Friday, July 30, 2010

Someone(s) for everyone

Finding love is difficult. Made even more difficult by the fact that not only do you have to find someone that you can love. But you have to find someone that you can love, who also happens to love you too. And you have to love each other at the same time!

I have two friends who took a couple of years to get engaged simply because it took them that long to want to do it at the same time. First he wanted to but she wasn't ready. Then she decided she wanted to but he didn't want to by then. They went back and forth for a while and now have a lovely marriage with beautiful kids. But it just shows how hard it is!

But, I have to believe that there is someone out there for everyone. I really don't like it when people say that their husband "died in the war in heaven." I know they think they are making a funny joke. But really, that would imply that the person they chose premortally did not choose the plan of Heavenly Father. And I have higher standards for myself than to think I'd choose someone like that.

It also implies that there's just a "one and only" for each person. Which I also don't agree with. Love is a choice. It is an action. It's not some big hole you fall into and if you happened to speed through a yellow light instead of stopping you'll miss meeting your one and only while waiting at the red light. There were probably several people I could've been happily married to, it just would've been a different kind of happy.

And if even Oscar the Grouch can find someone, well, at some point, there's someone (probably several someones) for everyone. Just gotta get that darn timing down right.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Let's be adults about this, part two.

To elaborate on my recent short post about my expectations for someone over the age of 25, I have written a very long post. :) To begin with, I understand that extenuating circumstances happen sometimes (I’m living in some of those now so I DO know that life isn’t always how you planned it) but there are certain things that should be a priority at a certain point. Who was it who said “when I became a man I put away childish things”? It’s fine to want to play, but there should come a day in life when you make a decision between play and work, between child and adult, and between wants and needs.

I am privileged to know some wildly creative people who have degrees in wildly creative fields. I have a liberal arts degree myself, and I fully know that it’s pretty impractical to have an actual career in my field of study, as well-rounded and well-read as I am. In order to do anything related to my field, I would have to have a graduate degree and teach on a university level. That hasn’t happened for me (time and money always get in the way, right?), but I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of job experience under my belt and a quick mind that makes connections and solves problems. To be succinct, I can get a job doing just about anything, and it doesn’t necessarily have to involve my undergraduate study. I’m ok with that. I got a degree in a field I love and am very passionate about, and I had resigned myself to not getting a job in that field before I matriculated into the major. I wasn’t disappointed when I got hired where I’m working now. It’s a job. It pays the bills. It gives me enough extra money to indulge in some more or less impractical hobbies that will probably never pay for themselves. (I want to buy a spinning wheel, for instance, but I know that I will probably never make a profit selling anything I spin.)

Wanting to do creative things isn’t the problem—the problem happens when you become unqualified for every “real” job (a job with insurance and steady hours, for instance; something I am afraid to be without) because you’ve spent too much time focusing on creative pursuits. Not everyone with a creative writing degree is actually going to end up on the New York Times Bestsellers list. Not everyone with a music degree is going to be the next Irving Berlin, let alone Mozart. Not everyone with an acting degree is going to be the next Ian McKellan. I know a lot of people who are completely unprepared for the world outside their field of study and it makes me sad. If you’ve worked hard at your degree and are good at what you do inside the microcosm of your college, that’s great. Reality can hit pretty hard, however, and otherwise good and kind and spiritual men get overlooked by women because they don’t have a car and live in the suburbs in a house with four other men. This is problematic for obvious reasons.

I have little patience for people who can’t adjust to life outside college. Maybe this is because it took me so long to get my degree and I put myself through school working at jobs I didn’t always love. I don’t love my job now, but it’s what I have and I’m glad for it. I know my ideal job is out there, and I also know that I can’t hold my breath waiting for it to happen. I have to make money. I have responsibilities and obligations that can’t wait for Perfect Job With Awesome Salary to fall into my lap. I’m not saying you should compromise on a dream—I’m saying that between now and when the dream actually comes true, you should be able to pay your bills without selling your furniture. You should be able to provide your own transportation and not rely on the worn-thin kindness of your friends. You should theoretically be able to support a family, whether you’re a man or a woman. You should also be able to function with other adults in an adult world, whether or not you are married or have children.

Some examples (some details have been changed for the sake of anonymity): A guy I went to high school with was blessed with an amazing singing voice. He studied opera and was invited to audition for the Metropolitan Opera Company when he was still in college. He showed definite promise and pursued that career for a few years, wife and subsequent children in tow. At one point, he looked around at the life he was living and realized that it wasn’t the best or most stable life for his family and decided to go to dental school. You could say he gave up, but you could also say that he gave it a good shot, realized that it wasn’t quite what he wanted or what was the best for his family, and changed goals. As far as I know, he’s a successful dentist and still sings.

Another man married a wonderful woman, started a family, and moved to California to pursue an acting career. He did a few films, got a few other credits under his belt, and his family grew to four children. A few years ago he and his wife decided that he would go back to school for a graduate degree in a field that he was also good at, but that would actually be more stable and lucrative for the family. They’re currently in the Midwest while he finishes his Ph.D. Acting will likely always be one of his loves, but if it doesn’t pay the bills, it has to come second.

Jinxie is lucky, I think. She’s working in a field she liked at the first and has grown to love since. She’s shown a real aptitude for it and is constantly looking for new opportunities. She had to move across the country to find it, she had to take a risk and step WAY out of her comfort zone. She had to be an adult.

Roxie? Same thing. She took a risk and ran with it, and she’s very happy and excited about her field of study.

Women like us, who have made peace with the idea that we can’t have everything we want and don’t get to be everything we wanted to be when we were children, deserve, I think, men who have made equally mature decisions. I really want to marry someone who is musically talented, but I’m not going to insist on marrying/dating a famous composer or musician. I’d rather be married to/date someone who works hard, develops and increases his talents, has decided to stop playing LARP/MMORPG games for eight hours a day, has a steady income (whether it’s from waiting tables or business management), and owns his own car.


I graduated high school at a particular weight and more or less stayed there for the next three years of college. Then I went on a mission and ate food better than most I've ever tasted in my life. And I gained 25-30 pounds. My cheeks half way through looked like I'm filling them with air. It was very obvious I'd put on weight. Within a few months of coming home though it was all gone and I was back to the high school graduation weight (after eating unprocessed home cooking for 18 months, American food kind of sucked and eating wasn't a big interest of mine).

That was over nine years ago and during that time my weight fluctuated a pound or two in either direction, but basically stayed constant. I didn't necessarily watch what I ate really. I didn't exercise regularly. Every now and then I'd get it in my head to run a marathon and I'd work up to that. But I was just living life and enjoying it.

I haven't really stepped on a scale since getting married. After HP stubbed his toe on it one morning I put it in the closet. But my in-laws had one in the room we were staying in when we visited recently. It was one of those fancy digital ones. So I thought I'd stand on it just for fun. The darn thing was broken! It said I'd gained 20 pounds since we got married! What?!? Except HP said it wasn't that off for him, and he weighs himself pretty much weekly. This could not be right.

So when we got home I weighed myself on our scale, the one I've always used, after finding it odd that a pair of pants was a bit tight on my thighs, something I hadn't noticed before. My in-law's scale was off, but not by 20 pounds. I actually have gained about 10 pounds in the last six months.

How did this happen?!? After thinking about it, it's the same thing that happened on my mission. Since getting married I've been cooking a lot more unprocessed home cooked meals (it's much more fun to cook for two than one). And I'm not exactly watching portions because it all tastes so good.

I won't say I'm fat. Partially because we don't actually say things here. But also because nobody would let me. Weight is such a weird thing in our culture.

According to online BMI calculators (and those are super accurate), I'm still within normal ranges. But this isn't what I've known for so long. HP said he has noticed that I have more hips now than I did before. Which I said was fine, but my waist got bigger too so my curves didn't get any better.

All I could think about the rest of the day after weighing myself was that my waist is bigger and my gut sticks out now. I hate that.

I'm not going to diet. Diets seem to imply short term changes rather than life style changes. Instead I'm going to start watching my portions more. I don't need that fourth taco and I don't need that third plate of waffles. And maybe, if this stupid heat will pass, I'll start exercising more.

In the mean time, my pants were all starting to wear out anyway.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Indicator of Interest

When you meet someone, how do you know they're into you? How do you know they're willing for you to move to the next step?

You look for the clues, verbal/nonverbal and conscious/subconscious, that the other person is saying "Hey, you're okay by me."

That, my friends, is what we call an indicator of interest, or an IOI.

IOIs get easier to read the longer you know a person and the further into a relationship you get, but they also get easier to read if you know what to look for. They are often very subtle, or at least they seem to be until you get the hang of it.

Everyone has their own IOI style, so the invitation to make the initial approach can be the absolute hardest to spot. Here initial approach can mean physically (e.g. the "come hither" look) or as part of a conversation, giving permission to get a phone number or ask on a date.

I can't speak for the men, since I am not obviously not one, but here's a few things they can look for from us as we indicate interest.

Maintaining eye contact - This a big one from me, since I'm a people watcher. I'm mostly looking at you, that's a very good sign.

Physical contact - Arm touching, hand on the knee, a non-sexual touch while we're talking, no matter if it's as I'm making a point, as a reassuring gesture, or even not, I don't touch people I don't at least like.

Offering my name - This is a big one. My name is very important to me, and if I'm giving it to you before you ask for it, it means I want to trust you with it. I am most definitely thinking "I think this is going well."

Maintaining an open body position - If I'm sitting down, my legs are almost always crossed, but if my arms are not folded and instead are lightly placed on my lap - I'm into you. I may even try to point my body in your direction. If we're standing or walking, the closer I am to you, the more into you I am. I may even so much as switch my purse to the side you aren't on, so that my hand is available for you to hold (during a date, not a first conversation, obviously). I once spent an entire date with my arms crossed as we walked around for close to a couple of miles as we played tourist in our city. I was NOT into him at all. If it's the first conversation, and we're standing, the more open my arms are, the better. Again, arm-folding is not as good as one hand fiddling with my necklace and the other just loosely hanging to my side.

Smiling and laughing - Even if you're not the next Brian Regan, a smile is always good and a laugh is better, especially if it's particularly hearty. And if I catch your eye across the room and smile? Also very good.

So, there you have it, a few of the things I know I do when I'm trying to send the "I like you enough to move forward" message. Good luck!

Ladies, anything I'm missing?

Saturday, July 10, 2010


In over a decade of dating, I can count on one hand the number of times I've given a guy a my phone number. You know what I mean. So you can imagine my delight on the rare occasion it happens. It's quite the compliment. Even when you're walking from your office to the neighborhood deli and some random guy says "Hey, your smile just made my day, can I have your number?" Of course, I'm not going to give it to THAT guy, but when there is a mutual spark, you both recognize it, and you exchange contact information, it's pretty sweet.

The last time this happened was at a local burger joint in May. He initiated the conversation by joking about being in my way while I was waiting for my food.

"What, from staring at the grill?"

And it continued from there. When my food arrived, I decided to see how he would respond to my indicator of interest.

"I'm Jinxie, by the way."

And then he shared his name. I realized I didn't have my phone (odd, that) or any cards on me, and even though he'd been fiddling with his phone earlier, he offered his email address, since it was pretty easy.

I should have realized this was a sign. He later tried to say he was trying to judge if I was just being friendly or if I'd really been flirting, which I'd thought I'd communicated by telling him my name. He should have more fully taken the bait.

Twenty-fours later, I emailed him. Said hi, said it was nice to talk to him. He added me on Facebook almost immediately. The rest of our conversation went something like this:

"It was nice talking to you too. Dinner sometime?"

"Love to."

"Restaurant A or Restaurant B?"

"I love restaurant A, but I've never tried B. Either sounds good to me."

"Great! When?"

"How about Wednesday or next weekend?"


For a week.

The next Thursday, the day after the first evening I'd given as an option, he started chatting with me on Facebook. After the usual pleasantries, he said he was going to lunch, "but since I'm out in A City Farther Away, I probably won't run into any certain cute girls while I'm there."

Umm, okay.

Later that afternoon, he IMs me again. I ask him how his lunch.

"Great, but I think the server was flirting with me. But she wasn't a certain cute girl, so I wasn't into it."


"But I think this cute girl is out of my league. Looking at her profile, she's so adventurous. She travels, she's artistic, she probably thinks I'm boring."

"You can't be a complete bore. She probably wouldn't talk to you if you were."

But all he told me when I told him that I needed to sign off was not to be a stranger.

Right then.

He's since un-friended me.

I know it can be hard to chat up a girl, but, really, what part of yes didn't he understand? I gave him all green lights, and yet he convinced himself that I couldn't possibly be interested.

This is one of those times I can honestly say it's his loss.

Friday, July 9, 2010

That void next to you

I recently read this line on another blog where they were writing a letter to their future husband:

I miss you and I may not even have met you yet. Is that weird?
I can relate. There were times for several years before things really got going with HP and me, even before we met, where I missed him. The best way I could describe it was like there was a void next to me, a big hole where he belonged.

I'd feel it in the passenger seat next to me when I was driving and it was as if I could reach my hand over and grab his. In fact, I often did reach my hand over into the seat and just make a fist as if I were holding something. I thought that perhaps I could reach into the void and whoever it was that was supposed to be there would feel me reaching.

I felt it at church from time to time. There was someone who was supposed to be sitting next to me. And I made sure I put my books on the other side of me from the void to leave room for him when he arrived.

A few months before HP proposed to me, I stopped feeling that void. It had been filled.

Have you ever read Shel Silverstein's "The Missing Piece"? Finding your missing piece, filling your void, can be quite the adventure. And the end is almost always unexpected.