An imaginary conversation about scaring the natives

Can I ask you something?

Oh god. 

It isn’t anything awful. 

You’ll ask anyway. 

True. Well. No. 

No?

No, I wouldn’t ask if you said no, but I’d be annoyed. 

Right. 

So are you going to answer, or would you rather annoy me?

Can I reserve the right to decide until after I hear the question?

I suppose that is fair. 

So, what’s the question?

Can you name some qualities about me that men I date would find good and bad?

Good? Smart, funny, likes football and other sports, spontaneous, can sing, likes good food, knows lots of interesting facts about stuff, beer…

I’ve had several guys tell me I seem great but they don’t date women who like football. What’s the bad?

Possible freak inducing qualities: very open about deep, dark thoughts… Might reference you in a blog that includes aforementioned thoughts… Lots of male friends… Laughs at just about everything, Cries about just about everything…

Crying I get, but why would laughing freak someone out?

You could be laughing at him. Men are sensitive about that. 

Huh. Good to know. 

Anything surprising to you other than that?

Not really. There have already been issues because I have male friends. 

Really?

Yeah. 

Why do you need to know?

Just curious. 

You don’t need to change yourself to attract men. 

I am not. I just wonder what freaks them out sometimes.  Thanks. 

You’re welcome. 

I’ve been thinking about it. You didn’t include that I am wordy and overthink everything. 

You’re arguing with my list?

No. Yes. A little. 

Fine. Add wordy, over-thinking and relentless to both pros and cons. 

Relentless?

You don’t think you are?

Well…

Seriously?

Yeah. You’re right I am. 

I’m right?

I am pretty good about saying when someone else is right. 

I’m going to let that pass.  

Thanks. 

Can I ask you a question now?

Of course!

Do you think maybe you are taking men’s reactions to you too personally?

Yes, probably. I try not to, but when the rejections come in multiples I do wonder. 

Maybe you should take a step back and just be happy without worrying about men and what they think about you. 

Maybe. But I like men. 

I know you do. Maybe you just need to focus on good stuff in your life. 

I do! That is why I keep stepping back from dating, when I start feeling jaded. It’s just…

What?

I have stuff I need to figure out about what is not going well, so I write about it. The stuff that is going well doesn’t need to get figured out. It’s already working. 

Just saying that a little more concentrating on the positive couldn’t hurt. 

You’re right. 

Twice in one night?

Hush up. One thing that I am definitely feeling very good about are all of my friends and family. 

You know good people. 

I definitely do. Present company included. 

Ditto. 

Tiny heartbreaks


Well, it’s not for me to say
But I can’t see what you see in him anyway
But such righteousness in me
Is not a nice thing to display
And who am I
For Christ sakes anyway
Oh, to judge a life this way
When my own’s in disarray.
–Everything But The Girl/Two Star

The other day, I disabled my online dating profile for the nth time in 4 months. I keep meeting very nice guys who aren’t quite right, but close. Or who might be right, but disappear after a couple of dates. Or who seem right, but aren’t emotionally available. Or maybe just aren’t really as nice as I thought they were. Or the ones who are occasionally in touch, vaguely disinterested. Or too far away to meet up with easily.

It’s a great way to meet people, but it’s hard. It takes a lot of time and emotional energy. I don’t have time to read or write much when my profile is active. It’s almost like a part time job.

It is a worse time suck than Twitter or Facebook.  It’s so easy to scroll through the screens, reading what people have to say about themselves. Shopping for kind faces. People who look like they think. Most of them don’t have very much to say, and what they do say is not spelled correctly.

There are also a lot of people looking at you without really seeing who you are, or might be. UR sexy, wanna chat?

What gets to me, though, is the steady stream of tiny heartbreaks. I could be thicker skinned about it, I guess, but I’ve designed my life around being trusting and open hearted. Being vulnerable. So it’s hard mentally and emotionally when things don’t work out.

Spend several days talking to someone who sounds great, who then says “I don’t think I’m ready for a relationship…or dating…or meeting someone in person…and yet I’m happy to have really deep conversations with you as long as you just want to talk.”  Uh. No.  I can get really connected to someone if they write well. I don’t need to get more connected to someone who isn’t ready to move forward.

Or the weird ones. A guy read my profile, and sent me a message saying that he thought I was a beautiful woman, and had a truly lovely smile, but due to my atheism he feared we could not be a match. However, in that one picture from a football game, there was a really great looking woman on the far right. Could I give her his contact info and see if she’s interested?  Is HELL NO too strong?

The guy I wrote about yesterday who said I was an abomination unto the Lord was just the moldy cherry on top of a week full of melted ice cream in my dating sundae.

It’s a steady, low level emotional beating. In addition to the struggle to keep myself from feeling like there is something wrong with me,  it starts to make me mean when I have several failures in a week. When I start getting cynical about men, I have to step back so I can remember how much I like them.

For the record, I love men. Many of my friends are men. What would I ever do without them? They have strong hands, and they smell good. The douche canoes are ruining it for all of the spectacular men out there. The single men are saying the same thing about women, I’m sure.

Heartbreaks? I’m exaggerating, right? Of course, a little. Like I do. Not too much. They aren’t big heartbreaks, but all of the rejections, the rude messages about not being properly God-fearing disguised as telling me I am pretty, the people who I seem to be genuinely connecting with on some level who disappear…all of that grinds me down. Instead of one big heartbreak, it’s a thousand tiny ones. I have to keep stepping back to breathe.

The last several days have been a bit grueling, between the virtual and real worlds. Bad news about a good friend, a couple of hostile online encounters, a couple of promising connections broken. I got tired. Tired, sad and a little jaded.

I’m not going to be that person who thinks that men are awful. They aren’t. Some of them are, and they seem to be the ones who make an impression. I need to remember to let all of the fantastic men I know make just as much of an impression. 

When that negative impression gets too powerful, I pause,  because it is not OK. It’s OK for me to be overwhelmed, but it is NOT OK for me to start thinking that men are bad. I know too many who are fantastic. I would list them out,  but I would feel bad if I left anyone out. I talk about you all the time anyway.

So. 

Is it worth it? Do I get more out of it than I put into it?

I don’t know. Not this week.

Maybe next week.

Overall, I would have to say yes, it is worth the trouble.

I am still in touch with the very first man I met. It wasn’t a romantic hit, but we had a good time and have kept in contact. I talk with a great guy almost every day who lives just a little too far away to meet up with easily. Maybe soon. Over three or four months, I’ve met about a dozen men in person who I have had one or more enjoyable evenings with. I’ve gotten over a little of my life long shyness. I’m a little better at basic conversation than I was before.

Silver linings, right? Maybe there haven’t been any great romances, but at least I am learning etiquette.

My mother will be pleased.

Guest appearances in the blog

Judge not lest ye be judged.
— Matthew 7:1

 

The other day I asked a friend for a list of my good and bad points. Things that men would either be attracted or repelled by.  Paddy included the fact that I have a blog about my thoughts and might discuss a man in it as one of my downsides.

Well. Yeah. I gotta cop to that. I do typically let men know about the blog if I see them more than once. That doesn’t mean I let them opt out of appearing, but I do let them know it is a possibility. And it is relatively anonymous. Mostly. Kind of. It’s not like anyone reads it anyway.

So I started a post about it, to sort it out in my head. I am sure there are people who have recognized things about themselves here. Mostly they are nice things. I don’t think people mind the nice things. Some of them aren’t necessarily kind. Some of the things I say about myself aren’t either. It’s often a snapshot of my state of mind at a given time. No more, no less. A few people impact my state of mind more than others. One person in particular has probably read some things that were not pleasant. Nothing I wouldn’t say directly, but I will say some pretty harsh things to some people.

In any case, in spite of how it might look, my random rants do have some thought behind them. I do try to consider feelings as much as I can while still explaining my own. This is where I work things out. I try not to hit anyone with emotional anvils. I’m not always successful at it.

Then after the post was partly done, I got a mean message from a random guy on an online dating site and put all that thinking aside.

On the online dating site OKCupid, my username is ImPerfect63. I like to think it’s a cute bit of wordplay–is it “I’m perfect” or is it “imperfect?”  The answer, naturally, is both. Perfectly imperfect.  This guy thought my username was an abomination unto the Lord, and thought he should take the opportunity to throw some Christian hate at me. Jesus loves a hater, just like Jesus loves everybody…but that doesn’t mean I have to!

This guy apparently has not been paying attention in Sunday school, and missed all of the New Testament teaching about love. Luckily for him, I was there that day so I could send him a verse to start off his remedial Bible reading. A semi-snarky response that could still pass for sweet.

Then I posted it on Facebook. It was funny.

Some may think I was being just as un-Christian as the mean guy on OKCupid.  There, you are wrong. I am not a Christian at all.  It was snarky in a purely non-denominational way.  A friend suggested that it might be better not to feed the unkindness,  and said he thought I should take down the post. He was right, and I did. I may not be a Christian, but I do try to live by one rule, which is not to be a dick.

It’s not a very fancy rule, but it does the job.

The world is full of enough hate without picking on people’s usernames online. It’s true. It’s also true that I didn’t need to feed into it by responding to the message or posting it on Facebook. Even if it was funny. Which it was.

I am looking for the High road, here. Where’s my fucking map? That’s right– the person I am the meanest to on the blog handed it to me. With love, even.

So is there a point to any of this? No, not really.
Maybe this.

People who really care about you will tell you when they think you are  wrong. Sometimes in a nice way, and sometimes in the way I do it. I try to be kind. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes they do. We keep caring about each other, and we keep trying to encourage each other to be better people.

Some of us (ahem, me) just don’t really have the best technique sometimes.

I’m glad people love me anyway.