Wednesday, October 30, 2013

90DoOD: A Full-Circle Moment

Today's is short, but it's full of promise for wonderful things.

I was sent a message last night by a guy I grew up with. I haven't seen him in at least five years, possibly closer to ten. 

His email wasn't the smartest or the sweetest. In fact, in most ways it was quite vulgar. However, in his email he said  he thought I was pretty -- gorgeous, actually.

This is coming from a guy whom I know for a fact said once that he would never date me because he thought I was ugly.

Girls, you know that small bit of satisfaction we get when the girl from our school's Plastic Clique has gained five pounds? Well, this satisfaction is even better.

He didn't mention anything to make me believe that he recognized me. From what I can tell, he just thinks that I'm a gorgeous (his words, not mine) stranger with an online dating account. 

My middle school self is dying because this guy has validated that my nose now kinda fits my face and those braces were really worth the money (thanks, Mom and Dad!). She's a little bit giddy because she never felt pretty, and a few people told her the same. 

Add this to the list of things that I would love to one day tell that little girl.

Monday, October 28, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: I Have Morals.

Day: 29.

Current Mood for Online Dating: A little bit disgusted.

Interactions with Online Dating: I have had more propositions to get into a guy's bed this weekend than I ever had in my entire life. The really sad thing is that I don't even know most of these guys' names.

They would send a "hey" email and per the rules of this experience, I would send one back, despite the "this guy is weird and creepy, avert your eyes" vibe that I was getting from his profile.

His next message would be, "How you doin? U so fine. U wanna hook up tonight?" Or something even more explicit that I won't haunt your dreams with. One of us is more than enough.

It's creepy guys like this that give online dating the reputation that it currently has.

The worst proposition that I've received was from a seemingly nice guy named Carter, as we shall call him. His profile was completely blank -- this is either an orange flag, or he's new to online dating -- but his first message was intelligent, and I respond to all emails, so I sent one back.

We sent back a few bantering emails back and forth. By about his tenth email, he told me I had a beautiful smile and said that we probably shouldn't keep chatting. I, being completely confused and caught off-guard, asked why. His next email apologized, stating that the previous email was meant for someone else. We continued to chat and eventually he messaged me his number. I waited an hour (can't seem too anxious, right?) and texted him.

The banter continued via text message. He mentioned that he didn't live in Raleigh, but about half an hour outside of it, but because of a work thing, he was going to be in Downtown Raleigh tonight. He asked if I wanted to meet him for a drink after his work thing.

I pondered, and figured, "Hey, why not? Might as well figure it out early if I like him or not."

I said I would meet him and told me which establishment he wanted to meet, and asked him the time.

A few minutes later, my phone beeped.

"Meet me in the lobby of the Renaissance Hotel at North Hills at 9:00 p.m. If you can earn your keep upstairs, I'll take you out for dinner later."

After a few "you're joking, right?" text messages, he revealed that he didn't think I was a "one night stand" kind of girl, and was trying to cut off communication with the email he claimed was for another girl. When I call his hand on the abrupt email, he figured he might as well give me a shot to see my reaction.

I have since called Sprint and had his number blocked.

This is typically where I would start giving advice for the gentlemen. All of the advice that I would like to give at the moment would probably end some friendships.

Recent Interactions in Real Life: My mom's side of the family got together on Sunday to celebrate my Granny and my Uncle Barry's birthdays. It was also my sister Chloe's birthday, but she is with the NCSU Marching Band in Virginia being awesome. We feasted, as we do at all family gatherings, and I got to cuddle with my sweet nieces and play outside. Family time is the best time :)

Friday, October 25, 2013

90 Days of Dating: TGIF.

Y'all, I can't even lie to you. It's been a long week.

It's the last week of the quarter which means that us teachers have been swamped with make-up work from students who didn't care until the last minute. My team teachers and I have also had at least one meeting of some sort every day this week. This stressful week has led me to this reaction:

This photo is so kindly provided by my cousin, who found my impending mental breakdown a bit funny. He was kind enough to play with my hair for a moment, though, so I have to give him props for that. And yes, Meredith girls, those are Cornhuskin' sweatpants you see. It was casual day at school :)
Nothing exciting has been happening on the internet and too many exciting things have been happening in my classroom and I wasn't in an upbeat mood to write this blog post.
But then Katy Perry happened. And Jesus happened, too.
Let's start with Katy Perry:
This is a link to a video of the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth doing a lip dub to Katy Perry's "Roar". Roar is currently my life theme song as I'm pushing through until second quarter. I also have a soft spot for little kids with cancer. To this day, the best present I've ever received was a donation to St. Jude in my name.
If this doesn't put a smile on your face, I can't help you.
As if Katy Perry wasn't enough, Jesus popped in my mind today.
"When the whole world's against you, it's just proving that no matter what anyone thinks, says, or does, God's still for you."
My current job is the third greatest things that's ever happened to me. It's third behind Jesus and being born into my family. Yes, it has it's hard days/weeks (see top picture for example), but goodness. I have friends. I have co-workers who like being around me. I'm more supported than I could have dreamed. I literally had a friend come into my classroom today, take a stack of papers off my desk, and called back over her shoulder, "I'll be back in an hour." She knew I was stressed out and she helped fix it. That's how awesome my job is.
I went through some a-four-letter-word-that-I-won't-use-because-sometimes-my-dad-reads-my-blog to get to this job. Some serious you-know-what. But I have seen more and more each day that those were simply stepping stones to get me here. Yes, those stones were spiky, were made of lava, and had poisonous moss growing on them,  but I know how to be thankful. I am thankful for the daisies that pushed up through the poisonous moss along the way (known as a few of my awesome former co-workers) and I'm thankful that I know that I have the strength to be infected with the poison from the moss and keep climbing.
I can apply this gratitude to the fact mindset that this week it's been hard to be single. Fair week always is. I deeply want to go on a date with a sweet man who calls me his to the fair; always have, always will. Seeing couple pictures under the fireworks and the Ferris wheel does things to my heart, but Jesus is good, guys. He's so very good.
So I'm going sit in my grassy knoll of happiness, with the sun shining down on the me, and be thankful that there isn't poison ivy in my grass at this moment. I'm going to be thankful that Jesus hasn't given up on me, even if I am about to give up on the flock of humans that currently populate the online dating world. I'm going to be thankful for my students and be thankful for this fall weather. I'm going to rest easy knowing that the rough moments are the stepping stones.
I'm going to be most thankful for the fact that I know that I'm never alone.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: Questions.

I went to Beirut, Lebanon in 2010. Saying that the experience changed my life would be an understatement, but for time's sake, we're just going to have to leave it at that. While we were there, the twelve of us that traveled together were basically all we had. We made friends while we were there, of course, but our whole lives revolved around the eleven people that were with us.

We started this thing we called "The Hot Seat" early on in our travels. One of us would sit on our little yellow loveseat and would have to answer any question that one of our teammates threw at us.

I, personally, loved it. I love talking about myself (shocker!) and I love to be the center of attention; The Hot Seat was right up my alley.

Dating is mighty close to The Hot Seat. This person keeps looking at you (assuming they have decent interpersonal communicational skills) and they are asking you all these questions.

The problem is, a lot of people seem lost on appropriate first-date conversation topics.

Never fear. eHarmony is here!

eHarmony (which is not the dating site on that I'm on) has posted the fifteen best questions to ask on a date to get to know the other person (Don't believe, go here).

1. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?
2. What kinds of things really make you laugh?
3. What's your favorite place in the entire world?
4. Who is your best friend? What do you like about him/her?
5. Favorite movie of all time? Why so?
6. What's your biggest goal in life right now?
7. What is your favorite way to spend a Saturday?
8. Do you have any pet peeves?
9. What was your family like growing up?
10. What were you like as a kid?
11. What should I know about you that I'd never think to ask about?
12. Did you -- or do you -- have a nickname? What is it and what's the story behind it?
13. Who was your favorite schoolteacher or college professor? Why?
14. Have you figured out your calling in life? What is it?
15. What do you hate most about the dating process? (Tell me so that I may avoid it!)

As you're all pondering over these, I figured I might would take a stab at them. The online process is currently slow and nothing to waste your time over. Now, as the eHarmony advice states, one must peel back the layers and not stab the onion, so I'm only going to do #1 today. We'll save the rest for a rainy day.

1. Who has been the biggest influence in your life?

The "who" in this question is not singular, but plural. I would have to save that my family as a unit has been the biggest influence on me. When I was growing up, I didn't think much of the blessing that is my family -- many of my friends had siblings they were close to and a good number of my friends also had nearby aunts and uncles. Whenever I heard from a friend that they only saw their cousin at Christmas, it would shock me: that's not how families work! Families should be all up in each other's business. The kids should be playing outside while the adults are gossiping and catching up on the screened-in porch.

I didn't realize how much of a fairyland I was growing up in.

The closeness of my family hardwired me to be a part of unit. I consequently think in "we" instead of "I". This has enabled me to work well with many close friendships and even be able to maintain friendships across state lines. Because of the constant interaction of people, I feel that I can handle a myriad of personalities; I'm probably related to an identical one like any new one that I come across. I know that I am never alone and I know that someone always has my back, and somewhere, even if I have to shuffle past a family member or two, I can find support and a shoulder to lean on.

I took the closeness of my family for granted for years. Now that we're older and we're starting to scatter a bit (the cousins in particular), I look forward to holidays even more for a higher chance of us all being in the same room. My soul feels depleted when I haven't seen my cousins in a while.

My family, all of us, immediate and distant, has shaped the person I am today.

Monday, October 21, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: My Dating Philosophy

Here is my philosophy on dating: There is no such thing as going on too many dates.

When my siblings and I were growing up, my parents demanded that we had a summer job every year from the time we turned fifteen. It gave us purpose, helped us learned financial responsibility, and we were never bored in the summertime. While we were going through the application/interview process, they told us often that there was no such thing as too many interviews. Interview experience is great! Many interviews ask the same questions, and the more you go through, the easier it becomes to answer the questions asked of you. By the time we started looking for Big Kid jobs, I knew exactly what I was getting myself into.

Dating is kind of like this. As you go on more dates, you figure out which anecdote to tell and what keeps your audience captivated. You learn which foods are okay to order (spaghetti is a no!) and how to expertly check your teeth for residue while still sitting at the table using the pocket mirror you stashed in your purse so you never have to leave the table.

You also begin to learn how to phrase certain questions and the answers that you expect from your date. Just a heads up, I found that the question, “Tell me about your religious beliefs,” should never be answered with, “Jesus is a great guy.” That’s an orange flag if I ever saw one.

Good dates lead to second dates.

Bad dates lead to great stories for friends later.

I’ve been asked on a few dates recently. I’m still deciding if I want to say yes or not. None of these guys really strike me with the potential of something long-term. However, a few of them may be worth a shot just to tune up my dating skills. Either way, I’ll let you know what happens!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

90 DoOD: The 18-Year-Old

Strap on your seatbelts, children, I'm hopping on my soapbox.

An 18-year-old messaged me the other day. I was mortified. Absolutely mortified. 

I was mortified because I felt like a cradle robber and I was sure that at any moment the FBI was going to come knocking on my door and accuse me of awful things.

Once I calmed my imagination down, I was mortified for another reason: This guy is eighteen.

I don't know if he was in high school or college (it's crazy to think that I have students older than this kid). I don't know if he was lying about his age -- from the looks of him he could easily be younger. I don't know why he messaged me or what got into him. But I do know that my heart broke for him.

My heart was broken because I truly felt that because a guy at such a perfect age was attempting to meet women online, then it was for one of two reasons. The first, he was just looking for a piece and thought this would be an easy way to get it. The second, he has either no self-confidence in getting a girl or no man in his life to show him how. I'm not sure which makes me hurt worse.

The two emails that we exchanged brought me nothing but heartache. My heart aches for his generation (I know that I could easily be lumped into his generation, but not today) in general. The more time I spend with my students, former and present, and the more I hear stories of what is coming out of these kids, my heart breaks more. I'm not sure who to be more upset with: my generation/the generation above us for slapping these children for their decisions, or that generation for their own stupidity.

Either way, I'm upset at the world and my heart is hurting.

If you're younger than me, this post is for you.

To the 18-year-olds of the world. To the younger than 18-year-olds of the world. To my kids. To whoever might be reading this:

Make better choices.

No, really, I don't care what choices you're making right now. More than likely, there's better ones that you could be making. 

Go read a book. Truth be told, I don't care what kind of book, but preferably one without pictures. Go play outside. Grab a friend a find a park and swing on a swing for an hour. 

Whatever you do, get off your tookis. 

Child, the decisions you make in this moment will last you forever. I know that sounds dramatic, but I swear to you it's true. An underage drinking ticket sounds like a great story to tell when you're 40, but how do you plan to tell that story in the interview with your potential employer?

Oh, you plan to make it in the music industry and hit it big?

Yeah, I feel you. I was going to be an actress. I was going to light up the movie screen and people were going to love me. They weren't going to think that I laughed too loudly, they were going to think it's endearing. I was going to star next to some really smokin' hot guys and we were going to have illicit affairs during our taping (nothing too scandalous of course, a girl does have morals). Then I decided to be a writer. A writer who lived in Spain and drank cappacinos at an outdoor cafe while she wrote. 
Alas, I became a teacher. And you know what? I wouldn't trade it for the world. 

You wanna know what else? If even a single compromising picture of me popped up on the internet, I could lose my job forever. No questions asked, no explanations wanted. 

These selfies that you think are funny with just you in a sports bra in the bathtub? They're not sexy. They're pornography. Soft core, yes, but pornography nonetheless. And although you'll get some wrinkles (tiny ones, but they're still there) before you're 25 and you'll probably dye your hair a few times, you're still gonna look like you.

You think that SnapChat is only being seen by one person? Don't be naive.
You think your Instagram is locked and only people you allow to see it can? Don't be stupid.
You think that nasty text message to the girl you really can't stand will go away with a click of a button? I refuse to even dignify that with a response.

When I was eighteen I was nursing a broken heart given to me by a guy whom I wouldn't currently touch with a ten-foot pole. You think you're in love? It gets better. I swear it. The heartbreaks get worse, too, but, oh, does love evolve as you get older. Don't sell yourself short.

Here's what I'm learned in my six years since then, dear 18-year-olds: life goes on, and it gets a hell of a lot better. 

Heartbreaks happen. Let it feel like the end of the world for a few days. It's okay. But then get up, go to Ulta, and get yourself some smacking good lipstick to show that guy what he lost.

An education is irreplacable. Wars have been fought over whether or not someone can be educated. You get it for free. Don't take that for granted.

The body you're in is the only body you're gonna get. Take good care of it. French fries and ice cream are simple ways that God shows us He loves us, but He takes care of us with asparagus and green grapes. Floss at least once a week, stretch at least three times a week, and make sure you can run a mile in under 13 minutes (and that's the time for uphill).

Travel the whole world. See as much of it as you can. Live off of your parents as long as you can or until you're 25. While you're living off your parents, get a part-time job and save every single penny. Always buy a used car and never give yourself a car payment.

Your first credit card should be in your wallet at 20 and you should pay off the entire bill every month. "Lowest amount due" is for lazies and losers. Lazies and losers end up in debt and very, very sad.

Go to college and meet every single person on that campus. There's no such thing as knowing too many people. Feel free to meet a special someone, but make sure you find a couple of life-long friends, too. Marriage at 22 isn't guaranteed (and I can attest that being single at 24 is basically awesome) and eventually you'll have a diploma and people will expect you to provide for yourself; you better have a way to do it. And life is always better with people by your side.

Never accept charity, but feel free to allow someone to take you out to dinner every now and again.

Don't complain about money troubles. We all have them and we don't want to be reminded of them. Take your frugal month as a lesson and remember to keep a hefty bank account. 

Do something you swore you would never do like move to the Middle East for the summer. You'll never regret it and it's a great conversation starter at the weird office parties you're forced to go to when you grow up.

Get off the internet, kiddos. Do something! Do something big. If I had started doing all the things that I want to do in my life when I was 18, I think I would be close to done by now.

Get off the internet for your entertainment. Put down the video game. Get the earbuds out of your ears and sit down with a random person at a coffee shop and start a conversation. Walk up to someone who is wayyy out of your league and give them your number. Learn to flirt and to dress for your body type. When you dress for your body type, make sure you cover your boobs, pull up your pants, and never ever wear leggings as pants. Whilst in the company of the opposite sex, keep all clothing on your person until you're married. You won't regret it. You'll only regret the opposite.

Gentlemen, find a woman. Women are tough as nails and as feminine as lace. They're complicated and will make you crazy, but they're worth it. When you've got one that makes you smile and wants to learn to cook your favorite food and gives you a little bit of a feeling like you've done something sneaky and haven't gotten caught for it yet, keep her.

Ladies, wait for a gentlemen. If he's not everything you've ever prayed for, he's not the one for you. If you can keep eye contact for more than three seconds without going numb all over your body, there's better waiting. Keep your hair and your teeth brushed and make sure your shoes match. Learn to tell a joke and do a decent hair flip. 

Whoever you are, learn to write a check and how to check your oil. Be proficient at cleaning a house and making spaghetti. Learn to bite your tongue and how to sincerely apologize. Learn that apologies are better served with actions and not just words.

Think positive thoughts and say only kind words. Positivity is remembered and cherished. Never speak ill of a coworker and certainly never put anything on social media when you're upset. Call your mama at least once every three days and go home for the holidays. 

Learn to dream. Then figure out how to make those dreams a reality.

Above all, love yourself. There's only one you. Think you don't matter? Remember this: you're the reason that your teacher gets out of the bed in the morning. Hug her when you get to school, she probably needs it. ;)

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

90 Days of Dating: The 21-Year-Old

Day: 17.

Mood: Surprised. Is that a good word? It’s the word I’m going to go with.

Online Interaction of the Day: I deeply offended a 21-year-old. Let me tell you about it.

I don’t even know his real name to make a fake name for him, so I’m going to call him The 21-Year-Old.

The 21-Year-Old messaged me. His message was simple: you’re pretty and I would like to get to know you.

What struck me as really funny was that he sent me a message at 11:30 a.m.and said that I was probably still asleep. I don’t know about you guys, but I can’t sleep past 9:00 a.m. I’m usually up by8:00 a.m. and it really depresses me. The fact that he thought that 11:30 a.m.was still time to be sleeping was a bigger red flag than his age.

As I have promised myself that I would reply to every message, I thanked him for the compliment  and explained that I couldn’t sleep in.

His reply back: “Yeah, I know how you feel. Your schedule is not so different from mine. In fact, it’s quite similar. I generally work 9-5 on the weekdays and I’m off on the weekends.”

Even now, typing this, I’m feeling some grumpiness creeping up in my heart. I’m going to apologize in advance if the next paragraph savors of bitterness.

No, 9-5 is not my schedule. 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. is my schedule five days a week. I’m typically in bed by 9:00 that I can wake up by 5:00 a.m. and be ready to take on the kiddos for another day. I’ve only had a handful of “weekends off” the in last few years (excluding summer time) because teachers bring home their work because there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. If you’re a teacher, you understand the bitterness. If you’re not, I beg you to never compare your life to that of a teacher’s. You will probably lose a friend.

Also, dear, if you have to try to convince someone that you’re in the same stage of life as they are, then you’re really not.

Okay. Rant over. I’m going to try to allow the grumpiness to seep out of my heart now.

A little fact about me: I’m a romantic. I love the candlelight and the  moonlight and walks through the gardens and whatever else romance novelist can spin on a girl. I’m all about it. However, I believe as Elizabeth Bennett in Pride and Prejudice does: “Of a fine stout love, [poetry may be the food]. But if it is only a vague inclination I’m convinced one poor sonnet will kill it stone dead.” Well, friends, I only had but a vague inclination and his poor sonnet killed even that stone dead.

The 21-Year-Old tried to feed me some line about “my eyes sparkling in the moonlight” and how they’re “protruding my beauty for all to see.” Bless his heart, he couldn’t have known this, but the word “protruding” really freaks me out. However, these words would have made me happy if I had been attracted to him at all and if I didn’t think this was a play to get on my good side because of my “English teacher” status.

I wrote back to him that I appreciate his poetry, but it just wasn’t working for me. I told him that the world protruding freaks me out (I literally shudder every time I write it here) and that since none of my pictures were taken at night that I had a really hard time believing him about the whole moonlight thing.

His response: You may be a teacher, but you need a lesson on romance. My words were meant as a compliment, not for you to critique them.

My response: No offense, dear.

His response: I’m not one of your students; so please don’t try and give me a lecture. And it wasnt a poem . It was like 2 sentences. I can write poetry. I don’t need you to tell me how

No, dear, you don’t, but apparently you do need me to teach you how to use a semi-colon.

In my return email, I told him that no, he wasn’t one of my students, and I apologize if he felt treated like such, though I do have students older than him. I thanked him for his kindness and wished him a good day.

Reflection: Does this interlude make me sound snarky? Probably. There’s a whole lot of adjectives that it probably makes me sound. This guy was doomed from the very beginning: younger than me, a kiss up with the whole poetry thing, shorter than me. Baby couldn’t win.

I’m tired of not having a winner. It makes me sigh.


On Friday, I get to tell you about the 18-year-old who messaged me. I know you’re excited.

Monday, October 14, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: A few things.

I'm feeling a list about my life coming on. So today's post is going to be a break from the ordinary formula.

01. I am not a fan of matte finish nail polish. Nail polish is supposed to be shiny and sparkly and girly. Matte finish goes against everything womanhood stands for.

02. Mr. Sparkly Blue Eyes, or "Aaron" as you would know him, has stopped texting me. No idea why. One minute he was asking me about my weekend plans, and the next he won't tell me how his meeting went, or respond to my "Happy Wednesday!" text. No idea what happened.

03. Unsolicited Advice for the Gentlemen: Man up. Man the junk up. If you find a flaw in a girl that will become the fatal flaw of the relationship, tell her you're no longer interested. If you met someone else or you can't stand how the girl laughs, that's fine. It's life. It happens. Not texting back is the cowardly thing to do. Man the GodBlessAmerica up and say, "Hey, no offense, but I'm not feeling it." Depending on how long you've been together, she'll probably have some questions. If you've been together a while, she might cry. If you've only been going out a week and she cries, be honest with her and then run as fast as you can. Don't be a coward.

04. I have no idea why I'm writing a zero before my numbers. When I was a sophomore in high school I saw a senior, whom I adored and admired, do it, and I liked it because she did it, so I've done it ever since. It's not my thing, but when I'm feeling fancy, the zero shows up.

05. My Wolfpack lost their football game on Saturday. I was forced to sit next to a Syracuse fan. By the grace and power of Jesus, both he and I walked out of the stadium unscathed physically. Oh my heavens, do I love football!

06. I offended a 21-year-old this weekend on the dating site. I'll share that on Wednesday's post :)

07. The dating site that I'm on has a smartphone app, which is mainly how I'm communicating with the guys. One of the functions of the app is that I can go through a match search and be given the pictures and short blurb about each guy and say if I like them or want to meet them or not. I was swiping through the list this weekend and apparently I rejected too many guys because the dating site sent me a message. "We know swiping is fun and all, but how about choosing a guy. Or just lowering your standards." I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at the fact that my dating site was telling me to rethink my standards for the guys I date. Also, I keep clicking on this one profile when I'm Match Searching, only to realize that I've looked at him before and there's no way that we could work out based on the info from his profile. I've come to the conclusion that I'm more attracted to his really cute puppy that's in the profile with him than I am to the guy himself. Does the SPCA have an app for me to browse cute puppies I could love?

08. I know the people around me are sick of me saying this, but there is nothing truer in my life at the moment: I am unendingly thankful for my job and my new school. A friend was asking me about it this past weekend and my response was, "It's truly a moment when you realize that all of the prayers that you never got around to putting into prayer form have been answered in addition to the ones that you did pray." That's how I feel every single day.

09. I have had the opportunity to see/chat with a few of my former students in the past week. Once I have a student, they're always my kid. Catching up with my babies always makes my heart so full of happiness.

10. I am in need of a good book to read. I'm not sure what I'm in the mood for, but if you have any suggestions, I'll take them! One request, though: No series. I don't have time to immerse myself into another world right now. Other than that, I would love to know what you're reading!

Peace and blessings, peeps!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: Stephen

Day: Twelve

Mood: I don't know the word for this, so I'll just have to describe it. I am definitely feeling like this is an experiment right now. I'm not "blah" but I'm just not as "into it" as I thought I would be. I need a cute boy to message me to lift up my spirits ;-)

Online Interaction of the Day: Let's talk about Stephen. Stephen is Guy #2 that I allude to in Wednesday's post. Stephen and I first started chatting earlier this year when I did my first run at online dating. He seemed sweet but he was living in Virginia and, simply put, I don't do long-distance relationships.

At the beginning of the year, the first time we chatted, he was going through a big transitional period. I was just off the roller coaster of a transitional period myself, so it did my heart a bit of good to talk it through someone who understood. Whereas I was taking time off of teaching to talk to Jesus a whole lot, he had quit the job that he had held all through his college years and the years following because he knew that it wasn't what he wanted to do forever. I admire the gumption it takes to quit a job without having another job and for being willing to say "This is not what I want." I had just gotten my dream job at Trojanburg and was able to encourage him through this transition period.

Being that there was a state line that separated us, we never went on a date.

He messaged me earlier this week and started up a conversation.

Since our last message at the beginning of the year, he had moved his residency to the great state of North Carolina. He has now found a job in the area as well. He loves that the State Fair is coming to town. He loves how one can feel the energy when there is a college football game in town on a Saturday and he's actually a big fan of the weather here, too. 

Let me just stop right there and say something: Bless his sweet little heart.

For those of you who don't know me, I'm somewhat of "a mover and a shaker." I don't like being told no, I'm not afraid of confrontation, and if you need a job done, I'm your girl. I yell louder than anyone in my section at a home football game and I'm not afraid to rock the mess out of some sequins on a Wednesday, just because I feel like it.

The moral of that story: I'm kind of a lot to handle. 

I think this has to do with why I'm still single. The few guys that I've dated have had big personalities as well and they were never afraid to speak their mind and put me in my place. There is nothing that is better looking on a man than confidence. 

When one talks to Stephen, the last thing one sees is confidence.

Stephen is knocking on thirty and is working a minimum-wage job at a fast-food joint. He isn't sure what he wants to get out of his life. It has also been discovered that he didn't finish college because nothing "spoke to him" in any of his classes. Upon talking to him some more, I have determined that his need for encouragement wasn't because of this huge transition. It was because his self-esteem and self-direction is lacking. 

I was sitting around a booth with an adult beverage in my hand one Saturday evening the summer after I graduated college. Some of my friends from NC State were meeting up near campus and we were talking about our lives as alumni. One of the guys was clearly getting hit on by our waitress, to the point that I felt sad for her.  The other guy at the table prodded the guy to leave his number on his bill. My friend refused to do so. I was stunned. The waitress was cute and my friend was single. When we asked why, he replied, "She giggles after every comment. Ditzy isn't sexy. Ditzy is stupid."

While I'm not calling Stephen ditzy, I am calling him out.

Advice for the Gentlemen: You're called to be leaders. Girls are genetically designed to desire security from their male partner. If you don't know where you're going in your life, you do not have the capacity to bring someone along with you. Make goals for yourself and attain them. This will be great fodder for first date conversation and will fill you with confidence, which girls find attractive. 
While women are designed to desire security, men are designed to desire respect. How can a woman respect a man with nothing on his personal resume? You want the job of holding her hand? Earn it.

Will I go on a date with Stephen? I'm not sure yet. He's hinted at "needing a tour guide" but hasn't said, "Hey, let's have coffee." I like for a man to ask me out; that's his job. My job is to look pretty and dazzle him with my personality.

I like to think that I'm good at dazzling.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

90 DoOD: Day 10

Day: Ten

Mood: Irritated and overwhelmed -- I'd be willing to put money on it that the pile of ungraded papers on my desk and my students have more to do with that than online dating.

Online Interaction of the Day: Two guys from the first time I did online dating (this is my second go-'round) have found my profile again and have started emailing me. 

They're sweet enough, but I'm just not feeling it. I'll save Guy #2 for another day, but let's discuss Guy #1.

Guy #1 (Let's call him Danny, shall we?) Danny's profile says he is 36. A bit old for me, but if there's a connection, I truly believe age is just a number. However, after reading his profile, I find this sentence: "The age given on my profile is approximate." Ummm...hold old ARE YOU, dear? I'm a little scared.
Also, apparently Danny has a side business as a photographer. In his second email, he offered this as an idea for our first date: we meet at a park in the area and he takes a few "headshots" for me, for me to use on things like LinkedIn, of course. Hmm.

Unsolicited Advice for the Gents: Girls cannot stand lying. Not even a little bit. We know this is hypocritical because we (as a gender stereotype) drop little white lies about various things, all inconsequential, of course -- our age, natural hair color, just how much we enjoyed our time last night, that kind of thing. But once it's turned on us, NOPE. NOT OKAY. THERE'S THE DOOR. HAVE A NICE DAY. The minute we smell a lie, no matter how small or white or inconsequential, we start assuming there's more. Even if your lie is just your age. Don't lie. Ever. We'll find out and commence World War III.

Since it's Wednesday, I figured you might need a pick-me-up, I'm giving you another piece of advice: girls are hardwired to be suspicious of creepy people. I don't care how well they can shoot a gun or how many classes on self-defense they've taken, we don't want to be in a situation where we are forced to use these skills. Do everything in your power to keep her Creeper Alert Radar from going off. Especially in this day and age, girls have seen one too many episodes of Criminal Minds (yes, Shemar Moore, you can have my number) and we see just how creative creepy people can get. And as much as we want Matthew Gray Gubler (thank You, Jesus, Hallelujah, amen!) to come busting in and save us from the bad guy, we don't want cause for said rescue. Here's where I'm going with this: taking a picture of a girl before you really get to know her obviously means you're a creeper and you're going to use this in some kind of shrine that you've set up in your closet. If she thinks it's a good idea to take a picture on the first date, it should be on her phone. Your phone should be kept in your pocket at all times. A camera has NO place on the first few dates.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

90DoOD: Day 8.

Day: Eight.

Current Mood for Online Dating: Meh. Eh. Whatevs. It is what it is. Weekends are typically slow in the online dating world.

Online Dating Interaction: Minimal. A few creepers asking "how r u" and that kind of thing. I feel like I've become an artist at blowing guys off, is that bad? I think it's bad. Oh, well.

The guy I mentioned in the previous post still has my number and is using it. Insert small, girly squeal here.

He travels for work and turns those trips into a bit of pleasure as well -- eating at local restaurants, doing some hiking, seeing long-lost friends in the area, etc. He's consulting this weekend so the talking has been minimal. But I like that he can hold a conversation.

Brownie points to him for this: being able to handle my independence. I traveled all weekend to help with a best friend's proposal and then I had a wedding on Saturday an hour away and a wedding on Sunday two hours away from the other wedding. I've met guys before who would take a step like mentioning a meet-up for coffee or a beverage. I would excitedly text/reply back with a "Yes! That sounds great, but it'll have to be next week. I'm out of town this weekend." These guys were not thrilled about my schedule. "Why can't you move something around?" "Don't you want to see this go somewhere?" "If you're too busy for a relationship, why are you even talking to me?"

Whoa, homeskillet. Calm that down. Just because I'm busy the day you asked doesn't mean I'm busy forever. I can't move something around because I'm a loyal human being who loves her friends and I look forward to our time together. Sorry they asked first. And I'm not too busy for a relationship; I have excellent time management skills that allow me to have a fulfilling life with a career that fulfills me, a family that I adore, and friends who make me laugh. A relationship is just another piece to the puzzle.

This guy, however, did not react that way when I mentioned my busy but wonderful weekend. His reaction? "That sounds awesome! How do you know the brides/grooms?" "You're seeing friends you haven't seen in years, I'm glad it worked out that you could go!" 

'Atta boy. 

I have chosen an online name for him. Aaron. This isn't his real name, and as far as I know, has nothing to do with his actual name. Should this "flirtationship," as my students would say, go anywhere, I'll kindly ask permission to use his name and share it with you. Until then, it's Aaron. 

Unsolicited Advice for the Gents: Let a girl live her life the way that she wishes. If she wants you, she'll make time for you. If she doesn't make time for you, take it as a sign. Always ask for a date once more after she says she's too busy the first time.

Unsolicited Advice for the Ladies: If you're busy the first time he asks, come up with an alternate plan. "Thank you so much for asking me, but I already have plans with my BFF that night. How does Saturday night sound instead?" That shows him you're interested and the cute boy will hang around a little bit longer.

Real Life Interaction of the Day: This weekend was fabulous. One of my best friends got engaged via flashmob in Downtown Raleigh on the Boyland Street Bridge. We literally shut down the street and enchanted her with our dance routine. Her boyfriend got down on one knee, popped the question, and she answered with a resounding "YES."

On Saturday, one of the greatest blessings of my life said "I do" to the love of her life. MJ and I worked at the same school together a few years ago. She, along with the other three women who made up our grade-level team, got me through a very difficult time in my life, personally and professionally. I loved spending the afternoon with her and the other ladies from the school. We owned the dance floor after she tearfully recited her vows. She also finally introduced me to her hubby. It's been a joke recently that her family/fiance don't think that I exist. She tells stories about me, but none of them can confim that I'm real. When I walked into her bridal shower, her mom asked for some ID to prove that I really am who I said I was. Her husband did the same thing on Saturday. We all danced the night away and sent MJ and her hubby off to their honeymoon in a cloud of sparklers and smoke.

Sunday night was also spent at a wedding. My college friend, Charles, tied the knot. I haven't seen Charles or his fiance for a couple of years, and it was wonderful to catch up with them. The group of friends that I hung out with my freshman year in college were in attendance, and with adulthood having become the norm for all of us, we haven't sat down together in a while. Sunday was a sweet break from reality and a good time to catch-up and fill each other in on our lives.

Friday, October 4, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: Day 5

Day: Five.

Mood: Giggly

Online Interaction: I gave a guy my number. Ha! I can’t believe it – I gave a guy my number.
I’ll tell you this: I’m the first of my friends to hand out my number in a bar or at a restaurant, but to some guy who I only know because of a few short emails and a two-hundred word profile…oh, goodness.
I’ve had a few sketchy guys ask. They were rejected.
But this guy. I gave this one my number. We were “matched” on the dating site and apparently we were checking each other out at the same time. We both sent each other a “great smile!” email. As I was perusing his profile, a few things struck me. He’s educated, he’s intelligent, he’s already got one Master’s and is looking forward to obtaining his second one. His profile has ZERO grammar errors on it. His “important things in my life” section of his profile list Jesus and his family.
I made sure to email this one back immediately. Girl ain’t playing no games when a guy with a good smile, sparkly blue eyes, and an education that he applies to his life asks for your number.
After sixteen emails back and forth, he asked and I sent it, and put a little giggle in the air.

Unsolicited Advice for the Gentlemen: Make sure you know a girl’s name before you ask for her number. She’s more likely to give it to you if she thinks you aren't a sleaze.

Real-life interaction: Every other Thursday night, us teachers have an established routine to head to the local Mexican restaurant at 5:30. We gorge ourselves on queso and chips and we laugh until we cry. Last night was glorious. I felt like I was in college a little bit: my best friends all sitting around the same table, knowing that I would get to see them again tomorrow; our lives revolving around each other a little bit. I’m a happy girl.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

90 Days of Online Dating: Day 3

Day: Three!

Mood About Online Dating: Indifferent, giddy at moments.

Online interaction of the day:
Two "hey" emails from guys that I probably wouldn't give a second glance to in real life. However, per the rules of this project, I sent them each a "hey" back.

I signed up for the online dating site a week ago so that I could go ahead and set up my profile and start to get the feel of the site before this whole thing became a thing. Almost immediately, I got an email from a guy. It does a girl's ego good, I can't even lie. He introduced himself and asked if I would like to get to know him better. Turns out, that wasn't a question to which he wanted a genuine answer.

His two greatest flaws: he's two years younger than I am and he lives in South Carolina.
The reason these are problems: I don't date younger guys. I've dated a guy who was three months younger than me and I've dated a guy a year younger than me. Both of these ended disastrously. My biggest problem with dating younger guys is that most of them are not in the same stage of life that I am: career, house, etc.
His profile alerted me that he was still a student (hence the stage of life thing) and that according to the interests that were important enough to put on his profile, we would have nothing to talk about.

I returned his email thanking him for the compliment that he had given me -- nice smile, or something equally as generic -- and told him to have a good day. Clearly, this was a brush-off.

Homeslice didn't get it.

He sent back another email asking more specific questions about my job and my hobbies.

I replied that while I was flattered, he should know that I didn't date younger guys or  do long-distance relationships. Again, I bid him a lovely afternoon.

My email soon alerted me to a new message: "Oh, c'mon, give me a chance. I could surprise you!"

My thoughts: Sweetheart, it's nothing against you. I could possibly look over the age difference for a coffee date if you didn't live across a state line. I repeated this sentiment in an email back to him.

My phone beeped once again, displaying his username and picture.

"Wow. Definitely narrow minded so you have a great day to"

Don't even get me started on the grammar errors in that sentence.

Unsolicited Advice for the Gents: When a girl says she's done, she means it. Girls don't take break-ups lightly. We've all been through a few that left some marks and we don't take the possibility of a broken heart as a joke. Attempting to "win her back" will only work one out of every twenty times. So feel free to try it. Once. After that, keep your dignity and move on.

Real-Life Interactions for the Day: A typical day at school. Some kids were good, some kids weren't. However, I grow more and more thankful for my new school every day.

See y'all Friday!