An open letter to the men interested in me.
Dear Men Who Are Interested in Me,
So we’ve been talking, and for reasons only you and the good Lord know, you’ve decided you want to get to know me a little more … one-on-one. Congratulations (I’m awesome, really) and welcome to an ever-expanding club of men, established circa 2007, all of whom have been unsuccessful in successfully pursuing me. Since I can be a bit hard to read, I’ve developed a little guide to help you along. (You’re welcome.)
First of all, if you are under 25, over 35, in any way romantically attached to anyone, or were not born male, you should ask God to remove or transform your interest in me, because romantic interest will not be returned. I am only romantically interested in a man with whom I can grow old and live the one and only life.
Just ask. Look, I’m quiet, so if you think that if I’m interested in you, I’m going to initiate something, you’re probably wrong. (I say probably only because I asked a guy to get coffee once, but I had most definitely been under the influence of NyQuil when I did. I engage in some pretty out-of-character behavior when on NyQuil.) Also, I’m quiet (which I think I’ve mentioned before), so it takes me a minute to warm and open up to people, but once I get there, I’m as open as they come. If you want to get to know me one-on-one, or if you want to get to know anything about me at all, just ask. (Unless you want to wait for me to get a head cold and be strung out on NyQuil. Your call.)
Until you meet my parents, or other spiritual authorities in my life who I trust, and they have a favorable opinion of you, our getting to know each other one-on-one will take place in public, well-lit places and spaces. For my physical and emotional protection, you have to earn my trust before we’re alone together. You earn my trust, earn the privilege of privacy with me by treating me with respect, nurture, and value in public. And because there is strength in numbers, I’ll be getting a second opinion or ten.
Getting to know me one-on-one is not going to include sex until you’ve made a commitment not to leave me until death do us part. Sex is a big deal to me. If you’ll pardon a Trump-ism, it’s huge. It’s the most intimate human interaction I can imagine, and it requires a context of love and trust and faithfulness. It’s a progressive unveiling – we build up to it through greater and greater levels of friendship, and we build on it in marriage, which, as my dad says, is just another level of friendship.
Handle me with care. I may seem impregnable, but I’m not. I feel everything, but am often overwhelmed by how much I feel and afraid of overwhelming others with that weight, so I am guarded about expressing feeling. Still, every presence in my life impacts what I feel on some level, and if you get to know me one-on-one, that will include you. Know that I feel you, the things you do and say, and at times, the things you feel. But knowing because I say so will probably not satisfy you long, and at some point, you will dig around to get me to show my feelings. I want you to do that, want you to discover me, but please be careful how you unearth and handle my feelings. I don’t bounce back easy.
Fight for me. At some point, I will probably deliberately put distance between us just to see what you do with it. It’s my signature – and least healthy – move, and I’ve never been less proud of any behavior in my life. I’m more conscious of it and less likely to engage in it as I’ve matured, but I still regress. I’m sorry in advance because it will hit you out of nowhere, leaving you wondering what is happening, and God knows it’s not fair to you. If you want a future with me, please come after me. You can yell at me about it, but please – please, please, please – come after me.
Fight with me. I go to great lengths to avoid arguments, up to and including dismissing my own emotions. From time to time, things are going to get messy, maybe even ugly, between us, and I’m not going to like it. You will have to be able to fearlessly challenge me, and I will have to be able to fearlessly challenge you.
Respect and love the parts of me that have nothing to do with you. In the words of Leslie Gore, “You don’t own me.” You are not, and never will be, my entire life. I do not have any desire to be consumed or absorbed or possessed by you, nor do I wish to consume or absorb or possess you. We are partners, a team, ideally each bringing things to the table that the other person cannot.
I’m a Jesus girl. In some of my circles, I am the Jesus girl. The expectation from others is that I will be with a Jesus guy, although I have no such standard personally. (Anymore. I used to. Maybe I’ll recover it someday.) Whether you know and love and follow Jesus or not, these are the questions you should ask yourself about getting to know me one-on-one :
- Do I have the courage to initiate a one-on-one relationship with this admittedly quiet and guarded girl?
- Am I willing to take time building trust with this girl and the people whose opinions she respects?
- Am I willing to refrain from enjoying sexual intimacy with this girl until marriage?
- Am I willing to labor to discover the things about this girl that are not immediately apparent? Am I strong and gentle enough to handle every part of her with care?
- Am I willing and able to fight for her when she gives up, to run after her when she runs away, to close distances she creates?
- Am I willing to challenge her when she’s wrong? Am I humble enough to be challenged by her when I’m wrong?
- Am I comfortable with her being my partner and yet her own person?
- Am I comfortable perpetually being second place in her life?
Obviously, you won’t know the answers to all of these questions right away. It will take time. But. The moment one of your answers to these questions is a “no”, I am no longer someone you should be getting to know one-on-one.
Anyway, hopefully this helps.
The One and Only Me