Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Growing Up Confident

When I was living it up in my single days, I once dated a guy that I was set up with at a wedding.

When I say "set up" with at a wedding, I mean -

I was attending a friend's wedding in another city, he saw me, liked what he saw and found a mediator who introduced us and then we took a walk around the hotel the wedding took place at.

So - I was LITERALLY set up at a wedding.

In any case, we only had so much time to spend together at the wedding and then I was off to Chicago.

He was actually not from that other city either, but was from somewhere in another Country.

After I arrived back to Chicago he called me and continued to call me on and off for a couple of weeks. At this point he decided he would come to Chicago for Labor Day Weekend.



And because he did not know a soul in Chicago, he was intending to spend all that time with me.

First, I remind some of my readers that from Friday sundown until Saturday sundown, we keep the Sabbath.

We don't do much but attend Synagogue and eat large quantities of food in 2-3 meals.

We do not drive or use any electric equipment.

Therefore, dating over a weekend means there is a 24 hour period of remaining local, in your home or any other home you can get to via walking and pretty much one is allowed to read or have conversation with friends and family.

So you can imagine that dating over a Sabbath could be intense. That would be fine if I was spending that time with a man I have already been dating for a while, but this was to be our first dating experience. I did not really know the guy yet in social situations.

I had to find a place for him to stay (within walking distance) over the Sabbath, as it would be inappropriate for him to sleep at my house.

I had him stay at a home of another friend who had attended the same wedding, so at least he could stay somewhere with someone he had met who was similar in age. Although he would be eating both Friday night and Saturday lunch meals at my home.

He was a good looking, clean cut, articulate man and I will give him a fake name just to make this post easier.

Let's call him Joe.

Joe was extremely polite, intelligent, self-confident, learned (in Torah and secular topics) and displayed his knowledge and all these other attributes when in my home and in the presence of my parents.

My parents, in turn, were very impressed by him, especially since Joe threw himself into a situation that is not typical for a "first time" dating experience, and did not let it phase him.

I myself saw all these qualities in him, however, I must have had some reservations about Joe because I did not want to spend the entire Saturday just sitting across from him and gazing in his eyes.

This was Labor day weekend - so it was still summertime. Which means the sun did not set until late at night. Which meant, there was nothing for us to do together, BUT, gaze in each others eyes as we spoke about this, that, and the other thing.

So after lunch I told Joe I could really use a nap and after a few hours I would walk to my friends house and we could hang out there.

He reluctantly agreed.

I did this for two reasons.

One, I previously mentioned and two - so I could spend time with him away from my parents and in addition, in the company of friends and peers.

I wanted to see him in a completely different social environment, and I am smart that way.

And so after a few hours of rest, I walked to my friend about 8 blocks away as I said I would.

And it was only a matter of minutes that I noticed his sarcasm. Sarcasm typically does not bother me as I am very sarcastic myself. However, his sarcasm came at the expense of my friends in their home. These were people he hardly knew. And even after my friend shared that he did not appreciate his humor, Joe continued to let his sarcasm slip into criticism and downright insults.

At some point I gently let him know that his sense of humor was not appreciated by EVERYONE and he started to revert back to the Joe who was at my home mere hours earlier.

We still spent time together Sat night. And almost all Sunday we continued dating. And then came Monday ....

Most moments were okay, even some that were great, but there was that little voice nagging me that told me something was not quite right.

Either way, I felt it was okay enough to keep dating but it wasn't like I had to decide to marry the guy just yet. OR SO I THOUGHT!!!

Monday night Joe was planning on returning to his Country of origin, but at 3 pm we were sitting on the steps of the Museum of Science and Industry, having a snack, when he decided to be pretty forthright.

Joe: So you ready to come to {his Country} and meet my parents?

Me: Is that your way of asking me to come to {his Country} to continue dating you?

Joe: No, meeting parents usually indicates that an engagement is taking place.

Me: (foncused) Engagement?

Joe: Well I know what I WANT when I see IT and I figure that we should just make it official.

Me: (in my mind) WTF???? (Out Loud) Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.........

Did he just say what I think he said?

He just referred to me as an "IT", an object he "WANTS" like he just went to the Museum souvenir shop and said, "I want that." as he points to a Model of a submarine.

One intense weekend makes this guy think I am ready to don a white dress and meet him at the end of a long, very very long aisle.

And in addition, do you call that a proposal???

Well, I pretty much told him that I was not ready to meet his parents and he was moving just a bit too quick there, Mr. Speedy Gonzalez.

I don't remember exactly how we left it, but it was something along the lines of, you can still call me and we can continue this and see where it leads, but I won't make decisions about a future with you just yet.

I came home and shared my initial conflict and reservations with my parents about Joe, but they were dumbstruck.

All they saw over the weekend was enough for them to call him "son" and they encouraged me not to close the door completely just yet.

I do not remember the exact proximity of Labor Day to Rosh Hashana (Jewish New Years - typically falls out sometime in September or October), that specific year, but we continued to converse by phone all that time.

However, his phone calls to me were getting very frequent and he was very interested in why I was not always available to take his call, etc... etc...

Because of Nursing School and the upcoming holidays, I could not yet take a trip to his home. I occasionally conversed with my parents about how intense I felt he was and how I thought I should just end the relationship, but my parents had been way too impressed by him and did not want me to close the door altogether, but just ask that he slows down, maybe does not call so often...

I had already explained to Joe that he was a bit intense and he had enough charming qualities that he needn't be, and that he should slow down somewhat. At first he agreed to my request, but then the phone calls picked up again. And he wanted to know what I was up to every moment of every day.

Finally, just before Rosh Hashana was to begin, Joe called me to wish me "Happy Holidays" and we spoke for a few moments and I think he would have spoken longer, but I had to get off the phone and prepare for a holiday that is similar to a Sabbath. I had to get things done that we are not allowed to do once the holiday begins - like shower and dry hair, iron clothing ....

No more than 5 minutes after hanging up the phone, Joe called again.

I'm not sure if it was the fact that the "New Year" was about to begin, a time when we reflect on life and pray for good things (such as marriage) to come, that he picked this specific moment, but he pretty much gave me an ultimatum.

He said he does not know how to be slow and he does not feel the need to drag out something he is certain about...


And then it hit me, what has been bothering me all along.

He doesn't truly care about what I think. He does not care if I am certain or not. He does not care about the feelings of my friends. He wants what he wants when he wants it. Yes, he packaged up his controlling nature in a pretty little package of charm, good looks, intelligence, impressing parents... but I saw through him.

And so I said, well then, I guess we are done.

Great way to start a new year.

I was actually relieved. He was stupid enough to give me an ultimatum. I am not sure if his narcissism is what made him think I would cowardly fall for his ultimatum, but I was smarter than that. Aren't those controlling types supposed to go after the weak and vulnerable girls. I guess he picked the wrong chick.

My parents never got over the fact that I did in fact CLOSE THE DOOR, because they never got the chance to see what I saw.

In fact, even after I met and became engaged to Hun, my mom would still throw out how disappointed she was that I let that one go. I think she has even mentioned it since I have been married. And it's not like she is not impressed with my husband. I'm pretty sure she loves Hun more than me and is often wondering why HE decided to marry ME. But she fell for the charade that Joe put on.

Why do I bring any of this up today???

Well, because it has come to my attention that Joe is divorced. He was controlling and possibly abusive to his wife. And I use the word "divorced" lightly, because his wife is still waiting for the "Get" (something a Jewish man must give his wife in order for the marriage to actually be considered dissolved. Without it, she can NOT re-marry). Just his way of remaining controlling of her, I guess. My heart goes out to her.

But I am very proud of the Orah I have become. After high school we girls go to learn for a year in Seminary in Israel. I had a rough year there (which you can read about if you find my post called "the non year long year in Israel" - which I am too lazy to link). Let's just say, that there is a pre-Israel Orah and a post-Israel Orah. The pre-Israel Orah may have succumbed to my parents encouragement and constant oversight of my own feelings and my own thoughts and opinions on any topic of interest to my life. But the post-Israel Orah has learned to follow her own gut and make piece with her decisions.

I don't even have regrets, when in retrospect, I may have made the WRONG decision. But in this particular case, I am grateful I have grown confident in myself.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Thanks For Nothing






Shall I keep it?

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Anyone Have A Project For Me?

Since the end of August I had been rehearsing for a play. Last week we completed all four of our performances.

I am currently training for another half marathon. This one includes requesting contributions for an organization that provides services to unwell children and their families.

Two nights ago, 3 ladies and I went sledding at 10 pm at night sans CHILDREN. We were probably wearing a collective, 80 layers of clothing amongst us as it was single digit temperatures.

I have been contemplating the idea of hiking the Grand Canyon - 10 mile hike, to one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the face of the earth.

I am preparing for a trip to LA in the beginning of January that requires searching for clothing that looks as if it costs a few hundred (or thousands) when in reality it was purchased for nada. That is what happens when you go to a VERY wealthy relative's wedding. (Trust me, this takes much effort on my part).

I am working on my memoirs........

Okay - I totally made that last one up.

What is wrong with me? Have I become a "Desperate Housewife"?

As soon as I complete a project, I am searching for another.

I need a nap.