Monday, March 29, 2010

I happen to be an excellent juggler

Brainy Smurf and I finally had our fourth "date" this weekend - dinner and a basketball game. As usual, we had a great time talking and laughing and watching the game.


We paid separately for dinner and I still have to pay him back for the game (made clear by him contacting me a couple of days before to confirm and tell me how much he spent on tickets and "Is that okay?"). Plus, once we got back to his place, where my car was parked, I got a side hug and a "Well-that-was-fun-thanks-for-coming-see-you-later" AS he walked toward his home.

So, while we'll probably still spend time together once in a while, it's pretty clear to me where I stand. Bummer.

Still, I was happy and looking forward to going home, getting into my pjs, and hoping that my DVR had something good waiting for me.

The night had other plans.

Junior, who I hadn't actually seen since our last date earlier in the month but had talked to even earlier in the day, knew I was out at the game. On a whim, I texted him to see how his evening was going, and he invited me to come watch a movie with him and his roommates.

So I did.

Now, it was indeed late and his roommates had given us the couch (or they just took all the other seats in the room out of some unspoken guy code to not sit on the same piece of furniture as another guy), so it wasn't terribly out of character to lean my head on his shoulder. And halfway through the movie, he reached over and took my hand.

I know this gesture doesn't necessarily define our relationship, and it doesn't need to, but it's still incredibly sweet. Other than a hug goodnight, that was the extent of it for the evening, though I did notice a distinct fresh toothpaste aroma after he returned from the bathroom right after the movie, as if he was considering another step.

It feels a little high school, that I'm so pleased with watching a movie with a group but still holding hands with just one of them. After all this time and all the guys I've held hands with, shouldn't I be jaded and think it doesn't really mean anything?

Fortunately, no! I'm glad that such a simple thing hasn't lost its magic. Human touch is powerful, especially of this nature. I've heard from him every day since, and we're trying to find time to get together again soon. I know the odds are against Junior and I, but I'm still looking forward to playing them.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

There's no place like home

So, I'm job hunting. So are a lot of people. Fortunately, I'm doing it because I want to, not because I have to, so I'm not very stressed about it and I can afford to be picky.

Another perk of job hunting at this point in my life is the ability to go anywhere I choose. I don't have to run locations by anyone else and hope that they can also find a job in that area, or follow someone else to a location and hope that I can find a job there. While my career is in a very general field and I probably could find at least something just about anywhere, my specialty in that field requires a little more focus and I'd like to work in that specialty as long as I can. Not having anyone else to factor into any decisions I make, yet, helps for now.

Of course, not having someONE to factor into my job hunt does mean I, on some level, have to factor in EVERYone. If I move to a big city, there should be a larger dating pool, a small city, a small dating pool. My other fear is the generalizations one can infer about city boys versus country boys. I know which one I'm drawn to more, and I may not find it if I move to city with a limited selection. On the other hand, being fresh meat in a smaller dating pool with a lower rate of turnover might help me get noticed more, so that's a good thing.

With so many factors to consider, I'm not really considering them at all. I think about it, but I'm not stressing about it. I know I can move just about anywhere and be fine. Moving from The Homeland to Where I Am Now (somewhere I'd never even been before) was a big, scary deal, but not only did I survive it, I blossomed and have really come into my own here.

Consequently, the one place I really don't want to move to is The Homeland. My family would be thrilled if I did, of course. I know this because many of our conversations go like this:

Parents: How's the job hunt?

Me: Good. I applied at ___ and ____ yesterday.

Parents: Did you hear about (semi-related job) at (place in The Homeland)?

I have actually applied for a job there, and there is probably going to be an opening a few months that I'll seriously consider if something else hasn't come up first.

Still, moving to The Homeland scares me more than to yet another place I've never even visited before.

You see, when I left The Homeland, it was at the end of a very, very rough year for me. I was not where I should have been spiritually, emotionally, or socially. Getting my miracle job in a completely new place was what finally woke me up and got me out of that rut. I'm afraid that if I move back, I will somehow slip back into all that. I'll find myself associating with the same people (because even some of the worst offenders are still part of my life, at least peripherally), living under the shadows of others, and otherwise falling into old habits and badness, negating everything that has happened since. Luckily, knowing that I am afraid, knowing why, and knowing that I'm a much stronger person than I used to be will probably mean that I'd be just fine.

In complete contrast to my feelings, one of my roommates from that year is not only moving back to the same neighborhood, but is actually buying the exact same house we lived in, this time with her boyfriend. Now, she lived there a lot longer than I did, and it was also where her own life was changed in many ways, good and bad. As afraid as I am to move back, she's probably just as excited, if not more so. I really hope it's the home and experience this go round that she's expecting it to be, and if she and her boyfriend have grown up as much as they reportedly have, it likely will.

I have faith that I will find a better job, that I will make any future dwelling place a true home and not just a place to sleep (like my current home is now), and that these things will happen wherever God wants me to be.

Even if it is The Homeland.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Accidental Flirting, the second

The second time I accidentally flirted I was older and wiser. But it still left me thinking, "What in the world was he thinking?"

I was at a party for a friend and a guy I didn't know but had said hi to at the food table stated to the room that he was leaving. So I jokingly called out bye and that I'd miss him. Didn't think anything of it again until my friend told me later that the guy was asking for a way to contact me.

Sure. Why not. I'll go out with him. What harm can it do?

We went to dinner and it was casual and nice. Nothing much. He wanted to get together again. Why not?

This time we went to a near-by city for a double date with his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend. I didn't realize she was an ex at the time, just thought she was a friend. He spent the whole drive there on the phone with her. Without anything else coming from that night, spending the first hour of a date on a phone with anyone is bad. Spending it on the phone with an ex is real bad.

We arrived. Ate some dinner. Played a board game. And we went home. It wasn't the worst date I'd ever been on, but there were not going to be any more.

And that was all I thought of it. Until a week or so later when my friend told me that the guy had decided he didn't want to date me because I was so forward and basically crass. He'd told my friend that I'd pressed my breasts against his head.


You know, you'd think I'd remember that. In fact, I would remember that. So the fact that I don't remember that means it didn't happen.

I've never seen the guy since. But that day my friend lost some of my respect because he'd initially believed that about me. As he later thought about it he realized that this guy had a huge personal space bubble, so if my breasts had come within three feet of his head it would've been too close to him.

Still, the dangers of flirting. Always make sure you know what you are aiming at.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Accidental Flirting, the first

I have two stories of accidental flirting. You would think flirting accidentally would be kind of hard to do since most consider it a skill they do not have. Yet I've somehow managed to do it. The first was an innocent enough accident. I thought I was just being nice and friendly, he was a pervert. Okay, maybe not completely, but it was definitely wrong.

I'd just recently turned 14 (remember my age) and was attending my very first youth conference. It was a tri-stake one, so all the youth ages 14-17 from my city and the neighboring city were there for a two day event. On the first day, a Friday, we met at a national park for games and activities. I, being a rather nice person, talked to people there. One person I talked to happened to be a 21 year-old chaperon who had just returned from a mission for the church.

So we've set the scene. Me, 14, friendly chatter. Him, 21, odd social skills.

He decided I was flirting with him and started to pursue me. By the second day I was pretty freaked out by this guy. What had I done to make him think that his attention was wanted and okay? AAAhhhh!!!

Now, a seven year difference isn't necessarily a bad thing. 32 and 25 can really work out well. But when one of them is currently still two years away from even getting a license, what was he thinking?!?

The young women in my ward realized this was going on and that it was bad, and so together with the young men in my ward they made sure I was not alone for the rest of the conference. For the Saturday night dance the young men kept me out on the dance floor all night so that the chaperon never got a chance to get to me. Never saw him again.

Pretty funny story now, but seriously, what was he thinking?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

There's always a catch

I'm currently seeing two different men. Count 'em, TWO! Two men who like to spend time with me, just the two of us, on multiple occasions.

But, since this is my dating life we're talking about, it's not as simple as that. At this point, I'm not channeling Phoebe Buffay and the episode where she's dating two men, and no one is making a movie about my version of the story.

Because, since this IS me we're talking about, there is always a catch.

Guy #1, Brainy Smurf, and I have now been out together three times and are planning a fourth. (Date #3) Great, right? Yes, except that that's three dates over the course of six months, the fourth at the end of the eighth month. Also, they aren't exactly dates instead of mutually agreed upon activities that happen to be planned, paired off, and paid for. Neither of us are calling the other and asking the other out.

Still, even when the opportunity to make it a group activity has presented itself, it's just the two of us. One of us, most recently him, has paid for the outing. And, we're talking in between these dates. Definitely good things.

Guy #2, Junior, and I have also been out together three times and are discussing a possible weekend trip to a nearby city (not necessarily to be with each other, but because we both want to explore it, he has friends there, and I have business there). These three dates have been nothing short of fabulous (date #1), and have occurred over the last six weeks. Great, right? Yes, except that Junior is no longer a practicing Mormon, but a declared atheist currently investigating Eastern philosophy. He's also moving away in a couple of months. Both are pretty big things, though one more than the other. Our religious differences have made for some really interesting discussion, but, while we haven't actually discussed an "us", I do think we're both hesitant to start anything because of it.

Still, dates ARE dates, and we're actually asking each other out (he asked me on the first two, I asked him on the third), and we talk in between. On our most recent date, a vendor was joking with him and said he should check with this better half, using the term a couple of times. Junior didn't correct him, though it isn't really necessary to correct shopkeepers anyway. There was also an increasing amount of flirting throughout the date.

Neither of these men have made any "moves" as it were, nor have I. It's clear that we enjoy each other's company, though not to what extent. Things don't need to be defined after three dates anyway, so I'm really quite alright with everything. Until they're defined with either of them, I don't feel so bad about keeping my options open by seeing both of them. I'm sure things will become clear when they need to be.

In the meantime, I'm going to continue enjoying my time with both Brainy Smurf and Junior.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

It wasn't my fault

There is in the news right now the sad story of a young woman who went for a run in a park and instead was raped and murdered.

Elsewhere someone said that this happened because she went running by herself.

Did you catch that? She was raped and murdered because she did something.

Things like that get said frequently in our society and few people ever think of what it really means. It's blaming the victim. It's taking total control and responsibility away from the evil man that did that. It's a symptom of the idea that men are merely sex animals who can't control their urges and so it's up to women to stop them and if the man isn't stopped then it is somehow the woman's fault. It's saying that men have no control, no choice in the matter as to how they act. Do you see how wrong that is?!? Do you see how degrading that is to men?

And yet it is such an underlying belief in our society that rape, assault, and molestation are rarely reported because the woman believes she's to blame. That what happened to her was somehow her fault. If she hadn't worn that outfit, or been in that place, or smiled at that guy, then none of this would've happened to her. Yes, we can avoid dangerous places, but dangerous people don't confine themselves to well labeled places. And no means no. The words coming out of a person's mouth should mean more than the shirt they are wearing.

We are all responsible for our individual actions, including the bad people who do bad things. They have responsibility for their lives just as I have responsibility for my own (and my own is plenty enough responsibility for me without worrying about the lives of everyone around me).

I am a runner. And I will continue to run and enjoy it. And my heart and prayers will go out to those parents right now.

And what happened to me all those years ago. It wasn't my fault. I didn't make him do that. It wasn't my fault.