Single for the Weekend

I always sort of scoffed at the idea that opposites attract… until I fell in love with Jake.

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You see, Jake is literally the most outgoing person I’ve ever met. Just last week, he struck up a conversation with a woman at the grocery store, who was dressed in head-to-toe camouflage and wore a gun on her hip. They talked about hunting, one of the many sports that draws Jake, as witnessed by the letterman jacket he modeled for me the same day.

Jake: “You want to have sex with me right now, don’t you?”
Me: “You look like Uncle Rico.”

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He’s not just outgoing and athletic, though. He’s outdoorsy.

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I will readily admit that while I regularly test on the cusp of introverted/extroverted, by the end of a day at the library, where I’m paid to be an extrovert with my teens and every customer who walks up to me, I am worn out.  Whereas Jake is up for any last minute social gathering, I need to know, at least three days in advance, that I cannot come home and put on my comfy pants and read or crochet. I have to give myself pep talks that I will indeed have fun and be happy that I went to Taco Tuesday with my friends from work. If I get a text at 4:00, inviting me to join in on some 7:00 plans, there is an astronomically high chance that my answer will be no, because I don’t want to go and I’m not waiting until I’m in my fifties to start insisting I’m too old to do things I don’t want to do.

I have a picture of Jake doing a toe touch, on our wedding day, as his groomsmen look on in amazement, everyone decked out in their coats and ties. I don’t know why. Contrary to Jake’s natural athleticism, I once busted my head on the bathroom counter putting on a sockwhich is only one of the many reasons I do not participate in sports. I don’t mind exercise, honestly. I quite enjoy using the elliptical while reading my Kindle or watching Netflix, in the air conditioned or nicely heated third bedroom. I am unabashedly an indoor girl, though. Even as a child, if the temperature was lower than 45 degrees, it was too cold. Higher than 75 degrees was too hot, especially for physical activity. In all their attempts to get me interested in softball or horseback riding or just playing outside, my parents never figured out that I wasn’t necessarily lazy; I just like to be comfortable and for a good portion of the year, outside is uncomfortable. That’s why I loved piano and dance… not because I was any good at them, but because they were indoors.

From the beginning of our relationship, I’ve made my Indoor Girl stance clear to Jake. He knows that, for me, camping is renting a cabin and spending the day outside and the night inside, in an air conditioned bedroom. Any sports I play will be done indoors, or within my designated 30 degree window… and I won’t win. I am a product of my generation and roughing it means going without a cell phone signal or the ability to download a new book to my Kindle. As far as I’m concerned, if I’m going to sleep on the ground, I may as well churn my own butter, stir a large pot of lye soap, or dye some denim with my own urine, because no.

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As you can probably guess, when it comes to killing our own food, I am also out.

Me: ::suddenly covering my face in the passenger seat, crying::
Jake: “What’s wrong?!?”
Me: “Nothing… I saw a dead cat.”
Jake: “Oh. I thought it was something I said. I’m sorry.”
Me: “I’m glad Thackery Binx has no interest in ever going outside, just like his mama.”
Jake: “Are you sure you don’t want to go hunting with me?”

Now, don’t misunderstand. Jake and I have plenty in common. Our values are near identical, which is great, because we exhaust each other debating about the few that aren’t. Our political ideologies are very similar, with both of us identifying as libertarians, although Jake claims I lean left, because he leans right. We both like comic book and horror movies and have a handful of shows we enjoy together. We enjoy discussing current events and articles and blogs we’ve read. When we don’t have an interest in common, we’re perfectly content to sit on the couch together, while he plays his video games and I crochet, read, or watch Gilmore Girls. We really do compliment each other, but when Jake goes hunting, I get the weekend to myself and I’ve got to admit that the weekend before last, I was really looking forward to it.

Jake and I have been married for just over six months and, in short, I’d call it a wonderful adjustment period… because, although I adore my husband, I have to live with a boy.

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Most experts will tell you that it’s better to wait until you’re a little older and better established to get married, and I totally agree with that. What they don’t tell you, though, is that it’s a lot harder to live with a person after living alone for six years. Y’all, when I lived alone, I could buy Easy Mac, not be in the mood for Easy Mac for a month, and still have Easy Mac. In my little single girl apartment, Miracle Whip and peanut butter lasted for months. If I bought the fancy pickles I like from Wal-Mart, not the cheap ones from Aldi, I knew that would actually get to enjoy them. Then I apparently married a man with a tapeworm.

Me: “You already ate all the peanut butter?!?!? I haven’t even had any!”
Jake: “We’ve had that for like two weeks.”
Me: “I KNOW! THAT’S MY POINT!”

I swear that man drinks Miracle Whip through a fucking garden hose, because there is no other way he can consume that much, that quickly. Although I pride myself on my emotional control, one night, a few weeks ago, I hit my threshold, when Jake came out of the bathroom after some time. I hadn’t heard the faucet run, which in his defense, is not at all his routine. He’s not that disgusting.

Me: “Did you just come out of the bathroom without washing your hands??”
Jake: ::goes back to wash his hands, as I head into the kitchen to get a snack::
Me: “You ate all of my pickles?!?!”
Jake: “I left you three!”
Me: “Three?!? I bought those, because like them! You don’t even know the difference between those and the ones from Aldi!”
Jake: “I’m sorry. I tried to leave you some.”
Me: ::crying in earnest::
Jake: “What’s wrong?”
Me: “You’re such a boy! You eat everything in sight and you leave your dirty clothes on the floor and you hang dead animals on my wall and you won’t let me have my pink Christmas tree and you hog all the covers and you don’t wash your hands when you poo!”

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Jake: ::sincerely trying, yet failing, not to laugh:: “Oh, I do too. I forgot one time.”
Me: “I married The Beast!”
Jake: “What?”
Me: “The dog from The Sandlot. I married the dog from The Sandlot. You’re so hard to live with…”
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Jake: “I know, baby. Aaron told me so all the time, in college. I’ll bet you guys will have some great stories for each other, about just how hard it is to live with me. I’m sorry I ate your pickles.”

I’m obviously nothing but a delight to live with, but did I mention that Jake is is super laid back and I am… well, not? That’s why, when Jake was going to stay on his family’s ranch for four days, I was looking forward to a Single Girl Weekend. I was going to read and watch all five Twilight movies and sew and crochet and feed the dog table scraps and dance to Taylor Swift and sleep starfish style. It was going to get cray up in here.

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That it did, y’all. That it did. I crocheted two hats and spent two hours at Hobby Lobby, choosing the perfect fabric for his and hers Christmas stockings, which I immediately went home to start sewing, from scratch. With no time for “real food”, I ate snack foods for dinner and finished all five Twilight movies in one very productive night, only to wake up six hours later, in the middle of the bed, start where I left off with my sewing project, and watch Edward and Bella fall in love all over again, but as Christian and Anastasia this time. After work on Sunday, I hit Wal-Mart for more fabric and embarked on another evening of lots of crafts and five hours of sleep.

Niki came over on Monday night and we ate junk food and crocheted with Star Trek the Original Series playing in the background, while we talked about our lives. After she left, I read romance novels all night. On Tuesday, I watched This Is Us and went out for tacos with my work pals. It was entirely reminiscent of my off dating phases, when I was 26… and by the end of it, I was bored out of my mind… and exhausted, because apparently Jake is the only reason I ever go to bed at a reasonable hour.

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When I met Jake, at 27, I was just getting to a point where I was tired of coming home every night to an empty house; where I’d eat sweet potato fries, a handful of marshmallows, and a small bowl of popcorn for dinner, with no one to complain that it wasn’t “real food.” Vampire Diaries and One Tree Hill marathons with the dog were only beginning to lose their appeal, as I imagined snuggling on the couch with a beau. Sleeping starfish style was still pretty awesome. Because I really did enjoy my single days, when Jake went away for the weekend, I thought it would take a lot longer to hit that threshold. By Monday, afternoon, I was sitting at work, thinking I couldn’t wait to go home to… oh, wait.

Everyone says the first year is the hardest, and granted, I cried because my husband forgot to wash his hands, one night, but overall, being married to Jake is pretty awesome. At one time, I thought my introverted side would suffer, from a lack of peace, but that hasn’t been the case. On the days when I walk through the door and declare that we aren’t having children, or worse, say nothing at all and maybe take a shot, Jake will usually leave me be for thirty minutes or so, while I read on the couch. On his tough days, he’s usually had time to calm his own nerves with a drink, since I get home an hour or two later. Once we’ve both had time to decompress though, it’s like having a nightly slumber party with my best friend. We watch Netflix and eat popcorn or play two person board games or he plays video games while I read. It’s surprising how quickly I’ve adjusted to having Jake in my space at all times and, despite how much I’ve always liked being alone, I feel lonely when Jake’s not in the house. Jake Only is my new solitary comfort level.

By the time Jake returned, I’d Single Girled myself out. I was ready to eat real food at the kitchen table and sleep with my husband my side, at a normal hour. They say we look at our past with rose colored glasses, but I disagree. I really did have a lot of fun as a single girl, reading in my little living room, with the patio door open and no political podcasts playing in the background… cleaning up my own, much smaller mess… eating my breakfast cereal and frozen yogurt for dinner. That time was great and no less valuable than my new domestic life. Marriage, though, has been so much more awesome than all the blogs and lifestyle articles have claimed. Having someone to come home to, to tell me about his day, to buy little surprises, to cuddle with on the couch, while we do our own things, to make weird jokes with, because he’s just my kind of weird, is a dream come true. It more than compensates for the fact that the man can’t seem to enter a room, in which I’m sleeping, in any way unlike that of the fucking Kool-Aid man…

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… or that he’s constantly under threat of stepping on a straight pin or having to search for the shorts he left on the floor for me to passive aggressively hide. Admittedly, we’re still learning, but it sure is fun.

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Being Single is Hard

I’m not single and I haven’t been for quite some time. I met Jake last June and I wouldn’t have called myself single past August or so. As Jake and I move closer and closer to marriage, shopping for rings and spending more and more nights together, though, I’m starting to realize how much harder it was when it was always just me.

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I’ve shared, previously, the number of blogs, articles, and comments I’ve come across on the difficulty of marriage, which are usually followed by new parents telling me I ain’t seen nothin’ yet. I have a lot of friends who have been sharing this article on the difficulty of parenting on Facebook and I applaud the author for choosing not to discuss how easy everyone else has it… because that’s all I ever hear about being young and on your own. I don’t know if everyone is simply looking at their past through rose colored glasses or if young, single people feel pressured to insist that their lives are fulfilling in every way, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually heard or read a discussion on how truly difficult it can be to be alone.

Now, I’m certainly not pitying those enjoying the single life and the freedom that comes with it. I had a great time going to movies alone and enjoyed many all night Vampire Diaries marathons over the sound of a whirring sewing machine, when I was single. When Jake visits his parents or goes to Wellston for a few days, I even try to remind myself to enjoy the last chances I’m going to get to be, well… a little bit single. It’s a great time… but it’s also a tough one and no one ever gives anyone credit for the strength it can take…

… to be the sole earner.

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As a single woman with an advanced degree, my entire adult life has been something of a financial struggle. In college, I was married to a man who refused to work, so perhaps I had a skewed view, but everyone remembers those years as the Age of Ramen. After I received my bachelor’s degree, however, that stage had already ended for most of my classmates and not because they got jobs, but because they got married.

As I entered graduate school, more and more of my high school acquaintances were choosing to stay home with their babies. These women posted funny YouTube videos about how their friends without children knew nothing of responsibility as I worked 13 hour days and came home to finish a research paper while eating off brand spaghetti rings, because who am I, the Queen? I still don’t buy the name brand. I paid for everything on my own, from my rent, electric bill, and groceries, to the rare nights out with Gail. Student loan payments, car trouble, chiropractor visits, that time my phone was stolen, my $70 asthma inhaler, trips to the vet… they all fell to me, while my peers showed off their new houses and $300 highchairs and longed for my stress free life.

As a successful young woman, I can’t discuss money when sharing my desire for marriage and family, without giving people the impression that I just want a man to take care of me. The women I’ve mentioned above had their own financial hardships. I understand that, I do, but they weren’t solely their burden or responsibility either. When you’re on your own, you’re the only one available to talk yourself out of that designer purse or that second drink, because you’re the only one funding the inevitable emergency. At the end of the month, it’s just you and whatever remains in your bank account. While this is a really great learning opportunity, it’s also really scary. It’s almost as scary…

… to be the sole everything else.

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American culture has grown strangely proud of poor time management skills, with everyone from stay-at-home-moms to childless professionals competing to see who can claim the least amount of free time. Never was this more apparent than when I rushed home from a substitute teaching job to take my dog outside, before heading to the library, where I worked circulation until 9:00. When I’d get home at 9:30, it was often to an apartment that looked like an F1 tornado had hit it.

When you’re living with another person, it’s easy to take for granted the things that get done with little to no effort on your part. When Jake and I are married, whoever gets home first will start dinner. If one of us has more free time in the week, we’ll help the other out by doing the laundry, vacuuming, or mowing the lawn. If the Internet goes wonky, there will be two people who could potentially take the morning off to wait for the service call, and two people to compensate for any lack of income that might cause.

When it was just me, every day, working two jobs, I was lucky if I had the energy to microwave dinner, let alone clean up the kitchen or do the laundry. Thank God I didn’t have a lawn. Two years ago, a day off of work to wait for a service call could ultimately have been the difference between being able to afford that Internet or not. Even something as simple as company has become a given, now that I’m in a relationship. It’s easy to forget all those times I ran to the drug store sick or went home after a bad day to an empty and lonely house, now that someone’s available to pick up the prescriptions and cuddle up to during bad Netflix movies. It’s almost as easy to forget how hard it is…

… to have to face the unknown solo, with a smile on your face.
Zetus lapetus, dating sucks. If there is one aspect of being a single twenty-something that none of us feel compelled to talk up, it’s dating and that’s because no one looks back on it fondly… unless they just didn’t do it for very long. I remember getting ready for what was unsurprisingly another dead end date, with Gail’s help, a few years ago. She told me how, although she loves Terry, she sometimes misses that feeling of anticipation and excitement. In hindsight, I’ll admit, there were times when it really was exciting. Toward the end, however, it was just… emotionally exhausting.

The entire time I dated, I felt like I wasn’t allowed to admit that the one thing I wanted more than anything was a loving husband and children. I didn’t want them immediately or solely, but it was a goal of mine to be well on my way by the time I was 30. For some reason, I was supposed to leave something so important up to “fate” or “timing,” while being told my career goals were only subject to effort… even though the former was dependent on how one random person felt about me and the latter hung on how several very specific people felt about me. As a result, not only was I terrified that I may never attain what mattered so much to me, but I felt like I wasn’t even allowed to discuss it, for the sake of all womankind.

Not every woman shares my priorities. Some focus more on career or travel or general life experiences, but most people want to eventually find someone to love and care for and with whom to make all the big life decisions. There was a time when making all of those decisions by myself was freeing. Eventually, however, what I yearned for was a little less uncertainty in the world, some assurance that I would eventually put down the roots I wanted with someone I wanted. In your twenties, there are a thousand unknowns in your existence and when finding someone is no longer one of them, you feel a little more grounded, because you’re not facing the other 999 alone.

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I look fondly on the time I spent single, because I made a genuine effort to enjoy it while I could. I had a great time thinking only about me and bettering myself and my career. My Gramma once commented on how exciting it must be to have my whole life ahead of me with all that freedom and all those decisions yet to be made. She was right. It was and still is very exciting. It’s also a lot to take on alone, because no matter how many amazing friends and family members you have, it’s not the same as being in a committed relationship. I don’t doubt that being newly married, having young children, or raising teenagers is stressful. I imagine every stage has its battles and tears. I just get really tired of hearing about how the post college, pre-marriage stage isn’t one of them… because going it alone is, quite often, really very hard. I hope I never forget that.

Could we maybe go out when I’m ovulating?

Stephen King does this thing where he talks about a feeling or thought process as if it were commonplace and his readers totally get where he’s coming from, when in reality, we’re all left a touch scarred just from reading it.

It’s possible that absolutely no one will relate to this post but, like King, I wouldn’t write it if I didn’t think anyone would understand.

This past week, Fluid Engineer and I have been trading messages, trying to find a time to get together again. He asked on Monday, but didn’t say anything more about meeting Wednesday until literally less than 12 hours from when we would’ve had to get together. He’s not from the ‘burbs, so I’m fine with a touch of the back and forth discussion of what to do, but not at the last minute. Had he texted with an actual suggestion, I’d have been game, but we didn’t have time for the “I don’t care, what do you want to do?” bit, so I politely declined until next week. I was a little disappointed, though, because this is the time of the month that I am most likely to… well, like him. 

One reason I knew Fluid Engineer was worth my time was that I still wanted to see him after our first date, despite the fact that I was just about to… how to put this delicately… curl into the fetal position for a day and bleed like a stuck pig.

Okay, okay, I promised I’d try not to be too detailed in this post, so I’ll just say that I am physically ill for a couple of days out of the month. I’ve missed work before and I cannot eat. The second I get me some of that elusive health insurance, I’m going to see a doctor who doesn’t call me a liar or shame me for not sleeping with every man I meet, because it wasn’t like this before my miscarriage. I may be dying.

Fortunately, I met Fluid Engineer literally hours before I got sick, but I was at a point where I kind of only want to speak to people if I’m required. Even the most well adjusted woman can’t possibly want to have an online date at this point in her cycle. I’ve had to plan enough dates around such a busy schedule that I’ve realized the odds of my wanting to see a man again are substantially lower if I feel like my body is metabolizing itself. It’s not that I’m an intensely difficult person to deal with for a week out of the month. In fact, I think this is a terrible excuse to treat anyone with disrespect and uttering it pretty much disgraces all women everywhere. No, this isn’t some kind of bait and switch where a guy meets me and I’m smiling and pleasant and then sees me two weeks later and I go all velociraptor on him.

As a person, even on my worst day, I’m just more likely to burst into tears because a dog died in a book and that’s sort of the only time I cry anyway. For realz, I had to concentrate to not tear up on my second date with Fluid Engineer, because we saw Jurassic World and those poor dinosaurs died because the uber dinosaur was killing them for sport and they looked so sad…

… yeah. I didn’t shed a tear when Dumbledore died, but they stopped drawing the dinosaur and it broke my heart.

I control myself because I’m an adult and I acknowledge that other people have feelings, especially the ones I love. That doesn’t mean I want to try with a stranger, when I don’t feel well. The reverse is true, also, though. I’ll give a guy a second date, despite his having 40 pounds on his profile picture, just because my ovaries are doing gumball machine cosplay. I’m not even kidding, y’all. The men I’ll give a chance when I’m ovulating… it’s worse than doing shots. Fortunately, most of these encounters occur online and by the time we start discussing meeting, I’ve come down from my cursed natural high and realized that I can’t date a man without a job, the ability to wear a ball cap without a flat bill, or who happens to be closer to my dad’s age than mine.

On an average date, however, I have to fight my natural instincts to be a judgmental cunt. His voice is too high, or his fingers are too short, or his eyes are too close together, or he squints too much or I’M GOING TO DIE ALONE. So, I’m really disappointed that I wasn’t able to fit a date in during the time of the month that I’m guaranteed not to convince myself never to speak to Fluid Engineer again because I think his walk is too jaunty. I just want to fall in love, but it’s so hard to do when I’m such a hopelessly self-sabotaging bitch!

My Secret Dates with Fluid Engineer

I used to follow these two dating bloggers. They weren’t dating bloggers in the sense that I’m a dating blogger, sharing a bad date one week, a funeral the next, a rant on gender equality after that, and eventually another bad date. They specifically started their blogs to discuss their dating lives, their search for love. Regardless, I enjoyed reading them. I wanted to read about that date that didn’t end in disaster and finally led to a second date, a third, an “I love you.” They stopped writing, though. Maybe they’re busy with wedding plans. Maybe they gave up the search and are focusing on their careers and friendships. Maybe they’re still going on bad dates. I felt cheated, though. I was a loyal follower, reading each post, writing comments and giving advice when they asked for it. I was happy for them when they had a good time with a man and frustrated for them when they never got a call back. I promised myself that I’d never do that to my readers.

Today, I have 1,352 followers on this blog. I don’t know how many people are actually reading, sharing in my joys and pain, my laughter and frustration. I don’t get a lot of feedback, but that’s okay. I’ve had this blog for nearly three years and I’ve written consistently, because I enjoy writing. I’ve had a blog, in some sense, for the last… 12 years? Before that, it was paper journals. No. I’m not going anywhere. Y’all will likely read about my wedding, my first child, my family vacations. So, I’ve never really felt in danger of breaking the above promise. I won’t just disappear on you. But… I’ll apparently keep those good dates from you.

I suppose it started with Engineer 114. He was out of town a lot and we were just texting, but I was hopeful. Politician came next. I liked him well enough. There was a possibility for a second date. Then there was Oil, who I really did like. Finally, there was Dell, who I didn’t find attractive, which made me feel guilty and judgmental. I didn’t share about any of these men until after the fact, though. Week after week, I brainstormed for writing topics, even when I’d just been on a date. I’ve been doing exactly what I resented from my dating bloggers. So… I haven’t written about Fluid Engineer.

Fluid Engineer is 30, never married, no kids. He turns 31 on October 14, which he only told me once and I remembered, because Gaily is right and it’s weird that I text her every September 14 to remind her to wish her first ever boyfriend a happy birthday. But, that means he’s a Libra to my Virgo, like Gail and we seem to get along mighty fine. He lives about an hour away, but he’s not especially attached to his location, since he’s originally from Texas. We didn’t text long before our first meeting, which is how I prefer it.

My first date with Fluid Engineer was lunch and it was just… nice. He drove to me and he paid. In regards to appearance, he just looks like a guy. I likely wouldn’t notice him on the street, one way or another. He told me I was the first woman he’d met who actually looked like her picture. I may have called his family racist.

FE: “We play Chinese Christmas every year.”
Me: “Chinese Christmas?”
FE. “Yeah. Haven’t you heard of Dirty Santa? It’s like that.”
Me: “… just racist.”

Fortunately, he laughed. He walked me to my car, where he very sweetly tried to open my door for me, before I’d unlocked it. Naturally, I narrated the awkwardness.

Me: “That’s still locked, but that’s very sweet of you.”

We made plans for a second date pretty immediately, texting over his six days on and planning to get together on one of his three days off. He seemed interested, but not creepily so. I looked forward to our second date, which ended up being Jurassic World in 3D at the mall. We walked around the mall and talked. He bought chocolate Swiss Army knives for his niece’s birthday and I teased him about his first time in the Big City. He sounds like a bit of a redneck, so I’m glad we never talked on the phone and I couldn’t be a judgmental cow, because he’s really quite intelligent. He’s nice and was chivalrous enough to pay for lunch and we talked until I realized I was going to be late for work if I didn’t call my Gramma and ask her to take the dog out so I could go straight to the library. Fluid Engineer even wanted to see each other again, before he started his next six days on, but I felt like that might be a bit much a bit soon, so I asked if we could do something next week. Since then, we’ve been texting and he’s still pretty keen.

So… why the secrecy?

Well, I suppose I’m embarrassed to tell y’all about my eventual possible rejection. That’s second only to admitting that I sabotaged things with a perfectly nice guy. I mean, statistically speaking, it’ll be one or the other. It’s not like any of my previous dates haven’t ended poorly. That’s the point of this blog, though… to chronicle my life. I want to look back and read my first impression when it does go well. I want to remember it all. I want to share it all. I also do so anonymously, so I really have nothing to fear.

I need to get married, y’all.

That’s right. No more of this Women’s Lib shit. I need to get married, yesterday.

Why?” you might ask?

Did Catherine inform me that I’m her only single friend? Did I get into another car accident, because I’m the worst driver in the world? Did I try to fix the garbage disposal with a hammer? Did another girl from high school post pictures of her second child? Did I drop the fully decorated Christmas tree on myself, again?

Yes.
Define “accident.”
Not again.
Several of them.
No. It’s June. Pay attention. 

I can handle all of those things, though. I can pick glass out of my appendages all by myself. I can pay someone to change my oil. I can call maintenance when I accidentally flush a roll of toilet paper whole. I can carry the groceries up the stairs, no matter how many bags there are. I can see a movie and have dinner alone. I am Tinkerbell, though, only capable of one emotional extreme. So what’s the source of my obvious sudden panic?

Me: “I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A MOUSE!”
Gramma: “What?”
Me: “I TOLD YOU THERE WAS A  MOUSE AND YOU WERE ALL ‘OH, YOU’RE SEEING THINGS,’ BUT NOW I’VE SEEN THE MOUSE AND IT’STHESIZEOFAPORCUPINE!”
Gramma: “Belle, I cannot understand you when you’re screaming.”
Me: “I saw the mouse! I knew there was a mouse and I told you there was a mouse!”

Naturally, when I saw the mouse in the bathroom, I locked the dog in with it and waited for the sounds of mayhem. Fierce predator, you know?

Hunting dog, my ass. When I opened the door, Jude happily pranced out, ready to play, closely followed by a mouse. Completely fucking useless. Someone’s going on Craigslist. That was when I called my Gramma.

Gramma: “That little mouse is not gonna hurt you, Belle.”
Me: “They’re diseased!”
Gramma: “I don’t know what you’re yellin’ about. I don’t remember ever being that afraid of a mouse.”
Me: “That’s because you’re 109, grew up in the country, and used to sleep on a BED OF MICE!”

Have you ever heard an eye roll through the phone? I have.

Gramma: “You should have been more concerned about the roaches than one little field mouse.”
Me: “Do you remember me the summer I had roaches?”

Me: “I’M GETTING MARRIED!”
Gramma: “What?”
Me: “I changed my mind! I’m getting married!”
Gramma: “What are you talking about?”
Me: “I HAVE TO GET MARRIED SO SOMEONE CAN KILL THE MICE!”

So, that’s it. That’s my limit. Fuck this shit. It’s not about having children or someone to care for me in my old age. I need a husband for my pest control concerns, because I’m not sleeping until that trap reads “caught.”

 

Disastrous Dates with Dell: the Importance of Honesty and Attraction

There was a time, when a truly awful date for me was a delightful blog post. Lately, though, I’ve noticed a shift in my thinking. I suppose it started with Engineer 114, around the New Year. After he bailed on me for no reason, after weeks of texting while he was out of the country, I was both furious and completely done with him. So, I got back on PoF and, by chance, reconnected with Politician, who I happened to have just begun messaging before I got involved with 114.

Politician and I met after a few weeks of messaging He was 35, had never been married, worked at the state capitol, was protestant and didn’t appear to take issue with my Catholicism. But… he was 35 and unmarried and he hadn’t been engaged, or in extensive schooling, or serving his country. When he talked about settling down, it was in a vague sense, like a man 10 years younger. “One day”, he might like to get married and have children. I’m sorry dude, but if you’re from a small town in the South and you’re saying “one day” at 35, it’s just not something you want. That’s cool and all, but don’t date the gal who’s aiming for that. Perhaps he realized this mistake, though, because I never heard from him after our date. We didn’t have a bad time. We talked. It was nice. I left on the thought that I’d be willing to go on another date, if he asked, but knew I wouldn’t be disappointed if he didn’t. I was right. I wasn’t.

After Politician came Oil. Oil and I had chatted on Tinder last fall. We’d been texting and I dropped off the face of the earth, because seriously, dude, it’s Tinder. I recently found him on Match, and although he looked familiar, I couldn’t recall where I’d seen him and sent a message. When Oil explained that we’d talked before, we quickly set a date to meet. This time, I thought things went really well. We met for coffee at the Starbucks inside Barnes and Noble and walked around talking and looking at books. He’d gained some weight since his pictures were taken, but he wore it well. We laughed and seemed to get along. I left with a good feeling about the whole thing. Then, he began the Fade Away. For realz, yo, if you don’t intend to see someone after a first meeting, just shut the hell up. Don’t string them along. It’s worse than just never talking to them again. I quickly realized what he was doing and responded just enough that he could build on it and sent no more when he didn’t. If a man’s not interested in me, I’m sure as hell not chasing after him. I was disappointed, though. I mean, he’d gained at least 20 pounds, so any issues with my appearance would’ve been downright hypocritical. The conversation flowed. Why was that not at least worth a second meeting?

…. aaaaaand there it is. I’ve officially reached the point I’ve been trying to force myself to reach for the last year. I am finally to a place where I’m willing to go on a second date with anyone who wasn’t a mountain troll or a complete ass. Therefore, when someone else isn’t, that’s a bad date, because what could he possibly be seeking, beyond laughter and surprisingly few awkward pauses? Did we just not have that “spark”? Because that’s bullshit. The “spark” is another word for Love at First Sight or Soulmates. It’s pretend. It was crafted to sell YA novels about teenagers dying of cancer. The only real connection one can hope to have with a stranger is conversational. If that exists and you aren’t willing to pursue it, then have fun dying alone… which is exactly the sentiment that lead me to the other extreme in my absolutely disastrous dates with Dell.

Dell was 33 years old and not very attractive in his photos. He was successful and had a lot of nerdy hobbies mixed with a lot of country hobbies. He was sociable and seemed to be putting in a real effort. I told myself that appearance was secondary to these characteristics and I still feel that that was correct. The man wasn’t hideous in his photos. He was shorter than I’d prefer, but taller than I am, at 5’7″. He was stocky and appeared to be a little heavy, but mentioned a lot of active hobbies. Almost every photo had his niece in it, so he was clearly close to his family and liked kids. I had high hopes that personality would ultimately take over and then I would find him attractive.

Dell and I first met for dinner at the same restaurant where I met Politician. I got out of the car, headed for the door, and my first thought was that it couldn’t be him.

Y’all, there have not been a lot of dates where I’ve considered just turning around and leaving. This was probably only the second… because this man was not “a little heavy.” He was easily 40 pounds heavier than his least flattering photo… at 5’7″. I’m 5’6″, so 40 pounds on him is the equivalent to 40 pounds on me, and it was all in his belly. I wasn’t going to be shallow, though. It wasn’t even Gaily’s voice this time that asked me if I was really going to write this guy off over something trivial. I mean, clearly, I was just focused on appearance because it was our first meeting. If I wasn’t going to give him a chance, then I needed to leave right then and not let him buy me dinner.

As we took our seats and I fervently told myself that I was being too critical, Dell struggled to slide into the booth and, I am ashamed to admit, the first thing that popped into my mind was…

I wonder if his erect penis even clears his belly.

I felt horrible for even thinking that, but my ex-husband was morbidly obese and it’s a thing, folks. I spent four years with someone who had to ask to be seated at a table every time we went out and that’s all I could think about for the first 10 minutes of our conversation as I distractedly answered so many questions it felt like I was being quizzed. Finally, I realized that Dell wouldn’t be playing Quizmaster if I’d join the fucking conversation and I pulled my irreparably damaged by divorce head out of my ass. From that point on, I was a delight. I asked questions about his life and his former career as a policeman. I told him about my career and was pleased that he was respectful and interested. The conversation felt a little forced, but I blamed my lack of physical attraction. We talked about our hobbies and ironically, staying in shape came up.

Dell: “I’ve actually gained 20 pounds in the last few months.”

Um… yeah. I noticed. Apparently, so did he. It, however, was still not only 20 pounds since his photos. I would not be surprised to discover that the man was just barely into the morbidly obese category. Now, I’ve been morbidly obese, y’all. A few years ago, I lost over 90 pounds. It’s not that I hate fat people. I’ve been fat people. I’m still not skinny people at a size 8/10. I have also never lied about it. He clearly knew that his photos were not an accurate representation of him. After all was said and done, I even showed Gail.

Gail: “Well, yeah. You can kind of tell he’s heavy in this one. He looks pretty big there.”
Me: “No, no, no. I saw that one. I was prepared for that one. It was that plus 40 pounds.”
Gail: “Oh. Wow.”

At this point, I was legitimately frustrated with him. I was in a really awkward place, because he wasn’t honest. I didn’t want to blow off what was otherwise a very nice guy just because of his size, though, so I agreed to a second date the following week.

Over the next week, I ended up convincing myself that I’d exaggerated the entire thing. It wouldn’t be the first time. I mean, the guy was nice and chivalrous and successful. Surely, I was just being a bitch and I’d realize the error of my ways when we met again. Spoiler alert: no.

We met last Friday at a local sushi restaurant and I was actually looking forward to realizing how wrong I was. Dell was going to walk up and I was going to see that, although he was slightly heavier than his photos depicted, it was nothing so drastic. Then, I saw him walking to the door and thought that his size just couldn’t be healthy. He looked physically uncomfortable and was visibly sweating. At 33 years old, I was already looking at this guy and worried about his physical well-being. It’s not just appearance. I want to be able to chase my children around the backyard. I want to be able to go to Disney World and not stop every 30 minutes for a rest, because the cardio of leisurely walking is just overwhelming. I know what that’s like, because I’ve fucking done it. I’m not going to lie, either. It’s embarrassing. It’s embarrassing to explain to someone that your reasonably young husband is breathing so hard because of walking. It’s upsetting to never be able to go on a roller coaster because the belt won’t fit across his lap. It’s embarrassing to watch your date’s booth slide across the floor from the table as he sits, because the seat isn’t bolted down and he doesn’t fit.

This time, the conversation did not flow, at all. It was much more obvious that we were forcing it along. I wished I hadn’t come. I felt just as lied to as I did on the first date and I felt like a horrible person for the fact that this was such a deal breaker for me. I’m not delusional. I know that pretty much everyone looks better with clothes on. I even prefer a slightly overweight man to a slender one. I just wasn’t attracted to Dell at all and felt genuine resentment at his blatant dishonesty. Again, I was sociable and fun and polite. I tried. I really did try, but when Dell asked if I needed to get back to my niece (where I’d been before the date) or if I still wanted to go do something together, I bailed. I couldn’t let the man spend another dime on me, when I knew I was done. I told him I’d promised Catherine I’d meet her at the bar for her birthday. He walked me to my car and we talked about going minigolfing this week, as a third date. We made tentative plans. He leaned in for a hug….

… went to kiss me…

… I turned away…

… and it was the most uncomfortable thing that has ever happened in time. 

I went to the bar that night, where Catherine and our friend Laura both asked how the date went.

Me: “Um. It was fine.”
Laura: “Fine?”
Me: “He was really nice. There just isn’t really anything there. He wasn’t very honest in his photos and there’s really no physical attraction. I don’t know how important that is.”
Laura: “It’s important. It may not be the most important thing, but it is important.”

Dell didn’t message me after that.

Me: “He went in for a kiss and I… um… may have turned it into an awkward hug.”
Gail: “Yeah. THAT’S why he hasn’t messaged you.”

I told Gail about the guilt I felt over not continuing to see him.

Gail: “It’s not as if you were married to this man and then ditched him when he gained weight. You’re just not willing to date a man who lives an unhealthy lifestyle. You’re not willing to start a relationship with all of the problems that come with that and that’s okay. You don’t owe him anything after two dates.”

So, obviously he picked up on my lack of interest, which is most definitely for the best. I hope he realizes why, even subconsciously. I hope he gets the spontaneous urge to upload some honest and recent photos, so that the next date he goes on goes better. So many stereotypes about online dating focus on women lying about their weight, but never (straight) men. It is equally and quite fairly frustrating to a member of either gender, though, to be shown a picture of someone to whom they think they can develop an attraction and be faced with a completely different person. I stand by both the man and the woman who feels angry or misled, because it really is an awkward place to be. We insist that appearance doesn’t matter at all and while I do believe we over emphasize it, if you can’t imagine wanting to see someone naked at 33, it’s unlikely to be any better at 43. I don’t regret that second date, because I’m left with no doubts that there wasn’t anything there; but also because I realize that while it’s great to put aside aside the trivial and meet the guy who’s 5’7″ or losing his hair or doesn’t have model good looks, ultimately attraction cannot be forced. I maintain my policy of going on a second date unless absolutely certain it’s not happening. I just may need to be a little more accepting of the latter. There were certainly less substantial reasons not to consider him.

Me: “I know it’s stupid and I would never blow someone off for just this, but… he said he loves Christmas Vacation. You know how much I hate Christmas Vacation.”

If I’m gonna sit through that terrible fucking movie, he’d better be even the slightest bit attractive to me.

Are we seriously having this conversation in 2015?

Y’all know I’m a librarian. It’s in the URL. It’s in the tagline. I practically introduce myself with it to everyone I ever meet, in person and online, because I am the old guy declaring “What you do, is who you are.”  Maybe it’s because I’m so passionate about my job. Maybe it’s because everyone in my family has that mentality. Whatevs. Just as some people are doctors and proud, nurses and proud, lawyers and proud, I’m a librarian and proud. It took seven years of college and an embarrassingly high amount of student loan debt for me to earn this title, so it feels pretty redundant when I have to ask that people not fucking mock it. 

I get that to other people, who don’t work in the field, it doesn’t sound like the coolest job. Fine. They’re wrong, but fine. Regardless, I’m horrified by the number of men who contact me on online dating sites and openly insult my career.

“So you’re a librarian, huh. I bet that’s tough with the internet now.”
Why, because you Googled free access to Ancestry.com, the entire archive of National Geographic, free e-media downloads, books a 14-year-old boy will actually enjoy and receive credit for in class, a complete resume that will get you an interview, and that news article about your grandmother from 1956? Google is a keyword search. If anything, the ubiquity of Internet access has given me more to do, because most people’s research and fact checking skills suck, because of GOOGLE. Obviously, if I’ve just gone into this field, it’s not dying. Perhaps you should Google that.

“I don’t think I could work in a quiet library all day. I’d get so bored.”
Thanks for calling my job boring, even though I clearly love it enough to include the title in my screen name. By the way, at first glance, “oil” has me on the edge of my seat.

“I didn’t even know there were still librarians.”
“Obsolete.” I think that’s my favorite pet name.

“It takes a master’s degree to do that? Why?”
Please. Inject a little more dismay into that question. Obviously, if it’s required, it’s necessary, and there are respectful ways to ask about my specific duties.

“My dad tells people I have a master’s degree, even though I’m not finished with school yet.”
“I’ll bet he doesn’t tell them what it’s in.”
Dude, did you just tell your date that her dad is secretly ashamed of her? It’s been two years since that date and I’m still at a loss for words beyond “bag of dicks.”


There is a flash flood in my pants, right now.

The responses toward my bachelor’s degree in family and consumer sciences are just as appalling.

“What’s the technical name for a home-ec teacher? Domicile Engineer? LOL.”

As frustrating as these misunderstandings are, I’m relatively used to them. I’m happy to explain why I needed a master’s degree to be a librarian or sing the praises of family and consumer sciences, when asked politely. I love talking about my work. I’m horrified, however, that anyone thinks it’s okay to talk down to me about my field, especially when I’ve already explained what it entails. Just last week, I was trading messages with a man on Plenty of Fish. I’d told him all about my field, how I had to get my MLIS to work in the position I love, and that I was trying to work my up to full time, because it’s extremely competitive.

“So, are you planning to make a career out of it?”

Um… what? Is this an attention span issue? I just explained that. Also, dude, you just told me you’d be working again “when oil picks up,” so I really think there are more pertinent questions regarding your career than mine. No one would ask a nurse if she was planning to make a career out of it. No one would ask a teacher that.

Karol: “Yes, they would. ‘Are you just doing this until you get married and have kids?'”
Me: “Fine. No one would ask a biologist that. No one would ask an accountant that.”
Karol: “What you mean is that no one would ask a man that.”
Me: “Ew. If that’s the case, then just ew. It’s 2015!”

You know, it’s really something that never crossed my mind. I thought people mocked my career because of a stereotype. Then again, there’s a pretty persistent stereotype among accountants, too, and they require less education than librarians. Sure, they’re assumed to be boring, but even with e-filing options, no one insists they’re redundant. Everyone concludes there must be more to the field than tax time, so why don’t librarians get the same respect? Why, before insulting me, don’t these men think ‘Wow. I’ve clearly got the wrong idea about this’? Well, according to Karol, the reason I’m not taken more seriously is…

Google this: “vagina gif”

It’s a frustrating idea and I sincerely hope Karol is wrong. Could it really be that the reason so many men mock my passion is because I’m female? Are these comments actually an effort to diminish my accomplishments, because I brought my ovaries with me? Is the “sexy librarian” line not only tacky, but actually a 1950s slap on the ass? Are we seriously having this conversation in 2015?

Ultimately, I’m just pleased to have met men who are impressed by my level of education, admire my passion for my career, and are open to learning more about a topic they don’t understand. It has happened, as many times as (if not more than) the above incidences. I can just let the probable sexists continue ranting about how they can only meet gold diggers and be thankful that they’re so transparent.

Still… ew.

 

The Time I Wasn’t Overreacting: Update on Stabby McStabberson

So last week, I had a pretty terrifying online dating experience… or at least I was pretty sure it qualified as one, when I wrote The Time I Almost Got Shankraped by Online Dating. Bee tea double ewe, the day someone slips “shankraped” into casual conversation or a presidential speech, you heard it here first, so you’re welcome.

As my original post indicated, I immediately called Gaily and told her everything. As is her way, she flipped the fuck out and started talking about protection orders and staying at her house for a little while.

I figured it was all good, though. I mean, surely he didn’t think I was interested after all of that awkwardness, right? Then I got a message on Plenty of Fish, after I deleted my OKCupid account.

05-01-15 1

“A little while back”?!?! Dude, this was two fucking days later!

Okay. So he didn’t understand it the first time. There’s no way he could’ve missed the point after that message. Until he did. Unfortunately, I don’t have that screenshot, because I was so freaked out that I immediately blocked him and the message was erased. It went a little something like this, though:

Stabby McStabberson: “Hey, I can’t read your message for some reason. Just text me and maybe we can get to know each other a little better.”

Shetland’s not Mayberry, y’all, but it’s not exactly Chicago either. I could see this guy anywhere, but most especially at my gym. So, I was literally shaking with fear… hence the typos when I responded.

05-01-15 2He “dropped the whole thing awhile ago.” I mean, sure I’d gotten that message, literally 20 minutes earlier, but that was “awhile ago.” I am soooo sorry, Stabby McStabberson, for making you uncomfortable. I’m aware that my response was aggressive and downright mean, but I was terrified and I wanted a response to clarify that he understood. I was way beyond letting him save face, at this point. Perhaps he was less crazy and just not that bright, but it’s also not like a dimwitted man can’t still skin me and wear me.

I tried to be polite and subtle. I tried to be polite and direct. Both attempts failed. So for now, it seems that Leatherface considers me a complete bitch, which is fine by me… as long as he doesn’t seek revenge. Keep an eye out for that news story, though.

The Time I Almost Got Shankraped by Online Dating

My dear blog has been and will be many things, including divorcée blog, grad student blog, librarian blog, humor blog, opinion blog, and dating blog. That last one has been recurring, and lately even prominent. I’ve shared tales of men who insulted my faith, my degree, my best friend… of men who lived with their mothers, stood me up, and who I wished had stood me up… and even of men who’ve been perfectly nice, but for some reason, it just wouldn’t have worked. Rarely, however, has it ever been my emphasis that I met a man online. I didn’t almost end up in Tupperware, because I met the first Engineer on Plenty of Fish. I just didn’t put two and two together and realize how sketchy it was that a man who claimed he didn’t own a TV would want to watch Arrow together at his place.

It’s not online dating’s fault. It’s dating’s fault. People be crazy (and others impossibly naive for 25), regardless of where you meet them. What can you do? The Peach Pit and Central Perk are closed and MacLaren’s was an inaccurate portrayal of the dating world for at least the last three seasons. Unless someone’s willing to take me for a joyride in their DeLorean at 88 miles per hour, this is where we are… ‘cept Wednesday. Wednesday, this is where I was.

It all started out innocently enough. I was at the gym, on the elliptical, reading some harmless vampire porn, when I heard something from behind me. I turned to see a man was talking to me.

Me: “I’m sorry?”
Stabby McStabberson: “Are you on OKCupid?”
Me: “Um… yeah.”
Stabby McStabberson: “I thought you looked familiar. I’m on there, too.”
Me: …
Stabby McStabberson: “Have you ever seen me on there?”
Me: “Um… no. I don’t think so.”
Stabby McStabberson: “Well, I’ve seen you.”
Me: “Okay. Sorry, I don’t think I remember you.”

Okay, first of all, I’m pretty open about the fact that I date online. I don’t think we’ll ever get rid of the stigma as long as my aunts are insisting they met their husbands at the cowboy bar. Even so, the first thought that went through my head when this guy shouted “OKCupid” over the noise of the fan was “SHHHHHH!” Second, what exactly was the purpose of this? Clearly he was interested, but “You date online, don’t you? I date online, too!” is not how you date in person. If you’re interested in someone you see online, you message them online. You don’t memorize their stats and accost them face to face! But… I’m getting ahead of myself.

So, I texted Gail about the exchange and returned to my vampire porn, refusing to let a little awkwardness interrupt my workout… until…

Stabby McStabberson: “So, can I introduce myself?”
Me: “What?”
Stabby McStabberson: “Can I introduce myself?”
Me: “Um… sure.”
– If you’re going to introduce yourself to a person, you just do it. You don’t ask permission. Furthermore, if they’re as bad at hiding their discomfort with you doing so as I am, you keep it brief. –
Stabby McStabberson: “Hi. I’m Matt.”
Me: “Hi.”
Stabby McStabberson: “What’s your name?”
Me: “Belle.”
– Why did I tell him my name? Am I exaggerating this? I am intensely uncomfortable. Is this unfounded? –
Stabby McStabberson: “Belle. That’s a pretty name. Do you come here often?”
– To the gym, which requires a membership? –
Me: “Yeah. I have a membership.”
Stabby McStabberson: “Yeah, me too. I pay monthly. I’ve seen you here, before.”
– Oh, that… doesn’t make this better. –
Me: “… oh.”
Stabby McStabberson: “So, have you met anyone on OKCupid?”
– Does he mean am I available? Should I tell him I have a boyfriend? No. I’m overreacting. I am not going to fake a boyfriend. –
Me: “Yeah. I’ve met a few people.”
Stabby McStabberson: “Oh. Your screen name is UniversityLibrarian, isn’t it?”
– Oh, this just got so much worse. That hasn’t been my screen name for months and he remembers it. I should’ve left. –
Me: “Um… something like that.”
Stabby McStabberson: “You have a master’s degree.”
– AND YOU HAVE A HUMAN HEAD IN YOUR TRUNK! This is the worst thing. I’m going to be on the news, a cautionary tale for all young women who date online. –
Me: “Um… yeah. I do.”
Stabby McStabberson: “I’m getting my associate’s. I wanna be a youth pastor or a helper or something.”
Me:
– Wait. A “helper”? That takes an associate’s degree? Why hasn’t he figured out what he’s doing for a living? He’s at least 30… NOT THE FUCKING POINT, BELLE! –
Stabby McStabberson: “So are you still active on there?”
– How does he not see that I am visibly afraid of him? I am not even trying to hide it. –
Me: “Nope. Not lately.”
Stabby McStabberson: “Oh. Did you meet someone?”
– Fuck, yes. I most definitely met someone. –
Me: “Yup. I’ve been talking to someone for awhile, now.”
Stabby McStabberson: “Oh. Okay. Well, good luck.”

04-23-15 1

Gail: “Next time: ‘Are you on OKCupid?’ ‘No.'”

What Deal Breakers Do I Possess?: Reasons Not to Date Me

10912929_10204491640828512_775329358_nI totally forgot to cut my employee ID badge out of this photo the first time.

One of my Super Librarian duties is to create displays. Naturally, as 2015 takes root, I’ve put up a resolutions display. In doing so, I found the above title and I was just too curious to let it go. While the title is intentionally scandalous, a good deal of the advice within is pretty sound. Directed toward older single women, in the 35-dead bracket, the author’s perspective is pretty damned defeatist. I mean, for realz yo, were I single at 34 and reading this, I’d take up cutting again. Basically, the author is telling women to get off their high horses and acknowledge that the men they’re dating are human, while there are still men to date. It’s advice from a woman 15 years older, who wishes she’d known this stuff 15 years ago. Fascinating point of view. So, thinking back over my dating history, I tried to decide if there were any good men, who I may have passed up prematurely.

Geologist. This was perhaps the meanest post I’ve written about a man, chiefly because I admitted that the guy looked just like Gollum. It wasn’t just that he was unattractive, though. I mostly didn’t feel like I could relate to him on a personal level, at all. If I’d been less judgmental, could something have formed? Would it have been fair to continue seeing him, regardless of my lack of interest after three dates? I really don’t know.

Engineer No. 94. This guy was nerdy, not particularly attractive, loved anime and I was totally cool with that. We had a great conversation and I really put myself out there, by making it crystal clear that I wanted to see him again, but didn’t hear from him all weekend. In the online dating world, that really felt like the brush off to me. Just a text telling me he had a good time would’ve kept me from feeling rejected and I definitely would’ve been more encouraging when he mentioned meeting me again, rather than doing a fade away. Should I have addressed the issue instead? Was there possibly an explanation that he didn’t offer for some reason? I don’t know, but if I had it to do again, I probably would’ve gone on date number two.

That’s pretty much my list beyond Soldier, who was my first date after my divorce and helped me to realize that I was so not ready to date. In hindsight, I’m really not plagued by what might have been with anyone else I’ve met. There was always a clear deal breaker that I still find relevant, more often than not being that he was an asshole. I am a good practicing Catholic girl, though and very much believe that God brought this book into my life at this time, for a reason. I’m also pretty damned sure that that reason is Electrical Engineer. I’ve vaguely hinted that I’ve kinda, sorta, maybe got something going with a new guy and while I’m sure I’ll share the details at some point, that’s a different blog post. This one is about keeping a healthy, non judgy perspective while I get to know him.

I’ve already realized, in the past year or so, that I need to give guys more of a chance. So, as I’ve gotten to know Electrical Engineer, I’ve reminded myself to look beyond stupid little things that I might’ve dwelled on in the past. After reading this book, however, I realized something: I’m not the only one looking past inconsequential issues in an effort to get to know someone. That’s gotten me thinking. What, exactly, is Electrical Engineer looking past? What will he (or anyone else I get serious with) have to deal with in a relationship with me? What deal breakers might bring to the table? Well, in the interest of self-awareness, here’s what I’ve got.

I’m 27 and have been divorced for four years.
I don’t intend to share this on a date, but zetus lapetus I have soooooo many psychological issues in regards to this.

I say the wrong thing… all the fucking time.
“Ugh. This pie is terrible… I mean, unless you made it, in which case, it’s just not my thing, cuz… I don’t like lime?”

Also, Gaily informs me that “shankraped” isn’t an appropriate word to use in an Olive Garden.

I’m loud and opinionated.
It’s not that I don’t respect your opinion. You’re just going to need a strong personality and voice for it to be heard… especially at family events with all of my aunts.

“It’s pretty clear, I ain’t no size 2.”
By American standards, I’m not fat, but I could stand to lose 20 pounds. There are certainly fitter women on the dating sites. 

I suck my thumb.
Not only is this super weird, but it’s also rooted in a history of abuse, which I’m sure seems less than stable.

I have mommy issues.
See above. Also, see the scars on my leg from all that cutting in high school. The plan is to hide these things until someone loves me and then he’s trapped.

I’m a know-it-all.
I base my thoughts and opinions on facts, but it can be exhausting to hear them on every single subject ever.

I’m more educated than most people.
This isn’t bragging. I have actually met men who clearly have issues with my education level.

I have a master’s degree and all the loans that go with it, but only work half time.
Between substitute teaching and my position as a librarian, I work my butt off to pay my own bills, but it’s an awful lot of school not to be full time. It’s unlikely a man will know right off how competitive my field is and that I’m moving along quite nicely. Regardless, I’ll never make the kind of money people often associate with a graduate degree.

I handle negative emotions poorly.
Seriously, there are some jokes normal people just don’t make. See above cutting joke.

I’m a terrible driver.
No, really. I will kill us all.

I’m nerdy and love nerdy things.
I have to remind myself that my Harry Potter/Superman obsession is to some, what another’s anime obsession is to me. If you’re not into those things at all, they can seem too nerdy, even juvenile. “Zetus lapetus” doesn’t help my case.

I own a lot of pink.
Me: “Can you hand me my wallet?”
Gail: “The pink thing?”
Me: “Well, that doesn’t really narrow down the contents of my purse, but sure.” 

While my favorite color doesn’t feature prominently in my decor or wardrobe, it does in my accessories. A man who’s interested in dating an educated woman could easily find this childish or annoying.

I’m extremely sexually insecure and inexperienced.
I’m like the least experienced non-virgin ever and I’m really not comfortable with that fact.

I won’t shut up.
I love to talk and, sometimes, have to make a conscious effort to listen, because I know that what I’m saying is interesting.

I’m too analytical.
Watching a movie or show with me is exhausting. I will point out historical inaccuracies and comment on how much everyone in In Time did not look 25. Not even close.

I don’t read bestsellers.
I’m a librarian. Pretty much everyone assumes this means I’ve read Gone Girl and The Kite Runner. I have not. I will not. I read articles and memoirs if I want heavy reading material. If it’s fiction, it’s going to end happily ever after with great sex. A man intrigued by my job title might be disappointed by my interest in highlander porn. 

I’m a perfectionist.
I will unravel the entire damned hat because I missed one loop. Crochet is another interest to jot down on the nerdy list. Also, who wants to take a quick trip to the mall 20 miles away and return this shirt, because one of the buttons is a little loose? Anyone?

I can be neurotic about weird things.
There is a place for the red plates. My media is organized by format and then alphabetically.

When I break, I break.
I can maintain emotional control better than most people. I really can. I can be mistakenly called “laid back.” However, when I reach my threshold, I am a complete drama queen. There are tears and wailed hyperbole. At the end of a really rough day, I require at least 30 minutes of silence and dark.

I’m redundant.
I repeat the same stories and jokes over and over again, because I forget who I’ve told.

I interrupt people.
Again, loud and opinionated from a family of same. We all talk over each other and no one thinks anything of it, but I have to put in genuine effort not to do this with everyone else and I often fail. I just get really excited about the subject. 

I listen to terrible music.
“Band-Aids don’t fix bullet holes…”
I sing it… poorly… and I blare it.

I watch terrible movies.
The Worst Witch. YouTube it. The entire movie is available and I can sing along. 

I have money issues.
I hoard food, just in case. I will drive to four different grocery stores just to save a few dollars. I’ll want for something for months, before talking myself into buying it, even though I’ve had the money all along. I sleep with my wallet within reach, because I had the worst marriage ever. 

… and I’m sure there are many more. I think making this list has been really helpful. It’s certainly going to help me overlook minor issues I might have with men, because really, if they can give me a chance, I can give them one.