The Meet Market: Volunteering

Confession time.  The first time I donated blood I was terrified because my sister (who weighed all of 100 pounds soaking wet but had lied to qualify) passed out the first time she did it.  But, I had been super tired and wanted to see if I had an iron deficiency, so I walked onto one of those blood mobiles thinking I would get sent right off, told to eat spinach and red meat (not an option) and come back. 

I checked out okay, because you know, I HADN’T had sex in exchange for money or drugs and apparently didn’t have low iron levels.  Before I knew it, I had been poked (TWSS) and the blood was draining from my body. 

I struggled a little bit with the karma of doing something that was supposed to be altruistic with selfish motivations.  But, I guess I landed on:  People are naturally self-motivated creatures, but either way, the end result is the same.

Plus it wasn’t awful and I didn’t pass out.  After that first time, I actually started donating regularly because it’s a very small sacrifice of my time and comfort that can save lives.  And yeah, I’ve kinda turned into THAT girl who tries to recruit everyone to do the same.

With that all being said, a few opportunities arose this month, so I changed my original Meet Market schedule and used volunteering as a way to meet men.  For shame!  Of course it wasn’t the only reason I volunteered and – spoiler alert – the happy ending is that I enjoyed it and will continue to volunteer for a variety of reasons.

Donating Blood – I think this counts, but I’m telling you now it’s a horrible place to meet men.  As I said, I do this regularly and earlier this year started donating platelets, something you can do every seven days.  It’s a long and quasi-uncomfortable process, so I go about once a month. 

Basically I’m in the chair for two and a half hours.  Pro – a lot of people come through the donation area in that amount of time.  Con – they’re all old men.  What is it with young people today?

I have asked four men I’ve dated in the last year to donate blood with me (see? I told you I’m THAT girl) and they all give me the same, totally lame excuse.  They “don’t really like needles.”  No one LIKES needles, dude.  Now I think (A) you probably have some nasty STD, (B) you are a wuss and would probably throw up while hiking and/or (C) you hate humanity.

Maybe someday I will find my fresh and clean, manly man who has a heart of gold at the donation center, but it was not this month.

Charity race packet distribution – I like the idea of being involved in charity races, even if I don’t run them, so this month I found a race benefitting a great charity and signed up to hand out packets at the pre-race festival.  I saw a lot of people (and many cute, fit men) and talked to a lot of them, which is good flirting practice, but there were zero connections.

Culinary festival – This month I had the opportunity to volunteer at a culinary festival benefitting a local museum.  I was stationed at the entrance, taking tickets and handing out wine glasses that attendees would take around for samples.  Since I was at the front, I saw literally every person coming in and there were definitely a few cuties, but there were a lot of couples. 

Did I make any connections? No.  But again, good flirting practice! 

So, my mission for the year seems to not be working so well.  I’m using my opportunities to “practice” flirting, but I have no idea what I’m practicing for.  It’s game time NOW!  I guess I consider it “practice” if I flirt with guys I’m not interested in (it’s so much easier!) or, yes, women.  Flirting is all about flattery and engaging someone, which can be done with either gender, but again, flirting with women is easy because the stakes are low since I’m not interested.

I’m resting on my laurels, and by laurels, I mean my looks, assuming I’m so damn cute that men are just going to want to come up to me and talk to me, flirt with me and ask me out.  I think this because it’s happened all of twice in my life.  I’m going to go ahead and admit right now that those are not great odds.

I’ve read recently that men love when women come up and talk to them (makes sense because women – who are trying to date – usually feel the same).  Making a point to talk to at least one man every time I’m out is a lot easier said then done.  I’m still quite shy when it comes down to it.  I recently started hanging out with a great group of girls and many of them are willing and wonderful wingwomen so hopefully it will be easier.

[Insert sound of record scratching to a stop.]

I wrote all that earlier – all three took place before mid-month.  I have some more volunteer events coming up, but I was done for the month, so I wrote my assessment early.  And then…I met a man.  Like last week, so I’m not talking about it, but I’m pushing the pause button on the Meet Market initiative.

[Insert huge smile.]

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Community

Reverb 10, Day 7 Community. Where have you discovered community, online or otherwise, in 2010? What community would you like to join, create or more deeply connect with in 2011?

In 2010, I definitely found myself in the blogging community.  I think it was in 2010 that I discovered the awesomeness that is Google Reader and began to actively jump into strangers’ lives on a daily basis (and stopped thinking of them as strangers).  I lost a little of that when I switched blogs and I actually felt that loss.  It’s why I was upset with my mother in a way that I hadn’t been since I was a surly teenager.  The blogosphere is a funny space because you put everything out there but then think you can stay anonymous.  I’m trying to balance that now and am happy with the growing sense of community I feel around my new blog.  I’d like to nurture that in the new year and even meet some of these bloggers with whom I sometimes feel so kindred.

In 2010, I left my job at a resort, which had hundreds of employees but never felt like a community.  Everyone there was out for blood and only looking out for number one.  I joined a small office as the sixth employee and feel much more connected with the people I work with now.

In 2011, I’d like to find a sense of community in my city.  I proclaim, probably a little too loudly, that I don’t fit in here.  I always wanted to live in Scottsdale, but now that I’m here, it feels like L.A. East and I left L.A. because it’s not my style.  That’s very narrow-minded of me and I know that.  Stereotypes are typically there for a reason, but they are not absolutes. I think with a little effort, I will find a niche in Scottsdale in which I feel comfortable, whether it’s with other bloggers/writers, through a running group, by volunteering or something else.