My new favorite obsession is the show First Dates. If you haven’t watched this yet and you are a single, dating person, you are totally missing out. This show, portraying a series of blind dates, is a tutorial in human behavior and why dates work—and don’t work.
In the latest episode, a beautiful Nashville country singer shared in the pre-date interview that she waited for sex until her first marriage. Now divorced, she stated that she wanted to wait again. She is set up on a blind date with a slightly awkward, nerdy guy who tells her that he has never been kissed. Never. Not once. The show cut to a commercial and I thought, well, that’s it. She’s not going to find that attractive. It’s one thing to wait for sex, it’s another to be an adult man who has never kissed anyone.
But when the show returned from commercial, the singer’s reaction was much different than I expected. “That’s so endearing,” she said. She later agreed to a second date and before the credits, it was revealed that they are dating.
In the series this month, we talked about boundaries – generally, boundaries on physical intimacy. Such boundaries – even just the concept of them – are completely countercultural to today’s hookup society. They make us seem like prudes, out of touch, and backwards. Worse – like adult virgins, which is exactly what we are.
So we expect rejection. I don’t want to be seen as a weirdo. We put up walls, pretend falsehoods, refuse to show our true selves. I would talk about relationships and sex with friends like I was just the same as them. I can think of only two guys that I even brought up the topic of not having sex before marriage – one of them I married.
But in doing so, we shame and devalue the boundary in our own eyes. Equally important, we lose the opportunity to be a witness that we might otherwise have had. There are many ways to be a light to the world – one of them is simply to be brave enough to show our true selves to others.
I can’t promise that it won’t come without a cost. There may be lost dates, strange looks, and awkward conversations.
But that’s a small price to pay. When you find the one – the right one – he or she will not judge you or mock you for the boundary. Instead, he or she will value you and respect you all the more, hopefully because he or she shares the same boundary. It will be one more signpost on the path to true love.