Last Monday, I did a guest post with Stacy Green called Avoiding Dating Disasters. This is a topic especially dear to my heart, since the first fifteen years of my dating life seemed like one long disaster.
Still, great things usually come from great failures. As our Jedi Master pal Kristen Lamb says, Failure Is The Forge of Excellence. I met my hubby and things ended up fine in the end, but GOD it was a long haul!
Last week at Stacy’s blog we discussed the big question asked by Singles: Where Do You Find Your Soul Mate?
The best answer we’ve come up with is “stop looking.” Seriously, don’t hit me. All the newly-marrieds I’ve talked to agree: QUIT that frantic searching. Stay put and take time to celebrate you. (We gave tips on Stacy’s blog.)
To sum up:
Put your energy into being the best “you” there is and your soul mate will home in on you like a beacon. Love is not a fixer-upper. Soul mates love you and, best of all, they “get” you. The catch is that you’ve got to love yourself first in order for your one-and-only to find you.
A few of you asked for my story, so I’m sharing it below. Enjoy. I can’t wait to see the comments section.
I had an amazing mother but she didn’t know a thing about dating. At about 27 years-old, I became friends with a gal who clued me in that I was “doing it all wrong.” Like this was a big surprise to anyone at that point.
I started mending my ways but it took time. Obviously, with a Romance Record like mine, my gal-pals are patient. On my 35th birthday, as I bemoaned the wasteland of my love life and the biological clock that was hurtling me with G-force toward menopausem my three best girlfriends all told me the same thing. I needed a better system.
The verdict after much haggling? I needed to date by committee.
The initial plan was Speed Dating. I’d meet maximum numbers of men (10-15 in an evening) with minimum effort (I just had to sit and talk to them each for 3-5 minutes). Those were my kind of numbers! In sales terms, I was taking the fast track to build the dating pipeline.
The Dating Committee encouraged me to date as many of these prospects as possible with one caveat: a person on the Committee had to meet them before (1) any significant physical contact, defined as anything past a good-night kiss outside the vehicle I was driving home or (2) by the third date…whichever came first.
The Speed Dating was fun but exhausting – I often had as many as four “first dates” in one week (I don’t recommend it). Though many of the men were nice enough, not a single one of them tempted me to present them to the three gals on The Committee.
My BFF’s began to suspect that Secret Dating was occurring but, really, when you’ve got the Dating Police Force managing your life, your standards about who’s a potential third date rise in a huge hurry.
One night in April, 2004 I was coerced out on the town with a Committee member (Mary), her husband and another couple. A few bars in, Mary and I hit the dance floor. A dark haired man with stunning blue eyes bopped up to us. “Can I join you ladies?” he asked, bobbing his head to the music.
What do you say to that? (Especially when the man can’t dance worth a damn.) I admired his nerve and smiled. When the song ended, Mary drifted off and I followed Mr. Blue Eyes, whose name was Steve, back to his seat at the bar where we began whole “getting to know you” Dance of Singles.
This was helped along by Mary who zoomed up a while later and elbowed me out of the way so she could exercise her Committee Rights.
She held out her hand in introduction. “Hi, I’m her girlfriend Mary. How are you?” And she proceeded to pepper poor Steve (my future husband) with questions:
“What do you do? Oh, a Computer Guy! Uh-huh. Great! Jen works in computers!
Where do you live? Oh, Newport Beach…close by…Great!
How old are you? Forty-four? (She gave him a suspicious stare.)
Have you ever been married?
Really…did you have any kids? No? Hmmm. Well do you WANT to have kids?
(I tried to slink off right about this time but Mary trains dogs for a living and she’s got a grip like a pit bull.)
How do you feel about pets? Oh, you’re afraid of dogs? Well, cause she has a dog, but Hoshi’s a really nice dog. She really likes men – Hoshi, not Jen…well, I mean Jen likes men too. Anyway, you guys will do great!
What kind of dog? An Akita.”
At the end of this conversation, she gave me thumbs up (right in front of him) and sashayed off. I’m sure she went back to her husband Mike, who loves good gossip, to share the news that “Jen-Pooh was talking to Dance-Floor Guy who stood up to the Inquisition.”
I gave Steve a pained smile and we continued talking until eventually, he asked if he could have my number.
When the bar closed, the six of us piled into a car to return everyone to their respective vehicles. I was squished in the back seat between Mike on my left and Steve on my right. Mary and another gal were sharing the front seat while the other gal’s dude drove.
Steve was cabbing it that evening so we offered to drive him home. As he directed us up to the gates of a glitzy Newport apartment complex, my heart sank. I’d been to several parties here and had seen nothing but pretentious men at every single gathering.
“Why do you live here?” I blurted it out, then moaned silently that I actually said that out loud.
Steve didn’t even hesitate. “My parents are getting older and I like to live close to them.”
“Ohhhhh!” the two ladies in the front seat sighed.
Steve got out of the car and shut the door. I turned back from watching him walk away and found Mike staring at me like something he’d stepped in at the dog park.
“Why do you live HERE? You had it in the bag, and you say ‘why do you live here?’” He threw up his hands. “He is never going to call you!”
Well, it took him almost a week, but he did call and we did arrange our first date. Three years later we got married and we’re coming up on five years of marriage. The big secret to our success is (wait for it…): I DIDN’T PICK HIM.
My Picker has been proven flawed.
I just didn’t run away when he picked ME. And I trusted the opinions of my Committee, my family and my beloved dog (who fell for him like a ton of bricks). They kept me from bolting in the beginning until, gradually, I recognized him as the One.
About a year later we were discussing with a single friend that she needed to raise her dating standards. She asked about mine and Steve laughed and said “Jen’s bar was set so low, all I had to do was just roll over it.”
So whenever we discuss dating disasters, you can feel comfortable that the Queen of Dating Don’ts (that would be ME) is giving you the straight scoop.
Out of curiosity, for those of you who are in a happy long-term relationship…how did you meet, and who picked who? If you’re single, are you dating? Do you love the dating process or hate it like poison? Enquiring minds always want to know these things here at More Cowbell!
Happy Monday, y’all!
ANNOUNCEMENT: Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post - we’re doing something out of the ordinary for our Tuesday and it involves a give-away!