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Boys Bludgeoned into Making Dates By Their Friends' Moms

Monday, July 29, 2013
I'm having difficulty rewriting an Auntie Seraphic letter in such a way as to protect the innocent, so I'll just give you the story.

Mary (not her real name) is going to Bigtown, and her mother's friend Anne (not her real name) says something like, "Oh, you should meet Joe (not his real name), my son's friend. He's living there currently and he's such a good guy, a real NCB. You should meet up. I'll give him your phone number"

Mary quite naturally thinks that it would be nice to meet a real NCB in Bigtown, so she hands over her phone number. She is taken aback when Anne tells her Mom, who tells her, that Anne said Joe was such a good guy, he was thinking of becoming a priest. However, Mary figures she and Joe could still hang out, if Joe bothered to call her, which she now doubted he would do. 

Mary wisely forgets all about it.  Not so, Anne. After Mary has been in Bigtown for awhile, she gets a call from Joe who says, "Hi, Mary. Anne gave me your number. She told me to contact you, so I'm contacting you. Do you want to get coffee sometime? I'll be leaving Bigtown at the end of the week."

Mary is so pleased Joe has the guts to phone a stranger instead of  texting her that I'm wondering if our standards for male courage have fallen that low. They decide to meet that evening, and have a great chat. She asks him what he wants to do after college, and he says, "Help people." He doesn't say "Become a priest," as Mary thinks a Discerner would. (Ha!) It occurs to her that this feels more like a blind date than anything else.  However, that little thought gets nipped in the bud when she says "See you later" to Mr Joseph Leaving At the End of the Week, Esq., and he says, "Well, probably not, actually."

Fair enough. Mary's okay with that. But that very same night Joe sends her a text (no brave phone call this time) to ask if she'll be free two days later.

Mary says she is free two days later, so they meet again. They have a great time. Joe walks her home. They hug. Joe leaves. Mary texts Joe soon after to thank him for a great time. Joe texts back that he had a great time too. She texts it's a pity they didn't meet sooner. Joe texts back he'd really like to hang out with her more. "Me too," texts Mary. Text, text, text, and then they text goodnight. 

Since then they've exchanged a few texts "but nothing much." And so Mary emails your Auntie S to ask what I think. And what I think is that we ladies of 39++ can be a meddlesome bunch. Who calls up a young male acquaintance and says, "You should call this girl, she's so nice! Call her. CALL HER!"? 

Actually, I think I did something like that once or twice. But what I said was, "You could have gone out with X if you had just asked her to dinner" and "Why did you not make more of an effort to talk to that cute guy I introduced you to?"  I'm more of the post-possibility eye-rolling type. But oh dear. How humiliating. This on-the-spot examination of conscience has turned up evidence that I, too, am a meddlesome 39++ lady. Wah. Mea culpa. Generally I try to sit on my opinion until asked for it, but I too am weak. Blah.

Meanwhile, obviously that first date was not a date. It was a way of pacifying Meddlesome Anne. The second date, however, was a date. And what did Joe think he was doing, making a date with a NCG when he was just about to leave Bigtown forever?     

I don't know. But I do know that Joe did want to see Mary again. And that Mary made it easy for him, by being free the very night he proposed they meet--two days later. And that Joe was not slated to leave for another three days after that, so he could have texted, "This may sound crazy, but listen. How about Saturday? Or Friday? Or Sunday-for-Mass-and-brunch? I promise I'm not a weirdo." But he did not. Why not?

I don't know that either. I wonder if Joe does. And I wonder if Joe is a Discerner because, although you starry-eyed romantic types may have forgotten this detail, Anne told Mary's Mom that she thought Joe was thinking of becoming a priest. And this is such a red flag, Mary should have waved it at Joe on (Non-)Date 1. "Isn't Anne great? Such a character. By the way, she told my mom you're thinking of becoming a priest." Then a flaming-faced Joe would have had to admit it, and not be tempted to ask her out later.  (Here's my most famous post on Discerners.) 

My overall opinion is that Mary was very level-headed about everything until Joe asked her out on his own steam and not at gunpoint. She answered his text right away instead of letting him sweat until the next day, which would have created anticipation rewarded with relief. She said yes to a Xday date on Xday, which is somewhat understandable as he was leaving Saturday or Sunday, but she could have delayed it a bit, with the polite equivalent to "Oh I am so busy and in demand as so many other people are interested in me and I have an amazing interesting high-status life anyone would want a piece of." And most definitely she did not need to text him first and immediately afterwards. 

Girls should never text a man first after a date. Argh! 

I am not saying Mary turned off Joe in any way. Obviously he was smart enough to see on their non-date how cool she is, for he asked her out on a real date. However, as Joe's career plans are so vague, I am wondering if Joe himself is not rather vague, open to this possibility and that, without wanting to make firm decisions on anything.  And because she said "yes" to a real date with a guy she was unlikely to see again for a very long time, Mary opened herself to the possibility of hurt.  

The thing about guys and long distance is if a guy is crazy enough about a girl, he will do long distance--or do anything to bridge that distance. I get sad and angry letters from girls who were told by their erstwhile admirers that they don't do long distance, only to discover later that the admirers have met girls while on vacation in Europe and are now moving to Europe.