The Ways That We Date

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning

I should have realized long ago that only crazy things happen at 11 o’clock at night.

For me, I was trying to finagle a queen-sized bed-in-a-box mattress through my front door, as I waited for one of my friends to come by after work and help me drag it upstairs to my bedroom. I was wired from a long day (and night) of all-day business meetings and a late-night dinner. The effort to remain sociable and chatty with over 60 coworkers for over 12 hours straight had left me drained, yet buzzed to release my inner silliness to the max.

Sure, I had to be awake by 5:30 the next morning. But dagnabbit, I needed to be B.

While I waited for my friend, I turned on Netflix to see what I could play in the background while I prepared a path up to my bedroom. I was still in the midst of massive Marie Condo-style decluttering, and there were clothes, containers, cartons, and other c-lettered crap everywhere. But that is a tale for another post.

In my efforts to widen my viewing pleasure (I’d already watched the heck out of Father Brown, Nailed It, and Tiny Home Nation), I scanned through the trending thread of shows to see what was popular.

And that’s when I locked onto the first featured show, Love is Blind.

According to the synopsis–oh, heck, who am I kidding? Just watch the trailer below!

My first thought when watching the trailer?

What kinda shady, silly, ridiculous love game reality show smut are we putting out there now? Do these people really think that they’re gonna find long-lasting love without seeing the person they’re talking to first?

This, of course, was followed by my second thought:

Why haven’t I pressed play yet?

A Brief History of Dating

Now, I won’t ask for forgiveness for my hasty and presumptuous judgement of Love Is Blind. (Though I will definitely apologize for any cultural dating norms that I may have missed, as I recognize that every population has their personal practices that I may not be aware of.)

As someone who has and continues to have her ups and downs of meeting people sight-seen, I admit that I’m a little jealous of the more adventurous single folk who are willing to take these seemingly strange risks to find love.

But then, of course, I have to step back even further. Is the Love Is Blind premise even the most extreme technique that we as humans have incorporated into our dating repertoire?

Absolutely. Not.

In the world of television dating alone, the reality dating show is only one branch of the public game show. The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise, the Joe Millionaire, the Love Island, and all the other like-minded “watch-and-whoop” dating dramas are simply the tail end of a long line of romance games made popular in the United States through The Dating Game in 1965 (thanks, Wikipedia!).

Here’s a little glimpse of the original Dating Game. Recognize the bachelorette?

Again, this is only the televised part of dating. What about the internet world of dating? Within years of the internet becoming a public place for the public to mingle, dating sites like OkCupid, eharmony, and Match were using different techniques, algorithms, and personal information to pair people up, oftentimes without the aid of a photo.

There were even sites catered to sugar daddies seeking out sugar babies in a mutually consensual agreement to provide companionship while receiving financial support and care.

(How do I know that? Good question. …Moving on! 😇)

But what if we go even further back and step away from what the advancements in technology have prompted in dating adaptation, and look at what cultures have been doing for centuries?

Making “Arrangements”

Throughout history and various cultures, couples have been connected not just to date (or “court,” as it was called), but to marry. Royal, wealthy, and/or influential families informed the next generation just who they were going to wed, when they were going to wed, and sometimes, why. Desires to keep the bloodline pure, the scale of power tipped in the right direction, and even to maintain wealth and property were often the reasons for these unions. If the couple fell in love–sure, great, that’s pretty lucky. The main goal were the reasons above, as well as the chance to produce an heir or two who could carry on the lineage and prove the strength of the bond (*cough*and the husband’s virility).

The courtship before these marriages could vary between couples. There were times when the pair would interact only through correspondence (aka letters) all the way to the day of the wedding. Other times, each party would use a proxy (aka a representative) who would make all the decisions on their side’s behalf. Allegedly, King Louie and Queen Marie Antoinette (who were wed to improve relations between their home countries of France and Austria, respectively) met only two days before they married.

As opposed to the dating games and meetups that we hold today, most arranged marriages did not have the luxury to reject their assigned union. To do so could bring shame, ruin, poverty, exile, or all of the above to the entire household, clan, kingdom–you get the point. To compensate this ruining of reputation, the rejector could be thrown out, disowned, publicly humiliated, or even killed.

A few years ago, my father told me about a friend of his he wanted me to meet–“just to get to know,” he’d said. When I asked for a picture, my father waved it off and said, “You’ll like him. He looks young for his age, and he’ll take care of you.”

Uh huh.

When I met this “friend” over dinner, it was very obvious that there wasn’t going to be a second date. He was a very nice man and actually not bad-looking. However, chemistry between two people is dependent on those two people alone, no matter how much the people closest to them promote the union on their behalf.

When my father found out that the meeting hadn’t worked out, he didn’t shame me or berate me. However, the stink eye he passed me for the next couple of weeks certainly weren’t no picnic, either. But I will take that over public humiliation, or–you know–the other options any day.

Does the “Organic” Date Still Exist?

All this review over blind dates and arranged dates can throw some wariness on the phenomenon known as “meeting someone naturally.” It may even throw out concerns to single people who feel like they have tried every avenue, every gimmicky dating style out there.

The list goes on. Oh, boy, does it go on.

Online dating, once considered part of the gimmicky world, is now part of the norm–even if not everybody wants it to be. My fellow single friend Cathy groaned outright when she heard that a mutual colleague who had been on the rebound of a broken relationship for months, suddenly popped up with news of being involved with someone else. How did they meet? Through a dating app, of course!

“I mean, seriously?” Cathy slumped in disappointment. “Is it just not possible to meet people organically anymore?”

I shared her frustration. I had involved myself in dating sites for years in my twenties. While it was easier to gain a “collection” of options without having to spruce up and leave the house (a super introvert’s dream!), I found the whole experience just as draining. So many people’s photos can scroll across the screen, it can leave you exhausted and even numb to picking one or two who really catch your attention.

Then, as the revelation of how thick the veil standing between users sunk in, the chance to “catfish”–that is, lie about any and all aspects about yourself, including age, gender, weight, and general appearance—exploded.

That’s not to say that online dating isn’t a viable option to meet quality people–far from it. After all, you’re quality people, aren’t you?

And your single friends are quality people, too.

And I’m sure that each of you have at least one profile created on an eharmony, an okCupid, a Tinder, a Bumble. It’s just a matter of quality people linking with the quality people. It may take a while, but it will happen.

Some day, I may venture back out into the world of online dating, to see if anything has really changed in the way that I can meet like-minded goodness. I was recently introduced to a really informative article, “Best Online Dating Sites Based on In-depth Reviews,” that not only researched some of the most popular dating sites; it also provided quantitative details on the amount of research that went into the article.

The article was also objective; the first section at the top of the page was a “need to know” space that gave the following statements:

Dating sites don’t perform background checks on their users.

In 2018, Americans lost $143 million to romance scams.

Information in your profile may be shared with third parties.

Personality quizzes don’t necessarily lead to better matches.

From consumersadvocate.org

Are these statements stuck at the top to deter you from finding love through a dating site? I don’t think so. Rather, here is the chance to educate yourself fully and take dating seriously, no matter what method you use to date.

Just like when “accidentally” running into a cute stranger, then meeting said stranger for coffee the next day, you need to be realistic on what you know—and don’t know–about him/her.

The incorporeal “they” don’t say that “knowledge is power” for nuthin’.

The Best Way to Find Love

True love is not built on unrealistic fantasies, hopes and dreams. That being said, is it wrong to fantasize and hope and look forward to meeting someone who makes you smile in the morning and holds you tight in the evening?

Abso-freakin-lutely not.

Is it wrong to take risks in the world of love?

Nope. Nuh uh.

If it is, I’m flippin wrong till Tuesday and beyond.

No matter what you do or how you date, once you’ve done your research, educated yourself and ensured your safety–once love truly begins…let it happen naturally. The only control you have over whether the other person finds you as wonderful as you find them, is with yourself.

From what I’ve heard, the season finale of Love is Blind has posted on Netflix. Idealized couples and tropical vacations aside, it’s the self-control that helps you keep a grasp on reality as you come face-to-face for the first time with the person you’ve fallen in love with after only a few weeks. I have to wonder how many of those lovely contestants remembered that.

…chemistry between two people is dependent on those two people alone, no matter how much the people closest to them promote the union on their behalf.

How to Stop Yourself from Having a Crush

Click here to go straight to the methods.

For those of you who have read my posts all the way back to several years ago, you’ll recall that I wrote about how not to lose yourself when having a crush.

My personal belief is that a crush should be fun and harmless.  It should provide pleasing moments as you navigate through your daily life.  It’s a nice little distraction; something–or rather, someone–who makes you smile when you see him/her across the way or when he/she randomly pops into your mind.

via GIPHY

(And don’t even lie–you know you’ve made that face before.)

But what happens when you develop a crush on someone, and it starts to consume more of your thoughts–and time–than you want it to?

via GIPHY

It’s annoying, innit?

Why Should I Stop a Crush?

Is it Me…?

Your frustration at having the crush may have nothing to do with the actual person you’re crushing on. The guy/gal could be one of the sweetest, friendliest, coolest people you know.

Or, maybe not. Maybe they suck the big one, and you are honest-to-goodness frustrated that this person, off all people, is the one who makes your heart go all doki-doki.

Regardless, we’ve all experienced what happens when we become infatuated with someone:

  • We blush profusely.
  • We fidget noticeably.
  • We literally get stupider.
  • We stare at them too much.
  • We don’t look at them at all.
  • The ability to form sentences fails miserably.
  • We babble like the possessed.
  • We show off excessively.
  • We become as still as a mouse.
  • We get way too close.
  • We run.

Bottom line: we lose the ability to act normal.

What’s worse, despite the staggering amounts of online lore that clearly give these behaviors as signs of interest, we might think one of several (or a combination of) things if someone behaved this way towards us:

  • Creep.
  • Shy.
  • Showoff.
  • Guess he doesn’t like me.
  • Guess he really doesn’t like me.
  • Couldn’t care less that I exist. But why not? I’m awesome.

Thus, we think they’re thinking this because we think they’d think this about us.

(Y’all got that, right?)

…Or is it You?

Maybe there’s a more external reason that you don’t want to have a crush.

  • The person is already involved in a committed relationship.
  • The person has already told you that they do not want a relationship with you.
  • The person is in a certain professional/religious/authoritative/etc standing that makes the crush embarrassing or annoying (e.g. your boss, your priest, your teacher).
  • Heck, maybe you actually hate this person, yet your pure, raw, biochemical makeup has determined that you and them are supremely sexually compatible and would make excellent pro-creators to continue on the legacy of the human race!

Regardless of the reason, you want to abolish these feelings and move on. Sooo, it’s time to employ measures to crush the crush before it goes any further. I would like to share some ways that you can stop–or at the least, reduce–your latest infatuation.

Disclaimer: I am not a dating coach. I have had plenty of experience in the crush department (pity me later–let’s keep this about you for now 😁). I offer these recommendations based on my own experiences, and hope that they can offer some insight into your own situation.

I will be even more honest–not all of these methods are quick fixes. Nor are they “easy” fixes. But they might at least give you a better idea as to why you have a crush on someone you don’t want to have a crush on. Speaking of which…

The Six Crush Crushers

1. Understand WHY You Like Them

If you have a crush on someone and your first reaction is to be annoyed or frustrated by the crush, chances are you’ve also asked yourself this question:

It is a question, unfortunately, that only you can answer.

What was the moment when everything changed? Did he/she say something that flattered you or do something that put him/her into a beauteous, glorifying light? Did s/he display a unique skill or a hobby that added intrigue to their personality?

Uncovering the reason or moment when you did start liking them can help compartmentalize that moment separately from them as a person. You can learn to appreciate the moment for what it was–and then move on.

2. Get to Know the Crush

I know, I know. Why don’t I just tell you to walk into the sun?

The problem with a crush is that it’s often an idealization. We use most of the time building up crushes with daydreams and fantasies of what we would love to do with them. Forget his/her actual personality; in the safety of our own minds, we can imagine them saying, behaving, or doing anything we want.

So, how to stop fantasy?

Bring in the reality!

Remember: your crush really is just another human being. And there isn’t a single human being on earth that is perfect.

Now, you don’t have to corner your crush and interrogate them until you’ve got a nice ‘n’ proper dossier on their daily activities. Just be more observant of his/her personality whenever natural moments to interact arise. When he/she approaches you to talk…just talk. Make an appropriate joke; see if they respond to your satisfaction.

After enough interaction has happened, one of three results will hopefully occur:

  1. You’ll realize that there is nothing really spectacular about them. They’re a nice person, just…maybe not as much of what you initially thought.
  2. You’ll discover that they’re actually a horrible person. Verbally abusive, toxic, annoying, unforgivably flaky–what were you thinking?
  3. You’ll get to know them for who they are, and you like them for that–not for what you imagined them to be. What’s more, your jittery, idealized nerves will settle, and you’ll sincerely enjoy their company when you seem them. They may even become–gasp–a real friend.

The main point is that, you’re no longer putting them on a pedestal–and honestly, whether they knew you were crushing or not, I think they’ll appreciate that.

Note: If your crush has a significant other, this method may be a little difficult to execute or handle (see crush crusher #4 on why). In that case, I wouldn’t recommend this as the best choice, if it makes you (or them/their SOs) uncomfortable.

3. Block the Crush

This one is difficult to apply if you have daily interaction with your crush (ah, the boss/coworker or roommate conundrum). However, if you can do it without it affecting your daily life, it might be worth trying.

To apply this tactic, you need to be fully disciplined and absolutely airtight.

Avoid them at all costs. Do not communicate with them. Remove them on all your social media. If you can’t bring yourself to remove, at least hide/block them so they don’t appear on your feed.

Stop talking about them to friends and colleagues–not even a casual “you know who” is allowed. If someone starts to mention them while in your presence, plug your ears and sing the hook of VITAS’s “Opera #2” as loud as you can.

AS LOUD. AS YOU CAN.

(Hi-sterical as that may be, probably don’t wanna do this for reals until you’re around people that really, truly understand you. And will forgive you later.)

The rationale behind this method is 100% out of sight, out of mind. Like trash in a computer’s recycle bin, your crush can hang around for a while after you’ve made the choice to dump it. You’ll need a substantial amount of time to pass to give your brain a chance to forget what you adored about them.

A week’s not gonna cut it. Maybe three. A month is safer. Several months, even more so.

And the moment you think to yourself, “Ah, I feel great–like I’ve got my own mind back! I guess I can unblock them and talk to them again.”…

DON'T.

That faux confidence is your mind playing tricks on you. If you are thinking “I’m over them”–you are not over them. Continue to apply all aversion tactics for the next, oh…three to six months. Heck, make it year, just to be sure.

Do you know the only time you should unblock them or talk to them?

…wait. Talk to who?

Exactly.

4. Watch Your Crush Have a Crush on Someone Else

This one…can be painful. And I certainly don’t recommend this method if you can avoid it. That being said, it will certainly dampen any idealizations you may have had.

It is never fun to realize that there is someone else who makes your crush feel the way you feel about them–and it’s not you. It’s human nature to want to be special, let alone be special to your crush.

But life is not like a TV show or film where the imperfect protagonist will, after an hour and a half of watching their love interest cuddle with their SO, magically convince the LI that the protagonist is the one for them all along!

Does it happen?

Well, sure. Sometimes.

But how long do you want to wait for that so-called revelation while, week in and week out, you watch your crush sidle up to their crush to make their own dreams come true?

5. Start a New Crush

What better way to deflect one crush than with the power of another?

By choosing a secondary crush, you diminish the amount of nerve-wracking power the primary crush has over your nervous system. Having multiple crushes can also help remind you that there is no single ideal who completes everything.

Are you attracted to the Black Irish look?

What about a tall guy with a swimmer’s build?

Or a redhead with wide hips and a giggle like a bell?

Welp–why not all of them?

Beauty comes in all forms, and it doesn’t hurt to appreciate them. Besides, the new person you crush on may be a better fit for you in the potential of friendship or even a relationship.

6. Do…Nothing.

Let me explain this one with a story.

A couple of years ago, I met a guy who was–you know, a guy. Let’s call him John. Didn’t have a thought about him, one way or another. Since he hung in some of the same circles, I saw him every now and then. The few times I tried to engage him, he seemed like he…didn’t want to. Okay, fine, I thought, and happily stopped trying.

Then, one day, a girlfriend and I were talking about guys we thought were cute. We threw a few back and forth, and suddenly, she blurted out, “I mean, I think John’s hot.”

I just stared at her, positive she was talking about someone other than the John I was imagining. “John John?”

“Yeah!” she chirped. Just then, as if summoned from a dream, the John in question happen to walk by, but out of earshot. It gave me the ideal opportunity to see him through fresh eyes…

Aaaand still feel nothing.

It took another couple of months, a five o’clock shadow, and a snug turtleneck (when I begrudgingly and absentmindedly checked out his pecs) to develop my crush. However, had my friend never made the comment and planted that seed of thought into my mind, I would have never, ever considered John anything other than…John.

Time passed, and I got to know him organically. Some days I’m sure I made a fool of myself as I wore cute skirts or sat next to him when we all met for lunch. Other times, I stared at him and thought, “Well…he’s not the most parked car in the lot.”

By simply letting time pass as it normally would (and after several random giggle-fests with my GF over John’s forearms or voice), something interesting happened.

The crush faded away naturally.

I didn’t have to go out of my way to do anything. As I progressed through my life and John progressed through his, my choices changed in what made someone crushable in my eyes. His crush model became obsolete; still not bad to look at occasionally, but no longer my ideal.

To Crush or Not to Crush?

Regardless of which method you try, the main point is that having a crush should not be taking over your life or keeping you from enjoying yourself. If thinking about the crush is stressing you out in any way, maybe it’s not the healthiest option for you. And your health is the most important part of everything you do.

Not only that, but the healthier and happier you are, the more you can look forward to someone of quality having a crush on you. 🙂

Missed Opportunity, Pt 2 – An Open Letter to the (Other) Men Who Got Away

In Part 1 of this post, I wrote to Mr. Missed Opportunity 1 and 2, who just didn’t work out.  Part of the reason was poor timing; another was personal choices.  These last two (and the bonus man) were simply circumstance.  And those can be the worst missed opportunities of all.


To Mr. Your-Hugs-Are-Awesome-But-My-Friend-Likes-You-Too

I’m not even sure if you were ever attracted to me.

But I will cherish that time when our eyes locked through a crowd of acquaintances, and you seemed to light up with a hope that I was not used to seeing on men who made me want to giggle.

You parted the crowd with your shoulders, leaning forward and extending your hands before you had a clean path to me.  Your eyes never left mine, not until your cheek passed my eye line, and I felt the warmth of your neck.

The hug was all-encompassing, full-pressed and revealing.  I recall thinking, “Good lord, does he hug every woman like this?”

Even when you pulled back, you stayed close, and I forced myself not to think about how easy it would have been to pop up on my toes and peck the underside of your bottom lip.  I tried not to think of the conversations we could have had, the fact that I’d overheard you weeks ago talk about out-of-body experiences and chakras and that you kinda knew what you were talking about.

I tried not to think about the way I’d caught you looking at me sometimes, and convinced myself I was merely feeding some narcissistic fantasy.  I mean, let’s be honest–I probably was.

Instead, I stored that epic hug in my starved memory banks to remind myself in times of settling that that–that is how a hug should be.

To Mr. Almost-Kissed-Me-By-the-Copier

Yes, I ultimately realized what you were about to do that fateful day.  It only took me three years and a thorough re-read of the journal I kept at the time, but I figured it out.

I think I regret my missed opportunity with you more than any of the others.  I liked you a lot, from the first time I met you and listened as you rejected me outright on multiple standings.  Despite our crappy start (which seriously played like the perfect opening for a rom-com), our chemistry was magnetic.  Your attraction to me wasn’t nearly as obtuse or vague as I imagined it to be.  The signs were very much there–and if I hadn’t been so naive or obsessed with seeing what I thought mattered, I would have seen the biggest sign of all that said, “I WANT YOU.”

The one you held right in front of my eyes.

Every Woman Wanted You

Every woman wanted you, even the ones who complained about your brusqueness or your arrogance.  Maybe that’s why I couldn’t believe you went out of your way to help me, even when it attracted the disbelief and sarcasm of our colleagues.

Besides, when you tell a woman, “I don’t want to get to know you,” they will turn off any type of charm they may have been trying to build as ammo against your defenses.

Thinking back, I’m a little flattered at how hard you ultimately worked to flip that circuit breaker back in the ON position.

And then, there was that dinner party you didn’t know I attended.  I was bored within ten minutes of arriving (it’s tough being a 20-something in the land of 40- and 50-somethings) and sipped my wine as I contemplated how much time was appropriate to say I’d successfully networked.  I’d seen you come in with your then-girlfriend–it was my first time seeing her; I was immediately humbled.  Out of respect, I kept my distance, but out of the corner of my eye, I saw you glance my way.

I saw you double-take. No one had ever “double-taked” at me before.

I tried to hide my pleasure as you hurried over to express your mild surprise, to introduce me to your date, to invite me to sit next to you at our select table.

The Last Time I Saw You

About 8 months later, the first words out of your mouth after greeting me were, “I broke up with my girlfriend.” Then, you glanced at me in as much anticipation as you could while navigating traffic on our way to a casual lunch.

I absorbed what you were telling me, registered why you brought it up.  I was strangely calm that day, for I was in love and knew what I wanted.  I planned my response carefully.  I opened my mouth.

“I’ve decided to get serious with this guy I’ve been seeing,” I said.

You didn’t answer.  I noticed that your driving aggression doubled almost immediately.  I jumped as we popped over several traffic cones.

After lunch, we agreed to stay in touch–but there was never any real intention to, I think.  At the time, I believed that I had found The One, someone who I was closer to in many areas.  If it’s any consolation, he and I didn’t even last another six months.

But then, what else would you expect from a Mr. You-Weren’t-Mine-So-I-Never-Cried-For-You?

Someone Like You

I imagine, a couple times per year, what our relationship may have been like.  Yours was the slow, sweet burn of getting to know someone for who they were, winks and warts alike.  It was awkward, rude, hurtful, inspiring, warming, painful, and wonderful.  Nevertheless, despite my levels of regret, I think I know that we wouldn’t have worked out.  I was much too much of a mess in my 20s and wouldn’t start un-messing until, oh…three years ago.

Be grateful you dodged an emotional bullet.  But also, know that I’m grateful for my time with you.  It set a bar in my dating world.  I will be very lucky to meet someone like you now–someone who will make me feel the way you made me feel, and more.

BONUS: To Mr. Celebrity-Who-Possibly-Internet-Searched-Me-But-Probably-Didn’t

I’ve admired you since childhood.  When I met you last year and received your autograph, I mentally fist-pumped when you called me cute.

I actually tweeted about it later.  Sorry about that.  I’m not the kinda girl who gets celebrity-obsessed, you know?

By the way–if you use the internet in the middle of the night, I recommend–don’t.  You’ll end up on some crazy sites.

Like that one where you can see people who performed Google searches on you?  It sounds awesome at first, but honestly? I think it’s rigged.

I don’t know how or why your first initial and last name came up as someone who searched for my name. Maybe I was half-asleep.  Maybe I need to get a life, and you have no idea what I’m talking about.

Actual details are cloudy.   Don’t care.

The point is…I’ll take it.

So thanks. 🙂

man walking away missed opportunity

What would you say to the Mr. (or Miss) Missed Opportunity who got away?

Missed Opportunity, Pt 1 – An Open Letter to the Men Who Got Away

The memories of a missed opportunity rise in our heads at the moment we least expect them.  For me, it was while rummaging through my closet this weekend, scrounging for blouses and dresses that I never wore, that I can’t wear, that I will never wear.  One missed opportunity after another, I think ruefully, yanking a crisp, custom-cut Pink Floyd top off its hanger.  Never even had a chance.

My life has currently grown extremely busy to the point that I have very little time to spend on activities that aren’t directly correlated to one of these projects.  Unfortunately, this has also included what remained of my casual dating life.  No longer time to look other than to indulge a passing, aesthetically pleasing glance.

Like the purge on my closet, there have been gentlemen in my life who seemed to stand primed, merely waiting for me to pull them out and make them an active part of my daily routine.  I’d passed them often, admired them, and moved on.  Or I tried them on at the wrong time and was left feeling off, unattractive, or just annoyed that it didn’t look the way that I remembered it looking.

Then, days like today arise.

And I realize I’m far too late to try them again.

Swimming Against the River

As I scowl into the box of apparel folded and primed for the Goodwill shelves, somewhere within the bittersweet fog lies the remnants of regret amongst the memories of men whose feelings of attraction were–or were very close to being–fairly mutual between him and myself.

I probably wasn’t as coherent in these moments as I am now.  That’s probably why it’s called a missed opportunity.

None of these men are active parts in my life now, as time is the river who guides us all along in life.  If they were, I wish I could have a chance to say these things to them, just to let them know…


To Mr. You-Weren’t-Mine-So-I-Never-Cried-For-You

I’ll begin with you, sir.

Of any missed opportunity, our tryst lasted the longest.  Probably too long.  Part of it was because I kept up the silly hope that, despite everything, it was me you really wanted.  Life had just given you a supremely crappy hand.

Funny.  There was another guy I was kinda seeing on and off at the same time as you, and I didn’t like him half as much as I liked you.  He and I broke up countless times. Almost each time, the tears rushed out heated and heavy.  I’d sob to myself, or I’d call a friend and blubber over the stupidity of the relationship to them.

But you?  I never cried for you the way I cried for him.

Maybe because he was real.

A Fake Missed Opportunity?

You were a phantom, a ghost, a fairy.  You were mythical, beautiful.  If I could prove to others that you were real, that would have been truly magical.  If I could claim you in my clutches, I would have done the absolute impossible.

Ultimately, you had already been caught by someone else.

For her, you were solid and tangible and touchable and available.  When she summoned you, you appeared and lived the mortal live destined for you.

There was nothing I could do.  After all, it wouldn’t have been proper to reach into a cage someone else had built for you.  Especially when you walked into that cage of your own volition.

It took a fake psychic to exorcise the longing of you from my heart, to purge me of ever wanting to see you again.  Take that as you will, and enjoy your life.

To Mr. Touches-Over-a-1000-Piece-Puzzle

The first time our fingers brushed, I wrote it off as an accident.  It was a 1000-piece puzzle, and there were yours, mine, and at least five other pairs of hands pawing through the piles of borders, corners, and cogwheel-imprinted cardboard.  There were bound to be collisions, and when ours occurred, it was a sweet little tingle.  You were considered the cute one in our group outings, but you were also fresh and new.  Any interest in my aged mind (and my silly personality) was implausible.

The second time, the touch was impossible to mask for anyone watching. Most of the other puzzlers had given up, wandered away from the table.  You and I and a couple of other remained, though the third had leaned back into her phone, her hands occupied by the touchscreen.

The fourth, our host, rose from the table and asked if anyone wanted something to drink.  “B?” he called when I didn’t answer immediately.

“Yeah?” I said, and lifted my hands above the puzzle to clear it for any wanderers.  As I turned my head in the direction of the speaker, I saw your fingers rise, too.  And as I pondered over my beverage options, I felt it–the lightest, slowest trace across my knuckles, my palm.  A pause of delicate, interlocking fingertips–just enough to recognize that someone was recognizing, appreciating, exploring.

My train of thought faltered, but I let my hand hover to let you continue–and you did, for a blink.  It was probably me who drew back and resumed searching the puzzle piles.

I Wasn’t One of Them

I imagined it all, of course.  We hardly ever talked.  We moved in different circles.  You were sweet and hopeful; I was tired and damaged.  I knew the kind of girls you liked.  I wasn’t one of them.

At the end of the night, I packed up silently and moved to the front door, panning the room lovingly as general social pandemonium commenced.  I stopped when I saw you, standing on the other side directly across from me.  You were watching me, carefully.  I thought I saw a note of sadness in your body language.

But I must’ve imagined it, just like I imagined everything else.  And after all these years, you’d probably have no idea what I’m talking about.  So, if I made you uncomfortable, I’m sorry.

But the shy wave and the silent smile you passed across the room made me think that maybe I didn’t have anything to be sorry about.


When I first wrote this post, I thought I had fewer missed opportunities than I actually had.

But then I thought of another…and another…and another.

And I realized something.

Maybe I need to start taking more leaps of faith.

To be concluded in Pt. 2!

Love Languages Pt 2 – The Giving Love Languages

In the first part of this multi-part series, I reviewed not only what the love languages were; I also showcased my love languages and explained why I think I received the results I did.

In this part, I wanted to answer a question that arose due to Dr. Gary Chapman’s own explanation.  As explained by Wikipedia:

He theorizes that people tend to naturally give love in the way they prefer to receive it, and better communication between couples can be accomplished when one can demonstrate caring to the other person in the love language the recipient understands.

In other words, if someone wanted to show affection to someone whose primary love language was, say, physical touch, the latter should respond very strongly if you hugged them.  If their lowest love language was gift receiving, and you gave them a teddy bear, they may not be as immediately or noticeably impressed.  Talking with them and understanding what means the most to them would help clarify this.

The important thing is to recognize your partner’s primary love language and appeal to theirs, not to your own.  I think this is one of the most beautiful, selfless and sacrificial acts you can provide, especially if your partner’s primary love language is a polar opposite to yours.

But I digress.  Back to my original conundrum and Dr. Chapman’s theory:

The love language you want to receive (let’s call it the receiving love language from here on) is the same one that you “naturally” project onto others (hereon called the giving love language) when expressing love to them, right?

But…what if it’s not?

My Receiving Love Languages

Before I go into my giving love languages, let’s recall what the test results were from my recent Love Languages Test for my receiving love languages:

10Acts of Service
8Physical Touch
8Quality Time
3Receiving Gifts
1Words of Affirmation

Pretty standard, right?  My primary love language is acts of service, followed by a tie between physical touch and quality time.  After that, it is a quick drop to my lowest preferred languages, receiving gifts and words of affirmation.

In summary, I mainly and most easily interpret love and affection when a person is physically involved. That being said, it’s not like I don’t like gifts or being told I’m pretty (far from either of those!  Seriously, if you just bought me a present, don’t return it.  And tell me I’m pretty and that my eyes are like chocolate drenched in emerald starlight.  Please.)  I’m not going to accuse a person of “taking the easy route” if they do buy me a thoughtful gift or text me a compliment.  The lower languages aren’t removed; I just don’t relate to them as easily or as openly as my top three.

Sound good?  Got the gist of receiving love languages?

Good.

Now, let’s explore my giving love languages to compare.

My Giving Love Languages

Remember that guy friend I mentioned in Part 1?  Well, about two months ago, I bought him a Nascar-affiliated souvenir baseball hat when my company’s gift shop was having a huge apparel sale. I literally couldn’t wait to see his face light up when I gave it to him.  He did not disappoint.

“Wow, thanks!”  He’d beamed and had immediately taken off the cap he had been wearing to replace it with the new one.  After a beat, he eyed me in amazement.  “This actually feels really good,” he said.  My heart had whoop-whooped in delight.

Yep.  Turns out, I adore giving people gifts.

Even as I write this, more examples rise in my head on how perfectly this fits as my primary giving love language.  Since I was child, thinking of gifts for birthdays, Christmases and other notable celebrations has given me so much joy.  The consideration on what would be the perfect gift for the person and the occasion makes me feel like Sherlock Holmes–for if I get it right, the case will be solved, and I will be able to brag to Watson that the police couldn’t have resolved the trouble without my help.

(I’ve veered. Back on track.)

I’ve even had put a budget on myself, because I will be that person who will forget I’ve only known a coworker for a month but I know she’ll be so happy to receive that solid gold Dragon Ball Z Goku statue collection.  When they lay eyes on the gift I’ve picked out, especially one that matches them so well, their obvious appreciation is almost a rush.

In short–I prefer giving gifts over acts of service.

My Giving Love Languages, Ranked

After much speculation and self-reflection, here is the order that I have determined make up my giving love languages:

  1. Gifts
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Words of Affirmation
  4. Physical Touch
  5. Quality Time

Notice someone interesting?

Dr. Chapman’s theory states that I should, by nature, want to express my love the same way that I want to receive love.  But I don’t.  In fact, my secondary receiving languages (physical touch and quality time) plummet to the last places in my giving languages.

True, my primary receiving love language is only secondary in my giving love languages.  But the order in full is still noticeably different.

Why Don’t My Giving Love Languages Match my Receiving Love Language?

So?  What is the logic behind this?  Why are my receiving and giving love languages so different in order?

I have two theories.

Theory 1:  Self-confidence

As I’ve mentioned many a time in this blog, I suffer through some self-esteem issues.  Part of the inner dialogue that ties in with these issues includes some of the following:

  • Why are you still at the party?  No one would notice or care if you snuck out now.
  • You’ve spoken for too long.  See how bored they look? Just shut up and excuse yourself.
  • You’re not that cool or important, B, and no one is listening to you.

Brutal, I know.  But let’s take this logically for now.

In my state of low self-esteem, I don’t consider it a blessing to give people my physical time and attention.  I consider it selfish to invade their space.  Therefore, ipso facto–I don’t consider it a viable or thoughtful language to “grace someone with my presence.”

This includes physical touch.  It’s hard enough for me to touch people casually–and in fact, I don’t.  If I do, it’s because I had to talk myself through the motion beforehand.  As I mentioned in Part One, I am highly conscious of when I am physically touched, and it is very, very difficult for me to hide my reaction when I am.  I love being touched — but, I am very sensitive to it.

I often assume that, if most people enjoyed (or even wanted) me touching them, they would respond as noticeably as I do.  However, I don’t see this reaction much.  So, I assume they don’t want me to and thus refrain from touching too much.

Usually, I’ll only initiate a touch if a person has touched me first per visit–say, 8 to 10 times.  Or, if I’ve known said person for, like, 20 years minimum.  So, pretty much just family.

And we don’t really touch a super lot.  Can’t imagine why.

Theory 2:  Perception of Majority

After years of disastrous romantic interactions, I’ve noticed a common trend with the guys I’ve dated.  A lot of them complained that, not only did they not know what was going on in my head half the time, they never felt appreciated by me.  In my 20s, I dismissed them as being unobservant and imperceptive.  How could they possibly miss my signs?  I was blushing and giggling all over them!

“Yeah, but you never said how much you appreciated my time or how good I looked at that party or if you noticed my new suit!” they accused.  “I wore it just for you!”

I’d retort, “Really?  But I clung to your arm, and you saw me staring at you at the party.  And I kept stroking your jacket sleeve and adjusting your lapel–with a smile!”

“Yeah, but you didn’t say anything!!!”

The first guy who said things like this got blacklisted as an isolated incident.  But then I kept getting the feedback.  And I realized–a lot of guys like receiving words of encouragement and affirmation.  It apparently impacted them much more than words impact me.

I already gave my explanation on my primary giving love language.  As for acts of service, I had received monumental feedback from my mother and older sister when I’ve helped them over the years.  Either I would enjoy their reactions first-hand as they stared, confused, at the resolved mess, or I would overhear them telling others about the fantastic jobs days later.  Their happiness, whether they expressed thanks directly to me or not, was palpable.  In turn, it made/makes me happy to know how much stress it would remove from them.

People in general like when stress is removed from them.  I like seeing people without stress.  So, I try to remove it.

I be simple gal.  I see problem, I attempt solution.

Conclusion

Re-reviewing the love languages only re-emphasizes how important they are in showing the people we care about, how much they mean to us.  If a person is nagging their partner to do something, they’re not doing it just to be mean (or rather, they shouldn’t be).  They’re doing it because a very vital love language is being neglected.

A wife not being told her hard work matters.  A man who wants to spend time with his daughter fixing the lawn mower.  One sibling who looks forward to that handmade birthday card her little sister gives her every year.

That being said, no one should be compromising their own self-love to make everyone else happy.  You as a person are not exempt from having your love languages fulfilled–not even from yourself.  The love and respect you give to yourself is just as important as the love you give out to the world.

Which brings me to a new question:

Have “self-love” languages been explored?

How do the five love language rank when considering how you best respond when treating yourself?

I performed a brief search on Google, but I did not see anything by Dr. Chapman.  Which means…

This is something to consider.

The Love Language Saga shall continue.  Maybe not next week, but someday, it will be back!

 

Do your giving love languages match your receiving love languages?  I’d love to hear if anyone else is also unique!

Love Languages Pt 1 – What You Want and Why

Let’s jump right in–I am fascinated by the concept of love languages.  They’re not just applicable to romantic relationships–oh, no.  Everyone you know and meet has a set order of preferences to their languages.  And if you can be perceptive enough to learn what that order is, you’ve possibly earned the faith of a family member/friend/coworker/mother/brother/child for a long, long time.

In the last eight months, I have met, engaged, networked, and interacted with more people than I have in the last three years combined.  For a so-called highly sensitive super introvert, this can come as…a bit of a shock.

That being said, I did find myself enjoying the interactions and learning that, despite the crap going on in the world, there are still so many absolutely amazing people.

It wasn’t just the new people, though.  After visiting my sisters, nephew, and mother during the Fourth of July and hanging out with my friends, I started thinking about how people express their love and affection to each other in different ways.  I once had a potential love interest who always wanted me to tell him how amazing I found him.  Sometimes, I just wanted him to sit beside me and enjoy a quiet moment.

Remember that Alanis Morissette line?  “Why are you so petrified of silence?”

Seriously, why are you so freakin petrified of silence?  If you’d just shut your trap for five seconds–

Ahem.

Long story short, that relationship didn’t last–for various reasons.  However, we might have assuaged the pain a bit had we both been more open and responsive to each other’s love languages.

What are Love Languages?

The first time I heard about love languages, my reaction wasn’t the most mature or open-minded.

Ron Swanson Fast Zoom
“Oh, look–another thing with a label.”

“Love languages” was coined in 1995 by Dr. Gary Chapman in his book, The 5 Love Languages.  After recalling a moment of emotional dissonance with his wife (which they thankfully resolved after his wife tearfully asked him to “just hold her”), Dr. Chapman explains that there are five major areas in which individuals give and respond to affection.  They are, in alphabetical order:

  1. Acts of Service (aka doing things for someone else)
  2. Physical touch (aka…physical touch)
  3. Quality Time
  4. Receiving Gifts
  5. Words of Affirmation (compliments, encouragement, etc.)

While we may generally appreciate from all these areas, each person has a unique primary and secondary language that triggers a higher, stronger positive response than the others. To determine a person’s order of love languages, Dr. Chapman developed a straightforward either-or quiz for single people and people in relationships.  Based on the answers in the quiz, the love language results rank by their tallied scores.

There can be various reasons for individuals preferring–or rather, identifying more strongly with–one love language over another.  Maybe your parents gave you an inordinate amount of a certain “type” of love as a child.  A lot of physical touching.  Calling you “beautiful” and “the most amazing thing ever.”  Perhaps you were deprived of a certain love language as a child, and it became the language you now long for in your relationships.

Reasonable Doubt

When I first bought The 5 Love Languages and read it years ago, I was still skeptical.  Love is love, I thought.  When people talk “love languages,” they’re just being nit picky.  They need the wordy definitions and the test results, because they feel like all their needs aren’t being met.

But then I thought back to that old boyfriend–and how he always had some poetic words for how he could see himself in my eyes or how nice my butt looked in jeans.  And then I thought about my response to his words–or rather, lack of response.

And I thought about the failure of that relationship.

And I realized, it certainly couldn’t hurt to take this more seriously.

My Love Languages

I last took the Love Languages Test in August of 2017.  That was my second time taking it, and I recalled that those results were different from the very first time I took it circa 2010.  I was curious to see if there was a difference in my results in a year’s time (it has been a crazy year), so I took it a third time, just before I started writing this entry.

Here were my results:

10Acts of Service
8Physical Touch
8Quality Time
3Receiving Gifts
1Words of Affirmation

The only difference between this time and last time is that physical touch and quality time have flipped–or rather, met in a synchronized second-place standing.  But that makes sense–because they are definitely of equal importance to me.

Quality time.  When I was a child, some of my favorite memories include me sitting quietly in the same room with my family.  One of us is reading a book.  Another one is drawing.  Yet a third, putting a puzzle together.  We didn’t have to say anything; we just knew that we were all there, together and content in each others’ presences.

Goose holding goslings in the rain

Physical touch.  As I’ve progressed into my 30s, my physical sense of touch has heightened immensely.  Maybe it was because I’ve been single and lived by myself most of the time, but I’ve become severely aware of when I’m touched–anywhere.  I don’t respond (too) awkwardly, but I definitely notice.

Handshakes become a world of concentration.

Hugs are breaking news in my head.

And when I’m reaching out to touch you?

Yes, I am giving myself a pep talk.  Doesn’t everyone?

What my Primary Love Language Means to Me

I can see why receiving acts of service would mean the most to me.  In the modern days of click-once-to-buy, ttyl, lol, G-ma, the feels, and other quickened, abbreviated ways of life, it seems like most people are simply in a rush for themselves. Not only that, but I’ve often lived alone and/or noticeably far from people I care most about.  When I find out that they performed some task on my behalf, it fulfills two levels of joy within me:

  1. In their busy lives, with so many wonderful people to care about…they were thinking of me.
  2. They slowed down to do something that they knew would make me happy.

I still struggle with my self-esteem–to the point where I often feel I am the personification of “out of sight, out of [everyone’s] mind.”  I push through this struggle by not wanting to put anyone out and thus taking on everything myself.  Ironically, I grow bitter at my own self-fulfilling prophecy and grumble under my breath, “Not like anyone would help me, anyway.”

Feeling Loved

A couple of weeks ago, I had my gentleman friend over to hang out for a few hours.  “Sorry about the mess,” I apologized as we wandered into my galley kitchen to see what we could find for snacks.  “I’d been meaning to wash the dishes.”

As I walked into the living room to turn on the TV,  I heard an odd noise behind me.  I ignored it at first, because my mind refused to believe it.  But the noise sounded again, and I turned to confirm what was indeed happening in the kitchen without me.

My guy friend was hunched over, half-hidden by the sink and the half wall dividing the rooms.  The duet of china and silverware played from somewhere between his feet.

Slowly, I approached the counter space that separated us.  I didn’t want to frighten this strange, domestic beast while it ventured within my habitat.  However, I couldn’t stop the perplexity from bursting out of my mouth.  “What are you doing?”

He shot up, a white plate in one hand.  “I’m loading your dishwasher.  Well, first I’m emptying it of the clean ones.  These are clean, right?”

I must have been staring, because he impatiently waved me back into the living room.  The plate glinted in the beams of the track lights.  “Weren’t you putting in a game?  Go on, sit down; I’ll be done in a minute.”  And then he watched me–until I actually left the room.

Love Languages:  Want vs. Give

Having (and letting) someone clean for me out of affection was a surprisingly sobering experience.  Even when I popped back in the kitchen a few seconds later to ninja-help, he promptly (albeit good-naturedly) ordered me back out.  No one had ever ignored my “Oh, you don’t have to do that” before.  No one had ever let me…not be in control before.

For once, I was allowed to rest while someone else took care of me.

To my surprise…I liked it.  I appreciated it.

I felt…loved.

According to Dr. Chapman’s The 5 Love Languages, a person’s order of preferred love languages isn’t just geared to what they want to receive.  It also connotes the love languages they like to give.  For example, if someone likes to receive words of affirmations, they’re more likely to give them to others, as well.

But I wondered–were there ever circumstances where a person’s preferred received love language was notably different from the one they preferred to give?  If so, why?  What could/would cause a difference?

These were good questions (thank you, me :3).  And I wanted to know if any of them held true.

This love language expo was not over.  Not by a far shot.

 

Click here to take the Love Languages test!  And feel free to share your results and your thoughts behind them.

Mid-30s, Female, Single and Awesome

The last thing I intended to do was restart my blog with a rant over another blog.  But when I saw the title of a Vogue.com article shared on Twitter a few weeks ago, my biscuits became quite burned.

“How Did I Become the Last Single Person In My Group?”

A.k.a.,Mid-30s and Single:  Did I Wait too Long to Settle Down?

Weeeell, great.

As a woman in her mid-30s, I get bothered by these kind of articles.  Not because I feel an unyielding pull to get married and have kids by the next full moon.  Rather, they seem to reflect a stigma that still appears very prominently in modern society–that women lose their attractiveness and sex appeal once they reach a certain age.

Before I even started reading the article, the first comment describing it called it “cringe-worthy.”  “Really?” I thought curiously, clicking on the link.  “What could POSSIBLY be cringe-worthy about an article?”

You ask a silly question.

The Summary

The blogger in question–a blond, pretty woman encroaching on the dreaded age range of her mid 30s–laments about how she managed to reach said age without being able to find a single Mr. Right to wed and bed–or is it the other way around?

She has the sudden epiphany that drinking and going to orgies (not kidding) just aren’t holding the same magic that they used to.  It is now time for her to do the settling down thing!  Every man met must now be scrutinized for his wardrobe, his choice in mattresses, his papa potential.

But perhaps she has waited too long.  Perhaps all of the good men in the world have already been snatched away by the fresh, young 20-somethings, leaving only the bare minimum for 30+-year-old women (whom she terms “leftovers”).  Nevertheless, she will embark on a tireless search (I guess through dating apps, since she is also feeling “too lazy to go out”) for her perfect mate before she is too late.  Meanwhile, all of her friends have already linked up and shacked up, spending more time with other couples than with her.  Now what is she supposed to do with the rest of her free time?

I’ll be honest.

I am not the most sophisticated, swanky, social media savvy individual.  In fact, just call me an individual.  My retirement goal in my golden years is to have a hobbit hole and shepherd a yak farm in New Zealand.  So maybe this article just went over my head, and the cringe factor that everyone else got, I did not.

Is the article cringe-worthy because the author was trying to be funny-cute by calling unmarried women in their mid-30s “leftovers”?

Is it cringe-worthy because the whole thing is satire so brilliant, I just missed the memo?

Or is it cringe-worthy because it possibly makes other mid-30s women embarrassed to be mid-30s women?

Over 30 = Obsolete (Apparently)

Let’s say the cringe falls under the third option.

My own embarrassment does not find any fault with the blogger’s sudden desire to get married and have kids.  Though the reality of the “biological clock” is still reputed among the experts, I’m sure almost every woman has at least once glanced at a man having a moment with his child and felt…tuggings.

I know I have.

And it was…interesting.

But I digress.

My embarrassment lies, instead, with this blogger’s decision to turn her article into a victimization of the fact that she has been “abandoned”:

  • Abandoned by friends who had the nerve to get married and leave her cold and shivering on the couch of their summer holiday beach house.
  • Abandoned by men who had no romantic interest in her and only wanted to check her teeth for decay (it happens).
  • Abandoned by her non-existent boyfriend when she bought a new portable air conditioner and forgot (*shrugs*) that she had to drag it up four flights of stairs to her apartment.

At the end of the article, she resolves to “keep eating steak alone and RSVP’ing to orgies”.  After all, that’s what you do when you’re waiting to meet Mr. Right after you’ve entered “leftover territory”.

To the single women over a certain age who want to get married and have children, this article paints a horrifying though unfortunately statistical (EDIT: yeah, there were no actual statistics in that bad boy. 🙂 ) picture:

Mid-30s You Are Not Young Anymore Sign

What About the “Other” Single Women?

I was an absolute mess in my 20s.  The literal small-town girl in a big city with everything she owned in the back of her 2005 Grand Am.  I found the world a scary mass of contradictions, and the attention of men was a new and often frightening experience.  I spent most of my time trying to traverse among the players, the narcissists, the insecure.  By the time I determined where the borders lie in Good and Evil, I was often too late.

But there was a worse “too late” that was happening to me, even worse than missing out on meeting men.

  • I’d had dreams of being a professional wrestler since I was in high school.  Had I pushed myself, believed in myself more, I could have been a veteran in that arena (no pun intended) as far as 10 years ago.
  • What about singing?  I come from a singing family.  When was I going to stop mucking around to do that whole “singing in a jazz club” thing I’d wanted to try for years?
  • And what about my childhood goal of making a living as a novelist?
  • And aerial silks?  And Brazilian jiu jitsu?  And my lead-in as the new voice of Bugs Bunny???

I spent most of my adulthood afraid of living, let alone loving someone.  Only in the last couple of years have I finally started addressing my fears and enjoying myself.  To my shock, I’ve had more fun and felt more comfortable in my life now than I ever did in my 20s.

Meeting the “right” Mr. Right

“But B,” I hear someone asking smugly, “wouldn’t you love to meet Mr. Right?”

You bet your top AND bottom dollar, I would.  But therein lies a bigger question.

Who, exactly, IS Mr. Right?  And more so, who is my Mr. Right?

Is my Mr. Right your Mr. Right?

Is “Kelly’s” Mr. Right the same as “Chantal’s” Mr. Right?

Absolutely not.

Kelly’s desired Mr. Right might be 6’5” with a square jaw who hates broccoli but loves zucchini, who has dated a lot but never met a girl who could grind her skateboard more than six feet on the rail.  He is between 25 and 35, and he is ITCHING to marry someone at least five years older than him and have at least 3 kids starting next year.

Chantal’s desired Mr. Right might be a silver fox who just has to be taller than her 4’11” frame.  He’s divorced with two fairly well-adjusted kids in middle school, and he is at an age where he doesn’t have to work as long or as hard as he used to.  He studies Shinto and really wants to give taekkyeon a go.  And he is a hopeless romantic who doesn’t see age, race, profession, or language as a barrier.

These scenarios paint different pictures.  But they are both available options–and opportunities–to marry and have kids, for the RIGHT women.

That being said, we as women don’t have to stop LIVING.  We can enjoy ourselves while we “wait” for fate/God/the universe/the Force to pair us up–in our 30s, our 40s, our 50s, and beyond.

And even if you don’t get paired up–that’s okay.

Wouldn’t you rather look back on how much fun you had, how many wonderful people you met, how much of an impact your work/art had, than how you simply scoured the world for a guy who wore the exact color of blue boxers that you like?

Now Exiting Leftover Territory

At the end of her article, the blogger mentions two goals in her 20s:  to be a bestselling author and make a movie.  I don’t see why she still can’t fulfill at least one of those dreams.  There are too many success stories of artists who didn’t break out and reach fame until their 40s or 50s.  I don’t know about her, but between her steaks and orgies, she’s got plenty of time to perfect that book or manuscript.  Maybe she already has.  

But I will say this.  If this 30-something blogger wants to call herself a leftover, that’s fine.  But I certainly do not see myself as a leftover, and I don’t see the need to include anyone else in that bracket, either.  I don’t see myself or my ripe “old” age as a disadvantage, but rather as a blessing.  I’ve learned so much about who I am in the last 10 years, things I needed to go through that before I could even consider having close friendships, let alone relationships.

Could I have made wiser decisions in my dating life during my 20s and had more successful relationships with a higher potential of marriage?

Well, sure.

But I did the absolute best I could in the situations presented to me. And I’ll bet this blogger did the same thing.  Heck, we all did.

And for those who did manage to marry in their 20s?  Much congratulations and blessings to them.  However, they are notbetter” or “luckier” than those who are single.  They are simply following a different path.

I say for myself, for the blogger, and for all single women worried that they have missed out on love, marriage, children, and any and all intimate companionship.

You are not a leftover. You will find the love you are seeking.

So power to you.

In fact, power to me, too. 🙂

What the hey–power to all of us.

I’d love to hear other opinions on this point.  Feel free to comment and share below.

Here’s the link to the original article.

How to Keep Yourself from Being Stupid Over a Crush

We all know that familiar scenario.

It’s a normal day like any other.  You’re wandering along, minding your business and doing what you know needs to be done.

You notice a guy nearby.  You’ve seen him around every now and then.  Maybe you didn’t notice him too much, no more than anyone else.  He’s kinda cute.

Every few days or so, you two pass each other casually or sit within the same vicinity.  Occasionally, you catch each other’s eye, but you don’t hold the gaze.  It’s whatevs.

Then, one afternoon, after a long day with your defenses down, you hear someone ask, “How was your day?”  The question and the familiarity take you by surprise, and you turn to find the guy looking at you, watching you.  Perhaps he’s smiling.  You strike up an impromptu conversation.  You part, the event a pleasant little light in an otherwise dark day.

A week passes, and the afternoon repeats itself.  To your own surprise, you light up when you hear his familiar greeting:  “How was your day?”  You talk again, longer this time.  He asks you about your job.  You ask him if he loves the outdoors.  He apologizes for bothering you while you read, but can’t help to ask another question.  You suddenly realize the pretty color of his eyes.

That now becomes your thing.  If you see each other at that same time, you find yourself eagerly anticipating the “How was your day?”  You’re smiling at him as you talk and think, “Why does he suddenly look so much hotter than before?”

And suddenly–

Oh, crap.

via GIPHY

You’ve got a crush.

It’d be one thing if you were still, oh, 10 years old.  Back then, the rush of endorphin is new, it’s exciting, it’s a feeling that you don’t remember feeling before.

And then the symptoms!

The flush of your cheeks.

The inability to think straight.

The classic brain mantra of, “Don’t.  Say.  Anything.  Dumb.  For the LOVE.  OF.  GOD.”

But that’s the thing.  You’re not 10 years old anymore.

You’re a grown woman.  A single grown woman.

And dagnabbit, you do not have the time or energy to let a man who at least might be a pleasant new friend, get away due to your fluttery behavior.

You might have already noticed that I just might be in this predicament myself.

Having always been shy in the first place, one thing that I have failed at was opening my mouth and taking chances that I absolutely should have taken when they arose.  I can (unfortunately) count the number of times I have let a (potentially) good catch slip through my fingers, and let’s face it — it is not a fun feeling.  If you’re like me, the regret can linger in the back of your mind for years.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve determined that I would “fool-proof” my crushing behavior by preparing a list of requirements and prohibitions to ensure that I don’t become a stuttering, desperate, annoying moron in the event I do develop an infatuation.  (Note:  creating this list is best done before the hint of any feelings begin, so I am a little late to my own party.)  Better late than never, though, so here we go.

5 Ways to Stay Sane During a Crush

1.  Always look good — for yourself.

I am a strong advocate for dressing for success and looking sexy.  But by all means, do not do it only for the crush.  By “training” yourself to dress for you and feel proud of your appearance, you avoid the stress of only building up those fashion muscles when you see someone cute.

2.  Get enough sleep.

I know, this one may not make a lot of sense.  For those that struggle with this, though, you know — you are antisocial, insecure, and stressed beyond belief when you are not caught up on those zzzzz’s.  And you most certainly aren’t showing your best face.  So, stick in that extra hour of beddy bye, and enjoy fabulous dream…guys.

(Heh — it rhymed.)

3.  Take a mental snapshot of your un-crushing self.

Remember that silly joke you made that no one laughed at?  What about when you danced the Can-Can in the middle of your office space?  Love to twist off the top of your Oreos and save the cream side for last?

Remember those things, and don’t stop doing them if the urge hits you. No man (or person) is worth compromising what makes you so wonderful.

People (aka me) are notorious for completely diluting themselves when in front of someone they only want to impress.  But think about it.  How did you feel when the guy you thought was hot absent-mindedly made a soft whooping noise every time he dodged someone in a crowd?  Exactly:  unique and adorable.

4.  Flirt with him.

Wait.  What?

You heard me.

Go ‘head on and flirt with him.

What did you do when you were young and you had a crush?  Again, if you were like me, you ran.  You averted your eyes, you snapped at him, and you kept your answers short.  Anything to avoid appearing as if you were interested.

Not only was this the stupidest trick in the book, but it probably only made things more obvious that I liked him.

I mean, heaven forbid anyone see what you are doing or saying to this guy.  They’ll…they’ll…

Not…care?

Okay, you’re probably thinking.  Maybe they won’t care, but the guy — the guy will.  And he will be absolutely…absolutely…

…flattered?

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in life, it’s that there isn’t a man in the world who doesn’t appreciate a little female attention.  Even if they’re not attracted to you, per se, any decent man wouldn’t say anything too cruel to reject said attention.

(That aside, ditch the dude and the crush if he can’t respect your mature decision to merely enjoy his company as a friend.  You are too awesome to settle for anything less.)

5.  Let it go, let it go.

If or when this guy either stops talking to you or just happens to not be around you anymore…that is fine.

Maybe it was because of something you did, or maybe it had absolutely nothing to do with you.  Doesn’t matter.

As a coworker reminded me today, there are plenty of fish in the proverbial sea.  Pickins may be slim or harder to wade through, but there are certainly still pickins after this guy is gone.  Not only that (this same coworker told me), but if something is meant to be, it will certainly be.  The Universe is really cool like that.


Even as I’m writing this list out, I find myself relaxing.  It’s so easy to get caught up in the physiological responses our bodies unleash when we see a pair of sexy eyes or a nice smile or a pair of soft-looking…kissable…lips…

Where was I going with this?

Oh, yeah!  The bottom line:  a crush is a crush, and there’s no need to panic over having one.  Enjoy the sensations knowing you can still have them, and let things flow naturally.

And if you’ve got multiple crushes, the more, the merrier.

Like celebrity crushes!

Hello, Mr. HBK Shawn Michaels.  <3

via GIPHY