According to Webster's Dictionary, Woo, transitive verb. 1: to sue for the affection of and usually marriage with: court 2: to try to attract: to attempt to persuade.
As a group, we decided to ring in the New Year on a boat cruising around the San Francisco Bay. Perfect weather, a slight chill with low wind, no fog, and no rain, it was nothing short of spectacular, especially when the fireworks exploded around the cityscape. Wowsers! We ate, drank and danced until the wee hours of the morning. The evening felt like spun magic because for me, it’s a much needed new beginning.
Our group was made up of mostly couples with one single lady in our entourage. I watched as her married friends dragged eligible bachelors to meet her; incredibly embarrassed by the fan fare, she would graciously decline with beat red cheeks. Of course, everyone had good intentions. Yet, as the night unfolded, I could not help but be affected by the scene. Why? Because for almost a decade, I was that single girl. I knew exactly what she was going through…well, almost.
My friends and family helped me navigate through my singleness, keeping their eyes out for potential bachelors. I actually found their help and attention rather thoughtful. It was the distant relatives and sometimes, absolute strangers offering their unwanted opinions about my singleness that were the most irritating. I was often told that I was “too” picky and that I should just settle.
I remember the first time that I was accused of being too picky because the night before, I attended a social event for single professionals. It was an elaborate event with appetizers and cocktails, in which everyone handed out their business cards and all conversations were prefaced by their “titles.” I felt bored after an hour but my girlfriends begged me to stay a little longer so I obliged with another dirty martini.
While chatting with my friends, a guy sidled up to me. He quickly ingratiated himself into our conversation. After the generic exchange of our professions, this guy took a particular interest in me because apparently, being a pharmaceutical rep was fascinating. As he kept asking about my profession, company and benefits, I couldn’t have been more bored if I tried. In my opinion, sales, whatever type, is inherently dull.
My single word answers made it clear that I had no interest in discussing my career. However, I did try to revive the conversation with questions about books, art, etc., but it was like fishing in a swimming pool, too much chlorine to sustain any life. So, I decided to excuse myself. Two feet into the crowd, this guy grabbed my elbow and swung me around. With feigned machismo, he asked, “The night is still young. Are we going to your place or mine?” Blink, blink, did I hear him right?
With a tilt of my head, I inquired, “Do you think that I’m going to sleep with you?” He smirked and said, “Why not? It’s the end of the night.” I kept waiting for something more, but there was only awkward silence. So, I did what I do best, I threw my head back and laughed, “Is that it? Is this your woo? You didn’t even buy me a drink.”
Upset that his lackluster charm failed him, he predictably turned to insults. He attacked my expectations, claiming they were too high. I nodded my head and said, “You are absolutely right! I do have high standards but I also have the wherewithal to know that I deserve them.” I didn’t bother explaining anything to this nonspecific guy because the reality was that I was single by choice. I had plenty of suitors. For me, I was simply looking for the right guy rather than any guy.
See, I did the bad relationship thing over and over in my twenties. I was exhausted already. It was then that I realized as long as I was good with myself, career, friends and family, a partner was a gift, not a necessity. And, this is when things changed for me. I began to look at dating and relationships as a way of trying people on to see if they were a good fit. I considered it an honor to get to know someone and I expected that in return.
You can’t force communication and compatibility. It’s either organic or not. I stopped looking at relationships that didn’t work as failures and began to look at them as stepping stones. This shift in thinking freed me from other’s opinions and expectations; it freed me from my fears and desperations. When people would tell me that I was too picky, I’d laugh heartily and told them that they were right. I was picky! And, I damn well should be. End of story!