Saturday, April 28, 2007

Just What I Needed

Today, the Marine gave me just what I needed. He sent flowers to my job. For the last week (two weeks really) I have been working almost non-stop trying to get the new store ready to open. I'm talking 10-16 hour days (and nights). Today was our grand opening. I worked from 8:30am to Midnight. Anyway, we've both been really busy (he's been on base) and haven't had time to see or get in touch with each other. Today, right before lunch, the florist came by with a beautiful bouquet of tulips. Imagine my surprise when I realized they were for me! I was so excited! The card basically just congratulated me and wished me a good grand opening. It was so, super sweet. I was tired and emotional (we all were) and it was exactly what I needed. It just brought my mood right up. I'm going to have to call and thank him tomorrow. I called today but he wasn't there. It was just so awesome. All the girls were jealous. Whatever, I'm always single. When everyone is cuddled up over the winter, getting Valentine's gifts, taking long walks over the spring, and going on summer vacations, I'm all alone. I deserve those flowers; after all, most of them are going home to someone that will rub their feet and back. I'm not. ::sigh::

And they were so beautiful. I mean, there were at least 30 tulips. They were yellow and white; they matched my outfit (tan suit, yellow top, yellow hijab). I'm a lucky girl. The only thing better would have been him there in person.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Confessions of a Lifetime Flirt

Recently, people have been commenting on my (and the Marine's) flirtatious ways. Let me just explain something to y'all real quick. Flirting is a Southern thing. For most of us, it's as natural as breathing. In the general course of things, it's in no way sexual. I call so many people (men and women), honey, baby, sugar, sugh, darlin', and everything else. It's being charming and I'm very charming. I smile, make jokes, make them feel good about themselves, etc. It's called social flirting and I'm quite good at it. For the most part, the tactics that I use on men work on women. Women like to feel special too. It's just a matter of fine-tuning.

I'll flirt with anyone from a newborn baby to an elderly gentleman. This is no secret. I've always been this way. I first practiced my flirting skills on my daddy at a very early age. It's the reason I got further with him than my sisters. I didn't cry or have fits. I sat in his lap, batted my lashes, and said "daddy, please". He almost always caved and when he didn't, I kicked it up another notch. I have yet to meet a man it didn't work on.....even the gay ones. One of my new (male) co-workers is gay but it works. He always does all the heavy lifting for me and gets things for me. He gives me my way. I established myself as a certain type of woman from the beginning and now I don't even have to ask. "Hey, Darlin', I could sooo use a pair of strong arms over. I'm doing just a little struggling with this box." He didn’t just help me; he said, "Oh, I've got you baby" and came over and took that box and all the rest of them. Cue squeal and mini jump with little clap. "Oooh, you are such a rock star! Thanks honey." Now he's putty in my hands. My boss's boyfriend is also putty in my hands. She doesn't worry, not only is she Southern, she also knows I have zip interest in him. We all tease each other and have fun but I've got them eating out of my palm. No harm, no foul. Being sweet as honey gets you very far in life.

As for the Marine (as I've taken to calling him here), we're interested in each other and I don't see any harm in letting it be known. We know exactly what we're pursuing and as long as we aren't coming on to each other or saying inappropriate things to each other, we're good. Aside from some slightly flirty banter, all he's done is compliment me and I don't see anything wrong with that. I quite like being complimented. He calls me gorgeous because he thinks I am and all other terms of endearment are probably just his way. That's how a lot of people down here are. The guy that semi-regularly waits on me at Starbucks calls me "sweetness." He's not even trying to pick me up.

Yes, the Marine and I are (very) attracted to each other but this fuss over flirting is much ado about nothing. We're not going to leap from flirting to falling in bed together. Never gonna happen. It's a conversation tool and a very useful one when used correctly. I recommend y'all (especially you ladies) read "What Southern Women Know About Flirting." It's a fabulous book, written by a fabulous belle.

I forgot to link to the book. My bad.

Monday, April 23, 2007

To Date or Not to Date

There has been quite a bit of fuss over the whole dating/non-dating, halal/haram issue here. I'm not a scholar (not even close) so I won't presume to know everything but I don't really remember reading the words "dating is forbidden." Men and women can't be alone together and we weren't alone together. I don't plan on being alone with him. However, I do feel that you need to know a person, at least somewhat, prior to getting married or even engaged. It's very difficult to do that with nosy elders or siblings hovering around you. Everyone is so busy trying to be on there best "parent" behavior that you aren't really getting to know the real them. Then you're engaged, because there's no reason not to be, only to have to break it off a couple of months down the line. I know Muslims that have been engaged more than three times. They have to keep breaking them off after a few months because they didn't know enough about that person. I'm trying my best not to be one of those people. At the same time, I'm trying not to do any real sinning. This is the result. I'm sure some of our dates will be chaperoned. Some of them won't need to be. This weekend we were in a crowded park so chaperones weren't necessary. I don't know about y'all but I would never be, to put it delicately, overly affectionate with anyone in public. I think it's tacky.

My own mother has concerns about this whole scenario, up to and including him being a Marine. She's not crazy about men in the military to begin with (dated some back in the day) and she's really not crazy about Muslims in the military. My brother wanted to go to the Air Force Academy and be a fighter pilot and she completely freaked. She feels it's a conflict of interest. She said he could fight for a Muslim country, which freaked me and my sister out. Our baby brother fighting for some third world country (most likely the enemy of our country), heck no! I mean, it's nothing personal, we're American and don't like the idea of our little brother fighting for another country. Anyway, she's got a bigger issue with pseudo dating. She doesn't believe that Muslims should date but, at the same time, she doesn't want us marrying or getting engaged to someone we haven't taken some time to get to know. I'm like, "and how will we get to know him if we don't spend time with him?" She says that's not dating but my sisters and I (being sane) disagree. At the end of the day, dating is spending time getting to know someone that you're romantically interesting in. Chaperoned or not, it's still pretty much dating. You can call it "talking", "hanging out", or whatever else; it's all the same. The only difference is that there's a right way and a wrong way of doing it. I won't say halal and haram because I don't like labeling things like that.

A man and a woman in a car, house, condo, apartment, or whatever alone together is wrong. We're clear on that. Meeting up for lunch, all good in the hood. An unchaperoned dinner in a dimly lit, romantic restaurant is asking for trouble. A Sunday brunch at a place filled with old ladies and society matrons, good times. Anything in a public venue, and by public I mean enough people around to discourage any type of canoodling, is pretty much okay. Hanging out at your families home with people drifting in an out (quasi-privacy) is also okay. Really, what are you going to do when a family member could pop in at any second?

I understand the importance of doing the right thing but at the same time, we (as Muslims) do have to adapt to modern times. Things are not like they were way back in the Prophet's (PBUH) time. And while I'm sure there are plenty of people that take issue with the whole "halal dating" scenario, I take issue with multiple engagements and/or marriages.

They say you never really know a person until you've lived with them and I suppose that's true. However, there's nothing wrong with trying to learn as much as you can prior to that point. I just don't really think it's possible to do that with a few IMs, phone calls, and family meetings. It works for some people, and that's fantastic, but we shouldn't pass judgement on those it doesn't work for.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Barefoot In The Park

Oh my goodness! I had such a great time! I haven't stopped smiling. Not only did we have a great time yesterday, we met for brunch today. That's right. But let's rewind.

We met up (no riding in cars with boys) at one of those street festivals. You know the kind; food, arts, crafts, music, etc. Anyway, we walked around for a while just talking and having a good time. After a while he asked if I was ready to eat. I said, I don't know, I kind of want to stay for the concert. He gets this look and is all "we could do both". I said, "Oh, I don't really want anymore of this junk food." He says he's got a plan and tells me to "wait right here." When he comes back, he's got a picnic basket. I was all, "OMG, a picnic, this is awesome!" And it was. He packed chicken salad, assorted crackers, a French baguette with butter, one of those mini cakes from Whole Foods (the strawberry one with butter cream frosting), and sparkling white grape juice. Y'all, he even remembered a blanket. I was so impressed. I was all giggly, and I said, "well, Lieutenant, you sure know how to impress a girl." He leaned in and said, "Darlin' I'm a firm believer in giving your best." Insert breathless giggle here. I know but it's all I could manage at the time. Anyway, after he served both of us and poured the sparkling, I asked how he managed to keep everything cold. Y'all know what he said? "A good Marine is resourceful." What kind of explanation is that? Which is exactly what I asked. He told me the information was "highly classified." Cute. I'll give him that.

Meanwhile, we had great conversations the entire day. We talked about everything (slight exaggeration). He's great. I can't believe I almost wrote him off just because he's in the military. Speaking of which, we talked about that too. He owes them two more years of service. He's not sure if he's going to continue after that or just be a regular working guy. With his education and experience, he knows it'll be easy to find a job but he can't really see himself doing anything else. At the same time, like so many others, he's not 100% thrilled with the military right now. It's something he'll have to work out for himself and I, obviously, won't be interfering in any way.

Anyway, he was a total gentleman the entire time. Nothing inappropriate. We decided to meet up so we wouldn't be alone in the car together. And since he wasn't driving me home, he followed me home to make sure I got there safely. Gotta love it. And brunch was just as perfect.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Senseless Tragedy

I'm sure by now, everyone has heard about the tragedy at Virginia Tech. My heart aches for VTech and my prayers are with them, their families, and friends. I can only be thankful that no one I know is injured or dead. It's times like this that you wonder what the world is coming to.

If at all possible, VTech students have asked people to wear burgandy and/or orange (their school colors) as a show of support and tribute the those lost.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Talk about a sign!

Guess who I had breakfast with yesterday? That's right, the Marine. Probably couldn't have asked for a bigger sign than him showing up right behind me at Panera Bread. I was waiting for them to double toast my bagel and heard "hey gorgeous." Naturally, I looked up and there he was. We started making small talk until our food was ready. Then he's all "have breakfast with me." I smiled, rolled my eyes a little and said (slightly sarcastically), "well, since you asked so nicely." So he laughs and says, "just shut up and have breakfast with me. You know you want to." I started laughing. I was like, "you're so bossy!" We ate and when we were done he goes (all cocky like he knows the answer), "should I take this as permission granted?" I said, depends on what you want. He was all, "you know what I want." Of course, I said yes. And he tells me not to make any plans for next weekend. I'm like what if I already have plans? He goes, "cancel them." I said, "you're pretty sure of yourself." He said, " I know what I want and I'm not afraid to take it." Ladies, that's hot. I was just a teensy bit breathless when I told him I was free next weekend. He just winked and said, "good." Then he walked me to my car.

Oh boy. He's a cocky you-know-what but it's pretty sexy. He gives me butterflies and it's definitely been a long time since I had any of those. Anyway, I've now gone from writing him off to looking forward to getting to know him. How quickly things change.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The Muslimah and the Marine

Sounds like the title of a romance novel, right? Yeah, it's not gonna happen. As much as I love a man in uniform, I'm not cut out to be a military wife. Confused? Sorry. I'll start at the beginning.

One of my regular customers was raised a Muslim. She no longer practices but her family does, including her brother whom she thought I would be perfect for. She chats him up and I agree to basically a blind date. We met for coffee.....and it was AWESOME. He was great. I mean, really good looking, tall, charming, so well mannered, fun, and really good to talk to. There's just one problem: He's a MARINE, y'all! I would be a terrible military wife. I would absolutely not be able to handle it. I mean, I love a man in uniform but it would never work. Plus, I would HATE living on base. Shoot, if I had known he was in the service I never would have agreed to meet him.

Of course, we had a great time and he asked if he could call me and I was like, I'd like that but I don't think it would work. And he knew right off the bat. He was like, it's the military thing right? I said, I just don't think I can do it. He was all teasingly "never say never" "you don't know unless you give it a shot". I told him that usually that's my attitude but I just don't think it'll work. He said he wasn't going to beg (I most certainly wasn't expecting him to) and gave me his contact info if I changed my mind.

Hmm, what to do, what to do? If he wasn't in the military I wouldn't hesitate to contact him but he is. It's very sexy but I'm not cut out for it. He seems like great guy but I'm pretty positive it wouldn't work. So why am I debating this?

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Yay Me!

Remember that promotion I told y'all about? I got it! I'm so super excited. This is my first real promotion. I start next week. Good-bye job hunting, hello real employment! In addition to my management responsibilities, I'll be handling marketing and events. If nothing else, this job will help build my event planning portfolio. I'm totally celebrating this weekend. See? Good things come to those who wait.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Still Here

I just wanted to let y'all know that I'm still around. I've just been kind of busy lately. I'll be posting again soon.