Monday, 21 March 2011

Reality Check

Oh goodness. I have been writing Seraphic Singles blogs since 2006, so I forget that most of you were not reading my blogs when I was Single. One of the drawbacks of being a Married lady writing for Singles is that I am no longer modelling Seraphic Singledom but the Happily Ever After most of you think is the IDEAL.

I love B.A. and all that being married to B.A. entails, but this mixed message is a bit frustrating. I spent years banging it into readers' heads that Happily Ever After begins NOW and not when some guy offers you a ring, and then B.A. offered me a ring (or, to be precise, his grandfather's watch). I was not expecting that, people.

Anyway, I seem to have given the impression to some that I spent my Single days the proverbial belle of the ball, which is extremely inaccurate. The reasons why I went on so many dates were as follows:

1. I first asked a guy out when I was 14. My parents thought this was okay. 1985 was a relatively innocent time, although not as innocent as the year my mother went on her first date at 14. By the way, I got turned down and so asked another guy. He went.

2. I asked out more guys than asked me out. I rarely asked, however, despite the feeling I should be out there dating up a storm every Friday night. My books, magazines, shows and movies told me that was the ideal, so I thought it was the ideal. As a matter of fact, very few of my friends dated up a storm on Friday nights. Possibly only a tiny minority of my classmates were dating up a storm. If so, I wish I had known that.

3. Formal dating was still widespread (or said to be widespread) in the 1980s, and young people just hooking up was rare and seriously frowned upon--and not just by religious people. Our model for reality was The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink and Say Anything. None of us could have got our minds around Sex & the City. In my crowd, Madonna was beyond the pale.

4. After the age of 18, I knew lots of guys from Catholic circles and other university groups. Lots. And to some extent dating is a numbers game.

5. I have been unmarried for most of my life, and I am 40. If I went on only one date a year from the age of 14 to 25 (12 dates), and then from the age of 27 to the age of 37 (11), that would still be 23 dates--which sounds like a lot if you're 24 and never been on a date.

If you read my blog between when Volker (the fiend!) broke up with me and when I went to Scotland and met B.A. in person, you may vaguely recall that on Friday nights I blogged about how I, like my readers, did not have a Friday night date. Between mid-May 2007 and late-September 2008, when I was 36 and 37, knowing at least a hundred people in my city, going to Mass at least once a week, hanging out with my girlfriends, being relatively social, teaching English, writing in the local Catholic paper, blogging to the Single world, I went on, I believe, two dates.

I believe that dating-for-the-sake-of-dating is a boring yet paradoxically perilous activity and best avoided. Go out there and make a lot of friends and acquaintances, but always remembering that members of the opposite sex are at least potential spouses, so don't let it all hang out in front of them. Only go out for coffee with guy if you think he's nice and you like him. Don't go because it would be A Date.

By the way, being asked out on a date is no measure of your worth as a human being or even as an attractive woman. It's not about you. It's about the guy who asks--or doesn't ask--you. Or about the person who sets you two up.


Nicole Margaret said...

This is great--so many books I read about dating make me feel like I'm doing something wrong because they make it seem like if you're serious about getting married, you should be dating a lot.

And as a single, I cannot be reminded enough that there's nothing wrong with me for being single (and not going on many dates.)

Seraphic said...

Hmm...I wonder who their market is.

It is my belief that, as usual, people meet their future spouses through their friends. The essence of Christian fellowship is friendship--friendship across generations, across towns, between men and women, with respect for differences.

It is also my belief that anyone who is an active part of their community, helping in its flourishing, making new friends, nourishing ties with old friends, welcoming strangers, paying attention to the elderly and getting down to talk to children, will eventually discover their vocation--even if that is to an enclosed monastic community.

Irenaeus G. Saintonge said...

I used to face a lot of pressure from my parents to go on a date for the sake of dating. They looked at it exactly the way you described as being told was the ideal. Not cool. It created a lot of pressure for me to just ask out the first girl who happened to say hi.
Had I done so, it would have been a complete waste of my time. I know this now for sure looking back, because I happened to find that right girl entirely by accident, and in a place I never would have thought to look.

Med School Girl said...

Thank you for posting on this topic today. For the past few days I've been feeling sorry for myself for not having dated much lately (and not for lack of trying, i.e., I have been making new friends, nourishing ties with old friends, contributing to my community, etc...).
I think the trigger has been a couple of dear friends' upcoming weddings, a classmate starting to see someone new, and, most importantly, a love interest of mine who has been seeing someone else. Sigh.
Does anyone else think that guys just seem to/need to date more? Where do they find the women so easily?

Julie said...

A thank you from me today too. I was just reading a review of some chastity book called "How to Find Your Soulmate" and the review at least gave the impression that it's all sort of "should I stay with him" and "how far can my boyfriend and I go". Too much of that focus can give the wrong idea too.

Seraphic said...

"How to Find Your Soulmate" indeed. First of all, the mate of your soul is Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Second, I wouldn't have been able to find my soulmate until I found him because he was thousands of miles away in Scotland and how would I EVER have known that?

Third, the way to find your path in life is to pray "Lord, let me live according to Your will today", get out into the world, and do what you are good at, what you love, and/or what must be done.

I am sympathetic to writers of books about the Single life, but come on!

Med School Girl, all I can think if that if it's the guys who are asking (which of course I approve, as long as their intentions are honourable), then it's going to look like they're dating more.

Anyway, dating schmating. Show me the ring, and then I'll pay attention.