There’s a right time for birth and another for death,
A right time to kill and another to heal,
A right time to rip out and another mend,
A right time to hold on and another to let go,
A right time to make love and another to abstain,
A right time to shut up and another to speak up,
A right time to love and another to hate,
A right time to wage war and another to make peace,
A right time to cry and another to laugh

These opposites in the Book of Ecclesiastes are often quoted at funerals and graduations and printed on plaques that are given out as awards for memorizing verses in Sunday School.  I’ve heard them quoted (and probably said them myself) when things didn’t make sense, because these words are ambiguous and can be wedged into any situation when we don’t understand the timing of death or killing or abstinence or letting go or shutting up or waging war.

Salvation surely seems like it would include birth and healing and making love and mending and speaking up and making peace.  If I were God, that’s how I think I would save.  But just this week I have been confronted with the most untimely death of a baby born dead.  Born dead.  Everything in me wants to scream that those words should never go together.  Hearts have been ripped out.  No one knows what to say, and when we do speak it sounds so small.

Almost every week I meet with beautiful, amazing single men and women who are in a time of abstinence when they ache for the time to be right to make love.  Sometimes I’m one of those people, although I work hard to totally be okay with my time being the right time to be alone because the salvation for loneliness is too much for me to bear.  I tried the It’s Just Lunch dating service and it was just painful.  I am amazed at the bravery of my single friends who try another dating service, hope in another new relationship, and summon up all the faith they can find that this might be the right time for something other than abstinence.

My friend Meagan is one of those bravehearts and she just wrote a blog about her experience.  I laughed until I cried.  Please hear, that there is not ill intent in this blog.  Its message is simple — sometime salvation sneaks in when you can’t help but laugh!

remember that time I online dated?

There comes a time in every writer’s life, I think, where funny has to trump embarrassing. Where no matter how much you don’t want people to know you did something, it’s too good not to share with the world. That time, for me, is today.A while back I found myself in kind of a pickle. A jam, if you will. Other foods that come in jars maybe, too, I’m not sure. For one thing, I was becoming acutely aware that I suck at dating. I’m good at a lot of things, but dating is just not one of those things. For the other thing, I was stuck in a pattern of spending a lot of energy on unproductive… situations. Yes, that is an accurately vague word to describe bad news boys. So in a moment of weakness, curiosity, and boredom, I did something I swore I would not do. At least not until my mid to late sixties, anyway.My famous therapist’s encouragement ringing in my ears, I precariously entered my credit card number, THEREBY entering the forbidden and more than slightly embarrassing land… of online daters. Yes, that’s right.

I signed up for a month of

I know, I know, I was disappointed in me too. But lucky for you, this experience was, right out of the gate, just absolutely delightful blog fodder. That made it seem less like vulnerability and more like a social experiment, which made me a little less horrified at what I was doing. A little.

Oh, my, you guys, there are some really wretched people on dating websites. And I’m not trying to be judgey or anything, truly, but there are some real weirdies out there! They make choices that truly blow my mind. I mean, you would think that someone who is writing and posting things with the SPECIFIC PURPOSE of trying to convince someone to want to date them would be a little more choosy. But you guys, they aren’t.

I went in with an open mind, I assure you I did, but it was hard to maintain that level of acceptance. After the first date – the most awkward and un-fun two hours of my life thus far – I knew that this wasn’t going to work out. Going on dates with people you know you’re not interested in spending a minute with, let alone a lifetime, is not a fun thing. It’s just not. So after that little escapade, I decided to stay away from situations where I would have to spend more than 5 minutes with someone who wasn’t even a little bit interesting to me. It was too painful. Which, you may be able to deduce, means I didn’t go on very many dates during this monthlong venture.

But I did put together a little list of advice for those poor clueless lonelyboys.
And I hope they will heed my warnings:

1a. If the first thing that comes to mind when I see your primary photo is “he’s for sure in his mom’s basement in this pic” then you’re in trouble. This means no pictures of you clearly taken by a webcam with you sprawled across the floral comforter that’s probably been on your bed since 1996. No thank you.

1b. Oh and also, if the only pictures you have to offer the world wide web are pictures of you by yourself in your bedroom or shirtless in the reflection of your mirror, I’m not going to find that attractive. I’m not going to swoon at your rockin’ hot bod, which is clearly what you’re hoping I’ll focus on. I’m probably going to assume you don’t have any friends and rarely leave the aforementioned basement.

2. Maybe don’t start an email to a girl who is white [this is an actual direct quote. I copied and pasted for authenticity], “up front and honest, typically I date black… however, I’ve been trying not to limit the possibilities.”Yes, yes, I’m swooning. I’d love to go out with you even though I don’t fit the racial profile you typically go for. Your honesty is not at all weird to me. Also, for the record, that guy was also white.

3. If you find yourself typing the words, “Am I too close to social security for you to consider going out with me?” – you probably are.

4. Is there a cat on/around/in the vicinity of your photo? Is the first thing under interests, “my cat”? I’m out. It’s over before it began. Our love was doomed from the start.

5. More than once I was matched with someone based on the following criteria only: “Like you, he’s not a smoker!” Really? You air 26 success stories per minute on national televison and that’s the best criteria you can use to find me love? It’s not even fully true, there just wasn’t an option for “only sometimes at really low points in my life and I don’t plan on divulging that until we’re like 10 dates in,” now was there? No. No there was not. Thanks for letting me be my whole authentic self, Match.

6. If you’re opening sentens is typed as tho u r an orangutan who probly didn’t finish 4th grade, I probly am guna twitch a little until I can find the “no” button. Srsly. It’s 1 paragraf on a dating websight. Get a proofreeder. Use spelchek. I beg of u. It’s not 2 hard, I promiss.

7. likewise if you cant be bothered to use Punctuation or are sporadic and inconsistent with Your capitalizations I might go out with you just so i can have an opportunity to Punch you in the face for your clear hatred of the english Language

8. One guy who emailed me mentioned that he liked to cook. I asked, what was his specialty? This was his response, and I quote: I am a good cook. I can make anything. For me cooking is a science and I have the skills to cook so all I need is a recipe. I don’t know much food science though so I don’t create things too much on my own. I like to cook all things. I am not much of a baker though.” So wait. It’s a science to you, but you don’t know much of it? I’m confused on several levels. One of two things is happening here: either this guy is literally a robot, or he is the actual most boring person I’ve ever interacted with.

9. Making 27 comments about “I never know what to say on these things” or “how awkward this is LOL” does not, in fact, make it less awkward.

10. If we’re out, on a date, and I tell you I don’t want gravy fries, please don’t embarrass us both by trying to peer pressure me into ordering them while the waiter stands there, awkwardly, probably considering if we’d notice if he just slipped away and avoided this whole situation. Force feeding me food I don’t want is not attractive and will not, in fact, lead to us going two-stepping together after our drink, which you had originally hoped for.

So there you have it. There are some normal people on there, I think, they’re just… harder to come by, let’s say. Lots of people date online. Some people even succeed and get married and live happily ever after and I think that’s superb. So while I genuinely see nothing wrong with it and I’m sure some of those people I mentioned are perfectly normal men who simply made bad dating-profile choices, I think I’m done with it for now. I just don’t feel great about feeling like my every word, photo, and habit is being judged and analyzed by weirdos using the internetz from their mom’s basement.

Someday I’ll get better at this whole deal. I mean, I will, right? I will. I think. Either way, I’ve met too many unicorns to get caught up with robots who “don’t know much food science” or two-stepping-gravy-fry-pushers. Plus, maybe some girl out there wants to date a guy who can’t spell and loves cats and has an assortment of floral bedspreads. I bet the weirdies are unicorns for someone, too.

I like that, actually. Let’s end with that.
On the high note of a low point.