Very excited that Converge Magazine picked up this post! Check it out here.
I’d like for everyone to take a moment and look at my left ring finger.
Yes. It is naked.
I’m going to stop you right there, like you’re a telemarketer trying to sell me a lifetime supply of gold to hoard in my non-existent safe:
I’m good, thanks.
In an effort to save energy on both our parts, I’ve taken the liberty of compiling the most frequently asked questions with my responses. (Laminated for durability given the undetermined amount of multi-year usage.)
1. Have you met any nice gentlemen recently?
Three weeks ago, I ordered something online through Amazon’s two day shipping. I received a knock on my apartment door, and I opened it. Before me was a FedEx man in a brown uniform holding a brown box. He handed the box to me, smiled, and said, “Have a nice day.”
2. Why don’t you try online dating?
Someone once told me kidney stones were as painful as childbirth. When compared to online dating, kidney stones sound like a combination of winning the lottery, going to Disney World, and frolicking in a meadow full of daises and labradoodles. While eating an ice cream cone.
3. Why don’t you move to where there are more eligible bachelors?
Are you referring to an actual place in America? Or in a utopian piece of literature?
The truth is, I’m happy. Honestly. I’m not pulling your leg — my fingers aren’t crossed behind my back because they’re too busy balancing a mountain of Christmas cookies.
While I’m thankful you’re praying God will put the right man into my life — and soon (I’m still not quite sure how to interpret that) — I’m pretty sure God knows what He’s doing with me.
Right now, I’m single.
And right now, I’m loving every minute of it.
I’m not living like marriage is my end goal, like it’s the only reason God put me on this earth. I’m here to know Him and to make Him known — in my workplace, in my friendships, in laughter, in writing, and in utilizing my gifts and talents. He has me in my current job, city, apartment, church, sphere of influence, and relationship status for a reason.
I’m content right where He has me.
(Isn’t that all that matters anyway?)
So let’s talk about other things — important things — like how many cookies you think I could shove in my mouth at once. And how Christ alone completes me. And what He’s doing in my life.
Speaking of important things and Christ, rumor has it that it’s His birthday.
If I made money every time I acted so awkward I became an embarrassment to my friends and family, I’d buy an island in the Caribbean. For today’s daily dose of awkward, I recruited some friends who encouraged me to make my first (intentionally) awkward…
For the director of music. To the tune of “Let it Snow” or possibly an acoustic version of “Wrecking Ball.” A psalm of M.
The Lord turned to me,
and heard my cry.
He saw me,
in my bed underneath 6 blankets,
with my pajamas turned inside out.
He heard me join in a collective prayer,
with my coworkers,
He saw the unfortunate wiggles and shakes,
of my snow dance.
The Lord turned to me,
and heard my whines and groans,
“Why do the wicked get snow days,
Why do you forget your servant, Lord?
Why do you hide your face from me,
and force me to sit at my desk every day,
Monday- Friday with no respite for the weary!”
He broke forth from the cumulonimbus:
millions of crystals that settled onto trees,
the roof of my car,
the highway just before rush hour,
proving that His timing is perfect.
I shall give thanks to the Lord,
all the days of my life!
And sing of his glorious works,
of accumulation somewhere between,
where a day will be full of snow angels,
instead of paperwork and voicemails.
For the Lord is good,
His good acts like the snowflakes during a snowstorm:
pure, evoking joy.
So a couple of my friends thought it would be a great idea for me to make a parody of the infamous eHarmony cat lady video on Youtube: So I did. This may be the worst thing to ever hit the interwebs:
So one day during a recruitment fair for work, my recruiter friends and I had an art contest (clearly the fair was extremely productive). The theme was Thanksgiving. The medium posed an artistic challenge: only three crayons of the primary color variety. (Please notice my genius mixing of blue and yellow for the green garnish). Our judges were fellow recruiters and students we pulled from the cafeteria in the middle of their tofu stir fry to ask for their vote. It was a tie between mine (shown above) and one that depicted a more historically accurate image of Pilgrims and Native Americans eating a meal together. (Must to my dismay, the entry with a pilgrim dead from small pox in the corner of the page did not get a single vote.)
The tie breaking vote came from a child we saw at a playground in a park and asked “just point to the picture you think is the prettiest.”
She picked mine.
However, I am 100% sure she would not have picked mine had she known how to read.
(THE UNREALISTIC DEMANDS OF A MODERN SINGLE CHRISTIAN YOUNG ADULT WOMAN)
It’s late on a Saturday night, and I’m sporting an outfit inspired from someone’s Pinterest board entitled “threads and treads” when I see him in my peripheral vision and my insides suddenly begin practicing for the floor routine in the next summer Olympics in Brazil.
He approaches me, smiles, and I get a waft of scents I’m only used to smelling after walking by the Abercrombie and Fitch store at the mall. I flip my hair over my shoulder, blink my eyes in a fashion that hopefully isn’t confused as battling a rogue eyelash, and smile just enough to show interest and not desperation. He leans in and rather seductively whispers “excuse me, can I buy you a gallon of milk?”
He grabs my gallon of 1% cow juice out of my shopping cart and proceeds to scan it at the self-check out line in the grocery store. Surprisingly, he has a coupon. He looks at me, winks, and my stomach sticks the landing and I hear distant cheers in Portuguese. “So what do you say? Can I get your number?”
I never get a chance to give him my number because this never happened. Ever. To any girl who ever lived.
As the name aptly implies, the bar principle is only applicable in bars. A locale not unlike the African safari, where a guy makes his way across the smoky and loud room like a lion spotting a gazelle after three days without food. After a time of admiring his prey from afar and surveying the competition, he swoops in unexpectedly and asks to buy her a drink. Then he takes her home.
As a general rule of thumb, the lion doesn’t stalk the same prey twice.
The bar principle is also clearly a cost effective one: instead of buying her a cheesesteak with a side of French fries, he buys her something cheap. After all, a lion isn’t successful on each and every hunt.
But for the herd of Christian girls who aren’t found roaming in bars, we’re looking for more than one cheap drink and a one night stand. We’re looking for a commitment. We’re looking for a lifetime.
We’re looking for a good Christian gentleman to pay for 1/3 of the groceries in our shopping cart.
A serious pursuit of a serious relationship should begin in a bookstore when both our hands happen to reach for Crazy Love on the top shelf (he will be tall like me, obviously) and we commence witty banter about Christian literature and Twilight. He’ll ask to buy the book in my hand. I’ll say yes. We’ll get married and have 2 kids (a girl and a boy) and live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom house on a corner lot with enough of a yard for a hypoallergenic crossbreed canine.
A serious pursuit of a serious relationship should begin at a gas station that is not in New Jersey where they pump the gas for you and he comes to my rescue because the gas tank cap is stuck. He’ll tell me that my rear left tire looks like it needs more air in it. I’ll tell him he’s probably right. He’ll ask if he can pay for my tank of gas. I’ll say yes. We’ll get married and travel the world for three years developing a slight obsession with cruise lines until we decide to settle down and have 2 kids (a girl and a boy) and live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom house on a corner lot with enough of a yard for a hypoallergenic crossbreed canine.
A serious pursuit of a serious relationship should begin at a coffeeshop where I’m writing a post for my blog that nobody reads except my parents and some random person I’ve never met in Hong Kong, and it’s raining and he comes in and he’s wet because guys in America never carry umbrellas with them. He sits down at the table next to me and I offer him a napkin because that’s the best I can do and he asks if he can buy me a tall double chocolate chip frappuccino and one of those really expensive cake pops. I’ll say yes. We’ll get married and he’ll guest blog on my blog and we’ll have five total readers, his parents, my parents, and that random person I’ve never met in Hong Kong until we settle down and have 2 kids (a girl and a boy) and live in a 4 bedroom 2.5 bathroom house on a corner lot with enough of a yard for a hypoallergenic crossbreed canine.
All this gazelle is looking for is a good Christian gentleman to make his pursuit serious. Don’t give me cheap. Don’t give me once and done. Don’t ask for the bare minimum. Ask with the ultimate goal of everything—Christ centered, two-becoming-one-til-death-do-us-part everything.
But if the bar principle never has any hope of transferring to other venues where the exchange of goods for money occurs, I’ll settle for a good, Christian man making his way through a crowded grocery store to find me and he’ll lean in and rather seriously ask “excuse me, can I spend time getting to know you?” I’d be out whatever the current state minimum is for a gallon of milk, but there would still be the sound of distant cheers in Portuguese.
The end of October is a time laden with anxiety for young Christian women. The stress that revolves around finding a bargain on a pair of riding boots is the culprit of many sleepless nights. And then there’s the candy that shrouds every aisle at the grocery store that calls to you in a sweet whisper, “Take me home and have your way with me,” which you eventually do and house a whole bag of peanut butter M&Ms in one night over a few episodes on Netflix.
And then there’s the stress that causes your hair to jump ship as if your head were the Titanic—finding an appropriate Halloween costume.
If only you could don the typical costume a girl your age usually wears—a cat, a maid, or a bunny who all happen to live in the town of Promiscuity. But no, you can’t. You are a good Christian girl. You don’t want to be “that girl” at your Christian young adult Halloween party in a skintight black pleather outfit that really has no resemblance to a cat whatsoever. It would cause gentlemen to stumble. Or become nauseated, as you really wouldn’t look good in all black pleather since you did house that whole bag of peanut butter M&Ms.
Curses, Christian morals and wise standards for living!
So instead you Google image “clean Halloween costumes” and this pops up:
Remember what you learned in your trips to the library in middle school about being specific with your search terms and quotations marks, etc. and try again.
You’ll yield results that are only applicable to babies. And parents with babies. And babies with other babies. And babies as food objects:
This will make you hungry. Decide to eat anything in your kitchen that has some sugar content and then return to your quest at hand.
You contemplate going topical—but let’s face it, everyone is going to be Kate Middleton in a brunette wig and plastic baby from Walmart on their hip. You don’t even know a balding young man to be your prince anyway.
There’s also the option of sculpting your hair into a tornado-esque fashion and planting dozens of plastic sharks in there. This will require at least a dozen bottles of hair spray and at least 3 more viewings of Sharknado.
Decide to turn to the Bible for inspiration. Eve pre-fall would be the cheapest option that requires no preparation whatsoever but, while biblical, is entirely inappropriate and worse than all pleather (even if you decide to use leaves). Remember the no-longer-in-existence bag of peanut butter M&Ms.
You contemplate taking the mundane inanimate object route by fashioning yards of tulle to yourself as your shower luffa. Purchasing a bottle of bubbles would make the costume that much more realistic.
You’ll find you are getting progressively even more indecisive in your elder years and can’t make decisions about dinner let alone a costume. Decide to not decide and be all the costumes combined. Eve, who is dressed (thankfully) as Kate Middleton, who was picked up by a tornado during her most recent visit to the coast of California, who also has an affinity for shower luffas, and in an act of rebellion against the royal family, throws on a headband with black felt cat ears attached.
Decide to begin planning ahead for next year’s Halloween costume the same day all those leftover peanut butter M&Ms go on clearance.
photos: realsimple.com and pregnancyandbaby.com
Expectations of a Christian mid-to-late 20s-30s something girl:
SCENE: Underneath a cloudless blue sky sits a cozy starter home with three bedrooms and 2.5 bathrooms on a corner lot of exactly .45 acres. Meticulously clean windows are trimmed with black shutters. The white siding falls nothing short of a dazzle promised by Crest Whitening strips within 2 hours. The shrubbery is green and never in need of a haircut and not a weed (GASP, dare I say the actual word!?) is to be found. A red front door beckons you inside, where we find said mid-to-late 20s-30s something Christian girl. We will call her Chloe.
ENTER: MUFFIN, CHLOE’s hypoallergenic cross breed. Poised, full of (tasteful) spunk, and totally potty trained after watching that Youtube video only twice. She is flaunting a sequined periwinkle canine sweater.
“Did Muffin take care of her business and flush the toilet after herself?”
ENTER: ALYSSA and AIDEN, CHLOE’s three year old twins. Poised, full of (tasteful) spunk, and totally potty trained after watching that Youtube video only twice. They are flaunting matching his and hers periwinkle “play” outfits.
“What have you both learned from Baby Einstein today?”
“Look Mother! I wrote you a symphony.”
ALYSSA hands her mother a 30 page symphony, spiral bound.
“Look Mother! I painted us a family portrait.”
AIDEN reveals a 20×30 canvas oil painting of photo-like resemblance of the four-some.
FRONT DOOR OPENS.
ENTER: Tall, dark, handsome husband (TDH). I don’t even think we need to give him a name.
“Oh, Father! You’ve returned as you always do at 5:15 PM every evening Monday- Friday!”
“Wow, honey. Baby Einstein really has helped his articulation skills! That 25 disc collection sure was an investment we will never regret! Our precocious children are the talk of every parent who drops his child off in the church nursery every Sunday!”
CHLOE flips her perfectly quaffed blonde hair back over her shoulder as she kisses her husband.
TDH slides a package of bacon on the table. This is to be both literal and metaphorical (and every kind of cheese in the dairy aisle).
CHLOE swings her arms around her husband’s muscular frame thanks to his $60 a month gym membership.
“Have I told you how much I love you?”
“Every half hour by text, telephone, or e-mail.”
“I’m so happy we met our freshman year at [Insert name of Christian College here] and that it was love at first sight and you showered me in flowers, jewelry, and Chickfila nuggets. And then you proposed on the beach by candlelight at sunset before the spring of our senior year. I’m also glad we didn’t wait long for our engagement (you know how temptation is!) and were married the day after our graduation. I barely passed my finals, but it was so worth it!”
“Aren’t you forgetting something?”
“Why, how could I forget! And you paid off all of my school loans as our wedding present!”
ALYSSA and AIDEN join in the familial hug, clasping on to a parental limb. MUFFIN barks once, politely, with a stick in her mouth ready for her allotted outdoor time.
A pleasant, upbeat tune signals the closing fade-out.
FADE TO BLACK.
Reality of a Christian mid-to-late 20s-30s something girl:
SCENE: Underneath a cloudy, rainy sky sits the cheapest apartment known in the [insert name of high cost of living suburb of your choice] area. IKEA furniture fills the glorified studio to give a “cute” feel as her friends like to call it who make bank. Bundled underneath a heavy quilt because her 36% below the national average salary limits her heat usage to never, sits said mid-to-late 20s something Christian girl. We will call her M. The only light in the room is the glow from the television.
“DARN YOU CAGGIE! You are obviously into Spencer. Why don’t you just kiss him already?”
M throws her $4 Ikea pillow at the reality-but-obviously-scripted British show that has captivated her since she rolled out of bed at 11:00 AM on a Saturday. The show attempts to satisfy both her latent pining for love and not so latent pining for babies with British accents.
FOUR HOURS LATER. We find M in the same spot as four hours ago (no thanks to the marathon of reality-but-obviously-scripted British show), empty candy wrappers at her feet.
“KISS HIM CAGGIE! GOSH FREAKING DARN IT KISS HIMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
Commercial break. M checks her bank account, praying that God maybe magically deposited thousands of dollars in there so she can pay off her school loans and buy some groceries every once in a while. There are only so many flavors of Ramen noodles.
THE PHONE RINGS.
M grabs her dumb phone because smart phones seem like a commodity greater than gold.
It is M’s best friend calling to say she got engaged. M is full of merriment, glee, and [fill in other exuberant phrases here]. She then realizes she has no money to buy a bridesmaid dress.
Five minutes later.
THE PHONE RINGS.
It is M’s other best friend calling to say she got engaged. M is full of merriment, glee, and [fill in other exuberant phrases here]. She then realizes she has no money to buy another bridesmaid dress.
M happens to go onto Facebook and is informed that 17 of her other 406 Facebook friends are engaged. Six other married friends just had their first child. Three are working on their second (bow chicka wow wow).
An Inbox refresher reveals an e-mail that soon it will be her 5 year college reunion. Suddenly, she feels ill.
“WHERE HAS MY LIFE GONE?!”
M opens up a new Google search. She types in “How much does it cost to own a kitten?”
M remembers she does not like kittens. Backspace, backspace, backspace.
M opens up the Amazon webpage. She types in “Kitten stuffed animals” and finds 14 new from $3.56 and 6 used from $1.59.
M orders 5 new from $3.56 at a supplier that is 98% positive over the past 12 months.
A sad, bleak tune not unlike a dirge signals the close out.
FADE TO BLACK.
If you were actually good at matchmaking, your track record would yield a percentage higher than 0%. You blame your lack of success on the shallow baby pool of eligible bachelors in your sphere of influence. How can you find suitable mates for your abundance of eligible girlfriends (let alone yourself) when the baby pool holds an inch of stagnant water that just produces mosquitoes you want to swat? So when you hear tale of a young adult singles mixer put on by several churches in the area, you decide to take several of your single eligible girlfriends on a search for their future husbands at the miniature golf course. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a hole in one for yourself.
On your way to the miniature golf place, you realize that crevices you never knew you had begin to sweat. You crank up the air conditioner when it’s only 62 degrees outside. You’re thankful you happen to have a stick of deodorant in your bag and you reapply. Generously. You’re not sure what anxiety attacks are, but you’re pretty sure you feel one coming on. You pull into the parking lot and see a group of people standing in front of the main entrance. Your breathing begins to sound like a woman in labor. Having sextuplets.
You are pretty sure this is going to be more awkward than a trip to see the gynecologist. At least you don’t have to worry about your gyno asking for your number afterwards.
Your friend who RSVPed online says she’s pretty sure the last time she checked there was only one guy signed up to attend. You park and peer over the dashboard expecting to see a circle of females dancing around one socially awkward guy in the middle not unlike a tribal dance of a Pacific Island country. Instead, you see 12 girls and 5 guys standing around awkwardly in no circular or remotely geometric pattern whatsoever.
You decide to get outside the car and nonchalantly walk by the group to see if any of the five men are eligible contenders. After all, they don’t know who you are or what you look like. They only know the name of your friend who RSVPed online. You’re safe.
Upon closer examination you notice that all the males look like they attended high school in their living room and one man in particular looks at least 75 years old. And he’s sporting a cane.
Resist all urges to scream “GRANDPA?!”
That’s when one of the guys looks in your direction and yells “SHANIQUA (real name of friend protected along with her damaged pride)? IS THAT YOU?”
You turn to your friend who RSVPed online and she looks at you and you look at your other friend. You are caught in a triangular staring contest. The sun is shining and the air holds the promise of fall. And your hair looks pretty good today if you do say so yourself. After all, you haven’t played mini golf in a while. It would be fun. After all, age ain’t nothing but a number. Grandpa may be your hole in your one—he may have saved up enough money in the past 60 years to pay off all your school loans.
That’s when your sweat glands go into overdrive and your shoes squeak as you pivot 180 degrees and take off sprinting towards the car. You and your friends jump in and you burn rubber as you speed as far away from the miniature golf course as possible towards home.
Decide to put your faith into a Heavenly Matchmaker whose track record allows Him to lead you to any pool He pleases. In-ground, above ground, baby pool, or on the rare circumstances, a really clean pond.