Single Awareness Day is around the corner! Below is a list of my favorite breakup songs for all my blue Valentines out there. These gems (I might be guilty of playing out, through tears, in my car, all alone) are worth a listen.
Please comment your song suggestions! I’m sure I have missed some great ones that I may need in the future;)
Thanks for the positive feedback on the Red Flags! I know this is directly after a R.F. post, but I am sitting here with my roommate Melody and we can’t wait to roll out another platform for your enjoyment (and hopefully participation). The credit for the hashtag #Ishouldveknownwhen goes to Melody. We use it around our circle to describe the moment you realize it’s not going to work out with someone. (Unfortunately, all of us have ignored it a time or two) I’ve had several friends send me their #Ishouldveknownwhens and here are the first ten.
He asked me to drive an hour to our first date
He wore more jewelry than me
He wouldn’t sign-up for a trial gym membership because three months was, “too much commitment”
Thanks to Google I discovered he is famous in the gay blogging community as an underwear model
He introduced me to his cats. Plural.
At dinner he referred to me as his “sister-in-Christ”
He has a girl best friend
After our first date he invited me to Thanksgiving
He had more Instagram selfies than a fourteen-year-old girl
He said he had a special Italian spot in mind for our first date and then dropped a pin at the Olive Garden
And so the girls don’t have all the fun, one of my favorite #IShouldveKnownWhen came from my guy friend: He should’ve known when she said, “Don’t worry about all the arm scratches, they are from my bunnies.”
Now it’s your turn! #IShouldveKnownWhen anywhere you like to hash or email me:)
This goes for ultimate fighting, WWF and MMA as well. I’ll admit, I can see how a guy might think this sort of male activity would up is appeal, but trust me, there is an internal red flag that goes up when someone you’ve just met tells you they are “into fighting”. We can’t help but wonder if you have a few screws lose. Perhaps it’s the anger thing, or the fact that we don’t understand it, or maybe some weird guy in college that everyone called “Karate Joe”ruined it for us. All I know is it’s a risky move. Don’t get me wrong, I would’ve killed to go to the Fun Zone with Ralph Macchio too… I’m just not sure I could have agreed to it off-screen.
From time to time friends of mine send me articles on singles/dating. Let me just walk you through what happens when I get these:
Notification. Click. Cringe. Reluctantly read.
The absolute worst is when someone posts one on my wall for the whole world to see.
Notification. Click. Horror. Delete. Delete. Delete. Why is it so freaking hard to remove from my phone?! How long has it been there?!?!
In my right mind, I’m thankful friends take the time to pass them along. I need to be up to date. So please, keep sending… as emails.
Recently I was sent one called, “What Not to Say to Single People” posted on Relevant. Let me start by saying there are helpful ideas in her blog. My goal isn’t to attack it. I’m responding because it made me stop and wonder for the first time, whydo Christian articles on singleness make me so uncomfortable?
I came up with the following: It’s the way Christians talk about singleness and dating. It’s not so much what we say, but how we say it.
Think about it; in the secular world the single life conjures up images of fun, freedom, excitement, choice, and strength. It’s hot and sexy to be a single girl. The single storylines we see in movies and TV aren’t tragic, but exciting. The plot ends when a girl gets married.
The storyline we get in church is that life can’t begin until we are married. We usually only see the roles of wives and mothers played out. Christian single life paints images of tears, desperation, cat ladies, and awkward adults gathered around a bowl of church punch playing Catch Phrase.
Why is this? Both groups are talking about the same exact phase of life. (And both have misunderstandings to be sure) But why do Christians talk about it so differently? How can we talk about dating in a way that highlights the good parts about being single?
Don’t Make Singleness a Thing
Honestly, I’m horrified by the fact that an article on on how to talk to singles even exists. (I realize I am writing one.) I’m sitting here feeling all-normal, when apparently people need help talking to me. Really? It makes it sound like we have some type of rare disease that requires special handling. I can’t imagine an article like this in a secular setting. Married or not married, it’s not as big of a deal outside the Church.
Don’t Make Singleness Everything
In my office, people talk about all kinds of things- sports, news, and job related issues. At a Christian function? Forget it. I’m constantly fielding random questions about my dating life. Since the Bible is largely silent on romantic love, it seems odd that Church is the place I feel most pressured to answer for myself.
I don’t hate talking about my dating life and I’m grateful people care about what goes on. It truly is an issue of proportion. One friend wrote me, “My pastor is CONSTANTLY commenting on how he’s praying for my future husband. However he never comments on how he’s praying for a better job or financial stability or something else equally worthwhile.”
My friend appreciates her pastor’s concern and prayers. It gets tricky when it starts to feel like the only thing people care about.
Don’t Talk About Singleness if You’re Married
I’m going to get burned at the stake over this one, but hang in there with me. Think, “I can talk about my mom, but you can’t.”
Just like finances, marriage, parenting, and dieting are often precarious and complex issues, so is dating. These are topics we build up to with people we put our trust in over time. For some reason it’s socially acceptable for a married person to casually ask a single person how their relationship is going, but inappropriate for a single person to ask how a marriage is doing.
That being said, I have married friends I love talking about my relationship with. The difference is, I’ve invited them into it.
Don’t Treat it Like a Problem to Solve
My biggest concern with Christian single articles, books, and conversations is they typically come across as “how-tos” with lots of advice. This is off-putting because it presupposes the single person is unhappy being single, and unmarried because of a lack of knowledge or effort.
You can see how this would be frustrating.
The Relevant article said, “It’s important for those who are married to remember the struggles that come with being single and do their best to walk away from an interaction with a single leaving them feeling helped, not hurt.”
Do you see the top-down innuendo? While I appreciate the heart behind this, it’s uncomfortable to read your life as a “struggle” in someone else’s eyes. Also, it assumes I need help when I don’t see finding love as a problem to be fixed; I see it as something that happens when it happens.
The truth is, I like my life. I don’t like reading things that give the impression I’m unhappy because I’m not married. If you are married, how would you feel if most articles assumed you were depressed in your marriage?
The bottom line is no one fully understands love. Poets, writers, musicians, and philosophers have tried to capture and describe it since the beginning of time. Despite all efforts, we still don’t even have a solid definition. Single people don’t like being talked to as if it’s something married people have figured out while we haven’t.
Don’t Go too Far with Expectations
Christians can be weird.
We somehow manage to get even weirder around the topics of dating and relationships. We don’t like grey areas. When you take a mysterious concept like falling in love, it’s tempting to want to put it in a standard sized box. In this case, married with children by 26.
When a person doesn’t fit this expectation, our instinct is to want to fix, help, and give advice. Which is a bummer. My single friends and I don’t want to be fixed. We aren’t unhappy with all of life because we aren’t married. Sometimes we love being single. Like Saturday mornings, when no one bugs us or needs our attention. We look at the divorce rate and know marriage isn’t going to solve any of our actual problems. In the meantime, we pursue other things and enjoy our independence. Maybe we’ll get married at 40 or 50. Maybe we’ll love it. Maybe we’ll hate it. Either way, we want to decide for ourselves.
There are so many ways to live a life. I often wish I lived outside my Christian circles because there seems to be more space for things to look differently. Which is disappointing since Jesus is the ultimate includer of the outsider. Something about the way He spoke to people made them feel welcomed and validated. And at the end of the day, that’s how we all want to be talked to.
From time to time, friends will send me articles that relate to my blog. I love when this happens! Makes my job a whole lot easier:) My friend Bree sent me this one she found through her friend Lesley. (Lesley has a wonderful blog called barefooton45th.com that you should check out!)
The article is from the NY Times and is called “The End of Courtship?” Click Here to read the whole thing. The basic message is that times have changed and dating as we know it is a thing of the past. Hanging out, hooking up, and ambiguous texts have replaced phone calls, dinners, and grown-up conversations about being exclusive.
In one interview, the article quotes a 30 something woman who says, “The word ‘date’ should almost be stricken from the dictionary. Dating culture has evolved to a cycle of text messages, each one requiring the code-breaking skills of a cold war spy to interpret. It’s one step below a date, and one step above a high-five,” she added. “Dinner at a romantic new bistro? Forget it.”
The article goes on to interview The Gaggle, a dating advice business founded by two women living in New York. I recommend reading this article on them. Thy advise women to start looking at little things like texts, Facebook messages, and group hangouts as real romance gestures and opportunities, not blow offs. Every era has its rules and culture, and ours has changed. Adjust your standards and then you won’t be disappointed.
I’d love to hear what you think about this idea. I have my opinions, as usual, but I thought it would be interesting to discuss. Is it time to change what we expect in dating? Is a male initiated dinner date a thing of the past?
My initial response while reading was “This is absolutely ridiculous! I go on real dates!” But, wanting to keep an open mind, I sat on it for a few days. I could be wrong. Times have changed, especially when it comes to how we communicate with each other. Here is where I’m at with it:
We Get What We Expect
Women will get what they put up with. If we expect tons of confusing texts, endless group hangouts, and the run around, that’s what we’ll get. I don’t think it’s too much to expect a guy to initiate a proper first date in a reasonable window of time if he’s interested. If he doesn’t, I assume he’s not in to me, or I lose interest in him in the meantime. Post college, I’ve never found myself in the middle of some lengthy ambiguous mess of hang outs. I can’t remember ever audibly communicating my expectations, I only know my experience has been that they were met. I say hold out for the real deal…or die alone…which may still be preferable.
Men Don’t Like to Fail
Logically, the idea that men want to disappoint and frustrate a girl they are interested in, as a way to woo her, makes no sense. If he truly likes her, why would he want to go about it the wrong way? Unless it’s a long distance thing, he must a) not like the girl enough b) not want to date someone at the moment, or c) not have the courage to make it happen. Either way, as the girl, don’t you kind of know all you need to know at this point? If he’s dragging you around, …he’s dragging you around.
Men Haven’t Changed
I think the article sold men short. The underlying assumption is that guys can’t or wont initiate dating, mentioning book “The End of Men.” I’ll admit, I had my unpleasant phase of thinking there were no real men on the planet. I’d worry guys were growing up babies and doing anything and everything they could to avoid responsibility and all that. Yes, some are this way, but I don’t think they represent the majority. I’m happy to admit I was wrong. My blog has led to honest conversations with males I wouldn’t otherwise have had, and what I’m learning is that good guys do want to be men, they just don’t always know how to go about it.
When it comes to dating specifically, I can see how it would be hard to know what we want from them. One male friend recently admitted he worries about coming on too strong, seeming creepy, or sending the wrong message. He and his friends worry a girl will think a real date = marriage. Which is when I kindly encouraged him to get over himself, that’s not how we think. (at least those of us who are moderately sane.)
My impression is men want to play by the rules, they just don’t know what they are anymore. As women, we set the rules based on what we’ll entertain.
This is the point where I get to tell you how Steve Harvey confirmed my opinions on the matter.
Yes, Steve Harvey. His talk show to be more embarrassingly exact.
To be fair, I was in a waiting room and that’s the ONLY reason I was watching it. Promise.
Anywhooo… a woman from the audience asked how to become exclusive with a guy given our culture of friends with benefits, hook ups, etc. Tyler Perry looked at her with a dumbfounded face, put his hands on his head and shouted, “Why do you women not get this? Why do you still not understand that you have all the power? Men can only hook up with you, hang out with you, text you IF YOU LET THEM. Men are the same everywhere all over the world…we all want the cookie jar…and you hold the cookie jar!”
What do you think? Ladies, do you think texts and facebook is enough? Guys, do you still ask girls out? You can tell me I’m wrong…happens all the time;)
Confession: I love the morning after Halloween. Why? Because I wake up, get my coffee, and start trolling Facebook to see all the costumes. I’m always blown away by the creativity and cleverness that goes into the getups! And while I’m usually in awe of my friends’ costumes, my own tend to be… fine… and typically hindered by my desire to still look attractive in them. Minus two years ago when I thought it would be funny to go as the Power Team.
Most girls do not want to show up to a party looking ridiculous, ugly, male etc. And even if they did, finding a non-sexy costume is difficult.
I woke up this Sunday wondering about it all. Why are all the costumes skanky? Why do good girls go a little bad on Halloween? I decided it might be an interesting topic to explore so I asked my girlfriends for help. I roll with a very enlightened, thoughtful, and above all- willing to be honest crowd… Actually, I don’t roll with anyone b/c I am not that cool and it’s not 1999…but you know what I mean. Here are some ground rules before we begin:
#1 I’m going to use words like “we” and “all” knowing there are exceptions out there. If I clarify every sentence it will get lengthy and annoying for everyone. If you are one of the few girls who never want to look hot, by all means comment from your perspective, and I apologize ahead of time for lumping you in.
#2 I hate the word slutty….but in the context of describing a style of clothing, I find it helpful for getting us all somewhat on the same page. Deciding when an outfit crosses the line is different for all of us…makes this conversation tricky.
#3 This is going to take an open mind on all of our parts. I’m not looking for the simple answer: slutty outfit= bad, modesty = good. I want to dig a little deeper and explore some of the real motives.
#4 I don’t really believe there are “good” girls and “bad” girls (But there are definately bad guys). We are all a mixed bag and I needed a catchy title, people.
Q: Why do good girls dress slutty on Halloween?
A: “Because they can’t normally and want an excuse sans judgment (or not as much judgment as usual)”
There is the most common response I received. Halloween is the one night we can all get away with outfits we can’t normally pull off and lots of us want to take advantage of the opportunity. But I keep thinking- why do we want to wear them in the first place? And more importantly, does this mean we are all hiding who we truly want to be the other 364 days? If so, is the hiding this side of us really a good thing or a bad thing?? Comment away! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
A: “There is a lot of pressure to be “hot.” Funny is nice, but for a guy it is just a novelty, not the girl you are going to try to make out with. Which brings it around to what is your intention for dressing that way?”
I found this response helpful since Halloween costumes do tend to land in either the hot, sexy, or funny category. I used to believe that really good Christian guys didn’t like hot girls…. That they somehow only wanted a really smart, funny, and nice girl. False. They all like what they consider to be hot and on some level that’s ok. The good news is it appears better guys truly do put weight on things like character and personality.
As for funny vs. hot, it does appear the hot girl always wins. Funny works for male costumes but doesn’t translate as well for female costumes. Even the stores know this. Take a look at how differently the same characters are made (photo from Socological Images)
And my personal favorite:
There’s no question that society has set an expectation for how we are supposed to look. But even if I blocked out all outside pressure and forgot about male attention, I realized I don’t just dress for others. Part of me that wants to be hot for me. I want to know that I can look a certain way sometimes. This came from a married friend of mine who dressed up this year as an M&M.
“I think there is less pressure to be slutty if you are married, but you still want to look good. And married, especially as a Christian, I think it is more awkward to dress slutty, like ‘why are you doing that?’ But maybe you want to do it just for you?? It was hard to dress in a giant, unflattering bag this year.”
Now clearly there is a difference between being feminine and skanky, but even when we aren’t dressing for men or are already married, we want to look good for ourselves. This isn’t inherently bad in my opinion. It is totally normal and part of how we are made. The tension comes because we don’t just live in a world by ourselves, we have to consider others.
We also have to live in the reality that what we wear says something about us and leaves us up for judgement. I think about the image I’m portraying with my clothes and attempt to have them line up with who I am. I am someone who feels uncomfortable in anything too revealing or too frumpy. Even between those two lines I can’t please everyone.
“Some totally dress skanky and others totally judge. I have been both and I’m not saying one is better than the other, or a good thing.”
“I don’t judge as much on Halloween probably because it’s so common. I am just being honest. If I looked the way I want to I would probably dress up a little slutty :)”
A friend’s response to that- “Me, too.”
I find the judging part intriguing. Like the first responder, by certain standards I have been on both ends of the deal. I have crossed other people’s lines and I have judged other girls for crossing mine. I’ll admit it, I wore the Snow White dress in a bag one year and the truth is I feel more guilt over the times I’ve judged other girls then that costume. I wish that negativity wasn’t in me and most of it comes out of jealousy. I am probably thinking they have a better body or am envious over their freedom to wear whatever they want when it comes down to it.
There is still one part of me that is sad for the half-naked girl. I don’t want anyone to have to dress that way to get what they want or to feel beautiful. I wonder how she truly feels about herself and where she finds her self- worth. Who knows, maybe she is just fine and even my split second psychoanalysis is inappropriate. Or maybe I’m right and the whole deal is just sad.
Either way, I’ve decided I don’t think it’s simple. It’s not always an easy decision for a single or married girl to figure out what to wear. Some nights she wants to look grown-up beautiful (which typically means some level of sex appeal) and part of her wants this just for her. Since it isn’t simple, I can’t be quick to judge. What’s the saying? ”Don’t judge someone if you haven’t walked in their shoes. ” Or in this case, hooker heels. I think it’s good advice.
I’ll leave you with a final response I appreciated:
“I think every girl deep inside wants to feel Victoria’s Secret sexy/desirable. If indeed you are a Christian, there is no place for that kind of validation. So Halloween has somehow become the one day of the year where you can get that particular kind of validation. Like see? I can have sex appeal, too. But really, I think most women don’t understand that they could be covered head to toe and a guy will still think you have massive sex appeal, even more so than when you wear less.”
Here’s to hoping she is right about that last statement! ***but not entirely convinced.
I’d love to hear your thoughts! Ladies- what do you think? Why, or do you, push the line this time of year? Is it different once you’re married? I’d love to hear a guys take on it, too! Just so you know- your email doesn’t show up and you can stay anonymous. Also, please be kind to my friends who were brave enough to be honest.
Oh and this year I went as a deer (or Harry Potter’s Patronus had I been clever enough to think of it.)
I hate when people ask me why I’m still single so it surprised me when I decided to write about it. Am I doing it because a)I’m out of my mind today b) desperate for blog traffic or c) I’m assuming my readers also hate getting this question and might appreciate it? Probably a mix of all three.
I don’t particularly enjoy putting my feelings on dating and relationships “out there.” In fact, I go to great lengths to dodge such interrogations conversations in life, preferring to reserve them for close girl friends over bottles of wine. But I’m writing a book and a blog is part of the publishing process. (Which I’m totally excited about!) The only downside is they have both led to an increase in awkward interactions. Just this past Thursday while watching a friend’s band play the lead singer (whom I don’t know that well) asked me about my work and then said, “Oh..So you’re looking for a man, then?”
Kill me now.
I laughed and cringed and pictured myself deleting the whole thing as soon as I got home and answered that I would never put it that way. Ever. I can’t blame him for thinking that might be the case. I might stumble across this blog and think the same thing. I know my life is not all about “finding a man” (might be the worst phrase ever) but strangers don’t and that worries me.
Thankfully, Singer saved the conversation. He said it would be ok if I was looking and that he has found himself in that place before. We both agreed it’s a normal thing to want to meet the person you want to be with. He said his problem was that it’s hard to actually find someone you are interested in.
So, without further ado, here are the top 4 reasons I think I’m still single:
1.I don’t meet many guys I want to date. I’m pretty sure 100% of my single girl friends and guy friends would say the exact same thing. We go out, we get set up, some are online, and it all leads to nowhere. We’ve all had our share of rejection and heartbreak, but at the end of the day I feel like for me the real truth is- It’s not me, it’s him. “Him” being the proverbial hidden and/or impaired male species.
It’s really hard to find a single guy I find attractive, click with, has his crap together, and is into me, too. I imagine guys feel the same about finding “her.” Sure, I have days where I freak out and think I need a new hairstyle, stop eating food all together, or start-up some ridiculous yet possibly impressive hobby like windsurfing or dirt bike riding. But those thoughts pass and I remember that I like being me. There’s nothing “wrong” with me.
2. I’m still single b/c I spent 3 yrs in an on and off rollercoaster relationship. Think of all the missed opportunities! Just kidding, I don’t see it that way at all. But it’s technically true.
3. What I’m looking for takes time to find. People say all kinds of things about love and get married for different reasons. I think the important thing is to look for what matters most to you in a relationship. For me, it’s finding a best friend. (One I’m attracted to. I’m no nun). Some people think spark is the most important feature. I’ve felt it many times with guys I didn’t date long term and chemistry doesn’t indicate the other person is good for you. Others really want to find someone who shares their ideals and goals. Also important but I’ve met guys who share my values on paper but are not what I’m looking for in a relationship. If our love for Jesus is the only thing we have in common its a no go.
What I’m looking for is someone I can look up to, enjoy spending time with, makes me laugh thinks I’m funny, and is kind. It would help if he miraculously found it charming that I watch mass amounts of the Hallmark channel at Christmas and want to talk about it. See…he’s going to be hard to find. I’m hoping the fact that I’m up for adapting to his quirks and try to be a good person most days helps. All in all, if this is what I want, I’m going to have to wait for it. And I’m willing to wait for it and enjoy my freedom in the meantime.
4. this blog I’m fairly certain this blog is going to be my downfall.
Well, there you have it- that is why I think I’m still single. I think that’s why my friends are still single. They are total catches and it just so happens JoJo was right, “True love is hard to find. And once you find it, it probably has rabies.“