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Love Kills

Warning – the following blog post is wrought with reverse sexism.  It’s a joke, people.  Please don’t comment about how I’m setting women’s rights back. 

 

Recently, I’ve had a bit of a bug problem.  Gross, huh?  Well – it’s all fixed now, but when I was texting my landlord about it, I was joking with her that she could either call an exterminator or, …find me a man.  A man who will kill bugs for me.

* Swoon *

Well, I’m still waiting on the man (thanks a LOT, Glenda… geez…what do I even pay you rent for?), but we did get to talking about how many dates you’d have to go on to be able to ask for such favors.  I propose that a girl should be able to ask for such things on date 1… as part of the sizing-up process.  You see… there’s lots of different methods for disposing of 6 and 8-legged creatures (yes, yes, I know spiders aren’t technically insects… You can spare me the science lesson on thoraxes and such… but if they’re an abomination (which spiders CLEARLY are), they count toward my thesis…and they need to die), and the way a man kills them tells you tons about him.

Bug Killing Personalities:Bug killer

1.  The “Squash and Scram” –
This is the guy who rides in on his noble steed, who bravely vanquishes the befouled beast, and then leaves you to …clean up the guts?

Guh….ross.
Where is the chilvalry?  Where is the sacrifice?  The guts clean-up is the worst part.  Nay – it is the essential part.  It’s that “fashion a giant mitt of paper towels to mop up all manner of pest entrails and juice, whilst fighting back the bile creeping up your throat” moment that begs for a big strong man who will smash it, and conceal all evidence.
That’s the stuff of fairy tales.

2.  The “ ‘If you Love it, Set it Free’ Bug Hippy” –

We all know these people.
They take that whole “why he wouldn’t even hurt a fly” thing WAY too seriously.
They’re the ones tenderly corralling the 4-foot cockroach into your good Tupperware (which now has to be burned), only then to liberate it from it’s human home-shaped prison, back into the wild where mother nature intended.

Nuh-uh.

The only catch-and-release program happening in my home, is the one for the guy who won’t actually kill the bug.  ‘Cause I know what happens….. that bug, once emancipated, goes and tells all its horrid little friends about the mean lady who was scowling and rolling her eyes while the knight in shining armor rescued it from its certain death…. And then they conspire to come and get me in the night.

Yup…I’m fairly certain I have my finger on the pulse of the bug community and this is exactly how it goes down.  Town meetings, assembling a quorum, grabbing their tiny pitchforks and storming the castle of my bedroom to call down their reign of terror.  So – if you’re going to set it free… you might as well just keep walking.  Your alleged mercy is my impending doom.

 

Bug Killer 3

3.  The “Girly-Girl Trapped in a Man’s Body”

(if it wasn’t already anti-feminist before…buckle up)

Look – I want a man who kills a bug like it’s built into his DNA.  …Like it’s no big deal or better yet, like he enjoys protecting me from the multi-legged menaces.  I don’t want someone to cower or whimper or scream like a girl while performing bug murder.  (I’m not making it up – I’ve had two significant men in my life who would literally scream while taking care of an unwanted critter).

75% of the bug killing’s purpose is to actually exterminate the invaders.
The other 25% is to display his bravery, so I’ll practically faint with adoration.

I’m being silly, but there’s something to this… I’ve watched as friends of mine handily kill and dispose of a bug and I find my insides getting all squishy with desire.  Recently a friend killed a spider outside my house and I think I may have audibly moaned.  Yup.  That happened.

So, if he winces and eeks in fear, I’m still glad for the insect death, but I’m not going to pounce on him for a smooch either.

 

4.  The “Half-Hearted Warrior”

This is the guy who doesn’t really get what the big deal is.
You’ll find out who these men are when faced with the bugs who get away…
you know – one of those “I just saw him, but I don’t know where he went” moments. bug killer 2

Guys – we want a man who will go on the hunt – for LOVE!  I mean… er… for the bug.  If you say, “well, I don’t see it now…” and sit down on the couch expecting my affection to resume at the same level where we left off… you are sadly mistaken.

See, the importance of my happiness to you is directly correlated to how long and how hard you’ll search to end the little devil’s life.  Will you move a couch?  Will you look under a bed?  Will you lie in wait for the creature to think he’s bested you and leave his hiding place, only to suffer your wrath?  Now THAT’s romance.

 

I could go on, but I think we get the idea.

There are a few things you have to experience with a significant other – to truly know whether it’s a good fit.  Dance with ‘em, play Monopoly, have them meet your parents, and maybe most importantly …see if/how they’ll kill bugs for you.

Look…this life is hard.  If I can find some small measure of solace in the strong arms of a bug killing man… is that too much to ask?

Kill bugs.  Kill ‘em good.  Clean ‘em up, and come back to claim your reward.  Rrrrrr….


A Study in Santa – Pt. III …Do You Believe?

Do you believe in Santa Claus?
I mean…duh… obviously, you know that he isn’t real.  But still…….do you believe in the magic and wonder that sits just beneath the fantasy?

Let me explain…
(and yes…I’m reusing a post from last Christmas, because I still stand behind what I said then!)

 

What do we do with Santa Claus?   Jolly ‘ol Saint Nick.

Some people don’t believe we should propagate the false story with kids, some people are neutral, some people go full-tilt fantasy as long as their kids keep believing and then some (*raises hand*).

I’d like to make a case for Santa.  After all, he’s WAY too busy today to speak on his own behalf.

This year, my little girl is right on the cusp of belief and disbelief.  It’s definitely the last Christmas I can pull off the fantasy.   So, I enlisted the help of my dad (an excellent storyteller) to tell the kids about the origins and evolution of Santa Claus – the REAL Santa Claus – to drive home all those smooshy feelings that keep you choosing to believe in something, even when the evidence is beginning to outweigh the power of imagination.

santa 4Turns out the REAL story of St. Nick is the story of love, kindness, and helping those in need.  Isn’t that a story we can ALL get behind?

santa 1The original Saint Nicholas, who was later made Bishop and mimicked by countless other secret night-time gift-givers, was so convicted about giving to the needy and providing money, food, and toys to children who had nothing, that it caught on.  Talk about a trend worth following!

Whether you’re spiritual/religious or not, the idea of showing basic human kindness to others is something everyone can agree on.

So, the question isn’t really whether you ‘agree’ with Santa, it’s – are you on board with our modern-day take on him?

santa 8And, yes, I admit, the idea has morphed into a more materialistic chase that frustrates even the unbreakable Christmas spirit in me, at times.  But, we don’t have to let it BE that.  Instead of surrendering to the greediness that can be bred by the Santa story, we can use the idea of Father Christmas to do two things:

1.  Enjoy the gift of creativity and imagination.  There is such beautiful artistry in a great story.  Think of the delicious elements of a timeless fairy tale…   The way we weave the best aspects of the known world we can think of – pleasure, love, good winning over evil, bravery, sacrifice, etc., along with the supernatural or impossibly wonderful – (i.e. magic) – into a narrative that fills us with wonder… is there anything better?santa 5

 

You do this on a small scale – all the time.  Even bah-humbug grown-ups make up miniature fantasies anytime we WISH traffic would just part and make way for us to scurry home, or we close our eyes for a milisecond in hopes that that guy will call us back after a date, or we hope, beyond all reason that it’ll be sunny even when the weather channel says there’s a 100% chance of rain on a special day.  We WANT there to be MAGIC.  It’s in our nature to yearn for fantasy.  It’s why stories and movies like Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter are so popular!

Passing this on to our children is a gift.  The gift of creativity and the gift of WONDER.  Teaching them that there is a possibility ….that there exists the tiniest crack in reality that …COULD be magical.
That COULD be other-worldly…
it not only stirs their imagination, but it breeds hope.

2.  Appreciate the thrill of anonymous giving.  The anonymity that exists in the legend – that is, the fact that you don’t get CREDIT for the gift – gives it a another layer of honest goodness and sweet satisfaction.  Any selfish desire to get that kickback feeling that comes when someone recognizes you… is gone.  So, it removes any self-centerdness to reveal a pure underlying love of giving and generosity.

Have you ever given a gift where the person never knew it was from you?  Wasn’t it divine?  This is another certain privilege of participating in the Santa story.

santa 9

This is a season where that crack of possibility, that there might be such as thing as magic, opens just a little wider;
Our capacity to dream becomes a little larger;
Our willingness to open ourselves up to whimsy and wonder and even the foolishness that a fairy tale brings, becomes greater.
And our reluctance to suspend disbelief starts to chip away.

 

And maybe for just a moment – BELIEF in something magical becomes a reality.  Even if it happens for a fleeting moment…just a flash of “what if?” …isn’t it wonderful?

santa 7So – I don’t know about you, but as long as there are Christmases, I’m going to choose to engage in the mysterious wonder of Santa Claus.

Merry Christmas to ALL of you, and to all – a good night!


A Study in Santa – Pt. II …Naughty or Nice?

I’m co-opting a blog from another site for this post.  But never fear…the author is just as amazing as I am…  😉

And yes, you’ll note some similar themes as the previous post, but it’s coming from a different angle.
If you want to read it on the original website, click here.


In recent Christmas discussions, my children have been pondering (and possibly worrying) about whether they’ve made the cut. Whether they’ve been “naughty or nice,” as it relates to Santa coming, this is. Now, while my daughter still believes in Jolly ‘ol St. Nick, my son, Timothy, only participates in these conversations to keep the fantasy alive for her, which is pretty sweet, actually.

As we talked, the question at hand was something like this: No kid can ever be good ALL the time, …that would be impossible… So, …what “counts” as far as Santa is concerned? How good does one have to be to avoid the lump of coal? And how much naughtiness is assumed in the normal kid behavior bell curve? Is it just during the Christmas season? What about when you do extra nice things…do those “buy” you a later screw-up? Are there levels of goodness? Like – sorta good gets you a scooter, but REALLY good gets you an iPad? Basically…we were trying to define “naughty and nice.”funny santa

At first, I gave them an answer along these lines: “Well, I think it’s more about your heart. Do you try to be obedient? Do you apologize when you make mistakes?” I was trying to get at the idea that Santa looks for children who are generally good, knowing full well that no one is perfect. And apparently, we decided that if you’re better than Hudson (a kid at Timothy’s school who’s notorious for getting into trouble), then you’re probably ok. But still… fingers crossed on Christmas Eve… and let’s hope the letter we send to the North Pole is cute enough to push us over the edge into the “nice” camp, if Santa was on the fence.

But, as the conversation was humming along in the back seat of the car, in my mind, all I could think of was, “of course ‘Santa’ is coming! Because… I’m Santa (really hoping I didn’t just spoil the surprise for any of you…), and I WANT to bring them gifts! I mean – I REALLY want to. I can’t WAIT to give them gifts.

Santa gives gifts on the condition that they’re good…
Mommy gives gifts out of pure love.

My children receiving gifts depends much less on them and so much more …on me…on my desire to bless them. And, sure, I much prefer when they’re well-behaved, but Timothy’s right – no one can be good all the time. And if true goodness is what we’re aiming for,…everyone will fail. In truth, we ALL deserve a lump of coal.

Thank goodness God works more like the real Santa (parents), and less like the song. He doesn’t give us good gifts because we’re good (despite what some folksy theology may teach), but because HE – the giver of all good gifts – is pleased to give them to us. It makes HIM happy. And if you’ve ever given a child a really amazing gift on Christmas morning, you know the feeling!

In the end, that creepy Christmas ditty we sing to children this time of year… you know the one – the stalker tune about how Santa knows when we’re sleeping and when we’re awake, …how “he knows if you’ve been bad or good, so be good for goodness sake” – isn’t at all the spirit of Christmas OR the truth of life. If you do things that way, you’re not even behaving for “goodness’ sake,” you’re behaving to hopefully earn good gifts. But, moreso – the real gift giver wants to give the gifts, regardless of our behavior.

Santa gives gifts on the condition that we’re good…
God gives gifts – including the gift of His Son – out of pure love.

So, perhaps in this season of presents and stockings and holiday gift-lists, we should spend less time trying to achieve the bare minimum “goodness” to be in Santa’s good graces, and more time being thankful for Emmanuel – God with us – the giver of grace.

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” – James 1:17


Ask Sarah – When to NOT have sex?

Dear Sarah,

I’m convinced that God intended physical intimacy as a gift that should be reserved for marriage. However, I get the impression that this is not the normal practice on the dating scene, especially when you’re a grown adult, even within Christian communities. This is a really important faith practice to me, so much so that I want to find someone who shares the same perspective. That brings me to two related questions: 1) How unusual do you think this belief is within the 30’s+ dating scene? 2) How do you advise someone who holds this belief to communicate it both (a) early enough to be forthright and (b) not so early that you’re a creepster?

 

Dear Sex-Saver,

What a great question – and you’ve definitely come to the right place.
I am an expert in how to NOT have sex.  In fact – a whole lotta of my single life has been comprised of just that.

Oh…that’s not what you meant?

Whoopsie…

Well, regardless of where your ‘line’ is for sex, most people have SOME standard they try to follow…and when should such a thing come up?  How do you talk about it with a potential relationship partner?  But I’m getting ahead of myself.

The first question you asked was how common your perspective is.  I can only answer from my own experience, but I’d say it’s (sadly) EXTREMELY RARE.  I can count on one hand the number of people I know or have ever met in this season of dating,  who hold to the ‘wait until marriage’ sexual standard.

Now, that certainly doesn’t comment on the rightness or wrongness of anything.  It’s just to say – VERY few people I’ve interacted with fall into this camp.  So, yes, that makes it really difficult to hold to your beliefs…when almost no one else is – even in the Christian community.
Le sigh…

One side note of encouragement on this front:  it works to your advantage that you’re a man.  Men who want to wait until marriage, (in my opinion) have an easier go than women who do.  Women who want to abstain have to find a man who wants to wait (and we all know that, statistically, men – on the whole – have a greater or more seemingly ‘urgent’ sex drive than women.  Oh…chill people.  I know it’s not true across the board.  I also know that sex drives are expressed differently between the sexes… but c’mon… typically men want sex sooner and more aggressively than women do.)  Anyway – if that’s true, it’s going to be a lot easier for YOU to convince a woman to wait, than for me to convince a man.  Women are touched/impressed with men’s resolve in this arena.  Men are typically just turned off.  I’m just sayin’…

I would say this… like SO many other sticky-wickets of dating… people are a whole lot more likely to get on board with something they might not otherwise agree with or choose…if they find themselves smitten by you.  I’m not saying to TRICK people, but I AM saying…let them see how great you are before dropping the “fat chance of gettin’ lucky tonight, babe!” card on ’em.

On my online profile, I have it listed like this:

waiting for sex 6

 

Why that one?  Because it’s the truth – but it’s not enough to scare someone away.  I’d much rather wait until after having met a guy and started getting to know each other – to drop the “I’m kinda a prude” hammer on him.  It’s my HOPE that by that time, he’ll be so insanely smitten with me that he’ll be willing to wait longer than he had originally planned.

Another thing I did – just to put this on the radar of anyone interested… was to put this in my profile:

waiting for sex 1

And it’s not just religious folk who think it’s a good idea to wait.  Even Steve Harvey tells women not to “give up the cookie” for 90 days.  That’s a long time in the modern dating world!  Why 90 days?  Because Christians or not, smart people know that when you hold off on sex… there are loads of relational advantages, not the least of which is seeing if the person is even willing to stick around to get to know and love YOU!

And there are lots of other ways to let someone know you’re sexually conservative without spilling the “on the wedding night” beans so early it scares ’em.  I’ll sometimes use the opportunity of flirty texting to throw it out there.  If a guy makes a joking reference to sex (which…hello….give any of them enough time, and they all will), I’ll sometimes text back, “haha – rewrrrr!  But I should tell you… as much as I love the entendre jokes and flirty banter, I’m actually a good girl.”  I’ve never had a guy respond negatively to that.  Probably because if I’m texting him, he’s likely a decent fellow – and they tend to actually WANT to date someone with a bit of moral fiber in her character.

Also, if you use OKCupid (which is the one I recommend to people), you get to answer tons of questions about all kinds of topics.  Then, when you have a potential match, not only can you peruse his/her profile, but you can see how your answers line up with theirs – AND you can search by category!  What?!

waiting for sex 5

It also lets you leave comments on the questions to clarify your stance.  Here’s an example of one I wrote – to let people know I’m not a goodie goodie for lack of desire…but because I think there’s something there worth waiting for.

waiting for sex 3

So, I guess what I’m saying is this:

Don’t focus on the fact that the majority of the dating/single world doesn’t hold to your standard.  Focus on getting to know someone who seems otherwise great – let her see how great YOU are, and she might just be willing to wait for cookies…

In the meantime, you can put some hints out there – (see above examples) – but I wouldn’t explicitly bring it up until at LEAST date 3.  And trust me… a guy who will wait to talk/joke/intimate about sex… is a pretty dreamy anomaly in today’s dating world.  Women (the good ones, at least), will find it refreshing.  Let her know you’re interested and you desire her, without chomping at the bit.  That’s the sexiest thing in the world.


Sometimes The Glass IS Half-Empty…

I was inspired to write this supremely depressing 2-part post (can’t wait to read it now, can ya?) by a middle-of-the-night phone call I got the other night.  Here’s how it went down:

Phone vibrates.  It’s 1:48 a.m.  You know who calls at 1:38 a.m.?  People whose limbs are falling off or people who want to cut off your limbs.  Oh, and occasionally – drunk men, in the mood for ….well, yeah.

I look and it says, “Unknown Caller.”  I answer in my groggy, but firmly “I’m certainly not all alone in my home, just waiting to be killed” voice, “Hello?”
-silence-
Hello??”
-hang up-

Now, ordinarily, that would just be a minor inconvenience, but for some reason, it awoke me in just such a state that getting a hang-up call from a blocked number scared the sense right out of me.  I was now in full-panic mode – the kind where you just KNOW that if you shift in the bed too noisily, a terrible man is going to come upstairs and remove all the skin from your body like peeling a grape, or something (I MAY have watched a few too many episodes of Criminal Minds.  I’m never worried about dying, mind you…I’m always more concerned about the bag of tools in tow, and the bizarre form of torture I’ll inevitably endure.)
So, while I’m trying to talk myself out of being irrationally afraid…a good 5 minutes later, I get this text:

Glass Half Empty 1Ok – At least now I was on the path to believing there wasn’t a serial rapist downstairs ….and yet… I needed more details.

And so, the following middle-of-the-night conversation ensued.  (So, to all the Words-With-Friends opponents who asked why I was playing at that crazy hour…now you know… to distract myself from thoughts of medieval torment machines being assembled in my living room).

glass half empty 2Yes.  That would be inadvisable…ESPECIALLY considering that that was my “I’m not alone!” voice… not my sexy voice.
*rethinks ‘not alone voice’*

So, I was finally able to calm myself down and drift back off into sleepy land, when what should happen…?
He called!
AGAIN!
what??  Oy…

Let’s just review… this is a guy who I had ONE conversation with (by phone… in daylight hours), who said he would follow up with me and take me out for lunch.  Then I didn’t hear from him for weeks, until he messaged me….  Well, actually, let me just SHOW you.

Here’s our first encounter – on the IM feature on OKCupid – many months ago…

first convo

Seems cool, right?  He tracked with me on theological stuff, joked about smooching, …there was some banter there.  Decent stuff, no?

He called the next day (as in…while the sun was still shining and I wasn’t asleep…) and we had a pleasant-ish conversation.  He came off sorta pretentious…but not enough to not see how lunch went.  He said he’d call or text about lunch…then nothing.

For several weeks.

Then, this conversation:

post convo convo

And then……. you guessed it…. nada.

No contact again.

I figured between the flakey plan-making (a particularly unseemly quality in my book), AND the snobby tone he’d adopted on the phone call…that I had zero interest.

So…when he disrupted my beauty sleep – on a school night, no less, and called a SECOND time…
– I was particularly miffed:
glass half empty 3

You were bored, were you?  BORED?  Well, color me smitten.  A man who would rudely awake me and then ‘woo’ me with words like, “just bored” is the kind of guy who inspires some disillusionment.

I mean – I expect this stuff from the low-life guys I quickly swipe past on online sites, but… “et TU, professor of philosophy?”  If an educated, witty guy can succumb to late night fishing expeditions, then who the heck is LEFT?  So, while I promise to return to my normal cheerful, holding-onto-hope in this world of dating tone soon…  for now, I’m going to just shake my head in dismay.
Join me, will you?

A 2:00 a.m. booty call from a guy who seemed so great…is the kind of thing that has so many single people convinced that there’s nothing of quality left out there.

So, before I rally and give you my speech about how there ARE still great guys out there and that you should hold onto your hope and your standards, I thought I’d languish in the pit just a BIT longer… Come back another day for a better-rested, more hopeful blogger.


Lovers Gon’ Love

MjAxMy1mYTc1NjkzZDJhZDU1NzBk_511718d534a78Why do so many people hate Valentine’s Day?

Right, right, I can hear many of you reciting that over-used line, “It’s just a ‘Hallmark holiday’.”

And…?

Is Hallmark inherently evil?
Don’t thousands of companies latch onto holidays to boost sales?  We’re capitalists!
We don’t hate Presidents Day because linens are discounted, do we?
Does Egyptian Cotton trump flowers and candy?

Perhaps you’d say, “It’s an invented holiday.”
OOooooooh, ok… not like those organic ones we’ve found while out farming the land.  Right…

Maybe you’d respond with, “Why should someone else tell me when to show the person I love that I love him/her.  I SHOULD be showing them all year ‘round!
Great!  Yes!
You should!
Go do that!  Valentine’s Day isn’t keeping anyone from showering their loved ones with affection on the other 364 days of the year.

Are you afraid you’re going to think up a romantic gesture for your sweetheart and right when you’re about to leave her that note or give her that gift, you’ll get a firm knock on the door from the Valentine’s Day Police?  “Sir, …sir, are you aware that it’s April 12th?  What were you THINKING?  Loving your significant other is strickly forbidden.  Any thoughts, words, or actions of amorous expression must wait until next February 14th.  V-day LAW.”

hate-valentines-day-unless-bounty-hunter-ecard-someecards

Truth be told, Valentine’s Day isn’t making anyone do anything.  It just is.

If there were such a thing as “Hug Day,” would you fold your arms and refuse free hugs?  What about “Compliment Day?”  or “Get $100 Day?”  These are all good things… things that should not make people bitter, but excited!

The beautifully sweet thing about this holiday is this:
It’s one day a year, set aside, to celebrate love.

That’s it.
Love.

LOVE, people!!

The most important thing in this life… ought to have a day…right?

I mean… even people who aren’t at all religious, let baby Jesus have a day.  (That’s Christmas, y’all)
And hardly anyone turns away green beer on St. Patrick’s Day.
No one complains that the 4th of July FORCES them to play with fireworks and eat BBQ.

Why does Valentine’s Day get such a bad rap?

I think the answer is this:  people resent the fact that they don’t have the love they most want.
Valentine’s Day shines a light on the places where we feel lonely or hurt.  Stick with me for a moment.

– Married people who are unhappy in their marriages – hate the idea of a spotlight on love… because they are feeling that awful cringing pain of not feeling loved.

solo– Single people who crave a relationship, but don’t have one – hate the world turning their red and pink attention on those who HAVE found their lobster (which are, appropriately red…).

– Boyfriends and girlfriends in undefined, ambiguous relationships, don’t enjoy the holiday that breathes down your neck and whispers, “you know… you really ought to think about what you want, and what this is.  …I’m just sayin’…”

Anyone who is at all unfulfilled in any relational way – feels the heat of a day whose focus is the very thing you want, but don’t fully have.

And I get that… if there was a day that celebrated designer clothes or cool cars or fancy big houses, …I might feel left out.  Like, “hey – I want those things too… but, alas… not this year.”

The DIFFERENCE is that  Valentine’s Day is about ALL love… not just the Rom-Com, smoochy, McDreamy, end-of-the-movie-swoon-worthy-speech, PDA, fluttery tummy, grand gesture, sweeping soundtrack, surprised by flowers and poems kind of love.  Valentine’s Day is about so much more.

Those things are all fine…but they are one sliver of the story.

I propose… you look a little further.

Celebrating love doesn’t have to be a romantic love.

cheesy v-dayI know, I know…this sounds trite…you’ve heard it before, …but all those super classy corner tables/tents full of roses and cheap teddy bears don’t exactly scream equal opportunity love…they ONLY make us think of 2 groups:
1. gooey-eyed lovebirds – new to the sweetheart scene, and untarnished by the world.  Or,
2. guilt-driven men in panic-mode, on their way home from work

But, I’d encourage you to look beyond the consumeristic piece of this holiday and contemplate the heart of it.  Aha!  The HEART!  😉

You really can take a step back and look at your life…and appreciate the love of your parents, you can ponder the love you have for your children.  You can take an honest look at the friends, co-workers, roommates, neighbors, etc. in your life…and have a moment of happiness when you realize they are all gifts.  And maybe, …maybe you’ll even be inspired to tell them so!?

And if you look around at your life, and you truly have NO one to love… then (and I’m not pandering… I mean this), reach out.  Maybe that means seeking out friendship, maybe that means reconciling with someone who’s caused you pain or who was the recipient of your anger/distancing/etc.  Maybe it means visiting a church to find a new community.  Heck, come visit MY church!

I know you all probably get sick of me going on and on about how I still have hope for finding love… and I do.  But today is about appreciating and celebrating the love you ALREADY have.  I’m blessed to have so much love in my life – amazing friends (I mean, AMAZING), awesome family (who I can call ANYTIME when I need a ‘shoulder to cry on’), and the two most beautiful, creative, sweet children a person could hope for.  So, on a day made to honor love… I am full to the brim.  🙂

Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!

Val-Day 2014 print

 


Yuletide Misrepresentation

Friends/Readers,

I know it’s been a while since I posted something… our family has been battling Ebola.  Well, ok – maybe it’s just a winter cold, but it feels much more dramatic.

So – I’ll be back to my regular bloggy self soon, but just a quick thought for today.


 

“Oh, I’m dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more than I usually do
And although I know it’s a long road back
I promise you…”

Xmas 1I heard this song on the radio last night – one of my favorites –

I’ll be home for Christmas…you can count on me.   
…if only in my dreams.”

Wait, What?
‘If only in your dreams?’  As in…you’re NOT coming?

That’s like saying – “you have my WORD I’ll be there for the most significant family gathering of the year……. PSYCH!!

I totally got you!  Right?? I got you!  Oh, the look on your face… when you thought you’d be with someone you loved…bahahahahaha….. I got you GOOD.”

That’s terrible!  Why make up a whole song dedicated to lying to your poor sweet family?

It occurred to me that this is the Christmas equivalent of guys in the online dating world who misrepresent themselves…in any of various ways – by putting up photos that don’t really look like themselves, saying they believe things that they don’t, claiming they don’t smoke when they do (or drink or whatever…), seeming like charming and thoughtful gentlemen… and then turning around and being the guy who blows smoke in your face while cursing like a sailor and later sending you a text photo of his….
ok, you get the point.

This Christmas song, though squishy and sentimental (and don’t get me wrong – I have no plans of not listening to it and crooning along in the future…) – is a dressed up, tinseled up, ornamented up, holiday-ised version of the dating world’s “gotcha!”

No fair!

So, for whatever it’s worth – if I’ve told you I’m going to do something Christmas-y with you this year – you can count on me.
And not just in my dreams.
In real life.  We may not have snow or mistletoe or presents on the tree,
but Christmas events will find me – where the love light gleams.

I’ll be around for Christmas – in more than just my dreams.
I’m just sayin’

 


The New Digs…

I just wanted to take a minute to address a few of the “first days in our new home” issues.  🙂

Some of you (quite a few) have commented about the difficulty of reading white text on a dark background.  I’ve heard your suggestions and I’m working on it.  So…don’t go anywhere!  The problem will be addressed soon. 

Next, others have had difficulty with resubscribing.  I’m also working on that and once I find a way to make it easy and user-friendly, I’ll let you all know.

If there are other issues I should be aware of, please don’t hesitate to fill out the “Ask Sarah” form and let me know. 

I want this site to be entertaining, fun and easy-to-read for everyone…so stick with me while we iron out the wrinkles. 

-sarah-


#7 – Seven Smoke’s A-Blowin’

On the 7th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

7 Smoke’s A-Blowin’
6 Skirts A-Dropping
Sca-ven-ger Huuuuunk…..
4 Snowboarding Yanks
3 Taco Bobs
2-Stepping Gent,
and a Partridge in a Greek Salad.

Well… this MAY have been the worst date I’ve been on …to date.

I met Kevin on Match.com and thought his profile was funny.

We started texting a WHILE ago (like…months ago), and then he sort of drifted off. He kept asking me out by text for just a few hours later, and with kids, I just don’t usually have that kind of flexibility. So, I kept telling him that I couldn’t, but that if he’d give me some warning, I’d love to meet!

We reconnected a few weeks ago and I told him about the 12 Dates series I was doing on here and asked if he’d be up for it. He agreed, and we decided to meet for a drink that night (again…last minute).

He wanted to go somewhere dog-friendly because he’d been in court all day and his dog had been abandoned long enough. That was fine with me. I’ve never had someone bring their pet on a date, but hey! – new experiences are good, right?

We met at Little Woodrows in Midtown. When I arrived…I texted that I was walking in, hoping he’d watch for me or come to meet me (I suppose they can’t ALL be Taco Bobs…. greeting you at the door with your favorite brew…). I walked around looking for the guy in the photos on his profile, but was having difficulty. Finally I just looked for a guy with a dog and found him.

At the risk of sounding mean, I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves. Maybe it’s just me, but I didn’t think he looked like he portrayed himself in his profile:

Um...is it just me??

So… while I’m still having this internal dialogue with myself about expectations and gestalt shifts, I’m simultaneously trying to make good first date conversation – asking him about his work, his dog, etc.
…and all the while, his eyes are glued to the TV screen where the Texans are playing.
As in… not looking at me… just sort of half-grunting, half-answering or sitting in silence while watching the game.
When he did give a longer answer, he did so while continuing to hold his gaze at the TV screen, so as to make me feel like he could just be talking to WHOEVER was in the vicinity.
Keep it classy, Kevin.

Now, let me pause to address what I KNOW some of you are thinking (especially the Texas residents) –
“Well, that was a big game! (Against the Patriots) I can see why he was distracted!”

But, here’s the thing… HE agreed to go out – AND be under the microscope, knowing I’d be writing about the date, AND he chose the place (a place with TVs showing the game)… so any inattention to our conversation… or to me at ALL – was on him. I feel pretty strongly about this. If you’re going to be the architect of the date, that carries with it the responsibility of being mentally dialed in to said date.
I have no problem dating someone who loves football, but since I DON’T, I at least expect that he’ll plan accordingly so that there’s not a competition.

I tried to order this fantastic pumpkin beer I’d had there before, but they had taken it off the menu and I needed a minute to think of what I DID want. And he seemed annoyed.

Then, he proceeded to pull a pack of cigarettes out of his pocket and light one up.

Uuuuuuummm….. wha?

I am pretty hard-core in my opinion of smoking… no love lost for those who do, but I don’t want to date a smoker. Like – at all.

So, I said, in what I thought was the least judgmental tone I’m capable of, “Oh! You’re – uh …you’re profile didn’t say you were a smoker!?”
His response: “Yeah. I kinda lied about that. But I only smoke when I drink. And Match doesn’t have that category.” (Sans eye-contact, of course, because… the Texans are on, after all…)

Now – I know lots of people in this camp – they don’t smoke other than when they’re drinking. So, I get it. It’s common.
But, guess what? That still COUNTS as “SMOKING!” And since you DO drink, that means (by virture of the law of association?) that you DO in fact, smoke. And, I do in fact, not like it.

So we have a couple of problems here:

kevin - smoking options on match.com1. While Match.com, unlike some of the other dating sites, doesn’t have a box to check that says “Smokes? Only when drinking,” they DO have a box called “occasionally.”
That’s you, Kevin.
THAT’S the box ya shoulda checked. I suppose people who only smoke when they drink, don’t consider themselves “occasional smokers,” but I can’t think of a better term FOR it.
You smoke.
On occasion.
Occasionally.

Yeah…that’s you.

2. Since when are we totes cool with people lying on their profiles? I mean, hello – I know it happens all the time, but isn’t there still some universal notion that it’s not right or good? Putting up photos from when you looked differently or saying that you don’t smoke when you do, or….a myriad other ways people can “fake out” the system – just doesn’t make any sense to me, if you know that the end-game will have you – on a date – with someone who chose you based on your exaggerated profile!?
Not to mention that, last time I checked, lying was bad.
As in – wrong. Immoral. Not friendly.
DEFINITELY on Santa’s naughty list.

So, here I was, with a date who was, both literally and metaphorically, blowing smoke. …while giving me clipped answers so as not to disturb his concentration on the football game, and certainly not asking me ANY questions about myself.

I looked around and asked if he knew if they had a pool table or darts at this location, to which he responded, “Meh…I don’t wanna get into all that...”

Finally (when there was a commercial), he suggested we go inside where it was a little warmer (this was QUITE a chilly night).
By this point, I’m just wishing I had the guts to actually use one of my “Early Dismissal Forms“… or, at the very least, just say, “Look… I think we can both agree that this isn’t exactly a match made in heaven. So, I’m just gonna go.”

But, what sounds SO easy now, as I type this from the comfort of my couch, is socially terrifying when you’re in the moment. Even though I have virtually nothing invested in this man, I still don’t want to hurt his feelings. Plus… it’s just not culturally acceptable to walk out of a date, unless the person does something REALLY egregious. Right?
Besides… I knew my readers were waiting with bated breath to hear about #7, and… how could I disappoint?

So, I forced myself to endure another 20 minutes or so with him where, I’ll admit that the conversation got a LITTLE bit better (mostly because he didn’t have a clear line of sight to the game now), but having set the bar so very low at the outset of the date, I was easily wowed with communication gems such as:

– him saying that he doesn’t like to read “middle-brow literature, like the Kite Runner.” Uuuum…. one of my favorite books…thanks a lot. He said that his ex-girlfriend had called him an intellectual snob because of that opinion. Hey, cowboy… you shoulda listened to her.
I asked him what would qualify for “high brow,” first joking, “OOoooh, totally. I only read the classics, like 50 Shades of Gray.” He gave me a pity chuckle and I followed with, “but what are we talking about, then — Ana Karenina? Or does it have to be Constitutional Law?” (thinking I’m being adorable by making reference to the “literature” of his profession.) He allowed as to how the classics COULD be classified as ‘high brow,’ but then listed off some of HIS favorite authors, none of whom I’d heard of, let alone read.

– (this thread started by HIM) the way people misrepresent themselves in their online profiles.
Seriously!?! We’re having this conversation? Am I being tested? Is Ashton Kutcher about to jump out from behind the bar?
This is SO inception. Talking ABOUT people misrepresenting themselves, when you actually ARE one of those people!?

Finally, I was close enough to the time I’d told him I had to jet (to meet a friend), that I said my goodbye.
We made out in the parking lot for while, and then…
KIDDING! I’m just seeing if you were paying attention. Good job.

NO – no kiss. Ick.
Not only was he condescending, inattentive and deceptive… he had smoker’s breath! Blech.

I gave him the obligatory smile and hug and left.

Scene.


#6 – Skirts A-Dropping

On the sixth day of Christmas, my true love gave to me:

Six Skirts A-Dropping,
Sca-ven-ger Hunk…
Four Snowboarding Yanks
Three Taco Bobs
Two-Stepping Gent,
and a
Partridge in a Greek Salad

Let me just leap RIGHT into the inappropriate and scandalous discussion.

I don’t normally date black guys.

[Audience gasps in horror and disgust]

Ok – before you go freaking out, let me explain.  And let me also say that there are PLENTY of people out there who, while they have tons of friends of different races, only prefer to date within their own.  I’m not the only one, but maybe I’m one of the few who will own it.

I HAVE dated black men.  Wonderful men who had big hearts, were kind and thoughtful… but just weren’t for me.  Partly it’s that there isn’t the same level of attraction for me (let the record show that I WILL make an exception for Taye Diggs), but mostly… and here comes the controversy… I don’t like the way they kiss.

There.
I said it.
Black men kiss differently and I’m not a fan.

Some of you are sitting there with your brows furrowed, thinking, “girrrrl….you cray.”  But, I’m telling you.  It’s a thing.

At first, I just thought it was a personal difference between me and the guy I was seeing, but as I smooched more of the brothers, I realized there was a style, across the board, that I didn’t like.  I’ve talked with some of my black friends (girls, gay and straight guys) and they agree with me.

If you still think I’m weird – Oprah did a show on JUST this subject!

The point of going into this is to set the backdrop for date #6……..which was with a deliciously handsome black man.
I made an exception because he’s such a solid guy – sweet, smart, loves God and thinks I’m great (that’s a pretty good quality in any dating candidate, I have to admit).

Mike, as we’ll call him, is a friend of my little brother’s and a stand-up guy.  We flirt every time we see each other and we went out for a quick lunch date last spring.  Did I mention he lives in Florida?  Oh.  Yeah.  He lives in Florida.  Sigh…

So, when I was in Florida for a friend’s wedding, and Mike asked me to go out, (this would be, officially, date #2 for us), I said, “yes.  Aaaaand….. do you read my blog?”  😉

I asked him about the 12 Dates of Christmas idea, and he was in.

He agreed to meet up with me in Orlando, Florida where our adventure began at Cafe Tu Tu Tango, an artsy Tapas restaurant with tons of energy and the ocasional Flamenco dancer whirling past you while you sip your Dragonfruit Mojito.

Cafe TuTu - Sarah's collage

Since I didn’t know what the night would entail (Mike had a “plan”), I wore a sparkly mini-skirt with a black top, tights, tall boots and a pink sweater.

We met at the restaurant, each having driven two hours for this date.  That’s commitment.

Immediately, we were in the zone, chatting and laughing.  We talked about all kinds of things from families to church to the way different races are funny about subcultures within their race (he’s felt ostracized by southern black people for having a “white” voice (he’s from New York and to me, sounds like he has NO accent)) to the fact that I haven’t been a huge fan of the way black men smooch…oh yes, I told him.
Conversation was easy.
I kept catching Mike just looking at me while I talked and really paying attention to my thoughts on a given subject.
And, throughout the night, he would tell me, “you’re fantastic.” 🙂

Mike - 1

Mike is easy to talk with and I totally enjoyed our time together.  We were so embroiled in conversation that two hours (and at least 4 “Happy Birthdays” (which are a whole-restaurant event)) passed at the restaurant before we figured it was time to go.

Like I always do, I offered to split the bill, but Mike insisted on taking care of it (and y’all know how much I like when a guy does that).  And we were off.  We left my car at Cafe Tu Tu Tango and Mike drove us to our next destination.

A Salsa dancing club!

Mike - salsa clubNow… I should point out two things:

1.  Mike doesn’t salsa.  He’d been once before, but doesn’t know how, though he was totally game for learning (and afterwards TOTALLY had the itch… was even talking about taking lessons).  So, the fact that he brought me here was especially brave, since it’s not like he thought he was gonna whip me around the dance floor.

2.  He chose this spot because he remembered that I love salsa dancing.  What??  I don’t even REMEMBER telling him that!?  But, he paid attention and chose it ….for me.  SO sweet.

We started out just watching the existing dancers do their art on the dance floor, and sipped our drinks.  I told Mike we should start with the Bachata, because it’s an easy one to learn and be able to do without much practice.  Anyone who can count to four and poke out their hip has a fighting chance at this one.  So, when a Bachata began, we ventured onto the dance floor.

Let me say this – Mike was a great study – not only a quick learner, but such a fun attitude about it all.  Soon we were salsa-ing and merengue-ing, and he had learned to keep the top part of his body still while letting his hips carry most of the movement (a tricky piece of salsa dancing for a lot of guys who want to just bounce around).

Mike - at the club

We took turns dancing and standing on the sidelines watching.  Mike made me promise that I’d include “sweater guy” in my blog post.  There was a handsome, but odd sort of fellow there with a thick cable-knit sweater with leather elbow patches.  And the longer we were there (and sweating like barnyard creatures), the more enigmatic “sweater guy” was.  This was not a chilly night, by any stretch, and people were shedding clothes faster than Taylor Swift can come up with a new way to say “life’s not fair.”  But not sweater guy… he would go out on the dance floor and dance (awkwardly), never thinking to remove it.  At one point, Mike just turned to me and said, with this shocked and indignant tone, “Dude!  Sweater guy!  It’s FLORIDA!”  I don’t know why we were so amused by him, but he became a character in our night… we’d check in on him, track his luck with the ladies, and imagine what the rationale was for willingly dancing in the middle of a hot salsa club in eskimo-wear.

But, while sweater guy refused to shed clothing, my ensemble apparently had other ideas… malfunctioning ideas.

Mike and I had just finished a rousing couple of salsa songs… by this time, he’d learned the basic steps and we’ve even thrown in a couple of spins.

And as we’re walking off the dance floor, I feel it.
That awful moment where your body is aware that something horrifically mortifying is happening, but you’re noticing it just one milisecond too late to keep it from happening… and, as if in slow motion, I felt the sensation of my skirt…sliding down my legs into a humiliating pool of sparkly fabric on the ground around my ankles.  A puddle of shame…

Yup – my skirt fell off.  FELL. OFF.

Technically, I suppose I danced it off.  All that hip action in the salsa/merengue was too much for my skirt, so it just abandoned ship.
Now, I’ve danced off an earring or two (at least 12, actually…it’s a problem) in my day, but I’ve never lost an item of clothing… not one that separates my unmentionables from the cold outside world.  Until this night.

And the worst part isn’t even the skirt falling down, but that shameful motion of having to pull it back up in public — like I’d just finished up in the bathroom or something.  It was unebelievably embarrassing.

And here I was on a date!

But, Mike was a total gentleman.  He laughed with me and convinced me it was no big deal (riiiiiggghhhht….), and then, for the rest of the night, as we danced, he kept a finger or two near the small of my back, holding my skirt tight.  Ha ha!  I kept checking to be sure it wasn’t making another slow descent into shameville, and he’d say in this sweetly reassuring voice, “I’ve got ya!”

Toward the end of our dancing time, another string of Bachata songs came on, and by now, Mike was practically a pro at this one.
So, as we were dancing closely (my skirt firmly held in place), he kissed me.
Now…there are two things to be impressed by in this moment.
1 – a man who had JUST learned this dance was able (for a moment) to multi-task and remember the steps to continue dancing and smooching at the same time.  That takes skill, friends.
2 – he MAY just have broken the ‘I don’t like the way black men kiss’ stereotype I held.
Yep… it was a mighty fine kiss, I’m here to report.
SO fine, in fact, that when we finally left the club and were waiting outside for the valet to bring his car around, we smooched some more.  And it was nice.  Really nice.
So nice, that the poor valet had to park the car at the curb and wait a minute for us to return to the land of the non-smoochers.

Mike drove me back to my car and we said goodbye.

What a night!  Skirts dropping, salsa dancing, opinion-changing kisses, flamenco dancers, AND sweater guy.  Not shabby.

Mike said that if he lived in Houston, he’d “put a clamp down” (is that the phrase?  I keep getting it wrong…)… but basically – that he’d pursue dates #3+ with me.

I’d like to think it was my sparkling wit and amazing dance-teaching abilities that impressed him, and not seeing me skirt-less…
But either way, a fun night was had by all.

______________________________________________________________________________________

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is offering my readers a 10% discount!
So, for any central Florida readers,
go get your Tapas on
and think of me when the lower-than-usual bill comes.  🙂

Cafe TuTu - coupon


#1 – A Partridge in a Greek Salad

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…

A partridge in a Greek salad.

Well, here we are – date #1 for the “12 Dates of Christmas” series.
(If you need to review the rules & terms, you can click here.)

Let me set the scene.

I met Niko on PlentyOfFish.  You can see his profile here.  I messaged HIM first because his profile made me giggle.
Niko (I took the liberty of replacing his very Greek name with an equally Greek one) has the humor thing in spades.  And y’all KNOW that’s my jam.

We texted a bit and, while I got the slight impression he may be a little bit flakey or a player or maybe not really looking for love, but just fun… I thought it couldn’t hurt to grab a drink and get to know him.  Plus, he was such a good sport about being written about!

So, I donned a black skirt, tights and tall boots with a purple sweater, which Niko would later refer to as my ‘eggplant look,’ and met up with the Greek comedian.  (Ok, ok…he’s in real estate).

Sorry for the blur… but I think our winning smiles make up for it?

The plan was to meet for Happy Hour at Hughes Hangar (a speak easy type bar/patio), but when we arrived they were closed (which made my hour less-than-happy…), so we moved the party over to Beaver’s* (a funky little restaurant/Gastropub in lower Heights), where we made flirty banter with our server Nathan (see pic below) and each other.

niko 4

Our silly server, Nathan

Niko is a FUNNY guy.  He had me laughing from the first moment.

Admittedly, I did find it tricky to get him talking about anything because he was throwing out one-liners, but how could I be too upset when I kept laughing?

I asked him about his story —where he was from, what he does, what his interests are, what brought him to Houston, etc. and we spent the next couple of hours weaving in and out of hearing him tell me all about his life.  (Interspersed with copious amounts of joking, of course).

At one point, when he told me he spoke French, I (of course) made him prove it, and it got us into a conversation about languages.  Apparently he speaks them all.  I made a silly comment about my dream of marrying a man who spoke Tagalog, and he then launched into a series of Tagalog phrases.  WHAT?  C’mon…

If you don’t believe me…I made him endure the camera… check it out:

 A Partridge in a Greek Salad

All in all, the date was nice.  But it was also one-sided.  While Niko is a very flirtatious and affectionate guy, he didn’t seem all that interested in learning about me.  He was definitely interested in my physical appearance, making comments about my “succulent lips” (wasn’t sure if he wanted to smooch them or braise them in a red wine reduction…), and taking full advantage of the photo op to scoot nice and close and put his arm around me (which I have ZERO problem with…I’m just painting the picture here).   But he never asked me ONE question about myself or remarked on ANYthing about me that didn’t have to do with the physical.   I let a couple of natural lulls in conversation sit for a moment, thinking he would “bite,” but he never did.

He made several self-referential comments about his hair or his dimple and such… and it almost seemed like he was “selling” himself…which is funny since he’s handsome enough to let the “product” sell itself!  He has an amazing smile and playful, expressive eyes.  So – there wasn’t any need to draw attention to the cute parts of him – my eyes and thoughts were already there.

About ¾ of the way through the date (it had a pre-determined end time because I was heading out to meet a friend for dinner afterwards), I playfully teased him about it, and he admitted we’d been Niko-heavy in conversation, but didn’t make an effort to rectify it.  Puzzling.

One other slightly off-putting element of the date was his propensity for crass or over-the-line humor.  This is a tricky wicket in dating because not only is everyone’s style of comedic engaging different, there are different levels of “naughty humor” that you can use as you get to know someone better and s/he feels more comfortable around you.  But, when you make a sexual reference/joke early on before you really know each other, it can be awkward or make you think (as I did) that he’s overly focused on sexual things and not particularly interested in being sweet or winsome.  It’s a delicate balance.

In the end, the date was fun.  I laughed a TON and would gladly hang out with Niko again…but I’m not sure I see a romantic relationship in our future.

As for the question of a second date, I’d decided that I was a “probably no, but not 100% sure,” and that I’d wait to see what HE did next to determine if I’d go another date.  I got one silly text from him the next morning (stay tuned to hear my thoughts on morning-after texting…I’m a fan), and I responded.  Then, nothing.  NOTHING!

I’m guessing he probably picked up on MY vibe which wasn’t as singularly focused as his…

So… if, by the time this goes to post, I still haven’t heard anything, I’ll assume he’s not interested in date #2 either.

Either way…he was a great sport, a lot of fun, and I’d love to hang out with him and let him make me laugh anytime – especially since he can apparently do so in Tagalog and 39 other languages.  C’est bon!

Niko 3______________________________________________________________________________________

* For those of you who haven’t tasted the delish food and amazing drinks at Beavers, (and for those of you who have and love it), if you mention my blog anytime in December, you’ll get a free appetizer!  (with a purchase of two entrees).  So – go have a date there yourself and maybe you’ll have even better luck getting a call-back than I did.  In any case your palette will thank you.

Thanks, Beavers!

beavers date


Getting a Facelift

Dear Readers,

I want to take the opportunity with today’s post, to respond to some criticism my blog and I have come under in the last few weeks.  A recent conversation led to more conversations and finally, with the (my) realization that there IS, in fact, real merit to some of the complaints.   And I, as much as I hate to admit it, have some repair work to do.

Admittedly, for this approval-hungry ENFJ (Meyer’s Briggs Inventory) and high “I” (DISC Inventory) and “Sanguine (Dolphin)” (Personality Profile Inventory) girl, …receiving criticism, regardless of how truthful it may be, is quite jarring.  …Even painful.  So… I’ve given a lot of thought to the reproach I received, to my reaction to the negative feedback and ultimately, to my goals for this blog and my “voice” as I report on the world of dating.

Here are the comments/criticisms I’ve heard, with my reactions to each.

  1. “The blog is too mean. “

This one came as a shock.  Here I thought that the snarky edge in my written “voice” was just part of my blog ‘character’ that I use to convey my thoughts.  But, as I’ve been reflecting on this idea, I’ve had to admit that I HAVE taken a slight turn toward the harsh – more edge than I want to have.  I DO want to have a sassy spunk.  I DO want to have a sarcastic bite to my tone.  But, I don’t want to be downright hurtful or mean.  One friend said that the snark was so thick, that people couldn’t see my heart.  And, while this isn’t exactly an inspirational, feel-good blog, I do want it to be known that I HAVE a heart!

And so – to that end, I’m making a commitment to dial back the snarkiness ever so slightly, so that I can bring the blog back to a place of sarcastic, but not hateful humor.

2.  You hate men.”

Ok, this one cracks me up.  I hate men?  I’m SEARCHING for a man!  The whole POINT of being online and going on these dates is to find a man for myself.  I think men are great.  Hellooooo…I want one of my very own!  I don’t hate them.  I DO hate the difficulties of navigating the differences between the sexes, the way they behave and communicate,…but that’s also part of the fun – delving into the puzzle and learning how to be in relationship with people of the opposite sex.   I am certainly far from being a man-hater. I’m more like a man-hunter.  And along the way, I’m having a lot of fun befriending other men.

     3.    “You’re not explicit enough about your Christian faith.”

This one is on purpose.  I want the blog – and my life – to be accessible to as many different people and different belief systems as possible.  And I want the fact that I put my faith in Christ, to come across in the ‘between the lines’ of my life, not in me being preachy in my writing.  In the course of writing this blog and going out with men from dating sites, etc., I’ve met some AMAZING people who span the spiritual continuum from atheists to (as my atheist friend calls them), “hard core Christians.”  And I SO value the friendships of the people who believe differently than I do, that I don’t want anything in the way of that.  That’s NOT to say that I am ashamed of my beliefs or have watered them down to be friends with people who aren’t where I am.  I still go to church.  I still pray.  I’m still a theology nerd.  I still struggle with my own spiritual journey and understanding what it really means to be a follower of Christ in this broken world.

But, the blog isn’t a place where I need to plant my spiritual flag.  And that’s not how I operate.  I try to live my life authentically and in doing so, hope that the light of Christ in me will shine – without me having to SAY it.

I actually have a post in my drafts folder right now, discussing the difficult aspect in dating, of HOW to see if you line up with someone on this front… so, stay tuned.  The post is not, in any way, written to persuade,…but only to bring to light how hard it is to bring UP this topic on first or second dates… trust me…it’s not exactly a sexy talking point.

    4.    “You do too many ‘XYZ’ kind of posts and not enough ‘ABC’ ones”
             Or “Who is your target audience ANYway?”

Let me begin by saying that I want to accomplish ALL of the following:

–       General comedic entertainment

–       Dating/Relationship Advice

–       Creating solidarity with fellow women AND men in the dating trenches

–       Storytelling about my own and others’ experiences in the dating world

–       Discussion about men, women and relationships

–       (once my website is launched) – Dating Services (help with profile writing, links to photographers, etc., and even an “Ask Sarah” column…more on all this later)

Unfortunately… I can’t seem to please everyone all the time.  But I CAN admit that I sometimes get on ‘kicks’ where I neglect one facet of the blog.  I’d like to have posts about my personal dating life, online dating in general, relationships and of course, continue the “winner’s circle” editions with the (literally) ridiculous photos.  But, I am going to try to diversify more, as well as include more of the GOOD stories from my dating life.

To be honest, the majority of my dates are quite lovely.  And I plan to talk about those more, while hopefully keeping my sassy ‘flavor.’

In fact… in the advent season, I’m going to be writing a mini-series:  “The 12 Dates of Christmas” in which I’ll go on 12 dates between Thanksgiving and Christmas, where the men know ahead of time that I’ll be blogging about the dates afterwards – good, bad and everything in the middle.  In fact, one guy has already agreed, but on the condition that he write his OWN interpretation of the date and have me link to HIS blog!  It’s gonna be fun.  Again – stay tuned.

Basically – consider this a face-lift.  Everything you love about the blog – the snarky frivolity and sassy take on dating – will remain.  I’m just going to take some of the biting edge out of my “voice.”  Be patient with me, as finding this balance sometimes seems nearly impossible.  And thank you to those of you who’ve stuck with me.

Lastly – if you know someone who’s read the blog and was offended, or if you’ve felt that way – I encourage you to hang in there and see if it doesn’t soften a bit and nestle right back into your reading/entertainment sweet spot.


I Hate to be the Wearer of Bad News…

You all remember Raul?  If not…by way of refresher, he’s a guy I dated – it didn’t work out, and I wrote a blog post about our “break-up.”  You can check it out here.

Well, Raul and I have remained friends and it’s a great friendship!  I asked him for advice, the other day, on what to wear for a date this weekend, and he sent me a mini tome on the matter.  So, naturally – I thought I’d post it.

I figured, the women can read it to get some insight into what guys think about how they prepare for and look on dates, and guys can read it to see if it’s an accurate representation.   I’d love some commentary below… I mean…do you other guys REALLY agree that you want a girl to come out “UN-spanxed??”  Can it BE?  I’m a doubting, spanx-wearing Thomas…
Convert me.

Enjoy!


I have no idea if what I’m saying is worthwhile or representative of most guys – it’s just my sole opinion, but I’ll generalize as if I’m speaking on behalf of the entire US male population.

OK, here’s the bottom line:  99% of the time, we couldn’t care less what you wear.  Really, it doesn’t matter.  Whether you’re wearing a miniskirt or a canvas sack, we probably think it would look best on our bedroom floor.  There you go.  Plus, we won’t remember it the next day, anyhow, unless the impression was a really bad one.  How do you avoid a bad choice?  Follow these guidelines:

  1. Wear something appropriate.  This is the number one – and probably the only – consideration.  Fortunately, it is also the easiest.  We certainly don’t expect you to obsess over what you wear to meet us; using your normal judgment in what’s appropriate should be simple enough.  After all, we’ll hardly give a moment’s notice to what you’re wearing unless it’s totally, wildly inappropriate.  If we ask you out to a honky-tonk dive bar, don’t show up in a ball gown.  If we ask you out to a nice French restaurant, don’t show up in sweatpants.  This isn’t rocket science.  But it IS probably the only time we’ll make a judgment about YOU based on your clothing.  If you show up in blue jeans and a t-shirt for the symphony, we’re embarrassed.  We make certain assumptions about your background/upbringing/education, and will give serious thought before inviting you to something nice again.This also includes activity-appropriate clothing if the date involves a fair amount of movement (dancing, bowling, batting cage, shark wrestling, etc.), wear something that allows you to do that activity comfortably – if you knew what the date involved, we don’t want to hear you say “I can’t because my skirt is too tight / dress is too long.”
  2. Wear something you are comfortable in.  This means two things:  First, don’t wear something that will cause you to complain (I’m cold, I’m hot, this scratches, my feet hurt, this purse is heavy – please hold it, etc.).  In fact, once you are dressed, look at yourself in the mirror and repeat a few times, “I will not complain on this date.”  Good, now you’re ready to go.  (OK, I’m exaggerating….a little.Second, “comfortable” means wear something you are confident in.  If you are visibly self-conscious, that’s a distraction.  If you are constantly tugging down your skirt, pulling up your strapless top, talking about the fact that other people are staring at you, etc., that’s a distraction that makes you look nervous or self-absorbed.And yes, I’ve had the occasional date that seemed derailed by what the girl wore and how it made her feel (inappropriate to the venue, uncomfortable for the planned activity, inappropriate for the weather, and yes, someone who complained about her feet hurting every five minutes (so why did she wear those shoes?).  I just think that the early dates should be as distraction-free as possible, because you want to focus on each other.  But I could always be wrong.
  3. Don’t show up all spanxed out.  This is false advertising.  I know, girls don’t want to hear that, but it’s true.  We want to see you for you, not the tucked-in, trussed-up, ratcheted-down, corseted, lifted, sculpted, Wonder Bra-ed version of you that does not, in fact, exist in real life.  That doesn’t mean thrown on some shapeless, frumpy, moo-moo as an alternative…it just means that whatever you choose should be an honest reflection of who you are.  If you want to be appreciated for who you are (and who doesn’t?), then don’t be afraid to show up that way.  We understand that no one is perfect, and we don’t expect perfection (lest you expect it of us!).
  4. Don’t wear your “dating uniform.”  To quote Sarah, —  “TRY.  That’s it.  Effort.  [Men] love a [woman] who gives THOUGHT to us.  Effort is at the root of romance.”  We don’t want to feel like we’re just date #572…where you put on your “1st date” go-to outfit, pick up your lunch pail, and go to work.
  5. Calibrate the “revealing” aspect of your outfit to where you want the date to go.  If you’re not sure yet, err on the side of demure.  I did not say err on the side of the masculine (for most women, pantsuits are as difficult to pull off successfully as very short haircuts), just go a little more conservative if you don’t want him to focus exclusively on “those” thoughts (remember, he’s a guy, those thoughts will be there even if you show up in a burqa).  If you don’t want to be complaining to your girlfriend that he never made eye contact above your neckline, then don’t where something that makes him spend the entire dinner hoping for something to slip out.  I’ve had girls show up for dinner at a restaurant in VERY revealing clothing, and I almost think that’s a test – if I glance down, I lose.But if you do think you want the date to go there, then anything that leans towards descriptions like “short”, “tight”, “low cut”, or “see-though” (or my favorite – all of the above) is probably a good thing, as long as it manages to remain at least somewhat classy/tasteful, and does not cause others around you to think “who let that trollop in here?”  If meeting his parents for the first time, avoid anything with two or more of the aforementioned adjectives – remember, one is fine, two or more, and you’re “that tart that Raul brought over for dinner”.  Not good.

Well, them’s the rules.


Aside from doling out advice for the women of online dating, Raul enjoys traveling, cooking, fly fishing, scuba diving, reading and, in general, getting krunk.
He currently works as a steel drum virtuoso in an internationally-recognized Calypso band.”


Bad Boys… Whatcha gonna do?

I’m very sad to report that, as much as I wish it weren’t true, it turns out girls really do like the bad boys.
Well, not all girls, but more than I’d like to believe.
And not the John Travolta a la Grease sorta bad boy… but…well – let me elaborate.

After much discussion with my guy friends, it really does seem that this trend exists:   Women are perversely drawn to a man who makes himself unavailable, insulting or just generally jerk-ish.  You know all those self-help books and conferences that teach men to win women by using underhanded compliment/insults? Or using her own insecurities against her conversationally to give them the upper hand of emotional power?  Well, I suppose, as much as I hate it, that they’ve tapped into some nugget of truth.  And it pains me to say so.

One of my guy friends has been making this assertion for a while, but I kept telling him, “that’s just a small slice of the female population.  It’s not a universal truth.”  But, the more he shows me text strings from girls he’s dating, the more I’m resignedly convinced.  Sigh with me, will you?

Here’s the setup (and yes – this is a true story.  One of many I’ve heard in the last couple weeks).  Two people go on a date and have a great time.  She tells him she really likes him and wants to hang out again.  In the next couple of days, he asks her out for a Friday night (she told him she was “free ALL weekend”).  Suddenly she’s all booked up for the weekend…and the apathetic text saying so comes in 5-6 hours after his initial question.  So, he graciously sends a text back saying, “No worries.  I’m guessing maybe you’re not that interested after all.  Best of luck.” Five minutes later, miraculously her schedule has opened right up, and she’s asking him, “what are you up to tonight?” and trying to make plans.  She wasn’t available when he was pursuing her, but as soon as he withdrew his affections, she wanted him back.

But, I still wasn’t convinced that this was the epidemic I now believe it to be.

Then I hung out with several guys who are currently on the dating scene, and we got to talking about this topic and they ALL had MULTIPLE stories just like this one!  Crazy…
Here I thought it was just the occasional woman (you know the one – self-esteem problems, daddy issues, uses men to validate her own worth) who played the game this way, but as my friends were talking, story after story was coming out of the woodwork to suggest this is a broader trend than I’d hoped.

As soon as a guy makes himself seemingly unavailable, the woman is compelled to change her tune and want him more.  And men who seem distant or mysteriously unobtainable, are that much more desired.  Conversely, when  a guy is honest and tells a woman how much he likes her, he risks (in the words of another one of my friends) “being thought of as wimpy or a doormat.  And then she loses interest.”  Is this really what we’ve become?

I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, when the better part of the Western world was consumed with whether Bella would choose a werewolf with impulsivity issues or a bloodthirsty vampire…

But the naively romantic and optimistic inner Sarah wanted to believe that we were evolved enough to say how we really feel and own our thoughts and intentions genuinely.

And really, the biggest problem with women acting this way – is how it affects ME.
Because, after all – …it IS all about me.
When they behave this way, they solidify in mens’ minds that this is the way to play the game, and then they play it with women like ME, who just want an honest, genuine relationship!

By golly, the more I write, the angrier I get!

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll talk (I use the term “we” AWFULLY loosely, as I’ll be the only one pontificating…) about WHY women do this, and what we can do about it…for me.
I mean…for women everywhere.


She has the NEED… the Need for Speed

You know the moral of that old classic fable, Tortoise and the Hare – “Quick and dirty wins the race?”

Wait, what…. that’s not it?  Really?  I coulda sworn that was it.

Well – anyhoo – speed may not win every time, but I haven’t yet given up on the concept of speed dating.
Sure, it didn’t really work out so well for me on the first go around…
(if you don’t remember or are just joining us – you can read all about it here.)
But, I still think the idea has merit.

I mean… I can tell in the first few minutes with a guy if further studies are needed or if I’d rather be at home knee-deep  in my spanx-free, yoga pants sportin’, popcorn-filled trash-TV night.  So, a whole evening of 5 minute tests …er…I mean, assessments?  Sounds about right.  Time is precious, baby.

And, to that end, I’ll be dragging my friend Jenny to another s.d. event in the coming weeks, which I’m SURE will not disappoint.  After all… the worse it is, the more entertaining reading material it will provide.  You really can’t go wrong.

But until that day, I thought I’d share a post my friend Lincee Ray* wrote on the subject.

She blogs about everything from world travels to the single life to the ever-pressing Bachelor recaps that keep her bajillion readers enraptured in reality-TV bliss.

And she shares an integral and life-giving character trait with me-  un-filtered snarkiness.  How can you resist NOW?
Read it here!

———————————–

* When people ask Lincee Ray what she does for a living, she tells them that she sings the praises of oilfield rigs and subsea trees for a living. The majority of her job consists of writing nine company newsletters, which can take her to exotic destinations like Williston, North Dakota.  She has been recapping The Bachelor franchise for 10 years on her personal blog, www.iHateGreenBeans.com.  As a child, she taught herself to say the ABCs backwards.  It kills at parties.  She doesn’t eat meat off the bone.  She’s both an approval and Dr Pepper addict. She’s a little too enthusiastic about her DVR, iPod, Ryan Gosling and teeny bopper shows on the CW.  You can also follow her on Twitter at @Lincee.


Sheep’s Head Wednesdays

I met with another blogger the other day (I’d tell you who, but she’s much funnier than I am and I can’t have all 14 of my readers jumping ship YET…)
who gave me some advice on ways to improve my blog. 

One of which, is to introduce a system of categories for postings – where you publish a certain KIND of post on certain pre-determined days…

You know, like…

Mondays – Date Review
Tuesdays – Relationship Ranting
Wednesdays – Winner’s Circle
Thursdays – Baked Potato Night
Fridays – Dealer’s Choice

You get the idea.

Now, this assumes that I’m publishing every day…. bahahahaha!!!!  That’s cute.  

No, but seriously – adorable.

As soon as I start getting paid obscene amounts of money for my oft-enemy-making commentary, I’ll be posting daily…hourly, even.  Heck… I’d keep a steady feed of entertainment flowing into your inboxes, if it would take me to celebrity status.   But, until then, I don’t QUIIIIiiiite have the luxury of time to write for the blog EVERY day.  …yet.

But, still – I’m intrigued by the idea.  So – I’d love you to weigh in.

(Oh… I should add that she said people like to “click things” and to add some polls/surveys. 
So, count it as a public service… consider it practice for the presidential election… whatevs –  click away and be happy that you get a vote.   (….ish))

[polldaddy survey=”A0FEE9FA486A16D7″ type=”button” title=”Take Our Survey!” style=”inline” text_color=”000000″]


Gimme a minute…

Friends, Houstonians, Readers, lend me your patience.

As some of you know, my laptop was stolen last week.  On my birthday.  Yup.  And with it, went a half-finished book, my long list of blog post ideas and an entire folder of profile pictures, screenshots, messages, etc. for months and months of ‘Winner’s Circle’ posts.

Sigh with me, will you?

I watched the video feed of the jerk-store who took it.  Unfortunately, it turns out, real life security camera software doesn’t work the same way as it does on CSI.  When you zoom in on a pixelated license number, there is no button that will “clean it up.”  Trust me – I tried banging the keyboard in a determined and hacker-like fashion, whilst spouting phrases like, “if I can just access the mainframe,” and “I’ll use the network’s back door to gain entry to the network drive flux capacitor…” (and other totally cool stuff like that)… and still – no luck.

So – McStealy now has all my treasured thoughts and musings on the world of online dating.  If you see a book on the shelves in the coming months where the first half is brilliant, pulitzer prize caliber writing and the second half sounds like it was written by E.L. James’ pet bunny, you’ll know what happened.  (Then again… it’s quite likely that the pet bunny could churn out something easily 50shades better than its owner…but I digress).

Anyway… there’s good news and bad news.  The good news is that I have a great new computer.  Huzzah!!  Turns out your birthday is a fantastic day to be robbed.  Especially if you break into heaving sobs with the woman from your bank who’s helping sort out your renter’s insurance.

Pamela, from USAA, was so sweet to listen to me list all the strange and sundry items I keep in my computer bag, including, but not limited to: perfume, curling iron, folders of music, various teas & stevia packets, workout headphones, a small ferret and, of course, the computer with all the necessary cables/cords.  (OK, fine… one of those isn’t true… who would keep a curling iron in their computer bag?  Pshyah….).

The bad news is that I’ve lost a wealth of information… including all sorts of bloggable material.  So, bear with me as I rebuild my lost empire of depressing online photos and messages, as well as my bank of subject ideas.

To that end… if any of you have any topics (related to dating, online dating, relationships, etc.) that you’d like to hear my snarky take on – please feel free to comment away!!

And don’t go anywhere while I’m taking a brief pause to reload my new baby with all the programs, documents and photos I’ll need to get back on track.

Oh, and lastly – should you see a bald, black man driving a silver Toyota Tundra and giggling as if he’s read the sassy thoughts of this single mama… you know what to do.


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He Shoots, She Scores!

It only seems prudent to have some sort of measure or checklist to be filled out at the end of a first date to let the guy know how he fared. 
Obviously, I’d bring a carbon copy set – the white copy is for him to keep, the yellow copy is mine and the pink goes to HR. 

This would save so much time and hassle going forward from the date. 
Think about it. 
If it’s a bust, you’ll give him all the pertinent information he needs, to know why a love connection wasn’t made, and maybe even some areas for improvement on his next date (with someone else…SO someone else).  Plus, you save yourself that awkward post-date, next day text where you let him down ambiguously, so as to spare his feelings, but then it inevitably ends with him asking, “but WHY??”

If it’s a great date, he’ll walk away with more specific knowledge about which things MADE it so good – thus reinforcing that behavior for the future. 
Yes… in this scenario, he’s eerily similar to my college Psych lab rat, Wilhelmina… she pushed the lever, she got a fruit loop.  Guess who kept pushing the lever??  Rewrrr…

So – as you may have guessed, I’ve designed a construct whereby you can take a few moments at the end of the date to fill it out and then go over the results with your date.  (This is all assuming you haven’t already had to jump ship, using the Early Dismissal form).  If you feel especially altruistic, you could combine this with a brief Q & A session. 
Ideally, I would have one of my nerdy tech-savvy friends design an app for your smartphone where you could check boxes, write notes, have the sums totaled, maybe even provide the results in graphic or pie chart format and then send a copy of the report straight to his phone or e-mail.  It’s like “the Square,” but for dating.

Additionally, every woman would have the ability to customize her own form because, as we know – we’re all different and have different priorities or non-negotiables that would affect the end results.  But, for my part, mine would look something like this: 

The back of the form has an area for comments/notes to elaborate on any of noteworthy points of interest.

If he scores 25 points or higher, he gets a second date. 
Pretty simple. 
And he can’t complain about not getting another chance…hey, look – it’s just a numbers game.

This idea was born out of too many so-so dates.  I’m beginning to think that perhaps the worst parts of dating have more to do with mediocrity than anything else.  Think about it.  If you go on a fantastic date – even if you don’t end up having a great love story with that person, you’ve had a genuinely fun time.  You enjoyed yourself.  If you go on a horrific date, it’s either laughable, bloggable (for some of us… who have the audacity to use online forums as an outlet for our own bad-date catharsis), or at the very least – fuel for stories to share with girlfriends and – well, …posterity. 

But, it’s the middle-of-the-road that’s the worst.  The date isn’t great.  It isn’t terrible.  It just…well, it just is.  

You know the one. 
It’s sucking your time…one painfully boring moment at a time. 
It’s numbing your mind…one excruciatingly self-centered story at a time. 
It’s lulling your charismatic sensibility into a coma of vapidity…one drip…drip…drip of monotonous conversation at a time. 
It’s draining your comedic joie-de-vive…one ‘obviously-over-his-head’ blank stare after I threw out the Michael Jordan of jokes, at a time. 
It’s invalidating your self-respect…one self-aggrandizing and obnoxiously juvenile penile reference at a time.
I’m settin’ up a cheery picture here, aren’t I? 

This guy isn’t mean or smelly or stupid, he just doesn’t wow you… like… at all.  That’s when the checklist can come in handy.  It’s hard and fast, and unarguable (yes…I’m considering my own opinions on the date to be conclusive truth.  I’m a woman, after all) reasoning to explain the date’s highlights or deficiences.  It’s irrefutable evidence as to its success or abysmal descent into fail-ville. 

Now, for those times when I don’t have the energy to go through the scoring system, I think I’m just going to play a simple game in my head while I’m on a date.  It’ll go something like this.
Would I rather. 
Would I rather stay here and see how this plays out because right now I’m so bored that I’m making a mental list of which celebrities I think could pull off an iced-out grill, 
or…  OR… would I rather be at home in my pajamas with my popcorn and shows? 
If Tim Gunn and 12 sassy fashion designers battling their way to NY’s Bryant Park beat out “let me describe why Hedge funds are an essential portfolio component to ensure private wealth grows and philanthropy is maintained,” then – chances are… we’re gonna fasttrack the checklist process and give you a direct pass to “move on.”  Sorry, guy.  Them’s the breaks.