Women’s Golf Month

I went out on a group outing with some Hill staffers to the East Potomac Park Golf Course and Driving Range. We were there to celebrate women’s golf month, but also because we want to learn the basics of golf. There are a number of networking and fundraising events associated with the Hill that take place on golf coursea, and I think we all acknowledged that beyond the possibility of it becoming an extracurricular activity, golf is important for our professional development.

We met for lunch before heading out to the driving range to learn the basics of holding a club and how to stand and swing. I like the fact that there is a standard technique that is used throughout the game, no matter which club you are using. The lesson was informative and a lot of fun. We hit balls with a 9 iron for about an hour before calling it a day. Afterwards, we started talking about taking advantage of the $99 group classes so that we could continue to hone our skills—as a group. Yes, we were truly psyched about improving our skills.

Until this weekend, I never considered golf to be a game for me. I used to accompany Floyd to the driving range, and hit a few balls before giving up and reading a book while I waited for him. But I despite all that Tiger has done for the game, I continued to view golf as a sport for older, wealthy men of European descent. And I associated golf with a country club mentality that I wanted nothing do with.

But after my experience at the range this weekend, I am ready to have an open mind and give golf a real try.


France in August!

About a week ago, A-M, Cali, and I bought plane tickets for France. We had been talking about traveling to Europe for weeks and finally, we decided on a preferred country and departure date.

I am beyond excited about returning to France. My 10-day trip with my mother a few years ago, while wonderful, was simply not long enough to explore anything beyond Paris. And even then, there were parts of Paris I didn't get to see. But then, when traveling, is there ever really enough time?

So this August, I'll have 10 more days. We are ambitiously thinking of dividing our time between Paris, Bordeaux (or some other wine region), and then Nice or some other Provence city. I simply can't wait to watch the 9 pm sunset in Paris, and see castles, Mediterranean beaches, and fields of lavender in the other regions. I am quite certain that most of my money will willingly be spent on food--probably pastries.

We have about a month and a half to plan out as much of our trip as possible, knowing that our plans will change when we are actually there.

I am so happy to be returning to Europe and elated to be fulfilling my goal of more travel.


Online Dating - Change of Plans

This week, I joined OkCupid. Yes, I’m starting to put myself out there—at least in the online dating world. I like the fact that there are more quirky men on the site and I find the tests and general layout more to my liking. Aside from the one person I’ve been emailing, POF has been a bust and I plan on removing my profile after one more week. I will probably remove my profile from Match as well.

I realize that my very short-lived online dating foray was the result of me panicking after turning 29 in May. I started to pressure myself to try to find love this year so that could, in fact, get married by 30 (that dreaded age, right?).

But now, I’ve calmed down. Thanks to the less than stellar options that I’ve seen on the dating sites (many older men, many uneducated/non-career focused men). I don’t think that I have unrealistic standards. But I don’t think it is picky to want to someone who is similar to me in the basics (values, ambition, financial security, career/life goals, etc). I don’t want to settle or waste my time. And I don't think I have to.

But what also changed my mind was chatting with my new mentor on the Hill. I told her about my concerns regarding whether I could be a successful, senior Hill staffer, with all the time demands that would entail—while also having a fulfilling personal life with a husband and kids. I mean, I barely have time for a personal life as a junior staffer. While she recognized that it depended on the office I worked for, if I had hired help, and whether my issues were “up” in a given year, she noted that many women are waiting to have kids these days and that it seems to work out for them. So instead of prior generations being all about their home life before, possibly, finding out that they want to pursue a career. Or the more recent generation of women seeking to have it all at the same time—and not quite achieving it without conflict and something failing (their marriage falling apart or their kids having to raise themselves). She noted that these days many women are seeking to first reach the pinnacle of their career before taking a break or slowing down to raise kids and then ramping back up when their kids are school age.

It may be silly but that reminder relieved so much pressure off my shoulders. I’ve been deeply concerned about my life plans ever since I turned 25 (the age when I was “supposed” to be married). And I often worried that my career drive and priorities was coming at the expense of ever having a family. But now I feel more secure about waiting until I am where I want to be professionally before I bring life into the world or adopt. My career is very important to me and I derive much of my personal value from work—as it is a way that I feel I am “making a difference.”

So, magically, I no longer feel under pressure to find someone this year or even the next. A male in my life would be nice but it isn’t a requirement for me to be happy and to feel complete. That’s something I need to achieve on my own.

So I’ll be on POF for another week and maybe OkCupid for a little while after that. Then, I’ll put away my online dating dreams—at least until I freak out again next year after turning 30.

Do get me wrong, I am still looking. But the pressure is off to find the true love this year or the next.


Online Dating - Nightmare on Privacy

Last night, I had a horrible dream centering around Hannibal Lecter, with guest appearances by my male roommate (shirtless and glistening with sweat after a morning run, of course...). The plot of the nightmare centered around the lack of privacy of my online profile. Yes, very lame--except for the whole roommate part.

Needless to say, I woke up around 230 a.m. and immediately made changes to my online account. I created a new email address to handle the correspondence, scoured my descriptions for any possible TMI, and strengthened a handful of my web passwords.

It was a weird way for my subconscious to flag my anxiety about putting my picture on the web. Oddly enough, I didn’t wake up with nightsweats after posting pictures or info on Facebook—and we all know that FB has privacy issues.

Last night, I performed a google search of my name. I hate that my info shows up on those background check websites—as linked to my mother, sister, and even my father. Supposedly all the information out there is just compiled from public records—in addition to the stuff that I’ve put up (via work and on FB/MySpace). I can’t imagine anyway around it other than totally dropping off the grid, only paying cash, and living in cabin somewhere.

I will definitely continue to be mindful when the time comes to actually meet someone. I don't care to have any more nightmares about my online dating ventures. For a refresher, check out this site for a few tips about online dating safety.


Online Dating Update - Added a Picture

Yes, it has been a while since my last post. Nothing major to report.

However, over the weekend, I created a profile on the free online dating site, Plenty of Fish. And I finally broke down today, and posted two pictures of myself. I don't think either picture really meets the recommended criteria for profile pictures put forth by Patty. I didn't add pictures of myself looking like my weekend casual self nor the glamed-up version that surfaces on special occasions. I choose two pictures somewhere in the middle, that show the real me on a good day.

I had resisted adding my picture to my online profile for months. Adding a picture makes it all so real. But I want to give it an honest try and I know that I won't find a guy who would want to date me purely from reading my clever profile description. Of course, I don't want the physical to be the main selling point as it is so fleeting. Yet, I can't deny that the physical is an important aspect of attraction--at least initial attraction. And I am just as interested in seeing the guy's picture as he is in seeing mine before initiating contact. Me promsing that I don't look like a troll just doesn't cut it.

It is amazing that online dating has become an accepted mode of finding a hookup as much as finding love. I don’t recall what changed to make it acceptable now. When I was in junior high, I remember Celestyn finding a guy via the internet. We were so worried for her, thinking that she’d end up meeting a pedophile instead of a 14-year-old guy. Back then, it was something new and a bit scary. Now, it can still be scary but it carries more promise and possibility.

Until the past few years, I pretty much relegated online dating to being a mode for folks who were too lazy, weird, socially inept, busy, etc to find dates the old fashion way: through mutual friends, at bars, via extracurricular activities. But now, I see that it is a great way to weed through some of the nonsense and game playing that you encounter at the bar scene and find guys who are just as interested in finding true love as you are. Sure, there are still a lot of frogs out there who will put up the facade of wanting a wife, when in reality they are looking to get in your pants in as few dates (and as little expense) as possible. And I still feel that the best way to find a guy is to revisit your social circles and ask friends to connect you with the single men they know. Coupled friends in particular are always keen to help a single buddy cross over.

But online dating—especially free online dating that has been endorsed by single friends—is worth a try. Depending how it goes, I might finally breakdown a pay for Match as well. But for now, I’m putting a few more toes in the water while I wait to be comfortable enough to just dive in.