Holidays can make people do funny things. Desperate things, maybe.
Then again, major milestones and memory points in life can drive any of us to extreme measures.
Consider singleness somewhat of a milestone, a season in which you don’t plan on sitting too long. Such seasons have the propensity to send one into, what you might call panic mode: a frightful state of being, where one is both fearful of what may (or may not) come all the while equally anxious to escape. (I completely made up that definition, so in case you’re wondering, in technical terms a panic mode is more formally defined as "a very strong feeling of anxiety or fear, which makes you act without thinking carefully.")
Among christian girls, I find the desire to be married a much stronger pursuit than the average, perhaps causing panic to set in a bit earlier than the norm. My freshman year of college I often heard the words ring by Spring, a prayer most females would have, that interpreted meant come Spring semester they’d be engaged. Walking down my freshman dorms, while hearing multiple rooms simultaneously playing A Walk to Remember soundtrack, you would see large posters on doors that said “Intercede for the Rock!” Not as in “The Rock of Ages”, but more like a precious crystalline carbon. A diamond ring. Anyone outside the campus must wonder if the bane of a christian females’ existence is simply to find a man, the man.
My focus during college was mostly invested in music, my major, and play productions every semester. (Yes, theatre geeks were my people.) While seemingly ideal, this concept of ring by spring wasn’t on the forefront of my mind. In fact, the December before my last Senior semester a mom of a friend who was graduating said to me in sympathetic tone, in regards to finding someone, “Well, at least you have one more semester.” Had I not had these other interests I may have gotten hitched, or at least had more of an exciting dating life. But then again, I’ve never viewed dating as much of a hobby. Other girls had more gumption than me in that department, much more likely to approach a guy and flirt their way into a date. Flirting was never really a language I understood, let alone spoke.
Years later, months before turning 30, I’d find myself in such a panic mode. I had been working remotely in Orlando as a grant writer for a non-profit organization based in an impoverished African nation. The director was on site in Africa and my two co-workers in the states were in two different time zones. So I spent most days at my desk in my apartment, drafting and redrafting proposals until I’d get stir crazy enough to wind up at Starbucks. Typically the same Starbucks, same spot. One day a moderately Ryan Gosling-ish good looking guy walked in (even the same Gosling swag) and made eye contact with me, ordered a coffee - eye contact again - and left. The next day the same guy would come in, make eye contact, grab a coffee, a Wall Street Journal and be out the door. This happened for a series of days. And every day I continued to find my way at Starbucks, at that same spot, awaiting that same encounter.
Each day a bit of anxiety would swell in me. Already I had been caught up in this mode, entertaining thoughts like, “Why am I still single?... Is this real life?... Why is this happening to me?... Is this going to be forever?” as I’d hope this guy would say hi or smile already.
With a seemingly interesting guy, fueled by emotions I didn’t know how to kick, and in panic mode I decided I’d introduce myself. (This could not be further from my personality.)
It took a few days before I mustered up the courage to open the door to where he was sitting, just to realize he was on the phone and spontaneously spit out “Um, when you’re done, do you have a minute?” “Sure,” he smiled, “I’ll be right in.” A moment later he came in and sat down across from me. “I’ve just wanted to introduce myself and to say hi”, I said. (Yes, I actually used the very words I hate hearing.) Minutes into the conversation I quickly realized it was a mistake. (Well, really, after he sat to reveal a smoker’s smile.) Turns out he worked as a marketer for a local vodka company, promoted by the likes of Nicki Minaj (you can just imagine the marketing) and laughed when hearing the irony of how polar opposite my job was to his. Beyond that, there was little to be said. It was quite clear this guy was used to being approached, just eating up the attention and I felt nothing more than a naive puppet he found pathetically amusing.
Needless to say, this minor state of panic I’d allowed myself to dwell in made me feel like I was missing out if I didn’t act right away. As if it was the Apocalypse, this guy was the last man on the planet and I had to make something happen out of clear unnatural circumstances.
Nothing ever became of the encounter, except for the fact that I’ve not done that since.
Not two month later and I ended up in a relationship for a period of time. Almost as if I had been anticipating it. He wasn’t the right guy for me, but it went on to clarify my identity and solidify core values I hold tightly to this day.
In no way am I suggesting a female should never approach a guy, but she should know herself well enough to acknowledge whether she’s motivated by a desire to be in a relationship or driven by fear of being single.
There’s a great deal of amazing things a relationship can offer, when it’s right. But there’s also a great deal of undesirable things that come when its not.
But we can save that for next time.