Monday, May 11, 2009

the PG girl interrupted

I'd like to take the opportunity to make some requests of people in general. These requests are broad, but all have something to do with the concept of dating/relationships/flirting. These have arisen from problems I have had or that close friends of mine have had, or both.

Buckle up:

First of all: Leave single people ALONE.
Recently the fact that I am single has become of increasing interest to...well pretty much EVERYONE around me. I have been the victim of the deep and well intentioned, but severely annoying, concern of others. I am realizing that I am reaching a rather pivotal age. People are starting to see that I am getting older- I am past due in getting married, but not beyond hope yet. I am past due, but not expired. My eggs are still viable.There's still a little time... so they've gotta HURRY!
Recently I sat in complete stunned silence as an office full of men I work with (none of whom would have any personal reason for checking) told me that one of the first things, if not the first thing they noticed about me was that I wasn't wearing a ring AND that as time passed and they got to know me it became a very pressing concern to them- something they needed to fix. That is just disturbing on a number of different levels. On a very basic level...why are you starting at my hands?....
In that conversation(and from many people before and since) some variation of the following question was posed

" How is a pretty thing like you not married?"

While that is probably intended as, and might sound like a compliment, it's really not. It's not only rude, but incredibly awkward when the asker actually WAITS for answer...(as though you'd have one prepared or really have any idea why you're not married....)
First of all, girl you're talking to probably disagrees with the statement of her alleged good looks. She now has NO idea what to say as the already awkward feeling of receiving a compliment she doesn't agree with is now compounded by the fact that she knows she should just say thank you, but is having difficulty doing so because she's kind of insulted. If your object was to stun her into silence and immobility, mission accomplished.
When and if you ask this question you have just, although perhaps unwittingly, very strongly implied that there is something wrong with her. By asking the question in the first place you have ruled out the possibility that it just hasn't been right for her to get married yet or that past relationships have just not worked out through no real fault of her own. I think when everyone is being practical and honest they will admit that there is a lot more to getting married than just being attractive, and even if she is a beautiful girl there could be many reasons (none of which have anything to do with her focus on education, her personality, her "intimidation" factor, or anything else like that) that she is not married yet.However, if you're expecting an answer from her, you're also expecting that she HAS the answer which means it's something identifiable and concrete. You've also just taken something that is REALLY complicated and simplified it down to a " do you like me? check yes or no" kind of level. Getting married is complex because people are complex. If marriage for her should be simple it kind of indirectly implies that she is simple, and that's insulting.(I realize that's not as it's intended and is kind of a stretch, but since when are girls rational?)

I'd also like to point out that while marriage is clearly a wonderful thing and a marvelous goal, the implication that you are somehow bizarre, out of place, that your lack of husband DEFINES you, is the FIRST thing people notice...or is something that is of such a deep and wild concern that everyone around you is going to immediately take it upon themselves to analyze and remedy the situation is kind of degrading. I'd like to think I'm worthwhile and can make a difference in people's lives before I'm married, too. Feeling an incessant need to try and fix this problem by setting your single friends up on countless dates is very counter-productive. People need to work and fix their own problems, if it even is a "problem", which it probably isn't. And even if it is, and they're too career or education driven, too intimidating, too picky (my favorite) or whatever...guess what? odds are, it's NONE of your business.
It's also probably important to mention that some girls are very upset that they aren't married, and don't want you bringing it up and reminding them. This isn't true in my case, but the question in itself represents a level of insensitivity- It's really none of your business and is a really emotional and difficult issue for some. Don't try and touch on something that could be a very real source of pain with someone you barely know. kinda mocks the pain.

Next: Places you do NOT flirt

1. From car to car: I gotta tell you...I am deeply offended by car flirting. You're sitting at a light or you're driving next to each other and some guy honks his horn or, is being visually "flirty" through the window. Seriously? Either run me off the road and get my number or stop. This is a waste of my time, is going a whole lot of no where, makes me feel kind of cheap, and is now growing exponentially in awkwardness because the natural course of Ashlie's life demands that we continue getting stopped at EVERY SINGLE red light together. There's no point. Makes me feel cheap. Don't do it.

2. In the temple. Seriously- don't flirt in the temple. Do not ask for someone's number in the temple. Do not wink at people you do not know in the temple, or make the entire experience awkward by continually watching someone. Pay attention. Find someone to bring to the temple to marry LATER. It's kind of sad that I have to bring this up...but...there's precedence. Let's just leave it at that.

3. In front of clients: for me this is especially true because I’m working with teenaged boys who are already sex maniacs,and your attempts to flirt in front of them is like expressed permission for THEM to try, but this is true anywhere. I don't want to watch people hit on each other instead of bagging my groceries so I can get out of the store and on with me life etc. Depending on your job you might be able to get away with this a little more or less, but...there is a time and a place. Be professional

- Make out at the temple, on or off the grounds, in the parking lot or parked nearby. just...don't.
- Make out anywhere, publically. Being sweet is one thing. Instigating violent illness in others is not okay.
- Another one I've actually had people say: the reason I'm good at what I do or that my students listen to me is because my they "think I'm hot". Do not tell ANY teacher that. Those who have made that comment to me have dismmissed any talent, effort, or hard work on my part and made me eye candy. Once again. Cheap. Degrading. Perhaps a more shallow person who puts their entire worth on their looks would be flattered by this statement...but let's hope you're not hanging out with people like that.
- do NOT imply that just because you think a girl is attractive that she must be a heart-breaker. Maybe she is, and maybe it's her fault but maybe she's had her little heart pulverized. Leave her alone.

In general I think this problem arises from people not wanting to just simply say, "I think you're pretty/beautiful/whatever" because that's scary. Instead they have to accompany it with some kind of other statement to make it "less awkward". (ie: I'm going to ask why you’re not married, say you're a heart breaker, tell you that the only reason your students listen to you is because you're pretty. )*insert swoon here. Scary though it may be, if you really think she's pretty and you want her to know, she'll be much more impressed if you just tell her. Which brings me to my next point.
-Be careful with your compliments- keep them simple, keep them sincere. And until you're in a committed relationship, avoid intense extremes. I don't care if she really is the most beautiful thing you've ever laid eyes on...maybe don't mention it in QUITE those words. Also, mentioning something OTHER than her looks will go a LONG way. She wants you to know HER- not her face, and not her body. Again- she'll be much more impressed with a compliment that took more than two seconds to notice about her.

Conclusion: do not cheapen a girl down to it being all about her looks. do not flirt in stupid places, and if you think a girl is pretty, just freakin' tell her. Oh-and leave your single friends ALONE.