Saturday, March 9, 2013

The dating game



All of these men are probably perfectly lovely. I just don’t know how I got matched with them.

Upon the urging of friends I signed up for a computer dating service. I went with one that had a long process as the quick easy one was plastered with mug shots and was like inviting every creep from a bar into your house via your computer.
It took me two evenings to take the psychological test and upload my information. My post says I am a manager of a not for profit, who likes to cook, garden, bicycle, kayak and hike. You are required to list the books you have read. I listed Anne Tyler, Maeve Binchy, Joyce Carol Oats. You have to say how important your faith is to you. For me it’s a deal breaker.
I uploaded pictures of myself looking nice. Pictures of me at events where my hair is done and my clothes are nice. I share this information so that you understand that those men who see my profile know that I am clean. From the pictures you can almost smell the toothpaste I had just used to brush my teeth.
I have been matched with men who posted pictures of themselves with giant sunglasses on, and sweat pouring down their faces. No they aren’t exercising pictures, they’re just sweating pictures.
I have been matched with three different men connected to wood. The first was looking for a woman who could carry a load of firewood in. At least he puts it out there that he’s looking for a laborer. The second was a “whole tree chipper.” I’m not sure what he does if he comes upon a half a tree or a big branch. Will he not chip those? The third is a tree surgeon. So one kills trees and the other one nurses them back to health.
What about my profile indicates that I’m interested in these foresters? Is it because I like to hike and one sees trees on a hike? I have plenty of friends who hike, male and female, and none of them have a particular affinity for trees. I like to think I’m in that category.
I was matched with a dump truck driver who put as far as books, “The last book I read would have been in high school and I wouldn’t have liked it.” How did I get matched with him?
I was matched with another nonreader who stated “I don’t read.” He is a sewage treatment plant operator. Back in college I was assigned by the editor of the school paper to cover the sewage treatment plant facility open house. They served chocolate donuts and apple cider. I will never get the sights and smells of that day out of my mind, so I don’t think I can date him.
There are two matches that I don’t know how I got. You have to say what your religious affiliation is and how important it is to you. I have the settings set on high, my faith is very important to me. Imagine my surprise when I was matched with a warlock, and then a crystal healer!!! Something must be wrong with the program.
Other favorite matches: the widowed grandfather (I’m looking in a certain age group. He wasn’t in it.); the man passionate about crossword puzzles; and a man who lives for ice fishing.
I am sure out there is some man who can’t believe he’s been matched with me: a not for profit manager who likes to cook. Surely that is repulsive or at least funny to some.
What I’ve learned from this is that I like to laugh and I’m given opportunities to laugh daily. I have wonderful friends who have supported me through many things. This is so much more than many people have.
I’m learning to plan my weekends better. When I know I won’t have the girls home I’ve gotten good at asking friends to do things with me. As hard as it is for me to ask for help, my wonderful friends have responded nicely.
I hope all of those woodsmen find what they are looking for. I know it’s not me. I can honestly say I am perfectly okay being on my own.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The glamorous life of a single mom



I recently found out that a friend’s husband is concerned about her spending time with me. He is afraid I am going to try and convert her to the glamorous lifestyle of a divorced single mother. I’m trying to laugh about it.
I never wanted to be divorced. Despite the challenges my marriage faced (there were many and they weren’t typical) I held on to the belief that someday we would get through it all, look back and say “Look what we did.” I assumed that our children’s graduations would be days filled with pride and emotion for us as a couple. I thought someday we would celebrate our 50th wedding anniversary.
It’s not important to know why my marriage ended, but I suppose it is important to know that this wasn’t my choice and not the path I chose.
The pain of divorce isn’t as raw as it was during those first few months, but even though over two years have gone by it’s still there. It gets worse at unexpected times. I feel a stab of pain at the elementary school’s family dance when it’s just me and my girls. They have no daddy to dance with. I can’t hear Proverbs 31, the reading about a good wife, without dissolving in tears. And if there is an anniversary dance at a wedding reception, forget it. I’ll be in the bathroom before Kenny Rogers finishes the first line of the song “Through the Years.”
I would not wish this pain on anyone.
My day begins at 6 as I get up and do what all mothers do: get dressed, make breakfast, get the kids ready for school, ferry children to lessons and appointments. Then I work a full day, pick up the kids from afterschool care, make dinner, supervise homework, run one to dance and then pick up again. I serve the dinner, clean up, review homework, get ready for the next day, squeeze in some chores, and then get everyone settled in bed. Once they are asleep I try and work on my volunteer assignments for the girls’ schools. Then I go to sleep to get ready to start it all over again. I do it without help, without anyone asking how my day is, without another adult to provide moral support. If there is a snow storm I’ve got to get the driveway done. If the lawn needs to be mowed it’s my responsibility. All of the things normally shared between a couple are my responsibility to do.
It is sad.
Friends have encouraged me to date. I would go out, but meeting someone at my age isn’t easy. I tried a dating website. I’ve been matched with a self-described pagan warlock; a man looking for a woman who can carry in a load of firewood; a man who is passionate about ice fishing; a man who makes wood chips for a living; and another man who thought it important to post on his profile that he keeps his house set at 62 degrees.
No one would want this life and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. A widow said to me “My husband didn’t choose to leave me and would still be with me if he could. Your husband chose to leave you and you still have to interact with him. That’s tough.”
As hard as it is to believe I even was at Mass one weekend where the priest spoke about divorced people as sinners. I am not perfect, and it’s my understanding that all humans sin. Why did my children and I have to hear that I am sinful because I am divorced?
While I wouldn’t choose this path it’s the one that has been given. I have been the recipient of many prayers and kindnesses since my husband left. I have learned to do things that I never would have done before. I even took apart my dishwasher once, found the problem and fixed it! I’ve also gained an appreciation for others who are different from the norm.
I have an even deeper appreciation for marriage. I know that marriage can be challenging and life is filled with ups and downs. How amazing is it that couples stay together, like my grandparents for 65 years? Being married is a challenging and awesome way of life. I do whatever I can to support my friends and family who are married. Being divorced has only served to reinforce my belief in the sacrament of marriage.
I would not ever encourage anyone to get a divorce… even with the allure of single woodsman out there.