Sunday, March 16, 2014

I ask you....

Both of my daughters have warned me, don't post that question.

It's a dumb question.

I still want to know. So will someone (specifically, some man) answer me?

Has dating become a lost art? 

"Dating" as in a single man calling a single woman and asking her to dinner on a Saturday night.  She says, yes, thank you, and he picks her up from her home and they go to dinner, have a glass of wine and good conversation, maybe even cheesecake for dessert.  He drops her off, they may hug or give each other a shy kiss at the door, and he leaves.  After the date, perhaps as early as the next day, he calls again.  She doesn't have to; he wants to.

Whether the couple continues on to a relationship doesn't matter in the scenario.  It's all about the initial contact arising NOT out of mutual agreement, "how about we go out, since we are both single and kind of bored, we'll find someone better later," and NOT out of intentionally being set up by a paid matching making service or from a dating site like, "well I guess we should meet." 

Do men call anymore? 

I was told recently, by a male friend, that "if it's meant to be, it will be..." and I honestly believe he sits on his couch and waits for a knock at the door.

Meant to be?  Sure, I will entertain that as possible.  But what about willingness? We all have free will.   I don't believe God meant to have us sit and wait for a knock. 

At risk of straight out rejection, opening myself up to blatant mockery, I will ask further then, why do I feel like I failed to pay my phone bill, or my Iphone is broken, or something shocking is sticking out of my head that I just don't see in the mirror... ?   

Why am I not asked out on dates? 

Sure, I have been OUT on DATES. The truth, though, which I realized yesterday, is that all of the dates have been initiated by ME.  Perhaps because I don't believe in waiting for the knock?

"Hey, Jeff, let's catch up soon... lunch or dinner this week?"
"Michael, are you in town this weekend?  Want to meet up for a drink?"
"Paul, I still owe you burgers, remember. How about Monday?"
"Mark, I really want to go see this show, but it's a musical... will you go with me?"
"Hi, Elizabeth from Just Lunch... oh, you have another introduction for me... great."

When I asked my daughters this question, why am I not asked out, Savanna snapped back, "because you ask (stupid) questions like this."  Alicia said, "Well, I haven't been asked either."

Savanna aside (she gets calls for dates, by the way), Alicia seems to always be with a cute guy.  Friend or co worker, no matter, Alicia seems to be pursued. Maybe she just sorta gets together with folks on a mutual agreement, too.  Maybe that's how this generation does it.

I asked Jeff.  He hasn't texted me back.

Do you figure the Winter has just shut everyone in to their homes, and away from social contact? Seems possible. 

Seems reasonable too that many of my male friends are either married or in relationships (with a significant other or with their careers);  or getting out of relationships, or getting OVER an old relationship, or just starting a new one.  Timing, timing is key.  Windows of opportunity close quickly.

Maybe men think that since I kept the last name Pokorny, and appear in random status updates at the same location as Bob Pokorny, that I am still married to him?

Let me state this once and for all -- I am NO LONGER MARRIED to Bob.  I will always hold feelings of remorse about all of that, sure, and yes I still love him and my daughters love him and we are cordial and friendly.  He is NOT in any way with me.  He has a long term girlfriend, and I like her.  And yeah, we kind of all get along.  If you think this is strange, too bad, this is how we roll.

And no, I am not seeing anyone in particular.  Yes, I have pictures on my Facebook page with other guys... they are all still important to me, and I value their fabric contribution to my life quilt.  But if I were in a committed relationship, I would not be declared "single" on Facebook, nor would I ever spread such a rumor about myself.  And you all know, it isn't true unless it's posted on Facebook. 

Before anyone tells me AGAIN (females are good at this) to love myself first, let me just say, I love myself (see previous blog post Born of the Wrong Time).

In fact I love myself so much I am not willing to settle with just any man who shows an interest.  I do want a specific sort of fellow (see multiple previous blog posts).  Stalkers need not apply.  Crazy attention seekers who send themselves flowers to get MY attention need not apply either.  How about a "normal" man with values and a job and is able to understand the commitment of fitness and health who isn't afraid to actually earn the love of a good woman?  Perhaps I push men away with my perceived high standards, or maybe my sarcasm or cold humor. 

Is it me? 

Maybe I am too nice.
Or not good looking enough, thin enough, or rich enough.
Or maybe I am too emotional, too old.
That baking thing I do confuses them.
Appearing by name in this blog scares them.
Wait, FEELING any sort of attachment scares them.
The potential of rejection is endless, everywhere, always frightening.

Back in college, when I worked for Dial America Marketing, "cold calling" for magazine subscriptions was the worst.  It was so much easier to simply make a sales call for a renewal.  They were already interested in the product.  They had already invested in the subscription.  Cold calling was a numbers game.  The only way a person ever survived was to keep dialing and dialing, and to never take a rejection personally.   That job was difficult.  Not many folks made it through to being given good leads... they gave up, fed up, exhausted, defeated. 

Maybe every man is so tired of extending themselves with busyness they don't have any energy for "cold calling" women. 

Or very simply, dating just may be a thing of the past.  The landscape of life has changed.  We all are so technologically "connected", we think a happy birthday text is enough effort to extend for a day of celebration.

I still believe in celebrating birthdays in person.  And holding someones hand... receiving phone calls, talking.  And being invited to dinner.  

Maybe it really IS me.

I think I am afraid, too.  I quietly fear that if I didn't initiate contact with folks I would never hear from a soul. 

"How is your knee, Jay?"
"Steve, is your back feeling better?"
"How's the job, Bob?"
"Sorry I gave you my cold, Damon, can I do anything to help?"
"Larry, how's traveling going for you, busy?"
"Ken, how's your running coming along, ready for the race?"

Why does no one ask ME how I am without ME asking them first?

I have been close to testing a theory, because I don't DARE post these dumb questions outright to my 700-plus friends on social media:   

If I didn't text or FB message anyone for a week, would anyone notice? 

If I stopped reaching out to you, would we ever talk again?

I just don't know anymore.  That's why I am asking.  Is there anyone who loves me enough to answer?

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Born of the wrong time

In her strongest moments, my mom would say of herself, "I was born before my time."

I can picture her little body, all rigid with attitude... she was making a point:  she didn't need a man.  My father always knew if he didn't WANT to be there with her, with us, "there's the door." "But if you leave, don't think you are ever comin' back, Fred."  My dad never left. 

Oh, there was no arguing, that woman was tough.  Fortified.  Independent.  The way a strong woman needs to be in this day.  If dad complained about his coffee, she'd say, "then get your own."  If he complained about the chili being too bland, she'd say, "then next time YOU make dinner."  Funny thing was, by the time dad retired, he was the chef cooking for mom.  She was convincing like that.

Even while my father was ill in the hospital for seven straight months, trekking to see him every day without fail, my mom acted strong, able to get along just fine alone.    Granted, Evelyn loved Fred, they were married 64 years; and she missed my father terribly when he was gone.  But I do agree, my mom was born before her time -- the way a woman is raised to be THESE days:  she loved herself and needed no man to make her someone better.  Being married to my dad was a choice they made together every day.

You see, as progressive as my mom really was in her thinking and personality traits, she still was raised in a time where couples endured.  Couples may have fought just as much as they do now, but they were together more resilient or stubborn, dedicated in some way, beyond general couples of today.  My parents took care of each other.  They did simple, loving, predictable things and made our household a home, our family a home base.

Mom taught me what I have recently learned is called "homesteading";  planting a garden, living simply, loving our neighbors.  I think maybe the term is more acceptable to this current generation if it seems to be a new found technique.  In any case, mom modeled such technique to me, and it was mainstream. All the families on my street seemed to do the same.  We ate dinner at 5:10 p.m. every week day evening.  Mom packed us lunches, dad included, after making toast and coffee for breakfast.  Her chocolate chip cookies were divine, buttery, perfect.  Of course it went beyond that, but you get the idea, the picture of stability.

When my daughters were younger, I would pack them lunches, too.  Not as consistently as my mom, just because she was better at everything, but I did... and I cooked, too.  Even when the girls were bigger, and we all led such busier lives going in different directions, I made dinner, complete with salad, fruit, dessert, and "how was your day conversation."  I managed that routine on top of commuting and working a full time job, and running the training miles of a marathoner.  And I baked cookies, from "scratch" no less.

Those years of being a mom and wife were the best years of my adult life.  I miss that caring and consistency with a heaviness on my chest I physically feel, even now as I recall the warmth of the table and the laughter.

My realization over this winter:  I, too, was born of the wrong time.  I was born too late.  I should have been here back in the day when it was an honor to care for my husband, to cook healthy meals for my family, to clean my home and make it comfy and warm, to plant vegetables by seed and grow flowers in beds along the fence.

Because that is what I want now.

Before all of my strong women friends begin their rants against me, and the supposed power I am holding disappears, know that I like my life just fine.  I love myself.  I don't need any man to make me a better person.

I love my career at CSU and love that I earn enough money to own a home and a car and support myself.  I don't want to give that control away, to some "man of the house," or be subservient to some husband (who currently doesn't exist).    But I do want that old fashioned having someone to come home to, to cook for, to talk with, to love -- that "mutual caring for each other thing" -- back in my life.  It is good to know I CAN do this life on my own.  I have proven it.  I just don't want to do this, to have this, alone.

There is no weakness in this wanting. It is not out of desperation, it is not from some place of neediness.  It is actually from a giving place in my heart.  Now that my daughters are grown, they require less of me.  Letting them fly is healthy!

Sadly, at this prime moment of my life-- when busyness has turned suddenly slower -- there is no man for me who wants the same thing.

Being single is what both men and women seem to want these days.  Sex is so easy to get anymore, hardly anyone requires a relationship for it. Freedom to work 12, 14, 16 hours a day to earn money he will possibly never spend seems to be the partner so many seek.  Fast food is, well, FAST, who needs to waste time eating a home cooked meal that has to be, well, COOKED.  Maybe mom is still around to provide a meal once a month, on a Sunday, or a birthday.. but really, why, when there is a new restaurant open down the street by that chef from the Food Network?  Christmas can be saved for the lavish meal.

You see, traditionalism has no reason to exist anymore.  We are each revolving around our own selves, a complicated simplicity so time consuming there is no give. 

And who wants permanent emotions anyhow. That would mean investing in someone aside from ourselves.  I have been told at least four times since October, "work is all I have going right now, I don't have time for a relationship." Or the best one ever, "I don't have the time to give you that you require."  As if spending real moments with me is aiding some sort of unhealthy, unnatural need of mine (you know, that crazy woman who wanted more than a few hours a week with her boyfriend).  Bring him a banana bread and he's done.  Out.  Somehow baking suggests permanency in and of itself. 

Think what you want to think about me.  Because I love to send cards in the mail to say thank you for being kind, or that I appreciate you, doesn't mean I am needy -- just grateful.  And because I offer to make you dinner on Sunday, doesn't mean anything beyond me believing you need a good meal for a change.

So, maybe I too was born of the wrong time, like my mom.  She would have been a terribly powerful single woman in her day.... and, I, an excellent wife back in her's.

And if that isn't true, then my only other explanation is that I have missed my time, the time God gave me my Homestead, and I carelessly lost it.  I let it go when I had it.  And though I have been told that God is not a punishing God, maybe this is what I get for letting it go. 

Today I baked an apple pie for no one.

Not even because I wanted a piece of pie.   It's sitting there now, in the kitchen. I had apples that needed to be used.  And I wanted to feel, like me, again.