Reflections on one of (the?) best date(s) ever

I wrote this post a while ago and chickened out before I posted it. Now that I have some distance from it, I realized it is still pure gold. Also, I needed to re-read it *laughs nervously*

***********************************************************************************

I went on a date last night. I realize it’s a terrible idea to tell the entire interwebs about it, but I have so many thoughts and feels about it, I truly don’t care. 

To begin – the date activities were downright classy. In the current “ambiguous hangout” culture, it’s refreshing to be treated like an adult woman with value. Actually, the whole experience made me realize how long it’s been since I’ve felt truly valued and – excuse me for getting vuln here – almost made me want to cry. He picked me up. He used the D word beforehand – but also made it clear he wasn’t necessarily expecting this to be the start of a long relationship – so I wasn’t confused about what he was thinking. He told me how fancy-pants he was going to be, so I didn’t have to worry about embarrassing myself by dressing too down or too up. It may seem small, but it’s really considerate to eliminate so much random stress and angst with clear communication. 

Then the date itself – I don’t think I’m off base to say he was excited to be out with me and thought I looked attractive. I felt attractive. He was flirty and affectionate without assuming a false romanticism (one of my pet peeves). He asked me about myself and seemed genuinely interested in my answers. He wasn’t intimidated by my PhD and research, but he didn’t fetishize it, either (if anyone ever says “talk nerdy to me,” that’s my cue to split and Uber myself back to the hizzle). He was obviously very smart and had a good career going, but he wasn’t arrogant about it. 

Beyond that – we just had a connection. I know that’s cliché, but it’s true. He’s one of the very few people I could imagine having a deep​ convo with but still be able to laugh uproariously about something ridiculous. So many men I meet 1) immediately launch into convincing me we’re perfect for each other and should formalize our relationship as soon as possible, 2) seem like they’re trying to figure out how well I fit into their life, worldview, social scene, etc. but aren’t interested in my life, worldview, social scene, or 3) they treat me like their bro who they’re kinda sorta attracted to. But he didn’t try to point out everything we had in common, or ask probing questions to determine if I would put up with his video game all nighters, and we didn’t meet up at Chipotle. He treated me like.. a(n attractive) person … who he was getting to know. Cray!

You may be thinking, “Congrats! What’s​ the prob?” Well, to my great chagrin, we have deeply incompatible worldviews. One part of me wants to push that to the side and take it day by day. But y’all, this is where I need to put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. I either have faith or I don’t. As much as my poor little heart is a little ache-y right now, my brain and my heart both remember how miserable it is to date someone who (directly or indirectly) discourages my faith. So I can’t. Or more accurately, I won’t. As the sassy Jane Eyre said – 

“I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now. Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be. If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth? They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane—quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs. Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot.”

 

woman-2842670
I doubt Jane Eyre would approve of this shoe choice, but PLANT THOU FOOTSIES! (pixabay image, not an actual gallofoot)

 

 This is probably frustrating to read. If this was a movie I’d be super pissed that this was the ending. “Why even tell us this?!” Because, with all my snarky criticisms and womansplaining related to dating and men, I wanted to spend at least one post not being glib or sarcastic or bossy, but just real.

I also want the world to know that the type of date I described above is **not** out of fashion.

Single Brochachos I strongly​ encourage you: if you don’t get excited about being out with a woman, or if you don’t find yourself wanting to create a date that makes her feel valued, then do yourself both a favor and release her to find someone who does. 

Single Sischachas I strongly encourage you: if your man doesn’t consistently make you feel valued, honored, and special… move it along.

Final point- it’s okay to appreciate something for what it was, even if it didn’t have the perfect rom-com ending. I loved that date, and I’m so thankful for it. 

I’m also thankful to all of you for enduring this embarrassing amount of over-sharing. Promise I’ll go back to being glib and sarcastic very soon. ❤ 

 

************************************************************************************

PLEASE NOTE: I wrote a post a while back with some similar elements, and it really ruffled some feathers. Not trying to stir the pot, just sharing my thoughts/feels.. that’s what blogging is for, yo. If you are seriously offended plz message me about it. *smooch*

 

It’s not you, it’s Jesus.

Ima be real: I struggle with dating non-Christians. For whatever reason(s), menfolk without the faith love them some Galloswag. And contrary to the dire warnings I heard in my youth, many of them are *not* sleaze bag jerk faces, with “only one thing on their mind.” Au contraire, many men who aren’t Christian have genuinely amazing qualities and seem to sincerely appreciate me.

On the flipside, IT WOULD SEEM many* menfolk with the faith are ‘meh’ or ‘oh holy gosh, no!’ when when it comes to yours truly.** I often get the eerie feeling they are comparing me to some champion-of-the-faith-barbiedoll-yet-somehow-unintimidating-wears-ripped-skinnyjeans-with-artsy-jewelry prototype.***

So yes, I have frequently dated non-Christians. Because.. well.. they saw me. And I liked them.

Even though sometimes I have had tons in common with some of these menz and liked them lotttssss, in the end it never worked out.

When I was in my late teens / early twenties, it didn’t work out because I was ridden with guilt the entire time we dated. I wanted to stay with them, but I shouldn’t.

caught-1013600_960_720 (1)
^How I’ve often felt (edited pixabay free image)

 

I would break it off regretfully, almost saying “It’s not you, it’s Jesus.” I took my own spiritual and emotional needs out of the equation. I basically conveyed to the spurned pago they were practically perfect, if not for that meanie Apostle Paul. “If only Christianity didn’t have these annoying verses about not being unequally yoked… Otherwise, I would TOTALLY date you.”

More recently, even though parts of me may still want to keep dating an adorbs guy who doesn’t share my faith, a louder, stronger part of me doesn’t wanna.

Why? I believe it has something to do with the ‘transforming your mind’ part of being a Christian. Being a Christian changes the way I view everything — how to handle my own successes and failures, the shortcomings of others, future stressful situations, my purpose on earth, beauty … It’s unsettling when I’m dating a non-Christian who can’t get over some bitterness toward someone who has wronged them, is existentially threatened by a career failure, etc. I know what keeps me out of those pits – praying, reading scripture, the encouragement and exhortation of Christian community, and thoughts like  “Yes, this person hurt me, but my struggle is not against flesh and blood. The more they wrong me, the more of an opportunity it will be to exercise the audacious forgiveness of the cross.” To me, that’s the stuff of freeing truth. To a non-Christian, that’s the stuff of idiotic gibberish.

Plus, I want a certain intimacy in my romantic relationships that involves sharing everything that’s important to me. I’m sure it’s technically possible to never talk about my faith and focus on other shared interests, but that would be … fragmenting. It would be more awkward than dating someone who didn’t think that the disease I research was even a real disease. We might still be able to guffaw over Parks and Rec reruns together, but at the end of the day, I wouldn’t have a true partner in life who would encourage and support me in what is most important to me.

 

cross-2744227_960_720
Mean ol’ Jesus, always coming coming in-between our hearts and theirs. *snorts* (edited pixabay free image)

But I think it’s worth considering what your decision would be if the bible was completely silent on this subject. If it doesn’t grieve you that they don’t have the same life, joy, peace, purpose that following Jesus has brought you – well then, maybe you aren’t finding life, joy, peace, and purpose in Christianity.

I found it super helpful and enlightening to do a heart investigation / rebellion deconstruction to find the primary source of my struggle. For example, I recently realized I get more joy from flirting/smooching/dating than from my faith. From there, I realized my feels toward God were pretty flat. From there, I read a chapter from Sacred Rhythms that made me realize I wasn’t creating space in my heart and life to find joy in Jesus. At least in my case, my dating strugglez were just as much a symptom of a problem as a problem in of itself.

Focusing on the solution to the root of my probs (feeling ‘meh’ about Jesus) has opened the way to work on “throwing off all that hinders” so I can run in free, obedient joy, instead of planting my feet in dutiful, obedient misery.

I’m not trying to paint myself as some super-Christian, belieeeeeeeeve meeeee. BUT I’ve been encouraged that most recently, the disconnect I had with a non-Christian would-be-boyfriend was genuine, not forced.

So Christian singles – instead of saying “It’s not you, it’s Jesus,” may we all honestly say “It is you, it is me, it is especially you and me together not being particularly helpful in my pursual of Jesus. Peace and grease.”

And then, let us joyfully FIDO.

 

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

* With a few notable exceptions. You know who you are! #awkward

** NOT THAT I AM BITTER 

*** OKAY I’M PRETTY BITTER 

GENERAL COMMENT: The main reason I decided to publish these rambles is because this has been such a huge source of guilt for me for .. 10 years! And there’s practically nothing less Christian than being eaten alive by guilt. So, even if this helps two people, it’s worth the rest of the world rolling their eyes at my over-sharing.

 

The kind of man it feels good to be around 

This is a simple idea, so I apologize if your mind isn’t blown to the same degree that it usually is after reading a Galloblog – but hopefully your mind is at least poofed.

Lately I’ve been falling asleep to one of my favoritest songs in the whole world – Ashley McBryde’s daddy love song, Bible and a .44. (It sounds like a crazed redneck song, but it’s actually heart-achingly sweet.) Anyway, one line of that song that jumps out to me every time I hear it is “[he’s] the kind of man it feels good to be around.”

(These sort of simple, beautiful, strangely profound lyrics are why I love country music, despite recent assaults on its dignity by Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, etc.)

One reason why those lyrics strike me is that I immediately think of the men in my fam – my Dad, my Grandpa, my Grandaddy, brother, uncles, cousins.. They really do feel good to be around, and it hurts my heart sometimes just to think about it.

gramps
My grandpa. That grin! If it doesn’t make you feel good, I can’t help you.

What is this secret element that brings on these good feels? I think it’s kindness. A genuine interest in others and commitment to their well-being.. and a complete lack of self-interest. The Gallomen are confident, so they don’t need to prove themselves by obnoxiously competing with other men or by bringing down women, either overtly or covertly. ❤

But another more somber reason those lyrics strike me is how many men they *don’t* apply to.

(This isn’t a man-basher post, but just a “Ima be real” with a dash of emo.)

I have a lot of guy friends that are fun to pal around with. They can be funny. They can be charming. They can be interesting. But at the end of the day, hardly any of them – romantic or platonic alike – actually make me feel good. And some of them – after hanging out with them – I just feel… bad.

Is that their fault? Is the problem me? Who knows, and who cares. They just do.

My birthday is around the corner, which always intensifies my pensiveness and reflectivity sooooo… the action item I’m going to take away from this beautifically simple ideer is also beautifically simple: I’m going stop friending (and especially dating, amiright?) men* whom — whether or not they’re brilliant, hilarious, devastatingly handsome, Captain of the Tim Keller fan club, etc. — it feels bad to be around.** And if I may get a little dramatic … if I can’t find men who feel good to be around, better to be alone and/or surround myself with sisters from other misters and/or houseplants.

.. Oh, and I encourage you all – especially those tender young blossoms of womenfolk – to do the same *smooch*

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*Yes, yes, women too. But the song lyric is about men, so.. just go with it.

**I’m not saying to shun people who you don’t jive with perfectly. I’m referring to people who consistently bring ickiness into your life. You don’t have to hate them, but you definitely don’t have to subject yourself to the bad feels, either.

An immodest proposal for the reinstatement of arranged marriages

I don’t know why so many people pretend like having a dynamo dating life is living the dream. Oh yes, it is an utter delight to either get your heart broken, break someone else’s heart, or both.

“Poppycock!” – Dr. Galloswag

But dating sucks because we moderns have made it suck. Our past few generations have an undue obsession with relationships and romance. I mean, smart, good lookin’, healthy, goodhearted, financially stable people feel legitimately bad  – like, they don’t even enjoy their life – simply because they’re single. And one of the main reasons they are single is *not* because there is no one available. It’s because, with each of the 1,482 different people they met through HarmoniousBagelMatch in the past month, “we didn’t have a romantic connection,” or “our Myers-Briggs types were incompatible,” or “she had man hands.”

In the olden days, they didn’t have time to worry about this nonsense. They were fleeing angry ostriches or trying to resist eating their own toes during the winter. I doubt pre-modern women often looked over at pre-modern Jo-Jo and thought, “I don’t know, he just doesn’t make me laugh.”

Right now we’ve become way too picky because we have too many options. We now rule people out for having unseemly arm hair because— we can. There’s this itch in the back of our heads – “I can do better.

arrange_marriages_potatochips.jpg
When you have this many options, you’re bound to 1) take forever to choose 2) be certain you *could* have made a better choice, no matter what you choose (pixabay image)

But what does that mean, exactly – to “do better?” Have we really reduced personal relationships to a game of ego, where we’re all trying to outsmart the system and snag someone who is just a tad out of our league?

This is why we need to return to arranged marriages. It doesn’t have to be quite as parentally-subservient as it was in the past. Each person should construct a 4-6 person “Matrimonial Selection Committee,” between the ages of 18 and 25. Within one year of selecting the MSC, they need to present to the committee their non-negotiables (e.g. “loves Tim Keller) and perhaps a few special preferences (e.g. “uses emojis liberally”). The MSC will then take this information and undergo a 6-12 month search for a suitable mate. At the end of said search, they will present the person with their choice. The person can say yes, or be single for the rest of their life. Simple.

Look, this may seem overly cut-and-dry, but it’s really not. As Lewis Smedes and Tim Keller argue – the promising and commitment is what gives us the security and freedom to truly invest in each other and love without fear of abandonment (in TK’s The Meaning of Marriage). So I’m pretty sure that if we just made a commitment to almost anyone with the same general values (or faith, if you have one), we would flourish like a well-watered begonia.

begonia-2386043_960_720
Picky singles, this could be you. (pixabay image)

Arranged marriages, FTW!

When fools rush in: How to survive a Jo-Jo storm

Morton salt - When it Rains It Pours-8x6
(from http://www.thisdayinquotes.com/2009/11/when-it-rains-it-pours-started-out-as_06.html)

There seems to be a social contagion with romance and attraction, and I have a strong suspicion that males have special sensors that alert them to females who just recently went on a date. Many of my friends and I have been through seasons of life in which we were tortured with an invasion of men who are great in some ways, but have preexisting conditions that make them unsuitable for the long haul. Lo, they’re suddenly all around you, like a heavily cologned swarm of brosquitos.

Initially this is all It’s raining men, Hallelujah! But quickly it becomes Poor poor pitiful me | Oh these boys won’t let me be | Lord have mercy on me | Woe woe is me!* What is a girl to do? Should you casually date one, some, or all Jo-Jo(s) indefinitely until Prince Perfecto** comes riding in? Is someone better than no one?

Pfft. Only if you want to ruin your life, bring shame to your family and community, and contribute to global warming! Please consider the following –

–  Opportunity Cost, yo If you’re out with Jo-Jo, Prince Perfecto may not pursue you because he’ll see that you’re taken. And he might even judge you a little for having a taste for Jo-Jo. And honestly.. can you blame him? Or, you’ll be so distracted that you won’t even notice or be emotionally available when he does put out “feelers” for your interest.

–  Remember the ghosts of Jo-Jos past I have a good amount of respect for most of the men I’ve dated, but there are some man-children who I’m … remorseful … to have ever dated. So if you’re asking​, “What do I have to lose by going on a few dates with this guy?” Galloswag sez, “Your dignity, woman!

–  Have a heart Even if you’re a rough and tough woman who can easily date without getting attached, that “fill-in” you’re dating may not share your vision for having no vision of a future with him. It’s pretty ru-ru and selfish to waste someone’s time. #JoJoFeelsMatter

–  Learn to live all by yourself   If you are intensely miserable by yourself, anyone will seem like an upgrade. But if you craft a full life of friends, adventure, and purpose, you’ll be much less tempted to accept someone’s attentions just because you need a distraction from your lamé life. YOLO, so make your solo L count.

–  Get an accountabuddy! Have a friend – I find older, married women especially helpful for this – whom you feel comfortable sharing your dating life with. Tell them what’s up, even when your dating life is a horror show. A few times, a major motivator for me to prevent a Jo-Jo-continuation was knowing that I would have to explain myself later to a woman I had deep respect for.

Get out of the Jo-Jo pond Sometimes we tally our catches, rank them, and then choose whoever is at the top. But don’t get tunnel vision and feel pressured into choosing between your currently available options. Sometimes “none of the above” is the right answer.

Not wasting time with Jo-Jos may not automatically cue the entrance of Prince Perfecto (who has apparently been in a deep coma from the moment you came of age), but I do promise it will help prevent your soul from being pummeled with upsettedness and futility in the meantime. Stay strong, my shimmering stars of singleness!

shimmerstar.png
This is how I see all of my single sistren. Try not to get to emotional! (pixabay  free images)

— EDITORIAL NOTES —

*The Weather Girls and Linda Ronstadt, respectively.

**I actually mean Mr. Ideal, but Prince Perfecto is both an alliteration and rhymes with Jo-Jo and I couldn’t resist. #artisticlicense

To the one I love

I love going places with you. Things haven’t been perfect – I’ve beat up on you a little bit, and you’ve let me down a few times. But we always keep moving. We drive on.

Before I found you, I was helpless, frustrated, and a bit desperate. I walked the streets alone.

I never thought that I would end up with someone like you. No one expected for us to really work. “Don’t expect it to last more than a few months,” they told me grimly.

But as soon as I saw you, something clicked. I knew we had to belong to each other.
You were so much more masculine than I expected, but now I wouldn’t have it any other way. We both had pasts – painful, destructive pasts. But where others see imperfections, I see unique history and character that makes you even more perfect to me.

I love going places with you. Things haven’t been perfect – I’ve beat up on you a little bit, and you’ve let me down a few times. But we always keep moving. We drive on.

Every day I fall a little bit more in love with you. You’re fun. Being with you has satisfied a deep longing in my heart I’ve had since middle school. But you’re also reliable, and just comfortable to be around.

I know people don’t understand why we’re together, but I’m in for this ride as long as you are. I can’t wait to find out what adventures we’ll go through next.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, SWEET BABY CAKES!!!

carwhearts

DON’T YOU DARE JUDGE ME! Just kidding 😉

 

Friend zoned, bro!

If you agreed to wear matching shirts, you def don’t have a chance romantically. AND THAT’S PERFECTLY OKAY

 

Recently I posed a question to my adoring facebook community :

“If someone is interested in you but you’re 90% sure you’re going to friend zone them, is it more considerate to go on at least one date-like activity to “give it a chance,” or tell them from the very beginning you’re not romantically interested so they don’t waste their time and $?”

Well, this initiated quite the flurry of comments. I was a little dismayed that several commenters ranged from pity to contempt toward the unnamed, potentially friend-zoned man in question. In my mind, friend-zoning should not be seen as some shameful insult. Short of marrying the person, I  see a good solid friend-zone as the best possible outcome to hope for.

Think about the scores of people that most single people will date before they find that special someone (if they ever do). We have to assume that there’s a very high likelihood that any given date is not going to be “the one.” If a date ends in “let’s just be friends,” it’s not a horrible failure. It’s an overwhelming success in ruling them out, and saving you precious hours of sad and angry interweb stalking. I’m probably going to be accused of being anti-marriage or a bitter old hag, but I’m totally serious about this: I think it’s almost as equally worthy of celebration to leave a person who is wrong for you than to stay with the person who is right for you.

Please consider this: less romance = less drama = less weirdness post break up = more real friend potential. So, if you become skilled at extracting yourself from cloying romance as quickly as possible, you greatly increase your chances at actually developing a wonderful, joyous, platonic relationship.

**Quick caveat: I’m assuming that friend-zoning actually means the friend-zoner actually does want to be your friend. If they say “let’s be friends,” and mean “please stop talking to me you disgusting creep,” then yes that’s a little shameful. Although still, not the end of the world really. Not everyone is going to be wildly attracted to you, and some people may actually be actively put off by you. Sure, it’s not pleasant – but why waste any more of your time creeping on them and being angry? Do you really wish that you had the secret code of charm and looks to snag someone who was turned off by your SOP? Have some dignity, and save your time for someone who truly appreciates your friendship… or even falls madly in love with you. Either one. (See, I’m not completely bitter.)

😉