Friday, October 22, 2010

Loverly Advice

WARNING:  Please do not be misled in thinking that the tone of this blog entry is angry or overly bitter.  My intention (as with most of my entries) is to be a bit sarcastic.  Although there is a legitimate grain of truth in most of what I am saying, I wish to emphasize that this is illustrative and hopefully instructional.  It is also NOT specifically directed at any one person. 

Just to warn you, this entry is going to get personal. Not in a bad way, hopefully.

In case you have not been able to pick up from my blog entries to date, I am single. In my situation this means that not only am I unmarried, but I do not have a boyfriend, am not “seeing” anyone nor do I appear to have any possibilities on the horizon for dates.

Please note that I am not saying this to inspire sympathy, so if you already went there, get yourself out. Believe me, as a 30 year-old female in the midst of friends who are mostly all married and starting families, I am well aware of what people think of my situation.

Normally I would not be drawn to write about this subject, but I was inspired by an interesting comment that my mother relayed to me over the weekend. She had been speaking with a friend of hers and they fell on the subject of marriage or lack thereof. My mom’s friend told her that her sister knew a woman now in her 40’s who is still single. No matter how many times she has been set up on dates or other similar ilk propitiated by well-meaning friends and family, nothing has really clicked.

Thus far, the story is not that inspiring, but eerily familiar. The next step in the conversation is what brought me to this entry. Apparently, the conclusion was that the reason all the attempts to create romance failed was that this woman simply did not really want to be married.

At first, this statement really irritated me. It seemed to be a non-single person’s attempt to explain a single person’s apparent failure to find a mate. Most likely, this non-single person has tried on numerous occasions to set up their single friend with people that they deemed to be high quality, or at the very least, of a certain age and still single.

After I had time to think about it, I started to realize that it is not all their fault. It really just shows how ignorant non-single people can be about the intricacies of dating. Once you are “settled” and do not have to worry or think about finding a date, your instincts for the game almost completely disappear.

In the interest of spreading awareness to the world and to benefit people like myself and this 40 year-old spinster, I am going to give you non-singles some helpful advice.

1. Do your homework. If you’re itching to play matchmaker, make sure that you are well acquainted with both of your set-up subjects. This is extremely important. It is not sufficient to know only one of your subjects as this leads to a major imbalance in the pre-date information exchange. When I am approached by someone that wants to set me up, I always ask important questions, and if my yenta-of-the-moment does not have ready answers, I cannot proceed.

Examples of answers to know: How old is he/she? Where does he/she live? How long have you known him/her? How do you know him/her? Have you spent time with him/her socially? At work? Why do you think I would like him/her? Be specific.

2. Vocabulary. There are certain words and phrases that all singles have been subjected to by almost every non-single they have ever had to speak with about their love life, or lack thereof.

“It will happen when you least expect it.” This is the king of all trite statements and it is completely USELESS. If you learn nothing else from this entry, remember to NEVER use this phrase EVER AGAIN. It is in no way constructive and is solely based on the person’s selective memory that their own special someone magically appeared when they were in no way shape or form seeking a romantic partner. This is pure baloney and you know it.

“You should really join a [insert lame club here].” The location or type of club can changed based on religious affiliations, athletic abilities and/or hobbies, but in the end it is all the same. Yes, SOME people do meet future life partners at such events or group meetings. But if you join solely with the intention of meeting your future spouse, there is a great likelihood that you will be disappointed and that you may lose enthusiasm for the religion/sport/hobby that you once loved.

“Have you tried online dating?” Anyone who has been single for more than six months in this century has probably at least checked out an online dating site and possibly even tried one if not several of them. Online dating is big business, and it places dating firmly into the same category as online shopping. You can pick and choose your way through different pictures and profiles, selectively choosing your favorites. You can even communicate with several people at once, thereby hopefully increasing your odds of finding a quality person amongst the riff-raff. The behavior that would make you a cad in real life is perfectly acceptable in the virtual world.

Again, I realize that this method has worked for some. However, it does have the high probability of destroying your faith in humankind just as easily.

“See that guy/girl standing over there? He/she is cute! You should date him/her!” Really? REALLY??? I sincerely hope people are joking when they say these things.

3. The whole “picky” situation. For some reason, people seem to think that singleness is somehow a function of being overly picky. This would conversely suggest that people who settle down early in life have no standards whatsoever. How does that sound? I thought so. Compatibility is a strange and mysterious subject. If there is any phrase that I do put some faith into, it is “you know when you know.” If we all knew if or when this moment was to occur, there would be no need to waste time dating people who were wrong for us. It doesn’t come down to being picky or not.

To conclude, let me remind you that I am coming to this subject with a spirit of hopeful understanding. Yes, I am single. Yes, I do hope to someday be in a happy and loving relationship like so many of my friends and family. In the meantime, I am living my life and doing what I want and need to do to take care of myself and my own happiness. If I want your advice or judgment, I will ask you for it. I will even consider going on a blind date with that “perfect” guy you have for me, provided you do your homework. 

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