I cried…I cannot believe I cried. I absolutely cannot believe I did that. A month ago I met a cute guy. He was with a few of his buddies and someone apparently said to them/him that I was a priest. So they began to ask me questions. (Ladies, you know the questions, I won’t even bother going into them.) It was totally benign as these question answer sessions go and I stayed for a few minutes before excusing myself and going home. Two weeks ago, I saw this same fella in the neighborhood bar and we began to talk. A good bit later we were still talking and it was certainly time for us each to go home. He did the gentlemanly thing and walked me to my car and there asked for my number.
I thought he’d call. That’s the assumption, right? Boy asks for phone number and after a day or so boy calls. Boy did not call. I was thinking about him and wishing he’d call. I texted him only to get a very boring response which elicited no further conversation. The next day we texted again and it was more interesting this time—“I was going to call, but I had to work and was tired when I got done.” Okay, I’m not going after him. Pursuit is not my style, so I let it go. Then we saw each other again last night out with friends. (I know it sounds crazy to keep running into someone, but this is a small town and I live in a small neighborhood.) We ended up talking for hours and flirting and in general enjoying each other. Over and over he kept saying, “You’re better than me.” And “I don’t know how to treat you.” Being a priest kept slapping me in the face. This guy isn’t running away but he’s sure uncomfortable. He even says it. “Hanging out with you makes me worry I’m not being good enough.”
Then it happened. I didn’t mean for it to, but it happened. I cried. Tears streamed down my face as I looked away. How can what I do be so upsetting to others? This guy gets credit for being willing to try and for being honest about how awkward he feels about it. What do I say to him? “I just want to be seen as normal” came quietly out of my mouth. He wiped my tears and said he was trying. What more can I ask I suppose?
So, can a young female priest meet a regular guy and date him? Are there guys out there who don’t flinch when they cuss or punch their buddy when he tells a dirty joke? This guy isn’t the first and I don’t know if he’ll be the last. I’ve dated a few guys since I’ve been ordained and it’s always the same sort of get-to-know-you obstacle course. We have to cover cussing, sex, public life, and drinking within the first 30 minutes. Then I spend the first few weeks wondering if the guy can really handle it. Will he stand me up? Will he break and just say, “It’s too much, I can’t do it?” Will his friends make endless fun of him?
The guy and I are going out tonight and maybe to the beach this weekend with some folks (back by Sunday of course!) and I haven’t told anyone. I’d like some time without the rumor mill churning and the pressure of expectations that will surely arrive once people know. Admittedly, I wondered this morning if he was going to be a no-show. He called a bit ago and it seems like we’re still on. So here we go on this dating train again. No tears tonight—just fun. And maybe a cuss word or two and a cocktail.