Becoming Men

I learned something this week: there’s a fine line between being a sociologist and being a stalker.

Before I explain, I must make a few clarifications:

1. I believe I was being a sociologist

2. I don’t believe it counts as stalking if the one being observed is a friend

3. I wasn’t really a true sociologist because I was not an entirely objective observer

4. #3 makes #1 false, but I’m not taking it off. Maybe instead it should say, I definitely wasn’t being a stalker.

So here’s the situation. I have recently become friends with a young man here at Grove City. I’ll call him Jeff. Earlier this week, I overheard him talking with a friend about something called Operation Phi Beta Gamma. The mission included such phrases as “target engaged,” “we be bringin’ da house,” “WHO DEY! WHO DEY!” and “can a brother can an amen?” And I accurately determined they were talking about a girl.

On Monday and Tuesday, I watched as Jeff patrolled the lobby of HAL looking for this mystery target. He looked absolutely ridiculous…and even more so once I found out that he didn’t even know this girl…he just thinks she’s pretty. As you can imagine, I was very confused at this point. Several of my girlfriends were offended, saying that he was just being a typical shallow guy.

I was inclined to agree, until talking with Jeff later this week. He’s planning to ask this girl out on a date. Yes, he picked her because she’s pretty and hopes to find that there is more to her than that. “You know, it would definitely be annoying if I went through all this and found out she’s not that into Jesus.”

Then, slowly, the rationale for this absurdity became clear. Jeff’s going to ask this girl out in an effort to get to know her. He’s not particularly attached to her, making the threat of rejection less powerful. He chose a ridiculously pretty one for (in my opinion) two reasons: (1) he (like all guys) is visually stimulated and wouldn’t pick a girl he didn’t find attractive, and (2) he’s testing the waters to see just what he can get.

Ultimately, Jeff wants to be a man. He’s tired of living in fear, not taking risks, and always wondering what might have been. He doesn’t want to regret not taking every opportunity. By asking out “pretty random girl,” he’s proving to himself that he can put himself out there and be the assertive man of God that he is called to be. He said, “We’re not supposed to play it safe. We’re supposed to take risks and learn what it means to depend on God alone. It’s what we were made for. I don’t want a safe, easy life.”

So, in conclusion, I think there are other ways for Jeff to practice being a man. This whole “test” seems pretty stupid to me. I’m not sure he even knows this girl, and from what I know of her, I don’t think she’s the kind of wife that he’s trying to get. Yet I also don’t see much harm in it, as one of two things will happen. First, he may learn that she does have a steadfast faith and similar calling and they spend the rest of their lives together. Or, he spends time with her, realizes she’s none of the things he’s looking for, and that’s the end of it. He’s not emotionally invested in this – which, as an aside, is an incredibly refreshing state of mind because it’s so different from the typical GCC first date in which the whole relationship has already been decided by the time the date actually happens…but I digress.

In short, as silly as the whole thing sounds, the fact that Jeff is “practicing” being a man really impressed me. I don’t know how it turned out, or if he’s even asked her yet, and I probably won’t report it on this blog either way. The point it not to gossip about his personal life. However, I do want to say that I hope she at least agrees to go out on the date. Do I think this is the start of a great relationship? Probably not. Still, I hope she says yes when he takes this risk, so that he’s willing to do it again in the future. Maybe it will even encourage his friends to try it, too.

So, to all the “random pretty girls” out there, please say yes if a Jeff asks you out. It’s just one date, not a life-long commitment.

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