I looked at the card in my hand. I turned it over and over and thought of one hundred and three reasons not to call. Seventy Five of those reasons were all variations on the theme of the number turning out to be fake and ending in various levels of embarrassment for me depending on who I actually reached on the other end. The rest still ended in embarrassment for a wider variety of reasons. Not calling left me with the fantasy or possibility of a reality where it was a legit number and calling it led me to a date with a model if I wanted that. I could always keep the card in my wallet, pull it out with friends as we ate sanchoes at the Jolly Tamale, and talk about the model I could always get a date with if I wanted to. My friends would take the card, pass it around, maybe even sniff it for perfume and hand it back with awe and reverence.
“A model.” I said out loud to myself. “No way can I pass this up and ever live with myself…” I’d been in a long, serious relationship (we planned out our dream home and names for all our potential spawn, if that’s not serious I don’t know what is), I dated a couple girls after that and had recently had my heart demolished by a girl named Shelley. Dating a model was probably shooting a little higher than made sense when I was just trying to get confidence back to do any dating at all but if the opportunity never came again I’d always have this story to tell my cats when I was 40 and living alone. Under the influence of that apocalyptic vision I dialed the number.
“Hello?” It sounded like her. “Hi, this is Brian, I, um, we, uh, met at the coffee shop the other night…”
“Oh! I was beginning to think you’d never call!” Ah, sweet relief! She knew who I was, unless she’d passed her number out in a bunch of coffee shops lately, and it even sounded like she’d been hoping I’d call.
“Well, I was wondering if you’d like to go out Friday night…”
And quicker and easier than it had even been in my imagination the deed was done. Friday night I’d pick her up, we’d go out, catch a movie, grab some pizza with some friends and see where it went from there.
The complication in all this was that my life had been changing recently. It’s really too long to go into here but I’d gone from being a Christian by virtue of being born in America to being a Christian because I chose to trade in my old for something brand new. I was just getting used to the whole ‘new life’ thing when this came up. The tricky part in this was that I’d been, well, for a nerd, pretty involved with a couple girls and had had dates that ended with more clothing off than on. (Actually I suppose it was two thirds of the way through the date where there were more clothes off than on, they were usually all back on by the end of the date.) Discretion, potential lawsuits and my mom being a regular reader here will keep me from saying more. What I was trying to figure out was just what dating looked like, particularly the “I guess we’re alone now” part. I wasn’t a theologian or even a Bible Bowl (google it) champ but I was pretty sure that Jesus was not cool with some of the ‘clothing optional’ stuff I’d done with dates in the past.
I grew up going to church off and on and gone through confirmation class at a well-known denomination in my home town of Rochester. What I learned in confirmation class was to basically not take the Bible too seriously, according to the pastor, and basically be a decent sort of person. I also learned something about Amy. Amy always made me feel like she was vastly superior to me. In confirmation class when we went outdoors she would even sit facing me on a step a couple steps up from where I sat. If we were in a novel or short story I’d criticize the obvious symbolism. Unfortunately it was real life. But what I learned about Amy was that from my lowly position I could see up Amy’s pretty Sunday dress and see that Amy wore panties that were covered with little kid’s cartoon characters. I was so over Underoos and never felt inferior around Amy again. But at the time I didn’t really take the whole God thing very seriously. I figured I could be a decent enough person without the school on Sundays, the old songs and the long talks.
So now here I was, years later and suddenly God was important to me. Figuring out how to live if He was with me became pretty critical. I searched the Bible for dating rules and came up empty. This was important stuff but especially important if I was going out on a date with a model on Friday. Could clothing still be optional?
…to be continued…