This post is a collaborative effort that came about via facebook status exchanges. When my “cousin” (i.e. the guy who befriended me after he bought my cousin’s house) was at Starbucks recently, he overheard some Christian girls talking about Christian guys, and he was inspired to write an anonymous letter to single Christian ladies. He then invited a counterpoint from a lady to the fellas, and I took the bait! Below is our exchange, used with permission (you can find my cousin’s blog here).
Dear Christian girls talking at Starbucks:
1. It’s okay to like guys. No, seriously – it really is.
2. Yes, I know you’re “married to Jesus” (and so am I, if you want to get technical) and you’re being careful to “guard your heart”, but there’s no reason for you to be incensed or put-off by a guy just because he likes you.
3. Yes, I know how much you love the romantic story in that blog you read about the guy who descended down from heaven, accompanied by two cherubim sprinkling rose petals and gold dust everywhere, and scooped up the girl in his arms while saying, “I am your appointed future husband, sent directly from Father God himself.” But remember that 99.9% of love stories look nothing like this – and I will bet you all the streets of gold in heaven that you’re *probably* not going to fall into the 0.01%.
4. You don’t need approval or permission from a church leader to be in a relationship with a guy. (Who told you that nonsense, anyway? Oh, right – a church leader did). If you think you need such a stamp of approval, please do all of us guys a favor and take yourself “off the market” while you work out your issues (we thank you in advance).
5. Before trying to “line up your destinies”, maybe you should first figure out if you and the potential guy can hold a normal conversation with each other for more than an hour. After all, most of your “destiny” is going to be comprised of these day-to-day occurrences.
6. Stop trying to “line up your destinies”.
Now go and enjoy your freedom
(Also, ladies – what are 6 things that Christian guys talking at Starbucks need to hear? Bring it!).
I’ve not been at Starbucks enough to overhear guys talk about this topic, but I would suggest the following:
1) If you like a girl, cross the room, talk to her, and state your position clearly. Don’t wait for God to tell you to pursue her. This is an act of faith on your part, so the cliche “God can’t direct you if you’re standing still” applies.
2) If you are not interested in a girl, do not share deep emotional stuff with her, and help guard her from sharing too much of her emotional stuff with you. Be wary about the tendency we have to try to get our emotional needs met in one another. It is not kind to “be there for a sister” out of compassion when she is forming an emotional attachment to you that you do not intend to pursue. Being emotionally available to a hurting woman is the equivalent of handing a guy a lingerie catalogue.
3) Stop flirting. Just stop. If you’re not romantically interested in her, err on the side of being kind and overtly tell her you see her as a sister, then start calling her “sister” to remind her.
4) Bathe, but don’t bathe in cologne.
5) Treat every woman with honor and respect, not just the one you’re interested in. Open doors, give up seats, help carry heavy objects. See your favorite octogenarian good ole boy for more specifics on how it’s done.
6) Have a life – God is not your hobby. Be interesting – have 3 things you engage in other than work and church. Action movies and video games do not count as separate hobbies.
7) Learn how to waltz at the very least – and then have the confidence to lead, even if you only know the basic step. Don’t bother learning how to dance like a skank (can guys be skanks? I don’t even know!)
So what do you think? Bear in mind, Tennessee is the buckle of the Bible belt, so it’s about as easy to find evangelical Christians here as it is to find Orthodox Jews in Israel. These suggestions may well be bound to the unique culture that is the South, but then again, they may be more universal than I realize!