Take a Chance on Love


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Back in the pre-millennial days where print media was the only way to get dates, outside of “real life,” there was a phenomenon known as “Classified Ads or Personals.” Most newspapers had them, but there was one New York City paper, a local weekly publication, that had the most interesting Personals section. It was truly better than TV, and provided hours of entertainment for my friends and I.

The one thing we enjoyed was perusing the abbreviated descriptions, sort of a precursor to our present-day text-speak. Some are obvious: SWM for single white male, for instance. There were also some incredibly creative descriptive initials out there! It was fun to decode them all, but it was also good preparation for our favorite section of the Personals: “Missed Encounters.”

“Missed Encounters” was a section that highlighted the most poignant and bittersweet stories of two ships passing. A typical story: “Me: SWM with huge backpack next to my seat in second row of movie theater last Thursday. You: tall redhead in turtleneck, holding a small popcorn, two seats away. You smiled and asked if the seat was free. I just nodded and moved my bag. We saw “Annie Hall” together. Me: painfully shy. You: beautiful smile, infectious laugh. Wish we could’ve shared popcorn and laughs. Another movie next Thursday?” 

Just thinking about those ads makes me a little teary-eyed. Imagine the incredible risks: placing a very expensive ad in a newspaper or magazine on the infinitesimal chance it’s a newspaper she reads. There’s an even smaller chance she’ll peruse the Personals section at all, and even smaller than that to check out “Missed Encounters.”

Then, he risks looking like a fool, waiting in the movie theater lobby or on the sidewalk for someone he might never see. She takes a huge risk, even if there’s a shred of a chance she reads it, in meeting and going out with a total stranger and potential weirdo or worse. Yet still, those sections were packed with these kinds of stories—sometimes they took up more than two pages!

I just recently started thinking of those ads again, and wondered why that was the biggest portion of the Personals section. Maybe the beauty of these stories is exactly because of the questions we are left with: “What could have happened?” It’s a pretty common tendency for us to wonder what might have happened if we’d made different decisions.

One thing that I realized when I got nostalgic about those ads reminds me of the post I wrote on Godcidental moments. The person placing the ad—both parties involved, really—are relying on a miraculous outcome. And these romance stories are that much more meaningful because of the reliance on His will.

Today many singles put up online dating profiles instead of taking out personal ads. You may feel vulnerable reaching out, but I applaud your effort even more. Your time on CatholicMatch is valuable, and sending out emoticons, posting in the message boards, sending private emails or sending a chat request, are ways you could increase your chances of finding someone. That much is obvious.

But our risk factor is much, much lower—we do all of this from home, safe and sound. We don’t end up being that painfully shy guy in the theater lobby for a few reasons: one, we’d made enough of a connection to get a sense of each other before meeting. And two, our reliance on a Miraculous Godcidental moment, albeit present, is somewhat diminished. Think about what trust that guy had in His Mysterious Ways!

So I leave you with the encouragement in putting yourself out there, which hopefully you are doing. I also would love to hear your thoughts on not only noticing the Godcidental moments, but in seeking them out as well.






4 Comments

  1. A good friend who found her husband on CM encouraged me to try this. Many years ago I was in a very good relationship with a Jewish guy. After much research into how we could manage an interfaith union we decided instead to call off the engagement. It was a tough call for both of us. We remained friends and encouraged each other to find another. He joked that “Jews have a network” and he “could get on every yenta’s rolladex by sundown” and “don’t you Catholics have anything like that?” The Catholic singles groups I tried back then got me no where. My friend’s first few attempts were not lucky either, as he put it, “they were not you”. Then he found the right one, who was “Jewish the same way I was, I got it right this time”, and to my surprise the guy who became my husband asked me out. He was an old friend, I even me the Jewish guy at a party at his house, and I got it right this time, he was Catholic. The last time I spoke to my Jewish friend was a week before his wedding. He called to thank for the Hannukah card and encouraged me to go ahead in my new relationship, even volunteering to call my boyfriend and tell him that he shouldn’t drag his feet. It took a while, but we did marry, and it could not have been happier! While the relationship I gave up was very good, this guy really became my soul mate. He was, as my sister put it “the ‘guy version’ of you”. The good news is that my honeymoon never ended, the bad news is that the “till death do us part” clause was filled a lot sooner than we had in mind. It took a long time to recover. Some friends even tried to “fix me up with a friend” but I was not ready for a while. To be single and widowed is not the same as it was when I was just single. I’m not starting in the same place. There is new dating technology now, so i have to take my friend’s advice and try it. I need to know if there are more chances.

  2. Marie, what a beautiful story. I’m glad you found your soul mate. I do believe in Godcidental moments, the challenge is to recognize them …

  3. I love the term Godcidental moments. I was married for 48 years , and lost my husband several months ago. There were two young men in my heart, when God selected the person that He meant me to be with. The other young man, was not the “second choice” in my heart, He simply…..or complicatedly, was chosen by Our Lord to obviously travel a different course, and our paths went in different directions. I loved my husband with all of my heart and soul. Never for a second did I ever regret, or long for Gods will to have gone in the other direction.

    Another fact is,regarding the young man that I did not marry, was that we went to Catholic grade school together, and even in the 7th grade, when our little pre teen hearts were just sweetly awakening to “hmm wow, I guess there can be more to this little boy, and girl school yard friendship thing” That our paths seemed star crossed in so many areas. There were many areas in which we were in the same circles and there was a clear mutual attraction, He was our paper boy, our Dads’ worked in the same place, he would call & invite me to ride our bikes to the Saturday morning or afternoon movies, & something, seemed always to not be able for us to do that. Our little town had a weekly get together “dance” for kids of our age, and we were both too shy to dance together, then there was a “special” fancy event, that required a boy ask girl setting…..A mutual school friend of us both, asked me months ahead of the event…..I was flattered, said yes, & that was it, then, as the event approached, my dear friend invited me, and I was in a quandry. I had forgotten about the first invite of months earlier. I talked to my Mom about it, wanting of course to attend with my main friend, but she said that since the other had asked me first, that good manners dictated that I must go with him, rather than the person that I really wanted to go with. As it turned out my best friend ended up not having a “date”, and as the three of us were all friends to begin with. they both walked me home and we had a wonderful time laughing and just enjoying each others company on that lovely spring evening. Our family moved away during that following summer.

    You might be thinking, “well, doesn’t it look like the writing was on the wall, even in those early times? And does it look like some sort of pattern was developing, that frequently seemed to put our friendship on kind of creating a”choice” that was needed? And on top of that, wasn’t it probably just a “kid” mentality thing anyway?? As I look back now, It probably could have been. Except, that being from the small town where we lived, where I even still have cousins & other family there, every once and awhile, someone would mention a little news about him, as well as to others that I knew in childhood. It was only to that extent, that i have had any inkling of where he might be today,, if he is well, or even still living, married, or in a relationship, or just plain would never be interested in even a contact or friendship,…for how it might have been perceived , that things went for us the way that they did those many years ago, when we each moved on to our marriages, family and life.

    So, where am I today. My husband and I had spoken over the years, that should we lose one of the other of us, that we both would want each other who was remaining, to not be alone, and to live our remaining times in company and happiness. We loved marriage. We were best friends. today, I feel as if he were my only friend, and I miss him painfully. My thoughts have turned still to my childhood, and young adult important person who, unbeknownst to him, has always held a warm, though distant, special place in my heart, that my husband was well aware of and and understanding of.

    Going back to the beginning now, the concept of a Godcidental moment, or connection again with this person who was in my life, could possibly mean that then was not the right time, and that maybe Our Lord,
    in His compassion and love, might bless us now, with a reconnection, that no longer needs to be “star crossed”, and if circumstances are right, we could be blessed with such an occurrence. I have given this over to Our Lord, and pray, and know ,that His will be done, I am open to His guidance, and hopeful of another opportunity for another chance of friendship or love with my lifetime soul traveler

  4. Vickie A. July 23, 2013

    Thank you all so much for sharing your stories. They are so beautiful. I know now that the most important thing is for Our Heavenly Father to be in charge of our future, past and present. I say the “Prayer for a Soul Mate” every morning and every evening before bed time..I have met 3 incredible men since the first of the year, yet, nothing has gone further than a fly by night friendship. Just when I think it is the “one”, I do not hear from that person..Then I am hurt emotionally and wonder how could I be so wrong? So, now, I say my prayers every day, and let God be the one to select my soul mate, and pray that He will let me know and prepare me for the right one. I have been alone now for 6 years, and have just gone on the web sites to put myself out there, due to the fact, that I work and come home, go to Mass, when I can make it. Plus, I do read alot of literature regarding what I may or may not be doing right in my selection of men.One other comment before I close is that I have joined every .com there is and when I do I can not go further and receive messages because I really can not afford to pay for their messages. So that did not help at all. Then one of my co workers gave me this prayer, and that is my final answer in doing it the right way..Thank you for letting me share…

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