My four-year-old daughter has a crush on the next door neighbor’s young son, Carson, who’s six. The other day, she was playing in the front yard with him when I looked out the window and noticed that she was standing at the edge of the yard by herself. I didn’t think anything of it.
My friends Cris and Sam had been planning their home purchase for months, and finally, after looking at several houses, they found a lovely home that seemed like the perfect fit. They negotiated with the seller, signed a contract, and began making settlement plans. But first, they had to do the inspection.
I recently wrote a post called “Three Easy Ways to Ruin a First Date,” which provided advice on how to make a first date want to run away from you and never call back. My suggestions were: 1) Propose (or at least talk about marriage enough to make yourself sound desperate); 2) Overshare negative information about your life and relationships; and/or
I hate to admit it, but back in my single days, I unnecessarily bungled a number of first dates. And the saddest part was, I didn’t even know I was doing anything wrong.
It was my first (and only) date with Holly Bond, a smart, attractive, successful woman from my church. The date wasn’t meant to be a romantic overture, and I think we both knew that. Holly and I had been friends for a while, and we got along well, so it only seemed natural to go out to dinner at least once.
It was April of 2002. I was single, living alone, and had no prospect of marriage in sight (nor would I for several years). But for some reason, I felt compelled to pick up my journal and write a prayer for my future wife. I prayed that if she was going through a hard time or making any bad decisions that God would give her the grace to move on and forgive herself. It seemed like the right thing to pray at that moment.
I entered my freshman year of college terrified of God and women – especially women. I wasn’t sure if either of them liked me, and I knew I had plenty of flaws that would make both of them want to reject me. The solution: I decided to abstain from dating.
My wife says our first date went well, despite the fact that I nervously interviewed her like I was Barbara Walters. On the other hand, our second date didn’t go so well because – um, how do I say this – after the concert I took her to a nice, little restaurant called – deep breath – okay, here I go – don’t-judge-me! – McDonald’s – yes, McDonald’s (I promise, there is a somewhat reasonable explanation).
“Dude, we’re just friends,” said the defensive 20-something sitting across from me. “It sure doesn’t look like a friendship to me or anyone else,” I said. “So I enjoy female companionship,” he said. “It doesn’t mean we have to date each other.”
Cory, one of my happily married friends, was annoyed with some of his single, male buddies. “Joshua, it’s so irritating,” he said. “I suggest a woman to them, but they say ‘she’s not attractive enough,’ or she’s lacking in some other area. And here’s the crazy part: In every case — without exception — the woman is way out of their league.”
In my recent article, “Time for a Breakup,” I wrote about the inability of many single men to maturely initiate with women. My theory is that a lot of men have a basic problem: they are already committed, and there’s simply no room for someone else. That is, many of these guys have ongoing, highly involved relationships with (1) their imaginary girlfriends, (2) their moms, or (3) their tag-along “friendgirls.” This article evoked more of a reader response that anything I have written up until this point, especially regarding my point about unhealthy, “friendgirl” relationships between men and women. Though…
I live in a metropolitan area where the women outnumber the men by something like two to one. This is bad news for women who aspire to one day be married. The worst part is that so many of the single, heterosexual guys here don’t even appear to be trying that hard. Call me old-fashioned, but I believe it’s the man’s job to initiate when it comes to women – to make eye contact, to introduce himself, to ask a lady out, to plan a nice date, to go in for the first kiss, and so on.