Cuss Words and Cocktails

Single Rev's Guide to Life

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.

8 replies
  1. another one
    another one says:

    I’m giving up trying. I’ve concluded that ordination is a huge turn off and that the majority of men can’t handle it.
    Good luck.

  2. Sara B
    Sara B says:

    I tend to think that 90% of men can’t deal with it for the reasons you’ve mentioned. More frighteningly, another 9% find it hot in very icky ways. But that does leave a few guys, who can treat us like people. It is not totally hopeless. (So I tell myself.)

  3. GG
    GG says:

    I’m not sure if you’ll be happy with a ‘regular guy’, but I DO think you could be happy with one as fantastic as you are (seriously, to be a young woman who has made it through the process… you must be fantastic)! I hope your time with this fellow is life-giving for you 🙂

  4. yet another
    yet another says:

    yeah…i feel that. i think i might have given up as well. it was so painfully obvious at a wedding i did this weekend–i actually had church members (people who know and love me!) discuss the brother of the groom (single, two years older than me, cute, doesn’t live at home, has a real job…in other words, eligible!), and say “I just don’t know any single young women.” hmm. always the minister, never the bride…i’m beginning to be resigned, and i long for a success story. may your beach trip be grand…please come back and share the fun times with us!

  5. Katie H
    Katie H says:

    When I first met men in seminary I had a whole script: I’m not just in seminary – I’m going to be a pastor – are you okay with that? I’m not just unavailable this Sunday but every Sunday – can you handle that? If you want to be with me you’re going to have to be able to deal with church people – do you understand what that means? If anyone lasted as long as a second date I’d tell him that he didn’t have to become a Christian but that he would have to accept that I was always going to be one.
    Needless to say, very few made it that far.
    But then one day when I least expected it, one man said, “Okay.” He came to church with me, six months later he decided to get baptized, six months after that he asked me to marry him, three years later he became the father of our son. We’ve been married seven years.
    There are wonderful guys out there that not only will be “okay” with you being a priest but will feel lucky to be with you. Don’t settle for less.

  6. jen
    jen says:

    awww yeah, I’m another one who finds it just hopeless. And, people just don’t understand why I could think that way… Thanks for your story, as I think it’s one that shows why the obstacles seem so insurmountable. Please know, I’m cheering you and this guy on…at least you’ve made it through a few dates. Somewhere buried deep, it seems I want to have hope.

  7. Pastor NEM
    Pastor NEM says:

    My dear sister, I totally get you. I just got married after 15 years single and in ministry. The book ‘Boundaries in Dating’ by Henry Cloud was my other bible. It may sound limiting but it’s just the opposite.
    I married a bishop from abroad and it was worth the wait.
    “God is a Matchmaker” by Ruth and Derek Prince is a must-read.
    Let’s face it, you are UNcommon. That’s what the call is all about. You will eventually resent someone you have compromise to be with.
    What is your accountability plan for the beach trip? You said you haven’t told anyone. Date rape is real! Been there–yes,ordained and all and he was a Pastor too!
    Yes,I got back by Sunday. So, I hope the rumor mill is not your only consideration.
    Why not start or attend a biblical singles group and expand your horizons?


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