So… Can I See You Again?

Girls who choose not to date in high school are making a hard but good choice.  Not only does it give them time to focus on God, but it also gives freedom in friendship and time for the family.  These girls are preserving their precious gift of purity as well.  We have already gone over the ‘dangers’ of dating and what to do in the time of waiting.

But now you are eighteen.  High school is over.  What now?

I have watched several girls go different directions when they finished high school.  For some, they ‘put in their time’, and were swiftly seen with a boyfriend, scruffy and short, as soon as their Open House was over.  Others continued on with the exact same commitment they had in high school, perhaps more stringent than before.  Others were married within the year.  Each family had a different system for what they deemed appropriate after high school, and their daughters, for the most part, followed that system.

I turned eighteen six months ago.  No one showed up on my doorstep with a pocket full of posies and ring.  But things do change when you turn eighteen, and how you deal with those changes will determine who you grow to be, who you meet, and how you go about relationships in this new adult life. 

Some of this will reiterate what I said in the post, ‘Can I Have Guys as Friends?’ and for those of you that haven’t read that post, I would suggest it simply so that you can see where I am going on this topic.  Truly, it all comes back to that question — can I have male friends, and how do I interact with them?  There are, however, two different answers.  The high school answer was used in the ‘Guys as Friends’ post, and I have a different answer for those who have graduated.  While very similar, there are a few differences when you become an adult.

Eighteen is the age where guys become bolder.  You are no longer in high school; you are recognized as an adult.  With this in mind, offers for dates will become more common.  How do you answer?  Young men will want to spend time with you in public places, or in groups.  How do you deal with that?  And what about when you can’t stand someone, and they won’t leave you alone??  I have an example of the last question, so let’s start with that one:

There is a young man at my local college named Bill.  I am only taking one class at the college (the rest are online) and it is at night.  So every night I go to class, and there is Bill.  One time, I repeat, ONE time, we walked back to the parking lot on the same sidewalk simply because both our cars were parked in the same lot, and I had no choice.  But he took that one little walk as a sign that we were meant to be.  The next few weeks he made sure we left class at the same time so we could walk again.  I was very much not interested in him, he is not a Christian and also, our interests are just too different.  So I got smart:  I parked in another lot closer to the building so we couldn’t walk together.  That worked at first, but soon he got smart too, and parked in the same lot.  He chased me down the sidewalk to ‘ask my advice’ about a speaking project.  So I got smarter:  my desk was closer to the door than his, so I made a run for it like Eric Liddle as soon as class ended, and by the time he maneuvered around to follow, I was gone!

Unfortunately, that method is not going to work with everyone.  I knew, though, that Bill was the type of guy who would ask you out on his fourth week knowing you if you gave him the time of day.  I was not interested, but I didn’t want to hurt him or make him afraid to ask other girls out, which can happen if one girl turns a man down rudely.  So I came up with a plan.  If Bill asked me out, I would say: ”I’m sorry Bill, we can be friends in class, but I am in a committed relationship right now and can’t date you.”  My parents helped me come up with this.  Am I in a committed relationship?  Yes — with Jesus Christ!  This answer will be true and also unoffensive to someone who enjoys your company but just doesn’t meet the standard.

But what about when you LIKE the guy that asks you out?  This is where it gets tricky.  I have another example for this one:

I went to a concert in the park this past summer, and although I had invited a mixed crowd, I was the only one that showed.  I was sitting by a pleasant older lady when a tall, dark and handsome young man came up to me.  (Yes, it’s true, but I didn’t believe it either, at first) He patted my dog and we chatted generically a moment.  Then it began to rain… or rather, pour.  Everyone ran, soaking wet, up to the Presbyterian church.  I put Lassie in the car and slipped quietly into a pew, dripping from my skirt and hair.  Who comes up but Mr. McDreamy.  “May I?” he asked, gesturing toward the seat.  “Yes,” I answered.  He asked me my name, if I lived around here, and all that stuff they ask in the movies, you know. “I’m Samuel, but you can call me Sam.” He said it as I were receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor.  He went to tell me how well he sang, and how he had a paid lead part in a play, and how he knew all about voice techinique and where he was schooling and how old he was and what his dreams were.  Now, a man’s ego tends to take over a bit when he is nervous, but this was over the top.  He gave me a cordial farewell before joining the choir for the performance.  (He did a good job, too, at least he’s not a liar!)  Afterward, I left the church and walked down the tree lined sidewalk in the summer sun.  The trees were still dripping, the sun was gleaming…  I looked back, and there, on the steps, stood Sam, frantically looking over the heads of the crowd.  He spotted me and raised his hand.  I waved demurely and walked out of sight.  It wasn’t five seconds before he came running down the sidewalk hollering, “Phylicia! Wait!” I turned to face him and he said, “Can I see you again when I come back to town?  I mean, do you have a phone number?”  So I told him, “I don’t usually go out with people I have just met…” “I understand!” “But you can do something with me and my family, if you like.  You can call my dad if you want to.  Here is my card –”  His face had fallen. His manner grew cold.  It was like night and day.  “Alright then.” And he left.  I liked him.  He was proud, but he was friendly and attractive.  My human, girlish self liked him.  But as you can see by his change of manner, he didn’t want family involved.  He didn’t want accountability. And when he read the Bible verse on my business card, his face revealed he didn’t want that, either.  He wasn’t the right one.

These instances will become more and more frequent.  I would suggest planning your responses so you are not caught off guard.  Being distracted by these attentions can cause you to be either rude or unable to answer, which usually translates as ‘yes’ to the normal, confident male! Also, if not already, plan with your parents what you are to do after high school when it comes to relationships.  I will be getting into my own family’s methods next week.  However, now is the time to figure it out, because whether you like them or not, the suitors will eventually come!

A Little Flirt Don’t Hurt…

This week I am following up on a talk I gave to a wonderful group of girls here up north.  Each post will be focusing on a topic that I have not addressed on the Quill in quite a while — flirtation.  While modesty addresses our appearance, flirtation addresses our actions.  These actions can either reflect the love of Christ in us, or a love of us in us!

Flirtation is rooted in a desire for attention, just like immodesty is.  Both bring the eye to self, glorifying appearance and action that might otherwise go unnoticed.  I am going to relay a story here that I told the girls yesterday:

When I was fifteen, I was spending a lot of time out on the ski hills at night with my friends.  There was a certain lift where the staff member was a young man from Colombia.  He was friendly, and probably quite cold, lonely and bored as well.  So, most likely for some entertainment, he decided to pick me as his target of flattery.  With a white, winning grin he declared that I had a “bee-yoo-teeful smile”.  I was — well, flattered!  No guy had ever told me that before… so I smiled even more.  Soon smiles turned to waves, and eventually that turned to him blowing me a kiss and giving me a little ski resort pin (he gave one to my friend too).  After a few days of this going on, I ‘happened’ to be skiing alone at the end of the day, ‘looking for my brother’ — of course.  As I approached him, he asked, “Is thees your last run of the night?” “Yes,” I smiled (conveniently)“Well then, I shall say goodbye like we say eet in Colombia.” And he draped an arm over my shoulder, pulled me close and gave me a big *smack!* on the cheek.  At first I was pleased, then I was shocked, and then I was appalled… and then I began to cry.  Who could have thought things could have escalated that fast?

That’s how flirtation is.  It starts “innocent”, just as ‘fun’, and then someone has the potential to get shocked — always emotionally, and then sometimes physically.  Flirtation is like playing with fire, to use an age-old cliche’.  One of the persons involved usually thinks things are more serious than they actually are, and when they find out they are wrong, their hearts are broken and burned.  

Over the next few days I am going to discuss the methods of flirtation in more depth (for my girls, this will be a more thorough examination of what you already heard, with examples of such behavior), and I will also be getting into the effects it can have on your relationships with God and family. 

“Stolen kisses require an accomplice”, and no flirtatious situation is ever completely one-sided.  Someone is either intiating or encouraging.  Our job as Christian girls is to honor God and our future husband by being pleasant and friendly, but not suggestive of intentions we do not have.  In interaction with young men, remember this: could you say, act and gesture the same way if your husband were standing right beside you?  If you couldn’t without some serious jealousy problems, then you are treading on ground that is not yours to walk on.  Think also of the young man’s future wife.  What would she be thinking if she were standing there?  Remain above reproach.  We will discuss how to do that right after this commercial break :-).