Friday, October 17, 2014

Lock in and let go

I'm not a Celebrity Cult kind of person, but I was really struck by this interview when I caught it on NPR this morning.

"Lock in and let go" seems to be good advice for lots of things, not just acting and riding cutting horses.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Little Online Dating Advice

This is not advice about finding Twoo Wuv online.  I have no experience with that.

I do, however, have some suggestions about how to go on Nice First Dates.  About four years ago, I tried online dating for the first time, and it was kind of a disaster.  Not a disaster for my comedy routine, should I ever have one, but I went on a lot of bad dates.  If we were friends then, you probably remember some of the stories: the suicidal robin, the tattoo artist and ferret breeder, etc.

This time, however, it's been different.  I've gone on four first dates in six weeks with four different guys, and every single one of them has been pleasant.  I am four for four!  And while four is not a statistically significant result, but here's what I've done differently this time, and what I suggest. 

Be honest.  Or, in other words, own it.  I am not apologizing about the PhD or hiding the fact that I have one.  Nor am I hiding the fact that I'm short, curvy, and have a crooked nose and glasses.  Get that up on your profile right away so you can weed out the guys who aren't into that sort of thing.

Be selective.  In my first attempt, I decided to accept every date and write back to every (non-offensive) message, just to keep my options open.  This was a bad move.  It was a waste of energy and I spent a lot of time being frustrated that I spent time corresponding with jerks.  So don't correspond with jerks.  And don't get involved in elaborate correspondence with some computer scientist in Finland.  Talk to people you could actually meet.  Speaking of which...

Meet early. All the written chemistry in the world does not necessarily mean chemistry in person.  So don't let the messaging go on for ever.  A cup of coffee after three or four messages is totally fine.

Set low expectations.  Remember that it's just coffee.  Or dinner.  Or a walk through the farmer's market.  Or whatever it is.  It is not a referendum on your attractiveness or lovable-ness.  It is not a marriage proposal. So you go, then, not expecting to meet The One (tm), but rather expecting to have a pleasant hour or so. 

Give him a chance.  If the guy seems polite and reasonably attractive, then go.  If it isn't pleasant, you never have to go again.  But it's worthwhile, particularly for academics, to practice basic social skills.  So give it a shot. 

Be kind. Not working out?  Say so clearly, kindly, and quickly.  "Thanks so much for a lovely evening.  You seem like a great guy, but I don't think we're a match."  Done.

Be safe.  I did this the first time, but it's worth emphasizing.  Meet in a public place.  Tell your best friend who you're meeting, where you're meeting, and what time you'll call her to let her know how it went. 

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Thursday reading

There's a new report out from Pew Research on singleness, marriage, education, and economics in America, if you're in interested in that kind of thing.

A few particularly relevant findings for this blog and its (two) readers:

  • "Today’s young adults are slow to tie the knot, and a rising share may end up not getting married at all." 
  • "For young adults who want to get married, financial security is a significant hurdle."
  • "Among never-married young adults with post-graduate degrees, women outnumber men by a large margin." [No surprise there, sez I.]

Do read it all.

On ISIS, education, and women

Dear all,

Here's your reading for today.


A girl with a book

Monday, September 22, 2014

What would I do differently?

I've been thinking about this a lot lately for some reason.  What would I do differently in my life if I knew I were never going to get married? And you know, having thought about it for a while, here's what I've got:

1. I would stop looking.  I would de-activate the online profile thing, I would stop glancing at the left hand of every cute man who's roughly my age that I meet.  I would simply stop caring.  This big lurking question would be answered, and I would have to think about other things, but not about that any more. 

2. I would cut my hair.  I have had short(ish) hair most of my life, and about four years ago, I decided to grow it out.   It's been long(ish) ever since.  Several years ago, though, a male friend of mine made the kind of remark in passing that has stuck with me.  As a throwaway comment, he quipped, "if you'd always had long hair, you would have been married years ago!"  It was profoundly hurtful, implying not only that my primary value as a woman is in the way men (particularly him) think of my appearance, but also that the solution to something that has been hard--being single for almost all of my adult life--could easily have been mine had I only followed this one totally obvious piece of advice.  I'm not consciously keeping my hair long because I think he was right, but I wonder how much those words are rattling around in the back of my head.

I don't think I'm ready to stop looking--although I should probably stop doing the ring scan--but I may get a dramatic haircut anyway. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Small victories in street harassment

One of my favorite things about my new life is that I can walk to my office. 

Today was the first day in six weeks that I have walked all the way there and all the way back home without a single instance of a man: whistling at me, screaming at me, honking a car horn at me, making a rude gesture at me, yelling at me, or grabbing his crotch in front of me.

Today, I just walked there and walked home. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Moving on

I had a tough time in graduate school.  Many (most?) people do, so I am certainly not unique in that.  It was, however, nearly always grueling and very often traumatic.  I felt like I was the worst version of myself: the most neurotic, anxious, tightly-wound, unhappy, irritable person I could be.  But now, miraculously, I find myself in a vibrant small city, with kind colleagues and interesting students, with a paycheck and dental insurance.  I feel the surfeit of anxiety and anger and cynicism and defensiveness beginning to wash away.  And that---stay with me through the apparent non sequitur here---is in large part why I was so excited about The Dates. They seemed somehow emblematic of this new life, of new possibilities and opportunities, of potential.

Making a glass of wine emblematic of a major life change assigns it enormous weight, so I'm trying simply to note this feeling and do the next thing: grade the papers, find a place to jog, begin to meet people at my new church, reply to emails, go on another date... all without freaking out too much.