community, family life

A young man’s best friend

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a large fortune must be in want of a wife.” Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Who’s got your back, Jack? Well, God for starters. Add in various family members (mom’s usually at the top of this list) and your dog (get one if you already haven’t.) And, perhaps more unexpectedly, church ladies from just all over the place.

Why do church ladies care about this generation of young men? Church ladies love people, for one. Secondly, it’s simple math. Those of us who are church ladies of a certain age have daughters, nieces or granddaughters whom we hope will marry in the next decade or so. We want that dating pool to be deep and wide. Deep and wide, I say.

So, if you’re a guy and you happen to find out you’re on some church-lady hit list — by which I mean prayer list — don’t feel alarmed, feel blessed. We just want to make sure you’re ready should you catch the eye of one of ours. We pray for your faith, your safety, your gainful employment. We pray that you’ll have no inclination to be a contestant on The Bachelor.

We pray that you’re getting plenty of veggies, sleep, exercise and sunshine. We want you to be strong. Strong in the faith and, well, strong enough to carry a sleeping toddler all the way from a certified-safe, properly installed car seat to his certified-safe, properly assembled crib. See where I’m going here?

Gentlemen, it’s true. God loves you and has plans to give you hope and a future. And, we church ladies do, too.

family life, women

How to find a decent man

“Everything I buy is vintage and smells funny. Maybe that’s why I don’t have a boyfriend.” Lucy Liu, American actress

Where can you find a decent man? In aisle 2 of your local grocery store around dinner time on a Saturday night. Seriously.

I came to this conclusion when a rash of summer eating and entertaining caused the food supply that should have lasted until Monday to fizzle out by — you guessed it — around dinner time on Saturday night. I headed to the grocery store — where I wound up getting more insight into the male mind than I did gap food.

It all started in the produce section. “Hello,” said a young man standing near the broccoli that I was after. It took a couple of seconds to realize he was talking to me, a mid-life woman who hadn’t heard that kind of “hello” for quite some time. “Um, hello,” I said back.

Then, I got my broccoli and fled, running my fingers over my chin to make sure I didn’t have food residue or anything else that could elicit a “you poor soul” hello. I did not. But, it happened again, and again, and again. “You pour souls,” I was now the one thinking. “You’ve been staring into those tiny phone screens so long your distance vision is completely shot.”

It wasn’t until I hit the coffee display that I figured out what was going on. “Good evening,” a man of about 30 drawled. He had exactly the same wistful look on his face that our dog does when I’m making Italian. Yep. That was it. I was wearing a dress with a strong 1950s apron vibe. My cart was full of real food. I wasn’t a vision of loveliness. I was Betty Crocker come to life.

“It was pure reflex,” my husband said when I reported my findings later on the front porch. Then we went on to nearly laugh ourselves sick over how domestically inclined young women could use this phenomena to their own advantage. (This is the kind of Saturday night fun you, too, could be having 25 years from now if you visit aisle 2.)

We discussed the potential eligibility of the men — hey, we have daughters. 1. Men who shop for groceries on Saturday night are grown up enough to want real food instead of drive-thru. That is good. 2. “She’d know they’re not living with mama,” he pointed out. That is very good. 3. Grocery stores are very low on the stranger-danger scale. That is a necessity.

We discussed strategy. 1. The young woman has to “shop” alone. It exudes confidence and makes a “good evening” much more likely. 2. She has to have the right stuff in her cart. She may be planning to eat a jumbo bag of chips and an entire tub of dip with her girlfriends later (ah, good times), but this kind of “shopping” requires real food. “A box of brownie mix would probably help,” my husband added. 3. “And, she can’t just run in and out of the store,” he suggested, really into it by now. “She has to really cruise those aisles.”

So, there you have it, ladies. Happily ever after if it works. The makings of a fine dinner if it does not.

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