When it comes to romance, I paradoxically advocate both trusting in the Lord to show you the way AND thinking strategically about how you present yourself in public.
I have been thinking a lot about how Calvinist Cath made such a great impression on her future fiancé without doing anything except being herself. Since a tenet of respectable Scottish Presbyterianism is not drawing attention to oneself, a value my ex-Protestant Scottish-Canadian mother tried to bang into my own head, I conclude that the secret was to be herself in public, in a social life that attracted the sort of men looking for women who wear their attractions quietly. Scottish Catholics, I think, are more likely to go for noise, dash and flirtation, Scottish Catholics being mostly of Irish or Polish descent.
My views on Scotland, incidentally, are so controversial Britain's most amusing conservative weekly refused to publish them, thus delaying my career by umpteen years. Woe.
But to get down to the subject of the day, a reader I'll call N sent me a link to the following, and I loved it so much I watched the whole 20 minutes, simply rapt. Thank you very much to N.
Now first of all I admit that I have an almost obsequious respect for women who are good at math and number-crunching because I seem to have a sort of numerical dyslexia. However, through a great deal of suffering and spiritual effort, I have managed to grasp the discipline of rooting myself in reality. This woman can both number-crunch and stare reality coolly in the face.
Second, this hard-working woman used internet dating not as a fun distraction and easy substitute for talking to men face-to-face, but as a sharp-edged tool to meet only those men most likely to approximate the Perfect Man for Her. Note that her number one criterion was that he be Jewish or, as she put it, Jew...ish. She has an advantage in that, almost alone of secular people, secular Jews still put a very high premium on marriage, especially marriage within their own community.
Third, she limited her search to her OWN CITY. This meant that instead of having drug-like semi-imaginary online relationships, she met potential suitors face-to-face ASAP. It also meant, incidentally, that she was unwilling to cash in everything she had--her family, local friends, her work, her career prospects--for a relationship that may or may not have turned into marriage.
(In case you are are thinking, "But what about you?", I did not come to Scotland to see if B.A. would make a good potential husband but to meet British online friends in person and to write the last part of my "Aelianus" trilogy, The Historical House of Scotland. Falling in love with B.A. was a surprise, and I had to cancel a date with a local man when I got back to Toronto.)
Fourth, she sucked up her pride and adjusted her profile to make it more man-friendly. For some reason, men seem to think "fun" is much more important and attractive than "fluent in Japanese". Ours not to reason why.
I particularly enjoyed her how-many-Jews-in-Philadelphia number-crunching. For the sake of local Catholic readers, I would do some how-many-church-attending-Roman-Catholics-in-Edinburgh number-crunching, were I not almost GUARANTEED to get it wrong. And, to be absolutely frank, were I Single I would not use a Catholic website but a Ginger website because although she is a delight your poor Auntie is a niche interest, appealing mostly to men who have a red-head fixation. Basically I would be looking for all the church-attending Roman Catholic in Edinburgh with a weakness for red-heads. I wonder if there are any besides B.A.? I am pretty sure the Bangladeshi chef who hit on me on the bus that Sunday (did I mention...?) was not a church-attending Roman Catholic. (That said, there were over 211,000 Catholics in Bangladesh in 2005, and these days it would probably be a lot nicer for them to be in Edinburgh.)