After a long pause in our conversation,
I suppose that he felt the need to ask another question. I was
inclined toward hanging up. The conversation had been annoying
thus far. I didn’t see the potential for improvement.
“So, what’s your favorite movie?”
It is probably best that this was
a phone conversation so he couldn’t see my eyes roll with the exasperated
gesture that accompanied it. He asked this exact question three
times – in our three previous phone conversations. The fates hadn’t
aligned as his first email contact arrived in my Match.com inbox days
before Christmas. Though he was heading out of town to see family,
my schedule was more of a nightmare. Our casual emails drifted as New
Year’s arrived. We had graduated to the phone by then. It was clumsy.
And yet, our conversations had always had this tone of silence.
So when he asked this question
for the third time, I didn’t play it cool. I called him on it. “I
think I answered this before,” I said. “Remember?”
More silence on the other end of the phone as I made another annoyed
gesture into thin air.
The truth was: he didn’t seem all
that bright, while claiming to be an intellectual type. Nothing about
his personality seemed to have all that much depth – especially if
interesting conversation for him was limited to what my favorite movie
was and how much it had snowed. I was bored.
I was mind-numbingly bored of our
conversation. This realization made me wonder why I was even carrying
on this fantasy of meeting someone on the Internet. If this was what
was out there, I’m wasting my time. I didn’t articulate any
of this. I opted to be cute and girlish because there seemed to be no
other way that I was meeting someone that could offer the possibility
of romantic interest. So I giggled through my boredom. I wasn’t
sure if he believed my attempt at being coy anymore than I did. It was
unclear what he was thinking when he announced that he was tired.
We said goodnight and made plans to meet for a drink the following night.
However, I only needed to read
the first three sentences of his email to learn that our plans were
not firm. It arrived before I had even awoken from my slumber.
And yet, these were the words that greeted me that morning:
I’ve thinking it over and
listening to my inner voice in regards to whether I should move forward
with you or not and I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s probably not
a good idea after all. We’re worlds apart. You’re religious, I’m not,
and that would be the major stumbling block for us…
This dribble went on for six paragraphs
as this intellectual gentleman recounted all of my faults, including
that I’m not well-read and narrow-minded. Of course, these are minor
infractions that pale to the fact that I am clergy.
I thought mean things about him
as I read his six self-involved paragraphs. Though I wanted to curse
him into a pillar of salt, I wrote back a cordial reply explaining that
I’m sorry that he felt incapable of seeing beyond his own assumptions
of what being well-read, narrow-minded and clergy might be. I hit send. Then I got angry.
I hate that others assume what
it means to be religious. I hate that this is a barrier in dating. Ask
me, I wanted to tell him. I wondered how I could make this more explicit
in my dating profile. I had assumed that a headline reading “Not What
You Might Expect” might infer this truth about who I was as a woman
and clergy. With this simple headline in my dating profile, I had assumed
that I was asking these would-be suitors to not make assumptions. I’m
not so naïve to think that there are not assumptions that we all make
in dating. I’m not oblivious to the fact that I read certain things
into the profiles I browse online. I’m not dumb. I’m just guessing
there is more to you than you can fill into a two-paragraph introduction
and a series of photos in your dating profile.
I may be mistaken. This may be
the problem of being an open-minded woman that challenges her own assumptions
of people. Even though I was bored on the phone, I was willing to risk
the possibility that this man was just terrible at the phone. I was
ready to step out into the unknown searching for romance and perhaps
some interesting conversation (though I wasn’t yet convinced). Instead,
I greeted the day by washing this man out of my hair and sent myself
on my way to meet with a lesbian couple about their love and marriage.