The reason that date 16 was a bit different from all the rest was because this was my first 1st date with someone I actually knew since starting this 30 date adventure. Can you believe that? I actually went out with someone I knew? Who does that?
I can’t remember when we actually first met, but it might have been about 5 or 6 years ago. One of my friends invited me on her church’s singles’ retreat for the weekend and this is where I met Mr. Valiant. I am nicknaming him that because I admire his boldness of still willing to take me out knowing I was going to write a blog post. Two of my previous dates also knew about my blog, but this seemed a little bit different to me because he was brave enough to approach me about it on his own, there was no “middle man” fixing us up. At the end of our date, I asked him if he wanted to pick his nickname and he laughed and said that was my job and it needed to be a surprise to him. So there you go, Mr. Valiant. I want you to know I admire you and I am praying that your boldness gives you some extra special blessings in the next year of your life.
After meeting Mr. Valiant several years ago, he moved to a different city. He has actually moved a few times since then I believe. As we were catching up, I realized that I had even gone to his going away party with our same mutual friend that had invited me on the retreat. Mr. Valiant and I stayed connected on facebook, although we had only actually hung out in person a handful of times. Last year we messaged back and forth a few times, but that was it. But then he sent me the following message on October 5th, after my 30 dates had commenced and I was a few blog posts in.
“I just read your dating blog (not every word of every date, but quite a bit of it) and you are my new hero 🙂 I’m sad I live so far away now, otherwise I’d definitely want to get on the list. As a single Christian man in my 30s, I love being able to hear your perspective (in a non-creepy way, I promise). I haven’t dated much either, but I have picked it up a little more the past couple years, just out of necessity. One thing I’ve never really done is the whole eharmony, match, or any of that stuff. Here’s a big frustration I’ll share with you: ideally, you’d want to meet and marry someone at church, right? Sadly, I’ve always felt, for whatever reason, this is always super awkward.”
He goes on to explain the struggle that Christian men have in asking a girl out at church and the reality that she just might say no. I understand and have heard that from a few men since, and although I am not a man, I feel his pain. Over the years when people would ask me why I am still single and I answered them with, “Ummm, I guess it’s just because I can’t find anyone.” I never had a really good answer for that question, by the way. They usually then replied with, “Aren’t there any single guys at your church?” It’s just not that easy, people. Whether singles groups exist or not, it is just not that easy. Plus I never wanted church to be a place where I looked for single men. I wanted to go as an act of worship, not to find a Friday night date. However, if a date would arise from church, I wasn’t against it. It was just rare.
Anyway, I loved that Mr. Valiant called me his new hero and I wrote him back and told him that he could still be one of my 30 dates if he was ever in the area. I was under the impression he only lived about an hour or two away. However, he had moved even farther from what I last knew and he wrote back and said he was over 5 hours away now in a neighboring state. He mentioned he may be able to drive through on his way back from visiting family over Thanksgiving, but I had completely forgotten about that until about two weeks ago when he messaged me again about it. He asked if the Sunday after Thanksgiving would work for me. He had the idea of going to church and then out to lunch afterwards. I wrote back and said that his plan sounded good!
I am going to be honest here for a second. I mean, I am always honest, but here is a bit of my heart that I don’t share often. Going to church makes me lonely. It is nobody’s fault, it is just hard for me. And It seems like the older I get, the harder it gets. Since moving here, I have always visited churches by myself. I distinctly remember being in a particular church’s lobby, with people all around me and I felt the loneliest I have ever felt. I remember just thinking that I needed to leave. It is extremely intimidating for a single woman to walk into a church on her own, not knowing anyone. In many churches I end up sitting by myself. There have been several times I get in my car after a church service, finally breathe again, and just begin sobbing as I pull away. I usually can get myself together quickly and I eventually become thankful again for my singleness and the way Jesus has used it in my life, but I am not going to say it has been the most pleasant of experiences.
I remember when I first started communicating with Mr. KJWTS, he asked me this question:
“At what moments/situations do you find yourself REALLY wishing you had a close significant other to share with you or be beside you?”
My answer was “church” and he later agreed. I know you are thinking…just make friends. And my answer to that is, I am not good at making friends – ha. I am also not looking for sympathy or for people to feel badly about the situation. Over the years, I have had a few really great families talk with me, invite me to sit with them and out to lunch afterwards and things like that. And all of their gestures never go unnoticed or unappreciated. It still doesn’t take away the lonely feeling that creeps up every once and while when I see the couple in front of me holding hands or the guy a row over put his arm around his wife. Focus on Jesus, focus on Jesus, I tell myself. Be stronger, be stronger. You got this girl!
So when Mr. Valiant asked me to go to church with him, the first thing I thought was that I was so glad I wouldn’t have to sit by myself. Sitting by him was a good feeling. It was a good feeling to have; a body sitting next to me, a man that stands and sings along with the choir and someone who opens the Bible up when scripture reading begins. Later, Mr. Valiant admitted that he doesn’t usually sit with women at church because it is kind of an intimate experience for him. I understood what he meant and it made me appreciate our experience together. I don’t think I would ever have thought of going to church to be a date. So I am glad he suggested it.
Later, he also admitted to having a hard time coming up with date ideas to ensure that the girl is having fun on the dates. He said he thought church and lunch was a good idea and he appreciated that I thought it was too. “I could take a girl to church and out to lunch afterwards for every date and be satisfied,” he told me.
It was also fun to be able to dress up a little for a date. As I walked in, a lady complimented me on my tights. I thanked her and looked down at my tights and then remembered that I wore open toe shoes with no nail polish on my toes! I was hoping no one would notice 🙂
When we sat down and I took my coat off, Mr. Valiant told me I looked nice. I thought that was a cute thing for him to say. I said thank you and that was it. But guys should know how much that means to a girl. When a guy offers a simple compliment like that, it gives a girl a bit more confidence in herself, no polish on toes and all. I don’t think guys truly understand the power in their words. Later during the meet and greet part of the service a nice lady told me she loved my tights/leggings too! I said thank you and Mr. Valiant said, “You are getting compliments right and left!” I smiled and thought that I was glad one was actually from him.
After church, it was suggested we go to Lizard’s Thicket for lunch. Can you guess whose decision that was? I will give you one hint, the person wasn’t wearing tights. I say that because since moving down here, I have actually avoided that restaurant. Who wants to eat at a place named after a Lizard?
Doesn’t look very appetizing, does it? He told me that was just his preference because he loved going there when he lived here, but that I could pick another place if I wanted. Since I have never actually eaten there, I couldn’t object just because of the name, now could I? So, I told him that was fine and we got in his car and went to a place named after a Reptile’s Bush. I was praying for food like Bob Evans.
Well, it didn’t live up to good ole’ Bob’s, but then again, not much can. But it was good. Or at least that is what I am going to say on this blog post, because I know Mr. Valiant will be reading this and I don’t want to hurt his feelings 🙂 I did really appreciate that they let me order breakfast though. The waitress said I had 5 minutes until they stopped serving it.
While eating we became surrounded by two separate large families, both with babies, literally cornering us in the corner. I tried my hardest to focus on my date and our conversation but had a hard time focusing with all of the commotion going around there in the thicket of the Lizard. And I was just waiting for a lizard to start slithering by. Thankfully that didn’t happen, because for the love of Bob, if it did, I would have been gone in a split second, even if I had to jump over a baby.
When I could focus on our conversation, I enjoyed it. We could talk openly and honestly about what it is like to be single in our 30s. Oh wait, I am not 30 yet! Sometimes, I forget that. I still have 14 more dates to go, I can’t be 30 yet. He asked me about my dates and if there were any potential guys that I would be seeing after I turned 30. I said, there could be a possibility and that I have gone out with one guy a few times already. I felt a bit guilty talking about another guy on our date, but he asked, so I answered. I didn’t give many details though, because it’s not like I have 5 blog posts already dedicated to the guy I was referring to or anything. He seemed cool with it and told me about a few recent situations he has had with women. I tried to encourage him as best as I could. Single guys need a little push every once and awhile. It was nice to be on a date with a friend. Very refreshing actually.
We ended our lunch date, he went to the cash register to pay and then took me back to my car near the church. After driving around the parking garage trying to find a way out, I passed him again, smiled and waved goodbye.
Today he messaged me on facebook telling me thank you for my time yesterday and that he hoped I had fun. So yes, Mr. Valiant, I did have fun. It was so great seeing you. Thank you for wanting to “get in on the blog posts” as you called it. I appreciate you very much.
His message went on to say that his 5 hour trip home lasted way longer because meeting with me gave him the confidence to make a detour and visit a girl in another city. He said they watched the sunset and he stayed for dinner. Way to go Mr. Valiant! I am not sure how he knows this girl or what potential they may have, whether it will be romantic or if they are just friends. But regardless, it meant so much to me that he said I gave him the confidence to visit her. Praying blessings upon blessings for you, Mr. Valiant. And if there is a soon to be Mrs. Valiant in your future, I’d like an invite to the wedding 🙂
14 dates and counting down. Until next weekend.