Monday, February 28, 2011

Radically Single: Standards

I realized tonight that I have not added a Radically Single post since Valentine's Day. So it's time to pick up where we left off.

It is entirely possible that the most ironic question I get asked is "Why are you still single?" There are a thousand ways I might answer that, and almost all of them are snarky and mean. For instance, "Oh, I just decided that I enjoy hearing people like you ask me questions like that." Perhaps several years ago, I was full of more irritation at these questions. Now I just kinda chuckle and smile internally thinking how sweet it is that people are amazed at the fact that I am, instead of thinking behind my back "Oh yeah, I know why SHE'S still single." HA!

A few times along this journey, though, I've had women tell me that my standards are far too high. If I'd simply accept less than what I hope for, I'd not be single. They're probably right about the last part. If I settled for less, I would likely find some sub-par fellow and be with Mr. Right Now instead of Mr. Who God Intended. But I never cease to be amazed at the amount of people who encourage me to settle. Have I considered it as an option? Never. I've seen women settle for less than God's best and are miserable because of it.

Look, I'm not asking for perfect. No man is perfect (See Romans 3:10 for biblical proof of that). But I do have standards. Beyond that, I have real-life examples of the standards so I know they exist. My standards are not some "pie-in-the-sky" Prince Charming who is going to smile at me with perfect teeth and sing the second half of my "heart's duet" (ala Enchanted).

What's my measuring stick? Honestly? My dad and my brothers. My dad & I had an opportunity to go on a Dad-Date recently and I was reminded while we were out what a treat it is to be treated with respect, be given the place of a lady and treasured like a gift. We talked a bit about the ignoramuses I've gone on dates with in recent years - And have begun to blog about lately - and we laughed. But mostly I thanked him for being my standard. The way my dad treats me on our special nights out - or just regular days together - is what I expect for when I go on a date. It's not asking a whole lot, but for some reason, it's missing from dates these days. Chivalry isn't dead, but men sure act like they don't need it.

So here's some highlights of time with my dad that create the standard:

1. Hold the Door open for me. Honestly, this isn't difficult, but apparently, it's not practiced regularly by young men.

2. He asked me questions about my opinion, listens respectfully and genuinely wants to know my thoughts on things. I cannot tell you how many guys I've encountered who look at me like I'm growing a green horn out of my head when I have an opinion.

3. He goes to the car door first and opens it for me. Sometimes, I forget to let him and he'll lock it before I get to the handle. And sometimes, he'll walk up beside me and look at me as I'm opening the door, to which I shut it and let him get it. This is really a learning curve for me. But it's so nice for him to be so desirous of doing this for me.

4. He tells me I am beautiful, look nice and just generally makes me feel pretty. I don't know how he does it precisely, but there's something about a good man who makes you feel pretty and feminine. Compliments are utilized far too little, and we ladies, in our insecurities need to know we're beautiful. Tell us, it's not difficult.

5. He Pays for me. No matter what it is, he pays. I know this should be a gimme on a date, but I have seen and experienced more guys unwilling to pay and not even making an ATTEMPT to pay. This is a fail of epic proportions. Dudes, pay for the girl you're with. She'll thank you.

6. He is thoughtful. Dad and I went to this concert and he slipped away at one point and bought me a tee shirt to remember the night. It was so sweet, I was just so blessed. Not because the tee shirt was awesome (it was) but because he was so thoughtful to think that I'd want a nice memory of the fun we'd had. I was a smidgen verklempt, I'm not going to lie. It was so sweet.

7. He holds my hand when we cross the street or it appears to be slightly unstable walking ground. Some women might gripe at being demeaned or considered helpless. I consider this chivalry. It's nice to have a warm hand to hold, someone who cares if you get squished by oncoming traffic or fall down.

There's so much more, but these are some high points. I'm so thankful for a dad who treats me like a lady, and treasures me. I enjoy our time together and I enjoy how he is a wonderful standard for the future men in my life.

When I was being baked inside of my mom, my dad wore pink for 9 months, hoping for a girl. I always knew this story and the ramifications for me personally have been tremendous. I knew I was wanted, I knew that my dad was excited for my arrival. I can only hope that the man who seeks me out would metaphorically be 'wearing pink' in hopes of my arrival. I want to be wanted, what girl doesn't? My dad reminds me everyday and every outing how much of a treasure I am and so does my Heavenly Dad. I desire no less from a man who comes into my life. Ladies, you should too.

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P.S. Yes, I know, not all girls have such a special relationship with their Father and that breaks my heart. But God is a Father to the Fatherless - and a reminder, girls to not attribute the flaws of your human father to your Heavenly Father. God is a Perfect Father, filling even the human failings of the most incredible earthly dads, and even more so the foulest of human fathers as well.

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