Friday, November 25, 2011

The Only Problem

I have a lot of really weird hobbies for a 22-year-old.

For example, I have season tickets to the opera. They were pretty expensive, especially for someone like me who is in an entry-level job fresh out of college. But I love the opera, and even more than that, it was important to me to be the kind of adult who has season tickets to the opera. So even though it meant not buying any new clothes for two months, and cooking almost all of my own meals too, the tickets were a worthwhile spending priority for me.
Here I am at the Kennedy Center. See? Season tickets! To the opera!
For another, I like memorizing poetry and reading it aloud in my special "poetry reading voice," for which my friends make fun of me. What can I say? Poetry just does something to my soul. Rhythm is built into our human natures. It's older than any spoken language. The rhythm of poetry awakens something in me. The words bring truth and the rhyme offers beauty. I really love it.

For a third, I am really into swing dancing. You might read that and say, "Plenty of young people are into swing dancing." To which I respond, "Have you been to a swing dance night?" Plenty of girls are there - nice, normal-looking girls. The guys, on the other hand, are either deeply weird or creepily old. I say this as someone who has been to her fair share of swing dance nights. I think that normal guys are capable of swing dancing, but they just don't prioritize it as an activity, at least not if they're single.

Then there's the books I choose to read. Normal young people like to read, oh I don't know, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo? The Help? I actually read The Help and I thought it was forgettable. Definitely over-rated. Instead, I find myself furtively reading things like Evelyn Waugh's Sword of Honour trilogy and P. G. Wodehouse on the metro. Normal people my age don't read stuff like that, and they definitely don't stay in on weekend nights to read it either. Like I said, weird.

I could go on and on. There's a reason this blog is called "book smart," ya know? I don't watch TV. Seriously, at all. I like moseying around art galleries at a snail's pace, reading every single plaque and explanatory sign, so that I'm exhausted before we're halfway through. I really really like knitting. It doesn't get much more grandma than that.
You can't see it in this picture, but I totally had knitting needles in my purse. At a football game.
Now, these are all great hobbies. I personally love 'em. They'll come in handy if I'm ever 80 years old and need to teach all the other little old ladies in my nursing home how to cast on stitches, or the difference between La Traviata and La Boheme, or why Bartolome Esteban Murillo is the greatest religious artist of all time.

But there's just one tiny little problem with all of my preferred hobbies.

Most guys don't do them. Like, at all. Or at least, not the guys who seem cute and normal and cool.

Cool guys, I imagine, go to bars. They watch sports games. They probably go clubbing on the weekends and to happy hours during the week.

I go to bars... for Catholic trivia night. The coolest guy there was the parish priest.

I watch sports games... from the safety of my couch, where my roommate (who miraculously understands baseball) can explain these things to me.

I go clubbing... wait, that's a total lie. I tried clubbing in college and absolutely hated it. You couldn't pay me to go back.

And happy hours... intimidate the heck out of me. They're scary enough when I'm surrounded by my friends. But going to a place where I hardly know anyone? Trying to meet guys? In a crowded bar full of people? Oh my gosh. It's a fate worse than death.

So you see, I love the things I do, but they are not the kinds of things at which one meets boys. At least, not the kind of boys one wants to date, especially if one prefers good looks and a sense of humor and doesn't care how much he knows about opera.

Thus I say with total confidence that if I ever manage to meet a guy I like and who likes me, it will be a true miracle, and I will take my hat off to my matchmaking angels. You all are my witnesses.


  1. Dear Tess, I loved this post! I can really feel what you're feeling, even though I'm still only a senior in high school. I think that once I graduate college, I will be the picture of how you are now! (I should be taking notes....;) I do worry that since I'm not the clubbing or bar type -- though like you, I'm sure I'll go to each once in college, just for the sake of it -- and have interests that not a lot of other people share, I may have a nice set of friends, but won't ever meet any guys. They won't notice me, I won't be their type, etc. So, while I don't really have any advice for you (except to pray and talk to God about these things, because He's watching out for us) I do totally feel for you :)


  2. Dear Tess, there are young men in Edinburgh who love the opera and not only read Waugh, they dress like him. There is, therefore, hope for men.

  3. Liz, thank you so much for your adorable comment. I love that you said you think you'll be like me when you graduate from college - I feel honored! :) I do have to say, I think this post came across sounding more debbie-downer than I meant it to. My sister said she thought it was kind of sad, which is not what I was going for - I was hoping it would be funny. Anyway, in full disclosure, several of my friends got opera tickets with me... and two of them are boys my age, one of whom is a self-described "huge opera buff." When I blog, I rarely present the full picture but often will only focus on one side of an issue in order to dramatize it. I also am very confident that God has the perfect plan for me and my future, so it's silly to worry about it, and generally I try not to. So don't take this post too seriously!

    Auntie, it sounds like I should travel to Edinburgh!

  4. "Guys don't do them. Like, at all. Or at least, not cute guys. Not normal guys. Not guys whom would could ever, even by a stretch, define as 'cool.'"


    ~PTB :)

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