When the weather turns cold, I can’t write. I’ve stopped fighting it. There are so many experts on writing who say that if you don’t write every day, you’re not a writer. I’ve decided they can f* right off, because who are they to decide that?
This means that I’ve traveled with the Viking to France and Italy and visited Abu Dhabi again, and I haven’t memorialized either trip. I find writing travelogues (Day 1, I went here and saw this, Day 2, I went to this other place and did this other thing) tedious. My guess is most people find reading travelogues tedious. So those trips are sitting in my mind, waiting for the right trigger to move from my head to my fingertips and onto the screen.
In the meantime, I think I owe a matchmaker update. There’s been a lot of emotional churn with this, which I didn’t expect when I signed up. Early in the week of Thanksgiving, the matchmaker called me, apologized for only connecting me with two men in five months, and flat out said, “Men don’t want to date you.” He was nice about it, as nice as anybody can be delivering that sentence, and gratifyingly confused. He suggested that I retake eHarmony’s relationship style assessment and have new pictures taken.
We got off the phone, and I burst into tears. My clothes felt too small, and I though maybe I should put on some makeup, that I should let my hair grow out and spend more time curling it. I shook myself, pulled on my big girl panties, and retook the test. I don’t think my answers changed much.
I met my friend Clare and her boyfriend Steve for drinks the next day, where I burst into tears again. In a public place. Where I was meeting Steve for the first time. I’ve said before that I’m lucky to have the friends that I have, because while I was embarrassed to be crying in public, they were not embarrassed to be seen with me. Clare lent me her shoulder, and they both said really nice things, and it reminded me that while I’m grateful to have friends all over the world, it would be nice to have everyone living next door.
I nursed a low-grade, crappy feeling for the next couple of weeks. My Korean family has always believed that once I lost weight, I would be inundated with eligible, desirable bachelors. They have been genuinely puzzled about why this hasn’t happened, and a couple of them started hinting that maybe I should eat less and work out more. The same thought occurred to me.
I also thought that maybe I could be less generous with my opinions. I think I’ve made progress in this arena, and I’m much more diplomatic than I used to be, but there’s always room for improvement. Just because I have an opinion doesn’t mean that I have to express it. Maybe being more quiet would help. Silence never killed anyone.
And then like magic, literally magic because I don’t know what happened, I remembered who the fuck I am. I am smart, I am attractive, I am thoughtful, I am loving, and I am SO MUCH FUN. I’ve seen the world, I have my own business, I’m talented, and I’m creative. And “men don’t want to date [me]”? Wrong. Couldn’t be more wrong.
So I sent a polite e-mail to the matchmaker thanking him for his time, explaining who I am, and requesting a refund for the remaining six months on my term. I got a form letter back from the lead matchmaker; the bottom line was that they don’t offer refunds. I sent another polite e-mail back, with a lot more detail on how and why they failed with an offer to speak with whichever executives necessary to justify an exception to their policy.
The upshot is that they have until March 1 to find men with whom I’m willing to have a third phone conversation, and if they can’t do that, they’ll refund me half of the fee that I paid. I went ahead and had new pictures taken. I have a new matchmaker. They’re still pushing the line about how men are hunters and need to feel like men. I get it — I don’t like it, but I get it.
The new matchmaker has found only one candidate so far. I talked to him for an hour and a half, and we talked about a lot of unexpected things, including our theories on why people join terrorist organizations and why those organizations are so successful.
He said something near the end of our conversation that made me think and made me sad. He said, “You are the only woman I’ve met who could have a conversation like that.” I expressed shock, saying that ALL the women I know could have had that conversation. He said, “What, like two or three?” And I replied, “Try two or three HUNDRED.”
This guy is intelligent and open-minded and has seen the world. We had an actual conversation, where we exchanged ideas, rather than me just listening to what he had to say. I forgot the matchmakers’ advice and disagreed with him a couple of times. Here’s the conclusion he and I reached on this.
The conditioning we’re all getting is wrong. Women are conditioned to keep their opinions, especially strong ones, to themselves. We’re conditioned to agree, or that if we disagree, we should do it in extremely diplomatic ways. Men are conditioned not to expect or seek out the opinions of women, and to be offended when we disagree with them.
Fight the conditioning, y’all. Fight it hard. Express your opinions, do it with confidence, and be open to differences of opinion, because THAT’s where we learn and where we find out who someone really is.
I’m meeting him for lunch on the west coast in a couple of weeks, and the weather is getting warmer, so I’ll keep you posted.