Remember When?

So there I was reading my daily dose of Damsel in Distress (not really more like Damsel in Dating Distress but anyway…), trying to decide whether to keep subscribing, when at the end she posed an ALL to curious question to her readers, “…I’d like to ask about your most desperate moments.  Surely I’m not the only who spends more time at the post office than I do at the gym?”  

With that, I was immediately teleported BACK in time to what I consider one of the TOP 5 most embarrassing, desperate moves of my dating career – because the love notes in Jr. High just should NOT be counted. 

My act of complete desperation was many years ago, so many that I do not believe I owned a CD player yet, and the INTERNET had not yet been invented by Al Gore.  Given that I believe I can at least blame it on my youthful innocence… or was that ignorance I feel comfortable enough to share my torturous story of humiliation.  Although, I still reflect on that action as being completely embarrassing to this day… And if I ever end up sharing the same social space with this person again, I am likely to pass out of embarrassment long before the “How ya been?” questions even start. But these are the things that make us the mature, responsible, SANE people we are today, RIGHT? Learning from our mistakes… pledging to NEVER REPEAT THEM NEVER EVER AGAIN!?!!?!?

I was young, in love (yes I have actually felt that feeling), in like, and my brain was in complete agreement that THIS was the beginning of a WONDERFUL relationship.  I was completely head over heels in complete infatuated bliss with this GUY. The words he is:  Awesome, Cool, The one, worth the wait, knows how to push my buttons, the perfect guy who was going to make all my single girl fantasies come true never had swirled around my mind so vigorously.

So when he ever so politely tried to break up with me (well-tried meaning I DIDN’T get the hint) prior to returning to military duty with the ALL to classic “Your just too good for me, I don’t deserve you” speech; I could not be deterred.  So at least a dozen letters (yes hand written letters) later, I was inspired by a SONG, that I COULD NOT keep to myself, of course.  So I did what any love struck crazy girl does I made MIXED TAPE of sorts (anyone remember those) and sent it off into the great unknown.  It was sappy, it was romantic, it was country, it was GARTH BROOKS for heaven’s sake. But what is a girl to do when she believes she has found her hero?  What does a women say after experiencing a perfect date, a sexy kiss, a deep connection, and a fantastic conversation that is beyond imagination? 

So yes, I have been the victim of the romantic gesture that translated into an act of dismal desperation.  And as to be expected there was NO reply, no response, no contact… Some how it took more than just silence to deter me back then.  I was bound and determined, collected and convinced it was just a matter or time and devotion.  Ah the amount of harassing he must have received from his buddies over this silly woman who won’t give up.  How silly I must have looked, how utterly deluded I must have seemed to not realize the truth… he’s gone and he’s never coming back for me. 

Ahhh the horror, the humiliation, the DESPERATION that I felt in performing those acts so way back when.  So much of this action did I perform in the idea of devotion and commitment.  How silly was I to believe I knew what men wanted, or what guys find attractive.  It was this exact behavior that led my sister to so graciously recommend (more like Doctor’s Ultimatum) I read a book, “He’s just not that into you”.  I laughed, ignored the recommendation and attempted to focus on other areas of my life. 

Having read that book since I realize my whole act (or acts) or desperation were in complete violation of this books recommendation because as much as women (yes that would be me) don’t want to believe it.  When a guy finds all sorts of “reasons” for not being with you…. He’s really JUST not into you, PERIOD.  End of story.  No amount of letters, begging, pleading, song sending, flirting, devoting time and energy, romanticizing, or cooking (I think I sent him cookies) will change his mind.  Such an embarrassing lesson learned.  But at least I can say I have learned it. 

Now the only guys I obsess over are famous ones… I mean I can’t get Vin Diesel or John Cusack’s REAL address so there’s no way to send them obsessively sappy love letters; or my infamous Ooeey goooey Chocolate Chip cookies either.  Oh cookies sound good…

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The List – People Picker & The Spark

Dating is not about Marriage, WHAT?!?!?!?

There was this book, yes all good discussions start with there was this book: How to get a date worth keeping by Dr Henry Cloud. It had at least a dozen good points about patterns of behavior, being aware of your own shortcomings, and getting out there because the more rejections the better. But it really got my attention when I arrived in chapter 4 and this announcement was made by a Christian author no less and I was a bit confused and conflicted.

Here is just a sample of that chapter:

You just said we ought to date A LOT of people to learn and grow and all that stuff, but I really disagree. I don’t have time for that – says a woman at one of his seminars
What do you mean you don’t have time for that? – he responds
I don’t have time to waste on dating someone whom I couldn’t see myself marrying. If he doesn’t have the potential for a serious relationship that could lead to marriage, I don’t want to go out with him.
What’s your hurry?
Well, I’m forty-two, I’ve been married once before, and I want to be married again. I don’t have time to waste.
What’s your hurry?
I just don’t have time for all this dating. I only wan to go out with someone I could marry. Isn’t that the purpose of dating? To find a mate?
NO! NO! NO! NO! (He goes on to explain that she was in a hurry an don the hunt, which always means something. It also implies she sounded like she knew what she wanted and needed. Which he didn’t believe.)

After asking her a series of question, this was his summary:
So what you are telling me is that the last time you chose someone, it ended in disaster (divorce). And you have chosen no one since him (she confirmed this was true). So you have made one choice fora mate, and it was a bad choice. Isn’t it obvious that your “people picker” is broken? Now with no further experience dating, you think you are ready to make another lifetime commitment with the same people picker you use to pick the last one. No, No, No! You are not ready to date to find a mate. You obviously do not know what you need, what is good, and what is not good, and what your unhealthy patterns are. You are 0 for 1. The last thing you need is to date to find a mate. You need more than anyone to go out with many different kinds of men for a number of reasons.

Now I have not been married, nor have I been in any relationships that would be considered long term. But I do have the tendency to fall for or be attracted to manipulators and controlling personalities. With this new focus in my life to stop sitting around and NOT doing ANYTHING in the dating or meeting guys arena, I am beginning to have some of these worries arise again. What if my perception, ideals, wants (THE pure nature of the list) are all wrong? What if my people picker is broken? I mean how does one know if they have an accurate ability to pick a good man, boyfriend, fiance, husband instead of it just being about the SPARK?

One of my ALL time favorite movies (mostly because it has some of the best quotes on dating ever – not to mention me and my friend Amber were mentioned by name – ok almost), He’s just not that into you. The scene is set between two NOT dating people in a bar watching a hot chick and not so hot guy interact:

Boy: Now check out Droopy Dog (nice quiet guy) on the other side (of the hot woman). He’s gonna buy her drinks all night and she’s still gonna insist there’s no spark.
Girl: Maybe there’s not. You need a spark.
Boy: Oh, the spark thing is BS.
Girl: Really?
Boy: BS.
Girl: Enlighten me.
Boy: Guys invented the spark, so they could not call and treat you kind of badly and keep you guessing. Then convince you that; that anxiety and fear that just develops naturally was actually just a spark. And you guys all buy it. You eat it up and you love it. You love it because you feed off that drama. You all love that drama.
Girl: I don’t.
Boy: So you never wait until the last minute on a deadline or a phone bill because secretly you love the drama of not knowing whether or not you’re gonna make it?
Girl: Maybe.

That honest evaluation between FEELINGS and Reason, bland versus SPARK, regular life or drama filled existence is where I sometimes get lost between what I want and what I will end up with. Because dating in the past has ALWAYS been about the rush of my pulse, the stomach churning, and my chest tightening as I see a HOT guy cross my path. I mean that must be MUST be the indication that I’m attracted, right? But what if this is just my mind reacting to the potential drama? What if the guy I would pick based on the feelings and rush of emotions in the moment at the time is not going to provide a good, balanced, long-term guy for ME? How do I begin to tell the difference between genuine attraction and just the illusion that is the SPARK? Can I really trust my FEELINGS or my judgment to pick out the right one? What is a girl to do if she thinks her people picker is broken?