26 May 2009

Coronas, Basketball and Topless Women: A Terrible Way to Meet People

I'm just gonna cut to the chase. At 30, being single isn't so much fun.

I don't normally talk about dating (or the lack thereof) or my faith, but last night I experienced something so ridiculous it was both hilarious and incredibly depressing. What to do with a story like that? Tell it to the World Wide Web!

I begin my story 5 weeks ago on a Monday night. My church--well I'm not technically a member yet because that process is lengthy and so involved that I half expect the pastor to ask me for a DNA sample--held a series on Christians, dating and sex and blah blah blah. I stopped attending lectures on the subject of being single a while ago; I'm practically an expert on the matter. But I'm new at this church that I'm almost a member of, and I thought this would be a good way to meet people. It was a good series; I learned a lot, not just about the wild world of being single, but about myself. So that was indeed a good thing.

To wrap up the series, the church hosted what I can only describe as a mixer for those who had attended the series. And so begins my encounter with Coronas, basketball and an illustrated poster of a topless woman.

I only went to this mixer (that's what I'm calling it even though I imagine this label would make the church staff cringe) because I have always griped about how churches never do enough to encourage people to meet. "Suck it up," I thought. "Just go and have a good time. At least you'll meet new people." So I talked a friend who doesn't go to my church and didn't go to the seminar into going with me.

We arrived about an hour after this mixer began and promptly ordered 2 Coronas from a surly woman in a low-cut tank top. The Lakers were playing and every.single.tv.in.the.place was blaring the game. My friend and I were talking (yelling) at each other over the roar of the crowd when several kind people introduced themselves to us. I haven't a clue as to the readership of this wee blog, so I'm just gonna say there was interesting conversation, dull conversation, a new friendship forged over a mutual love of coffee, a person who talked so much you couldn't get a word in edgewise, and a person who spit in your face when they talked.

My friend and I spent the evening smashed between a wall, the bar, and a beer pong table. From our viewpoint we could see the entire crowd, and let me tell you, it wasn't pretty. There was the single woman in her late 30's I met once who had that I-am-here-to-find-my-husband-and-you-are-competition look in her eye. She couldn't be bothered to be polite to my friend and me because she had a single pastor from our church centered in her crosshairs. I thought the poor man would be trampled by her at one point. Then there were the guys who so badly wanted to know if you were The One that they asked embarrassingly intimate questions before you had the chance to tell them your name. When it was apparent that my friend and I were not The One, these boys wandered off mid sentence.

At one point, my friend and I were actually having a pretty funny conversation with a guy I shall call John Coltrane. I was on my 6th or 7th glass of water when I turned into a total klutz. I knocked my friend's cup of water all of the floor, caught my jacket on a nail, and, much to John Coltrane's amusement, my wildly flailing hand slapped the bare boob of a woman featured on an old Buzzcocks poster. Turns out this poster was directly above my head the entire night. That might explain why a lot of guys constantly looked in our direction.

It was then that I decided I was tired. Tired of talking, tired of being claustrophobic, tired of wading through nights like this.

I haven't a clue as to why that "roofie bar" was chosen as the place to host a mixer for people who just finished a lecture series on Christians and dating. It was as though the church said, "let's see how well you swim when we throw you in the deep end without swimming lessons!"

I left that circus feeling incredibly disappointed and discouraged. I can only relate it to a line from a book I read where the author said something to the gist of Christians who try to date and follow God trade with a currency the world doesn't use anymore. If I can't meet like-minded guys at my own church, where else am I to go? Does no one else value the same things I value? Granted, I only met a few people, but the scene was so similar to the pub I used to go to. Only at that pub I wasn't shouting, and I was surrounded by friends--not people putting the pressure on to quickly determine if you were their wife before moving onto the next woman at the bar.

My gut reaction to that dismal failure of an outing was to quit. Why bother putting yourself out there when all you ever get is disappointment? But then I emailed this story to a friend and laughed so hard as I pictured the ridiculousness that was last night.

So while I will more than likely never go to another gathering where everyone has a target on their back (a.k.a. mixers for people without significant others), I'm not going to give up on finding someone who still trades in my currency.

Either that or I'm going to start trading in credit.

19 May 2009

My Fashion Icon Cooks a Mean Irish Stew

On Sunday, "60 Minutes" aired an interview with Anna Wintour, the matriarch of the fashion world. The interview was interesting and safe. Ms. Wintour is an incredible editor--no doubt about that. She is perhaps the only woman who could tell Oprah Winfrey to lose 20 pounds and not get slapped in the face for it.

Every month Ms. Wintour tries her hardest to persuade me that someone like Giselle Bundchen, with her linguine legs and flat tummy, should be my fashion icon.

This morning, as I was pulling together a few cookbooks for a coworker, I chose my fashion icon. When I lived in Belfast, I watched Rachel Allen's cooking show regularly. Ms. Allen is from Ireland and teaches at the Ballymaloe Cookery School in Cork. In each show, she was laid back and often cooking with pink pots and spatulas. Even though I've never met Rachel Allen, I felt her clothes said a lot about her personality: detail-oriented; conscious of style without being obnoxiously trendy; feminine; authentic. I couldn't tell you what kind of personality Giselle has (she's usually photographed sans top).

So I declare the Irish chef Rachel Allen to be my fashion icon.

(I found this photo at nydailynews.com)

06 May 2009

A New Morning Ritual

I've never been a morning person. I could very well stay up all night and watch the sun come up, but forget trying to wake me from a deep slumber to witness a sunrise. Lately, however, I've been waking up at least an hour before my alarm sounds. Minor miracle, people.

Because I'm not an early morning person, I don't know what to do with myself during this hour. For the last two weeks my mornings usually looks like this: wake up around 6am, stare in disbelief at my clock for a minute or two, put on an Edith Piaf album, and stay in my bed, wondering what people do at this time of day. When you're just sitting there, a fan blowing your curtains all over the room and Edith singing about love and loss, your mind starts to wander. This is about the time I burst out laughing.

Every single morning, without fail, I get an incredible case of the giggles. It is an odd way to greet the day, really.

Yesterday, I thought about how people use words incorrectly.

For instance, I once read a query letter for a novel about a character who tried to mustard up her courage.

And another time, a friend told me that she had an affliction for fast food chains.

I'm starting to look forward to my early morning laugh fests. Although, I can only imagine what my neighbors must think.