Note: I no longer agree completely with everything I wrote in this post. Still, I agree with my overall points, and the post remains a record of my thinking at the time I wrote it.
Free Northerner’s post, “The Rationalization of Effort” and the comments on it got me thinking. As a 25-year old virgin, committed Christian, looking for marriage, I meet at least the broadest rough parameters that commenter FNBF has set, as far as I can tell. Yet were I to run into her at church, I would not ask her on a date. It’s no reflection on her attractiveness–I’ve never seen her. It’s not that I’ve read something she has written that turned me off–I’ve read very few comments that she has written. Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that I am looking for a wife, not a girlfriend.
And dates are designed for dating, and nothing more.
I can’t claim to speak for all guys in the target demographic, but as a guy in the target demographic I can at least speak for myself. A few months ago, I did notice a girl in church. She was pretty and fit with long hair and always dressed in a dress or skirt. I started paying more attention. I noticed that she was demure and yet joyful, and consistently respectful to her parents (yes, she lives with her parents). I found opportunities to get to know her parents, I found her father was in a similar line of work to the one I am in, making conversation easy.
About this time, one of the men at church I most respect, a man about the same age as the father of this girl, started talking her up to me. He knew what I was looking for, and he sang her praises as just what I was looking for. After that, I found opportunities to talk to her. I asked her about her future plans, and she talked about her goal of becoming a dentist. I brought the topic around to family a little later and she said “I don’t want to just get married and have kids as my life goal–I want to do something worthwhile with my life first.” Later, I mentioned my eventual plan of building a small cabin in the woods where I can shoot my own meat and grow my own vegetables. Her response was that she wouldn’t want to live in that way–she went on to explain why she wants to go to a particular dental school “because it is close to L.A.”
The man who had been talking her up to me mentioned her again later, and I told him “I’m looking for a wife right now, and from what she says she isn’t interested in becoming one for several years.” But–and here’s what’s important as pertains to Free Northerner’s post and the discussion on it–even if I had found out that her priorities were in line with mine, I would not have asked her out. Instead, I would have probed a little further, and on determining our priorities to be compatible, I would have simply told her “As I’ve gotten to know you, I’ve been evaluating you for wife potential, and I’ve been impressed by many things about you. From what I’ve learned about you, I feel like we share the same major priorities. I’m interested in marrying you, but there are a few things that we need to talk about first.”
Asking her on a date would be shooting myself in the foot. I can learn far more about a person when they are not aware that I am watching and evaluating them. I will learn far more about a girl by asking older men at church who have watched her grow up than I will from any number of dates. Going on a date is like intentionally tying a blindfold over my eyes.
Now, here’s the real kicker. I avoid dates because they are detrimental to my goal of marriage. However, the player, gamer, pick-up artist, and average frustrated chump all pursue dates because they are essential to their goal of fornication. And just like I read the signals and apply my effort only for girls that seem to be a good bet for marriage material, the fornicators read the signals and apply their effort only for the girls that seem to be a good bet for fornication. This is what FNBF realizes but few others are acknowledging. If FBNF sends out an “I don’t do fornication” vibe, most fornicators are not going to ask her on a date because they know it is a long shot to get what they want. Likewise, most marriage minded men like myself are not going to ask her on a date, because a date is not the pathway to our goal. So, unlike the woman in Free Northerner’s earlier post, women who signal “no fornication” will not get many dates. However, if the goal is marriage, the lack of dates should not bother them, because dating is a substitute for marriage, not a pathway to marriage.
So here’s my advice to my sister, FBNF, and any other marriage-minded woman: don’t worry if you’re not getting asked on dates. It’s actually a good sign. Rather than worrying about dates, get your father looking for a husband for you. When a new young man shows up in church encourage your father to go introduce himself, or even to invite him home for lunch. And then when that young friend of your father’s asks you about life goals, talk about marriage and children, not school or work.
Don’t be surprised if rather than asking you on a date, he says “I’m interested in marrying you, but there are a few things that we need to talk about first.” Be ready to have that discussion.