Dates 29.0, 29.1 & Beyond: Here’s to the Future

As the year and this blog come to a close, I’ve been making some resolutions. Not resolutions, really, more like decisions. In 2010, 2011, and 2012, I opened the year with a 21-day “Daniel fast” (eating primarily fruits and vegetables), during which I also refrained from masturbation. Given that my ex and I only had sex three times the last five years of our marriage, believe me–not playing with myself for three weeks was way more difficult than going vegan and avoiding sugar and white flour. But I did it, and I felt like God blessed me for the effort. [Side note: if you want to know more about the rationale behind faith-based fasting, there’s a pastor named Jentezen Franklin who’s written some great books on the subject.]

Last January (2013), I was in a really rough place. I had left my husband three months earlier and was clinically depressed, the result of which being that I wasn’t sleeping well and had dropped 30 pounds. Honestly, I was dreading the annual fast and a little worried about my health given the circumstances. And then the pastor at my church made an announcement: for the opening of 2013, he felt like God was leading him to skip the corporate fast, calling for feasting, instead.

Anyway, this year, the fast is on again, and I know this one’s going to be an important turning point for me. In short, here’s the deal: vegan diet, no sugar, no flour, no caffeine, no alcohol, no sex (since I’m not married), and no masturbation. And this time, I’m feeling called to do it for 40 days instead of 21. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m doing my best to set myself up for success–I canceled all my online dating subscriptions and I already stopped drinking coffee a week ago.

Of course, as I’ve been typing this, trying to resolve to be good, Date 14 (the 27-year-old with the tattoo on his back, the guy who probably has sleep apnea) texted me out of the blue. I know I should ignore him, but I wrote him back, carrying on a totally inappropriate conversation [secondary side note: Date 14 mentioned how much he liked it when I gave him head, which is tawdry enough as it is, but here’s the really bad thing–I don’t remember sucking his dick! I was so drunk both times I was with him, I was inwardly all like, Hunh??? when he texted me his compliments just now.]

Okay–seems like the texting has tapered off for the time being, so maybe I’m not going to slip up before I ever get started being chaste (although, I have to say, there is the temptation to say, Well, January hasn’t started yet…), but let’s talk about Date 29, the guy from my church, shall we? Here’s the deal with him: we’re from the same small group (a home-based Bible study group designed to enable people to connect on a more personal level, even though our church is super big), so it’s kind of awkward to be dating, but that didn’t stop him from asking me out. First, he just asked if I was going to attend one of the Christmas production performances, saying he’d be there the same night and that we should sit together (Date 29.0). When I showed up, he’d gotten a serious haircut (big improvement) and was all dressed up. We wound up talking for an hour after the show, leading to his asking me out on an actual date.

We went on that date this week (Date 29.1). I wish I could say he was the one, but he’s not, and now I’ve got to face him (and our mutual friends, who know we went out) in church and at small group. We connected on a friendship level, and there was some degree of attraction on my part, but there were a few dealbreakers I just couldn’t get past, the biggest of which was the casual mention of a homophobic attitude. As I might have mentioned before, I have gay friends and family, and I believe that, whether gay or straight, God made us the way we are, and it’s not our place to cast judgment on others. And lest anyone out there start quoting the Bible to me, I’ve read through Leviticus enough times, I happen to know that we’re all in trouble for piercing our ears, having tats, and wearing mixed-fabric clothing if you want to get legalistic about it.

Anyhow, I don’t want to point any fingers, since I still consider Date 29 a friend (though one I hope to influence to have a more loving attitude), but here’s some general advice to the guys of the world about some key first impression stuff women are taking a careful look at when we date:

1. Haircut. As in, has he had one recently? And if so, is it decent? Beyond that, is it professional? For example, one guy I dated kept his hair buzzed short. The length was good, but I could tell from the way his neckline followed his hairline, he buzzed it himself, rather than paying a stylist or barber to do it. Know what this says about a guy? CHEAP!!! And if the haircut is bad or nonexistent, the messages we gals read are LAZY, CLUELESS, and/or OBLIVIOUS. Don’t be that guy.

2. Shoes. Call me crazy, but shoes say a lot about a person. You style mavens out there already know this, but I think this is a point that the rest of us just sort of internalize. Ugly shoes again point to cluelessness. Alternately, unfortunate footwear can also be an indication of someone having a really bad sense of style (extrapolate this to their wardrobe and what their residence looks like, both inside and out, and you get the idea about how this isn’t just about shoes). Down the road in a relationship, you’ll have to make a decision: will you put up with his bad taste or try to change it by offering more stylish suggestions? If you choose the latter path, there’s a good chance that you’ll ultimately be accused of being controlling and/or micromanaging your significant other, an argument to which no one wants to be a party.

3. Car. Now, this is a really tricky one–having too nice of a car might say the guy is a spendthrift, or that he has self-image issues, but having an absolutely awful car says he doesn’t really care about looking good or being comfortable (again, this translates to other realms of the guy’s life). On top of what kind of car he drives is the issue of its condition. My ex, for example, drove an expensive sedan, but he kept so much trash in it, I used to say he should open the windows, then have a garbage truck come scoop it up and shake it clean periodically. Yeah, I can be a bitch, but you probably get my point–it was unconscionable how he treated that fine, luxury automobile (which truly was the ultimate driving machine!).

Looking forward, I know God has someone in mind for me. I don’t know who it’s going to be, but three times in a row now, He’s demonstrated His power in delivering guys literally to my doorstep. The first time was with Date 17, the guy from high school who emailed me out of nowhere. The second time was when Date 29 was late to pick me up the other night–while I was walking my dog, a tall, super good-looking, single, age-appropriate neighbor stopped his car in the middle of the road, cut off his cell phone conversation, and jumped out of the car to talk to me. I was like, Wow!!! Not that I think this guy and I have any sort of future potential, but I took it for a message from above, kind of like God was saying to me, This date who’s late? He’s not the one, but I’ve got someone better lined up for you, and he’ll be along shortly, when the time is right. Third, I got a text from a now-divorced mom friend of mine while at church today: she’s dating a wealthy, good-looking guy who has a wealthy, good-looking (and tall!) friend who wants to meet me.

Of course, and then there’s Date 14, as well, texting me out of nowhere. Not sure if he was sent by God or the devil, but I’ll leave you with one guess as to what might happen with him later this afternoon, given that it’s still December and my perfect guy has yet to come along.

Like I’ve said, we all need Jesus.

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