Smashingsingle

My life as a single, responsible, Christian gal…

Thanksgiving Post

I love my big family.  Most of them.  Ok all of them.  Having a big family means having big family gatherings, and as we age, we add more and more faces around the dinner tables.  Being the second oldest among five children, and the first female, I find my single status to be boldly underlined at major holidays.

My family knows I’ve been grieving the loss of a certain ideal for a number of years, but they have never pestered me about finding a man.

Most of the folks in my generation are now quite happily settled into their own relationships, and just when I had a truce with this Being Single Forever thing, being around couples who clearly love each other brings the old aches back to the forefront.

When the gang’s all together (something we always strive for at holidays), my cup overflows with joy and gratitude at seeing the people I love the most being so well loved by their spouses and children.  I am proud and beyond pleased to observe them returning that love and care so very well.  But those feelings unfortunately put my own loveless life into stark contrast.  They make me wonder for the gazillionth time if there is actually a man out there for me, someone I could love well, who would love me well in turn.

What would he look like, sound like, feel like, act like…?  

I know that it’s only loneliness.  And I’ll admit that even I react with an eye-roll these days, whenever some variant on what I’m about to say next is whispered into my heart:

Honestly, I just thought that by now I would have met someone and eloped already. (Because at this point, if I have my way, no one will be invited to my nuptials.  Weddings were exciting when I was younger; now, it’s just… unnecessary to do something grandiose.  I don’t want to do it in front of a crowd.  I’d much rather get married in a beautiful old church – or a city hall, or on a boat – with the minimum number of necessary witnesses, go on a lovely vacation with my husband, and then tell people we got married when we get back.  I don’t want the drama of wedding planning or of trying to get my parents to be in the same room together without extreme tension, despite the fact that they’ve been divorced for over ten years now.)

I’ve been struggling with my singleness for awhile now.  But I’d like to take the time this Thanksgiving to give things a different spin.  Because there are a few ways I can redirect or counteract the thoughts that attack my ability to be content in this long season of loneliness.  Though I don’t often give voice to that perspective here, it is something for which I am truly aware.

In fact, it is possible to hate being single and to be grateful that you are at the same time; if only because things could be worse if you were married to someone who was a poor fit for you. Things are worse for lots of folks.

Every day this month, my social media feeds have been offering up “Today I Am Thankful For…” posts from good friends and plain old acquaintances.  So here are a few things I am choosing to recognize and be grateful for, in my singleness, as an alternative to brooding over the things I don’t love about it, or the things that just make it hard:

     *Instead of being sad that I haven’t found the love of my life yet… I’ll be thankful that I have never known the pain of divorce or the death of a spouse.

*Instead of inhaling around the lump in my throat while choosing the pew I’ll be sitting in – alone – this Sunday… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone who doesn’t share my faith in Jesus Christ.

*Instead of lamenting that I don’t yet know a man who I can’t wait to introduce to my dearest friends and family… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone who would embarrass me in public, by making a drunken scene or by being loud and disrespectful to others when he’s angry about something.

*Instead of despairing that there may in fact be no desirable single men left for whom I could harbor any great respect… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone of low or weak character who lacks a desire to improve himself.

*Instead of lingering over the fantasy of a man who would see through my protective walls and give me a giant hug when I need one… I’ll be glad I’m not married to someone who is cold and distant, or indifferent.

*Instead of longing to be part of a holy union that would grow stronger whenever we are striving toward Christ-likeness… I’ll be thankful I’m not married to someone who doesn’t care enough about me to tell me when I’m wrong.

*Instead of trying to rise above my anxiety over walking my dogs at night, alone, in a neighborhood without streetlamps… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone who doesn’t love dogs, or is allergic to them.

*Instead of wanting someone I could look forward to doing every holiday with… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone who would leave me to do all the work while they sat around or had all the fun.

*Instead of wishing I were married so that I could finally have sex with someone besides myself (This one is especially tough for a girl in her 30s whose sex drive is supposed to be at its peak.  That sucks a lot, actually.)… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone who is unfaithful or addicted to pornography; and that I’m not in a marriage where physical desire has petered out for one or both parties.

*Instead of hoping I will meet someone who will say to me, “Baby, if you don’t want to work, you don’t have to”… I’ll be thankful that I’m not married to someone who lacks the drive to be a good provider for me and any potential children.

*Instead of imagining how much better a hard day would be if I had someone to share some of my more serious burdens and responsibilities… I’ll be thankful I’m not married to someone who is not into learning about godly leadership; and to someone incapable of or unwilling to share in making decisions in the household.

 

So, then.  Just because this blog is more commonly utilized to navigate the complex negative feelings I have about being single, that doesn’t mean I don’t recognize that there are worse alternatives to being one of the Never-Marrieds.

After all, there’s a reason you don’t go out with some people more than once.  Or twice.  Or however long it takes for you to realize a fellow isn’t going to be moving on to the next round, so to speak.

For example, after ending things with one guy, I realized that I’d been thinking, “You’re more of a girl than I am, and I wanna be the girl.”  I don’t know how many girls out there feel the same way, but I need a STRONG man.  (And, before you ask:  No. Of course I didn’t tell the guy that I thought I was more of a man than he was!)

On that note – Happy Turkey Day!  Or what’s left of it.  I hope it was a good one for you.  My advice to you today, for what it’s worth, is that you find something to be thankful for.  Even if you hate being single.

-Smashingsingle

 

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9 reasons to avoid falling in love on a long-running tv show

Here are nearly ten reasons Not to fall in love as a character on a long-running tv series (that is, if you ever get the chance):

  1. You and The One will spend most of the first 7 or 8 years of your acquaintance taking retro tvturns pining after one another in secret.  Your friends will exchange knowing glances all the while, but none of them will love you enough to slap you in the face with your feelings.
  2. You have to be in an actual coma and suffering from life-threatening injuries before The One will let their guard down enough to hold your hand.  And when that happens, you won’t be conscious for it.  And when you’re conscious, he’ll be in a relationship with someone else.
  3. On at least 40 different occasions, Fate will Almost bring you together.  But then before either of you get around to confessing your true feelings, someone else will walk into the picture and distract The One.  And even though the whole experience will be very unsatisfying for you, for The One, and for everyone who cares about what happens in your lives; this surprising, filler relationship will almost get as far as the altar until the stand-in love interest dies.  Tragically.  In a car accident.
  4. When The One starts recovering from the death of the stand-in fiancé, whose life was apparently expendable, no one is surprised but him at how quickly he bounces back.  And when he walks into that same after-work spot the two of you always landed at, he smiles at you from across the room and starts heading over.  But just as he’s reached your table, your own stand-in, the guy no one really understands your pretend interest in, takes his seat in the booth next to you.  The One swallows, manages a weak smile, and shakes his hand when you introduce your stand-in to him.  Then he walks away so you can enjoy your fake night with your fake guy.
  5. And in the midst of all of this: Every February, like clockwork, something horrible and scary will happen to you or to someone that you really, really love or admire.
  6. Just when you’re starting to recover from February, May happens.  And then it’ll be at least 4 months before Anything New happens in your life.
  7. By the time the two of you actually get together, folks are happy about it, but it’s not really exciting anymore.  The chase was the most exciting part about it, and the honeymoon’s over before it began. But you will ride off into the sunset, because there was no other way for this to end.
  8. Or, you will get together and it will be joyful; and you will lament how ridiculous it was that you wasted 7 or 8 years of your life Not being together.
  9. Your long-running, twisted saga will continue to perpetuate false hope with empty hearts around the world: teaching piners everywhere that pining will eventually get you somewhere. Even though this is a lie, piners are oblivious.  In fact, they don’t even realize that your fake relationship is shaping their romantic worldview in a very unhealthy way.

None of this will bother you, though, in the end.  Because you will finally be in the relationship everyone dreamed about for you.

Stay classy 🙂

-Smashingsingle

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Should I turn off the ‘new match’ feature?

At the risk of sounding unbelievably cliché, I need to ask this question: Where are all the good men?

Could it be that this part of the country just doesn’t have what I’m looking for?   I’ve lived in the same metropolitan area my entire life, and I’ve found lots of quality, lasting friendships here. So it seems like there ought to be some romantic relationship material residing close by.

Alas, I haven’t run into it.

Despite my previous vow to never do this again (here’s an earlier post for your reading online datingpleasure), I signed up with a dating site over a year ago. Today I find myself still, and possibly interminably, single.  And I am sorely tempted to turn OFF the ‘I’d like to receive new matches’ feature.

On the one hand, I’d like to get my money’s worth from the site. On the other hand, I haven’t so far. What I have done, is answer a lot of ‘5 question’ combos, exchange emails with a dozen or so guys, talk on the phone with one fellow, and meet a couple more in person. One of the in-person guys turned out to live in my subdivision, and we had a fun, casual big-city park first date, during which the conversation stayed fresh and enjoyable and lasted over 3 hours; which he was totally jazzed about, and after which he never called me again. Today, despite the hundreds of matches they have sent my way (including the ones that were generated from the site admins’ automatically expanding my preferred criteria – in order to deliver their promised number of ‘perfect’ matches), I rarely get contacted by anyone.

The guys who DO contact me on this site typically have profiles that include:

  • when asked what they look for in a woman, answer “someone who doesn’t care that I have three kids by three different women,” or
  • when asked to name the last book they read and enjoyed, answer “don’t read much.”
  • one of the pre-set questions I get asked the most is, “What is your opinion of traditional gender roles?” My response is always, “What is your definition of traditional?” No one ever gets back to me on that one.

Having said that, I do get a fair number of visitors to my profile whenever I update something. But again, only a few guys are ever inspired to reach out and get to know me better. And I wonder what I could include that I haven’t, that might be enticing to the guys I am hoping to engage? Or, what am I including that they don’t want to see?

The site is set up so that when a fellow skims my profile, the first things he sees (besides my face) are my profession and whether or not I want to have children.

  • For the career question, I changed my answer a few months ago to list only the industry I am in, instead of my actual job title, because my job, apparently, is intimidating. So now I wonder, is listing the industry alone too vague of an answer?
  • The question about kids is multiple-choice, and your options are: “Yes/No/Maybe.” My profile says: “I Might Want to Have Kids.” So maybe the guys who definitely WANT kids or the guys that definitely DON’T want kids are just moving on immediately after glancing at that.   If that’s the case, I think I need to be dealing with a higher level of being, here. Someone who understands that not every question has a yes or a no answer. When I say, I ‘might’ want kids, it’s because it’s true. I have a lot of nieces and nephews to love and pour into, and I don’t know that my life’s happiness would depend on having children of my own. I wouldn’t be unhappy with children, but I’m 33 years old, and I have fewer years of natural fertility left. If a man already has kids, I would try to be the best second mom they could have, and I would hope to be able to love them the way they need to be loved. If a man doesn’t want to have kids, depending on the WHY, that’s not gonna stop me from marrying him. Neither will it be a deterrent for me if a man CAN’T have biological children. I’m just… open. I think about adoption sometimes. I’m from a big family, so I am open to the idea of adopting a sibling group. In 10 years or so, if I’m still single and there are some kids out there who would rather have a single parent than be bounced around in the foster system with no one to really count on, I might decide to look into that.

I feel like I need to be engaged on a higher intellectual level than the folks on eharmony are willing or able to provide. (Yes, it’s eharmony. I previously tried match and christianmingle, but match didn’t do ANY screening before sending me profiles, and on christianmingle the only guys who messaged me were two to three decades older than me or looking to gain US citizenship. Not kidding.)

SO my dilemma is,

  • Do I turn off the ‘receive new matches’ function on eharmony, and run the risk of missing out on the perfect guy finally joining the site and engaging me? (I still have months left on the subscription, so that might be a possibility.)
  • OR –
  • Do I continue to receive daily notifications that they have 4 -7 new matches waiting for me? So far, these have only contributed to a giant Olympic-sized swimming pool filled with men who could not possibly make me happy, or who don’t think I could make them happy. (I still have months left on this subscription, and I’m not sure if I want to keep experiencing this day after day.) It’s really disheartening. Honestly, I dread checking the email account that I have tied to that service, because when I tell myself to ‘think positive’ and see what’s new, it’s always the same old/same old routine.

Because I am a key player at work and in my community, my career puts me in front of LOT of people. I enjoy keeping my private life separated from my ever-changing client base (not because my private life contains anything unseemly, but because it is my own), so I really need to be on a site that vets any prospective matches for me on the front end. I also don’t want to have to field a lot of indecent proposals. So that rules out sites like zoosk, Tinder, or plentyoffish.

Point is, I haven’t met the guy yet who can improve the quality of my life beyond singlehood (and no, I don’t mean just financially), but I’m really longing to meet him. I’m looking for a guy I can respect, who shares my values, who I can talk to on more than one level, who I feel I can trust, and who I find to be physically attractive. I’m a pretty strong person, so I’m looking for a strong guy I can rely on, support, inspire, and grow with.

I feel like somewhere there must be a room filled with guys who are completely compatible with me, but maybe I missed the memo that spelled out the super-secret-special knock I would need to gain access to it. Maybe it’s that. Or maybe it’s this city.

Or maybe the real answer is that I’m just not Tall enough to be date-worthy. I heard a statistic on my favorite morning radio show this week: According to a recent national survey, shorter people have a harder time finding dates. If I’m being honest, and you know that I am, I thought that the short problem applied mostly to men. As it turns out, according to wherever the statistics came from, it’s not gender-specific. I get that taller girls might have longer legs or something, so maybe that’s part of it. I don’t know. My legs are pretty much in proportion to my body, but I stand at 5’ 4.5”; so that could be my problem.

I’d love to hear your views. Until next time…

 

-Smashingsingle

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what it’s like to be lonely

I know my jonesin’ has gotten out of hand when:

I have to exercise mental discipline over thoughts of TOOMUA.

TOOMUA is The Object Of My Unrequited Affection.

More specifically, I have to guard against my tendency to nourish those thoughts in any unhealthy direction.

They creep up on me when I’m not trying to think about him. Or, immediately after I find myself acknowledging that yes, I am still always lonely.

Sometimes I allow myself to think about being lonely, because sometimes I need to analyze it.  The loneliness.  Because the more I know about myself and what triggers my brain to think of TOOMUA (or to remind me, again, that I’m actually lonely), the more control I can have over my mental processes and any unhealthy reactions.  Theoretically.  So I analyze it.  And I pray.  Cause Jesus knows.

My phone makes any kind of noise – text, missed call, app alert –  and my hopeful heart leaps into my throat even though TOOMUA hasn’t shown me any kind of attention lately and I haven’t thought about him at all in the last few hours.  Or days.  Or a week.  And then it’s Help me, Jesus.  Again and again.  Which He does.  Again and again.  And when all those Facebook acquaintances invite me to events that I never RSVP’d to and I’m still alerted to Every Post they share with a loud buzz… I have to turn my phone off.  Not because it’s annoying (which it definitely is), but because every time I hear it, I have to exercise the Mental Discipline:  STOP.  It’s not a message from TOOMUA.  That guy doesn’t want you, and you’re being ridiculous.  That hurts. But Jesus knows.  Thank God.

TOOMUA’s on the phone, and he asks what I had for lunch today.  Before I can stop myself, I’m envisioning him asking to meet me somewhere for lunch tomorrow.  His treat.  And I have to Mental Discipline, immediately:  STOP.  It’s not gonna happen.  I laugh at how absurd this is, and how it continues to be a problem for me.  I shake my head.  Jesus knows.  Help me, Jesus.  And He does.  His strength is there for the asking.

The crying usually happens when I’m praying; talking to God about it frankly, when I have a minute, when I’m not at work or in another public place.  Not speaking bitterly, just honestly telling Him what I want; and in my heart, I want this (I don’t know. what it is, it’s so deep there are no words for it) something so much that I can’t help but cry.  I try to keep a steady tone, but as I offer those honest words my voice just breaks.  Often, and unpredictably.  It’s safe to cry with Jesus.  To be real. Because He knows.  Thank God.

This praying usually happens when I’m driving anywhere and it’s dusk, or it’s dark, or there’s a long stretch of road and no one else is on it and I’m wearing my sunglasses because that way I can be lonely in private. Emotional without an audience.  Cryving. Cry-ving.  It usually isn’t on my trip itinerary, but there’s something safe and inviting, something soul-prying in a darkening sky or a quiet highway.

Driving at NightI cry without meaning to; not a snotty, messy cry, usually:  the kind where the tears just sort of flow in streams instead of falling in solitary droplets, and my cheeks and my face and that hollow at the juncture of my collarbones is just perpetually filled with saltwater.  Dripping onto my clothes, under my clothes and down the center of my chest.  The air conditioning hits these places, and they’re cold and uncomfortable for a moment; and then the stream is refreshed, and the shivering turns to warmth again.  It’s oddly comforting, the heat of new-shed tears.

There’s a lot of loneliness in the world, and mine is as valid as everyone else’s.  But I know I have people.  I have family, I have friends who are like family, I have pets who are beloved.  I am so blessed.

My family and my friends who are like family are mostly married these days; have been for a good while now.  And this doesn’t put them in a better or worse position than me in the light of eternity.  But still, I thank God that my loved ones have someone to shoulder this life with.  Someone to physically touch them sometimes, to convey compassion, assurance, the strength of a beloved friend.  Someone whose touch can dispel tension.  Someone with whom they can share a physical release.  Someone who cared for and desired them enough to commit to loving, honoring, and serving them under a holy covenant.

It’s gotten to the point that I can’t even sing along to the upbeat Motown songs I’ve loved since childhood.  “Mama said there’ll be days like this…  My eyes are wide open, but all that I can see… Is chapel bells a -tollin’ for everyone but me…”   That music, those songs, used to put me in a cheerful mood.  The tempo, those harmonies are all still there; but I can’t sing the words anymore.

I know that Jesus knows what it’s like to be lonely.  The loneliest kind of lonely.  Lonelier that I will ever personally experience.  I know that He knows; and I know, and I Feel, that He cares that I struggle with this.

Help me, Jesus, I pray more than any other prayer. Except maybe the one that goes, Thank You, Jesus, or the one that usually follows it: I trust You, Lord.  I trust You.  And there’s that quiet, faithful strength I couldn’t generate on my own.

Help me, Jesus.  He does. And I trust You.

-Smashingsingle

 

 

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Living in the realm of Unrequited.

“The trouble is, I don’t want the ones that want me, and no one that I want to want me… wants me.”

~ Smashingsingle  (Every single day of my Very Single Life.)

 

When a crush is Unrequited, it means that one person is looking at the other with the distinct impression of, Nu-uh. Nnope. Not you.

Whether there is just too much of something, not enough of something else, or nothing-at-all of Something Else… either way, it’s just: NO. 

And that is so cold!  But ultimately, unalterable.

So How do you get over it, when you’re the one who’s fallen hard, and the object of your affection FOR REAL does not want you? Can you stop yourself having feelings that are doomed to be unreturned?

On the one hand, you can be reminded repeatedly that you can’t force someone to have romantic feelings for you; just like you can’t force yourself to have romantic feelings for anyone else.  That’s logical, and logic can be powerful.

But, the simple act of owning that truth doesn’t change what you actually feel for a person when you are romantically attracted to them.  The heart wants what the heart wants. (Whatever that is.) Aaand it doesn’t want what it doesn’t want. Right?

Pesky feelings!  Take logic a step further, and you run the risk of concluding that, because your crush was never going to return your feelings, there was no point, no reason for you to ever have them in the first place.

 

 Wouldn’t it be great, then, if we all could just opt out of Unrequited, and never have feelings for someone unless they were guaranteed to return the sentiment? 

 

Maybe we can find out ‘How’ to get over a one-sided affair by first asking a different question:  ‘When?’  When does unrequited love cease to be felt? When do the undulating waves of rejection, sadness, and fruitless, joyful hope abate? Is there an average timeline, a number to the long hours we must endure? Or do we have to wait for an arbitrary change in circumstance?  Like when he gets married to someone else? Or, when you meet someone new who is attracted to you?

  • When he gets married to someone else:

You wait until he’s off the market.  Like, totally off the market.  You hear that he’s engaged; and then suddenly you’re holding your breath and willing him to walk down the aisle; and then it’s over.  There’s nothing for your hope to cling to anymore, so it dies.

One of the most cathartic moments of my life came after I received a  wedding invitation from an ex-Almost-Someone.  I took it out to the back patio table, set it inside a glass pedestaled bowl, and lit that sucker on fire.  The weather was perfect.  It was about to storm, so the wind was up; and I just sat there watching the edges of the paper darken, and curl, and get eaten away; and the ashes rose out of the bowl and up, up into the changing sky…

What would be really great, is if I could find a way to get that kind of closure without having to wait for something as final as my Unrequited’s marriage to someone else.  Surely there could be another catalyst to inspire my feelings to behave properly (instead of going all swoony or weepy whenever I think of the guy).  Surely I could find some way to get rid of Unrequited sentiment, instead of just boxing it up and stacking stuff on top of it so that when he walks into the room and doesn’t see it, he knocks it over and everything just gushes out… Because of course he isn’t going to ask me out, and even though I already know it, I can’t help but hope he will whenever I see him.  And when he doesn’t, my heart is broken all over again.

  • When you meet someone new who is attracted to you

“You’ll feel better when you meet someone new.” That’s what everybody tells you, right?  How soon is that supposed to be happening? We’ve already established that you can’t control who you fall for, so whether you’re introduced to 10 or 20 or 30 new people in a year, or whether you meet only 5, those logically pointless feelings for your Someone Unrequited are still there – and they’re felt more acutely when ‘Someone New’ turns out to be ‘Someone Not As Interesting As You’d Hoped, Unfortunately’… and you start wondering about the one you still have feelings for, the last person you truly wanted, who by the way was never going to want you back.  And ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch, ouch.

Are we meant to learn something from that pain?  Is all this repetition necessary practice for shaping us into people who will be in the best form to love the ones who will finally love us back?

Or here’s a question: Why do some people get to meet their Forever Someones in elementary school, and others have to wait until their twilight years when Forever (aka happily ever after) is basically just a short walk from the porch to the mailbox?old people holding hands

  • Alas, there is another possibility.

Deep breath here, because… Well.  There is the possibility that there will never be a ‘Someone New.’

There is always that possibility. That there will never be an earthly Love that is Requited.  If that possibility becomes a reality in my life, then in the end, the last one I will ever want will also be the last one who will never want me.

 

-Smashingsingle

 

 

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The Little Black Book Review: Holiday Edition, revised (Part II)

In case you haven’t noticed, December is well underway.  Winter solstice is approaching, and with sleigh bells jingling, the countdown to year-end celebrations triggers all manner of expectations.  Parties and presents, family and friends; honoring old traditions and creating new ones.

If you’re Single (like me), you often have to get proactive to satisfy your cravings for community.  And in this hustle-bustling season of special events, great performances and charity drives, we tend to gravitate even more toward the people who bring joy and meaning to our lives.

It’s that impetus, that culture-driven desire to stoke the spirit of holiday cheer, which morphs even the dullest ache of familiar, manageable loneliness into a point so sharp it should have a conceal-and-carry permit.

I’m convinced that this is why so many of us find our Exes or One-Date-Wonders checking in around this time of year. It’s like they forgot that the last time they saw us, they weren’t interested. Or we weren’t interested. And in perfect holiday fashion, Seasons Greetings seems to bring them out of the woodwork, right?

(*Here’s a link to Part I of this Review, a sampling of actual text messages I’ve received from guys I NEVER hear from between January 2nd and November somethingorother: https://smashingsingle.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/the-little-black-book-review-holiday-edition-part-i-revised/)

Ah, texting.  So less than.  So supportive of the Passive Suitor and the Ambiguous Response Guy.  Along with social media, texting allows that when former flings start sniffing around at Christmas (or even earlier, like Thanksgiving Day), they have multiple ways of avoiding the integrity and responsibility of having an actual voice-to-voice conversation with you.

Unfortunately, this is also the time of year when real courage shows up in the form of people you would never consciously (or subconsciously) choose to date.  These guys ask you out, and you think:

This the worst holiday ever.  Or not ; not really – because it’s exactly the same as last year. Not only are you not being asked out by someone you wish would ask you out (or maybe that someone is asking you out and you know in your soul that this is only happening because he’s lonely tonight and it will never mean anything to him); but in addition, you’re having to turn down another person who might actually like you. Because you don’t like him; at least, not in that way. And hey – he has feelings, too, so… you also get to feel bad about that.

If I had a ring on my finger, I would probably have a different set of shenanigans to avoid at this time of year. But for now, everywhere I go, the never-ending soundtrack of the season just encourages a kind of desperate, indiscriminate behavior among my fellow lonely Singletons:

  • “But baby, it’s cold outside.”
  • “What are you doin’… New Year’s Eve?”
  • “It’s lovely weather for a sleigh ride together with you.”
  • “The weather outside is frightful… And since we’ve no place to go…”
  • “I’ve got my love to keep me warm.”
  • We’re happy tonight/ Walkin’ in a winter wonderland.”
  • “On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…”

So I think it’s basically inevitable,i-know-you-only-called-because-you-cant-stand-being-single-at-this-time-of-year-well-that-makes-two-of-us-obviously-abbf0 that in this holiday season we Singles are all just hoping. Secretly or sincerely: hoping. We are hoping So Hard. That even though this ridiculous charade, this holiday version of The Little-Black-Book Review, has us feeling like a white elephant gift that keeps on showing up at the same party year after year… well, maybe. Just maybe. By this time next year, we’ll be taken.

Happy Holidays!

~Smash

 

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The Little Black Book Review: Holiday Edition, revised (Part I)

What do Holiday Homer, Christmas Colin, Present Pete and a couple of other jolly monikers have in common?  They’re pseudonyms for my very own Ghosts-of-Datings-Past: real-life characters who come around to haunt me at the end of every year.

Here’s a sampling of actual text messages I’ve received from these guys, men I never hear from between January 2nd and Thanksgiving Day.

I’m also including (for personal and prolific reasons) the kind of responses to those texts that have rarely been expressed outside of my own head.

But maybe that’s why these guys can still locate my phone number. So I can enjoy another season of this dramedy:

  • from Holiday Homer, at 11am “Hey! How are you?”

    Great, thanks.  I’m at work, which is normal for me at this time of day.  You, I assume, are between girlfriends right now.

  • from Christmas Colin, at 5pm ~  “Wanna catch a movie tonight?”

    Wow.  How could I have forgotten how painful and insulting this feels?  See, I want to you to think I’m special, but we both know that I am really just a last-minute substitute for someone else who cancelled on you. AND I’m probably not the only one who’s received this invitation.  You’re hoping to have the luxury of weighing multiple options this evening.  You’re betting that there will be more than one girl who lacks enough self-respect to require advanced notice.

    Well, pssht.  Good luck with that, mister.

    **On second thought, seeing as how we do this every holiday season, maybe I will – for old times’ sake – take you up on it.  Just this once.  Only, don’t do that thing where you cancel half an hour from now because you ‘forgot’ you had a ‘family thing.’

  • from Giftwrap Gavin, at 7pm ~ “I was just thinking about you.”

    Were you, Gavin?  To what end?  No, don’t tell me.  I know it’s Christmas, and you and I went out, the one time: Last December.

    Since neither of us has made a move to stay in touch until now (because we both know that there is no there, there), let’s just move along.  Um… please.

  • from Present Pete, at 12:30am ~ “I miss you :(”

    Hahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

    Oh, I’m sorry. (I’m crying over here, from all of this raucus laughter).  I’m so sure that you do, genuinely, miss me.  Just like I’m sure that your text here, interrupting my REM cycle, is an indication that you have a tremendously high regard for my well-being. It does not at all signify that your mind is in the gutter.

    Yeah. So, I don’t miss you, I definitely don’t want your Christmas Cookies, and you are So Not Getting Mine.

    Please go away, Gavin.

  • from William Wassail, at ‘10-second Countdown’ on New Year’s Eve ~ “What do you look for in a guy?”

    Hm.  I haven’t heard from you in over a year, and you want to ask me this question while the giant disco ball is dropping?  I would normally be thrilled by this type of straight-forwardness, but somehow I don’t think you’re expecting me to answer in kind.

    But I’m going to answer you anyway.  Because you asked for it, because I’m exhausted from always being carefully polite and kind to a bunch of idiots who don’t actually notice it, and because I’m not interested in playing a game that neither of us is going to win.  So here it is, no holds barred:

    (…………)

    **I am unsurprised that you do not have any response.

Folks, my gut reactions to Gavin & Friends may sound harsh (probably only to some of you – the rest of you are nodding and shaking your heads along with me), but I guarantee that if you’ve been around this goofiness long enough, and you know your human behavior (that is, the behavior of the humans you are specifically dealing with), it gets to feeling pretty routine.

And yet, I still can’t help but think: how pathetic is it that this is the most attention I’ve been shown all year long?

I’ve got five guys looking me up for a chat (or, erm, whatever.  You know.) in a really short span of time, and I should be elated.  But none of it’s real. It’s just the annual culmination of boredom, desperation, and resignation that spurs what I’m copyrighting as a “Little-Black-Book Review” at the warm-and-fuzziest time of year. How’s that for cheerful?

Well, it’s not.  But as we all know, it is real life.

MistletoeWatch out for that mistletoe, people.  Merry, merry!

-Smash

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Rating Your Church’s Singles Ministry

If you or a loved one are Single, you may be reading this blog.  So just in case you haven’t heard of Jon Acuff, here’s a link to my favorite post from  his blog, Stuff Christians Like.

http://stuffchristianslike.net/2012/02/09/surviving-church-as-a-single/

Actually, it was this post that introduced me to SCL.  SCL.jpgSo thank you, former college roommate (whom I still see every month), for finding this and sharing it with me when we were both living the single, post-college life.  A life I am I still living.  Obviously.

Basically, readers, what you’re getting here is a dubiously weighted scorecard to measure how awesome, awkward, horrible, or non-existent your church’s Singles Ministry actually is.  This scorecard has the potential to be enjoyed on your own, or in a more interactive manner (as in, Let’s make it a competition and see who wins! – ahem, Loses).

However you choose to enjoy it, please do so, with my compliments and those of my former college roommate (whom I still see every month).

Merry Christmas!

-Smashingsingle

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Because I didn’t feel Single Enough last Thursday…

My single brother and I were talking about my plans to travel this holiday season, and I reminded him that one of our friends had sent out “Save the Date” cards a few months ago, with Formal Invitations to Follow for a wedding set the weekend before Thanksgiving.

I checked my mail after work that same evening, and there was the tell-tale envelope.  Except when I opened it, it wasn’t the invitation I’d been expecting.

WeddingInvitation.jpg

This one was for an early December wedding, for a lovely lady in my office who was shocked at being asked for a divorce last year after two decades of marriage.  Almost before she could turn around, she was ‘friended’ online by an unrequited high school crush.  While this fellow had never asked my coworker out, back in the day; as soon as she agreed to be his ‘Facebook friend,’ he began to joyfully and persistently pursue her.  And now those two will be walking down a holiday-themed aisle in about 6 weeks.

Okay, I might go to that one.  But wow, that was fast.  The voices in my head whisper, “God loved that girl enough to give her a husband twice.  She got divorced and then found someone wonderful two seconds after that – while you’re over here with no candidates to even consider.  You’re left out.  He doesn’t love you like that.  He didn’t make even one someone for you.  You will never stop wanting this, and He knows that.  He may never have someone for you, but He won’t give you confirmation, one way or the other.  No matter how many times you have asked.  That hurts, doesn’t it?  That should hurt.”

Of course, not to be forgotten, my invitation for the pre-Thanksgiving wedding arrived in the mail the very next day.

So, down with Satan.  But I’m also not going to that wedding.

-Smashingsingle

 

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Because I didn’t feel Single Enough yesterday…

I was manning a game for our church’s Fall Festival, and one of the organizers told me I needed to register at the check-in station for one of the door prizes.

The older gentleman who signed me in took my ticket, and then handed me a few more, FallFestival“to write down your children’s names.”

I’m sure I blinked at him a few times before I laughed and told him I didn’t have any children.  (Ah, another reminder that I’ll probably be alone forever.)

He gave me the oddest look as I walked away, as if he found it strange that I should be there.

I’ve sat on the same row with him on several Sunday mornings out of the year – passed him the collection plate, received thank-yous from him for a solo now and then.  Not once have I had any small people sitting with me.

And it’s only now that I am writing this that it occurs to me that maybe he didn’t recognize me last night.  It’s nice to know that greeting someone week after week still manages to render you Not Memorable.  On the other hand, if that’s actually the case, he’d have had a good reason to be wierded out by me at the festival: a random adult walking around a children’s event with no charges in tow.  THAT would be one instance where being single in church might not make you invisible.

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