I recently found a show on Netflix that I found especially intriguing called “It Takes a Church.” I haven’t watched the entire season yet but I’m about 5 episodes in. It’s light-hearted inspirational reality TV. In each episode a single woman is identified by church members and the pastor as a great wife candidate. Church members band together and bring in bachelors who they think would be a good fit for said single woman. She is surprised in a church service by the show’s host and proceeds to tell the congregation about her dating life and why she is single after being prompted by the show’s host. The church votes and picks 4 bachelors for her to get to know better and at the end of the episode she picks one bachelor to (hopefully) pursue a relationship with. The show is interesting from a social psychology point of view as you witness the bachelors vie for the attention of the woman but very conservatively since it’s also in a church setting. I have to admit that so far in the episodes I’ve watched, there have been plenty of cringe-worthy moments as I’ve watched the guys try to veggie-flirt without crossing an invisible line. But let’s be honest, in many churches women outnumber the men so I can see the logic behind the show. But it just seems to awkward to have (practically) strangers give their input on your personal life and make a recommendation for a life partner. While there’s no question as to whether or not these people have good intentions, it reminds me of a quote that advises that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. While it hasn’t been my reality in a while, I can honestly say that being single in church settings sucks the majority of the time. It’s awkward to express interest in someone else and mixed messages are common. You are promised a significant other if you can “keep the faith,” make multiple donations to the church and volunteer your time at church related functions and activities. It’s not always the best environment to find a significant other. I can understand the need for an alternative to online dating but I’m not quite convinced that having church members pick your mate is it.
I usually wait about a year or so before disclosing a bad date story, but I’m 100% sure this guy will never talk to me again so I’ll make an exception. Back in my days of online dating (I’m off all internet dating sites and apps indefinitely–or at least for the time being), there was an app I used that was geared toward professional millennials. I had some marginal success with it so when an anticipated relationship fell through, back to the app I went. I “met” someone relatively soon and we started chatting through the app then texting. I’ll be honest, he wasn’t super interesting. He had just finished a professional degree in the health field and had gotten a job with the government. However, he didn’t have a start date yet so he was just hanging out at home until it happened. He lived about 12 hours away on the East coast but mentioned that he would be in my area in a month. We tentatively agreed to meet up when he was in town. However, in the month or so leading up to him coming into town we didn’t talk at all. No phone calls, no texts, nothing. I forgot all about him until he texted saying that he was in the area. It wasn’t really the most convenient time because I was packing to go on a trip and trying to run some last minute errands. However, I thought it might be nice to add a face to a name. He wanted to meet up for coffee but didn’t have a car because he flew in (figures). So because I’m a nice person and because I had sorta given him my word I agreed to drive the 25 miles (one way) to meet him. I got to the hotel and saw him in person for the first time. He fit the description of the word “petite.” Nicely proportioned but I could see directly over his head and I wasn’t wearing heels. I don’t know a man who would be happy being characterized as petite, but it’s the truth. He wanted to get in my car and drive to a coffee place. I quickly vetoed that because he was only allotting me an hour of his time and it was way too much hassle. So we went to get a coffee in a little shop in the hotel lobby. I ordered my coffee first and then waited a few seconds to see if he would offer to pay. Negative. So I bought my drink and moved out the way to him to get his. Side note, in his defense he was unemployed and was probably counting pennies. But then again my drink was 3 bucks and he had invited me and I had driven 30 minutes. But whatever. Secondly, he took a long time to order. He requested 4 different samples before he finally made up his mind. The process took about ten minutes with him sipping and declaring it wasn’t what he wanted and asking for something different. The conversation we had afterwards was nothing short of boring. I tried to get him to talk a little about himself but it wasn’t really interesting (real talk). It was a conversation that required effort instead of flowing seamlessly. So as we approached the end of the allotted time I decided it was time for me to go. He proceeded to walk me to my car, give me the most awkward hug in life and then walk away. Right out of my life…. not surprised though.
One more date story and I won’t post another one for a while…. Anyway, once upon a time I was told that the way to meet a nice and stable significant other was join a nice church and get very involved to the extent that I forgot about getting a significant other and then he would magically appear. He would sing my praises. And tell me that he had been watching me since day was and was impressed with my selflessness and willingness to dedicate my time to a worthy cause and we would live happily ever after. (totally different blog topic). Needless to say, I decided that I needed to become more involved in church related activities and joined a church. A rather large one. One day after service I got approached by this guy. Well, more like stalked because he lurked in the shadows while I was talking to other people. He tried to be discreet by looking at his phone (oldest “newest” trick in the book) and looking away whenever I glanced in his direction. Side note, working in a locked secure unit with psychotic individuals will make you learn how to be extremely aware of your surroundings at all times. Anyway, he didn’t approach me and I continued to talk to other people. I soon wrapped up my conversations and headed for the door. Then he made his move and called out “Ma’am!” as I was headed to my car. Not trying to be rude, I stopped walking and waited for him to catch up. He told me his name and stuck out his hand for the limpest handshake in life. I didn’t hold it against too much because homeboy was super nervous. He started to stutter because he was so nervous. As painful as it was to watch, I decided to do the right/nice thing. I’ve been told that I appear way too unapproachable and I tend to have a “don’t talk to me” vibe/persona/whatever when I have something to do or a timeframe. So this guy stutters through telling me that he’d like to get to know me better and asking for my number. I knew that it took a lot to get up the courage to approach me and I didn’t want to brush him off because rejection really sucks and he had this little puppy dog look. I’ve never been in the business of crushing hearts and dreams. I felt bad for him but also wanted to provide some positive reinforcement to approach other women in the future. There’s enough men out there who don’t. So I gave him my number. The real one. And inwardly shuddered while doing so. About a week or so later he called me up. I answer the phone and there’s this long awkward pause. He doesn’t say hello, he just breathes. So I say hello again and he finally responds to the greeting. After this follows the most awkward conversation I’ve probably ever had over the phone. It’s apparent that he expects me to carry the entire conversation so I put on my therapist hat and made an effort to engage him. No luck..he gives vague one word answers and it’s the conversational equivalent of pulling teeth. So I make a very legitimate excuse about needing to get my rest for the night and I end the call. I don’t hear anything from him for a few weeks. I’m not really surprised. Then one Saturday he calls me again. Another awkward conversation ensues. But this time he’s asking me out to a comedy show he won 4 tickets to. He tells me that he has a friend who wants to go and he asks me to find a friend to come as well so it’s a double date. Being as accommodating as I am I told he I could probably find someone but that his friend would have to pay for what she ordered. He balked a little but eventually agreed. Mind you, he asked me out on the day of the event with about 5 hours advance notice. Needless to say, I found a friend who agreed to come along. We got to the place and he was late. I get it. Things happen. He apologized. The three of us waited for his friend to arrive. And waited. And waited. The venue opened and people were going in. They announced that the doors would be closed after a certain time and no one else would be allowed entry so that the show wouldn’t be interrupted. No friend in sight. He wanted to wait for his friend to arrive before we went inside but gently insisted that we had 3 out of the 4 people present and that it didn’t make sense to miss out on the entire show just because one person was late. He begrudgingly agreed and called his friend. Turns out his friend was currently sitting at home watching the NBA finals and said that he intended to leave his house when the game ended. So we went inside and watched the show. His friend arrived about an hour and a half late and snuck in through the stage entrance in order to get in because the main doors were closed. My guy had a grand old time and probably about 4 beers too many. His hyena like laughter bounced off the ways off the venue and his friend’s manners weren’t that great either. However, when the bill came they both paid for our food. So if having food paid for is the determining factor for a date I guess this was one. My friend went home and he offered to walk me to my car. I guess hoping to chat a bit more or at least get some reward for his efforts. His friend followed him as he walked me to my car. I thought it was hilarious. Now, I’m not the expert by any means on social cues but if my friend has a date and he’s walking her back to her car I know enough not to follow them both right to her car door. Apparently his friend didn’t get that memo. Needless to say, the nonexistent mood was killed. He texted me again a few weeks later. I didn’t reply.