I wonder if I scared him off

(I originally wrote this on June 18th. A certain unnamed party persuaded a permanently biased judge to issue a temporary injunction against its publication. The legal wrangling has finally ended and the banned post can now be made public)

I don’t have the greatest set of social skills. I tend to be too honest.

I don’t say that in the sense of virtue. I say it in the sense of that I reveal too much to people I probably shouldn’t.

Maybe I should say that I am often too transparent. I could probably use a little more opacity in my life…

So far in life, I have been blessed in that it hasn’t come back to burn me. However, I frequently walk around with the uneasy question in my mind, “Should I have said that?”

I tell you that because I had a big one tonight…

A few weeks ago, my oldest daughter warned me that a prospective beau would be calling me to ask if he could court her. This is the same fellow who called several months ago to ask my permission to date her. That question was easy. This one is in a whole different league.

I asked her if she was asking me to really be the gatekeeper or was I to merely imitate a bullfighter who waves the red cape and lets the bull rush by him while the crowd shouts “Olé!” She wanted me to be the gatekeeper.

One of the difficulties of life is trying to handle situations that you have never been in before. What am I supposed to say? What are we supposed to talk about? How should I know? How much money do you make?…

The “contemporary” version of courtship is dating to see if the couple wants to “pursue” marriage. It strikes me as very similar to what was called “going steady” in previous generations. Me no like a that!

I looked up the definition of courtship in Webster’s 1828 Dictionary and this is what I found:

1. The act of soliciting favor.

2. The act of wooing in love; solicitation of a woman to marriage.

That’s not dating to see if you want to pursue marriage! That is trying to convince the girl that you are the  one! That means that the man has already made up his mind! It also means, if he’s going to do it right, that he has gained permission from the girl’s parents to pursue and persuade their daughter.

Instead of them pursuing marriage, which sounds like work, the man is pursuing the woman! That sounds like fun!

The young man called tonight…

In the beginning of the call, I asked him questions about his life, his dreams, his plans.

I then decided to jump into the deep end of the pool…

I asked what his thoughts were concerning physical displays of affection before marriage…

I liked what I heard.

As I listened to him, I was like an old-fashioned tea kettle on the stove just before it whistles to let you know that the water is hot. After an awkward pause, he asked what I thought…

I proceeded to tell him…

I went well past merely “sharing” my views on said subject. I included the psychological, sociological and theological reasons behind them at no extra cost! And he actually listened!

Was I supposed to do that? How should know!

We never quite made it to the actual intended question…

In fact, I told him that I didn’t even like the question that he was going to ask.

“If you are calling me to ask me if you can date my daughter to see if you REALLY want to date her, I am not interested in that conversation. But if you are going to tell me that you are sure my daughter is the one for you, that you cannot live without her and you can convince me that you are the man for her so that I will give you my permission to pursue and persuade her, I am very much interested in having that conversation!”

I was not at all surprised when he said that he wasn’t quite ready for that.

Stay tuned…

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