mormon speed dating

Do I really need to say anything else?

I spent three hours last night speed dating. I wish I had some good stories, but honestly, it was pretty fun and not especially eventful. Here’s what I will say…

  • 25 three minute dates in one night; I just met my quota for the year.
  • A little kindness goes a long way – it doesn’t matter if you are not interested in someone and you can tell that from the first moment you meet someone…there’s never an excuse to be a jerk.
  • Don’t judge a book by its cover – I was surprised by how often I was surprised by the personalities that came with the looks. Both for better and worse. I probably shouldn’t be surprised by this anymore, but I am. 
  • Three minutes can be very long…or very short.
  • There are still some really good guys out there. 

speed work

While I’ve run several half marathons, I’ve never really worked on running them at any particular speed. My goal has only been to finish. Well, this year with the three halves I am planning to do, I want to get faster. I’m tired of running everything at the same exact pace. Enter speed work.

On Tuesday I was slated to run 6 x 400 meters, each one at a faster pace than I normally run. Again, I took to the streets where five street blocks are the equivalent of about 400 meters. The first 400 was a little rough. The entire stretch was a mental battle between me and my heart (my legs were fine at this point). My heart kept saying it couldn’t be pushed longer while my mind argued that it could. Not only could it be longer, it could be pushed harder. The pace was pretty good (not great, but much faster than I normally run). 
The next 400 was easier. It’s amazing how much easier it is to sense a grade in the road when running rather than walking or driving. The second 400 was downhill and a little easier. Still, I wanted to quit after that. I was tired and just wanted to go home. But then I thought, “Well, I’m here. I should at least do two more.” I did. And then contemplated quitting again. But then I looked at all of my different times and thought, “I bet I can beat all of these on my last 400.” And suddenly, a goal was born and I could sense that I was going to be able to do it. (I’m pretty determined.) And I did. I ran the fastest 400 I have run in a very long time. And it was hard. And I was breathless. But it was worth it.
The funny thing about running (specifically training for a long race) is how analogous it is to life. For instance, if I keep “training” for life the same way I always have, I’m going to keep running at the same pace. Take that a step further (albeit a creative one) I could apply this to dating. If I keep trying to date the same way I’ve always dated, I’m guessing I’m going to keep getting the same results. I might end up with someone, but is it going to be the best someone for me? (Just roll with this…I know it’s not perfect.)
So, this week I also decided to apply my “train better” approach to my personal life and when my friend at church suggested a triple date–a set-up triple date that is–while I normally would have said “hell no” I acquiesced. The main goal of this date was actually to set-up one of her friends from Arizona with one of my friends, but she thought it would be more fun if there were three couples rather than two, especially since they are married. I agreed, as long as she figured out who the third guy would be.
And guess what? When you train differently, you do get different results. I had a positive attitude about the whole thing and went into it very open minded and I ended up having a really good time. My goal for the next couple of weeks is to figure out where else I can use this “train differently” approach in my life. I’m guessing there will be lots of opportunities. LIke the speed dating thing I’m doing this next Saturday… And know that the process of training differently is going to be more painful than what I have been doing. But what I have been doing has not been getting me the results I want, so it makes sense that that needs to change, right?
It all sounds so easy posted on a blog at 3 am. This week is a tempo run rather than speed work which will involve a lot more discipline if I run it outside, which I’m determined to do. But I’m already looking forward to the sense of accomplishment I will feel after the run and the little improvement (be it ever so small) that I will feel while running.

ETA: And the song of the night on Tuesday (speed work night) was Katy Perry’s Firework. 

rhode island, part 2

As the pictures showed, Rhode Island is a beautiful place and it was so fun to get out of the city and meet some new people and get to know some less new people a little better. But it was not just about discovering this new place. It was also about me discovering a new me. (How’s that for an overly built-up lead? I only wish that I thought the rest of this post was going to be so dramatic…hopefully I can do the experience a little justice.)

The Background, Part 1:
For those of you who aren’t Mormon (or who are Mormon and got married at 22 and don’t have a lot–or any–“older” single friends), you may not get this…but here’s the thing. Mormons over a certain age and still single are kind of socially awkward. This is not a statement that can be limited either. The bottom line is we all are. A little bit. And some, obviously, much more than others. The are many reasons for this. The one I’m going to focus on is that we believe that families are eternal and an integral part of our progression, both in this life and in the life after this one. Because of this, there is a huge focus on dating and marriage and popping out babies. And this focus creates an inordinate amount of pressure when it comes to relationships with the opposite sex at any age over, say, 27. (I’m being generous, it really starts at like 18, but whatever.)

This creates an awkward dynamic for those of us in our late twenties and beyond who are still single. Any social interactions between members of the opposite sex who are both single and Mormon have this constant underlying tension. Tension that comes from the ever present conscious or subconscious question: Could I possibly want to date and/or marry this person? Or, in my case, it has often been: Could this person possibly want to date and/or marry me?

No, I’m not joking.

So, very few relationships between members of the opposite sex are just normal friendships. The hunt for a partner seems to be ever present.

The Background, Part 2:
I have never been one who dates a lot. I have never been the girl that boys just ask out. I, and for those of you who know me this will come as no surprise, have blamed this lack of dating on not being pretty enough/thin enough/flirty enough, etc, etc, etc. Through lots of therapy and even more introspection, I have come to the sad realization that much of this reality is the result of my own thoughts and actions, and has next to nothing to do with what I look like (other than how my thoughts about what I look like affect my actions).

Whether it was the chicken first or the egg, the bottom line: I don’t date a lot and I am SUPER insecure when it comes to single men, Mormon ones in particular.

The Background, Part 3:
My adventures in dating non-Mormons (which is basically over) was a huge step in the right direction. I know I’ve already blogged about some of the things I learned in the process, but I just want to revisit those most relevant to this post.

  1. I’m not unattractive.
  2. In 6 out of 7 experiences, the guy I went out with wanted to go out again…and again. And it wasn’t because I was putting out. (Not on the first date, anyway.)
  3. Dating is really fun when you take away all the pressure of a future relationship or marriage and just use it as a means of getting to know a person.

Rhode Island:
The trip to R.I. was not just about getting out of the city and relaxing. I had a personal goal. I wanted to try and just be myself around a group of Mormon coeds…like I am able to do when dating these non-Mormon guys. This is not an easy task for me and requires serious commitment. (The reality is that the way I’ve dealt with my insecurities around Mormon guys is to turn into a b@#!$. I know. I have issues. I already mentioned that I was in therapy.)

So, without boring you with the details, I will say that the trip to Rhode Island was a success on all levels. I had a great time. I was myself. I was not a b@#!$ to the guys on the trip. (Maybe a little bit to one of the girls…but she was really, really obnoxious and rude…still, I feel bad about that.) I chatted people up, overcoming all of my insecurities about whether people will like me or not (both guys and girls). I went to the beach and wore a bathing suit without worrying about what I looked like in it. And I came home with a number of new friends.

After Rhode Island:
There was one particular guy that I met that I thought I would like to hang out with again. And, rather than just say, “Oh, he was cool. Too bad I probably won’t ever talk to him again because I’m not this or that,” I emailed him. This, of course, was pathetically scary for me. But I did it. And he emailed back. And then I emailed back. And then that was the end of that (translation: he didn’t email me back).

It would be easy to see that as some kind of defeat; a confirmation of all of the lies that I believe about myself…but that’s not what happened. Instead, I felt very victorious. This trip, for me, was not about me meeting someone who I might want to date at some future point (or even now). I mean, that would have been great, but it also would have been just a little too fairy-tale-esque for my reality. This trip was about me getting over my ridiculous fears and insecurities. It was about me not putting up this wall with the words “I’m a b@#!$” spray painted across it. It was about whatever happened that made my reaction to not hearing from this kid again totally rational, instead of laden with self-doubt and self-loathing.

When I didn’t hear from this guy, my thought was, “He probably thinks that I want to date him (because we single Mormons are just that socially messed up) and he doesn’t think he wants to date me which is really too bad. If only he could be approaching this the same way I am in terms of developing a friendship because I think we would be good friends.” And yes, maybe he was approaching it the same way and just didn’t want to be friends. Whatever. The important thing here is not what he was thinking, it was my reaction.

The difference between that and how I would have normally reacted are just slightly nuanced, but that nuance is so important. To make it a little more clear, here’s what I didn’t think. I didn’t think, “If I were prettier, he’d want to be friends.” I also didn’t think, “He probably wishes that so-and-so had emailed him and not me.” And finally, I didn’t think “If I had just been myself and not been on the defensive, maybe he would have wanted to hang out.”

It’s progress. Maybe minor, but real.

a little late to the party

So, I think I might have mentioned that I’ve been doing a little dating of the on-line variety. Anyway, one of these boys, “the PhD” as he will be know on the blog, is turning out to be lots of fun. And for once in my life, I’m not worried about where it’s going or even if it’s going. I’m just dating.

I know I mentioned that I was going to be making a shift back to trying to date Mormons*, but the PhD is not Mormon and I’m just fine with that because he is okay with the fact that I am. Sure, it’s led to a few very interesting and semi-awkward conversations that I won’t be sharing in any detail here. But even those conversations have been enjoyable because I’m not stressed out about whether something is going to be a deal-breaker or whatever.

Tonight he asked me why, if I am looking to get married as the end result of dating, I’m not being more selective in who I date. (He knows I’ve been dating a lot…we have oddly honest conversations about all kinds of things people don’t normally openly discuss because when you have to have those semi-awkward conversations, everything else seems kind of normal.) It’s a good question. And the best answer I’ve come up with is that I’m still trying to figure out what I want and how to be myself in the process of looking for/finding what I want, and dating–without worrying so much about the marriage factor–is helping.

So, this may be a little late in coming–like 12 years late–but I’ve decided to act like I’m 20 and just see how it goes. For right now, I’m enjoying myself. A lot.

*I was going to say “back to dating Mormons”, but let’s be honest here, it’s always just been an effort, not a reality. Something about me and Mormon boys doesn’t mix…and I’m starting to realize that I might be a big part of the problem in that combination. 

kisses

If I were to dream up a perfect first kiss in New York City, there are two scenarios that come to mind. One, of course, would be in Central Park, in the evening on some quiet side path out of the view of random passersby. The second would be along one of the rivers, sitting on one of the many benches or standing on one of the piers at night, with the lights from New Jersey (I’m thinking Hudson…I do live on the Upper West Side) on the other side.

That’s all.

Except that it’s possible that one of these two might have happened earlier this evening. Or not.