Wait for it............
As many of you know from reading my blogs, I believe women should date, allow themselves to date, be open and unentangled, as opposed to giving themselves over to any man who is not right for them or worse, ambivalent about them. I believe women are whole and complete without a man and I believe in (good) partnership.
I've recently been in a period of life that I would characterize as a very high growth period - I'm training to become a yoga instructor, broadening my future options and strengthening my spiritual centeredness. By choice, I've also been single for a very long stretch, though I've dated a ton of guys -- I seem to meet them everywhere: the grocery store, yoga, the gym, the beach, the airport, coffee shops . . . even my baby grandson's school (seriously), all the while living the "There are great men everywhere" abundance credo and having a ton of fun. I've actually dated so much that my friends basically quit asking me about them, because they were all one or two date men: fabulous guys, just not "boyfriend" guys.
So, imagine the ripple through my girlfriend camp when I had (and really enjoyed) my 2nd date with "Mr. West Coast Eye Candy." Yep, for the first time, in a VERY long time, I got a big "Wow!" on a first date. (My hairdresser--the original and forever dating coaches!!! said the cutest thing, "Maybe it was your turn for a WOW!")
We connected online (Tinder), had a super-easy dialogue and set a date. I already LOVED his online dating profile, because it was upbeat and fun. Our first conversation was effortless and unique, different. He touched in and was charming, and easy to get to know. There are so many opportunities for learning when I reflect on his dating approach, but the most important take-away was his emphasis seemed to be on getting to know me in an easy-going, organic way. "How's your day?" and "What are you doing fun this weekend?" vs. a big "production" resembling a job interview or a bunch of pre-date relationship talk. (Please don't do that, ladies -- men hate it. Just sayin'.)
So we made a date to meet at my favorite neighborhood sushi spot. I knew he was good-looking from his photos (although that's never been my lead "thing"--I'm typically more interested in a deep soul and someone who has full access to it), and he also appeared outdoorsy and fit (a ski instructor, river guide, hiker, etc.). But when I walked into the restaurant and met him, I was STUNNED! How fun???
He was way better-looking than his photos, but more importantly, he had a very strong "big boy" presence. We talked easily for four hours until the place closed down around us, and then talked at the car. Not surprisingly, we made another date, right then, for when he returned to town on business. Wash, rinse, repeat! He was a GREAT date: smart (wicked smart), quick, funny, soulful, and a yogi!!! (Albeit a potty-mouthed one, which I somehow loved even more).
We were both active and loved to travel, and there were so many quirky little things I liked about him that I was a little dumbfounded. The most obvious were super-earthy, masculine and "boy-like," yet really wise (not that these are mutually exclusive, but... um-... you know). And even under that West Coast cool vibe, he had depth, a deep soul, and was very observant (ridiculously so, really).
The thing that probably impacted me the most was that I dug up a five-page, single-spaced list, which was not a "check list," but more a list of things I find really appealing in a man (sort of an "I'll know it when I find it" kind of thing). I encourage women to create such a list, in order to get clear about what they like (not demand) in a man: examples from my list included "raised on a farm/ranch or some kind of background that gives them real depth, small plane pilot, very manly, sweet, protective, yet a free spirit who could handle a free spirit, wears outdoor clothes (my list literally said "Columbia," which was a brand he wore), expansiveness, conscious, wise, likes to cook and eat healthy, comfortable at home or on the road..." and the list went on.
Given I'm quite content living where I do on the East Coast, I had some hesitation about "dating" him, because I had done long-distance stuff in the past and it's sort of excruciating. My primary love languages (see 5lovelanguages.com) are physical touch and quality time (get to know yours, 'cuz it helps so much!) and a bi-coastal thing is most difficult for those types of people.
So did I ride off with West Coast Eye Candy into the sunset on matching mountain bikes?
No, I did not.
When it came time to really check in with myself, I felt inspired to: a.) listen to my inner voice, and b.) listen carefully to him. And I mean actively listen . . . with the intent being to assess whether this was, overall, an "ideal" dating scenario for me.
On a drive one day, I got really clear that although he indeed was amazing, there were pieces of it that were a disconnect, and in the big picture, it was not something I felt should go forward as a dating thing.
It's important to note I did this before we became intimate, which I think is critical. There's sufficient evidence men and women view intimacy differently, and I promise you that you will think better if you slow that down on the front side. It's not provincialism, prudish or "old school" -- its favoring process over volume, biology and attachment stuff. The bottom line? WAIT, WAIT, WAIT . . . so you can think and see clearly, and recognize what's true.
I believe Charlie Chaplin said it best in a letter to his daughter.
"Your naked body should only belong to those who fall in love with your naked soul."
So I asked Mr. Eye Candy for time on the phone (please always do this by phone or in person, not using e-mail, texting or social media), and shared that, although I found him to be wonderful, I felt the circumstances weren't right to date him . . . but I really wanted to "keep" him as a friend. We were, on a certain level, kindred spirits and I knew having him as a friend would enrich my life. He was thoroughly darling about it and we are friends to this day.
So why do I share this with you, dear reader? Because I believe in love, very much. I believe there is someone for each of us--no matter how diverse and free-spirited you are--if you choose well and truly desire that life.
One of the greatest obstacles I see for women is stopping at the wrong bus stop and having relationships that had obvious "Don't go this way" signs in the very beginning.
As I was writing this, I came across an insightful woman's quote (and blog http://www.daniellelaporte.com/holding-out/#):
"Holding out. The most underrated spiritual act there is.'"
-- Danielle LaPorte
Hold out and wait for it, Intrepid One . . . I promise you won't regret it.