My parents are June and Ward Cleaver, the Mormon version. So they didn't even have a glass of wine after dinner. I grew up hearing about how dad pinned her and they courted, and went on real dates, and waited for marriage. But mom thinks she's still a virgin because “you're a virgin in God’s eyes if it's within the bonds of marriage.” How quaint.
But I wanted that. I did. I wanted the real dates, the courting, the waiting for marriage. I wanted men to bring me flowers, open doors, pull out chairs, take me to fancy places, give me a reason to wear my diamonds and pearls. I didn't want to be a stay at home mom though, and that's the script for Mormon girls. We get married young and pop out a bunch of kiddies and put our husbands through school. Or we teach until we meet someone. I didn't want to follow either of those scripts. But I ended up teaching and I loved it. I wanted to teach college though, so I worked hard to get my master's, hoping to meet someone.
My folks met at a funeral. They're morbid. That's not for me. Church? Mormon men are groomed to believe they deserve a ten, and ten means skinny. I want an equal, so someone who values education as I do. College? I still wanted a man in my religion. I got offers, of course, but I loved none of them, so I said no. I got many offers outside of my religion, but I said no, and they offered because I was waiting for marriage and just wanted sex. Grad school? All the men I considered equal were married with a couple of kiddos. Law school? Not if I was waiting for marriage. Was it too much to ask for a gentleman? Chivalry?
Online dating became the norm. Many men's pickup line was, “Wanna fuck?” Would you say that to a woman in the grocery store? One man said, “Your body is wonderful. Can I play?” I said I charged $1500 an hour. Where is the real dating? The chivalry? They just wanted sex. I still wanted love.
I became disenchanted with my religion and left, staying a virgin until 34. First, I had been waiting for marriage, then love, then not a douchebag. Sadly to say, while the first one fit, others did not. Was I forcing love? Was I becoming less so I could have an equal? When I'd say I wanted an equal, many men would call me a snob because I had a master's. When I rejected them, many would then tell me how fat and ugly I was. It's always the ugly ones who can't handle rejection. You'd think they'd be used to it.
I came home every day, after hearing questions, without provocation, like, “Why are you single?” Honestly, because I'm overqualified. I was told I was too picky. Why shouldn't I be? I'm amazing. I was bombarded by society, the media, my former religion, etc., that being single was a bad thing, that happiness was only found in a romantic relationship.
I came home every day to my Labrador. She got me. She didn't care that I was fat or single or failed a math test. She just loved.
But I still wanted a romantic relationship. I would get stupid unsolicited advice like, “Put yourself out there!” and “It happens when you're not looking!”
I did put myself out there, even if I wasn't amazing at noticing when decent men hit on me. I never really looked, just hoped.
I hoped and waited and chased and slept with douchebags and debased myself for an equal, but I was still better than they were.
They didn't ask me out on dates; they suggested we hang out and asked what I wanted to do. They took me to Taco Bell and expected to get laid. I said thanks for dinner.
I'm very photogenic, so men don't realize I'm fat in my profile. They would give me such a look of disappointment upon meeting me and acted like they were doing me a favor by wanting to bang the fat chick anyway. I said thanks for dinner.
I put up a full body shot, so they knew before meeting me. Their pickup lines changed. “I love your big ass. Can I put my dick in it?” Damn. I couldn't even say thanks for dinner; I just blocked them.
Again, where to meet not just men, but chivalrous ones? I taught college. One student really had the hots for me and wanted to know me as a person. Until the term ended. Then I was just a piece of ass. I do have a nice ass, and amazing tits. But I'm so much more than T and A. I'm amazing. I still want an equal.
I'm a guys’ girl; I have few girlfriends. I can talk dirty with the guys. I drove a truck and had a Lab. But I can also be a lady. These guys, it's fine to talk dirty. But don't ask me to hang out and expect sex. We're just hanging out. Ask me on a real date. Pull out my chair. Bring me flowers. Be the gentleman I know you can be. Because I'm still a lady.
In this age of online dating, people say the most horrible things when they can hide behind a screen. Strangers ask for nudes and expect them, now without even Taco Bell.
I found some men who value education and kindness and financial responsibility as I do. But those men and I didn't click, for whatever reason.
Men would ask what I was looking for. I would say an equal. I used to have a list. Educated, funny, smart, sarcastic, able to hold his own, support me, be his authentic self, etc., a list. I met him. He was wonderful. For two months. I decided I didn't want the man of my list. I wanted the man of my dreams. But where to find him? Did he even exist? I was in my 30’s then, teaching college.
The students I'd taught when I did K-12 were in college now, some of them still infatuated with me because I was the cool teacher. I briefly considered them.
On October 5, 2015, I had to put my lab down. On December 5, 2015, I suddenly stopped walking. On December 15, 2015, I was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Upon getting a diagnosis, my body decided it could break down entirely.
Was I still amazing, even now, from a wheelchair? I was now in my late 30’s, in a wheelchair, and still too fat for the modern man, who'd been corrupted by the media, society, and porn. No, I don't look like those women. I have belly fat, stretch marks, hysterectomy scars, pale white skin, no belly button piercing. I look like a real woman. Maybe I should've said yes at 18, when I did have a belly button piercing.
The closest I'd found to love was from the man of my list. I fell absolutely in love with his son, and he me. That was unconditional love. But it was so fleeting.
I was the one who planned all the parties. People met their spouses through me, then stopped talking to me. I used to love bringing people together. Eventually I hated being invisible.
The collective social life went on a standstill my first year of diagnosis. But I went to support groups, made friends, introduced them to other friends, and lost friends again.
Was this love? To meet through a mutual friend then never talk to her again? As old as I was, I still had no idea what love was.
I had noticed a very handsome man in front of me at the bank once in college. Very handsome. He was done before I. He could've driven off. But he waited for me, opened the door for me, walked me to my car, opened the door for me, and asked if I liked coffee. I was Mormon. I said no and drove off. Ten minutes later, I realized my mistake.
Decent men exist. He may have courted me, brought me flowers, pulled out my chair, given me a reason to wear my diamonds. I don't know. I didn't realize he was hitting on me.
Would I be destined to be alone forever because my subconscious clearly hated me? I forgot attractive men's names and introduced myself every week in college. Maybe it was the MS, as yet, undetected. Yeah, I'll go with that.
After the diagnosis, when I spent the first year in a nursing home and lost and regained motor skills, weight, the ability to move, I had no idea who I was anymore. I lost all my jobs, my truck, and I missed my dog. I sounded like a country song.
I learned how to walk again. I lost it again. My best friend visited every night. He saw me go through boyfriends and lovers.
I spent all of college, grad school, law school- looking, hoping, waiting for love, not realizing it was in front of me all along. I had adopted her from a shelter when I was 19 and put her down when I was almost 36. She was nearly 17.
My Labrador was my true love, there to lick the wounds of every broken heart I'd had for all of my adult life. We were together till death do us part. And she made me open doors, pull out chairs, and bring surprises. She made me become chivalrous.