For those of you who read and follow me regularly and have been doing so for quite some time now (THANK YOU), you most likely know that I’m very happily married.
I know I’ve written that once or twice now and I’m sure some of you are thinking we get it, now get funny or get deep otherwise I’m scanning, clicking on the like button and moving on to read more interesting posts. So, I’m going to try for funny and deep here, but it’s gonna take a while, so be patient.
I found myself flung out into the dating world at one point in my life when I didn’t expect it. I know some of you are going through that same thing now (you know who you are) and it’s a time that, well, you’re not exactly in your twenties, so it’s different.
Well-meaning friends try to get you out, want you to get back in the groove. You may meet someone through friends, blind dates (usually awful), work, classes, church, cafes, bookstores, grocers because your married/coupled up friends try to find just the perfect someone for you because they think that’s what you want. (But you don’t really, you just think you do).
All you see are couples. Everyone seems to be in love, everyone has someone. Except you. That’s all you see anyway because your thoughts are about what you don’t have, instead of what you do.
Stay with me.
What Every Woman Doesn’t Want But Does Anyway
Then you go the other route. You go to a bar. You go with friends (the only ones that aren’t coupled up or married and if they are, then they drone on about their honey) and when you’re an “older” (over 30) single, those seem to be few. At least that was the case for me. And yes, I know that some people meet in a bar and things turn out great. That wasn’t the case for me.
Then the day comes you brave it alone — the bar thing.
When a woman walks into a bar alone, a couple of things happen. One, she usually feels uncomfortable because she’s thinking everyone is staring at her and thinking poor girl, she’s got no one and she has to come hang out in a bar and you’re hearing this in your head (press it and the other ones below — they’re just short little snippets):
Two the most wretched, cheesy-line jerkwads’ radars kick into razor-sharp, heat-seeking missile focus and they’re thinking, lonely vulnerable woman, pant, gasp, pant, gasp…
You’re a bit paranoid because what if one of them is this? (press it)
And they’re hoping you’re this:
It’s truly a exhausting, confusing process and it brings the term “meat market” to a whole new level.
During all this dressing up, going out, making banal conversation, trying to quell down that panic-like feeling (that’s similar to the one you have in a naked dream where everyone’s pointing and staring), you say to (who is feeling just as weird as you are), “Yes, you can buy me a drink
because otherwise I don’t think I could stand another minute talking to you but you’ll get more interesting if I have more alcohol and I’ll have a white wine please.” Oh, what fun!
I hear it’s still kind of like that. Women going through this barbaric ritual in their 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. Most of them, including me then, eventually say enough, we cry Uncle! I’m done.
But really, no matter what age. women want this: And we’re not going to be this: to anyone.
All women want this: And a combination of this: and this: in a partner:
Wallowing Wading Through the Self-Help Shelves
I alluded to having one of those aha moments in this post which resonated with many of you. I had a vast collection of self-help books during this time, enough really to begin my own small bookstore. I read one, then the other trying to be open-minded, saying a hmmm, yes, I’ve been there, I can relate, but most of the time, it’d be more like, this is crap and I’d stuff it back on the shelf (or throw it across the room) and then get another one.
It was like a rerun loop of a bad Lifetime movie. I kept doing the same thing expecting different results. This was over a period of a few years, mind you.
Then, I was shuffling through one of those books and it was about thoughts. How we can make our life this way or that through how we think.
For some reason, an airplane came to mind. How that began with a single thought — how it came into being, into reality. Despite the laws of psychics (you know, like a bubble bee — how do those whispery wings hold up that fat little body??), one thought in someone’s mind’s eye and believing that it was possible, started the whole thing. Then they made a list and mapped it out on paper. (I’m simplifying here, but you get it).
That was my moment.
That made sense to me. I knew what I didn’t want anymore and that was a step in the right direction. I wanted to know who I’d be without anyone. But just in case there was my split-apart (allegedly Plato’s mythic theory about soulmates) wandering around out there somewhere, I made a backup plan.
The Backup Plan
I lived in a trendy, midtown section of a city at this time. I had this great apartment — the entire top floor of an elderly lady’s mansion. Her daughter met me and thought I’d be a good person to live atop her mom’s nice digs and she cut the rent so that I could afford it. I know, right??
It was a rainy night. I lighted all these pink and white candles. Put on some Enya or Enigma — some twinkly, meditative-like soul music and drank a glass of wine (or two).
I had this set of calligraphy pens (I used to do wedding invitations for friends, write poems and frame them, stuff like that) and a large notebook of parchment paper. The kind that felt good to the touch, soft and whisper-thin.
I took the pen that had the finest nib, tore out one of those tactile-scrumptious sheets and wrote a list, a thought about what spoke to me — what I wanted in a someone.
I got in touch with that Universal Supreme Benevolent Something that many of us feel, talk to, feel within. You know what I mean.
I put it out there. I got specific writing my list (and I mean VERY specific). Physical attributes, mental, emotional, spiritual and even shallow stuff like what kind of car this someone would drive. Yeah, I know but it was my list and no one but me would see it.
I didn’t date for a year. A year.
The End and Beginning
During that time I did things by myself. Went to dinner by myself, the movies, short vacays. I found out what I liked, who I was with just me around. It was great — kind of like an Eat, Pray, Love thing way before that book/movie ever came out, btw.
I kept that list with me at all times. It was on my person wherever I went. I’d take it out and read it every once awhile, put it on my nightside table when I slept. Whether it worked out or not, I could feel something shifting and it felt very good.
After awhile, it didn’t seem as important as it once did, finding that someone. Maybe I was that someone, my own split-apart.
Then hubby showed up. He had to jump through hoops, do all that pursuing and treating me like a queen stuff — that was on the list too.
Once we’d decided to move in together and we both knew we were in it for the long haul, I pulled out that list and showed it to him. We still have it. He met all the criteria on that list — I’m telling you he did and he does. Well, he didn’t/doesn’t drive a BMW, but the Universe had to keep me humble somehow and there’s still time. 😉
And all that “dating,” years of self-reflection and all the rest really did give me what I’d been “searching” for all along– myself and knowing that I would be okay with or without anyone. But, I’m really glad he showed up.
After all, whether it’s a partner, soulmate, friend or just a someone that gets you, that knows you like no one else, that’s a good thing. It’s simple really, we want this:
I haven’t dated since I was 16! I wouldn’t have a clue where to start lol 😉
Well, hopefully this will inspire someone who may be going out or in that world….thanks, Vikki. :).
Oh, I’m sure it will 🙂
Are you psychic? I swear…..laughing, laughing, laughing! 🙂
Oh good, Honie! Psychic? What do you mean girl? I’m glad you’re laughing, though. 😀
The format of this post – all of the music you chose – excellent, but more than that…the thought “After all, whether it’s a partner, soulmate, friend or just a someone that gets you, that knows you like no one else, that’s a good thing. It’s simple really, we want this:” on the mark!
I agree. :).
You did MAGIC. JUST like this video.
I LOVE IT.
You are amazing.
Dear Lis — you are so sweet and thank you. Some things are kind of like magic, huh? ;). I LOVE that movie, btw. LOVE. IT. (Just watched it last week). You are amazing too, Lis. xxoo
Dearest Brigitte: Had a BLAST with the music! Hear you and feel you, dear friend. Been through that tunnel, and coming into the light has been splendid, indeed! xoxoM
Margarita — yay! Glad you liked the music snips and yeah, I thought you’d get it. Thanks, dear one — it is wayyyyy splendid. xxoo
At last, girls want to have fun like it’s 1999?
Well Brigitte got back for writing this post!
PS: What’s the song at the end of your post? It was sweet.
Yes, that’s it! Girls do ALWAYS want to have fun. ;). I know you despise icons but I thought that winky one was in order. The song is by Lyle Lovett and it’s called, “Nobody Knows Me Like My Baby.” I think it’s sweet too. Thank you, friend.
It’s a beautiful song actually, now that I’ve listened to it a second time…
Thanks…I like it.
I dated until I was 27 years old — I never want to go on another date again. Easy for me to say as I just celebrated my 30th anniversary a few months ago after two years of dating my husband to be. Kind of like you though – I found my boyfriend/husband when I wasn’t looking.
Yeah, the dating thing seems better when you remember it than when you’re actually in it. Congrats on the 30 year anniversary. Now that is magic. And the best things come along when you’re not looking, ya know?
yes they do –
my magical husband could not find his glasses this morning and sort of tore the house apart – I magically found them by the computer after he left – thank goodness he only needs them to read
Well, at least you helped him find it, magically. ;).
yes, funny how magic works sometimes though
I want to marry this post. Every little aspect of it. Love the music, love the ideas. I’ve also felt a lot of reassurance through the years by the idea that thoughts – defining them and believing them – really enhances your chances of realizing the life you want.
Emily! Thank you. I now pronounce you woman and post. And yes, there’s a lot too that “thought” thing. You should see the list and how closely it resembled what showed up. ;). Thank you so much.
I made a list one time but nothing happened… Of course I was already married, but still. I just thought my dream guy would magically find me after killing off my husband. Haha! Not the version you expected, right?
I like what you wrote and am happy that your mr. Wonderful stepped into your life. I also like the idea of taking time to find yourself first. How can you make a commitment if you don’t even know who you are?
Um…sorry? Whatever version you share is always fine and appreciated, Lisa. Thank you. It was just a tongue-in-cheek, humor/deep rambling. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. I guess we all always know who we are, it’s all just a process and works as it should most of the time. And yeah, he’s pretty wonderful. ;).
I was just being silly myself. Not everyone knows who they are, believe it or not. Women, especially, tend to lose pieces of themselves along the way. Some women are so busy trying to be the girl that they think everyone wants them to be that they lose sight of who they really are, they’re inauthentic and use impression management to connect with people — depression, anxiety, codependence, addiction, etc. usually follow. It’s not so easy to have a relationship under those circumstances.
It sounds like you and your husband found each other because you were both “ready.” Not only do you have to know yourself, but I believe you have to LOVE yourself too, before you can have a happy, healthy relationship. My life, family, marriage, etc. has not always been hunky dory/ a bed of roses/ peachy keen, so I sometimes feel the need to add a different view point to the one being presented.
I really love your ramblings, they’re sweet and heart felt. I think I’ve also already stated that I love your taste in music – love that you infused this post with a full sensory experience!
Thanks, Lisa. You always leave me such thought-provoking, honest and insightful comments. I wish you’d tackle some of these subjects (impression management) in your posts or do you do that enough in day-to-day life? And yes, I agree with you, self-love is very important and absolutely necessary before you can really love someone else. I’m glad you enjoy reading and music has always been a huge part of my life (as it is in most people’s lives I’m sure) plus I love twiddling around the editing/splicing Garage Band program thingy on my laptop. Your comments are always, always so appreciated — thank you, friend.
when you are over 35 and living in Ireland walking into a pub is odd …and I really do believe the world of dating is very different here too
I agree! Walking into a pub or a bar is odd and feels strange — how is that different? How is the world of dating different anywhere, really? :).
The men are … I have read some of those american dating books and they would never work here … friends and I have talked about it and all agree. And German men are completely different again
I loved that you used the word jerkwad– and oldie but a goodie. This is a very sweet, humorous and loving post Brigitte. I happen to be lucky enough to marry someone I met at 19 and still happily plugging along. We get each other and let each other “be”. It is hard to find yourself either way. Your year of discovery sounds wonderful– peaceful.
l love the music at the end as well(and was that Salt and Pepper earlier in the post?– love it) I like to put on Etta James and sing Sunday Kind of Love.. smiling all the way
Audra, that is a good word, huh? Thank you. It’s nice when someone gets you, I think that’s what everyone wants. It was nice and necessary — the year. Glad you enjoyed and yes, that was Salt-n-Pepa getting that groove thang. Etta James, Aretha — all good, sweet stuff to listen to — good stuff for the soul. :).
I haven’t dated in 5 months and I usually need 8 months between men…sounds horrid I know but here’s the thing..I think I would like someone in my life but I think I have a hard time when I’m in a 24/7 kinda situation. I need alone time…I’m somewhat of a loner and highly social at the same time! Maybe, it’s because I’m 49. Maybe I’m too set in my ways now???
Hey D, I know what you mean. I was the same way. It’s hard to share all that with someone. I don’t think you’re too set in your ways; maybe that “someone” is set in their ways, too, yes? I think you can have alone time whether you share your life with someone or not — that’s the whole part of someone who gets you for you — who you are. No one has to have anyone to make them complete I don’t think at all. But I think most of us like to. Thank you for your comment and I do understand exactly what you mean. ;).
Thanks! Someone who gets me huh? Hmmmm that might be a tall order!
Excellent post, Brigitte. The longest-lasting relationships are probably those where both parties know themselves and are comfortable with who they are as well as the other person.
Hi J, Thank you and I agree with you. :).
I’ve never dated. Been with my bf since I was 17 and we were friends first so we didn’t actually date, we just moved our relationship along. Before that I went out with guys from school – not exactly ‘dating’. Still, I loved reading this post. I’d love to read it again with sound (speaker broken) but it’s fun imagining what’s on the recordings 😉
Hannah — that’s nice!! So glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you’ll revisit when you get your speakers fixed — kind of adds to the post a bit, I think. Thank you.
I need to do that (although it may be too late now to command this kind of a thing) — make a man jump through hoops!
Never too late, Sandee. And a man should jump through hoops for you — always. Thank you lady. :).
I’m sad I can’t listen to the music (I’m on my phone). I love this. I would seriously be clueless if I had to date now. I believe there is always something magical when pen hits paper. It’s such a beautiful union. I’m glad you found you Mr. Right.
Wish you could have listened to the music, Fish! But thank you for you beautiful comment! I think so too — the pen and paper thing. We don’t use it enough these days….and yeah, he’s all kinds of right. ;).
Awww that’s such a sweet story! I’m so glad you got your happy ending.
Hi N — Welcome! And thank you. I’m glad too. ;). Hope you’ll stop by again and thanks for your nice comment.
I completely agree about thoughts allowing us to make our world what we want it be. It’s really all about our mindsets and if we change it, lots of things start changing (or appearing to change) without us having to do anything else. Lovely post and as the person up above said, I’m glad you got your happy ending eventually! 🙂
Hi Lillian, yes there IS something to the thought process. Thoreau said; I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate himself by conscious endeavor.
That conscious endeavor is how we think. Thank you, Lillian.
SPOT ON. Love it. I did the same thing 🙂 Seems like a lifetime ago, and I wasn’t an over 30s dater – but you know what, all those bars and clubs and idiots were no more fun for finding a good man then either. Sooo important to know who you are first.
Hi Sara! I’m so glad you did (love it). Yep, the dating thing does get old but oh makes us appreciate the good ones. :). And definitely, best to figure out who you are alone before committing to someone. Thank you!!
Brigitte, I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed this. The audio clips cracked me up and you are such a talented writer, stuff like ” The kind that felt good to the touch, soft and whisper-thin.” makes me kind of hate you in a good way. I love someone that can write with real emotion and not come off as cheesy or contrived. I am glad that you found him too and this post is full of wisdom and hope. Bravo.
Simon — what a nice thing to say, man you certainly do wonders for my ego. The way you’ve appreciated it is exactly how I wanted it to come across to readers — so thank you. I concern myself sometimes thinking that these “emotional” type posts will turn some off as being contrived or too “feel-good” for some. I’m so glad you got it and enjoyed it. Sincerely — I mean that and thank you.
your ego shouldn’t need help from someone like me but I am glad to join the chorus of compliments for you. I think you struck the chord perfectly here and I really like it. The song clips are genius and so funny (and probably a lot of work so kudos for that as well)
I’m here, Brigitte! This really resonated with me because I went through something very similar. After one dating disaster after another, I met Mr. Weebles. I knew immediately that he was The One, but he wasn’t ready for a real relationship so he ended things pretty quickly. I was heartbroken, and after much sobbing, I decided I needed to try a different approach, and went on a dating hiatus. I made a similar list to the one you wrote. It was hard to write the list without thinking of Mr. Weebles because he had everything I wanted except for the “wanting a real relationship” part. And I was in my tiny shoebox studio apartment and not a top floor of a mansion, writing on regular lined paper and not fancy parchment, but still.
Anyway, I just did my thing, went about my life, etc. And about 14 months later, guess who emailed me again? We got married two years later.
Weebs, isn’t it weird how people are connected through similar things? I know about those dating disasters. I would never have been able to afford that top floor if I hadn’t met the lady’s daughter. She’d just had to evacuate some tenants because they partied too much. I came along and trust me, she cut the rent nearly in half because she knew that I’d be a good tenant. It was one of those old, character-type mansions. And the parchment paper — I just loved writing calligraphy.
But yeah, the doing your own thing is what I think makes the difference. I’m very glad Mr. Weebles came to his senses. He obviously has good taste. ;).
I loved the musical snippets. After a while I tried to predict what song would follow the prompt. I was wrong EVERY time!
I love this story, because, as in my favorite stories, the real powerful stuff happens off-camera. There’s so much to be said for what you did (and at the same time, nothing really NEED be said–the results speak for themselves). First of all, I admire anyone who chooses consciously to first love themselves (that may not have been what you were expressly thinking, but that’s what it is). I mean I HEAR that all the time (and I don’t mean to generalize, but…), mostly from women, but that conviction is usually held only as long as they’re single. When we buy out of desperation, we pay a high price for bad quality.
However, you made a deliberate choice, and did not buy in haste. In fact, I’ll go so far as to say that the kind of man you were looking for (Mr. Brigitte) would most not likely be attracted to someone who would buy out of desperation. Desperation can be temporarily attractive for a certain kind of guy, but confidence and self-esteem are sexy. Have you ever noticed how someone who thinks they’re beautiful or attractive (I don’t mean in a vain way, just “I think I’m good looking”) usually is–whether they’re overweight, bald or otherwise not perfect?
I love to hear stories about people taking control of their lives, of finding happiness the right way (which is not always the easy way, but is the long-lasting way), and not giving in to societal pressures. And your list–brilliant. If you don’t know what you want, how can you expect to get it?
You ought to buy the Mr. a BMW, and then the circle will be complete!
Thank you! Ummm and just which songs were you thinking were going to be there? There’s so many to choose from. Yes, that self-love thing takes awhile but it’s absolutely necessary in order to give it to another person, I think. Mr. Brigitte? Never thought of it that way. What’s the saying? The things you love best about yourself are the things you love in another person. The things you despise about someone are most likely ones that you need to work on yourselves, but I’m getting way too deep here.
And yes, I know exactly what you mean. The most gorgeous physical specimen (female or male) can be the most unattractive and one who has confidence, light and love themselves, the most beautiful.
Still working on that beemer, but now we’re leaning another way because after all, our “lists” change as we do. ;). Thank you, friend.
This is a wonderful story and a wonderful post, Brigitte. You had us with you the whole way–through the sound track snippets good and bad, through the positive thinking and the list. I have a friend who made a list, too, and her future husband appeared one day, seemingly made to order. It didn’t work that way for me (I never made a list—I didn’t even like my husband much when I first met him). But we just celebrated our 24th wedding anniversary…and we still dance to “At Last.”
Hey Robin, welcome first of all and thank you for taking the time to read and comment- much appreciated! Congrats to you and your hubby, that is truly a milestone and I’m so glad you liked the post. Isn’t that song the best? Seriously, life is good and there’s much to be said for love and music, huh? Thank you for your nice comment.
My pleasure, Brigitte. I’ll visit often.