The British Christian guy is a most misunderstood phenomenon. And his demise has been grossly exaggerated. In churches up and down the country this species finds his home and can be observed in his natural habitat.
Granted there perhaps aren’t as many of them as we would like, and there are plenty of guides out there for ensnaring more of them. Books with titles such as He-motions and Why Men Hate Going to Church set out with forceful clarity the need to change how the Church operates to make it more appealing to men.
One particularly odd variety is the single British Christian guy. Their persistence is curious given the high women-to-men ratio in most churches, but remain they do and remain single despite the plentiful offering of partners. Our esteemed editor even referenced the first verse of Isaiah 4 being taken a little too literally: “In that day seven women will take hold of one man … only let us be called by your name.”
Cory Copeland wrote about how men need to man up and ask girls out. I hear this charge. In fact, I hear it all too often. It comes from girls daunted at the dwindling number of single guys in church, as the odds become longer. It comes from those smitten by a handsome funny chap who is only interested in being friends, but is always so very friendly. And it is frequently heard from American, South African, or other non-British ladies from not quite so reserved cultures.
One possibility is to kill two birds with one stone, snare a guy and increase the number of guys in church. I’m thinking of a little flirt-to-convert. By finding a guy outside of church and bringing him in you are firstly less likely to be left hanging on waiting for a display of interest and you’ll make the odds a little bit easier for everyone else in church. After all, point two of Cory’s three-point plan is an increase in happiness, and what happiness could exceed introducing someone to eternal joy?
I should confess, I am one of these strange creatures: the single British Christian guy. And I exhibit some of the characteristics Cory notes. I’ve been known to shudder away from asking the girl I like out, or opt for the safety of friends over the prospect of saying how I feel and having to deal with the awkwardness that might ensue. I’ve been a bit too British at times. I’ve wanted the comfort of what I know over the risk of what might be.
There have been times when I’ve become borderline obsessed over someone and not done anything about it and almost invariably watched as they exit stage right on the arms of another. I’ve sat opposite the one who is taking up all my attention and done nothing but sit on my hands. But I look back and do not see regret, I simply see a road not travelled. Likewise there are times when I’ve done something about it and it has gone nowhere, either a straight no or a ‘let’s see where this goes’ only for it to go nowhere; and I’ve not regretted taking the risk. The end result of both is that I’m still single.
So onto Cory’s three-point plan: will you be glad you ask her out regardless of the result? I get this, I really do, I see the logic. I’ve been there myself and I mostly agree – good can come of it even if a relationship doesn’t. But this isn’t a cue for turning church into the cast of Home and Away (disclaimer: I’ve never actually watched Home and Away). I’ve met guys who have a list of girls who they’re thinking of asking out. Honestly, if that’s your approach, I’d suggest concentrating on why you might be interested in all of them rather than just one.
The third point I’d also go along with in principle. I am very open to women opening up the relationship conversation, even keen for them to seize the initiative, but I find that very few want to. I probably wouldn’t buy the argument that if a guy’s not asking a girl out then he doesn’t like her enough: guys can be pretty idiotic at times and sometimes need the door cleaving open. Anyway, even if a girl is happy to get the ball rolling, that’s no reason to hold back yourself.
Now onto point two. Dear, oh dear. Happiness? Is this where the American Dream hit overdrive and banished any sense from our American (non-raging) Lothario? Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness may be the American motto but it’s not what we should strive for. Apparently in the Channel 4 documentary The Undateables someone said: “A relationship is vital to your future happiness.” Firstly, happiness shouldn’t be our goal. Secondly, the idea that a romantic relationship is vital for it totally undercuts the worth of those who are single, divorced, bereaved or otherwise on their own.
Guys should ask girls out. And often they’re afraid of doing so. Maybe that just means they’re taking it seriously.