As a single Christian woman of 26, people always want to know when I plan to get married. By the time my mother was 26, she had been married for several years. By the time she was 27, she had me. I know that when I went off to my school, a Christian college, everyone thought that I was going to leave with two things: A degree and a husband. One out of two isn’t bad, but to be fair, if it were a letter grade, it would be an F.
The problem with being a single Christian woman over the age of 21 is that you start to get The Look, especially from people at church. People start to look at you as though something is wrong with you because you’re single. They don’t know any other single people your age, so they can’t set you up, but they feel instinctively that you should know some single people. And not only that, but these mysterious, invisible single people that you should know and be dating should meet a certain laundry list of required characteristics.
For starters, they must absolutely be Christian. It doesn’t matter that they believe, just that they are. They should also be “pure,” meaning virgin. In addition, they shouldn’t drink or smoke. They should be educated, and they should, if at all possible, resemble Freddy Prinze, Jr. the way he looked on She’s All That before he got that weird haircut. They shouldn’t look at porn. Additionally, they should be interested in all the same things you are (so long as none of them are weird. I mean, come on, you can’t expect a hot guy to role play), they should play a sport, they should want to get involved at church, they should want 2.5 children, and they should make a shitload, preferably in pharmaceuticals or some other career that will get you a house in suburbia with a KitchenAid Mixer and that will someday allow them to donate pews with little memorial plaques on. Probably they should sing, too, so that the two of you can get good, front row seats in Heaven. That’s important. You don’t want to be stuck in the back with all the hippies.
The problem with this list, of course, is that not only is it not anything that I want, it is also not anything that is possible to get. Rich, good looking, Christian singers are the boys my inappropriate dreams are made of, it’s true, but at the end of the day, you can’t snuggle with your dreams. And despite what the people who got married at 21 and are now cooking other people’s food might tell you, snuggling is important. I’ll say it: More important than words on pages out of a book that was written (by men, no less) long before I was around to enjoy snuggling. Possibly even more important than a picket fence or pews with little name tags on them, though I never said it.
I’m pseudo-dating a guy right now, and while the “R” word has been dropped, I am still officially single, and yeah, sometimes he annoys me. But at the end of the day, he thinks the stars shine just for me. He would give me the last vanilla cupcake with sprinkles, especially if I pouted, because he hates to see me sad. If that isn’t true love, I don’t know what is. I mean, there are not many I would give up vanilla cupcakes with sprinkles for. He puts up with all my eccentricities (i.e., refusing to do dishes until the counter looks like it will require a hazmat team to clean it up and the fact that my bathroom sink hasn’t drained properly the entire time I’ve known him). However he has two big strikes against him: He doesn’t read, and he’s not a Christian, both of which are incredibly important to me.
Now to be fair, I am the uber-liberal variety of Christian that got myself censored from Craigslist because no one thinks it’s possible to be a liberal Christian. I take the Bible at its word when it says, “Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial,” which means that I listen to the first half and take the consequences of the second because life is too damned short not to enjoy it while you’re in your 20s. The odds are high that the kind of guy I am looking for is not out there. I want someone who’s going to push the envelope while still being religious, and I suspect that if that’s what I really want, then what I really want may not be a Christian yet.
I can’t deny that the Bible says not to be unequally yoked, but when it comes to that, I’m not such a good teammate anyway. Maybe it’s time to pull beside someone who at least seems to be going in the same direction for now.
And at the end of the day, if the candidate in question meets all your personal requirements (loyal, owns a Harley, makes good money, cares about his family, worships you and the ground you walk on and probably the mantle and core of the earth beneath where you stand, likes the same geeky things that you like [minus a few key ones that you can win him over on], doesn’t drink [which is better than you’re doing], doesn’t smoke [which is good cause you have asthma], is a virgin [more so than you are], thinks all your personal faults are adorable [even though they aren’t] and just generally makes you feel like a million bucks every time he touches you), then how important is it if he doesn’t meet all of everyone else’s requirements?
And how important is it if he doesn’t meet all of yours? Specifically, if he’s not a Christian, but he’s the closest thing to it you’ve pretty much ever dated even though he doesn’t sing tenor in the choir on Sundays and thinks religion is a waste of time, then do you go with it or dump him on principle? Or do you go with him with glee and resign yourself to heavenly nosebleed seats amongst the hippies?
I’m not sure.
I’m just not sure.