As you all know, from my Dixie Land post, I recently moved to the south, from the Midwest. While there are a few cultural differences (see the post), generally we’re all the same. “A person’s a person, no matter how small.” Yet, I’m still finding it difficult to make friends. Mostly because the majority of people I work with are from France, Belgium, Spain or some other Spanish-speaking country. I don’t fit into this group because a) I don’t speak French or Spanish and b) I’m from the United States and therefore not an outsider like they are and, finally, c) I started in January and all the other new teachers know each other already and everyone knows, bringing new friends into the group is hard. Especially when they don’t share a similar background.
To counteract my lack of friendship in the workplace (I’m also one of the only unmarried American staff members (can’t break into the international or local cliques) and considerably younger than the other unmarrieds which makes it that much harder to connect) I started using Meetup.com. A place to meet people of similar interests, etc. I went to a board game meetup, because it’s held at the coffee shop with the best Beignets in town and because I like board games. Surprise, surprise, I was expecting “party games” (think Last Word, Balderdash, Apples to Apples, Trivial Pursuit etc) when in actuality, most group members play strategy games like Settlers of Catan (and this is the only one I was familiar with and therefore remember). Luckily, all was not lost. There was a new-to-town couple there as well, and the wife and I bonded over our newness.
Saturday night we met up for a drink near my apartment. I was so nervous going into our dinner engagement, I felt like I was going on a date! And honestly, I’ve never had a “date” go so well. Maybe I should become a lesbian (I’m sorry, I realize that was probably very offensive). I’m sure this sounds very weird. We all know what it’s like to meet guys and to have to put yourself out there, and make yourself vulnerable, but you’ve always had your girlfriends to fall back on. Imagine trying to find that support system and making yourself vulnerable, with no one to fall back upon. That is what I am going through now. Sure I have my girls (Cornflower and Sapphire included) but they don’t know exactly what I’m dealing with, nor the people I’m talking about, so it’s not the same.
On a different, but related note, I’ve recently reactivated my OK Cupid account. I figure, I’m putting myself out there to meet platonic friends via the Internet, why not romantic friends? It’s not like I can go out to the bars with my friends or meet my friend’s friends. Yet, every guy I find physically attractive is a “60% or less match.” I know I shouldn’t but I take their little algorithms seriously, but I don’t understand why the cute ones have some sort of fatal character flaw (homophobia, over sexualization*, too religious etc). Sometimes I message them anyway (if they’re cute enough) whereas I get messages from perfectly normal men and ignore them because their pictures just don’t do it for me. This is the problem with meeting people virtually. In person, their personalities can make up for lack of physical attributes, but I’m sorry, that doesn’t happen over the Internet.
So, basically, I’m a at a standstill. Either the cuties that I emailed need to email me back (since heaven knows I’m not going to put myself out there more than once!) or I need to meet guys and girls (friends of all kinds) through work and maybe my new game friend.
* Seriously, the questions they ask… I understand the reasoning behind some of them. If you’re waiting until marriage but the guy who just messaged you thinks 3 dates=sex, well you might have a problem. But so many of the questions are sexual in nature. I just don’t get it. Aren’t these the kind of things you’re suppose to slowly learn? I have learned, however, that OK Cupid users are very concerned about sex (many of the questions are user generated). Also, a shockingly large percentage of the male users only brush their teeth once a day. I have no idea who came up with that question, but I like it.