Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dating 101

Last night I attended a seminar that was put on by a delightful woman, Karen Kindred. The seminar was called "Dating 101." I have two friends that have used Karen as their therapist, and they both had nothing but fantastic things to say about her, and that's how we ended up attending. I ended up going with Ben, Alek, Natalie, Vanessa, and two other friends, Heidi and Leanna. This seminar gave me some great insight into dating, a renewed confidence in myself, and it was more clear than usual that I'm a feminist.

The room was full of beautiful women and men, all whom were perfectly quaffed and dressed to the nines. I'm pretty sure if you took the money that each person spent on their outfit, plus the cost off accessories and toiletries, you could pay for my under-grad, they were that kind of people. Did I mention that it was held at a country club? I felt a tad out of place before things began, but when we split into sex-segregated groups to answer questions from the perspective of both sexes (i.e. What's the worst thing someone can do on a date?,) I found that I stuck out like an underdressed and sore thumb. These women had zero clue what it was like to date and behave like a grown up, and the men didn't seem to have any real world conception of the time period we currently occupy. Many of the girls in my group (my friends and one beautiful girl with curly black hair being the exception) didn't seem fit to date a door knob. These girls seemed to be lacking an identity, and independence. I didn't bite my tongue during the entire exercise, and as I've often found, you could see so many of these repressed young women lapping it up. They gasped when I said certain things, but laughed and gave me the knowing blush that I've seen so many times. The look in their eyes says "I HAVE SHIT TO SAY, BUT I'M AFRAID TO BE SHUNNED!" I probably sounded semi-crazy, but I'm learning to be comfortable with that. In fact, I don't see it as crazy; my personality is unique, and I have many endearing qualities. This seminar was like the ten minute mile you complete after you haven't worked out for a while, you feel out of shape, but relatively speaking, you're pretty fit. I realized in the face of all of these people that I'm going to find someone. I know myself, and that is one of the key components in finding a counterpart. My identity does not change, and it is unique, and anyone worth forming a commitment with will appreciate that.

My main contention with the exercise was that there were so many gender biased assumptions. When the question came up whether or not a woman should ask a man out on a date, the resounding answer from most seemed to be "no," but not just "no" a "HELL NO!"; The predominance of Mormons in the room barred the profanity, but the concept of a woman making the first move was met with emphatic rejection. We were in four groups, and each group had to share their two responses, this opened up some give and take between groups. One guy actually said "A man needs to feel like a man," when referring to paying for dinner. I couldn't help but blurt out in an irritated intonation "We vote now." I feel that the world would be a much more navigable place if everyone tried with all of their might to abandon the social construct of gender. The poor sucker that tries to feel worthwhile because he pays for dinner needs to get a hobby, because if a woman offers to pay, it's because she has the money to pay and wants to show you that she's grateful for the good time. Society has us pumped full of these ideas and concepts that don't make any sense. Why should an extroverted girl not ask out the cute guy at the coffee shop that is shy, but innocently flirts? Any logical human being that doesn't let their life be dictated by gender roles would see this as an acceptable thing to do, the people in this room didn't agree.

The dating tips given at the end were amazing. I need to work on my problem with "forecasting." I need to quit thinking ahead to the next date when I'm sitting with the person, and enjoy the moment. Also, I realized that liking someone is more important than loving someone. I was with someone for years that didn't like me and it was miserable. I'm not going to turn this entry into my attestation for why I think Ben is fantastic, but it made me realize things about our relationship and dynamic. The whole time I kept looking over at Ben and thinking that it was fantastic that he enjoys my taste in music, he likes that I want to buy board games at midnight, and he enjoys my spontaneity. He doesn't yell at me for embarrassing him, because I don't. I don't feel inferior because he is multi-talented, and I don't think he's dissatisfied because he is always striving to improve. Those are some of the things I really like about him, and Karen pointed out that it is better to like someone, and have fun with them than be in love. Love grows from like, and you shouldn't force it. Life isn't a fairytale, but sitting at home while eating Thai food, rolling/snuggling, playing California Speed, and watching the same movie IS a fairytale. If you can laugh for days with someone just by making sound effects, your relationship is better off, because when you can't pay your bills on time, you may as well be laughing.

All in all, the night was fantastic. We enjoyed some major people bashing after, and even when I don't want a person as a permanent fixture in my life, I always enjoy meeting new faces and experiencing new things. An experience may be bad, but it makes life richer, and I want to be a billionaire in that sense before I croak.

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