I’m delighted to introduce to you the first of a couple of men who’ve plucked up the courage to write for Her Glass Slipper. Meet Elodin Pendragon. Life coach, writer and general all round rock star. Can’t wait for you to read his stuff.
Unlike many of my male Christian contemporaries, I didn’t meet my soulmate when I was ten, get engaged at eleven and married at twelve. At least, that’s what it seemed like as I reluctantly lingered in my unmarried status throughout my twenties and early thirties. I had a dream, and that dream involved a beautiful wife, beautiful children (that hopefully took more after her than me) and a beautiful house. No dogs though. I don’t do dogs, nor any kind of animal that licks itself then seeks to lick me. Which rules out everything except goldfish. And they’re just rubbish.
I never had that ‘special friend’ that turns to be some classic high-school sweetheart long term love story unrequited love turned good ad infinitum, a la The Notebook. Yes, I’ve seen that film, under duress. It and Disney have a lot to account for in blurring romantic filters. But I digress.
My point is this: most of my life, I’ve been single. Now, I am married. Only for a couple of years. But I still remember the wilderness of singleness. The fears of wasted years. So I have a lot of empathy for singles-not-by-choice. I talk to them all the time. I think because they see me as married, they wonder if I’ve discovered the silver bullet that slays singleness forever and ever, amen. Well, I haven’t. But I’ve certainly observed quite a lot so I may have some perspectives that are helpful. Maybe not. Advice given generally is always general advice. Which sounded a lot wiser in my head than it does on paper.
You see ladies, us men dream too. We have things we are looking for. And things we aren’t. ‘The List’ isn’t exclusive to the Sisterhood. Our List changes as we mature. Or have good and bad experiences. And sometimes, things women do amend our List – positively and negatively.
I wrote the first draft of my list with my best friend when I was fifteen. In between eating a kebab and playing Football Manager, in the run up to Match
Of The Day coming on TV. Admittedly at fifteen my List was stupid: 34C was too high up in priority on it (probably, I’m still thinking about that), and I wrote down I wanted a brunette – something my blonde wife still teases me about. But I was fifteen. I knew nothing. At that point, the most frequent interaction I had with a non-related female in my life was when my schoolteacher called my name during the daily class register.
Fact: men have a List. It is organic. It evolves. It changes. It might be stupid and immature. But what we really, really hope is that one day we meet someone – maybe you – who causes us to rewrite the whole damn thing.
The difference between our List and yours, from what I have seen, is that men’s is written in pencil so to speak. It’s flexible. Ever changing. Ladies, some of yours are written in pen. Everything on it. Every little requirement. Fixed, with no crossings-out. For some of you, some of your lists are even written in non-negotiable blood, and any suggestion of alteration results in the shedding of their blood.
Why do we all keep lists? Perhaps we don’t know what it truly important to us. Life experience and emotional pain helps clarify that. Perhaps we get confused between what we want, what we need and what we think we want and need. Genuine friendships with the opposite gender help us discern that. But here is the sum of all my wisdom regarding dating from my years in the Wilderness of Singleness, from the view of my newly-furnished
Citadel Of Matrimony:
Men often need to man up. Women often need to chill out. Both are great at recognising that in the other, and talking about it with people already subscribed to their point of view. But not so great at recognising that in themselves.
Sisters, if I can serve you, I will. In an alpha-male, big-brother, straight-shooting, tough-love way. Through my own personal dating horror stories.
Some 'do nots' and some 'dos'. No names, of course – that would be ungallant. It could also open me up to the possibility of being stalked, kidnapped and subsequently ‘disappearing’. You’ll see why later. But I hope that my tales can be illuminating, if not entertaining. I will share some principles that can help equip you reluctant soloists conquer the Wilderness of Singleness. Or, in the meantime, at least locate an oasis within it.