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.  

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Update: Actual Dates

So the first one was fine: nice conversation, nice guy.  It was friendly and collegial.  Sitting on a dock on a river watching the sunset while engaging in a little pleasant chatter with a beer in hand is a nice way to spend the evening. 

The second one was...


The second one was the way I imagine first dates should go.

This is even though I was late [&@£$ one-way streets and poorly marked parking garages in new cities!!] and overdressed [Miss Manners would say it's better to be overdressed than underdressed, and my friend A. would firmly insist that there's no such thing as overdressed].  There was a glass of good wine and a stroll around the historic downtown of the city and a few art galleries.  He was a good conversationalist, kind, funny, interesting, and well-mannered.  I found him delightful.  It was a lovely evening.   

So now I am trying to remember that you can't know much about a person in half-a-dozen emails and one evening.  I am trying to remember that a lovely evening is simultaneously both no small thing and a very small thing indeed.  I am trying not to check my phone compulsively to see if he has called.  

Friday, September 5, 2014

Not Not-A-Dates

Stop the presses.  I went on A Real Date last night (pint on a deck overlooking the river) and am going on another one tonight (swanky cocktail bar downtown).  If you're counting, that's two real dates in thirty-six hours, approximately the same number that I went on in four years in my previous town.

I continue to feel as though I am leading somebody else's life, not my own.