Since I am just beginning my “Ruth Exploits & Adventures” I had no idea that there would be circumstances in which I‘d have to consciously decide whether to act or stand still. The BOAZ that is waiting requires me to walk forward and not be afraid to try, and as I force myself to be more impulsive and social, I was recently accused of coping –out/hesitating as a result of fear and not as a result of wisdom.
So here’s what happened:
Last Sunday, I met a guy at my church. He seemed decent, I guess. Polite. Nice. So when he asked for my number, I obliged. We talked on the phone maybe 4 times over the past week, and as of Friday night, I told him I planned on making myself available this weekend to possibly go out or get a drink, etc. So Saturday he’s calling periodically throughout the morning. Just checking in I guess we’d say. Clearly, he’s bored and I am as well.I was tinkering around the apartment, moving bedroom furniture and bookshelves just for the heck of it. (It’s what I do when the “sameness” of my life starts getting to me! Instead of shopping for new furniture, I try to create a new environment with what I have! It makes me feel like things have changed even though my money has stayed the same!)
Anyway, he’s on the phone saying he’s thinking to himself what we could do to possibly meet up, places we could go. I’m not helping him with ideas because it would be our first “unofficial” date, so I sit quietly and listen to see what he’ll come up with. It’s a gauge we use to measure a man’s creativity, and every woman does it when she meets a hopeful! I patiently listen on. His first attempt: “Well, I was thinking it would be nice if we went for a walk on the Lake”, he says.
In my head I’m thinking: We’ve got ourselves a winner! “Yeah, that would be really nice, but it’s just too hot for that today”, I respond. I smile to myself. Such a great idea! And right up my alley as far as first dates go, But with 104-degree heat and humidity that’s out of this world, a walk around the lake just wasn’t feasible. I’d be snapping his head off within the first ten minutes. Not because of him, but because I’m grossly heat-averse. As a standard RULE-of-THUMB for me: anything over 65degrees IS JUST TOO HOT TO BE OUTSIDE!I explain to him.
“Yeah, that’s what I was thinking too”, he responds softly. Dead phone air lingers for a few seconds. I’m thinking to myself.. Um, I eat everyday… at least 3xs/day, why hasn’t he just asked me to lunch or dinner?I’m thinking: we don’t have to do something outside. All the businesses in the Queen City aren’t closed just because it’s over 100 degrees…let’s find something indoors to do!
He says nothing still. So to break the silence, I say to him: “Well, its fine, no rush. You’ll come up with something. Either way, I’ve got nothing to do today, so I’ll be free”. I can tell he’s thinking, but he responds: “yeah, it’s just too hot to do anything outside”. [Dude seriously, are we back on the outside thing again?? I back-track by giving him the benefit of the doubt: maybe he’s an adventure/nature freak and craves the outdoors… uh maybe, you never know.]
The next words out of his mouth: “Well, you know…” I’m quiet, waiting for him to finish. “…you could always just come over here”.
“I’m sorry, come where?” I ask in disbelief.
“Come over to the house”, he responds coolly.
Did he really just say that?
I take a deep breath. I’m going to respond appropriately. I’m not going to get on my holier-than-thou soapbox. Maybe he really just doesn’t know better…..
I casually explain to him that since I met him exactly 7 days ago in the parking lot of our church, and have yet to even share a meal or a glass a water face-to-face in his presence, that I don’t feel comfortable being in his home. At this point, he’s still a stranger to me. As a woman of discriminating tastes and discretionary behavior, there was no way I’d be putting myself in such a compromising position. I make it clear that I’d be more at-ease if our first meeting was in a social, public setting.
He sighs, “yeah, I figured that was probably too much, but it’s just sooo hot outside, there’s nothing for us to really do”. At this point, I’m shouting at him, in my head mind you, but I’m shouting nonetheless: Dude, I do like to eat. Dinner is a pretty easy first-date stand-by, what’s the deal? Just ask me to dinner or a movie already!!
Literally 3 hours, and 2 phone calls later, he finally asks me to dinner, to which I lazily accept. I’m supposed to be giving the benefit of doubt this year, and I’m going to chalk his faux pas up to heat exhaustion. Maybe he talks out the side of his neck if he’s dehydrated or something…yeah, it’s a stretch, but I want to go to dinner, so I excuse his behavior. I just let it go.
Now, here we are Monday morning, and I’m explaining Saturday’s events to my co-worker when she says: “Girl, you should have just went to the house!”
Huh, really? Girl, are you trippin? I’m beside myself because I cannot believe she just said that.
“No, I’m not trippin’. She explains further: “You can’t live your life in fear. If something bad is going to happen to you, then you can’t stop that.” I take a good look at her because I just know that she’s knows better. She just has to. But she goes on: “Besides, even married men kill their wives who they’ve known for years, so what makes you think you can control any situation”?I’m sitting there listening to her, blinking hysterically because she’s so passionate about me putting myself out there to try new things, throwing caution to the wind.
She explains to me that she thinks that I spend too much time living in fear.
I am adamantly making a pretty strong argument that I was behaving with wisdom, not fear. I may be just entering into the dating scene, but I don’t want to date that badly where I’m open to any and everything. It’s foolish to be alone with a man in an environment that I cannot control. I just met him a week ago. There are too many unknowns for this to be a positive scenario. I don’t know if he has angryor violent tendencies; I don’t know if he’s a touchy-feely person; I don’t know if he has unsettling eyes, I don’t know if he makes me uncomfortable when I stand next to him… I just met dude for 10 minutes in a parking lot, and 7 days later it’s okay for me to be alone with him in his home? I think not!!
She looks at me like I’m lost. She laughs to herself. I’m sitting there not even looking at her, self-righteously knowing: I am right this time. I am.
She shakes her head, laughs at me again pitifully, and says: “well, you’re going to miss out on a lot, if you’re constantly afraid all the time.”
I truthfully don’t know what to say. I’m flabbergasted that she encouraged me to go to this man’s house. And she’s a fellow single, just like me. We go back and forth to no avail, and I’m lost for words. She looks pitifully at me like she knows I’ll be an old maid for the rest of my life, poor girl, she’s thinking in her head. But me, on the other hand, I begin to worry about her well-being. She’s single, and dates and goes out far more often than I do, but for her to have no regard for compromising situations that a woman can put herself in… I’m immediately worried for her. When I get back to my desk, I earnestly pray for her safety as she meets new people.I pray that God continues to keep her protected in every circumstance and situation. I think to myself: am I not as free as other women because I hesitate? Have I missed out? My spirit reminds me that when you know better, you do better. Freedom sometimes costs, but it can’t be more than I’m willing to pay. Make no mistake, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being “free to do what she wants to do without fear and hesitation” as my co-worker said it, but wisdom tells us that all freedoms should be taken within reason. Here in 2012 it’s not just open season, where every decision is free-game. We as women should be conscious of environments that could quickly get out of control if we enter into those situations blindly. Going to a man’s house, who I just met, and have only spoken with on the phone a few times, it’s a prime example of a compromising situation. Too many people, women and young girls especially, are missing today because of it.
Bottom line: When dealing with the opposite sex, I do feel that every woman should constantly behave with wisdom. If that wisdom stems from a little bit of fear because of prior experience or someone else’s experience, then so be it. In the words of MosDef “there certain things you just don’t do”. As a woman, I think I should take every precaution necessary, just in case, he isn’t who he says he is. Again, I’m not advising that a woman should walk around quaking in her stilettos whenever a man is present, but as the daughter of a Marine who constantly advises me to be aware of my surroundings and the presence of others: I’ll always advise that if a woman is in the presence of a man whom she doesn’t know very well, she should always allow herself a way of escape, be that thru other people around her or a place in which she’s familiar.
As I’m typing I’m reminded of 2Timothy 1: 7 God has not given us a spirit of fear, but a spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
To me, the power comes from knowing that if one acts with a sound mind –full of wisdom—as she dates and meets new people who hopefully won’t be strangers much longer, she won’t be powerless in any situation.