are no guarantees. It is very possible that I would leave an otherwise idyllic life and career path in my current city, and not find new men to date. It's always a gamble - do I give up the happiness I know here for something that may or may not exists? I'd be glad to leave it all behind if I knew there would be a positive result. But if I'm going to be flying solo anyway... I'd just as soon do it here.

So what's your advice, team? Should a gal move every few years in the pursuit of something that may or may not exist, knowing that at least she's giving it her best effort? Or should she put down roots, resign herself to being content with her singledom in a beautiful city, and hope one day, one of the few-and-far-between new move-ins will be perfect for her?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Online Dating: Take 1

I'm online. I have always been opposed to the idea of meeting potential dates online, but I have reached a point where I can no longer rely on church programs to introduce me to new guys, and I'm not in a field of work that allows me to interact with many single men. Also, I keep meeting people in happy relationships who have met due to online introductions. It's really no different from a blind date, but in this case you actually get to screen the candidate and see if you truly do have common interests, unlike many blind dates where you are just matched because you are similar in height and both single.

So, one night when I was feeling vulnerable and lonely, I signed up for a few websites. On two websites I have focused on meeting guys with my same religious beliefs, so that means most of the guys live in Utah, and therefore a date is out of the question for a while. On the third site people search by location, so I have been getting contacted from guys within my city. The thing that is easy about the first two sites is that it is just a way to network and chat with interesting guys, and quite frankly, to boost my self esteem. The third site takes things to a whole new level because knowing these guys are in the the same city as me makes them real, and because these guys are real, they actually want to meet up. I am getting asked out by all sorts of guys; but here's the catch, these guys are not Mormon.

Initially I was not at all comfortable meeting up with total strangers and I never thought I could do it. I think of myself as a fairly confident person, but when it comes to dating and guys, I clearly don't have the best game. I can be shy at times, and slightly awkward. I avoid situations where I might feel that way, and because of this I have always hated going on dates. I prefer to let a relationship evolve from friendship. Sadly, my circle of friends generally consists of a majority of females and a minority of gay potential males, so none of these friendships can lead to dating.

Anyway, so last night I found myself meeting up with Buddy #1 who met me for a walk in a central park. What I learned from this encounter is something I have learned before, but will likely be reminded of each time I agree to meet a guy I have "met" online.
  1. 3D people do not always look like their 2D photos. 
  2. Witty banter and cute comments in emails do not always transfer to witty and cute conversation in person.
  3. If a guy isn't good at asking questions in messages, he's likely worse at it in person.
I left Buddy #1 feeling fairly certain I would never see or hear from again, however he surprised me with many follow ups and later asked if I would like to meet up again. Nice fella, but this one is a no.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Mormon Dating Graduate Seminar - The Outsiders

Y'all who know me IRL (that's 'In Real Life' for you non-Internet geeks) will not be surprised to see this post. This is a big, fat, issue for our demographic and gender and I would be remiss if I didn't bring it up. Ready? Dating outside the faith. Duhn duhn DUHHHHHHNNNNN!

We here at 'Plight of the Religious Dater' like to be well-rounded in our views and I think we owe it to our plight, as it were, to present this side of the argument. Here's the scenario. You are a little bit older (aka late 20's, even early 30's) and as happens in Mormondom and even the secular world, the ratio of single women to single men increases. It's scary. Really scary. As you tootle along in your life, you meet a really nice guy that happens to be funny, attractive and basically has his act together. The catch? Can you guess?

He's not Mormon. Dangit!

For some religions, this is not a big deal. Interfaith dating happens all the time. But for some, Orthodox Jews, Muslims and even Catholics, it's an issue. And it certainly is for Mormons, too. We teach that in order to reach the highest echelons of heaven, we must be married to another Mormon in the temple. It's taught from a young age and reinforced in the Young Single Adult scene. So for a lot of people, breaking out of this by dating a non-Mormon isn't just that, it's shunning your beliefs, God, and even your family. That's a lot of pressure.

But then, what do you do? This fantastic, non-Mormon fella expresses an interest in dating you. 'Decline' is the advice most would give. Why date someone if you know they won't be able to marry in the temple? Best to only date other Mormons, even though the pickings are painfully slim. And even if you never marry and spend your mortal life single and take on the role of super cool, favorite aunt, you'll know you did the right thing by refusing to marry outside the temple. And don't worry, there's certainly an attractive, righteous man waiting for you after you die. *crickets* I don't say that to be sarcastic or bitter, truly. However, this is the attitude you will encounter for the most part in the church, usually from married people. Better to date, and then marry, in the church or not at all.

But what if there was another course of action? Say you go on a date with this spectacular guy. You have a good time and you go out again. He's fine with your religion but makes it clear that while he respects you, he has no interest in joining. You begin to date, you realize you are very compatible and soon fall in love. Eventually, after a reasonable time of courtship, you decide to marry. Things aren't always perfect; you're both human and occasionally you argue. Sometimes you even aruge about religion, too. But when all is said and done, you love and respect each other. Eventually you have a family and are able to enjoy the fullness of the human experience.

I guess my question is this; do you give up that last scenario for the hope of something that might never happen? For some people, yes, absolutely. For some, no way. Ultimately, what you decide is between you and God.

There's a lot more I could say here, about how this situation is actually easier for women (in my experience) and how some of the attitudes that surround this issue can be quite damaging. I've had personal experience with this (in case that wasn't obvious) and perhaps I'll share some of them another day. So, what do you think about all this?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Matchmaker, Matchmaker, make me a Mormon match

The other day I was discussing dating with my father and we wondered if single people today would do better to have matchmakers. Many cultures do it and have proven that having someone else pick out your mate can lead to very happy and committed marriages.

I suppose I initiated this discussion after watching The Millionaire Matchmaker. On the show women sign up with an agency to meet rich men. The men are the one paying for the services of a matchmaker and they get to meet a group of ladies and then select one for a private date. A lot of women want rich men, and all men want a hot women, so it's the perfect set up. If this business works for the millionaires, why not for Mormons?

After the conversation I went to one of my favourite places in the world: Google. I searched for Mormon Matchmakers and guess what I found? Nothing. So this lead me to think maybe there is a need for it. We certainly have the market, so maybe it's time we trusted someone else to do the searching, but someone who actually knows a little bit about us and our spiritual requirements for finding a companion.

What do you think? I personally think this could be a brilliant business. Francine, I'll need your skills since you have a proven track record here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Chase

I have always heard that men like to chase, but I wonder if it's worse in the world of Mormon dating. I know a fellow who always seems to take an interest in girls who do not reciprocate. Each time he makes his interest known, he pursues, and she rejects. For many a rejection would be indication to move on, however this seems to only encourage him more. I once heard him say that the ones who are hard to get are the ones worth chasing. But when they don't want you back, doesn't that just seem idiotic? Why do guys want to make things so complicated, and face rejection over and over again?

This boy is not unique. I've seen it time and time again. I've also seen many cases when the guy finally does get the girl, when she finally sees past his stalker and obsessive behaviour and somehow spots some charm, the boy starts to pull back, getting cold feet and suddenly ends things, often immediately finding a new victim to hunt. The thrill of the chase seems to be all that they want, and once the girl is caught, there is no real interest in a lasting relationship.

So what is wrong with these boys (and yes, I will insist on calling them boys unless they prove otherwise)? Don't they desire a relationship? Do they not want a real companion? Are they not interested in a girl who will love them in return? There must be something lacking within these souls to continually be attracted to girls who are not attracted to them. Also, what does it say about the boy who thinks a girl is so amazing, the perfect girl worth pursuing even after rejection, only to have her and then lose interest? He must not really know what he wants, or he must be too shallow to really see the girl for who she is, and instead falls in love with the idea of her.

Ah, the Idea of Her. This is a common one in Mormon culture, and it makes boys get in the way of their true interests and finding real compatibility. Because we are all looking for the one shot at marriage there is a lot of pressure to find the whole package. Boys love to create in their minds the perfect future wife. She is small and doesn't show any signs of FP (Fat Potential). She plays the piano and sings. She comes from a big family and wants to have lots of kids. She is studying to be a dental assistant or primary school teacher. She is not bitter and not over the age of 25.

Well, there are a lot of girls out there who do fit that stereotype, but not all guys subscribe to this image of perfection. Every guy has his own idea constructed in his head and is on the hunt to find it. The problem is that he will often find one aspect of a girl that he likes, and then hone in and begin the hunt assuming she is The One and has all the qualities he wants in a wife. He spends so much time chasing the idea, he doesn't even know who he's caught once the game is over.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Mormon Dating 101 - The Simple Things

You may think that Mormon dating is a complicated thing. You are both correct and incorrect. Some aspects are easy as pie (and trite cliches). Others are a tad more complex. We here at 'Plight of the Religious Dater' realize that Mormon culture varies depending on where you live and of course the individual beliefs of the people involved, but the authors have all lived in various countries across the globe and we feel confident in addressing generalities in our religious community. So, I submit a few of the simple aspects of Mormon dating that are relatively constant (please note that each point could apply to either men or women - we here at POTRD do not condone sexism):

1) Awkwardness. It will always exist, so don't even try to escape.
2) Cheapness. As in, "my date insisted we walk the 27 blocks to the theatre to save on gas".
3) Sexual uncertainty. We're not 17 anymore and it's stupid to be chaperoned at all times. How far is 'too' far?
4) Gender stereotypes. Will the lady expect the gentleman to pay? Will the gentleman expect the lady to be demure? Ad nauseum.
5) Group dates. No, even at 29 we still need our friends to bolster us when interacting with the opposite sex.
6) Hope. Hopefully there is hope. Hope that the person across the table from you at The Olive Garden will be nice, thoughtful, fun, interesting and hope that he/she will think the same about you. Sometimes the hope is all we have.

Obviously, if you've got yourself a good match, all of the above might disappear. If this happens, hold fast and do not let go. Next time, some of the more complex aspects...

Friday, August 27, 2010

Brain Dribble and Bad Boys...Same thing really.

So girls like to talk. It is one of those things burned into our DNA that has us communicating about everything. We are the queens of discussing everything we like and dislike - usually boys. And that is why I have jumped on the the bandwagon and exclaimed "giddy up" because truthfully, it fascinates me (and I can pretend someone actually reads the dribble that comes from the grey matter that is my brain).

It is a truth universally acknowledged that girls like to 'improve' things- usually things that are impossible to change. WHY oh why? Why do I get giddy over men that aren't good for me?

Last week as my female sensibilities demand, I was due for a Jane Austenish film viewing. Because I am a girl it must be so and anything in period pieces that involves a chaperone is a winner. Becoming Jane it is. So there is this character, Tom Lefroy who becomes Austen's lover (in the 1800s sense). He is cocky, a womaniser and pretty much a rude dude! Yet he still has a little sumfin sumfin that makes my heart give a little leap and pirouette in my ribcage. Our heroine Jane wins the bad boy's heart and he is a changed man, and his heart is hers. He would readily lose everything to be with her. Swoon.

So I was thinking this Lefroy, imagined or no is a character we all dream of. The one who changes his ways and sees the light because of one individual...that happens to be me. I ask myself is this ever a reality? Does this ever happen? Usually not, in fact it usually ends in low self esteem and puffy eyes. Time and time again I am blinded by the hope that his attention will last longer than how long it takes to corrupt me or get bored by my 'immovable' morals. I KNOW better! Yet Lefroy won my vote again.

Brain dribble complete.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Am I a Cougar?

Can you be called a cougar if you are the one being pursued?

For several years now I have been saying that I prefer dating younger men. I find that men my age are often single for a reason. Large generalization I realize, but go ahead and prove me wrong.

Lately a young man has started showing interest in me, and when I say young, I mean young. We have almost a decade between us, but he isn't at all bothered by this and continues to do all he can to see me. The attention is great, and I admire his confidence and at times it even brings out the shy little girl in me, feeling less like his older sister.

See, the thing that is so great about young men chasing older women is that they do so because they think we know what we want, and that we are emotionally mature. They find the younger girls to be unstable and have too many "issues". In contrast, the older fellas tend to label any woman over the age of 25 as "bitter, set in her ways, independent (not sure why that is a bad thing), full of issues, etc." They tend to like the younger lassies who will think everything they say is brilliant and not talk back.

Do we have a problem here? Why are the two genders at war with their own age bracket? It just doesn't seem right that a man and a woman in their early 30s aren't finding compatibility with one another. At that age we most likely have finished our schooling, no longer live with our parents, have perhaps done some travel, are working in a stable career. Why are we not wanting to be with our equal in life experiences?

I have some ideas about this, mainly that a lot of women get more confident with age, whereas men seem to lose some of this. Men may be confident in many aspects of their lives, but I think the stigma of being single makes them feel less accomplished. Guys seem to measure success by specific achievements; good job, nice car, cute girl. When they don't have all those things they feel like failures to some degree, and lose confidence as they continue in the struggle to tackle all three. This lack of confidence makes it harder for them to feel secure in who they are, especially when trying to represent themselves to accomplished and intelligent ladies.

Women seem to have the opposite response to age. Sure, we struggle with wondering why we are still single, but we often channel that focus towards improving ourselves to become happier and more desirable. We keep getting better with age, and then the confidence increases because we know we are quality catches. This in turn attracts the young lads, making us stand out from all the silly girls chasing after them and texting them 24/7.

So is there an answer to all of this? Are older women better off dating younger men, and older men better off dating the younger ladies? I'm not sure, because despite everything I have just written, dating is not black and white and at the end of the day it is not about age, but about finding your most compatible match and someone who makes you want to be a better person.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Capitalist Dating

One day my friend BB and I were chatting about the frustrations of Mormon dating and she so perfectly summed it up:

LDS dating is always a soap opera

it is like capitalism
all about supply and demand
winners and losers.

Friday, August 20, 2010

He's just not that into me - again?!

Is that always the answer? Lately I have been conducting a lot of research on dating and have been reading some great books, such as Why He Didn't Call You Back, and You Lost Him at Hello, and of course the ever so famous one, He's Just Not That Into You. The message is pretty clear: if he wants to call you, he will.

Okay, I understand that, and it makes perfect sense. I have believed and preached it myself, however are there ever exceptions to this? For instance, a few months ago I met this guy we'll call Gob. We met through friends at a gathering and spent the night chatting. The next day he asked our mutual friend (MF) to arrange a double date. It was a fantastic date and I got home thinking he would for sure call me. He didn't.

About a week or so later I heard that he had been talking about me to one of my girl friends, mentioning how cool I am. He brought me up and had nothing but positive things to say. Still, he didn't call.

A few weeks later I decided to do the junior high thing and ask MF what Gob was up to, and mentioned that I had a good time with him, but wasn't sure if there was any point in holding interest. MF told me that Gob had a lot of fun with me and thinks I'm really cool, but he's really slow and doesn't really ask girls out. This is where I should be recognizing alarm bells, but instead I take this as hope.

The next night I see MF and he tells me that he had talked to Gob earlier saying he would be seeing me that night, and Gob said he wanted to come along but couldn't, so he asked for my number. Still, he didn't call.

One week later he's talking to mutual girl friend and brings me up to her and asks if I have a cell phone yet. Seriously, do boys really think that the info doesn't come back to us?? She doesn't know about him already having my number from MF, so she gives it to him. Still, he didn't call.

I am perplexed by all of this. If he just isn't that into me, why does he bother bringing me up and asking for my phone number - from two different people? It's amazing what one date can leave you feeling, but I liked this guy, and I wanted to see him again. I decided as a last effort I would email him and ask what he has been up to. He immediately wrote back and asked me - get this - if I have a cell phone yet. There we have 3 separate requests from 3 different people for one simple little number. What does this mean? Either he's super flaky and keeps forgetting, or he is shy and wants to have the number directly from me, or he's just a doofus. Whatever the reason, he still didn't call.

I know you are thinking I should have given up in paragraph 2, but it's hard enough to find a guy in the Mormon world of dating that I actually want to see again, so when he gives a small glimmer of hope, I hold on like a kid to a helium balloon. If you let go, you fall hard onto the pavement, watching that balloon float away, with no sign of another one coming along anytime soon.

Two weeks after he got my number from me, I ran into Gob at a church event and we chatted. It was slightly awkward, mostly because I was feeling a bit shy, having built up my idea of this guy over the 2 month period of waiting for him to call. We talked about tennis* because he plays quite frequently, and I tell him I'm jealous that he can play and has a summer hobby. I wasn't looking for anything in this innocent comment, but he then says he'll teach me. I tell him that would be a bad idea because I have zero experience, but he insists. Of course now I'm thinking, sweet, he wants to go out again! Later in the evening he spots me and again says that he'll call me and we'll go play tennis. I'm ecstatic! He does like me! He asked me out! Wrong.

One week later, and no call. Tonight I was talking to my brother and mentioned that Gob still hadn't called. He turns to me and says, "Sis, he's not going to call. I'm sorry." Ouch! How does he know that? He doesn't even know Gob. Why does he know this? Because he's a boy, and he knows that if he wants to call a girl, he will. Otherwise, he's just not that into her.

*sport has been changed to protect the boy's true identity

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Come on, jump in

Dealing with the emotions of dating relationships is tricky stuff. As soon as we develop an interest in someone we immediately become emotionally vulnerable. It's hard to control those feelings, and the more the other person gives you, the more you want him. Before you know it the boy is consuming all your thoughts and suddenly your other interests and goals seem less significant in the great scheme of things.

Why is it then, that when we are dealing with such delicate feelings, ones that can be so easily crushed and destroy all our hopes and dreams, that we dive in head first? It's risky, dangerous, could leave us with a serious head injury, but we dismiss all that and take the risk, often crashing and causing a concussion of the heart.

Several months ago I got back in touch with a male friend whom I've known for a few years. We were living on separate continents while I was overseas studying, but we flirted via email and then we started Skyping. He got serious very quickly, wanting to know how often we would talk, and asked me to be his girlfriend. Keep in mind we had never been on a date, so I declined the offer, however we discussed having interest in one another and no one else, and wanted to develop things until we could see each other in person. We started talking every day and this went on for about a month and a half. As this was happening, my feelings started to catch up with his as he started using pet names and telling me all his plans for our future. He even made a joke about our future grand kids - gasp! I liked him. He was exactly my type, and I was falling, but not as quickly as he was.

Things seemed great during that time, but then he suddenly started to pull back, and made comments about us just being friends and how he was trying to find someone locally. I'm sorry, but are you planning dates with all your girl friends, calling them "Sweetie" and signing off with love hearts? If so, you've got more to deal with than a slew of angry girls. After that, things started to die. By the time we were on the same continent again there was nothing from him. He had sure been keen on labeling the relationship, but not on ending it. I'll never get my closure, or the grand kids.

It was a tough time for me, but I saw a pattern I've seen many times before. He got really excited about the idea of me. I could check off his boxes and he thought he wanted me. He made that decision as soon as I gave some mild reciprocation, and then off he goes planning our wedding. Just as I start to catch up, he's already submitted the divorce papers and back into the singles scene. Why do guys do this? Why can't they just simmer down, get to know the girl, and then gradually increase the contact and the dating in order to truly build a relationship?

Tonight I was talking to a dear friend of mine who has sadly just experienced a cliff jumper of her own.
  1. They made meaningful eye contact in a social gathering
  2. He got her number
  3. He started asking her out and sending cute text messages
  4. He held her hand
  5. He sent a text message saying that he didn't want to lead her on and that they should just be friends.
What the what?! It's a little too late to not "lead her on". What does that even mean? He already showed he liked her, but somewhere between a few dates and hand holding he changed his mind for whatever reason. Instead of manning up and saying why, he pretends nothing was ever there.

It's a common story for the gals, and we are always left bewildered, feeling the lingering sting of the slap to the face that came from nowhere. There is no point in trying to slap back; he's already gone.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

This is why he's single

Several years ago I singed up with a popular LDS networking site, long before Facebook became the norm. It has since become some sort of dating site, so I sometimes respond to messages from fellows on there, as few women contact me. I have clearly stated on my profile that I am not looking for dating on there, but am willing to banter and engage in email conversation. While I know many people who have found marital bliss through online connections, I do not think it is a venue for me to meet a man, especially when one of us would have to travel to another state in order to meet. It's just too unnatural for me to feel comfortable with it.

That being said, I do enjoy some of the attention I receive on there and I have met many interesting men. Many make clever comments in reference to my favourite literature and films, etc. and I find it fun to get to know them (well, know the side they choose to show me). The most interesting aspect of corresponding on there, however, has become a sort of study on human behaviour, particularly how men choose to interact using only writing and a few photos. Although plenty of the guys on there are interesting and seem to be decent guys, I would have to say that the majority fit into the doofus category. I define "doofus" as a guy who is basically stupid and is a personal salesman, always trying to say what the other person wants to hear. Most of the stuff that comes out of their mouths is utter rubbish. I have decided to start taking note of the doofus messages I get, as a way of dissecting the male mind, and to be more alert for the doofuses so that I no longer waste anymore of my life on them. Luckily they usually come towards you with alarm bells.

Here is a perfect example of one such doofus. He messaged me several months ago and because I could tell it was a generic, rehearsed sort of spiel - and he has a cut photo of himself with a woman - I deleted the message and never looked back. Here we are several months later and what do I find in my inbox? That same copied and pasted message. Here it is for your amusement:

I am sure you receive HUNDREDS if not Thousands of e-mails:
So, I will give you my background and save you time K'
I have a 11 Year old Princess and a 13 Year Old MAN CUB (Jungle

I can cook mean scrambled eggs and am a Professional washer of
dishes. My hobbies include Hopscotch and repairing cigarette
lighters. I am SO NOT Boyfriend material but have a Class ONE
listening card, not bad for a guy huh.

I need LOTS of Trust and Comfort up front after receiving e-mails
making comments about my arms and body. I am hoping you could
appreciate me for my Brain not my body. Geez, women only wan't one

So, if your game for Lunch sometime let me know K

PS... I am rarely on this site so it may be a good idea for us to
exchange numbers???

Now I don't mean to humiliate anyone, but this doofus did it to himself. Come on, sending a message to a girl and asking for a number without even having had any previous exchange of messages? Lunch? We live in different countries, buddy. Did you even read my profile? My final comment is that if you are going to do the copy and paste approach as you send out hundreds of messages to random women who somehow catch your eye, at least use spell check first.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Why We Are Single

I have been contemplating starting this blog for some time now, as I have numerous conversations with female and male friends who share frustrations, questions, concerns about dating. Why am I still single? Why can't I find anyone interesting at church? Why are guys at church so shallow? Why do girls seem to only care about a guy's income? The questions never end, and the answers rarely follow.

Let's start this blog off by evaluating why we are single. Some of us will say it's a choice, and others will say it's because we haven't found the "right one". However, why is it that numerous people date and marry every day, of all shapes and sizes, all backgrounds, all ages?

A few years ago I attended a lecture on dating put on by my church and the speaker told us that if we aren't dating, we aren't playing the game. I believed her, but then when I went to church the following Sunday and looked around, I thought to myself, I don't want to play the game with these guys. I then decided I was single because I couldn't find anyone who interested me. I have found many guys outside of my church who engage me in conversation, who take me on fantastic dates and treat me like a lady, who are ambitious and doing something with their lives. Why can't I find that at church? At work I find guys who are men, but at church they seem like boys who have yet to find themselves and figure out what they really want in life. Am I single because I don't like Mormon boys?

I suppose on the flip side guys can say the same things; that girls at church don't interest them, expect too much, are boring, etc. We are raised with the same values with similar backgrounds, yet many of us struggle to find compatibility in a group that should give us exactly that. The problem is that although we have religious beliefs which affect the way in which we choose to live our lives, our religion does not define us and we are all still individuals, something we have to sometimes prove to the rest of the world. We all come to earth with a unique spirit in a unique encasement, no matter what our views may be regarding God and Jesus Christ. We are brought together each Sunday because we worship these beings in the same manner, although we may not have anything else in common.

And thus leads us to the plight of the religious dater. Finding a mate is tricky enough in times of constant change and opportunity, and narrowing the field only adds to the challenge. Don't get me started on height.