As the scope of my 30 Dates by 30 challenge has expanded, more and more people have contacted me about it. I’ve heard from friends I haven’t seen for years, either to volunteer a friend as one of the thirty, or to give feedback about the challenge and the blog. However one of my friends had a more unique request.
She writes for a Christian blog called Threads and asked me to consider using the blog to hunt for one of the thirty dates, who would be known as ‘The Christian’ in my blog. I was asked to write a piece about my Challenge, my own personal religious beliefs, and any pre-conceptions I might have of dating a Christian man. I’ve copied the article below, but will also add a link so you can see it live on the Threads blog, including feedback from Threads readers (which included the response ‘Hands off our men!”). You can also view the article on Threads to find out if any readers have volunteered to date me yet!
While some of my closest friends are Christian, I’ve never dated anyone religious before.
My name, for the purposes of this article, is Miss29, and as my name may suggest, I’m a 29-year-old single girl. One who is currently embarking on a lot of blind dates!
Just over a month ago I found myself on the perfect date. The type that gives you butterflies in your tummy and makes you try out your name with a different surname and a ‘Mrs’ before it. And then, out of nowhere, after two successful dates, and two weeks of non-stop calls and texts, Henley Boy (as he’s now known) never called me again. The whole experience left me rather jaded. I’d put so much work into finding someone I believed was right for me, only for it to go completely wrong, but with absolutely no explanation.
In a moment of despair, keen not to wallow in my own self-pity for too long, I posted a status on Facebook asking friends to recommend 30 blind dates for me to go on before my 30th birthday at the end of September. I wanted to inject some fun into my final summer as a 20-something singleton, and reignite my enthusiasm for first dates; as well as date guys I wouldn’t class as my usual ‘type’.
The response was astonishing. At the request of others I created a blog and a Twitter feed, and three weeks and seven dates in, the blog has had 15,000 views.
As far as religion goes, I consider myself a liberal atheist. I was brought up to respect other people’s beliefs, and so unless someone is aggressively forcing their religious beliefs on others, or carrying out acts of violence in the name of a religion, I have very little opinion. Individual beliefs belong to the individual. Personally, I don’t believe in a god, and never have done. I’ve had some negative experiences with this in the past, particularly when I was heavily involved in Scouting & Guiding (multi-faith organisations where leaders are expected to have ‘some’ spiritual belief).
While some of my closest friends are Christian, I’ve never dated anyone religious before. As an adult I think this is because I feel that in your 20s, if you are religious, it’s normally a very big part of your life. I know very few Christians who are half-hearted in their beliefs at this point in life. And so while I have very close friends who are heavily involved in the Church, I’ve never really considered dating a Christian, because I’ve always assumed our views would be too different.
For me one of the biggest stumbling blocks is sex. While I’m by no means promiscuous, sex has always played a big part in my adult relationships, and so I struggle with the idea of not having sex before marriage, as I would like to know if I’m sexually compatible with the person I’m going to spend the rest of my life with. Similarly, some of my more religious friends don’t believe in cohabitation before marriage, but I would never marry someone I hadn’t lived with first, because I believe you see a very different side of people when you are around them literally 24 hours a day. These are fundaments of a long-term relationship for me, and so, assuming these are not considerations for a Christian man, I have never considered dating anyone with strong religious views.
The other cliché that religious guys in their 20s also face is the stigma that they’re boring. I realise how sweeping this statement is, and with good friends who married devoutly Christian men, I know this isn’t always true. There is always a suggestion that someone who has devoted a great deal of their teenage and adult years to religion may have missed out on experiences which other men find formative. Drunken lads’ holidays to tacky Greek islands. Freshers Week drinking binges. Obviously not all Christians are tee-total, but the most religious boys I knew at university never drank, and often seemed awkward around those who were drinking.
A Christian friend of mine sent me the threads Girl About Town piece Flirt to convert and I got an insight into the anguish she felt at dating someone with different religious beliefs.
But, the thing is, I’m up for being proved wrong about Christian men. While I’m not out to convert anyone to my liberal atheism nor do any converting myself, my 30 blind dates challenge is all about opening my eyes to the different types of men that are out there. Surely it can’t be true that all Christian men are boring!
So here’s where you come in.
I’m looking for a fun Christian guy to join me on a date in mid-September. The good people at threads Towers have offered to help me in my search to find The Christian. If you’re up for meeting me, having a good time, maybe having a debate on the existence of God(!) then write a comment below, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
I’m looking forward to meeting you…
Miss Twenty-Nine xxx