Monday, May 18, 2015

Things No One Tells You About Moving to Utah

Things No One Tells You About Moving to Utah

I was born and raised in Colorado, so when I made the decision to move to Utah (after 6 months of blatant promptings and me saying “Crap no, there is no way I am moving to Utah”) I was worried the transition might be difficult.  Here are some things I wish people had told me before I moved;

Fast Lane Drivers -
In drivers education here, I think they must teach everyone “When driving on the freeway, make sure to get in the far left lane.  Accelerate to 5 miles under the speed limit, and then no matter what you do, do not get out of that lane until you reach your exit.  Not even if there is a line of people behind you, riding your tail, flashing their lights and screaming profanity.  They will eventually get fed up and pass you on the right.  Make sure not to make eye contact with them as they pass.  And after all the people have gone around you, don’t ever leave that left lane.  Ever.”

Two Words, Fry Sauce -
Utah is the leading consumer of fry sauce, a combination of mayonnaise and ketchup.  It will be given to you automatically at every restaurant you go to.  If you ask for plain ketchup, the waiter will stare at you blankly for a moment, and then go and get it for you.  It’s actually pretty good, once you try it.

Holy Crap, Look At Those Mountains!
I have lived here for three years, and daily I am still in awe of the sheer beauty of the mountains.  Of course Colorado mountains are beautiful, but they got bigger gradually.  Here, it’s flat valley and then BAM, giant mountains.  Sorry CO, Utah has you beat on this one…

Holy Crap, Look At That Sunset!
The sunsets here are incredible.  Not only do you look to the West and see the sky fill with the most amazing colors, but then you look to the East and see that the giant mountains are reflecting those colors, normally turning them an incredible pink color.  Breathtaking every time.

If You Don’t Ski or Snowboard, Many People Will Consider You “Un-Dateable” -
Ok, so maybe this shouldn’t have been too far fetched for me since I am from Colorado, but I was shocked at the sheer numbers of men who considered it a deal breaker that this wasn’t one of my hobbies.  If that’s something you love, more power to you, but if I’m going to fall down a hill and die, I want to do it for free.

The Streets Here Are Weird -
I swear, if I hear someone say one more time “It’s a grid system, it’s so easy!”.....
Yes, it’s a grid system, and for the most part it’s logical, except for the whole TH thing.  What I mean is, here, everyone automatically takes off the last 00 of a street and replaces it with TH, but no one tells you that.  Example, the address you are looking for is on 2700 South, BUT the people who are giving you directions tell you it’s on 27TH South.  So you drive around looking for a 27th street, which doesn’t exist.  You get frustrated and want to cry, but everyone else laughs because “It’s so easy, it’s a grid system!”......
Inversion Is A Four Letter Word -
I honestly don’t think I had ever heard the word “Inversion” before moving to Utah.  Roughly defined, it is the dark pit of smog and unhappiness that will fall over an entire city for an entire month, normally between January and February.  You will rarely see the sun, and a cloud will rest over the valley, trapping under it massive amounts of pollution.  It gets so thick, you can practically taste it.  The only escape is driving into the mountains for a day, and you can literally see the sky open up.  Either that or……

Everyone Vacations In St. George -
I’m not sure what the magic allure is of this city, but it seems that everyone has a vacation home there, or knows someone who does and borrows it.  People literally go there for every vacation or free weekend they have.  Granted, I only know as much about this city as what can be seen from the freeway, but it must be the most amazing place ever!

College Rivalry -
I’m from Denver, where everyone is a Broncos fan.  When I moved here I was shocked to find out; most people didn’t care about the Broncos (Hello???  Can we please be excited about Peyton Manning??), and instead, were all about college football.  Especially, the great BYU vs University of Utah rivalry, or the “Holy War” as I hear it referred to.  They take this very seriously and it seems to get passed down by generations.

And Don’t Get Me Started On Jazz Fans -
They are just a wee bit intense.  I’ll leave it at that.

Not Everyone Is Mormon -
I think this is probably the biggest misconception about Utah.  Most people I talk to assume the entire state is Mormons (I’m a Mormon, and the idea of being around other Mormons all the time was not appealing to me).  Salt Lake City is actually a very culturally diverse place.  Less than 50% of the population is LDS.  Granted it is still the most populated religion here, it was nothing like what I expected.  I have met people from pretty much every religion I can think of.

There Are A Lot of Gay People -
Now before you get all worked up about it, this is not something that bothers me in the least.  I don’t care if people are gay or straight.  My personal philosophy is “As long as you aren’t trying to have sex with me, I don’t care who you are having sex with”.  But when I moved here I was surprised at how many people there were in the LGBT community.  I read once that SLC is second in gay population to San Francisco.  While I already don’t have the best gay-dar, this makes it particularly difficult to figure out who to flirt with.

Starbucks Closes At 7pm -
When it snows, there is nothing I like better than hot chocolate from Starbucks.  Imagine my surprise to find out almost all of locations downtown close around 7pm.  Coming from a place where most close at 10pm, this was a bit of an adjustment.  And it isn’t just Starbucks, most places close by 9pm.  Nightlife here tends to consist of restaurants and movies.  Thankfully, I enjoy both.

The Great Salt Lake -
In my mind, I imagined it like an ocean.  Blue and beautiful.  In truth, its brown, and it smells weird.  Due to the high salt content of the lake, the only thing that can live in it are brine shrimp.  And where there’s brine shrimp, there are brine flies, everywhere.  The lake is very shallow too (only about 14 feet).  One cool thing, because of the salt, if you go in the water, you will float around like a cork, regardless of how much you weigh.  It’s pretty cool, everyone should try it.  Just make sure to shower after.

Utah Girl Names -
Utah people love their baby girl names.  Not only do they love weird name, they absolutely love to take normal names and spell them in the strangest way possible.  I have counted 15 ways to spell the name Brittany, yes really.  If you want a good laugh, watch this video.  It’s funny because it’s so true  :)

You Will Fall In Love With Utah -
It might take some time, it took me a year before I admitted I live in Utah and it’s clear I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, but if you open yourself up to it, you will fall in love with Utah.  But I will never get rid of my 303 area code  :)

Friday, May 8, 2015

Everyone Needs to Calm the Crap Down

The Rebuttal - Everyone just needs to calm the crap down

**As a disclaimer, lets just all remember that I am about as subtle as a sledgehammer so don’t get all up in arms about my opinions**
Last week, the LDS Matchmaker did a blog post titled “Eight Things You’re Doing Wrong – And How to Attract Your Match”, you can read it here

The post was put together from years of experience, witnessing the same things over and over again, and helping people find the love of their lives.  They work hard and want the very best for all singles, even if they aren't their clients.  Their whole team knows the challenges that single life can bring, and they want nothing more than to help.

Which is why I was shocked that this post received nothing but negative comments, over and over again.

I let it sit for a few days, but just have to say my peace, which is;

Everyone just needs to calm the crap down….
The comments that I saw over and over seemed to be along the same lines;
            This is shallow advice
            There is no way you could build a lasting relationship on this stuff
            You be you, do what you want
First, let’s look at the most important part of the title, “How to ATTRACT Your Match”.

The advice here isn't about the long term stuff.  Of course you want to be with someone who loves you for who you are!  No one is expecting you to be some sort of Mormon Stepford Wife who looks just like everyone else and smiles at everything their spouse says and sleeps in full makeup and goes to Burger King to poop so their husband isn't aware they have bowels.

But you do need at ATTRACT the person you are going to be with.  The person you end up with needs to be attracted to you on some level, and you to them.  This isn't anything outlandish, it’s basic stuff.
“You Have Terrible Photos”
In this day and age, pretty much everyone is dating online.  When you date online, first impressions are everything, for both men and women.  Wouldn't you want your photo to represent your best you?

I can’t tell you how many guys I've seen where every picture in their FB profile is of a cartoon character or comic book drawing.  Sexy!  It just gets my imagination going that they clearly must look like Thor and they have gotten too much female attention in the past so they have to keep things vague until they find a girl worth revealing their rippling six pack abs too.  Haha, I kid.  Clearly I would assume that a guy with these kinds of photos lives in his mothers basement and decorates with nothing but movie posters.

Or what about the other way around?  How many girls have I seen that are looking for a “Nice, LDS guy”, but all of their photos show them scantily clad at the bar doing shots?  If that’s your life, I have zero room to judge, but don’t be surprised when all those “Nice LDS guys” aren't into you.  Know your audience.

Or are all your photos of you flexing with your shirt off in the bathroom mirror?  Or is every photo a selfie of you making a duck face?  

Especially if you are paying to be on a singles site, take the time to invest in photos that flatter you and express who you are.
“You’re Wearing the Wrong Clothes”  Let’s just lump this all together where anything talks about appearance.

Nowhere in the post did it say you have to dress a certain way, they simply talk about wearing clothes that are flattering to your body shape and style.  Don't like wearing the trendy stuff and prefer something with more of an edge?  Great!  Just rock whatever you are wearing.

All of us love to watch a makeover show.  Why?  Because it's amazing to see how a good outfit/hairstyle/makeup can make an already great person radiant.  You see them hold their head higher, they are more confident to talk to people, they like themselves more.

I will never forget my first Sunday in Utah where I went to a mid-singles ward.  During sacrament I got up to use the restroom and I noticed that there wasn't a single seat available in the foyer.  Every couch, chair and even spots on the floor were women, mid 30's and 40's, knitting.  Not one was wearing makeup.  Each was dressed in frumpy clothing.  I had the sneaking suspicion that hidden in their giant bags of yarn was one or two cats.  And they had a conversation going about how singles wards are pointless because no one asks them out anyway.

Do I think knitting is wrong?  No.

Do I think knitting at church is wrong?  Well not wrong, but a big red flag to any guy who might be the least bit interested.

Do I think going to a ward that is specifically designed to help you meet singles, and you have clearly put no effort into your appearance is wrong?  Yes, yes I do.

You don’t need to look like a Kardashian, but it’s alright to take pride in your appearance.  

Remember - You don’t flirt when they look good, you flirt when YOU look good!

“You’re Too Available”

No one says you have to play games, but always make sure to live your life.  If someone asks you out and you already have plans with friends, don't cancel your plans!  It's appealing to know that the person you are pursuing has a life.  It's ok to not bend over backwards for someone, especially at the beginning.

It’s one thing if someone asks you out when you have plans to say “I actually have plans Friday night, but what about Saturday?”

It’s not the best idea to say “I have plans Friday night, but I could cancel them if it meant being with you.  Or if that night doesn't work, we could do Saturday, or Saturday night, or Sunday.  Really any night will work for me, my schedule is WIDE open”.

“You’re Trying Too Hard”

I wrote a blog piece once on a type of person called "leg-humpers", if you’re bored, you can read it here

These are people who are too into you, too soon, and they want to show you in every way possible.  And as many of us know, it's one of the quickest ways to turn someone off and make them run in the opposite direction.

Don’t be a leg humper, take a step back.

“You’re Not Trying Hard Enough”

There can be a fine line between trying too hard and not hard enough.  It's all about the balance.  The biggest mistake I see people make is not putting themselves out there.

Are you going to at least one singles event a week?  Or even a month?  

When you go to that event, do you chat with people, or do you stand against the wall by yourself?  The people you talk to don't even have to be people you are interested in romantically, it can be anyone!  Groups of more than 2 can be less intimidating for others to approach, so start chatting and put the vibe out there that you want to meet people!  Or approach a group, smile and say hi.  What’s the worst that could happen?

I watched an episode of Dr. Phil once that has always stuck with me.  He was talking to a woman who was upset she wasn't married, and that she hardly ever dated.  He asked if she went to events where she could meet people?  No.  Did she attempt to start conversations with people when she was out?  No.  Was she attempting to meet anyone online?  No.

So basically, he said, the only way someone is going to meet you is if they literally throw themselves on the hood of your car when you drive to or from work?  Yep, that sounds about right.

“You’re Not Looking In Your League”

I can see why this would be one to push some buttons, but I promise it's not the way it was intended.

For me, out of your league doesn't necessarily have to do with looks.  It has more to do with attitude and life goals.

Are you a guy in your late thirties, who lives with his parents, works a minimum wage job and has no desire to better himself in any way?  Do you really think a woman who has a masters degree, owns her own business and home is going to be attracted to you?  (This example comes from a real date I went on where the guy complained to me about exactly this).

As a single LDS woman in her 30's, why shouldn't she be looking for the same?  Shouldn't she want someone as driven as she is?  

I'm not saying these women are looking for their "Golden Checkbook" husband, but why should she lower her standards for someone who isn't interested in bettering himself? This role can easily be reversed as well.

This to me is a prime example of dating out of your league.  She’s not only out of your league, you’re not even playing the same sport.

In Conclusion

You don’t need to change who you are, enhance who you are!  Put yourself out there and have fun!  Being single can be hard, but it can also be years full of fun, but you have to put in the effort.

And don’t get all riled up by blog posts, especially mine  :)