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Feb 27, 2012

The Moment You Let Go...

In reference to this post, I wanted to say that somehow, when you stop obsessing and just let things be, special people seem to walk into your life.

Feb 24, 2012

Abuse of Power

One of the things I find really abhorrent is abuse of power. When I hear about agunah cases like this, I have a hard time comprehending why someone would abuse power to spite and ruin another person's life. It really tears at my heart.

Feb 20, 2012

Frum Dating from the Previously Un-Frum Male

I've had a couple of fascinating conversations with guys over the past couple months. These guys are worldly yet sweet, confident yet sensitive and definitely willing to make a move, but have found themselves frustrated with dating in the frum world. I acknowledge that they are a small drop in the pool of dating and not every woman fits into their experiences. Still, their experiences speak to a general impression and a composite experience, so I present here what I've gleaned from our talks...

-Can be more direct
-Not as quickly/negatively judged by women
-Dating was easier
-More relaxed, less pressure
-Less immediate obsession with marriage
-Less pressure on/between dates
-Actually took time to explore each other, build chemistry/attraction and bond over mutually interesting activities
-People were not "boxed in" or categorized, but more accepted as individuals
-Dating is a process of getting to know each other, sharing common interests, values, goals
-Dating was fun

-Lots of rules, guidelines and protocols
-Have to "be nice" and "take her out" very formally which, ironically, isn't enough to qualify for additional dates, but feels restrictive in terms of a guy being himself
-Feeling judged, often very early on (and often for "being nice" and "following protocol")
-Conflicting expectations, often not communicated or unclear (eg. thinking "I like to talk in between dates," or "I like to know immediately if he wants to go out again" without saying anything)
-Full of snap-decisions based on little information and/or incomplete impressions
-Difficult to have more than a few dates with one woman
-Underlying, unspoken pressure and obsession relating everything he says/does to marriage
-Nixed early on, without actually getting to know the woman or become comfortable enough to show who they are
-They are often "boxed in" or categorized (or the attempt is made, rather judgmentally), without paying attention to their individual characters
-Dating is about obsessing over marriageable traits, actions and words
-Dating is an exhausting, draining and generally underwhelming experience

I'd very much like to hear any thoughts or experiences y'all have to share...

Feb 12, 2012

Men 101: Directness

Guys, by nature, tend to be very direct.

When we need to go to the bathroom, we'll blurt it out. If we're hungry or thirsty, we say so... and immediately begin the search for food. We can be very vocal about our needs, because we learn that the way to get what we want is to be very clear about what we want and go for it. Either say something, or learn to deal with it.

That does lead us to assume that if someone wants something from us, they will be the same way. So, if I do something that annoys someone, I don't need to worry about it. Why think about whether it bothers the other person, or ask them how they feel? If it's a big deal, the person will tell me. Our radars ignore many things -the way we ignore the sound of a fan blowing in the room or learn to tune out street noise in urban areas -until they are pointed out to us.

To be clear, ignoring doesn't mean we don't care; we just aren't primed to constantly attend to all the little details, or think about all the underlying motivations, thoughts and feelings of everyone else all the time. With most good guys, we're receptive when our attention is directed at those thoughts and feelings, even if many guys don't know what to do about them (which is a whole other topic). In fact, since we work on a system of directness, having clear direction for how to deal with those thoughts/emotions can be extremely useful. As always, men would assume that if a woman wants to be listened to -if that's what she needs -she would just say so (a la "I've had such a terrible day, I just want to vent about it. Can you simply listen to all the frustrating details, so I can get it off my mind? That's what I need to let it go.") .

While it seems pretty simple and straightforward to guys, it may not be so easy to deal with or intuitive for women to do; many stereotypes about male incompetence, ignorance and insensitivity stem from this basic difference in how we relate to each other and the expectations we have for how we should relate to one another.

So when we're saying something, it's often a literal statement to directly communicate valuable information to the other person. Even when we're listening, that's how we tend to take what the other person says -as a direct communication of information -instead of thinking about the embedded thoughts, motivations or feelings that are being expressed and/or (have been) experienced.

Feb 8, 2012

Quote of the Day #9

Every so often, I work out a little phrase or thought. Often it seems like I've heard it before, but I'll admit I don't read libraries of literature and I'm not well versed in the world's quotes. In any case, here's one from the other day: 

"There is a world of difference between having a pure heart and a clean mind, but one can possess both. Without them together, how could we have love?"

As always, thoughts or feedback are appreciated.

I Don't Have Time For This...

I have been very cautious about the time I carve out for dating, and balancing that with my busy schedule. In particular, as I deal with graduate school and try to cram time in for dating, I'm finding that I have less and less wiggle room to date. Beyond that, since presenting my recently updated dating track record I've been thinking, analyzing and exploring how I feel about it.

I have to say, overall I'm not impressed. I have found myself curious and intrigued by the women I go out with, but find they either don't share that curiosity or choose not to give me that chance. I'm not the type to play games, I'm the type to have an open heart, but I've found myself more judged than ever. I've heard more excuses than I'd ever made, and most of them seem ridiculous to me.

While I'm focusing on graduate school, I'm thinking I don't have the time or energy to keep dating as I have over the past nine months. Perhaps bitterness is setting in, at least for the time being. Perhaps I just need (another) break and to focus on myself. Or maybe I just need to chill out a bit, who knows?

Perhaps it's time to change up the way I go about dating again. Or maybe it's just a grinding game of numbers. Perhaps -as the faithful would say -it's "not my time yet." Or maybe it's time for me to get super-picky and judgmental, to reject each woman who doesn't immediately feel exactly right for me.

Ugh. I seriously dislike that last thought. And the one before that, and -come to think of it -the one before that. In fact, the entire previous paragraph is frustratingly upsetting to think about right now. I'm working on creating space for someone else in my life and I'm not getting much receptiveness in return.

So I'm deciding it's time to coast along, bachelor style. Embrace where I am right now, stop thinking about making space for someone else who isn't yet in my life. Own what I want and pursue my own path. At least, for now.

Okay, time to put on my rocket pack. Selling myself to science was the cost, but at least I'll get to fly... Onward!

Feb 2, 2012

Guest Post: Clingy

I recently got an email from Burnt Dreadlocks with a post from a fellow who calls himself "Josh." I found it intriguing, and so I've decided to publish my first guest post:

Around a year ago I met a girl with whom i became quite friendly. Friendships with members of the opposite gender can be, however, quite complicated. In the past little while things have started shifting away from just a friendship into being more of a relationship. The issue is that although I do like her as a friend, I am by no means looking for a relationship. In addition to that, I have began to find her to be clingy. She has a desire to constantly talk to me. It is almost scary to me, I don't know what to do about it or how to address it. Do I tell her she is being clingy? Do I tell her I don't want anything more than a normal friendship?

Also, a general question, girls, how do you view a clingy guy and guys, how do you view a clingy girl?