Yesterday the church where I work (and attend) had a showing of the film Fireproof to kick off a new short-term study on marriage.  I was not planning on attending.  Kirk Cameron, due to his repeated appearances on TBN, can kiss my ass.  Plus, I always get rather distressed by how craptacular Christian movies and things are.   Plus, why in this whole wide world would I want to watch something quite so cloying?  But a Very Nice Church Lady was begging for volunteers.  My recent raise has filled me with goodwill, so I agreed to work at the welcome table and then leave before the movie began.

The group who organized the event had raffle tickets–which I made, incidentally–they wanted everyone to fill in with their names, addresses, and emails.  The idea, of course, was to get contact information from the several dozen visitors  they were certain would show up to the movie and then invite them to church.  I was supposed to ask whether people were planning on attending this study and then mark their tickets with asterisks so the study’s organizers, Very Nice Church Lady and Hyperactive Southern Church Lady, could send out reminders.   Easy.

As I was preparing to go home, Hyperactive Southern Church Lady asked whether I’d filled in a raffle ticket.  No, I’d rather the prizes go to the visitors… of whom there were two, I did not add. 

Darlin’! You gotta. She grabbed me by both my arms and shook me a little.

That’s okay.  I’m not staying. 

You’re not staying! Are you at least coming to the study?

I wasn’t planning to, no.

Why not, sugar?

Because it would be strange and awkward.

Because you’re not married yet, honey?

Bingo.

Oh, babe, don’t worry about that.  This study’s for everyone.  I’m hoping the youth’ll come too.  We’ll teach y’all what to look for in a husband.

A number of things happened in that last sentence that made me a little uncomfortable: the equation of single adults with fifteen year olds, the (87% untrue) assumption that I’m out there husband shopping, the assumption that married people are necessarily smarter about relationships than single ones.  And her husband has a spectacular mullet.  Maybe I’m focusing a teeny bit on the wrong things here, but if I were looking for a husband I’d be after one who no longer wears the hairstyle he had in 1983.  Also, she put both her hands on my shoulders.  I was half worried she was going to lean in for a kiss, and all that made me uncomfortable too.

I told her I’d consider it, ducked out from under her arms, and then I went about my business.

On my way out the door, Very Nice Church Lady chased after me.  I’d already told her I wouldn’t be watching the movie when I was trying and failing to weasel out of volunteering, so I figured she had some item for the bulletin.  Or something.

I  wanted to invite you to the small group.

The marriage small group that you and Hyperactive Southern Church Lady are leading?

Yes! That’s the one.  Are you dating someone right now?

I said a vague sort of.

(Yeah, OGfPS is still in the picture.  He recently told me loves my hair.  I have unruly curls and expressing liking of them charms me considerably, in case you were wondering.  I said thanks.  He asked if I’d noticed that many of my curls are shaped like DNA.  Is it weird I find this endearing?  It is, isn’t it.)

You should come to this small group, churchrat.  You should come and bring a date.

Okay.  That’s weird but not 100% crazy.  I mean I can see that someone–not me, necessarily, but someone–in a serious dating relationship might want to attend a marriage study at their church as a means of further sussing out the suitablity of their SO.    Of course, no one here’s in a serious relationship so much as an enjoyable long distance flirtation with a measure  of potential.  But whatever.

I think the first night of a study like this would be a great date, a great first date.

And that, friends, is crazy.  Just. So. Crazy.  Not to mention wildly out of touch with the way people actually live their lives.  I mean, has she met a guy in his twenties or thirties?  Sheesh.

I think the first night of a study like this would be a hilariously bad date, the sort of date you’d suggest when you want someone never to call you again.

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