Patti, we have a problem..

I know I promised I wouldn’t skip Patti Stanger’s steps, but…we have a situation here.

I’ve been asked for drinks. As excited as I should be, I am fairly nervous.  I calculated things, and if you don’t count random incidents and boys who weren’t boyfriends, I haven’t been on a first date since 2003.  My boss reminded me this morning “If it’s a secret, it can’t count”.  So, yep, 2003 it is.  No fudging of the numbers there.

I thought I had more time.  I thought I had more chapters to read.  I have been working on a really great series of posts, centering around an exercise described in the Become Your Own Matchmaker book that involved trying to narrow down what type of man I’m looking for.  After that, I had a whole list of places to go to try to meet someone.  I mean, I know I can still do all those things, but honestly…someone asked me on a date before I could even read the instructions on how to meet someone.  AHHHHHHHHH. A third of me wanted to decline, a third of me wanted to say yes because huzzah! someone wanted to get to know me, and another third wanted to say yes just to have a blog topic.  Two thirds of me says yes, so I replied back that I would be open to the idea.  And now we wait..

In the mean time I have to flip to Patti Stanger’s chapter in Become Your Own Matchmaker that deals with dates. Good, right here after finding yourself and making a matchmaker map, we have the chapter that deals with the actual meat of the situation–DATING!

Really? This is it, Patti? Personally, I find the information disappointing.  Mostly all she tells me is how to feel sexy before the date– which includes a lot of wine and waxing–how to make sure he’s marriage minded, and what NOT to say on the date.  I need real advice here, people.  I’m not looking to get married.  I’m looking to go on my first date in seven years.  I need instructions.  Where are people going? What are people talking about? What’s the dress code for this situation? MORE IMPORTANTLY–I was asked out via facebook.  Is this okay, and how do I give him my number in an appropriate fashion and WHEN IS THE TIME FOR THAT?!

My two biggest concerns are lulls in conversation and the ‘resume gap’ that I seem to have.  I’ve been undated for 2 years since my relationship ended.  That’s basically like being unemployed for two years and trying to get back into your line of work.  Someone, somewhere, is going to ask, aren’t they?

I guess I need to calm down, think things out logically, and realize that I am good at casual conversation. I’m not good at much, but casual conversation? I’ve usually got that covered.

One day when this is all over I’m writing a real book for twentysomethings that has real advice in it for ladies who need to know.


My Head Can’t Get Over My Heart

This weekend I had the distinct honor of being the Maid of Honor in one of my very best friend’s wedding.  Most people my age have attended many weddings, but I consider myself the exception.  I have few close friends and at my age a very limited amount of them are married.  Still, the weddings I have attended have been family (my uncle and his wife and my mother’s wedding to my step father).  I did become emotional at those weddings, but since I’ve become an adult I’ve not watched a close friend walk down the aisle and meet her life partner.  I did just that on Saturday.

I was shocked at how much it affected me personally.  Seeing my friend so absolutely happy floored me.  I was a puddle of mush and cried in a very unbecoming way, just out of her happiness.  As I stood there watching her exchange vows with her intended, I listened to the sound of both their emotion-filled voices as they made the biggest commitment of their lives.  Selfishly, my thoughts wandered around my mind.  Will this ever happen for me?

I don’t doubt, at all, that could I meet someone who wants to marry me.  I am a funny, cute person when I try.  I am sure somewhere, maybe not today, but sometime, I could meet someone who would love me.  And making the decision to get married is fairly easy if you don’t think about it very long.  But do I have, deep down inside of me, what it takes to be married? To love someone so unconditionally, to let myself open up and trust just one person with the rest of my life?  It seems so scary, and it almost seems impossible, honestly.  For some reason, watching them get married made me suddenly realize what an absolute miracle it is that people come together and trust one another and make these lives together.

I wonder what it feels like to let your head be overruled by your heart?  Is it something I can do?  I worry that if I tried for eight years with The Boyfriend to make that leap, and it never happened, if it’s a possibility for me.  It scares me, enough that I considered tearing down this blog, two posts in, and saying “not  me, and not yet”.

I’m scared, ya’ll.  I’m worried I won’t be able to do it if the time ever comes.  I’m worried that no matter how many people I meet I won’t be able to let my mind go and let my heart take over.  I’m worried that I am just not capable of loving someone the way you should love them in a marriage.  I wonder if I can be faithful, if I can stop searching for the next-best-thing.  I worry that it’s not so much other people but *me* with the gigantic problem.

Am I ready to meet someone, even if it’s just a casual date? I don’t know anymore…but I’m sure of this.  I am tired of being emotionally broken. I’m tired of not having more fun, of not having someone to share weekends with.  I want my life to be fuller, but maybe that’s just for me to do right now, rather than other people… I’m sort of lost, unexpectedly. But I suppose that’s the point of this blog. I need something to lead me through this quest.  I’ll keep writing, I suppose. I’m confused about jumping straight in, or tip toeing around the pool for a few more months.  I’ll let you know what I decide.

disclaimer:  this has nothing to do with my best friend who got married. her wedding was beautiful, the vows were perfect, and I know that she is, in fact, capable of love that is that powerful. It’s all about my shortcomings, here…

My girdle leads to self awareness

On my quest for a date, I’ve chosen my first source of advice. The dating book that I literally purchased a year and a half ago when I thought I was ready to date (turns out I wasn’t). This go-round I’ve decided to read it instead of skimming and getting nauseous.

The book? Patti Stanger’s Become Your Own Matchmaker:  Eight Easy Steps For Attracting Your Perfect Mate. For those who don’t know, Patti Stanger is Bravo TV’s “millionaire matchmaker” and according to her forward in her book, she is a third generation matchmaker at that.  I’m on the fence about Patti and the show, I suppose you could say.  On the one hand, she is funny and uses phrases I think I would be apt to use and understand (“the penis does the picking!”).  However, it offends me to watch the show and hear her say to girls, within moments of meeting them “You’re too fat, you’re cut” and “Can you wear something sexier and show up at 6pm?”  I am smart enough to know that there is an option for every person, and that somewhere out there, someone will love you at any shape or size.  However, I guess she’s just helping you out by weeding through the people who won’t appreciate you. But still, I think there are more important things than money and cars and dress size. And I’m not sure how she evaluates these intangibles.

At first glance, Patti’s book is full of twisted advice.  It’s full of it at second glance, too, but I digress.  Patti’s book appeals to me because it has actual scenarios and tips on where and how to meet men.  It’s a veritable goldmine of possibilities. Grocery stores, bars, restaurants.  With instructions! Now I’m excited.

But wait, what’s this? How many chapters before she tells me where to go to meet someone?  I was severely tempted to flip to the later chapters and just dive in.  I decided to quiet the impulse and actually read the book in order, and follow her steps, to the best of my abilities.  How else can I decide if it worked or not, unless I give all eight steps a chance?  Alcoholics don’t jump to step 6, do they? Chronic singletons like me shouldn’t skip, either.  So let us begin, dear readers, at the beginning.

The first chapter in the book is all about “dating detox”, and Patti encourages you to find the best “you” that you’re capable of by…losing weight! Exercising, losing weight, changing your make up and hairstyle, and buying girdles. Yes, this among other things.  Patti wants you to decide that you’ll remain dateless for a specific period of time while you figure out what went wrong in your previous relationships and what you can do to improve yourself in a lot of different ways, appearance and emotions included.

I’ll admit it. I was pissed.  I’ve come all this way, purchased this book, and you’re gonna tell me I have to spend my first 90 days changing how I look? I’m not cute enough as I am? THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT MY ISSUE IS WITH DATING ADVICE…..but I’m here to learn, so let’s go with it. Let’s keep reading…

I read the detox chapter about three times.  And I let it all sink in. And I have some sort of change of heart about what she’s saying. Maybe I’m just hoping her intentions are pure…but here’s what I’ve finally concluded:

I guess what I’ve discerned from Patti’s dating detox rules is not that you should need to change your appearance to attract more men, but that you should feel confident enough in yourself to attract men–and how better to do that than by losing that last 15 pounds and pouring yourself into shapewear? Sorry–SORRY! Ignore that last bit. In all seriousness, you have to be comfortable with yourself.

I’ve been pretty blessed in the past two years to be alone.  Yes, I said blessed to be alone.  I’ve been blessed to be able to concentrate on myself.  In my past relationships, I didn’t feel pretty, despite what anyone told me.  I was significantly overweight and had body image issues.  These issues spilled over from me to my partners and made forging a trusting and lasting relationship difficult.  If I can’t trust that someone thinks I’m attractive, how can I trust anything they say at all? After all, according to Patti the “penis does the picking” and if I’m already behind the curve from the first 15 minutes of the game….you get the picture, right?  My point is I didn’t like who I was.  So how could I have ever expected to have someone else like me? I am here with a revelation:  My past relationships didn’t work out because of flaws in my character and self esteem. Yes, very petty fights and people not taking out the garbage and a whole list of other things are good outside reasons for why my relationship of 6 years ended, but ultimately I didn’t love myself, and I was trying to love someone else first.  Two years later I see that never would have worked.

The lesson here, at least I think this is the lesson, is that you should be confident with yourself.  I will never attract a mate if I don’t have the confidence that I am looking better than ever as well as feeling on top of my game.  I am happy to report that I am already to this place, but I am making the commitment right now that I will remain on this train of self awareness and physical self improvement no matter what derailments I may have in this dating experiment I am running.  I promise myself that I will never again lose me.  I won’t stop loving me, I won’t let me get out of control again.  I am going to make me so happy I almost can’t stand it. Every.  Single.  Day.  Because I can promise you this, men come and go.  But I’m always going to have me.

So maybe this dating advice stuff really does make a tiny bit of sense. Maybe.