You know you live in a small town when…

Living in a small town can have its advantages and boy, it can surely have its disadvantages. I moved from a sprawling metropolis of about 1 million people to a slower-paced, semi-rural small bedroom community. It was as if I’d moved into my very own Cheers sitcom; where everybody knows your name…literally. If you’ve never lived in a small town or maybe you grew up in one, here are few ways to recognize what sets small towns apart from the big cities.

Courtesy: jaybarrymore.com
  • “Where do you live?”

Small towns and cities often don’t have defined subdivisions and neighborhoods. So, when I moved into my new place, I knew that if anyone asked where I lived, then I could easily tell them the general vicinity. If only it was that easy. If anyone ever asks where do you live in a small town, what they’re really asking is for the satellite coordinates AKA the exact address. Imagine my perplexed look. No one would ever ask that in the big city.

[Improve the look of your home’s address]

  • The rumor mill

Before Facebook, rumors passed around by way of person to person or by phone. News travels fast but now that Internet technology is growing at such a swift pace, it’s no wonder fights, arguments and breakups occur so frequently. New social media platforms are springing up almost daily and you can find out more juicy gossip than you bargained for.

  • Six degrees of separation

Six degrees of separation is the idea that each person is connected or related to one another by six or less steps. I swear everybody in small towns is related one way or another. A friend of mine was a native to the area, but it seemed that everywhere we went, he ran into a new relative; third-generation-first-removed-distant-cousin-to-a sister’s-brother-uncle-who-moved-away-about 20 years ago. Whew! Dating must be challenging. I’m more than sure meeting the family is a doozy.

  • Love Connection

And, speaking of dating. That pool is pretty slim. Finding available bachelors and bachelorettes is challenging. The married couples are the “lucky” ones, because they likely met during junior high school and just never parted. As for the rest of the single folks, it’s a case of musical chairs. Who’s left standing? Either he/she is your relative, has left a trail of broken hearts, dated your best friend or comes with too much baggage.

e-vites by phone

  • You’re invited

I remember getting my first invitation to a wedding. No, not on pretty stationery or by a professional, online e-vite. It was a group text from a friend. I didn’t even know the couple, but according to the rumor mill, it was to be the wedding of the century and everybody was invited. If you were a friend of a friend who knew the bride or groom, then you were more than welcome to attend. I didn’t feel right, but I went anyway. And, to ease my conscience, I even bought a gift for the beautiful, unknown couple.

[Invite your wedding guests in style]

weekenders

  • Weekend watering hole

If you’re a homebody, then wrapped up in a blanket on a couch watching your favorite Netflix movie is probably what you look forward to every Saturday night. But, unlike many others who like a little adventure on the weekend, you might find the rest of the crowd at one or all of the few bars open in town. Want to do a bar crawl? Well, I can guarantee that it’ll take less than an hour to travel to all the bars in a ten-mile radius.

  • Rivalries

Schools are plentiful and rivals run deep. And, these rivals can break up families and can cause political conflicts among candidates. Pitting your allegiance to one school over another is cause for an influx in bumper stickers, yard signs and a barrage of bragging rights within the booster club population. Tread lightly when cheering for your favorite school. It’s like gang wars; southside soccer moms, west end sideline football dads and uptown band nerd parents. As the teens say, “they go hard in the paint.”

 

Although residing in a small community comes with a number of quirks, it also offer a uniqueness all its own and it has made my experience a memorable one. I can never get enough of the family-friendly environment a small town community offers, I still enjoy the friendly waves from passersby, my neighbors are more like family than strangers, knowing my area’s public officials by first name is a plus and where else can you shop, pay bills, drop-off kids, get pampered, go to work and pick up mail all in five miles or less. #ibedamned

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#SmallTownProblems, #BigDatingIssues

When you live in a small community, dating can be somewhat of a daunting bid; like buying shoes at the one shoe store in town and later wearing them in public only to find out that everyone else bought the same pair.  But, if you’re lucky enough to find a cute one-of-a-kind designer brand, consider yourself the belle of the ball.

Small towns may also lack in optional dating scenes. However, you don’t have to go out of town or spend a lot of money to have a good time. Sometimes, the best locale is off-the-beaten path and unspoiled. First dates may be awkward but they can also be fun, if both parties are interested in trying new things. And, it doesn’t always have to be dinner and a movie. Be adventurous and remain open-minded.

Check out the list below for ideas that can offer multiple opportunities to help you “break in your new shoes” but not break the bank:

 

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Love and Basketball
  • If you’re the competitive type, try a night game of basketball. A game displaying physical strength and agility could show a number of positive attributes and even some negatives, like his metabolism level; how soon does he get winded or if he has a propensity for good sportsmanship. Trash talking’s not so bad either. It’s a display of his competitive yet playful side.

 

 

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    50 First Dates

    Enjoy a nice stroll at a park near a lake or just go fishing together. It might seem cliché, but parks and waterways are typically serene spaces. It also forces both of you to engage in conversation; talk about your pleasant childhood memories, hobbies, interests and personal goals. Fishing can also show if a man is sensitive to the outdoors; a likely turn-off if you’re a rough and rugged kinda gal. And, sunsets! They’re a perfect end to any date; whether good or bad. It could either be a set up to a sweet smooch or a sweet goodbye.

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  • Attend an outdoor concert or festival. Music speaks to the soul. Really, it does! Listening to music together can answer three things: 1) Does he have rhythm? 2) Do you have similar musical tastes? and 3) How well does he function around crowds? These are three important clues that may dictate the possibility of subsequent dates.

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  • Go to a gun range. What woman doesn’t want to feel protected? And, what man doesn’t love a woman who can stand her ground in the face of danger? Some outdoor shooting ranges are free to the public. Just make an appointment, bring your own gun and ammunition.

 

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Naked and Afraid
  • Try a nature trail. This ain’t your regular bag of nuts and berries. It’s likely a testament to your potential future relationship. On this date, make it a point to get a little intimate…on a platonic level. Here’s how: spray and rub mosquito repellent on each other, bring a light lunch, take pictures of the scenery and of each other. While in nature, let nature do what it does best; allow it to take its natural course.

 

theatre play

  • Watch thespians on stage. AKA, attend a play at a small theatre. There’s likely a fee attached but it’s nominal. And, often times, the money stays in-house to fund additional stage plays or renovations. Small theatre houses offer a quaint, quiet atmosphere and during intermission you can discuss the acts and actors as if you were play critics.

 

Karaoke

  • Karaoke. Sing like Whitney, Mariah or Prince. Yeah right! But, if you’re gifted and can belt out tunes like the greats, then go for it. You’d likely hit a couple of high notes with your date. But, if you’re not musically inclined, it’s still ok to sing your favorite songs by your favorite artists because it’s just for fun. Get in touch with your silly side. FYI: sing within your range. You’re not auditioning for American Idol, it’s just a first date.

 

  • Go fly a kite, literally! Go to a wide open space like a nearby beach and fly a kite. It’s not an activity just for children, it’s for the kid at heart. At the end of your flight, pull out the blanket and have a picnic. It’s even more memorable if your date owns a pickup truck. Jump in the back and enjoy the sunset.

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    wikipedia
burnt black beans
Facebook: J.Laitnen
  • Dinner and a movie, why not? It’s not just any type of dinner. It’s Iron Chef meets Love Connection. If you’re pretty comfortable with the person, invite him or her over to your home and create a challenge that’s sure to get more than just your burners hot. Top it off with a movie. If you’re not a really good cook, that’s ok. I suggest a horror or suspenseful movie. That way, the scariest thing about the date would be the movie and not your cooking.

 

 

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Night at the Museum
  • Go to a museum. You don’t have to be a hipster to enjoy fine art or exhibits. Art is all about interpretation. You might just learn something new.

 

 

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  • Invite mutual friends over for a game night. Group settings are great ways to learn about each other as well as the caliber of friends he’s acquired. After all, birds of a feather flock together. Game nights are increasingly becoming the new adult craze in large cities. Why not make it an event in your own home or neutral site. And, if you don’t hit it off, maybe you help a fellow friend find the man of her dreams.

Who knew that living in a small town could offer such a plethora of date activities for FREE. Keep in mind that you will probably become hungry during the date, so make sure to be financially ready to fork over a few dollars for a meal, if you’re going dutch. Compiling the list was pretty easy. Now, it’s up to you to find the right companion.

#ibedamned

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