Monday, July 17, 2006

red flagitis

I got a kind of nasty email from this online dating guy. Apparently he had emailed before and I didn't respond to him. Since his first email, he says, since I don't have certain features turned off, he could see that I (a) read his email; and (b) have since looked at his profile. He wrote the email to tell me I should turn off that feature because "people might wonder why I didn't respond to their emails". This really pissed me off. I don't give a shit that he sees that I clicked on his profile. I don't owe him anything. Who is he to try to make me feel guilty?

Later I read this discussion on someone else's blog about different takes of singles in their 30s. Like some of the people mention, I too worry sometimes that what is left over by the 30s are just that: leftovers. But then I have to remind myself that I'm in the same boat and I'm not 'leftovers'. I'm an intelligent, attractive, fit, fun, adventurous, creative, passionate, and sexual 31 year old woman, and if you can get past (or, cross my fingers, even grow to like) my slightly neurotic side, I could make some lucky guy very happy. So then I started to feel a bit better about the discussion until someone took it a step further and said that it wasn't the age that people should be leary of, but rather the absence of a proven track record of serious relationships. That really got me in a vulnerable spot.

I had three long-term relationships through highschool and university, but that's where my track-record came to a virtual end. After graduating from my first degree, I moved to Toronto and my boyfriend of a year and a half moved to Vancouver for work. We were young - I was 23, and we weren't ready to consider marriage. I was starting another university program and he was tied into a contract on the other side of the country, so we broke up. It took me over a year to get past that. My heart still aches a little when I think about him. After that I spent a lot of time, for the first time as a quasi-adult, being single and enjoying life in a big city. I was single by choice. I dated, but not seriously. There was this one guy from 'the islands' - a chef in a restaurant where I worked. He was absolutely stunning and a decade older. He made me think of salt-water air and sand. It wasn't serious. His good looks were negatively correlated with his intellect, but he was soooo cute. And that accent! Anyway, that lasted for a while, but then I took another dating hiatus. Mostly it was unintentional. It was probably a mixture of my academic situation and my neuroses. I was in nursing school, surrounded by women. In my clinical rotations, I was surrounded by women and sick children mostly, peppered with a number of nerdy or arrogant (or even worse, nerdy AND arrogant med students and doctors, which is always a bad combination). My focus was on me and my career. Since then there have been a handful of guys I've dated for short periods of time, but does that really count? I fear this puts me into red flag territory. On the other end of the spectrum, some of my friends have almost never been single. They just can't be alone. That's a red flag too.

Now that I have put all of this somewhere, I feel better because, even though I come with a few red flags, I know me and I'm not half bad. If the other single 30-somethings I meet come similarly flagged, I can be ok with that.

18 comments:

Lx said...

worry not. i come with all kinds of flags; red, black, skull-and-bones...you name it. and look, someone was fool enough to take me in. god knows, if I can do it, so can you. there is really no right advice for this kind of thing.

Rachel said...

Skull and bones? My favourite!

The Fed Ex of Funk said...

Knowing where this guy was coming from, let me write the response:

Hey, dude. If you haven't figured it out yet, women would rather be polite than honest. Women also don't mind giving you a foot in the door, but they won't allow another step unless everything is exactly right. If anything, you should be happy that I actually looked at your profile with an open mind. And I read everything you wrote. You seem like a good guy and have a lot going for you, but a few aspects of your personality just didn't click with me. There's no need to go into specifics -- every girl has her own tastes -- but suffice it to say that I gave you a foot in the door before deciding not to go further with it. And all of this info should've registered with you by the fact that I read your email, looked at your profile, and didn't respond. You got all the information; you just didn't interpret it correctly. If I had turned off my features, you never could've known. Good luck.

Rachel said...

Ha! FEF, I love how you know EXACTLY what I'm talking about, down to the 'feature'.

I probably did the wrong thing, but I wrote back to him. I basically told him I was perfectly aware of my settings, and that if he was trying to make me feel bad, I don't recommend that approach. Then he wrote me back, debated a little of what I said, then asked me out for drinks. I probably shouldn't reinforce the behaviour by going, but I'm thinking about it... Am I crazy?

The Fed Ex of Funk said...

Ordinarily I'd say yes, you're crazy, but if it beats the alternative, then go for it. Some people just don't transfer their personalities well into technology. I'm not sure they're dateable, but there are worse flaws to have.

Lx said...

i say skip it.

ChapFu said...

i say this about your post and about your impending date: why have all these flags if you're just going to ignore them? that's what flags are for! if you don't heed their warnings, they're just sticks with floppy material on the ends.

femme d'espoir said...

I'd skip it, Rachel.

As for your post... it's easy to look at an ad, or listen to all the jibberish about what guys want or don't want and then think, "Who will ever want me like I am?"

Well, darlin', I'm here to tell ya, that there is someone out there who will. And don't you sell yourself short until he comes along. But you, gentle Rachel, must be patient and go with the flow until he comes along.

Hugs,
femme

Lx said...

but there is also the reality that there isn't someone out there. and so you must prepare for that, too. i met my wife when i literally had all my shit packed in boxes and was going to move to another country and start over. the night before my scheduled departure i met her. i decided to postpone my "change of life" and give it a try. I've been with her now almost 20 yrs. so who knows? when you truly convince yourself that you may have to go at all this alone...in steps your partner.

ducklet said...

yeah, i would seriously doubt that anyone would refer to you as a leftover. two years ago i worked in portland with a group of 5 or so single women in their thirties, each extremely attractive. there were no leftovers in the bunch. a couple of do-overs, one starting-over, a make-over and a range-rover.

oh, those were some good times...

Rachel said...

The consensus is a tepid, 'why not' and a few semi-emphatic 'skip its'.

Femme and Ducky (I love pretty in pink): thanks for the encouragement. On most days I know all of it will fall into place. Sometimes you just slip a little and start to wonder.

Chap: That's exactly what I keep thinking, but then I get a flash about how I might look to others - single, thirties, no recent relationships...if they only see flags, I'm screwed - and not in the good way.

In the end, as El suggests, I'm going to try not to live my life like I'm waiting for it to begin. I've always hated the cliche, 'when you least expect it', but I guess if you can really live that, maybe that's when you discover it's true.

The Fed Ex of Funk said...

The big question is are you the intelligent, attractive, interesting, physically fit woman who writes well and has a good job, or are you the sum total of your ex-boyfriends and the reasons they didn't work out? The answer is both, to some extent, but it's really a matter of what aspects you project. If you present nothing but red flags, no one will see anything else. So show off your good qualities. Women have to have confidence, too.

stretch td said...

You are no left-over. This is the 21st century where 30 is the new 20.

Lx said...

...and besides, I LOVE LEFTOVERS. Nothing bad about them. If they are delicious the first time around, they will be delicious a few times/days/years later. Come my way, I'll have ya. A little extra-virgin olive oil, a bit o' parmesano reggiano....we're good to go.

Derek said...

I think you've got a year or two to go before it's really big red flag. A girl who is 33 and hasn't had a serious boyfriend in a decade, yeah, huge crimson banner.

Rachel said...

Thanks for the discussion material and for the heads up on that one Derek. I guess I better get going then.

See you in NC El. I'm on my way.

Derek said...

NC El?

Rachel said...

Sorry Derek, that was a msg for El Charolastra