Fools in Love – Part II

image“It’s easy to fool the eye, but it’s hard to fool the heart.” -Al Pacino

The last time I heard from Nick the Strict, he sent me flowers at the office along with a card reminding me to fix my eyes on Jesus. I want to say that he’s a sweet, Christian man, but he’s one of those guys who speaks fluent Christianese and is always ready with a Jesus Juke.

Basically, when Nick opens his mouth to talk about Jesus, it makes me want to punch him in the face. And I’m a fellow Christian. Jesus Jukes: Just don’t do them, people. 

Nick has been texting me on and off for the past few weeks, despite my repeated rejections of his romantic overtures (seeing a theme here, folks?). Two weeks ago, he sent an out-of-the-blue text: “How have you been lately?”

I replied: “Hey! Life is good. How are you?”

Instead of sending a normal I’m-doing-great-thanks response, he wrote back: “Good to hear. God is doing great things. I’m joyful.” See what I mean about the Christianese?

On Tuesday this week, he reached out again, more forward than ever. “Good morning! So when do you want to come by for homemade pizza?”

Considering I have already told him that I’m not interested, he lives 45 minutes north of town, and I wouldn’t want to drive 45 minutes for pizza at the house of a guy I was actually dating… no. But thanks for playing.

“You are persistent, aren’t you?!” I wrote back. Take the hint, dude. Don’t make me spell it out for you again. 

“Always looking out for you. My pizza is good – even better than my flowers!” Then another text came through: “Ok wee u there”.

Wee u there? What? …and then another text: “Ignore that last one it was confirmation for a tee time”.

Annoyed, I waited a while to reply, so he tried again: “So are you going to bake dessert? What day?”

Finally, I sent a text back saying, “I’m actually seeing someone, so I don’t think he’d appreciate my coming out to see you. Thanks though.” If he wouldn’t accept my straight-up rejection, maybe his uber godliness would require him to back off if I made reference to one of my other suitors.

Nick’s reply? “Good to hear. I hope he is a godly man. God bless you in Jesus name. May your relationship be filled with joy and gladness.”

Like I said: I want to say he’s a sweet, Christian man. But he seriously needs to find a woman who appreciates Jukes in the name of Jesus.

Authentically Aurora

It’s Raining Men

It's raining menI keep thinking that I should take a break from dating. It’s been a hell of a year, and my heart needs a rest from the angst, stress and trauma of dating. It’s exhausting.

People tell me all the time, “You’re young! You’ve got time! Don’t be anxious about your singleness!” They don’t realize that I’m not anxious about my singleness. I’m not worried about getting married. I actually enjoy seasons of singleness, and I do hope to one day be married. The part that gives me angst is the season of dating. If there are no men in my life, great! If I’m married to my soul mate, great! But this in between gray area of I’m-not-sure-what-we-are-but-you’re-cute makes me break out in proverbial hives.

Do I like him? Does he like me? Do I like him more than he likes me? Are we exclusive? Is he seeing other people? Is he comparing me to his ex-girlfriend? Should I call him or wait for him to call me? Should I offer to pay? Is he going to kiss me? Should I dress up or dress down? When will I see him next? Do I want to see him again? Is this headed toward marriage, or is this just a fling?

Since my broken engagement last summer, I’ve been on dates with John, Nick, David, JonathanVictor, Philip, Flynn, Bryan and several others I didn’t blog about because either we only saw each other once or the dates were too bland to be notable. In December, I started to filter out unsuitable candidates in favor of Flynn and Bryan. By January, Bryan had earned himself exclusive dating rights (not that he ever claimed them).

After breaking up with Bryan in April, I seriously considered taking some time to sit back and re-evaluate my life – not just my love life. It’s been a whirlwind for as long as I can remember, and I tend to do well in long seasons of singleness. I’ve had multiple three-year stints of singleness that were some of the happiest stretches of my life. But the men just keep coming.

I’m not even seeking them out. Old eHarmony matches have come out of the woodwork, new guys have asked me out at church, and one guy even asked for my number at the retreat in front of my ex-fiance. Classic.

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve had flowers sent to my apartment by one suitor and to my office by another. I’ve been taken golfing and have been escorted to the symphony. And these are just some of the messages I have received by would-be boyfriends:






Some of them are very sweet and affectionate, which is refreshing after Bryan, but none of them are clear winners. K is a very negative person, N does not share my faith, S has zero emotional intelligence, P is anti-vaccinations, G1 is deep in debt, and I know G2 to be a player. The only one with any potential is J, and we just went on our first date this past weekend.

I am still hearing from Bryan, too. He called me from London on Saturday and asked me to join him in Spain for two weeks come September.

I told him that I don’t have much vacation left. He told me life is too short not to be spontaneous, and besides, I’m probably leaving this job soon anyway.

I told him that I can’t handle more than one week with him at a time. He told me that he recalls things got a lot better (*wink, wink) after the first week of our sailing trip. He has a point… but of course I didn’t let him know that.


Again, I state:  Dating is exhausting.

Authentically Aurora

Churchill Wasn’t Talking About Dating

passive-aggressiveI don’t know whether to be impressed or appalled by Nick’s insatiable enthusiasm for persisting in trying to date me.

I can appreciate his Churchill-like perseverance, but I’m pretty sure Churchill’s famous “never give in” speech wasn’t about dating. In war, be persistent. In love, be perceptive.

After the Dutch steak debacle, I thought Nick and I were through rehashing our non-relationship. But then I got this text:

photoSo he wanted to get dinner with me, but when I told him I had other plans, he decided that he couldn’t even stay until the end of math practice. Does that seem a bit passive-aggressive to anyone else? Especially when, shortly thereafter, he sent me another text referencing the profile picture associated with my gmail account:

CaptureSee, this is why I love math. Math is black and white. Your answer is either right or wrong. And there’s no revisiting the answer multiple times.

Math doesn’t create drama. Math doesn’t invite you to undefined steak dinners. Math is simple and straightforward.

Math doesn’t give mixed signals or go all passive-aggressive on you. Math doesn’t make obscure sports references in an effort to quantify your level of attractiveness.

Relationships with Math exist without ambiguity. People either love or hate Math. And Math either loves or hates people.

Math is basically the best boyfriend ever. So peace out, Nick. I’m spoken for. I’m committed to my relationship with Math.

Authentically Aurora

a + n ≠ ♥

Cute math teacherRemember Nick the Strict – the handsome, athletic, good-with-kids church volunteer who thought it was a good idea to take me running for our second date (um, false) and then condemned painting images of Jesus as idolatry (negatory, bro)?

He’s back.

Those of you who are regular readers might be concerned for my sanity and emotional well being (always a legitimate concern, regardless of the presence of Nick the Strict in my life), but don’t worry. Nick the Strict is only back in my life; not in my love life. I’m not that crazy.

You  may recall that Nick is a junior high math teacher. You may also recall that I recently posted about how I am now volunteering to coach Math Club at a local middle school. And the more brilliant of you may by now have put two-and-two together and realized that – yes – it was Nick the Strict who got me involved in my math coaching gig.

Nick called me out of the blue on a Saturday in early January. I hadn’t heard from him since our fiasco of a last date several months ago, but I answered. He was at a weekend math competition and confessed to me, “These kids are little geniuses, but I don’t know how to lead them. We need someone like you who has competed in this kind of arena before.”

I thought about it, prayed about it, and realized that I hadn’t been so excited about anything in a long time. Pretty nerdy to get stoked about teaching math to kids, but there you have it. A week later, I was in a classroom teaching kids about doing base conversions in their heads.

It only took about two weeks for Nick the Strict to make another pass at dating me. He sent me a text one evening: “Hey Aurora. Would you like to join me for dinner after math club on Thursday? I want to try this new steakhouse near the school.”

I knew my answer the instant I saw the text, but I took my time in crafting a diplomatic response: “I like steak. 🙂  How do you feel about going Dutch?”

I waited with anxious anticipation for how he would respond to my delicate rejection of his pseudo-date request. So when I saw his text reply light up the screen on my iPhone, I just sighed and rolled my eyes. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Nick the Strict was never the most brilliant of my suitors.

“What? Lol, I don’t know any Dutch steak houses at all.”

Oh, Nick. Don’t you know that “going Dutch” has nothing to do with windmills or wooden shoes?

I sent him a screenshot of an online dictionary’s definition of what it means to go Dutch. His response: “I would like to treat you. However, if you feel you want to pay for yourself, no problem. We could go dutch at a casual Italian place next door.”

So now that it’s clearly no longer a date, you don’t want to go to the steakhouse at all. Nice.

“That’s okay,” I told him. “I’ll just come teach, and we’ll leave it at that.”

Why does everything in life have to be so complicated?

Authentically Aurora

Nick the Strict – Part III

Akiane Co-creation

When Nick and I met up for our second date (the aforementioned “fun” walk in the park), it was blessedly only 97 degrees outside – not even triple digits! It was perfect walking weather such that my foundation only partially melted off of my face. I had chosen a preppy-but-athletic look, sporting a bright pink tank top with black running shorts and sparkly stud earrings (seriously, girls, what do you wear for a date like this?!). I will say that Nick looked good in his black athletic tee and basketball shorts, although I’m not sure how he didn’t sweat to death.

He had arrived at the park nearly twenty minutes early and, for some unknown reason, felt the need to text me to let me know that he was already there. I, of course, then felt rushed and stressed as I dashed home from work to change and then got back behind the wheel to drive to the park in rush hour traffic. Needless to say, my greeting smile was a bit forced as I screeched into a parking spot next to the walking trail.

We had a nice conversation at first, with Nick telling me about his kids at school (classes started this week) and some of his hobbies (fishing and volunteer work). But the conversation turned sour when Nick asked me about my hobbies. I have an engineering degree but love the arts – music, painting, dancing, etc. So I told Nick about one of the paintings I’m working on now, and then I started raving about Akiane Kramarik, a child prodigy who has painted a beautiful portrait of Jesus.

Nick interrupted me mid-sentence and blurted out, “She painted Jesus?” As such a zealous Christian, I thought he would be pleasantly intrigued, but his tone was accusatory as he went on, “That’s idolatry. Don’t you know we’re not supposed to make graven images?“I was taken aback. As someone raised in the church, I am familiar with the Ten Commandments, but I thought Nick’s approach was extreme. The purpose of that commandment was that followers of God worship Him only and not other false gods (e.g. Baal), man-made images (worshiping the created instead of the Creator), or – as in Jesus’ New Testament teachings – more intangible idols like the love of money.

To call a painting of Jesus idolatry is ridiculous. It’s true that if the viewers worshipped the painting itself, that would be idolatry, but Akiane painted that image as an act of worship to Jesus himself! She was honoring God, not insulting him, through her use of these phenomenal God-given talents. Akiane and artists like her glorify God when they turn their gifts back to Him in praise.

I didn’t want to get into a fight, but I stood my ground calmly and rationally. Nick has more of a passionate, intense, emotion-based style, so he attacked me verbally, not even stopping for breath so that I could get a word in to counter his onslaught. “Contentious” was the word that came to mind as I looked at his contorted face.

As he ranted on, in my head, I thought, “Look, punk. I was raised in the church, am the granddaughter of a pastor, have led multiple bible studies, have done mission work on five continents, and even went to seminary. Just stop now because you are blatantly wrong.” But externally, I let him get it out of his system while I watched the clouds drift by, pink-rimmed by the brilliant sunset, and imagined how I would paint them.

Nick clearly didn’t have ears go hear the truth, so I didn’t bother to disagree later in the evening when he told me: a) who and what I should and should not pray for, b) what Christian women should and should not wear, and c) what my relationship “red flags” should and should not be. I think I’ve certainly got that last one down, and dude, you’re sunk.

Well-intentioned but Pharisee-like Christians such as Nick are part of the reason there are so many atheists in America today. And that makes my heart sad.

Authentically Aurora

Nick the Strict – Part II

Ridiculously Photogenic RunnerHaving successfully navigated Step One of Nick’s detailed courtship plan (i.e. a casual coffee date), he called me to set up a time to engage in Step Two (i.e. a “fun activity”). Since he called me on a weeknight, Nick asked about my day at work. I shrugged (not that he could see it over the phone) and told him, “Eh, it was an okay day. I had a little trouble getting motivated at the office.”

I thought it was a simple, honest answer, but rather than valuing my authenticity, Nick replied in a peppy voice, “Come on! Get excited! Remember that you’re working for God and not for man! You know what? I’m going to send you a motivational text tomorrow morning to get you going.”

I recognized his biblical quotation of Ephesians, but rather than being uplifted, I was a bit put off. First of all, I wasn’t being overly negative; just straight-forward, and secondly, this is real life, dude. If you are expecting a super excited, bubbly cheerleader every day, I’m not your girl. I want to glorify God with my work ethic, but let’s not forget that over 1/3 of the Psalms are laments.

Putting aside my irritation at his overly chipper demeanor, I injected enthusiasm into my voice and asked Nick what he wanted to do on our second date. He mentioned a nearby park and suggested that we go running together after work the following day.

Running?! Hold on. I thought your intensely structured courtship plan specifically called for a “fun activity” on the second date. Emphasis on “fun”. Even considering those crazy people who actually like running, who wants to do that on a second date?

But of course I didn’t say that out loud. Instead, I convinced him that we could go for a nice walk in the 108 degree Texas heat. Yes, that sounds like a really fun second date activity. Don’t get me wrong; as a Crossfitter, I enjoy a good workout as much as the next girl, but it’s not exactly my idea of the quintessential get-to-know you activity, Mr. Smiling-Is-My-Favorite-Especially-When-It-Involves-Overheating.

The next morning when I woke up, I wondered why I had agreed to a second date at all because, true to his word, good ol’ Nick had sent me that motivational text.

Lolcat Good Morning

Authentically Aurora

Nick the Strict – Part I

Coffee Date

I don’t have a lot of requirements for the man I marry. There are just three non-negotiables for me: Godly, Attractive and Single. As my brother says, “Pick any two.”

But I recently discovered Nick, an online dating find, who I thought just may be all three. On our first date, we met for a casual coffee. Most guys take me out to dinner, but I was fine with a low-pressure coffee date. In fact, the laid-back environment was rather refreshing, despite the fact that Nick spent less than $6 on both our coffees combined (clearly we were not at Starbucks).

He grew up in Detroit and likes to work out, so Nick looks and sounds like a bad boy – big biceps, gangster accent, and he used to ride a motorcycle. But Nick is a bad-boy-gone-good, which in my opinion, is the best of all possible combinations. Every good girl kind of wants a bad boy, but… not really. Danger and intrigue? Yes. Heartache? No.

These days, Nick teaches sixth grade math, volunteers at his church, and plays with his two nieces in his spare time. He is good-looking and a natural leader with a big heart and great smile. We actually had a great conversation until the very end, when Nick felt it necessary to communicate his courtship plan to me. This courtship plan was very long and intricate, but some of the details I caught were:

1. We will never sit together on the same couch during the dating phase of our relationship.

2. The dating phase will last approximately six months, after which point Nick believes godly relationships move into a six month engagement period, so as to be married within one year’s time.

3. Having effectively completed our first sit down conversation, the next steps for us are to: a) do a fun activity together in a few days’ time, b) have another sit-down conversation in another couple of days after that, and c) take a week apart to fast and pray about the direction God is taking this relationship.

…I am struggling with what to write next, sort of like how I struggled with what words to say after Nick’s monologue on proper courtship. I really appreciate that he is trying to be a gentleman and do things the “right” way, but I have dated legalistic men before, and in my opinion, this approach it is over-the-top, contrived, and not necessarily glorifying to God despite all its good intentions. But I thought Nick had potential despite his strict dating guidelines (this coming from a girl who went 8 years without kissing anyone post high school), so I agreed to a second date (i.e. “fun activity”, per the courtship plan). To be continued!

Authentically Aurora