Here's a question.  I choose to ask my fellow followers of Christ for some experience-based advice on this one.  Not a big issue, to be sure, but one I was mulling over today.

A little background first.  I am 24, going to school part time and working full time, am a lifelong Christian, was homeschooled, am a member at an Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and believe in practicing "courtship" (similar to Joshua Harris's I Kissed Dating Goodbye and others).  I hope that explains enough.

Therefore, I'm not one of those guys who looks to get laid, or who goes on random dates.  Not my thing.  I'm not looking for random physical relationships that will fail, rather believe that romantic relationships should be basically an experiment intended to lead to marriage.

Most women I know through some sort of channel (friend, coworker, classmate, fellow parishioner, a friend of a friend, you get the idea) where there is already some common ground.  If she's a brand new acquaintance, and I think she might share some similar beliefs or views, then I have a chance to get to know her.  Per what I said above it pretty much goes without saying that I won't be asking every attractive girl out on a date-fling.

A problem has arisen in recent months, however.  Tell me if I'm just being dumb about it.

Take today, for instance.  I'm a biology major, and spent a portion of the afternoon at my local arboretum.  I made a purchase (birthday present for a friend) at the gift shop and the cashier was a drop-dead gorgeous girl.  She was dressed modestly (I don't have Amish requirements, but it's a biblical plus if her breasts aren't hanging out for all to see), at least not negatively disposed to plants therefore botany therefore science (one might reasonably assume anyway) which is a must to me.  There was a line behind me.  Problem!

I discussed a similar problem last summer on the normal forums, ran into an ecology major at a science lecture and missed an opportunity (she disappeared), but that one is easier because I have time and common ground.

What to do when you have about 30 seconds?  It is not my intent to be a "shallow" guy, but it's never a bad thing when the girl is beautiful and you find yourself attracted. 

I am not worried, and know that if God wills it, he will drop someone right in front of my nose, but at the same time, when such events are occuring I find myself wondering (well, what if God wants you to find out more right now?).  You never know, right?

So is there a solution to this problem, a biblical one, without resorting to a ridiculous, suggestive pickup line?  The humor of the whole situation is not lost on me, and maybe I am not good at this off-the-cuff stuff (perform much better when the woman in question becomes an acquaintance), and I can't very well go up and say, "Hi, I just want to buy this please.  Since you're so gorgeous, I just have to ask, are you a Christian? No, ok...thanks bye!  Yes?  Ok, I have more questions please, sorry to hold up your line...."

What's a man to do?  Thoughts, brethren?  Anyone have experience with this?  I will admit that I have been a bit surprised to find in recent months (going on a year now) that I'm getting the urge to settle down and it's only making my subconcious "prowl" more, so these events are likely to increase.  Therefore any experience from married Christian men is of great help to me.  And even if you're still single, experience-based advice is great period!


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Go back and buy something else.  Then ask her if she'd like to have lunch sometime.  If she's available, she'll let you know.  If she's dating someone, she'll gently turn you down.  Don't take that as a rejection of YOU.   Conduct yourself as a gentleman, at all times.

If you're into courting, and not dating, then ask her at the first opportunity if you can meet her parents.   If she says yes, find out a little about her mother, and bring her a small gift.  Address her parents as "Mr" and "Mrs" _____. 

I've been married to the same woman for 34 years, because I saw her, and fell in love, and pursued her. 


then ask her at the first opportunity if you can meet her parents.  

I'm not into this whole courting culture, but if one approached any reasonably sane woman with this proposition, that would be a huge red flag.

I completely agree. There are billions of people in the world and we are supposed to pick one and say "when can I meet your parents; oh by the way my name is Paul?" That just screams psychopath / stalker. After 30 minutes of talking both people might realize this relationship is not going to go anywhere so there is no reason to even mention parents.

The early meet-the-parents is one of my chief beefs with Harris' ideas on a practical level. For his plan to work out, it requires the boy and the girl to be familiar with his concepts and like them - and for at least her parents to be, too. I have good evangelical parents, but no way would they have wanted to be involved in my romantic life in the way Harris suggests. While I know lots of people who have read the books and married other people who have read the books, I don't know anyone who had the parental support (and church support) to follow them precisely.

Nor did Harris himself. His wife's father wasn't a Christian and lived 2,000 miles away when he started courting/dating her. Harris talked to him a couple times on the phone.

I'd invite the women to a group event they might enjoy, then to coffee afterwards if they show up. "Are you interested in plants outside of work? My university is having a public lecture on modified leaves. Let me write down my email address so I can give you the details if you're interested." Obviously, that takes some quick thinking in terms of thinking about a connection, remembering an upcoming event, and coming up with this line. I expect it'd get easier with practice. Also, it's easier if you are always asking yourself, "What events am I going to soon that I could invite others to? What events do I attend regularly that I could invite others to?"Neither I nor Josh Harris consider meeting for coffee a date. At coffee, you can subtly figure out religion stuff. "What do you do on weekends?" usually works.My husband got around all this by giving me his business card (It's still up on our refrigerator) and saying, "I'd be happy to continue this conversation. Here's my card," but that conversation was more than 30 seconds.

This is the whole problem with "courting" (as I understand it from your post) or "not going on random dates."

You can't pre-screen your date candidates. That's because the date is the screening process. It's not a negative thing, necessarily, to be going on a lot of dates or dates with random people that one meets. Just because people go on a date together doesn't make them promiscuous or anything like that.

I recommend having a conversation like a normal human being with the prospective woman. If you click, go for asking for her number or something. You can't hit a home run unless you swing. And you might as well know up front that you're going to strike out many times.

Anyway, I will admit a limited knowledge of "courting". But it just seems like an throw-back concept that helps its subscribers, particularly the men, feel like knights-in-shining-armor for their damsels in distress. The guy who wrote the book on it is probably a genius for finding such an easy way to sell books by pushing a concept that already exists and giving it a fancy new (old) name.

And if damsels really are in distress...? [He doesn't put it that way, but it is a premise of at least the first book. Male headship, etc.]

Hey, Spencer...I've got a word picture for you.  Imagine you want to take a trip to a town in a distant state, but you decide not to drive.  No airports are close by, so you're left with two options: go by Amtrack (the passenger train) or take Grayhound (the bus).  Both forms of transportation will get you there, and both have their drawbacks and perks.  You decide on Grayhound, thining you'll see more of the country, get to take more stops, and have a safer trip, particularly since you've heard numerous stories about the Amtrack train going off its rails on this trip, and you want to avoid the risks.

Now, let's say your bus driver gets caught in traffic, gets delayed by road construction, or gets behind some slow moving vehicles.  Would you suggest that your bus driver hop on a train-track somewhere?  Of course not.  Buses don't travel on train tracks--you can't just mix the two systems.  Well, Spencer, you're on a journey.  You want to wind up with a spouse---and you've chosen a way to get there.  And unfortunately, you just can't mix the two "routes".

Your values are telling you to follow the courtship route.  That means developing a friendship and getting to know the individual, probably through a friend or family member, and making values and "internals" a priority, looking at personality and compatibility prior to looking at outward appearance.   Yet, when you meet someone "gorgeous"---someone you don't even know, by the way, you want to work that into your chosen system.  But the route you're taking doesn't lend itself to what you want to do.  I suggest you stay true to your values.


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