Sometimes as I experience life, I think to myself, “That’s going on my blog.” But, then 3.5 seconds later, I think, “No, wait, I can’t put that on my blog because my blog is about my life, so if I post that, people will see how crazy I am.” No one is going to buy a so-I-have-this-friend type of post. But, I was reading a book last night and what I encountered was just too bizarre to not make it onto the blog.
Disclaimer: The book that I’m about to skewer wasn’t bad in its entirety; it did have some good advice.
We’ll just get the inevitable on the table. I’m reading a dating book. I don’t want to be single, and I don’t want to be reading dating books, but I’m trying to get to the point where my personal world feels like it’s spinning correctly on its axis again, and when I find myself in that position, I’ll often read. Finding Mr. Right happened to be lying around the house, and last night I got to the joyous chapter called “Where and How to Look for Mr. Right.”
If you picked up on some sarcasm when you read joyous, then you’re hearing me correctly. This was a challenging section for me. See, I hate being on the lookout for the man who is going to wind up being my husband. Wait, let me say that again. I Hate being on the lookout for the man who is going to wind up being my husband. I had to repeat it so I could put a capital “H” on hate. While I was in a relationship, I enjoyed being “taken.” If I saw a guy who was handsome, funny, or smart, I was perfectly content with being able to think, “Hmm…he’s nice. I wonder if I could connect him with one of my friends.” Or, if some guy was acting all weird and making me wonder if he was trying to draw me into the mysterious human phenomenon of flirting, I would just work the phrase “enjoy my boyfriend so much” into the first two minutes of our conversation. I cringe to go back to the days when checking a guy’s left hand becomes a reflexive habit (Married friends, you’d better be laughing with me, not at me. You know you did this too, and single friends, can I get a um..hm…yeah, girl.)
However, ever since Henry Cloud literally revolutionized my dating mentality several years ago, I’ve realized that looking for a guy is a natural (and healthy) part of the dating process. I haven’t forgotten the moment; I was at a Women of Faith conference, and Cloud said something like, “Ladies, if you are waiting around passively for God to bring a man to your door, then I hope you like the UPS man.” Boom. What? I had to admit that he might be right. In my opinion, he has a well balanced view of how women can be proactive without going nuts in How to Get a Date Worth Keeping.
The authors of How to Find Mr. Right…um, not so balanced, which brings me to the catalyst of this blog post (and sure enough, I’m looking a little crazy right about now I bet). The authors start the chapter by being super critical of online dating. Now, I agree, don’t be dumb about meeting people you’ve met online. If you’re meeting someone for the first time, make sure you give details about where you’ll be, what site you found the person on, and what the guy’s screen name is before you proceed with a meeting. However, it’s probably a little extreme to say, “Axe murderers like to play tennis too.” (Really, they said that, I’m not making it up.)
So, since the web is out, let me give you a few snippets from the next section of the book — other places to look. I’ll put my own personal commentary in italics, and please, single friends, laugh along with me because in the face of some ridiculous cultural expectations, we really have two choices — laugh or beat our heads against a brick wall.
“Where the boys are is not always obvious. Place yourself in a spot where there are lots of men. While college campuses are more female dominated these days, they are still one of the best places to meet men. Whether as a full-time student or as a sixty-five-year-old woman taking a gymnastics class in the evening, if you have a college nearby, it can be a great source of interesting and interested people.”
Um…ok. Well, I think it’s interesting that we went from boys to men in two sentences flat. And, the last time I checked college is a great place to meet someone if you’re in college. Otherwise, it’s a place of learning. And, really, 65 year olds in gymnastics class? They consider you over the hill in the Olympics when you’re 25.
“If you are an athlete take up a new sport: sailing, tennis, bowling, bocce ball, car racing, golf…”
Ok, this suggestion isn’t as bad. Bocce ball is pretty fun, but car racing? I don’t think you can run down to the local track — wherever that is — and just ask to join in. And considering that I’ve never been able to talk my way out of a speeding ticket, illegal street racing would be ill-advised.
“To increase your odds, you might check out the occupations and situations where men predominate…the military, seminary, and certain high-tech fields… Certain parts of the country are heavily male populated, such as Alaska.”
What?!?! Am I reading this right? Go to seminary OR Alaska!?! Literally, I have “Move to Alaska?” scrawled into the margin of my book. The next person buying this from the library book sale is going to have a field day wondering what was going through my mind.
And, finally, the chapter ends with this inspiration, “He could be out there signing up for that gymnastics class right now?”
Err… then, I’m going to have to pass. Can we say not my type? And, can we also say that if first impressions are super important, I shouldn’t be attempting to cartwheel or prance about when I make mine.
So, to my single friends who read this blog, please try to get a chuckle out of where we’re at in life right now. I’ve already admitted that I don’t like it, but you have to admit that sometimes the advice we get is just downright zany. And, please, come to the conclusion that I have. You need to be you. Looking is one thing; flipping your whole life upside down to maybe stumble across a guy is another. Let’s keep it real and be who we are.