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I was 35 and very single. Frankly, I thought I might have taken the plunge 10 years prior like my parents had before me. Even my younger brother John was already married and they had a child.
I was feeling as though life was passing me by.
While most of my single friends have always shied away from being set up on blind dates, I was wide open to them. Perhaps it was because my parents met on a blind date. Or maybe it was because I had an adventurous spirit.
No, I wasn't the type to go bungee jumping, but I felt perfectly at home "bungee jumping" in a social sense.
I've never met a stranger. One of my favorite things to do is strike up conversations with absolute strangers and make them smile.
Not to mention the fact that I would rather have a good conversation than almost anything else. Most guys might clam up, feeling at a loss for words - on a first date in particular. By contrast, I was a radio talk show host!
For me, blind dates were an adrenaline rush. I didn't avoid them, I sought them out. Everyone and their mother was setting me up. Not to mention the fact that there were a number of single female listeners who were well aware of my single status - leading to even more dates. I was open to meeting the future Mrs. McManus in traditional or non-traditional ways. Just as long as I met her!
I remember taking one woman out on a Friday night to Canyon Café. Before we even had a chance to look at the menu, she grilled me with a list of theologically-focused questions.
"Do you think you can lose your salvation? If not, what verse would you cite to prove your assurance of salvation?" she asked without pausing for a breath.
I was totally taken off guard. I couldn't hide my look of bewilderment. We had just met for the first time about 15 minutes beforehand. I felt like I was in the middle of some kind of "Twilight Zone" episode.
"Do you mind if we order our appetizer first?" I pleaded.
Later, when our waiter refused to respond to my hand signals for him to call 911 on my behalf, I shared with her that, no, I did not believe that Christians could lose their salvation.
I cited I John 5:11-13 which says, "And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life."
Besides my salvation, the only other thing I was assured of was that there would not be a second date with Miss Inquisitor!
One Friday night, my friend Todd Reid and I visited another church's singles group which was hosting a spaghetti dinner social. As I twirled the noodles around my plastic white fork, I struck up a conversation with one woman, I'll call her Mary, inviting her and her girlfriend on a double date with Todd and I to dinner at Taipei Restaurant the following week. Todd and I also planned to take the women to hear Todd Phillips speak at Metro, a powerful Christian singles weekly gathering, at Castle Hills First Baptist Church across the street following dinner.
As I drove home that Friday night, I felt compelled to call Mary to ask her out on a solo date before the big double date. She was really cute and I wanted to see where it might go. In hindsight, I should never have picked up the phone.
"Hey Mary, it's Adam. I really enjoyed meeting you tonight. In fact, I was thinking that we could get to know each other a little better before our double date next week. What do you think?"
"So where would you like to go?" I asked.
"Well, I love steak. Can you afford that?"
"Oh my." I thought. "I really know how to pick them. What was she thinking?" I wasn't 16, borrowing my Dad's car and flipping burgers to pay for gas money. I was in my mid-30's, in professional employment and now wondering what her deal was.
"Yeah, I can afford that. Did you have a particular restaurant in mind? Do you like Saltgrass, Outback or what?"
"Are you sure you can afford to buy me a steak?" she repeated.
I couldn't recall making a profession of lifetime poverty and living a life of solitude as a monk in the Texas Hill Country at the spaghetti social just hours beforehand.
"Mary, yes I can buy you a steak. That's not a problem. Were you thinking about Morton's or something?"
At this point, I had an impulse to blurt out: "I'm sorry. I think I dialed the wrong number. I was trying to ask out a normal woman on a normal date!"
Sadly, reason did not triumph. We settled on Outback Steakhouse for the following Tuesday.
After she got in the car and we had some small talk, she asked, "So, what do your two younger brothers do for a living?"
I thought to myself, "That's nice. She's trying to get to know me a little better. Maybe there's some hope yet."
"Well, John is a Congressional legislative aide and Tim is a COO of a hospital."
10 minutes passed as we discussed each other's background before she asked me a question I could not possibly have anticipated.
"Adam, what do your two younger brothers do for a living?"
I'm sure I pulled a double take as she sat in my passenger seat. Why was she asking me the same question twice? Maybe she was nervous. Maybe she had forgotten the answer.
Despite the déjà vu moment, I patiently replied, "John is a Congressional legislative aide and Tim is a COO of a hospital."
"Oh," she said, as if she was hearing the answer for the first time. I would have rolled my eyes had we not been on our first date.
I changed the subject and mentioned that I enjoyed teaching the kindergarten Sunday School class at Harvest. In fact, I looked forward to having a large family, perhaps six kids.
I know what you're thinking. Mentioning a desire for six kids probably wouldn't be on GQ Magazine's "Top Ten List of Things You Should Say on Your First Date." But it was honest. And, frankly, I felt like I had nothing to lose.
Without batting an eyelash, Mary simply stated in a monotone, almost zombie-like trance of a voice, and with the pace of NASCAR, "I want a baby. I want a baby. I want a baby."
"Alrighty then," I thought to myself. "What on earth is she doing? Why did she just say the same thing three times in a row?"
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