Online Dating: Meet Harmony

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computer flowers

I love when people suggest online dating (as if they are the first to ever do so). “What, what is this world wide web you speak of?” I probably shouldn’t be so mean, they are trying to be helpful. The truth is, though I’ve had lots of good friends happily meet their spouse online, (<;3 Mehaffeys, Wadas, Thieles!! <;3) I myself, have yet to give it a try. My dates still come the old-fashioned way for now. Recently, I toyed with the idea of signing up just for the sake of the blog, figuring I’d get a lot of great stories out of the deal but decided against it. So you can imagine my delight when a close friend of mine asked if she could send me her stories to post!! Why yes, YES YOU CAN!!

Without further a due, meet Harmony. This is not her real name. She was fine using her own but we decided it would be better for her suitors if she remained anonymous. In this segment, you’ll find her writing and then a few of the things I’m learning from her at the end.

“Having just turned 30, surviving the biggest break-up of my dating life, yet still yearning to find that one, true love, I decided to join eHarmony. One thing you must understand about online dating is that it occupies the same amount of time that an intensive part-time job would require. Being a teacher, I had ten weeks of summer vacation to earn some extra cash tutoring while working on meeting a handsome, godly man of marriageable material.
 
My goal: one date a week.
One of out ten isn’t impossible odds, right?
 
According to Dr. Neil Clark Warren, founder of said matchmaking business, there are 29 crucial dimensions of compatibility to which if you align yourself and your future partner with will result in marital bliss. Cool! Can’t wait!
 
Online dating tip #1: There is no man out there who will ever align to all 29 levels of compatibility with you. Nor do you want that person because who really wants to marry themself?
 
Date #1, Wednesday, June 13, 2012-The Casual Coffee/Tea Meet Up
 
Allan was handsome. He was confident. He knew what he was doing. He was my first match on eH to skip the four stages of Guided Communication and email me. I liked that. After a few casual emails and some late night intensive text message conversations, Allan and I met up for coffee/tea.
I do have to mention that every time we discussed plans to meet up, Allan referred to it as “coffee/tea”. That day, I ordered iced green tea and he got coffee. That part worked out.
I could not get over the lace up ankle boots. I have to explain that my driver’s license states I’m a whopping 5’4”. But the truth of the matter is, is that I don’t even think I’m quite 5’3”. Understanding my height challenges and the fact that I have an athletic-build, blessed with a round butt and full thighs, this whole “skinny pant, outside boot trend” is not/has not ever worked for me. So when my impending future husband showed up in skinny grey jeans paired with lace up ankle boots on the outside of his pants, I could no longer focus on the conversation.
How trendy is too trendy of a man to date? Dating a man more slender than you is never good for a woman’s self esteem. We’ll see how this one goes…”
 
 

Harmony and I had previously had several conversations about why to, why not to, and when to try online dating. When she told me she was going for it, I was happy for her She knew she had the time and was serious about meeting someone. From what I’ve observed, the people who are ready for it and take it seriously get a great outcome. I’m excited for my brave friend and her new adventure!

As Harmony mentioned, Allan was in her first round of matches. She really appreciated that he took action right away in asking her to meet up. This made me think there is still a process of selection going on that resembles what happens in nature (that’s what I’ll call offline dating). Harmony preferred the way some men communicated with her using eHarmony over others. The process sounds more natural than I’d previously thought.

She phoned on the way home from date #1 and mostly talked about the way his clothes caught her off guard and made her feel like they weren’t a great match. Quite frankly, their styles are very different. She described him as a hipster and she dresses upscale, all-american for lack of a better title. Allan isn’t someone she would normally approach or expect to approach her. Which begs the question-is online dating a good thing, since it brings people together for better reasons than the ones that can get in the way during a first impression? Or, will they actually turn out to be too different- something they would’ve known right away offline. Time will tell!

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Red Flag of the Week

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Foot Care

You’d think this one would go without saying, but apparently not.  Real conversation from last week:

Me: How was it?!  Tell me everything!!

Jody: (back from a blind date): Um…it was good. We went to dinner and had good conversation. He’s really nice (interrupting herself) I’m sorry!! He had these awful, long yellow toenails!!

Me: gasp, hand covers mouth

Jody: I know!! I tried so hard to ignore them but I couldn’t! I just stared at them all night!

Good hygiene is a non-negotiable, especially while dating.   Treat it or cover it. Only two options, folks.  You are making a first impression and setting a tone for the evening.  It’s like when you see a spider from your bed at night and suddenly everything feel itchy.  When I see an untreated fungus in plain sight, everything feels icky. Not good.

**Disclaimer: Red flags are not always deal breakers.  They mean to serve as a point in which you should stop and ask yourself, “Does this signify a deeper problem?”  Red flags are also limited to things people choose to do, not things in which they have no control over.
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Frequent Flyer

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If you’re wondering if I sprung for an expensive ticket to Dallas (by way of Oakland, by way of Albuquerque) the answer is no.  Direct flight smhirect flight (that worked in my head).  Why do it that way when there are adventures to be had on every leg?

First of all ladies, if you want to know where to meet men- it’s definitely early morning at John Wayne Airport on a weekday.  It’s like Suits meets White Collar every where you look.  Thankfully, I stopped flying in lounge wear back in high school but I cannot confirm or deny that I wore the french braid I slept in.  I came away empty-handed. Next time I’ll be prepared.

Leg 1: My seat mate was handsome and helped me with my bag. (+)  He commented on how heavy it was. (-) Shoes and hair tools. Get me every time.  Anyway, before the plane took off he received a text:

Dana: I’m sorry for my part in our breakup.  I feel like we need to talk . What do.. (Then I stopped reading b/c I was afraid I’d get caught. *notice not b/c I felt guilty snooping)

What he did next shocked me.  He read the text exactly one time.  Closed it. Opened up some Sports App and started checking scores! Just like that!  REALLY?  No writing back? No phoning a friend for help? No scrolling through pictures of you two looking great together on vacation?!  NOTHING?!

It got me thinking about how differently it seems men and women handle breakups. In my experience, women seem to understand the gravity of the breakup the instant it takes place where appears to sink in for guys over time.  They are happy to be away from the drama while we are focused on all the good parts of the relationship that are now lost.  They focus on the future while we over analyze every detail of the past.  Somewhere, around a month later, the tables turn.  She realizes all the b.s. she put up with and he realizes he had a really great thing. I could be wrong. But I did come across this on Pinterest (very reliable source) for additional proof;)

ya.. pretty much.

Back to the plane, he powered down his phone and read a magazine.  An article called, “The Well-Hung Boy Next Door” to be exact.  I opted not to use this as starter for small talk and we parted 15B and C as strangers.

Leg 2: Meet Ronaldino.

I’m not ashamed to admit it. I.was.fascinated.  It wasn’t simply that he had on a gold metal vest over a tie-dyed tank, it was that his wife and granddaughter were dressed totally normal.  Who is this man? I wondered.  Is he just your average grandpa with a tendency to shine? Some cultural difference I don’t understand?  Unfortunately, we didn’t sit together and I never found out.

Leg 3:  I always feel for moms traveling with babies.  I can’t imagine.  I chose to sit by a couple and their baby figuring I could handle the crying.  Instead I got a taste of what’s to come:

Stewardess:  Can I get you something to drink?

Mom:  Yes, I’ll have a cranberry juice.  And can I get a water for Max (baby)?

Stewardess:  Sure, water and cranberry juice.

Mom: Ya, I make Max’s formula with water. I don’t like to give Max milk. (continues on and on about formula)

Stewardess:  (impatiently) Oh..that’s nice. Yes, I can bring him water.

Mom: Thanks! Max appreciates it.

Me: (in my head) Why do you keep calling him Max?  He’s cute, but no one know his name, lady.  Babies aren’t offended by pronouns. At least I don’t think they are…

Dad: Really? Why do you do that? Why do you have to tell everyone everything?

Mom: Don’t be mean to me. That was not an over-share!

Dad: She doesn’t care how you feed… (Fight begins)

Me: (Headphones on) Being single has it’s perks;) 

Happy to say I made it to Dallas in one piece and celebrated the heck out of my friend Bree’s wedding! She is an incredible person and it was a beautiful and joyful day!


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I Don’t Know How You Pray, But….

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beach day

 

God,

Wow! My brother’s wedding was amazing! Everything was beautiful and perfect, it truly was. Thank you for blessing me with my family and for gifting us such a wonderful day. I guess it’s not a big deal that my brother is four years younger than me. I mean, on a scale of world problems it’s very tiny. I guess in my world it’s rather BIG… tough to quantify these things…who can really say? It would’ve been nice to have at least had a date. Boyfriend, maybe. Or even an escort like in “The Wedding Date” with the guy that looks like a cute version of Sylvester Stallone. Something along those lines doesn’t feel like too much to ask. You being God and all. … But really, WHAT THE HECK? Have you forgotten me? Are you torturing me? No… that doesn’t sound like you….I know, you are probably working on my character…again… Which by the way I feel good about and would love to avoid more future growing experiences if possible. Not that you’re asking.

Lesson One: Answering if I’m still single, who I came with, or hearing awkward well-meaning encouragement laced with pity six times that day in many variations was you working on my humility.

Lesson Two: Having my foot stepped on the second I took my shoes off. (What exactly is the connection between the two?) I did a pretty good job cursing under my breath as opposed to shouting amongst friends and family. Good skill to have.

Lesson Three: Breaking off two relationships this year closer to the wedding than I would’ve liked was you… hating me?? Wait, no. You love me. I have no idea what the lesson is. You’ll have to be more clear on this one.

Lesson Four: Having Grandpa save the day when the couples song played was a reminder that love comes in all forms and I have a lot to be thankful for.

Most handsome man at the wedding!

Lesson Five: Standing in my fourteenth wedding. You want to root me from all love of money.

Lesson Six: Having the rest of the bridal party tell me they thought I was only 24.  Awesome! I look good! Or, I come across as immature. ..hmmm…

Lesson Seven: Catching the bouquet! Assuming the superstition is real, things are about to look up for me! Wait, that’s probably bad theology. Is that a problem?

We found a love in a hopeless place

Lesson Eight: Seeing Mark happily commit his life to a wonderful girl and begin a life together centered on you reminded me to wait for great. It does exist.

Much love and lukewarm trust,

Cindy

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Bachelorette Survival Guide

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I went to three bachelorette parties in the last three weeks. Yes, you read that correctly.  (With two weddings in between. This is actually normal for me.)  Aside from being broke, tired, and incapable of friendly chit-chat for a while, I had a really great time.  Here’s how I survived:

1. Drive Yourself– if you can.  There’s something emotionally freeing about knowing you can leave if you have to.  I have very teeny tiny panic attacks when I can’t. Who’s with me?

2. Shop at Nordstrom’s Rack.  They have all the good lingerie for less and are nice about returns. I hate retail sobs.

3. Drink, but not too much.  The way I see it, I’m just a more enjoyable person when I have margarita or two, or three.  So really, I’m doing it for the bride.  Don’t get drunk. The hangover alone makes it not worth it. Additionally, see #1 and #6.

4. Buddy System.  Find a girl in the group who you can have fun with when the conversation turn to hours of breastfeeding, potty training, or selecting kitchen cabinet talk.  Which it will and you will want to kill yourself.  No buddy? See #3.

5. Opt for Wedges over Heels (if the venue allows. sometimes a girl has to suck it up).  Somehow you end up walking a million miles at these things no matter what the cutesy itinerary the maid of honor has printed up says.  Be prepared. It’s still a good idea to have some height since you’ll take  a million photos and don’t want to look stumpy. Maybe that’s just me.

6. Don’t Text. Not your ex. Not the new guy you had one date with.  Speaking from experience you’ll realize the next morning that a bachelorette party is still a poor excuse for crazy.

7. Speaking of- Steer Clear of the Crazy Friend.  Most bride’s have one (at least). Stick to the other side of the room, cab, booth whatever.

8. Pitch in for the Bride’s dinner and/or drinks at some point.  You’d be surprised how many girls politely ditch out on this at every turn.  C’mon… 

9. Carry Cash. Pack Advil. Drink Water. 

10. Enjoy the Night.  Aside from loving your friend getting married- one day, when our calendars are full of little league games, open houses, and Cookie Lee jewelry parties we will be begging to drink, dance, and be merry with a group of rowdy girls.

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Red Flag of the Week

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Earrings

This week’s red flag is brought to you by the letter E!  E stands for earrings, but applies to all piercings.   There was a time where they may have enhanced your dateablility, but that was circa 1999 and it’s time to put it away.  Trust me.  …I even do a double take when I can still see the holes.  Probably too judgemental  of me.  Just being honest.  I will work on it.

ick.

**Disclaimer: Red flags are not always deal breakers.  They mean to serve as a point in which you should stop and ask yourself, “Does this signify a deeper problem?”  Red flags are also limited to things people choose to do, not things in which they have no control over.
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Settling Down

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The word settle is a bad word. It’s right up there with submission and routine. We love the idea of having it all and never feeling like we’ve kept ourselves from experiencing the very best. Watch or read any romantic story and you will find yourself rooting for the character to go for the one that makes them “feel” the most. The point of the fairytale is to not settle down with anything less than passionate fireworks.
What if we have it wrong? What if we rooted for settling? What if what makes us happy is committing to something and making it good?
I spent the weekend at my wonderful friend Bree’s bachlorette party. There’s usually one or two wife/moms in the group who are loving the thrill of being out for the first time in awhile and this was no exception. They had a sitter, had lost the babyweight and could still remember the moves to NSYNC. It had been awhile since they had the exciting feeling of being out and having male attention. There’s something affirming and exciting about knowing you are still desiriable to a complete stranger. As much as they loved the mostly sugar colored shots no and staying up too late, they wouldn’t trade it for what they have at home.
It’s one thing to be on the married side and stick with what you have committed to (Not saying it’s easy). It’s quite another to be in the dating category and know when to settle down. There’s a thrill to someone new that is, well, thrilling. The blissful, nervous excitement that can last for days, weeks and even months. When it wears off, you’re left tied to someone else who is just as human as you are. Conversation gets routine, dates become predictible, and the hard work of sacrificing for the other person begins. When you are dating, it’s hard to know where to draw the line. How much disasstisfaction is too much? How much boredom is too much? When are your expectations too high and when are they too low?
As a culture, we are are really good at having high expectations. I think that’s good on one hand. To offer a little balance to the conversation, here is a quote I came across on another blog.
“What is more (and I can hardly find words to tell you how important I think this), it is just the people who are ready to submit to the loss of the thrill and settle down to the sober interest, who are then most likely to meet new thrills in some quite different direction. The man who has learned to fly and become a good pilot will suddenly discover music; the man who has settled down to live in the beauty spot will discover gardening.
This is, I think, one little part of what Christ meant by saying that a thing will not really live unless it first dies. It is simply no good trying to keep any thrill: that is the very worst thing you can do. Let the thrill go — let it die away — go on through that period of death into the quieter interest and happiness that follow — and you will find you are living in a world of new thrills all the time. But if you decide to make thrills your regular diet and try to prolong them artificially, they will all get weaker and weaker, and fewer and fewer, and you will be a bored, disillusioned old man for the rest of your life. It is because so few people understand this that you find many middle-aged men and women maundering about their lost youth, at the very age when new horizons ought to be appearing and new doors opening all round them. It is much better fun to learn to swim than to go on endlessly (and hopelessly) trying to get back the feeling you had when you first went paddling as a small boy”. -C.S. Lewis
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Red Flag of the Week

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Dude

 As in, “Did he just call me dude?”

If a guy refers to you as dude, take this as your cue.  He is either not interested in you in that way or he has just come from a very long day of watching sports he doesn’t play, killing it at guitar hero, and eating HotPockets.

Move along.

This week’s red flag may call for ownership on your part.  You must also ask yourself if you are being called a dude because of something you are doing.  Are you:

a) wearing Chacos with socks

b) holding your sunglasses on with a Karokee

c) accepting invitations to watch this guy participate in any of the above mentioned activities.

If you answered yes to any of these, you may have brought this on yourself.

**Disclaimer: Red flags are not always deal breakers.  They mean to serve as a point in which you should stop and ask yourself, “Does this signify a deeper problem?”  Red flags are also limited to things people choose to do, not things in which they have no control over.
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I’m Single, Not a Mind-Reader

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So here’s the idea – you all have dating/relationship stories.  Send yours to olivemepost@gmail.com.  You can remain anonymous.  My life is exciting and all…but really, this thing can’t just be about me.  My first one comes from my good friend, Elise, up in Portland.

        
 
 
I’ve known Brad for awhile now and we’ve never dated.  You can imagine my surprise when he texted me, “Hey, we should get together sometime.  Maybe grab a drink.”
         After a round of flirty texts, plans were set to go watch some live music with a  group of friends.
        I showed up to the place (alone, he never called to coordinate a ride) to find that he’d reserved a row of seats.  Where the heck was I supposed to sit?!  Save a seat for him?  Wait and see what he does?  Sit by another friend? I didn’t want to look desperate so I just took a seat.
        Then, his friend Alan sat by me.  Alan and I went on a pseudo date over a years ago and it went terribly.  Apparently he was possibly hoping for round two and bought me a drink.  All night, people kept asking us how we met and how long we’d been dating! It was terrible!  
        Meanwhile, Brad and I hardly talked.  I couldn’t figure out if I’d done something wrong by sitting with Alan.  So lame!   Was this just a get together and not a date?  Or was it a date and I screwed it up?  
 

First “hangouts” are the worst.  Group first-dates are the worst.   If you are interested in dating someone, date them.  If you are the guy in this scenario,  just actually ask the girl out.  Don’t invite her to some grey-area meet-up where the ball is in her court all night.  Was Elise supposed to assume she was Brad’s date?  Boldly save a seat and risk trapping him when he’d rather be with his other friends?  Brad should’ve made it clear.  He already did the hard part;  Elise said yes!  Don’t screw it up by just seeing how things play out.  Have a plan.  Communicate and execute it. (high-five, butt slap, get in the game)  We love it when you do.

I know it’s probably scary to ask someone out. But I say just suck it up and do it.  In the movie We bought a Zoo, the dad tells his son, “All you need is 20 seconds of courage.”  See the movie. I know it’s kind of dorky to recommend, but it’s good. Except for Scarlett Johansson, she’s terrible. But everyone else is good.  (I actually think I don’t like her out of my inability to seperate her from the role she played in He’s Just Not That Into You, but whatever. Still her fault.)

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