The reason I'm so outgoing, despite being an introvert, is worthy to be another story in itself. But suffice it to say, I traveled out of the country at a formative period, when I had just hit puberty, and so I had the opportunity to "practice" talking to strangers -- girls, mainly, but not exclusively -- with the freedom of conscience of knowing that if I embarrassed myself, none of it would follow me home, because I'd never see those people again when I returned to the States. As a result, I figured out how to flirt with girls and I found out that starting conversations with complete strangers was not only easy but enjoyable. And that's what I've been doing ever since.
Caitlin was unsuspecting, sitting outside my class as I left it this morning; amazingly, she found the hard-backed bench in the hallway comfortable. I can almost never find a comfortable public-access chair, couch or bench, and I suspect I'm just an unfortunate height. Or too picky, I suppose. At any rate, I asked if she was waiting for the class after mine, she said no, and then I commented on her "snake-bite" lip piercings. And that was the lead-in. Then the conversation was begun, and we talked about all sorts of things, like exercise and posture, introversion and shyness/outgoing-'itude?' (what's the accusative noun for "outgoing?"--to "have the quality of being" outgoing..? Oh well...), and then we talked about relationships, maturity, what body types are attractive, aging, gender roles and marriage.
Wow!, right? She wouldn't have spoken to me if I hadn't started the conversation. So the fact that I took the initiative led to an enjoyable dialogue. I ended up giving her my Facebook and hope to have more conversations like that in the future. I had to leave at some point, because I have a tendency to absorb people into multiple-hour conversations, and she had a class she was reading a paper for. Something about Gandhi, the background behind the famous statements he's made.
One of the things I took away from the conversation was that here was yet another nice young woman whom I happen to connect with on a 'maturity-level' basis. Yet, as I've often found, though I admit it could just be my perception, I seem to be more intellectually attracted toward such women than those a year or more younger than I, and even a large chunk of those who are my age. As it happens, she was "almost 30," she told me, and her mentioning that caused me to recall the time when I was visiting the mall to see a movie in my Freshman year. I would have been 18, and as I stood in line waiting to order at Subway, I came across a lovely young lady who was not only stunningly attractive, but had a great personality. She, to my dismay, was 27. We're simply worlds apart. Different life experiences, different immediate goals, that sort of thing. It made me think, "I can't wait until I'm 27, because that's where the 27-year olds are." It might sound silly, but the main idea is this: the independence and maturity level of girls several years older than me is highly attractive to me, and, not to promote myself, I find that I have much more in common with them. So for me to be able to find a potential love interest, I essentially have to play the waiting game. This is all fine and dandy with me, since I recognize that I'm not financially stable and independent, such that I can put time, effort and money (being broke) into pursuing someone. If an opportunity were to come by at this point, I'd miss it. So for the time being, I'm content with being single, despite the occasional pangs of loneliness.
Now, I didn't yearn to be in a romantic relationship with Caitlin, however. Instead, since I found out early in the conversation that she was in a long-term relationship with a young man, I became interested in what I could learn from her about that. To my surprise, she told me that her boyfriend "did not believe in marriage." What?? I immediately responded, "he needs to grow up/man up." She laughed affirmatively. I can sympathize with the frustration of young women who want to get married but who can't seem to find a guy who has his act together/priorities in order who can give them that. Now, I don't believe that they're in a bad relationship. I know nothing else beyond that, which is all she mentioned before we diverted the topic. But I think the boy she's been dating has a little bit of growing he needs to do. Guys who don't want to marry, ultimately, are not being responsible. They don't want to commit, in one way or another, to loving a woman full-time and not merely enjoying the benefits of a casual relationship without having to work hard and sacrifice their fleeting desires for the benefit of someone else. That's what marriage ultimately is, a mutual self-sacrifice of your wants for their needs, and comfort. There's nothing better, in my mind, as far as human relationships go. Any guy who doesn't want to get married is just in need of getting his perspective altered.
I let the cat out of the bag at that point, and asked if she thought her boyfriend would be willing to check out a motivational video if it happened to be a Christian sermon. She herself was definitely interested; I hope they both watch it. I gave her the link to Mark Driscoll's "Marriage and Men" sermon and when I get home to Facebook, I plan to give her the link to this one (which I couldn't remember the name of when we were talking):
Title: Adolescence: Boys Who Can Shave. 23 minutes in length.
This together with the "Marriage and Men" sermon have been the single two most foundational videos I've seen, with regard to forming my own understanding of my responsibility as a man and about what marriage is.
Yeah, most of the girls my age seem to not know what they want, yet. The secret that no one ever tells you in school is that girls don't actually mature faster than guys, that's only true for middle school and until the guys catch up. I've met girls in college whose immaturity would outpace even the immaturity of the worst-behaved class clown from my public school days. I seem to be more drawn to the "older women." Ladies, lest you think otherwise: maturity is sexiest. There's nothing quite as attractive as a woman with integrity. And if I can grow to be a responsible, independent young man with integrity, then that's the sort of woman I hope to meet.
~ Rak Chazak