Love & Responsibility in NYC

June 27, 2011

I’m happy to report that Love & Responsibility in NYC is starting up again!

Taking place right in the heart of NYC every Tuesday evening, in downtown SoHo, this weekly social discussion forum for young adults in their 20’s and 30’s will inspire you to grow in your understanding of love and flourish in your relationships.

The first meeting is tomorrow night (Tuesday June 28, 2011) at 7:30 p.m. in SoHo.

Interested? check it out at:
Outdoor Courtyard of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral High School
Entrance via the yellow door on Mott St (b/w Prince St & Spring St)
New York, NY

More info at:

https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=211308248907388

Hope to see you there 🙂

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Real world stories and solutions: How to re-route the make-out

December 21, 2010

What’s more awkward than a crowded winter subway train where people’s bodies are squished like sardines amidst winter coats, newspapers, and morning coffee?

A guy giving you his number on a crowded winter subway train where the people’s bodies are squished like sardines amidst winter coats, newspapers, and morning coffee.  Yep.  That was my morning.

Winter brings the cold.  The cold brings out the gloves.  The gloves hide the wedding ring on the third finger on my left hand.

Ordinarily, for example in a quiet cafe, I’d be flattered and have the opportunity to discretely decline.  But with about 7 people pressed up against us, looking on and within earshot, I spoke the truth, worked through the awkward moment where I told him that I couldn’t call him because it would be inappropriate because I am married, but continued on to the fact that if I ever needed software design or help with a neighborhood watch or flea market, I’d be sure to contact him.  When I first started speaking, it was clunky and he looked visibly uncomfortable.  As I persevered, a look of relief came over his face as I continued past the words of awkwardness to the words that indicated that I had actually been listening to him while he was speaking.   We parted with a smile and all was well.

Make-out re-route successful!

In my earlier post, I talked about how simply “using our words” can flush out confusion and misunderstanding in the particular arena of dating.  Often one person is ready to race ahead while the other is left wondering “how things got so physical so fast!”  Simply “using our words” to communicate to the other, where we are and what is appropriate, allows us to avoid the game of charades, confusion, and mishaps.

This post is more about my real world stories and (hopefully) the solutions that you can use to avoid adventures like these of your own.

Expensive Dinner Danger
Ok, so this story is one where I thought I was being clear enough in the beginning but later discovered that I just needed to state my position more directly.

One day several years ago I was sunbathing in Central Park’s Sheep’s Meadow with some friends.  A friend of one of my friends came over towards us and started to get chatty with me.  Seeing as though I happened to be reading the Bible (not my usual reading material for Central Park btw) and after hearing that I worked for the Catholic Church, and that I attended mass on every Sunday – and sometimes daily, I figured that the chattiness would soon cease.  (These facts usually scared off guys.)  Instead, to my surprise, he persisted.  He mentioned that he had attended Catholic High School and that one of his good friends was a priest.  So, when he asked me out, I thought, “Sure, why not?”

He called me after a couple of days to schedule the time and place for the date.  He said that he wanted to take me out to dinner and wanted to know if I had any favorite places or if there were cuisines that I didn’t like.  I told him that I enjoyed just about any cuisine, but that I prefered foods with a lot of flavor vs a place that just serves a lot of food.  Quality over quantity.   Warning ladies: this is where the make-out re-route should have started.  My advice (now that I’ve learned my lesson) is to keep first dates to coffee, tea, snacks – something short – AND NO ALCOHOL.  I thought I was trying to allow the man to lead – to decide what to do on the date, but what I really did was allow him to set the pace – and set it much faster than I was wanting. Warning: the bridge is out!

So he invited me to go to an expensive all you can eat meatfest.  It was one of those Brazilian meat-a-thon places where the waiters literally bring you 20+ kinds of meat on gigantic skewers they recently extracted from the fire pit.  There was a double-sided paper: green for “go, I want more food” and red for “stop, please don’t serve me anymore or I will explode.”  (Perhaps he mis-heard my statement on not liking huge quantities of food?)  By the way ladies, if you are ever wondering where the men are in this town, the answer is: at one of these meatfest restaurants.  There had to be a 30 to 1, guy to gal ratio in that place.  Go where there is meat and you shall find the men.

This was another make-out re-route point; once I learned that the dinner was expensive, I could have suggested another less expensive option for our FIRST date. Now, gals and guys, I’m not saying that you CAN’T go out on an expensive date.  I’m just saying that you should at least save that for AFTER the first date.

Fast forward through dinner and a clunky conversation, and you’d find us walking uptown for a few blocks towards Columbus Circle.  It was such lovely weather that I had said that I was going to walk home and he offered to walk uptown with me before I turned to head across town.  He asked if we could talk for a little at the fountain in the circleMake-out re-route number 3: I should have seen the fountain and moonlight as a make-out scene from a movie, but I never saw it coming!!!  Mostly, I think, because the conversation had been so clunky. I could have suggested that we simply part ways and leave further conversation for later, but nooooooooooooooo.  I didn’t.

So we sat down at the fountain and we ended up talking about random things when all of a sudden he swooped in for a kiss.  ACK!  Just in the nick of time I remembered to turn my brain on and stop the swoop for the kiss.  In the clunkiest way I think I mumbled something like: “I… I…. I’m not sure that you really know who I am.”  Which does NOT really make sense.  Who am I, a super hero about to reveal my true identity? Fortunately it was enough to make him say, “What?” So I explained, “Well, you see.  I’m really, REALLY Catholic.  I don’t just read the Bible in the park and go to church on Sunday.  I am really, really, really Catholic.”

He was still confused.  I’m not surprised that he was confused.  These days people have come across so many Catholics (including myself in earlier more naive years) who call themselves “Catholic” but don’t walk the talk, that they don’t know what being a practicing Catholic means.

So instead of going through the theology of why I believed what I believed and how I came to believe that, I simply stated the point I was trying to get across to him:  “I will not be sleeping with you or anyone until we are married.  I’m waiting  until my wedding night.  I’m not having any sort of sex until I’m married to the person.” Make-out re-route complete, but with drama.

Get this…

His reply: “This is sooooo stupid.  Oh my gosh.  What are you doing?  You are so beautiful.  What a waste!  What a horrible terrible waste!  Because of some stupid religion you are going to ‘wait till you are married?’  Well, let me tell you – NO man will wait for that.  No man is going to agree to that.  You are going to end up old and alone.”

Old and alone.

The words rang through my head as if someone had just whacked one of those gigantic gongs next to my head leaving my head ringing as if it was the bell at the top of Quasimodo’s tower.

He spouted off some stuff about me being wrong about religion and God – that God had really just come to earth as Jesus because he couldn’t understand us humans.  (That’s a heresy, btw.  God did NOT send His Son so that He could get to know us better….)

This is where it got nasty.  He stood up and said:  “How could you do this to me!  How could you let me take you to that expensive restaurant if you weren’t going to sleep with me!  Man I really thought we could have something here.  I mean, you’re the kind of girl that I would actually want to be my girlfriend, not just a one night stand.  (Oh Romeo, kill me quickly!) How could you do this?  Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”

To which I answered, “Let me remind you, you met me in the park.  I was READING THE BIBLE.  I work for the church.  I go to church.  That didn’t clue you in?”

Sadly, it did not.  This guy had been blindsided by my revelation of the existence of chastity.  I thought my game of charades would have led him to KNOW that I wasn’t going to be making out with him at the end of the first date or sleeping with him in exchange for dinner.  I now know that “using my words” is best and that getting it out in the open will avoid situations like this.

I’ve got more stories, but for now I’m going to close this post by saying that even though the above situation was extremely awkward, it was well worth it.

1.) If it weren’t for me, that man might have gone through life thinking that chastity had died out with the dinosaurs.

2.) It gave me the opportunity to stand up for what I believe in.

3.) It gave me the opportunity to persevere – to wait for a man who would wait to have sex AND who would love me for it.

I don’t know what ever happened to that guy, but I do know that I’m not old and alone.  I’m happily married to a wonderful man.  Take that and put it on a skewer!  ;o)

Setting the pace: How to re-route the make-out

December 20, 2010

A friend of mine recently asked me the dreaded question, “How do you clue the guy into the fact that you are interested in a date, but not a make-out session?”

Or how about the even more awkward question, “How do I let a guy know that I want to wait to have sex (and that means all kinds of sex) until marriage?” and, “How do I do this without scaring him off, without seeming like I’m a puritanical museum artifact, and that this viewpoint is not because I’m following orders, but because I know what’s best for me?”

(We aren’t prudes or afraid of physical intimacy, it’s just that we don’t want to get physical before we know enough about the person to TRUST them with our hearts.)

Well gals, it’s tricky – but the good news is, all you have to do is reset the pace.

What not to do: Keep silent and hope he gets the drift.

This approach never works and ends up being like a bad game of charades.  We gals always hope that men will read our minds.  We gals hope for that magical moment when we find that perfect charades partner who seems to know the answer before we even begin to act out the clue.  Newsflash ladies: this will never work ESPECIALLY ON A FIRST DATE.

If we take this approach, men will be left literally scratching their heads wondering what went wrong.

How do we reset the pace?  How do we ensure that we are on the same page? We use our words.

When my youngest niece, Bonnie, was about 3 1/2 years old, I lived with her and her family during a time of employment transition (aka unemployment). While living there, I learned a HUGE lesson that aided me in my future dating scenarios and current marriage.

Often Bonnie became frustrated and cranky.  Her parents came to quickly realize that she was most angered when we weren’t doing something the WAY she wanted.  (Typical for little tykes, but also typical for most adults I know. 😛 ) So her parents used a simple phrase that helped little Bonnie to remember that we couldn’t read her mind and that if she wanted us to behave in a certain way she would simply have to, “use her words.”

So my advice to you ladies (and actually this goes for you too, guys), use your words. Just get what you are thinking out in the open.  Say it.

My second piece of advice is to learn the skill of: say what you mean and mean what you say. That means that your actions should back up your words.  Make your body language match what your mouth is saying, but always remember to make your mouth say what you have thought about in advance. (This one is really three parts.  Part 1 is thinking about what you are going to say.  Part 2 is saying what you really mean – don’t dance around the issue or be unclear.  Part 3 is mean what you say – make your actions match your words.)

My third piece of advice is to learn the skills of gentleness and kindness. These skills are VERY different from the skills of politeness and discretion. Politeness and discretion can be easily misapplied in a dating scenario and that can lead to awkwardness and disaster.  Gentleness and kindness will allow you to speak the truth, communicate what you mean, leave no room for misunderstanding, always result in some sort of awkwardness, and in the end, be best for both parties. Given the fact that men’s and women’s brains are wired differently, we are going to have to be more blunt than we are used to.  So I encourage you to persevere just when you think perhaps you should back out.  (I’ve noticed that both guys and gals seem to want to avoid the awkwardness of truth.  Truth is good – don’t avoid it!)

Incidentally:

My encouragement to speak up about one’s intentions is also distantly connected to St. Ignatius Loyola.  (ok – stay with me now, it’s a windey journey, but I’ll try to explain the connection.)   I came upon this insight when I was learning about the Ignatian Rules of Discernment, which were taught by St. Ignatius Loyola.  (If you want to know more check out the books by Fr. Timothy Gallagher; Remember, I’m greatly summarizing here:)  St. Ignatius explained that in the fight between good and evil, the bad spirit leads one away from the good intended for them and thereby towards what is bad for them.  St. Ignatius further explained in the 13th Rule of the 14 rules,  that this bad spirit desperately wants to keep things secret.  This is because it desires confusion and misunderstanding AND it desires isolation.  The opposite of isolation is community.  Jesus said, “Where two or three are gathered in my name, there I am in their midst.”  Isolation = bad.  Community = good.

So instead of being in isolation about your plans to re-route the make-out or to save sex for later (until marriage), talk about it.  Mention it. Once it’s out in the open, it’s no longer a ‘conversation in isolation’ in one’s head.

Ladies: DO NOT preface this revelation to a man with, “We need to talk.”  That phrase in itself is frightening.  Just be honest about who you are and what you want and the subject will come up naturally.  Heck, because guys are fertile 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, they think about sex 24 hours a day,  7 days a week, so the subject is bound to come up VERY soon.

Perhaps the dance floor will provide us with a metaphor to more easily understand this advice.  Ladies: if you ever find yourself on the dance floor and you feel a little dizzy because the gentleman twirled you around one too many times, you could:

a.) not say anything and hope the guy gets the idea once you puke on his shoes.

b.) quietly say to him, “I’m a little dizzy, could we do fewer twirls for the moment?”

c.) answer his, “Would you like to dance?” with, “LISTEN BUDDY! I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT I’M TIRED OF BEING MADE DIZZY BY ALL OF THOSE OTHER GUYS, SO IF YOU ARE GOING TO DANCE WITH ME, THEN YOU ARE GONNA HAVE TO CUT OUT ALL OF THAT TWIRLING!!!!!”

In this example, we can clearly see that option “b”, while a bit awkward, is much better than the puke on the shoes in option “a” and much better than the crazy lady yelling at the top of her lungs in option “c”.  “Using our words” in option “b” allows the man to know what is appropriate so that we can both continue to have a happy fun time.

As I’ve said before, there are no mathematical equations for ensuring non-disaster dates because it involves two complex individuals and too many variations to summarize in one short blog post.  But seeing as though most people just want to hear real life situations and real life solutions to the questions they have, I will rehash a number of my dating adventures  in my next post with the following question in mind: How do I re-route the make-out?

Desperate + dressing “sexy” = nightmare.

August 23, 2010

Are you a woman, over 28, wondering where prince charming is and feeling like you have to show a little more cleavage in order to catch a guy’s attention? (or perhaps you’re feeling the pressure a little younger? at 22? or 15?)

OR

Are you a man, over 30 and wondering why all of the women you meet are “hawt- yet-horrifyingly” clingy?

Chances are, you are experiencing the nightmarish symptoms of the “I’m desperate so I’m going to dress even MORE sexy”-culture we live in today.

No.  It’s true.  I know it sounds silly, but it’s true: desperate + dressing “sexy” = nightmare.

Sadly I fell for this.   Let me briefly tell you my fashion story.  It is a funny one:

Once upon a time, I was a little girl and wore cute dresses and had ribbons in my hair.  Then I grew up and became a teenager and realized that I wanted to look skinny in my clothing so that I could get the attention of the boys in my class. Then came the grunge/I’m broke in college, frump of torn jean shorts and over-sized concert t-shirts.  After graduating college with a business degree it was suit sets, pearls and heels.  Devoid of a fashion personality I hit the management world ready to not bother anyone with my attire. Then I started buying clothing for my non-work hours that was flattering, not just deeply discounted. I started buying accessories and searching for the best hairstyle.  Suddenly I realized that there was more to wearing clothing than simply the antidote to nakedness.  THEN I started swing dancing and with that, I started my search for dresses! Dresses that twirled and swayed when I danced.  Dresses that were flattering to my figure and were complimented by the flower in my hair and the red beads around my neck.

As my dancing improved and the frequency of dancing increased, my waistline decreased.  I was finally looking my best.  A girlfriend of mine and I came up with the term, “being the cutest me!”  That  helped us in choosing outfits when we were shopping as well as helping us weed out our closets.  It even helped us weed out beaus who were not good for us.  In simplest terms, they weren’t nice to us and that left us with scrunchy faces, which was definitely not the cutest-us’es.

After all this time had passed, I had finally been blessed with the true message of chastity:  that chastity is about freedom, not repression.  I realized the importance of modesty.  The more I learned about how important the body was, the more I naturally started feeling the awkwardness of revealing too much.   I watched as men were distracted by what I was wearing, that it was harder for them to hold a conversation with me, and I realized that I didn’t want to manipulate them into staring at me.  I wanted them to notice my beauty, but I wanted them to be inspired by me, not coerced.

But at 33 years old, after a couple of absolute heart breaking break ups and a deluge of disastrous dates, I started to get desperate.  I wanted to be married. I thought, “if I live in NYC where gorgeous virtually naked models are plastered across billboards on every block and most girls are wearing dresses that look more like a shirt with a hem than a flattering dress, I’m going to have to start “wearing the uniform if I want to get in the game.”

I also fell for the line that society was/is pushing: Sexiness is power.  To be a powerful, confident woman, you must wield this sexy-power.  In other words, if you’ve got it, flaunt it.  AND if you have it and choose to not flaunt it, you are weak.  If you have it and don’t flaunt it, you are old and frumpy and you really have no need of being noticed let alone being valued because you aren’t a “confident woman.”

(BTW: Somehow over the past few years, sexy has gone over to slutty. Sexy shoes have turned into porn star platforms.

Hi, fashion industry? It’s me.  Educated woman.  Hi. I have a college degree. I have a job.  Can I please have some cute shoes to wear? that aren’t frumpy? and DON’T make me look like I’m on my way to my job…. at the strip club?!?!?!?!  Ok.  Sorry for the tangent.)

So anyway – for a moment, I fell for the above crap.  Let’s face it, I was on the edge of desperation.  (Now, I’d just like to clarify that I didn’t think it was desperation at the time… it only felt like I was on the edge of desperation…..) I was 33, trying to save sex for marriage, and I was in a pool of about 2 million other single gals who were looking for a spouse.  So the competition and “reason” kicked in.  I was going to HAVE to start dressing sexier to “attract” a man.

Well, let me reiterate:  Desperate (even edge of desperation) + dressing “sexy” = nightmare.

Oh yeah – I attracted a man.  But it wasn’t the kind of man that I wanted.  Long story short, he used me and cast me aside as if I was yesterday’s newspaper.

What I learned was this:

  • Aiming for being alluring is good.  Being alluring inspires a man.  It allows the man to notice you, and then truly see you – as a person. A man should delight in a woman’s beauty – both her physical beauty and her emotional beauty that is in her personality.  Being attractive is a good thing.  Being manipulative is a bad thing.
  • Aiming for sexiness is not a good idea.  Sex should always be an expression of love.  Sex is NOT about power over someone.  Sex is a renewal of the wedding vows.  It is a gift of self (mind, body and spirit) to one’s spouse.  So – using one’s sexiness to have power or control over someone – to manipulate them is a mis-use of this “power”
  • To quote Uncle Ben in Spiderman, “With great power, comes great responsibility.”
  • With this power, we have the responsibility to use it for good! NO FRUMP ALLOWED! The burlap-sack-dress-look is not ok! Women: if you look like you are wearing a rectangle, GO HOME and change! Guys: if I can’t tell where your waist, bottom, knees, or ankles are, GO HOME and change! FRUMP is NOT the cutest you! (Ok Fashion people: breath deeply.  Remember: keep breathing! I’m not saying that 1 oversized item is a bad thing.  That’s ok – I like it.  Good great. Just not Everything.)
  • What people wear reveals something about themselves.  Sometimes it’s that they are revealing tooo much.  Sometimes they are revealing tooo little. What you wear should accentuate your beauty or your handsomeness.  NOT your sexiness.
  • If you use your sexiness to manipulate someone, you treat them like an object; things are usually reciprocal.  Once someone is being used as an object, they are more likely to use you as an object.  So- if you want to avoid being used, avoid manipulating someone with dressing sexy.
  • Translation: Men, if you want us to stop being so clingy then you are going to have to stop encouraging us looking at you as an object; stop encouraging us to be sexy so that we have power over you!
  • Yes you might end up with a guy.  You might up in the “game”.  But is that the kind of guy you want to be with? Is that the kind of game you want to play? NOOOOO! Learn from my mistakes! don’t do it!  I understand that you want to dance; You want to get out on the dance floor! But let me tell you – it’s better to wait to be asked to dance by a dancer who sees YOU, than it is to be asked by someone who treats you as an object, whips you across the dance floor, and dislocates your shoulder!  Believe me guys and gals, you want the dream gal or guy, not the nightmare.

So let’s say you want to turn that desire to find a spouse into something good instead of something frustrating? Try these things:

  • Pray. Thank God for this desire to be a gift of self to someone. Then ask Him to send you someone who is going to help you to be the cutest you.
  • Get yourself out there: take group dance lessons, go to discussion groups, go to http://www.CatholicNYC.com for a list of things to do, and last but not least: online dating.  If this makes you cringe, then pick up your cross, and sign up… because your spouse might be waiting for you to log on.
  • Volunteer.  We learn a lot about ourselves when we give of ourselves.  Seek others who are generous.  Find others who need help.   The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal have a ministry to the poor and hungry.  Contact them via: http://www.franciscanfriars.com.  The Sisters of Life help women who are in crisis pregnancy.  Contact them via: http://www.SistersOfLife.org.

I resisted the urge to wield the power of sex (and sexiness) over the men in my life.  Then, the man of my dreams came into my life and asked me to dance. Literally. We celebrated our first wedding anniversary in June.

(Wondering why Spiderman is mentioned on a Theology of Swing blog? Well, check it out! Spiderman does more than swing around town nabbing crooks! Here he is!: Spiderman, Swing Dancing at the American Lindy Hop Championships in 2007!)

Slow down girls: Patience is a virtue.

August 20, 2010

Patience is a virtue.

The past few weeks, I have been attending the new Love & Responsibility in NYC discussion group.  It is held once a week on Tuesdays at St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in SoHo to read and discuss the book Men, Women and the Mystery of Love, by Ed Sri and how it relates to life in NYC.  (The book is a synopsis of the book Love and Responsibility by Karol Wojtyla – later Pope John Paul II; hence the name of the group: “Love and Responsibility in NYC”.  Check out the group here: http://www.facebook.com/#!/event.php?eid=144079242285587&ref=mf)

Each week the group reads a chapter of the book aloud, followed by questions to the entire co-ed crowd, and then breaks out into smaller groups of men and women.  As we’re all familiar, the difference between men and women is vast and complex, so these smaller groups enable the chance to delve into the questions as they relate specifically to each gender.

A couple of weeks ago after we read the 2nd chapter:  “Beyond the Sexual Urge we broke out into small groups – and I was asked to lead one of the small groups of women.  Our small group was about 20 women (there were probably about 100 people total; about half of them were there for the first time). ”,  (see an online version of the chapter here http://www.catholiceducation.org/articles/marriage/mf0076.html)

Overall, there were some REALLY great comments!  I was surprised to find the women so open and ready to participate.  As the women were commenting on the subjects of love, lust, and usery, one sentiment kept arising: “be patient.”

Throughout the break out group I was comparing the questions at the end of the chapter of the book and with the conversation that was unfolding.  If the topic veered off on a tangent, it was my job to redirect the conversation back towards what had been covered in the chapter that evening.   There was plenty of conversation.  The women all had something to contribute to the conversation, yet it seemed that they weren’t focusing on what had been read that night.  No matter how hard I tried to direct the discussion back to the topic of “the sexual urge”, the women kept coming back to the subject of being patient.

Patience. Be patient.

Their point was that they often found themselves rushing into having a physical relationship with someone which resulted in them feeling used.

My concern was that if they focused on just being patient, they would really just be repressing their desires until they felt it was appropriate to finally let go.  Imagine a slingshot….. you pull, pull, pull back – and then POW! Powerful release.

Sounds nice, but it’s actually a pretty bad idea. Slingshot is powerful but it’s not exactly precise – and can be quite deadly! Remember David and Golliath? 😛

You don’t want to get into a situation where you are simply repressing your sexual desire so that someday you let go completely and pummel another person with it! Especially because that someone is someone whom we love and to whom we are trying to show our love to!

So, little o’le me,  kept trying to re-direct the conversation – and try as I may, the women kept coming back to “patience.”

Gee! Did we accomplish anything?!?! (insert God laughing here)

On the way home I was chatting with my husband who had attended the evening and had participated in the men’s small group discussion.  I asked him how he thought the discussion went in his group.  He said that it went well, but that the discussion sort of seemed incomplete.

As I was about to chime in that the same thing had happened to me in my small group, the Holy Spirit whacked me upside the head with a mini-revelation.

The women had been right all along:  Be patient.

Why?

Because: Love is Patient.

Love is patient and kind, ….

1 Corinthians 13:4-13

Love is patient and kind;

love is not jealous or boastful;

it is not arrogant or rude.

Love does not insist on its own way;

it is not irritable or resentful;

it does not rejoice at wrong,

but rejoices in the right.

Love bears all things,

believes all things,

hopes all things,

endures all things.

Love never ends;

as for prophecies, they will pass away;

as for tongues, they will cease;

as for knowledge, it will pass away.

For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect;

but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away.

When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child;

when I became a man, I gave up childish ways.

For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face.

Now I know in part;

then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood.

So faith, hope, love abide, these three;

but the greatest of these is love.

So here I was, trying to convince the women to talk about something other than patience, and all the while, the Holy Spirit was reminding me that Patience is a virtue that we must strive for.  Patience is something that we need.  Yes, we can fool ourselves into thinking that we are being patient when really we are just holding on till we can finally let go.  That’s not really patient – and it’s not love.  It’s conditional.  It’s, “I’ll do this, and in return, you’ll be nice to me.”

Eww.

Incidentally, Women, if you are on the dance floor and you aren’t being patient, it produces the same result: Ewww.  That’s what a guy says when we go rushing towards him.  Whether it’s on the dance floor or in the dating scene.  Ok, I admit that initially a guy might get a short lived thrill out of a girl who is not being patient and rushing into things.  But in the end, they get bored.

Why?

Because they are no longer part of the dynamic.  The guy can just stand there while the impatient girl throws herself at the guy because the girl got tired of waiting for the guy to pursue her.  Or while the girl turns herself on the dance floor doing little pirouettes around the man – and YES I’ve seen this transpire on the dance floor!  It makes it so that the man’s creative involvement in the dynamic between the man and woman gets canceled out.  He builds momentum as he draws the girl’s body in a straight line towards him, but because she’s so excited that she’s finally on the dance floor, she forgets to follow his lead, runs right past him, and arrives somewhere else on the dance floor two full beats before she needs to be there. AWKWARD!

So ladies: be patient – on the dance floor and off.

(The virtue of patience also applies to men, of course, but since the discussion that night really dealt with the women’s comments on the subject, I thought I’d direct this post to them.

Thank you to the women who were there that night.  Thank you for being an avenue for God to remind me that sometimes, the simplest ideas are best: Love is patient.  Look for that.  Strive for that.  Really live it. The world will be a much happier place if you do…

and life in New York City will never be the same.

Boundaries: Make sure your bounnnndarries aren’t blurrrrrrred.

June 4, 2010

Are we friends? Are we dating? Are we on a date? Does she know I’m asking her out on a date? All of these questions are answered by making sure that your boundaries aren’t blurred.

“Girls don’t call boys”, my mom used to say.  I thought she was ridiculous. (Love you Mom!) In this day in age it’s hard to tell what sort of behavior is appropriate between the sexes- on and off the dance floor!

Texting, Facebooking, emailing, and mobile phones have provided us with the benefit of being much more connected with others.  They can be wonderful avenues to propagate friendships, but, as I discovered, they can also be huge impediments to having healthy boundaries.

Technology has progressed much faster than our dating traditions.  Dating traditions have been thrown out the window and it’s left both the men and the women in the dating scene wondering what’s going on.

During my (abundantly) numerous years as a single woman looking for a good man, I read many books on dating.  They were either horrendously out of date, expected me to be a “Sex In the City”-modern-gal, or written for 13 year olds.

So I had to learn the hard way: by trial and error, heartache after heartache, and by setting boundaries and then quickly realizing they needed to be revamped.  To save you from (some) of the mess that I had to endure (btw, some of it is impossible to avoid), I thought I’d give you some tips.

Don’t blurrrr your bounnnndaries.

If you are friends, act like friends. Don’t give someone boyfriend/girlfriend privileges if they are not your boyfriend/girlfriend and, this should go with out saying, don’t give someone spousal benefits if they are not your spouse. In other words: “friends with benefits” is lame-o.

Ok but what does that look like in real life? I’m going to go over some of the more obvious ones, because I think it’s just a good idea to reinforce them, and then follow up with the more seemingly trivial-yet pivotal ones at the end.  ****Please try to stay with me.  I know some of you may want to shut your brain off because you think I’m a super-freak, prudish, out of touch gal – but I assure you, I’m not.  🙂

Ok.  Proceed with an open mind:

1.)  Don’t have sex (of any sort) with someone who is not your spouse.

What? not even if you’ve been dating a long time?!?!?!

Nope.

Why not?

Because sex is a gift intended for your spouse.  Sex is a physical renewal of your wedding vows.  So if you haven’t made any wedding vows yet, then don’t be having “the renewal of the vows” (sex) yet either.  (There is a much longer answer to this – so be sure to look at my other and future posts.)

An even shorter answer on why it’s a bad idea to have any sort of sex with someone that is not your spouse is: because it makes things messy and confusing.

OK – now more on making sure you don’t have blurry boundaries:

2.)  Don’t go on long vacations OR spend family holidays with someone unless you are ENGAGED.

What? not even if you’ve been dating a long time?!?!?!

Nope.  (sound familiar? :P)

Why not?

Well, because we gals will immediately start to (subconsciously) attach ourselves to that man as if he is our spouse- even if we just met him a month ago – or heck, even a week ago.  When you are married, you spend time with your spouse and their family. When you are dating, you spend time with your family….even if, ESPECIALLY if your family is inconveniently far away or “not as fun” as the boyfriend’s/girlfriend’s family.

IF you’ve been talking about getting engaged soon, then you meet the family to get a better perspective of who it is that you are considering marrying. Until then, don’t launch yourself into this Amazon River teeming with piranha.

3.) Bring emergency cab money with you on dates…. and, well, all of the time.

This might seem silly to clarify, but I wish it had been said to me, so I’m saying it now: Don’t spend the night at a friend (of the opposite sex)’s house.  Especially if you are “just good friends” and “it’s too late to travel home”. This blurrrrrs the boundary between friendship and spouse.  You spend the night at your spouse’s house or at your family’s house.  BEWARE: Don’t let your standards drop just because you don’t want to spend the extra $$ on the cab.

I fell for this temptation WAY too many times.  Oh sure, I’d go out for dinner, some drinks, spend a decent amount of money and then when it was time to get home, I’d squabble over the $$ I would have to pay for a cab and how long it would take or how dangerous it would be if I took public transportation.   It’s just a bad idea.  It gives the person you are staying with the idea that there is more familiarity- more of a relationship there than there really is. Be sure to not lead anyone on, including yourself.

Sometimes I ended up leading myself on.  I told myself that it was “no big deal.” But then I ended up being “clingy” – because I had allowed myself to behave – at least in one area – like we were more than friends.  I allowed the boundaries to be blurred because subconsciously I was trying to make (a.k.a. manipulating) the friendship to be something more.

As a dancer I traveled the country for dance weekends and even a few competitions along the way.  There were many occasions where I stayed at someone’s house instead of getting a hotel.  What I learned from that experience is that, the dynamic changes when/if you have a companion traveler (of the same sex) or if you are traveling in a group.  There is much less temptation to fall into a blurred boundary situation if you have a third, fourth, or fifth wheel, but be warned it may still be present.

4.) Bestfriend or Boyfriend?

Not sure? yep- it’s tricky. When you are 10 or 12,  it’s fine to have a best friend who is the opposite sex (who btw, should also be about 10 or 12 NOT 20 or 30… ewwww!!!).  Once you hit 13 or 14+, it no longer becomes a good idea to be UBER close friends with someone who is the opposite sex.

Oh it’s totally natural for people of the opposite sex to get along really well, but it’s not a good idea to actively propagate that friendship with your time, texts, emails, Facebook posts, and phone calls.  Why? Because sooner or later someone develops feelings for the other person.  That’s when things get tricky.

So – if you are between the ages of 13 and 93 (just for exaggeration’s sake), it’s best if you actively work on friendships with people who are the same sex as you are.  These are honestly, in my opinion, harder to develop.  Maybe it’s just me, but it was always easier for me to talk to guys than it was to talk to girls. (Maybe it was because I was subconsciously interested in them or vice versa!)  So if you spend your time working on these relationships, you’ll end up with great friends and no confusion at the end.

5.) Is it a date? Just say it!

How do I know if I’m out on a date? How can I let her know that when I’m asking her to go somewhere with me, it’s because I want it to be a date.

The best way to let a gal know that you are asking her out on a date is to use the word “DATE” when you are asking her.  Then there is no confusion.  I know it seems simple – but it works like a charm. (Yes it will seem very awkward at first.)If you are a gal who is being asked out by a guy and aren’t sure if it’s a date or not, just ask him.  Say, “Wow that sounds like fun.  So just to clarify, is this a date?” He should be able to answer you in about 1 word.  🙂

(If his answer is no, then invite a girlfriend along.  He’ll be oh so surprised when he can’t put his mo-jo on because there is a third wheel.  That’s when you think to yourself, “Oh- hmmm.  Thought you said it wasn’t a date?” 😛 )Just think of the dance floor:  when you want to ask someone to dance, do you grab her arm, twirl her around out onto the floor and hope she gets the idea that you’d like to dance?  No.  Of course not.  You use your words and say, “Would you like to dance?”

Gals:  sometimes I’ve come across a guy who hasn’t learned this skill on the dance floor.  He tries to grab hold of my hand and drag me out on the dance floor without even acknowledging that I might not be prepared to dance.  I resist this man-handling and wait for him to ask me.  If he fails to ask me, I clarify it quickly by saying, “Oh did you want to ask me to dance?”  Sounds a little snippy, but I think it’s important to let him know that he can’t just throw me out on the dance floor without my permission and expect me to go along with it.

Likewise, I’m not going to allow him to scramble to pay for my lunch and hope that it counts towards being a date because he couldn’t muster the courage to ask me out.  When I sense the bait and switch about to occur (and yes guys, we DO sense the switch – I guess you can call it one of our feminine-jedi-senses), I clarify the situation with words.  This ensures that my boundaries are not blurred and that both he and I are aware of what is intended.

But what if someone asks you out on a group thing? is that a date?   The short answer is: no.  If it’s part of the first 3 getting to know you dates, then it’s definitely NOT a date.  He may still be very gentlemanly in paying for the group activity, but it’s one on one date that helps you proceed in the dating process (ie determining if there is chemistry.)

6.) Don’t call/text him FIRST: He’s just not that into you.

(Did you see that movie? Painful, but sadly true.)  This goes back to my mom saying that I shouldn’t be calling boys.  Back before the days of mobile phones and answering machines (my folks were slooooowww on getting technology), that left me waiting by the phone for some boy to call.  Now that we have technology at our fingertips we gals are much more tempted to follow our impulse to initiate communication, in general, and specifically with boys that we LIKE!

Ask yourself the question: am I contacting this boy because I hope he will think about me and I hope he will ask me out…

If so……WARNING! WARNING! WARNING! The bridge is out! Do not proceed!

If he likes you, HE will call (text, facebook, im, email) you.

Likewise, ask yourself the questions: am I contacting him because I’m afraid that he won’t follow up? that he won’t pursue me? that he will forget about me? that he will be distracted by other girls who DO call? that he will never ask me out?

or the dreaded:

“Oooh I heard he’s having a party – I hope he invites me! Hmmm I wonder if I should call him now?”

STOP.  Be a woman.  Wait for a man who will pursue you.  It’s what you want.  Know what you want and let your actions match that.

Guys: do not pay attention to girls who (are just friends/acquaintances who) pester you with phone calls, texts or emails.  Do NOT REPLY. Stop.  Be a man by going after what you want, not what is convenient at the moment.   Be a leader.  You do the initiating.  Don’t just “be nice” to the friends/acquaintances who are girls who are launching themselves at you like you are a piece of velcro and they are a fuzzy tennis ball. 

Be like a pane of glass.  (Imagine: splat.  sqweak! as she hits the glass and slides down.)  Don’t reinforce bad boundaries by being nice.  That leads me to my last point.

7.) Be honest ….with kindness.

Learn to use short sentences.

Just say, “no.”

Say what you mean.

This is harder than you think! It is kinder to be honest than it is to lead someone on.  This goes for both men and women.

This clip illustrates what I mean when I say that if you aren’t explicitly clear, people will hop on the maybe train.

Woman usually have a harder time with this because we LOVE words.  We talk about something and go around in circles until we arrive at our point. It’s sort of like a little bee flying around a flower and then finally landing.  In general, guys have an easier time being more direct.  For men, it may be harder to accomplish the kindness part.

It will be a challenge for both sexes, but well worth it.

Lastly, I just want to add that this can also work in reverse; Sometimes our boundaries get blurred downward instead of upward. Instead of acting like spouses who have pledged to love the other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, until death, we fall short and act like our spouse is only a boyfriend or girlfriend.  Perhaps we don’t have to love them unconditionally. Perhaps we flirt with other women as if we are still on the dating circuit. Perhaps we still flirt with other men because we think “we have to keep our options open.” (ewww!)

OR perhaps we are acting like a friend or acquaintance (like a man not paying for dates or a woman not allowing him to!) when we should be being more like a boyfriend/girlfriend, initiating and actively receiving the gift of each others company.

That being said, THIS POST IS TOO LONG.  Time to get off the soap box. Thanks for reading. 🙂

Why I wear a veil: Theology of the Body and much more!

May 25, 2010

Since many women… and men… ask me why I wear a veil, I thought I’d post a brief response here. Included at the end are links to the late Pope John Paul II’s Wednesday audiences which make up the collection of writings that are called, “The Theology of the Body.”

The following is a response that I gave to a recent blog, found here: http://blog.adw.org/2010/05/should-women-cover-their-heads-in-church/

I’m 36 and started wearing the veil 5 years ago. It felt awkward at first, but that was because I was concerned it would cause controversy. I was surprised to find that I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback for 5 years – usually from men – priests and lay – who LOVE to see women wearing the veil.

Here’s what my grandfather told me when I was about 8:

White veils are for unmarried women.

Black veils are for married women.

I never thought about it until I was over 30, strongly called to the vocation of marriage, and painfully single.

Wearing the veil helped me to remember that my FIRST vocation (everyone’s FIRST vocation) is a call to holiness. Regardless of your station in life – single, divorced seeking an annulment, married, widowed, seminarian, clergy, consecrated religious – our vocation is to holiness. Christ is the bridegroom, and we as the church are His bride. The veil reminded me that I was already a bride – it wasn’t something that was going to be kept from me.

Wearing the veil was also inspired through my study of the Theology of the Body where I became aware that women have a particular propensity to control things and avoid submission. (Men have their own particular propensity – their own weakness in another area.)  This is why Ephesians 5:22-33 is so important and such a bitter pill for women to swallow. I realized this was true in myself and use the veil to make a conscious statement to God that I desired to be submissive to His will. This also reminded me of Mary’s full submission – her Fiat- her 100% yes to God’s will.

Veils are also just simply feminine. They’re girlie. It was (is) a way of embracing my womanhood. God made me a woman – so I get the privilege of wearing a beautiful veil.

I also wanted to find a spouse that delighted in my beauty – to be delighted in the fact that I desired holiness. Wearing the veil was another way of stating to prospective suitors that I desired God’s will- that I was striving for holiness – and that there was no mistake about it. I dare say, that while wearing the veil, it’s quite impossible, if not unnatural for a man to lust after a woman. It just elicits a different response – one of admiration and a desire to protect the woman.

I’m happily married (it’s been one year!) to a wonderful, respectful, courageous man who is also striving for holiness and who is striving to live out Ephesians 5:22 – 33 – especially verse 25. :)

Now that I’m married, I wear a black veil and have passed the white veil along to another single friend. Many women approach me and ask me about the veil. I tell them these details and they all respond with, “Wow- I think I’m going to start wearing one now.”

So if you’ve been wondering about it – try it out for a while- I found mine on Ebay. See if it helps your prayer life. I bet it will!

—-

If you are curious about what Pope John Paul II had to say about the Theology of the Body and man and woman’s “particular disability” (or propensity to sin in a certain manner), see this link http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb29.htm.

To read more about what Pope John Paul II had to say about Ephesians, Chapter 5 (in the Theology of the Body), go to http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb88.htm

and

http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb89.htm

and probably more importantly, this link, which helps illuminate how submission does not destroy one’s uniqueness or individuality. http://www.ewtn.com/library/papaldoc/jp2tb90.htm

“By the 3rd date” – Dating plan for men

April 29, 2010

So if you’ve read my earlier post “How to date (and dance) in 2010,  you might be wondering HOW it works….

Here’s the game plan for men – “By the 3rd Date” (women listen up – because this is what the guys will be doing and why)

Step 1: Be receptive to what God is bringing into your life -most likely there is a lesson in it. Things in life happen for a reason. God puts people into our lives for a reason, so be open to what it is He is trying to do. There might be a lesson for us, or their might be a lesson for the woman, or both.

Perhaps there’s a woman in your life who has caught your attention, but isn’t exactly what you imagined when you thought of who you would date. Consider asking her out on a date.

Look for who you are inspired by…

or who you find alluring…

or who you find to be kind…

or who you find to be generous…

who you find is thoughtful of others…

who you find to be patient…

someone who is trustworthy…

someone who is gentle…

or even perhaps has amazing cooking/baking skills. 🙂

Step 2: Ask a girl out on a date. Sounds simple, doesn’t it?  Yep – that’s all you have to do, ask.

Right now you might be saying, “Uh – yeah, but HOW? How do I know if she likes me? How do I know she will say, “yes”? ”

Here is the BIG SECRET: You’ll know that she’ll say yes, when she says yes, and she’ll only say yes, AFTER you ask.  So ask.  🙂

This is your chance – your chance to be a leader.  It’s your chance to see something admirable in someone, to feel inspired, and to follow that inspiration with action.

Now you might be saying to yourself: “yeah, but what if she says no?”

She might.  But you will never get a chance of her saying, “yes”, unless you ask, so it’s time to muster up some courage and ask her out for coffee. Don’t start with dinner – that’s a little too intensive.  Coffee, tea, or a walk in the park, let her know that you are interested in getting to know her a little more.  It also gives her time to get used to the idea of going out on a date with you. If she knows that the date isn’t going to last for 3 hours then she’s more likely to say, “yes”.

It’s similar on the dance floor.  If a woman gets the sense that you are only asking her to dance for the next song which will only last about 3  1/2 minutes long, she’s much more inclined to say, “yes”, than if she gets the impression that you want to dance with her all night.

First dates are notoriously horrendous, so plan on having an awkward coffee date and then wait for the second date where both people wont be as nervous.

WARNING: in this modern age, you might find that women are doing the asking out.  If a woman asks you out, say, “no”, even if , ESPECIALLY if, you really like her. The dating arena is where you get to improve your manliness skills.  It gives you the chance to be courageous and daring, all for the simple reason that you wants to spend time with a woman. Believe me, it will make all the girls swoon. It also gives you the chance to learn how to discern what you want and how to take action because of it.

If a girl asks you out say, “Oh! what a compliment – that’s nice of you.  Actually, I’m going to decline because I prefer to pay women the compliment of asking them out.”  If and only if, you are already interested in her, say: “But I would like your number so that I can give you a call sometime this week.”  DO NOT ASK FOR HER NUMBER UNLESS YOU INTEND TO ASK HER OUT FOR A DATE.

DO NOT GIVE HER YOUR CARD IN THE HOPES THAT SHE WILL RETURN THE FAVOR BY GIVING YOU HER CARD. You should be doing the asking out on the date, so it’s your job to ask for her number and follow it up with a call. Don’t say, “call me sometime.”  It sounds great – and oh so smooth, but it’s a disaster.  It just doesn’t work.  It leaves you wondering when she is going to call and wondering if she’s really interested AND it leaves her wondering IF she should call you and then wondering what the conversation would be about/like.

Don’t ask her out in front of a crowd or in front of friends. It’s too much pressure for her and too embarrassing for you if she says no.  If she’s in a crowd, quietly ask her if you could have her number so you could give her a call tomorrow. You need to let her know WHEN you will be calling.

Step 3: Wait for her answer – accepting it gracefully. Hope for her, “yes”, but be prepared for the possible, “no”.  If she says, “No”, reply with, “Oh O.K.  Thank you.”  and drop the issue.  If she says, “yes”, proceed to Step 4.

Step 4:  Plan the date/ work out the details of the date. *** It’s best to have a place and time in mind BEFORE you ask her out.   Even if the plan changes, she will appreciate the fact that you thought about the question in advance.  It says to her, “This isn’t a hypothetical question.  There really IS coffee and I really DO want to spend time with you.” 😛 But if this was a spur of the moment date-asking-opp – like asking for her number, then just be sure to have come up with ideas on where and when before you call her.

WARNING: Going out for drinks is one of those things that sounds like a good idea, but ends up being a mess instead.  If you want a woman who will be flirty with you – totally in to you – and then wont return your phone calls the next day – OR the reverse – gets all clingy and weird, just be sure to take them out for drinks on the first date.

If you like drama, then feel free.  Otherwise, steer clear of alcohol on the first date.

Step 5: Pay for the date. I don’t care if it’s a slice of pizza, coffee, tea, or a steak dinner: PAY FOR THE DATE.  If you can’t afford it, don’t ask her out for a steak dinner,  ask her to go for a walk, or a Mr. Softee Ice-cream cone – or heck, a bottled water.

This will be a struggle for the women, so do this gentlemanly thing for them… especially if they protest.

Here’s why: The dreaded, “going dutch” absolutely kills any chemistry and any romance. It’s the “safe” way to date – which turns out to actually be a disaster. It’s like the Titanic. Big unsinkable ship. Sounds good, but it ends up sinking. Again – not inherently wrong or sinful, it just doesn’t seem to work in the natural order of how a man and a woman were designed to relate to each other.

NEVER EVER quickly pay for a friendly get together with a woman friend of yours so that THEN it will qualify as a date. We women can see right through that.  We want a man who is courageous enough to ask us on a date, not one who does a bait and switch act on us. Ewww.

Step 6: When it’s time to say good bye: Say, “thank you”. DO NOT: kiss her … or anything beyond that. IF YOU TRULY HAD A GREAT TIME, then say, “I had a great time, thank you for allowing me to take you out.  Have a good night”. DO NOT SAY WHAT YOU DO NOT MEAN.

If you feel a moment of awkwardness because it CLEARLY was NOT a great time for either of you, say, “thank you for allowing me to take you out on a date. It was very generous of you. Have a good night.”

Step 7: Give her (and yourself) time to process the date. Don’t ask her out on the 2nd date in person – ask her over the phone. This means you don’t send her emails, text messages or phone messages that night “just to let her know that you had a really great time.”

Wait till at least the following day to ask her out on the 2nd date.

Here’s why: You want to know, is she saying, yes freely? You want her “yes” to be freely given, not because there was an awkward moment of silence or because she felt pressured into it.  Sometimes women are “nice” – they put on a smile – and say, “yeah I had a great time.” when really they are quite the opposite.  This is a BAD habit.  It’s sort of like when people pass you in a store and say, “hey how are you doing?”, but by the time they finish saying it they are out of sight and actually have no intention of hearing your reply.  VERY rehtorical. Enable her yes to mean yes.

Ask her out on the 2nd date over the phone.  This gives her the option of gracefully bowing out of a second date if she thought the first date was a disaster.  It can be longer than the first date – but it doesn’t have to be. Really the 2nd date is to get a better grasp on IF there is chemistry and IF this is the type of person that you would like to hang out with some more.

What if you don’t want to ask the woman out on a 2nd date? As I stated earlier – 1st dates are notoriously horrendous. So – don’t judge the whole woman on how the first date went. It often takes women until the 2nd date to really relax into the idea of being out on a date with someone new.  So try to remain open.

Step 8: Wait for her answer,  accept it gracefully. See step 3.

Step 9: Go out on the 2nd date. Be polite.  Be generous.  Be courteous.  Open the door for her. Pay for the date.  Don’t talk about ex’s.

Step 10: Say good bye and thank you. See step 6 REMEMBER: DO NOT KISS HER.

Step 10: Wait at least 2 full days. Reflect on the experience. On the third day if she hasn’t contacted you, ask her out again. Give yourself some time to reflect on the dates.

If by this time you have zero chemistry with the woman and zero inclination to get to know her any further, then it’s time to bail out.  Preferably over the phone – though if you have primarily been communicating via email that is O.K. too. TEXTING IS NOT APPROPRIATE. It’s cowardly and too brief. Contact them and say, “Thank you very much for allowing me to take you out on those dates. I wanted to let you know that I’m not interested in going on further dates. Thank you so much”

She may respond with, “Oh, ok – thank you. Good bye.” She may also respond with “why?” Your answer should be: because it’s just not the right match. Or there isn’t any chemistry. Some persons are well suited, and I dare to say, designed for each other…. to be complimentary. It’s O.K. to notice that the fit doesn’t work well.

It’s not ok to just fall off the face of the planet. The best idea is to close the chapter so that she’s not left wondering what is going on.  It’s also the best idea for you so that if you accidentally bump into her in your next job interview or the next big social function it wont be so awkward. 😛

(If you need a third date, then repeat the steps relating to the 2nd date.)

(If she is following the “by the 3rd date” plan, then she will contact you to let you know if she is not interested.)

“By the 3rd date” – Dating plan for women

April 28, 2010

So if you’ve read my earlier post “How to date (and dance) in 2010”,  you might be wondering HOW it works….

Here’s the game plan for women – “By the 3rd Date”
(guys listen up – because this is what the women will be doing and why)

Step 1: Wait for a man to ask you out on a date. Right now you might be saying, “Ugh! If I wait for a guy to ask me out, I’ll be 80,  knitting a sweater, and living in an apartment with 8 cats before I have a date.”

I know it might FEEL that way, but believe me, it won’t take that long.

Here’s why: There is nothing inherently WRONG or sinful in asking a man out on a date.  BUT if you do ask him out, you rob him of the chance to ask you out.  It’s very simple.  In fact, You TEACH him how to NOT be a leader.

By rushing in and asking him out on the date, you teach him that he doesn’t have to pursue you.  In short, if you ask him out for the first date,  you will probably have to do the asking out for the second date too, and so on and so on.

ALLOWING the man to ask you out on the date, gives him an opportunity to improve his manliness.  It gives him the chance to be a man who knows what he wants and then takes action.  He becomes courageous and daring, all for the simple reason that he wants to spend time with you. (*Swoon*)

It also trains him to ASK for what he wants.  So if you feel called to the vocation of marriage and hope that someday the right man will ASK you “the BIG” question,  then make sure you aren’t teaching him to do the opposite.  You want to find a man who already has the skill-set of “knowing what he wants and ASKing for it”.

***Just some clarification: It’s O.K. to drop signals that you are open to going out on the date.   Don’t stonewall yourself into your room and expect a man to knock down the wall to ask you out.  That being said, be sure you aren’t overstepping your acquaintance/friendship boundaries either.  Be on the lookout for a  future post on boundaries…

Step 2: Be receptive to what God is bringing into your life -most likely there is a lesson in it.

Things in life happen for a reason.  God puts people into our lives for a reason, so be open to what it is He is trying to do. There might be a lesson for us, or their might be a lesson for the man, or both.

Step 3: Say, “Yes.” ***Even if – especially if–  he isn’t really your type.   NEVER say yes if you get a predatory or creepy vibe from him.  Always listen to your safety instincts (because it may be your guardian angel warning you.)

Step 4: Allow the man to plan the date. ***It’s best to start with a coffee/tea date.  Dinner takes too long and going out for drinks just makes you friendlier and more flirty than you normally would be. Coffee or tea or a walk in the park is a nice short chance to get the first date jitters out of your system.  So while it’s good to allow the man to plan the date, it’s ok to head him in this direction, should he suggest a 3 hour trip to the Met and dinner. (Another disaster dating story of mine.) So just say, “Wow dinner is very generous of you, but would you mind if we start with coffee? or tea?

Step 5: Allow the man to pay for the date. I don’t care if it’s a slice of pizza, coffee, tea, or a steak dinner: LET THE MAN PAY.  Gone are the days when we women have to prove that we are strong women by paying for all of our dates……

I use the term “Let” the man pay, because for women this will be a struggle.  She will wonder if she should at least gesture to grab for the wallet.  She will wonder if he wont call her again because she wouldn’t pay for her $2.50 slice of pizza.  She will think, “Oh I want him to know I have a good job and that I can take care of myself.” She will not want him to have any power over her… i.e. he paid for my steak dinner so he’s going to demand a make-out session from me.

So, women: don’t pay for dates! (Not just first dates – all dates!)

Here’s why: The dreaded, “going dutch” absolutely kills any chemistry and any romance. It’s the “safe” way to date – which turns out to actually be a disaster.  It’s like the Titanic.  Big unsinkable ship.  Sounds good, but it ends up sinking.  Again – not inherently wrong or sinful, it just doesn’t seem to work in the natural order of how a man and a woman were designed to relate to each other.

It will be a bit scary at first, but look at it like it’s an extreme sport like cliff diving or jumping out of an airplane.

Step 6:  When it’s time to say good bye:  Say, “thank you”. DO NOT: kiss him … or anything beyond that.  DO NOT say, “Thanks so much – I had a great time – we should do this again sometime.”….

Here’s why: it is the man’s job to pursue you.  The man gets to lead at this point.  If he had a great time, then he can express that.  You allow him to make his statement first – then you can respond nicely – IF YOU TRULY HAD A GREAT TIME.  DO NOT SAY WHAT YOU DO NOT MEAN. If you feel a moment of awkwardness, say, “thank you for taking me out on a date.  It was very generous of you.”

Step 7: You wait for a man to ask you out on the 2nd date. This means you don’t send him emails, text messages or phone messages “just to let him know that you had a really great time.”  What you want to know is: Is this guy interested in ME enough to ask me out on the 2nd date.

The 2nd date can be longer than the first date – but it doesn’t have to be.  Really the 2nd date is to get a better grasp on IF there is chemistry and IF this is the type of person that you would like to hang out with.  Ask yourself, “Are they a good influence on me?” Do I admire them?

Step 8: Say Yes to 2nd date – even if you didn’t see romance sparks flying on the 1st date. As I stated earlier – 1st dates are notoriously horrendous.  So – don’t judge the whole man on how the first date went… unless of course he was a complete jerk.  I once had a guy yell at me at the end of the first date because even though he had paid for a fancy dinner I wasn’t interested in a smooch-fest with him. Needless to say I did not have to “wait” for the 2nd date to say, “no thank you.” So unless the first date was a complete disaster due to rudeness or inappropriateness, you say “yes” to the 2nd date.

There’s a reason behind this too. Saying yes twice will help affirm men that we appreciate their efforts to woo a woman.  I’ll have to ask my guy friends, but I think that, most likely, guys feel as if the first date was out of sheer luck – or perhaps a flippant answer because the woman was caught off guard and didn’t know how to respond.  So it’s important that, as women, we affirm men when they are doing manly things.  (This is why if there is rude non-gentlemanly behavior on the first date, you can skip to the no-thank you part. We don’t reward someone for acting like an ass… and by that I mean a donkey.)

It’s also important that as women, we give ourselves some time to relax into the situation.   So often we rush ourselves.  During the date -or heck, even before a guy asks us out, we are so busy trying to determine if the man could be “the one,” that we completely miss out on the pleasure of enjoying their company. So – take your time to relax into the date so you don’t miss it.

Step 9: Say good bye and thank you. See step 6

Step 10: Reflect on the experience – take action. Give yourself some time to reflect on the dates.  Was he courteous? Was he kind to others? Is he generous? How does he like to spend his time?

If by this time you have zero chemistry with the man and zero inclination to get to know him any further, then you must take action and let him know BEFORE the third date. “BY THE THIRD DATE” you should have a pretty good idea if you are a good fit for each other.  If you need a third date, then repeat the steps relating to the 2nd date.

You MUST take action quickly.  Within 24 hours of the 2nd date (or 3rd if you needed more time), you need to contact the man.   Preferably over the phone – though if you have primarily been communicating via email that is O.K. too.  TEXTING IS NOT APPROPRIATE.  It’s cowardly and too brief.  Contact them and say, “Thank you very much for your generosity in asking me on those dates.  I wanted to let you know that I’m not interested in going on further dates. Thank you so much”

He may respond with, “Oh, ok – thank you.  Good bye.”

He may also respond with “why?”

Your answer should be: because it’s just not the right match.  Or there isn’t any chemistry. We as women want to soften the blow by giving a very long list about WHY we gave our answers.  OR by delivering the dreaded “Well, I just don’t see you that way – I only see you as a friend.” or “You’re a great person, but….”  It is unnecessary and inadvisable to do this sort of thing.  Any sort of list would only belittle the person you are speaking to.  It is almost as if we deny the person’s worth: You aren’t good enough for me – or you aren’t the “perfection” that I’m searching for.

BUT there IS validity in the fact that some persons are well suited, and I dare to say, designed for each other…. to be complimentary.  It’s O.K. to notice that the fit doesn’t work well.  It’s like a puzzle piece that looks like it should fit with the rest, but it doesn’t.  If you jam it in there, it will just warp the piece… there’s a place for it – it just isn’t right there. (But don’t USE the puzzle piece metaphor when giving him the answer…. he’s a person, not a puzzle piece.) Tricky, I know.

So – follow these steps, and others that I will illustrate in future posts….

and you may just find yourself happily married to a man who’s much more well suited for you than you could have ever imagined.

I did. 🙂

How to date (and dance) in 2010

April 26, 2010

How to date in 2010….

You might be saying, “Why are you writing about dating? I thought this was about Theology of the Body  and/or swing?”

I was rather reluctant to write about dating, because it is such an individual experience, and I thought it to be a little off-topic.  But time after time, the subject keeps coming up.  Women want to know how to date (and dance) successfully and men want to know how to get a woman to date (and dance) with them.  On and off the dance floor, women and men relate to each other and how well they relate to each other determines if the relationship flourishes or withers.

After many disastrous relationships and broken hearts, I came up with a new (for me) plan for dating and my inspiration came from the dance floor.

On the dance floor in Lindy Hop Swing, the man is the lead who determines where the partners will go on the dance floor and what dance moves they will do. Don’t worry gals, there’s plenty of room for you to be creative, but your first goal is to allow the man to lead.

So my plan, and my advice to you, is to let the man lead in the dating scene as well.

(At this point you are probably thinking, “Hey I thought she said this was dating in 2010? maybe she said 1910?”.  If you are thinking that, stay with me – it has a happy ending.)

Part 1: Men lead.

Part 2:  Women allow the men to lead.

Sound simple? Yep.  It is.

Practically speaking its a bit trickier.  Because we live in a world that is so accustomed to women taking charge and “being the same” as men, women have been trained to steal this ‘opportunity to lead’ away from men.

Women: this will be a challenge for you.  It will feel completely foreign at first… sort of  like trying to write with your left hand when you are right-handed.  It will appear as if it is easy to do, but it will prove to be trickier than you expected – AND most importantly it will allow you to grow your skill set…. AND make you a stronger woman. Sound good? O.K…..

Now that you have the game plan in place, how do you implement that into daily life? Try the:

“By the 3rd date” Plan (20+ and 30+ somethings…this is for you.)

The “By the 3rd date” plan was something that I was inspired to do after numerous dating disasters.  I was 30+.  I had read a few books on dating but they were either suggesting that  I live a “Sex in the City” life (ACK!) in order to secure a mate OR they were written for 13 year-olds and suggested having a chaperone at every date.  I had tried blind dates, online dating (popular sites and Catholic sites), being out and about at numerous social functions, and of course just meeting someone by chance.  All of them had proved to be what I affectionately call “disasters”.  They were learning experiences – and what I learned is that people don’t know how to date.

In short, with “By the 3rd date” you go out on two dates,  IF by the 2nd date there is ZERO – I mean negative amounts of-  chemistry, then don’t go out on the 3rd date and be open to what God brings you next.

The first date is always a disaster because both people are nervous.

The second date you get to know the person a little more.

God created hormones that we can detect just by standing near someone.  Those hormones (pheromones) are indicators of when we are fertile and when we are not, AND who we will be compatible with and who we will not.

If by the 3rd date, there is no chemistry – no indicator – no inspiration to proceed, then it’s time to listen to that signal and move on.

By the way – this is similar to what happens on the dance floor. In Lindy Hop Swing, it is common to lead some dance moves in patterns of three.   If however, the man leads a dance move and the first time the woman doesn’t follow the lead and fumbles, he leads it again to give it a second try.  IF the second attempt is a complete disaster too – he discerns that it’s not a good fit, and leads a different move.

There’s more to this, but so as to not make this post too long, I’m going to break it up: “By the 3rd date”- for Women and “By the 3rd date” for Men.