How Not to Get a Date With An Unmarried (Female) Pastor

After a three-week series of reflections on “What I Didn’t Learn In Seminary,” I hope you enjoy this slight departure from theological reflection.

“You got a husband?”

“No,” I said, sliding my credit card through the machine, approving $9.80 in light bulbs.

The salesman punched a few buttons on his cash register. My head was down, my eyes on the tiny PIN keypad. I could feel him looking at the top of head.

“You got a boyfriend?”

I am rarely tempted to lie. I believe in following the Ten Commandments. But if I said, “yes,” the conversation would likely end. I could get my light bulbs and go home. Perhaps I could get away with bearing false witness just this once.

“No,” I muttered, led not into temptation.

He was quiet, and I thought that maybe God was rewarding my truth-telling choice. He handed me the paper receipt and the plastic bag. I looked up from the machine, and he was smiling.

“You got a phone number?”

Forget truth telling.

“No.”

Gentlemen, I realize that it takes a lot of courage to ask for a woman’s phone number. I’m sure that there are a number of blog posts that you could write about the awful things that girls have said in response to your interest. I appreciate the risks that you take in asking us girls out. I even give Light Bulb Dude an A for his effort.

Well, maybe not an A. But at least a B. Or a B-minus? I'm being too generous, right?

Every relationship begins with a first impression. First impressions can also end a relationship before it even begins. Driving home from the hardware store, I reflected on similar encounters I've had over the years. With the help of some old diaries and notes, I remembered that these first impressions had me fibbing, looking for the nearest exit, or both. If you or someone you know is looking for a date with an unmarried female pastor, I highly recommend thinking twice before trying these tactics.

The stories you are about to read are 100% true and happened to me. Names and locations have been somewhat changed to protect the innocent.

1. In the parking lot of a certain superstore that begins with the letter “W,” I return my cart to its designated spot. A man says to me, “Hey, girl, you single?” I say nothing and walk back towards my car. He calls after me, “Guess you ain’t. Sure wish you was.”

Since being a minister involves a lot of writing and speaking, correct grammar goes a long way in a first impression. Complete sentences do, too. Location is important. Try to avoid any part of anonymous superstore beginning with “Wal-” and ending in “Mart” to find a date.

2. On a quiet, sunny, cool day, I’m riding my bicycle through a beautiful, historic cemetery near the Mississippi River. Suddenly from a grave comes a whistle—the whistle of a man who sees a woman he finds attractive. Given that this is a cemetery, and the noise came from the ground, I scream and pedal away. Glancing back over my shoulder, a gravedigger climbs out of a hole in the ground – shovel in hand and eyes searching for girl on bike.

I always appreciate an opportunity to think about what “resurrection” means. I had to write a whole essay about death and resurrection for my ordination, and perhaps Whistling Gravedigger had some insight from his job to help me. Who knows what I could've learned from him if he'd made a better first impression? Next time, consider stepping out of the grave before whistling. Also, a greeting of “hello” or “hi” or “nice bike” is preferable to a high-pitched noise.

3. I’m debating between two brands of turkey bacon at the local grocery store. A man is standing nearby. He clears his throat. I look up. He says, “How come you ain’t got no ring on that there left hand?”

See response to #1. What goes for the parking lot of "W store" also goes for the meat aisle at the non-W store.

4. An organ recording of “Just As I Am” is playing. The funeral home directors have rolled the casket into the chapel. The pallbearers are lined up two by two, awaiting their turn to enter. Robed with Bible in hand, I stand behind them, the end of the modest procession. The last pallbearer on the right turns to me and whispers, “So, um, what are you doing after?”

Grief makes us say and do some crazy things at inopportune times. As a minister, I try to believe the best of people, so I’m giving Last Pallbearer on The Right the benefit of the doubt. I’ll tell myself that he was sad and in need of listening ear. However, timing is still key when it comes to a successful first impression in any kind of relationship. Before asking her out, ask yourself, “Is this a bad time?”

Single Gentlemen, thank you for hearing my suggestions.

Married Ladies and Gentlemen, I'd appreciate it if you passed along these suggestions to your unmarried friends.

Single Ladies, if you need a gold band to wear on “that there left hand” while shopping, there’s a lovely selection at the “W” store.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian