tagline

Latest

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’

 

In defense of Fall

I don’t know if it’s just a Houston thing, or if all Westernized culture is becoming lazier, but I feel the need to advocate for a dying construct… Autumn.

fall 1

Why’s everyone hatin’ on the Fall?

It seems like the moment the temperature drops, we get all excited about donning scarves and making squash soup and seeing the pumpkins pile up at Methodist churches everywhere… for… …about a minute.  And then we toss it all aside to start singing “Rockin’ Around the Christmas tree” and putting lights up for Christmas.

fall 3

What?  Am I the only one left who wants to hear the record scratch and put all the holly jolly on hold?… NOT because I’m a cranky Grinch, but because I love Christmas so much, I want to protect it.

There are two reasons why I think we need to slow down and enjoy the Fall.

fall 5

 

The first is the simple fact that engaging in the rhythm of the seasons is a GOOD thing.

The change in seasons is a sacred shift…
it’s nature’s way of helping us observe and celebrate the passage of time.

Fall 1

 

And we need it.

I know that time always feels like an enemy…
bodies getting older and more frail,
our lives passing by – perhaps not looking like we wanted them to –
kids growing up…
…but it’s still an essential part of the human existence.  And it’s one that, if we ignore, will catch us unaware later on – panicked by how much we’ve missed.  It’s a good thing to acknowledge time passing… and the seasons are the perfect accompaniment.

 

The second, and (for me), more important reason we need to linger in the Autumnal delightfulness, is because it is the season of anticipation.  And I LOVE anticipation.  I dare say we need it.

Have you ever had the experience of being madly in love with someone and knowing you’re going to see that person at the end of the day/week/etc. – and having that delicious feeling inside as you get closer and closer to being able to hug and kiss them in person?  The waiting is it’s own brand of pleasure.  Enjoying the build-up is part of the delight!

And waiting for all of the wintery gifts – especially Christmas – is an essential part of the enjoyment.

I adore Christmas.  It is, by far, the best part of the year.  Hands down.  I love everything about it – trees, twinkly lights, Santa, gifts, the music…oh…the music… the food, …and most of all – it is a time when my heart is most soft spiritually and I sit in awe of the fact that the God of the universe loved us enough to condescend and become one of us.  Even if you don’t believe in all of that, surely you can recognize how that idea is attractive… beautiful even.

I love Christmas so much that I don’t even mind the cheesy music they play in stores… I actually enjoy it.  I love the mood that hovers over people from November 29th through dinner on Christmas day.  And it’s because I love it all so much that I want to keep it where it belongs.

fall 8

The day after Thanksgiving, I’ll go through the lovely ritual of getting out all my old Christmas albums (and there are some doozies in there that no sane person should listen to without an appropriate amount of eye-rolling and gagging… but I love them because they remind me of Christmases past …and of people I love… and of a season that celebrates life and beauty and Love with a capital “L.”)  I’ll listen to everything from old school Michael W. Smith (yes…cheesy…whatever) to beautifully archaic choral and orchestral arrangements, to modern pop artists’ versions of traditional holiday fare, to schmaltzy Bing Crosby and his cronies, to high church majestically trumpeted renderings of Christmas hymns …and everything in-between.  I’m the girl tuning into the local radio station that plays all Christmas music 24-hrs a day for the whole season.  I’m the girl collecting the excess Christmas tree branches from tree lots to bring the smell of the holiday into her home.  I’m the girl coming up with excuses to plan and attend as many Christmas parties as a body can handle.  I even BAKE at this time of year (and I abhor baking…).

It’s a magical time.

fall 9And to keep it magical – I protect its rightful place in the seasonal rhythm of this life.

Christmas is, for me, the culmination of every good thing, in one scrumptious season.  The word advent actually means ‘the coming,’ or ‘arrival.’
If the Christmas season is the time of arrival, then Fall is the time of waiting for that arrival…
…dwelling in the joyous prospect of what’s to come –
…sitting in the sweet anticipation of all the good things that are just on the horizon.
And enjoying the scarves and squash soup and pumpkin-filled lawns along the way.

So – will you join me?  We only have a week and a half to go before the buzz of Christmas rains down its loud and wonderful chorus over all that we do.
A week and a half to feel – really FEEL – that anticipation …
…to enjoy the fall leaves (or,…if you live in Houston… finding the one or two trees that have actually changed and stare at them for a bit…),
…to wear your brown suede boots,
…to eat and drink up as much Pumpkin spiced everything as you can handle,
…to arrange or paint or just admire the multi-colored and bumpy gourds adorning our supermarkets,
…to give someone you love (maybe your favorite blogger?) a bouquet of Autumn-inspired flowers/berries,
…to relish the crisp air

fall 7

…and to know that in a matter of days…

not only will the music that’s been playing since Halloween say so,

but it truly will BE the
“most wonderful time of the year.”

I’ve got a message for ya…

It’s been a while since we’ve discussed the etiquette of online dating messaging… so I thought I’d circle back the wagons of wisdom, and offer up a few reminders to keep your love life moving along swimmingly.

 

1.  The overkill approach.

If you
‘Favorite’ someone,
AND ‘like’ several of their photographs,
AND ‘wink’ at them,
AND message them multiple times… they will wake up to something like this:

multiple messages

This is what we, in the biz, call “overwhelming.”  Don’t flood the inbox, guys.  It looks desperate.  It’s the online equivalent of coming up to us at the bar and giving us ALL of your “best” pick-up lines, one right after another, in a seemingly endless chain of pitiful.

Do not do this.

If you’re interested in someone you see online, simply write a message.  Don’t wink, don’t ‘flirt,’ don’t ‘like’ his/her photo – just write a sweet, thoughtful note that shows you actually read his/her profile first.


2.  Infidelity Proposals.

 

marriedWhat would it TAKE?

It would take a full lobotomy on my part.

Oh, and a complete disregard for all that is good and decent in this world.

Gross, dude…


What’s that you say?  That must be an isolated event?  Oh no, mon frère… oh no.

oversexed

Online dating, despite its perks and benefits, is also riddled with jerkface guys looking to get a little suhmn-suhmn on the side.  Like THIS charming fellow.

 

 

What are you SAYING, “Lotsa3nergy1,”… that not only are you fully intent on cheating on your wife, but ALSO that I can find you looming about in strip clubs?

DOUBLE WIN!


raise my kids3.  Instant step-dad.

I was wondering how I was going to make it as a mom, but then this guy stepped in to save the day.  Whew…

Not only is he going to help me raise my kids (that he’s never met.  In fact…he’s never met me.  In FAAAact…he’s never even heard BACK from me)… but we get to have another one together!

Yay pregnancy!

(Did I mention this guy is 62?  yup. All my dreams are coming true.)


4.  Advisors.

Don’t write to someone only to insult them or offer up unsolicited advice.

If you think my profile is too long… then don’t read it!

advice


hi5. La

(That was supposed to read:  “lazy,” but…who has the time?

Ah, the one word message.  It’s the textual equivalent of the selfie with a urinal in the background… no one likes ’em and yet, they’re everywhere.

So, you read my profile (looked at my photos), decided you thought we have the potential to have a meaningful relationship (thought there was a chance of gettin’ lucky), and concluded the best way to get my attention and interest was to type TWO letters (the best you could do) ?

A generic message is bad.
A generic and lazy one is even worse.
Heck… “Hello!” at least has 6 characters… sheesh.

Men – as in life and love – a woman wants you to put some TIME and THOUGHT into her.
I’m betting very few amazing love stories started with the man typing ‘hi’ and clicking ‘send.’


poem6.  Stories, Excerpts and Poems.

If it’s the FIRST message… maybe don’t begin with a melodramatic journey into your tortured soul.

Unless it’s one artist writing to another artist, this comes off cocky and annoying.  And honestly, I’m usually looking at it with my proverbial red pen.

What’s a shahirya?

smh…


tonight7.  Instant sexuagratification guy

He’s everywhere.  And there’s nothing sexier than a guy writing you in the wee hours, because he’s SO desperate for ‘attention’ that he’s aiming for the bottom branches – the low-hanging fruit of women he’s never even met or communicated with.

These messages are all about playing the numbers game – send enough out and SOMEone’s bound to bite.

…but not this fish.

Here are a few…lest you think I’m exaggerating.

Yes, my grammar mistake was on purpose.  Though I doubt he got the irony...

Yes, my grammar mistake was on purpose. Though I doubt he got the irony…

late night tutormake out buddy

misspelled hello

This guy seems nice… I’m sure he just misspelled “hello”

 


Well, we could be here all day going through the vast and charmless messages I’ve received, but I think I’ve made my point.

At the end of the day, here’s all it really takes:

– Be nice.

– Make it obvious that you read the person’s profile (reference something from it…OTHER than the photos).

– Ask a question – this is your hook to get a response.  Plus, it shows interest in the other person.

– Steer clear of future relationship talk, sexual language or marriage proposals.

That oughtta do it, killer.

Ask Sarah – Soulmate vs. CatLady

photo 2I’ve received two letters through the “Ask Sarah” tab/form that were so similar, I decided to combine them into one post.

The first one is the latter half of the letter I addressed a couple weeks ago in Ask Sarah – Damaged Goods.
He asked the question:
I guess the crux of my point is this: Is the idea of finding your true soulmate too hard, in this instant age of Facebook, Twitter, eHarmony, and all the others?

The next letter came from a woman:
How do you endure such crappy dates and dissapointments and not give up on dating all together?
Every time I’m reminded again how dissapointing my choices are, I run away. I suspend my online accounts and vow to become an old cat lady.
How do you endure the dismal dates and continue forward with optimism?


I love how the automatic corollary to finding the love of your life is always to “become an old cat lady.”  Really?  That’s the exclusive alternative?  That’s the spectrum?  Love on one end, running a feline menagerie on the other?
(Ever notice how Cat “Woman” is sexy and powerful, but Cat “Lady” is old and pathetic?  I digress.)

The questions above seem to be not only- why keep believing in the efficacy of online dating,… but how to stay optimistic at ALL.

But, really, I think the issue is less about optimism and more about HOPE.

Ok – full disclosure… I’ve typed and retyped this post several times now.  And in the spirit of authenticity, I should tell you – I’m really struggling with answering this question!

It’s not because I can’t think of a “cool” way to say it…it’s because, until now, I don’t think I’ve given much thought to the question of – how DO I keep up hope?  And is it the same as being optimistic?  Or… is it something more?
Is it just my cheery personality?  Am I just wired to be hopeful?  Or maybe it’s something else…

Part of me wants to say:

The difference between optimism and hope is this–  Optimism says, “It’s all gonna end up fine, no matter how the evidence suggests otherwise.  The reality of this world is that there’s a lot of suffering.

But, hope – unlike just thinking that the glass always half-full – hope has an ace in the hole.  Hope has the (and yes…this is going to sound uber cheesy, but just hang with me for a few minutes)… Hope has the power of the human heart.  Oh gag… wow…even knowing where I’m going with this, that sounds way too blindly inspirational to stomach.

So, ok — it has to be something other than simply the “power of the human heart.”  Because, while in moments of national tragedy, when I see people behave with unbelievable kindness and sacrifice… I also know that a day or two later, those same people are privy to the same crankiness and despair that plagues us all.  The same human spirit that prevails over heartache, also yells at their children days later, or tells a lie to save face, or…any other transgression that misses the mark of true goodness.  Goodness exists – but right along with our heart’s natural tendency toward selfishness and rebellion.

No…hope can’t JUST be a product of the strength of the human heart…

So then another part of me wants to say:

I have hope because I believe God has someone for me.  And surely he wouldn’t have created me with such big love in my heart only to let it stagnate with only a handful of cats to be the final recipients of my affection.  Right?

But that argument breaks down really quickly …after all, he allowed me to be divorced, and that sucked pretty hard.  And there are lots of lonely people out there – people HE created – who don’t ever find the love story they so desire.  And then you get into the whole problem of evil …God doesn’t save millions of people from starvation and illness … how could I believe that I have some kind of relationship insurance just because he loves me?

No…there’s something more to hope.  (Plus, I really don’t want to get into a theological debate in today’s post).

 


 

I dare say we are CREATED to be hopeful people.  That doesn’t mean that it always works out the way we want.  But, maybe HAVING hope IS the good thing.  Getting what you want is just icing on the cake.  Maybe the very virtue of being hopeful keeps us alive… I mean really alive.

And maybe all we’re ‘supposed’ to do – is ‘keep the faith’…that is, make  choices for love, rather than out of fear?

Ultimately my answer may not satisfy some, but here it is:

photo 1

I have hope because I HAVE to have hope.

For me… there really is no other option.  Those Friday nights where I’m sitting alone on my couch and I feel those lonely thoughts creep in… the “I sure would like to have someone special here to snuggle up with me” thoughts…
should I just resign myself to that?  Is that the answer?
If it comes down to surrendering to a life of loneliness or holding out hope that there’s someone out there for me… someone that can push past the insanely picky parameters I’ve set…then I have to choose hope every time.

So – yes – it’s a tautology…but that’s the best I can come up with – for ME, that is.  I am a hopeful romantic.  Hopeful because…I choose to be.  I have to be.  I’m not ready to succumb to a life of cats JUST yet.  (Don’t get me wrong…I like cats… I just like the idea of a handsome man a bit more…)

 

And that brings us back to – can it be found online?  And…what about all the bad dates?

Well – I don’t know if online is the answer…I just know it provides a filter that you can’t find anywhere else.
I’m still open to other things…
like friends setting me up.  Ahem…
*clears throat*
FRIENDS SETTING ME UP!  hint…hint…
…as well as just meeting someone organically – at a bar, at church, at the DMV…. ha!  Kidding…just seeing if you’re paying attention.  Do NOT go out with anyone you meet at the DMV…..lawsa mercy…

So – let’s just say that the online option is just that – AN option…that’s all.  It’s one of many avenues to potentially finding the one.

And as for the bad dates…well….THIS is why I blog.  It’s a great outlet to vent my frustration and once I verbally vomit my misfortune all over all of YOU…. I can move on to being the hopeFUL romantic I naturally am.  And hey – for every few bad dates, there’s a good one.  May not be THE one… but good nonetheless.

I guess, in the end – bad dates, abysmal online profiles and photos, and all other manner of dating discouragement – are not enough to dissuade me from the necessary hope I have.

And here’s hoping it continues long enough for me to find a couch-snuggler of my own.

 

 

Just call me 8.333

No, really – CALL ME!

 

Alright, alright…

As a follow up to my earlier post on beauty/attractiveness, I thought I’d share the results of my experiment… (if you didn’t read that post…check it out here.)

While I was waiting to hear if I made the cut or not, I got several e-mails telling me various men around the world were “checking out my profile.”  Cool!
I clicked on them out of curiosity, and sure enough….VERY handsome.
I mean….the stuff of magazines.
Well-groomed, muscular and fit, heart-melting smiles full of perfectly aligned white teeth…the kind of teeth that say, “I never lie and I’ll rub your feet while we watch cheesy TV…”
…what?  Don’t teeth ever speak to you?

But their profile essays… were hilariously less than gripping.
They’d say things like… “I like to do things.”    Thanks, boo…that really fills in the gaps for me.

So, I’d already decided that if I made it in – I’d have a good laugh, possibly brag about if for the next few years and then move on.  Ok…no “possibly”…I’d definitely brag about that.

But I knew I wouldn’t really DO anything with it.  I don’t want to meet a man on a site like that… a site entirely focused on the external.  As much as I love decorating the outside (accessories, scarfs, fun makeup, cute shoes…all great fun), it’s so fleeting.  And at the end of the day, I’ll gladly cuddle up on the couch with a 6.9 who’s intelligent, funny and thoughtful – long before I’d hitch my wagon to a vapid 9.

I’d also decided that if I DIDN’T make it… I would be ok with that – because only 20% of people do.  So – I should be content with hanging with the other 4 outta 5… right??  RIGHT?
And hey – the REST of the world-wide-web thinks me an 8.333…and that ain’t bad…?

But what happened was…. well – two things.  Two responses to my beauty or lack thereof.  And oh, what a difference the second one made.

First…. rejection.

Yup… I, along with 80% of all those who try …did NOT make it into BeautifulPeople.com.  Alas….’tis true.

beautiful - pt. 2 - rejection

Their rejection e-mail let me down gently, but still.  Ouch.

 

But that same day… I got another piece of ‘mail’
…from my six-year-old daughter – completely unbidden.

This was on the inside of her birthday card to me:

beautiful - pt. 2   1

I love everything about this.

I love that she had no idea that I was gunning to get into the beauty pageant of online dating.
I love that she got the order right….first the character – THEN the beauty.

And I love that she KNOWS me…and thinks I’m beautiful.

The website doesn’t know me.  The men who “checked” me out can only see one thing – my face.  My daughter can see everything.  Kids can even see beyond pretense and fake smiles.  They sense it all.  They know when I’m flying at half-mast and when I’m frustrated…when I’m sad… when I need a hug.  My 6-year old knows the real Sarah…and she thinks I’m beautiful.  And – even to my own surprise – that’s enough for me.

So, I guess beauty really IS in the eye of the beholder…and that brings me a great deal of comfort.  I WANT the man I’m with to think I’m the most gorgeous woman in the world….because of who I am.  I want my sassy energy and irreverent sense of humor and huge heart to win me his adoration…not my winning smile (though I’m hoping that’ll help…).

Don’t hear me say that looks don’t count.  I mean, heck…this all started because I’ve found myself being vain in this regard.  The only reason my friend even asked me what I thought my number was, was because I told him I am quick (too quick?) to turn men down because I don’t find them attractive.

Looks matter…they just don’t matter MOST.

In the end… as much as it’s become trite to say so… beauty really isn’t just what’s on the outside.  Sure, I’m gonna keep wearing sparkly lip gloss and picking out cute outfits and looking my best on the exterior.  But, the things I value most in a man are qualities like – intelligence, sense of humor, thoughtfulness, etc.  …I want him to be handsome, of course, but that finds itself much lower on the list.  And if that’s true for who I date… I suppose it has to be true for whoever dates me.  You’ll be getting an imperfect body… but a pretty sweet deal on the rest.

So – the members of BeautifulPeople.com can have each other.  I don’t want ’em.
I want people who see me the way my daughter does.

 

Pointy numbers and mafia parties

As I write this… I’m no longer 36.  *a single tear streams down her resigned, still face*

Ah…36 – such a lovely number.
So round.
So voluptuous.
So “mid-thirties.”

Now I’m a pokey, harsh, unwelcoming 37.
37…such an ugly number.  A number not divisible by any other… alone.  Old.
And definitely sliding dangerously close into the “late thirties.”  Sigh…

But, I’m happy.  Is it because I woke up to a bunch of Facebook “Happy Birthdays?”  Yes.  Ok, but not JUST that.  (Oh, but let’s be honest… you don’t WANT those to matter because, after all, they’re just people who saw your name pop up in their newsfeed and threw out a simple two word phrase… perhaps even out of obligation or to avoid guilt.  But,try as you might, you can’t help feelin’ the love when you scroll through the list of people who’ve taken the time – even if just a moment – to acknowledge you… feels good.)

No, I’m happy because – despite the world being full of disappointment (i.e. the bulk of my experience in online dating), I somehow have hope.  I’m not going to use this post to explain how or why I still do – I’m saving that for a longer write-up.

But, what I do know is – the world of online dating, though it has brought it’s fair share of smh moments and fist pumps, has also brought some of the most amazing people into my life.

Tomorrow night I’m hosting a party – (and yes – if you live in the Houston area, you are WELCOME to come!) – and at least 60% of the people coming out to celebrate my birthday with me, are friends with me because of online dating.  They’re either men I’ve met and befriended, after we realized we weren’t romantically matched, or women I’ve met at social functions sponsored by Match.com and others, or friends OF those friends who I wouldn’t otherwise know.

In the last year, these friends and I have done all of this and more together:

– mafia/20’s gangster themed birthday party
– karaoke
– luau with a whole pig
– game nights
– family dinners
– pub trivia
– dancing …SO much dancing!
– foodie exploration
– toga pub crawl
– housewarming parties
– Houston beer fest
– crawfish boil
– trampoline dodgeball
– family Christmas party
– speed-dating event
– beach days
– trip to Austin
– comedy shows
– concerts
– nerf gun war

The ‘ol interwebs may not have brought me the love of my life …yet.
But it HAS brought me some of the dearest friendships I’ve ever known.   These are people who love me, love my kids, and have filled in as my second family.  And I’m so thankful!

So today, on a day that merits some reflection and gratitude… I’m happy to report that I’m happy.
That… though I think 37 may be the ugliest number of them all (c’mon…it really is…right?),
I am a woman blessed with the sweetest community.

Happy Birthday to me.

6’s and up, please

A friend of mine and I were hanging out the other night
and he point-blank asked me what I thought my number was.

My NUMBER.

 

*Record scratches*

Wha??

Ok – let me clarify for those who don’t instantly know what I’m talking about.

Regardless of how shallow and tacky it is – we all size each other up based on different qualifications and characteristics.  ONE of those is looks.  It just is.  We can regurgitate all day long the cliched idea of beauty being on the inside… but at the end of the day – you DO care what someone looks like.

Now, different people care different amounts.
Some people have a high tolerance for homeliness if the personality is winning enough.
Others have a harder time seeing past the proverbial warts to the heart of gold underneath.  We’re all somewhere on the scale.
But we ALL have a number cutoff.

So, it goes like this – the scale is from 1-10, with 1 being ugly and 10 being gorgeous.  It’s obviously subjective… so, while I may say Jason Bateman is a 10, you might call him an 8.    …..Oh, who are we kidding… no one thinks he’s an 8.  That’s just crazy talk.
But you get the gist…

Anyway…back to my story –
in that moment of decision… I was at a loss as to what to say!  Which is really saying something.   Or….not.

I mean… if we’re factoring in personality… I think the number’s pretty high.

But, looks alone?  Well…. I’m much more curvy than I’d like, but I have a decent smile… my skin isn’t perfect, but I have pretty hair,…
all kinds of thoughts are running through my mind at this moment while my friend is awaiting my answer.

If I’d been having this conversation with my best friend (a girl) or my mom… I could’ve given a higher number and they’d reply, “that’s right – you’re great!”  In fact, if I’d given anything but a 9 or 10, I can hear either of them chiding me, “Sarah Stone!  Stop that!  You’re amazing!!”

But this is a guy.  A red-blooded, straight, normal guy… he’s not going to come back with, “awww sweetie, no!  You’re WAY higher than a….[fill-in-the-number].”
But time was slowly dripping along and I had to answer.

So I went with nice solid “7.”
I’d say I’m a….. 7…?”    He didn’t flinch or wince…so that must’ve been close!?  Or he’s just really nice.

But it got me thinking.  What number AM I?  How do guys see me?  And… is it REALLY all about looks?
Even in a brief one-minute conversation, someone can tell enough about your personality to sway that number a bit, right?
And surely enough of my personality comes across in my online profile to bring my ‘number’ up a bit… right?

And… if I AM a seven… does that give me the right to only date 7’s and higher?  Maybe I don’t get to be as picky as I have been.  SO many questions!

 

So I went to the ultimate authority on all things….
the source of all true wisdom in this world.  …
The internet.

Internet, internet – on the wall
Who’s the ‘better than average’est of them all?
….tell me …am I pretty?

beautiful people 4I completed a series of quizzes to rate me on a scale of 1-10.  I figured the most reliable method would be to average at least 3 scores – like a credit report.  One test came back reporting I was “smokin’ hot”…and though I appreciated the ego boost…it didn’t much help in the numbers game.

But the next three gave me cold hard data.  You know….scientifically collected and bias free.    Ahem…

(And …side note – these quizzes are written TERRIBLY.  They’re chock full of grammatical and spelling errors… presumably all written by drop-dead gorgeous, but dumb-as-nails people.)

pretty 1

pretty 2

pretty 3

8 “very”s…. that’s a lot…right?

So…. there you have it.  The interwebs say I’m a nice clean “8.333…..”
Not shabby!  That’s 1.333 higher than I’d given myself.

But I wasn’t satisfied.  These were pedestrian quizzes, probably created by lonely teenagers during their homework period.  What real proof is that?  I needed more.

So, next I filled out the OKCupid “Attractiveness Quiz.”  I figured they had lots of data on me anyway – my photos and stats, numbers of views/messages from guys, etc.
And here’s what they had to tell me…

beautiful people 5

AAaaaaahhhh….mediocre.  Every woman’s dream.

I may have to put that on my profile.
“Hey fellas….you wanna get with someone who’s just so-so? I’m your girl.”

Awesome.  (Ego takes a nosedive at least 1.333 points…)

Ok, ok… to be honest, this didn’t really rock me that much… since many of the questions were judging me on things that I value, but the world does not.  Some of the questions had to do with sexual promiscuity, etc.  I answered pretty conservatively, so that clearly makes me less whoreish attractive.

Next, I took an attractivity (is that even a word?) poll… and got these results:

beautiful people 6

This tells me what I already thought to be true about myself –
– Nice,
– Poor, and
– Not too hard to look at.
Yup – that’s me.

But it STILL… wasn’t satisfying.  I mean… all of this “data” is based on my word.  They say, “tell us what you look like,” and I TRY to be as objective as possible.  I don’t claim to be skinny.  I know what’s what.  I claim it.  But apparently in not having any piercings and being average height – already puts me in the top half and claiming to have a winning smile takes me ALL the way to mediocre.

So – where could I go to have someone REALLY tell me how I stack up on that oh-so-important scale of physical beauty alone?

beautiful people 1

Apparently really attractive lions can make it in too…

BeautifulPeople.com.

That’s right.  It’s a thing.
It’s a dating and social/business networking site that only allows attractive people to be members.
And according to wikipedia, only 20% of applicants make it in.  Awesome sauce.

beautiful people 3

Cuddly?  Haha…love it.

I filled out all the demographic information.  Next…


beautiful people 2The photo.

I used one from the last year – that shows the whole body – in the hopes of providing FULL disclosure.

Ok, fine, I MIGHT have been wearing spanx in that photo, but come on… tell me that lion wasn’t sportin’ a little shapewear too…


beautiful people 7

Now I wait.

For 48 hours.

To let the world of beautiful people judge and rate me… and ultimately decide if I make the cut.

I feel like I’m back in high school just HOPING there’ll be a spot for me at the cool table.  (In case you’re wondering… there never was.)


bp profile 1Full disclosure – this is my profile on the site…

bp profile 2

So…….. will I be pretty enough for the shallow world’s approval?  And what will those results TELL me?

If I make the ‘team,’ does that mean I can be MORE picky?

If I don’t… does that mean I’ll change my personal assessment of myself?

Well, obviously not.  It’s not going to change what I know to be true about myself.  But, it will be an interesting foray into the world of vanity.  A social experiment, if you will.

So – DRUMROLL…….

Did I make it in?

You’ll have to wait another day to find out!  Stay tuned for part II………

AnthroFantasy

I’ve decided to throw a few posts in here and there, that have little or nothing to do with the world of dating… but are simply the musings and stories of this single mama as she roams this crazy world.  They’ll be full of the snarky commentary you’ve grown used to…never fear.


anthro 6

I’ve recently had to admit something to myself …a hard truth to swallow, but true nonetheless.

I am a Target girl in an Anthropologie world.

(For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, Anthropologie is a hipster-bohemian retail store that sells exorbitantly priced clothing and home goods.  It’s Neiman’s prices meet Uzbekistan Tribal-chic styles.
There ya go.  Wikipedia ought to use that definition.)

anthro 3

You too can ruin your brand new overpriced sandals in the pool… if you shop here.

 

I WANT to love Anthropologie…
I really do.

I want to be cool.
When people say – “neat twig necklace – where’d you get it?”  I want to say, with the appropriate amount of  apathy in my voice, “Anthro.”
But the answer is usually actually something like, “Walgreens.”

The truth is – I love the fantasy of Anthropologie.  And they’re so darn GOOD at creating that.
Masterful photography for their catalogue sets the most gloriously bohemian scapes… who wouldn’t want to sleep on a pillowy bed in the woods, carry a camel-hair-covered satchel and sample the vegan stews at some fantastic Morrocan outdoor market?
anthro 7Anthropologie has cultivated such a delicious delusion, that you can’t help but WANT to be the kind of woman who pays $2,800 for a chair that looks like a melted chocolate blob.  (You can’t make this junk up, friends.  Call it “resin,” and then, surely no one will think of poo…)

anthro 1But what they’ve done is exactly that. They’ve created a fantasy world…one where, after walking into a showroom that smells of exotic essential oils expertly mixed with cozy lavender, with an archway made entirely of a Suessian stack of books, and showcasing their wares on paper maiche sheep…, you can’t help but drink the kool-aid.

anthro 5They lure you in with vibrant gypsie colors and the promise of hipster heaven, and next thing you know, you’re buying a cat dress or earrings that have creepy smiling mouths on them.

I understand that this is the JOB of marketing – to sell a fantasy.  But Anthropologie has taken this to a whole new level.  They’ve done such a bang-up job of making this bizzare world sing with the illusion of normalcy, that you actually believe once you don a $300 dress that looks an awfully lot like one you could get for $14 at JCPenny, that you’ll be transported into a vacation world where all your cares are swept away with the waves lapping at your adorably sandaled feet while you drink some fantastic concoction that the locals swear will take years off your life.  Or, at the very least, your co-workers will think you’re trendy.
And that’s something.

This mislabeled rabbit sells for a mere $1,200.00

This mislabeled rabbit sells for a mere $1,200.00

And, don’t get me wrong… my 15%-off Birthday coupon just arrived in the mail and I fully plan to use it on some oh-so-subtlely pretentious piece of jewelry that will razzle and dazzle all who interact with me.  So, I don’t claim to have any moral high ground here.  I’m a sheep.  I like breezy bed canopies and batik-style scarves as much as the next fauxhemian.  But, I’m poor enough to recognize the brainwashing – that’s all.

 

anthro 2Perhaps because it’s the same thing that happens in the world of dating – people put on the mask of what they think you expect and desire…while underneath, they’re just as ridiculous a match for you as is a vase where the flowers come out of deer ears.

And in the end, what matters most isn’t necessarily whether you decide to buy-in to the fantasy… it’s just whether you can admit there’s a strong ribbon of ridiculosity running through the middle of it all.

anthro 8

 

SO, yes… Much of what they have to offer is pretty and adorable and all manner of Hobo-Fabulous…


But then…there’s this:

anthro 15

 

Even having grown up near the beach in Florida and seeing the copious kitch that can be made with seashells (both real and fake), … even I am shaking my head at this barnacled mess….

How does one even pick this UP?

I think they’re selling botched pre-k art projects…which calls to mind all sorts of child labor legalities…


anthro 11

 

If you needed a multi-colored witch’s claw…
you’ve come to the right place.

I can’t decide if it’s a decorated chicken foot to be used for bourgeois VooDoo dealings, or a decorated antler for the wives of hunters who can’t stomach the idea of dead things in the home unless they’re at LEAST gilded and dressed up in Gator colors.


anthro 14

Who doesn’t love drinking out of a decapitated elephant?

Just knowing my chai latte is pouring forth from this finely crafted carcass, is all the macabre I need.


anthro 10

 

Don’t worry – the accompanying Amish bonnet in eye-piercing green is coming out in the winter line.


anthro 9If you’ve ever had a time in your life when you wanted to shell out $700 for a creepy-as-all-getout lamp – you’re in luck.  Come home to this in the wee hours and be welcomed by medusa’s head swinging from your dining room ceiling.

Complete with authentic Guiness-Book-of-World-Records fingernail craftmanship.


anthro 18

 

There really are no words.


anthro 12This poor bunny.  She looks like the very essence of Parisian style and grace.  Tragically, she was tricked into putting on a blindfold, likely under the auspices of throwing a suprise party, …but the suprise was a rabbit lynching.


anthro 16As if the bunny hanging wasn’t enough, someone thought poorly painted evil rabbits would be a nice addition to your tabletop.

Seriously – my children can make prettier art.  A LOT prettier.

And – to add insult to injury, we’ve paired this with a hungry wolf to protect your butter in style.  Maybe that’s why the one bunny looks crazed… she fears for her life.


anthro 13Speaking of things my children could make better…

Here’s a hard candy with fringe, sewn together with a twistie tie – and we call it $218 worth of style.  Don’t believe me?  Check it out.


Anthro 19At the end of the day – lots of their stuff is pretty.  And from time to time, as my budget allows, I will definitely enjoy strolling through their shops, hoping some adorable Bohemian tunic will be on sale and in my size.
But a lot of it – and I mean…a lot – is either bizarre, ugly, silly, or so overpriced that it’s laughable – wrapped up with the bow of a different life it promises.

It’s a fantasy.

Listen – I can glue a Werther’s Original to a bracelet cuff and charge you $218, but what for?  You wouldn’t buy that!  Meanwhile, Athropologie has created a small universe of escape so alluring that you’re hypnotized into thinking that’s beautiful.  They can offer you the hope of what your life COULD be like…  I can only offer you the cynical scraps of reality.  (And a piece of jewelry that’ll help you make it all the way through your investment meeting).

So, I applaud Anthropologie and the world they’ve created.  They deserve every penny they bring in.  But, let’s not fool ourselves – at the end of the day, there are a lot of witch claws out there.  Just like life… just like the world of online dating… but that’s a story for another day.


(All images in this post are directly from Anthropologie online or their catalog.
Also – my birthday is coming up and I could really use a headless elephant mug to soothe the painful passage of time… I’m just sayin’…)

 

 

 

 

Jerk is the New Black

Am I the only one who thought the whole “insult a woman to lure her in” tactic was dead?
SO 2004… amirite?

Well – it seems the trend hasn’t died, much despite its idiotic presuppositions.
And how do I know?
Well…. let me start at the beginning.

 

I had a date.

Errrrrr?….*record scratches*

Yes,…I suppose you could say that the dry spell was broken, but… I’m not sure that’s such a good thing in light of how this went down.  Here’s the scoop.

Jerk 2

I met Craig online.  He liked my profile and I thought his was decent.  I wasn’t sure I’d be physically attracted to him, but I’m trying to broaden my horizons on that front, so we started texting.

By text, he was definitely funny – got my jokes quickly, came right back with his own clever wit, quoted Gin & Juice as well as Calvin… so – ….yeah.

We met for a drink one night before I headed off to an event with a group of friends.

He was sweet!  Perhaps a touch nervous, but… who isn’t?  We chatted about pub trivia, church, online dating, music, the Heights, etc.
He didn’t ask me too much about myself… but he seemed like a nice guy nonetheless.

But – I just wasn’t feelin’ it.  He was cool – nice, funny, chill,…. someone who could hang with my friends and roll with their irreverent jokes and throw in a few of his own.
But not someone I wanted to build a romance with.
Maybe it was lack of physical attraction, maybe there was a depth of character I was looking for that wasn’t there, …I’m not sure.

We hung out once more in a friendly capacity…mostly just me making SURE there wasn’t a spark… and alas…none.

I figured my lack of romantic zeal was obvious, but just to be sure he knew what page I was on, I texted him that while he’s welcome to come hang with my friends any time (we’d established that we frequent some of the same local watering holes already),  I didn’t think we were a good match romantically.  He seemed jolted and asked if we could talk sometime.  So, the next night he called me to hash out the terms.

He was quite frustrated with me for “dissing him” <– his words, not mine…do people still say ‘diss?’  He went into this whole monologue about how he “usually acts like an a#*hole to women – because that’s what they like,” but that he’d seen something in me that was a different caliber and thought he’d try showing his softer side.  And apparently that’s the last time he’ll do THAT because it clearly didn’t work – and I don’t know the “real him” (I suppose that means the real him is a jerk?)  We had that conversation a few times over, each time with me saying, “well, Craig, I’m really sorry you’re upset… I just didn’t think we had the spark I’m looking for,” and him going right back into his annoyance that I didn’t respond to him the way women usually do and that I didn’t really see the whole version of him which is usually more distant and rude.  Um….WT…?

I don’t know what he thought the result of this talk would be… that I would respond to him being a sore loser by giving it another try?  Who wants THAT?

He also allowed as how any man would be a FOOL to stay friends with me after being “dissed” (he really likes that word).  He said, and I quote, “what kind of a*#hole would want to keep hanging out with you after it didn’t work out?” …..uuuuummm…first of all…that offer got taken off the table once you started being a baby about all of this… and secondly – to answer your question…..most of my guy friends!?  I’d say 65% of the male friends in my life are guys who I met through online dating, and while there wasn’t a romantic spark, we realized we really liked each other as friends.  They’re now some of the closest friendships I have!  (In fact, some of them are reading this right now!)

jerk 1

So, after at least 10 minutes of him awkwardly going on about me not seeing the real him that’s usually much more rude… (no matter how many times I type that out, it still sounds so bizarre…), I finally made my conversational overtures that hint to the end of our talk… and he softened for a moment and said, “wait….there is one thing I want to thank you for.”
Aha!
Here it is… he’s coming to his senses and wants to end this on a sweet note.
I’m listening, Craig.

I want to thank you for broadening my horizons.”  (awww….sure thing, boo)
I mean…I’ve never dated anyone nearly as OLD as you.”   (aaaaannd….there it is.)

Well, I gotta give him props for changing up his strategy.
The bulk of the conversation was just crude grumbling…but this was a not-so-cleverly disguised, passive-aggressive insult.
MOST of the women he dates are apparently spring chickens, but he went out on a limb to date the old lady with one foot in the grave.
How magnanimous.

 


 

Postlogue:

As much as I want to blame this guy, or even the moronic book he probably bought on the bargain self-help shelf, the problem is likely more systemic.  Our society encourages the backhanded compliments and a pursuit of superficiality over depth.  In an interview with Rosalind Wiseman, author of  Masterminds and Wingmen: Helping Our Boys Cope with Schoolyard Power, Locker-Room Tests, Girlfriends, and the New Rules of Boy World, a book about teenage boys and the way we neglect their desire/need for good solid emotionally strong relationships, she says,

Great young men want to have rich emotional lives, but everywhere they turn, people are forcing them to live the stereotype of being a sexist, not-caring, emotionally disengaged, superficial guy. It’s amazing because we turn around and get angry with them when they go over the line, without acknowledging what we do as adults that stifles and silences and shuts boys up from being emotionally engaged people.”

I’m not saying Craig is off the hook because our culture “made him this way” – he makes his own choices and is responsible for finding and maintaining the kind of relationship he wants.  But, we do all play small parts in the bigger picture of how men attract and treat women, by the way we treat our boys/teenagers/men.

So, inasmuch as I have a piece of the responsibility in the way I raise my own son, I plan on helping him grown into a strong masculinity while valuing and cultivating authentic and emotionally-rich relationships with women (once he’s 37, of course…).


A friend and reader suggested I link to an earlier blog post that addresses the differences between men and boys… and how we (women) SAY we want a man, but we ACT in ways that encourage them to stay boys…  read it here.

Boyfriend Sharing

sharingAre we not taught from our early years the value of sharing?

If you want to play with my toy and I’m done with it… the polite thing to do is let you have a turn.
What if my toy is a man?

So many times, I’ve gone out with a guy and within the first few minutes, thought to myself, “he’s not for me.  But, man, my friend ____ would love him!”  (Yeah… I have a friend who’s name is “______”).

Sure, it’s less than ideal for ME, but I’m hoping what goes around will come around.

dim sum

And, let’s face it – until the day when my fantasy of dim sum dating becomes a reality
(this is where you wait for each personality trait you want to come around the conveyor belt, pick out all the ones you like and create the perfect mate), this could be a delightful stopgap.

How cool would it be if I could e-mail him the next day, give him my ‘we’re not a good match’ line and then offer up a consolation date?  And vice versa.  When a guy goes out with me… I WELCOME him coming back to me and saying… “you’re not the girl for me, but I have a buddy who’d be perfect for you!”  I mean… if you’ve written, texted, called and had a first date, then you at least have an IDEA of the person’s personality and preferences…even moreseo than someone has after reading an online dating profile.  So – in one sense – who BETTER to set you up?

Problem is – (well, two problems) – this involves rejection and stigma.

The rejection piece is hard.  It’s life, yes.  But, it sucks.  Having someone tell you they aren’t into you, BUT… they have a friend…… well, they’ve still just lowered the boom of rejection, no matter how much they softened the blow with an alternative.  So – yeah – we’d have to get over that piece of it…

And then there’s the idea rolling around the back of most people’s head… “isn’t this tacky?”  A social stigma that we don’t just throw people around until they land on something that sticks.

And yet… what better system for set-ups is there?  Ok, ok… close friends and family may take the first spot on the list.  …but I dare say that I’d rather be set up by someone I spent a couple of no-spark-feelin’ hours with, than by the ‘robot’ inside Match.com… wouldn’t you?

Plus – think of the permutations.  Sure, you can set “I love to camp” Joe up with “I’m outdoorsy” Jane… but there’s also a group option here.  Like – I end a date with a guy and throw his stats out to my ready group of single girlfriends.  I include his photo and contact information and it’s up to them to scoop him up!?  The guy could potentially have dates lined up for the next 3 weeks just by not connecting with me!

One man’s trash….

sharing 2

Emoticons are EVERYTHING in this situation…

So – who’s WITH me?  I’m not even joking here.  If I have a bank of interested parties, I’m all OVER trying this out.

In fact, the next time I go out with a quality guy, but one who doesn’t have that ‘spark’ with me… I’m going to give this a go.  AAAaaaand…. write about it.

 

Now, I just have to find a date…