My friend Kate over at The Suddenly Kate Show has started a new adventure to get out there and meet someone. That's something I gave up on a long time ago, but I really admire her spirit and desire to find someone to spend the rest of her life with, and she's gotten me to think a lot about my situation.
Ever since my divorce about 18 years ago (wow, that seems like forever ago when I type it out like that), I've used male friends as romantic substitutes. You can go out with them, go to eat, see a movie, shop, whatever, without all the emotional attachment that comes with relationships (or, even better, the intimacies). It's been the perfect solution/excuse for me for years. And the more I think about it, I did the same thing before my ex-husband even came into the picture.
I always preferred the company of male friends versus female, my first best friend was a boy and, although we did spend time as boyfriend/girlfriend, it was a one-sided relationship because I never really thought of him as more than a friend (and it was ultimately the reason that ended us). But from kindergarten to about 8th grade, he was a staple in my life. I quickly replaced him with my first real crush, who never thought of me as anything other than a friend (tables turned, that's what I got), but I was obsessive over him from 9th grade through the first couple of years of college. I had a few years of "friend-time" break, and then I sunk right back in with the male friend scenario, then on to ex-husband, then back to another male friend/co-worker named Chris, and then Tony was a staple in my life for almost 15 years and he was the best friend I ever had. But since our vacation, I am now once again male-companionless.
I always consider myself a loner, but in all actuality, I'm not and really never have been (I just prefer to spend the majority of my time alone). I've always had my sister and now I have some great blog friends, but my male friend has always been my social buddy...someone to go places with and do things with when I couldn't do or go by myself. I prefer men in this capacity because girls always seem to end up competitive for some reason and I can't deal with the drama. Kate's journey has started me wondering if I want to insert yet another male friend into the picture or is it finally time to see if I can do the whole romantic thing again (and not pick a total loser this time).
When I got up yesterday, I didn't plan on putting on a "full face" of makeup simply because I was only going to work and they don't care what I look like, but once my eyes were done, I realized that I was going to have to go whole hog or I would look weird, so I did. I wasn't sure why I did it, but everything happens for a reason, so there you go. And, of course, a full face also means you can't just get buy with T-shirt and jeans, so a bit upscale I went clothing-wise as well (although I still wore jeans).
After I got to work and read Kate's latest post, I started heavily pondering the whole "romantic relationship" scenario for myself. About mid-day, I pretty much decided that I'm not a churchly person (although I am spiritual, I just have issues with organized religion), so I'm never going to meet someone there, I'm not the club-type either, so nada there, and since I live in bum-fudge Arkansas, that's about it social-wise in this town, so my options are dead in the water. I've done the whole online dating thing and failed miserably, so I definitely don't want to try that route again. About the best I could come up with was that I needed to walk head up when I take my morning jaunt across the street to the hospital instead of watching my feet the entire time. I figure it's at least time to start making eye contact with other people (something I've always hated unless I'm speaking directly to someone).
I had pretty much decided to give up hope of ever trying to meet someone, when one of our retired doctors asked me if I would like to see an African singing group at his church. Now, he didn't ask me in a romantic way, not only is he married, but he's old enough to be my grandfather, but he always asks me to cultural type things (because he knows me) and I typically say no...but the combination of the full face o'makeup and my wandering mind all morning had me say yes to him almost immediately.
Of course, it took me all of five minutes to start to backtrack...I can't go by myself (his response, sit with us), I wouldn't be able to even go in the building by myself (his response, text me and I'll come get you), there is always the fear of lightening striking me if I stepped foot in a church, etc. This went on for a few minutes, then he also asked another co-worker if she wanted to come, and she did, so his response was, "great, you can take Keebs and both of you can come!".
I spent the rest of the day dreading/being excited over going. I found the coincidence of me dressing up a bit and thinking about getting out more too much to ignore. Maybe this was my chance to meet someone, even if it was in a church.
We went and I thoroughly enjoyed it despite the heavy religious undertones I wasn't expecting (and even he apologized because he wasn't expecting it either and he knows I'm not religious). Granted, I didn't meet, let alone see any available men, but I was enjoying the music so much (when they weren't praying), that I didn't really care and hey, I went out in public...on a weekday!
Here's a picture of the cute little kids:
Of course, there was also the 30 minute plea for money (my main complaint about organized religion), but I put $5 in the collection plate and felt OK with it. They were also selling African (or so they said) merchandise. It was all a little steep price-wise for me and I didn't see anything appealing enough to splurge, so I declined on that front too. Of course, my doc ended up sponsoring a child from the choir before the night was over, which wasn't surprising.
All in all, I'm proud of myself. No, I didn't even come close to meeting a new friend, but I went out and was social, so yea me! And a big thanks to Kate for being so inspiring! I don't know when the next opportunity will come up to go out again, but I'm going to try to make it a point to not say my typical no. I'm still not sure I can handle another romantic-type relationship again, but it's obvious the whole "male friend" thing doesn't really work either, so I guess I at least need to give myself another chance. Couldn't hurt, right?