Thursday, November 28, 2013

Tables Reversed

One thing that I notice more and more is how the Universe really loves balance. When I was younger and more insecure there was no lack of men ready to take advantage of that. the more I needed the less they had to give. As I drifted a bit away, they gave more. And thus, a vicious cycle was born.

This does correlate with grey hair because I choose myself every day over what I perceive others wanting. This extends past my silver hair option to all areas because when I choose myself I look at what (and whom) fits my needs, not how I can mold myself into another's wants.

Somehow the tables have reversed. This shift has changed the men that come into my life. Maybe it hasn't really, maybe I'm just not attracted to the same men anymore. Regardless, I have very basic needs when it comes to men: independent, a man's man (burly bears feel free to apply), mutual love and respect, and a great connection. 

Not a big list and yet I find it more and more difficult to find independent men. The men I find must have been destroyed over time because they are very needy and in constant search for approval. Umm, you don't need my approval, you need your own. 

Reason number 2 of why I'm still single: I'm not attracted to all of the needy men. If you're having a violent reaction to that last sentence please don't. My reactions are based on a lifetime of Midwestern co-dependent relationships: one person is the giver, the other the taker; neither person can co-exist without the other; neither person can make a decision without the other's over-arching approval.  

So here are just a few examples of said needy men: 

The 'I thought you might be the one' guy- Here is an attractive guy claiming he is in his early 40s (ealry 50s more like) and I meet him at a nice restaurant. He starts out by whipping out a $100 bill to pay for an $8 drink- a bit on the pathetic side. Then after about 30 minutes I discover that he has an 11-year-old son, pretty stationary, and we have very little in common. So after being asked out for a second date, I respond by saying that people disclose a lot about themselves in 30 minutes. I showed that I am looking to move and love to travel. With a young child he's not in the same position and therefore it wouldn't be a good match. This led into him speed dialing his ex-girlfriend as a reference of what a good boyfriend he is (eek!). "I was really hoping you were going to be the one," he said as he choked back heavy emotion. I talked him off the ledge but this was not to be the end of him. He then tried the well-we-can-still-be-friends approach. I declined saying that I didn't want to lead him on. This undesired response caused an unfriendly reaction in him and he never heard from me again. 

The 'I told my godparents all about you' guy- It's hard meeting a person of your faith when you're Orthodox Christian. So I get the pressures one might face when two of you collide somewhere in the Universe and meet for coffee. I was prepared for a coffee date but wasn't prepared for that to turn into dinner. Okay, I rolled with the punches. I also got many accolades for how easy-going and nice I was. Great, thanks! I also got compared to not one ex-wife but two. Okay, er... um... thanks. I also got asked how can I stand not being married? He wants to get married again so bad. This was shortly after he told me how excited he was for our first date and that he told his godparents all about it. Sigh, really? My disinterest in him was several-fold but the main red flag was how he didn't visit his sick mother because it was upsetting; ironic because his last wife left him when he was sick and he is very bitter about it. All-in-all, no thank you. 

The 'Give me a pic, PLEASE, pretty please???' guy- I chatted with a guy on Tinder, actually several. A couple are all about calling and texting (isn't that what Tinder is supposed to take the place of?) but okay I'll go with the flow. So I start talking to this guy and he admits he's gun-shy and scared. What? Are you 10?? And why do you need to share this vulnerability with a complete stranger? Um, okay let me allieviate your fears, this is just getting to know a person. "Can I have a picture of you, pretty pretty please?? Here's a pic of me asking for a pic of you... Here's another pic of me, just in case..." I thought this odd, as there are several pics of me on Tinder, but I guess the extra step of pressing on the Tinder app and then pressing on my pic was too much effort? My sister believes as this request occurred right before Thanksgiving he wants a pic to show to his family. Of for f@#%'s sake.

Here is a pic I took after this request and I find it quite befitting. Can you read the irritation mixed with trepidation? Never mind that I look slightly cross-eye, that was all the fake smile I could muster. But I never sent the pic so it's a moot point. 

Now that the roles have reversed I find myself seriously wondering if I'm willing to forego a life all of my own to constantly tend to the needs of another. I mean to have children is one thing but are men just going to be another version of that or are there men out there who are independent and contribute positive attributes to a relationship? We'll keep searching for that answer. But until then, don't wait for my call... or for that pic…

Monday, November 25, 2013

Laziest Dater in the World

This may be a good time to start a series of "Why I'm Still Single" blog posts. You know a lot of why a woman is single is mere choice, even if she isn't cognizant of that at the time. I have always known that I'm a lazy dater and most of the time can't be bothered. I've never been a dependent child, always breaking loose to do my own thing and seeming fearless when it comes to figuring out things for myself. In fact as a child I never (and I really mean never) thought about marriage. I was more focused on having a career and seeing the world. 

Well it's been a... ahem, few years and I have exactly that life: I have a set career and I try to visit a different Country every year. I don't always attain this but I do ensure to see some new place and do some new thing every year. Last year was US-based, but I still saw Montana and parts of Florida for the first time, plus I tried white water rafting and jet skiing (all new) so I still feel I accomplished my annual goal. Unfortunately, I'm not as ambitious or adventurous when it comes to dating.

I used to roll my eyes at my mom. Okay, what bratty American kid hasn't said that but I would watch her dating habits with annoyance. Her approach was to basically wait until a guy literally knocked on her door. Eventually a good one (in addition to my father) came along. He used to come by her work, clear his throat, and stoop to tie his laceless loafer. Maybe she thought he was in Special Ed. but my bet is that she was oblivious- it runs in the family. Sad as it may be, I seem to have adopted my mom's annoying lazy dating habits. 

As if on queue a good friend told me about a dating app called Tinder. This links you to Facebook men in your area. If you like them AND they like you, it connects you. You take it from there and chat. The good news is that you don't get any unwanted communication or anticipated rejection; if you both don't hit "like" then you can't communicate. 

Even though all evidence to the contrary has been proven, I still think that a pic of me with grey hair is going to turn off the tap to all dating prospects. As though my single-process fried red hair somehow gave me an edge in the dating game and I could trick the eye into seeing a more youthful (and therefore more competitive) female prototype. However I'm happy to inform you that I'm STILL having the same pool of men that I had with the red hair. Some cute (not as many grizzly bears as I'd like), some handsome, and some really hot. Whodatunk? But it's just another nice affirmation. 

So in less than a week I've chatted with several men and a few really interesting ones. I'm trying new things, even if tepidly. Okay, even if I feel half-assed about it and feel my energy slightly sucked away when I get a few texts- I really AM the laziest dater- but I'm at least doing something. Starting to feel that internal draw though to slack off altogether... maybe I'll just wait until one knocks at the door. Hell, it worked for Mom. :)

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Silver Sister Strut

I often talk about the Cafe Gray forum (see link on the side) and for good reason. It's full of lovely, supportive women who help you through the rough times of tri-tone hair grow out. So if we're just talking hair here, why would it be necessary to ever meet in person?

This is an underlying point that growing out your grey is sooo much more than hair color. When you decide to defy social norms, you expose a lot of vulnerabilities you didn't know you had. You become aware more than ever what people think about you, how they look at you, how they react to your words- all this awareness is overwhelming and, quite frankly, a bit exhausting. You find yourself on this forum, dabbling into the pool of vulnerability, dipping your toe ever just so, and acclimating to this world of openness and honesty. You admit your insecurities, help others through theirs, and never really think about the fact that these women are virtual (pun intended!) strangers. You see, you have at some point dove head-first into this pool and openness and honesty are now your go-to tools.

Then you realise one of these lovely sisters is in your area. You decide to meet up for lunch. Now anyone with the common sense of a fruit fly can see that a girl who blogs about grey hair will have no trouble filling an hour-long lunch with talk of... hmm... hair, but meeting a sister on Cafe Gray is really like, well, meeting a sister.

The first Silver Sister (SS) I met was Penny and we hit it off straight away. It was like we knew each other for years. We went on a couple of shopping trips and had Sheltie play dates. Yes, it's probably an American thing but anyone who has Shelties knows how much they love a dog that looks just like them and even have a special yip just for other Shelties.

Later, we found that there were several of us in NC and we met up for a Saturday lunch. I had a date that night but that wasn't nearly as high on my agenda as meeting my silver sisters. After all, we hit it off right away and all talked like old friends. I think we spent two hours chatting and having a great time. There are real friendships that are formed on this site and it's a constant support.

Now every year in the September-October range there is the grand poo-bah of events: the big Silver Sister meetup. This year it was in Chicago and it always has a fantastic turn-out. Due to my federali status it just happened to occur at a time when my furlough status was unknown and I couldn't book an expensive trip, but I have every intention of attending future events. However, our Cafe Gray founder and the author of Going Gray, Looking Great - Diana Jewell (also a Carolinian) joined us for lunch in Charlotte a couple weeks later. You can see the pic of our Silver Sister's strut and what a great time we were having.

Looking back I'm sure passers-by were wondering what sorority we used to belong to and how could they get the bartender to make a cocktail as strong as ours must have been, but at the time we were oblivious to our surroundings and just having a great time. So I encourage you if you are a silver sister, a potential newbie, or if you see a silver muse, encourage them (and yourself) to go to Cafe Gray and meet up with a local silver sister. It's a great forum for support and a launching ground for great friendships.

Monday, November 4, 2013

14-Month Itch

It’s my 14-month anniversary today and it feels pretty great. Long gone are the days when I worry what someone thinks about my hair. It doesn’t occur to me that anyone could think anything but, “WOW! What a stunning shade of silver you have!!” Is this accurate? Who cares! I love it and I’m not looking back.

And although I no longer worry about the painful skunk stripe period, I DO have impatience to see the final result. It’s an urban legend that you can look at the roots and know your greying pattern or what shade you will be. There are a million shades of grey (not just 50!) and it varies from moonlight to pewter to sterling, etc., etc. So even on the eve of your final graduation cut you have no true idea what your final result will be. 

I have heard this tale time and time again. Because of this I finally stopped trying to guess my outcome (sort of). I’ve seen many sisters on CafĂ© Gray and was just as surprised by their final outcome as they were. Some looked lighter, some more of a vanilla, some looked darker. The point is that you won’t know until there’s nothing for that grey to reflect off of. 

As a child I was an anomaly. I never wanted to search for the hidden stash of Christmas presents, I loved the surprise. One morning I came out to the breakfast table and saw a wonderful little Snoopy and Woodstock vanity mirror. I was so excited (and slightly befuddled) as to why I would get a present for no reason. My mom saw me playing with it and immediately got mad because she thought I had snooped around and found it. When we realised she had forgotten to hide it, we were both equally upset: she because she gave me a present before Christmas and I because I had one less surprise. 

You would think I have the same feeling about my hair; that I don’t want to ruin the surprise- you couldn’t be more wrong. I am annoyed that I have no idea what I’m going to look like. I get SUPER annoyed when the ends reflect on my virgin hair and someone mistakes me for blonde or sandy brown. I get annoyed that my bathroom light changes how grey my hair looks from day to night. I get annoyed that I have no real ending date for graduation (will it be 18, 21, or 36 months?). And I am also annoyed that this is one of the few forums I can whine about it because the rest of the world’s priorities are slightly marred and they don’t find my daily hair growth a discussion as fascinating as it is! 

Reality check- yes, this is something that most people don’t see as very interesting or important. But it actually is a very big deal if you’re going grey. You are choosing to delve into so many unknowns. You don’t know how people will react, how many completely inappropriate comments you will get about your hair, whether the silver will suit you, and will you even like the end color? Once you’ve invested this much time you really just want to fall in love with the results. 

This is a tricky stage because I’ve been excited about this from day one. I stood up for myself and my grey, I’ve fought through that awkward skunky stage, and I’ve ventured out and tried all sorts of things to welcome my grey. After all, I’m writing this blog, I’ve changed my makeup and wardrobe, I tried short hair, I updated my outlook to style, I’ve been open and honest and accepting of who I am. And when you’re in a culture that only values youth, there’s a layer of vulnerability that goes right along with that same pride. 

So this is a pretty big deal, and a pretty big stage. It will be several months before I have enough length to trim off more of these ends. But in the interim I can celebrate the milestones I’ve undergone, and they’re quite a few. I may still be impatient to see the results but it will be a very welcome gift when it finally gets here.