Sunday, February 19, 2006

Got religion?

I went out with my new friend, Chi, for the evening. She was invited to a karaoke party in SJ. So I met up with her and we went together.

On the drive down the freeway, she mentioned that she had coffee with the guy she'd hate a date with last week. I happily asked her how things were going between the two of them. Last week she had been concerned about a difference in age between them. This time she started by implying that it had worked out. Then she revealed that the concern was traded in for a bigger quandary. It turns out that he's Mormon.

Geez I felt like we were walking parallel universes. I couldn't help think about my own religious question. Chi didn't know much about Mormons. I told her that I knew many in high school and some notions of their beliefs and practices. I tried not to reveal too much as I didn't want to negatively bias her, but my comments did confirm her own limited knowledge.

Who would guess that a Korean-American would be Mormon? His father attended BYU and converted. Her date completed his mission, which explained why one might think he's younger than he actually is. She's very perplexed by the situation. After all, if someone's is traditionally religious, why would one choose to date a non-religious person? When Chi asked this, my rationale was that perhaps he is having trouble meeting someone within his own groups and is trying to find someone who would be open-minded. What needs to be determined is how devout he is to his religious principles and what his expectations would be of his non-religious spouse.

It was so bizarre to talk through this since I had been asking this myself. She was really frustrated and confused. He clearly is interested in her as he makes sure to talk to her on a regular basis and arranges the next date before the previous one ends. He invited over to his place for dinner this Tuesday. She was pretty honest about it, besides the other "rules," she wants to know his stance on pre-marital sex. I said it for her, people want a test drive before they buy the car. Maybe it's early to talk about, but these are things to keep in mind.

In the end, I think we both agreed to let it go for a little while. She has every right to say no and slow things down if he initiates more physical contact with her after dinner. Since it's not clear yet that anyone wants a relationship, you might as well just be yourself and get to know each other. I suggested that if in a few more dates the question do not resolve themselves, then it's fair to have a direct conversation about it. That seemed to be reasonable for Chi.

I didn't get long to share my experience, but I had to ask for her assessment. She knew about the three-person dinner. I think she was a confused as I am about the "wingman." She thought that perhaps this was KT's way to explore a few things in a casual way. I gave her a quick synopsis of the evening to demonstrate that it was a normal, get-to-know type of dinner. She did encourage me to still pursue communication with him regardless of any action he takes. Her opinion was that it wouldn't hurt to try and won't change the outcome.

I gave her an example of the e-mail I planned to write, to say that I enjoyed the dinner and wanted to know the name of the restaurant that he mentioned. Chi said that wasn't enough and if he replied that I needed to follow up and suggest that we go eat there sometime. I griped that I just wish men would try at least for a little while. Her explanation is that women have always needed to do the work because men won't.

On the way home, we briefly also talked about dating preferences - the big question about dating white men. It's interesting talking to Chi because I feel like our heads have been on the same track. She's positive marriage will happen, but she also acknowledges that children may not happen the way she imagines in. Adoption is a viable option if marriage comes late. The question is whether to be open to more options in order to find the right man.

Dating is so tiring yet we all want to find that happy place. What makes this such as hard goal? Why are there so many of us, women and men, who are good people but can't find the right connection?

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