28 More of my Worst Dating Moments

Blogs about Heather, love, Millennial in Ministry, Relationships, single in ministry

Right before my 26th birthday, I came out with a list of my most memorable and terrible dating moments. It went “viral,” at least, in my world. I STILL have people bring up this post at parties and gatherings, which usually ends up with people huddled around a phone, laughing at my misery. If you missed that post, stop and read it here.

I have had many more crazy moments, some I didn’t share in the last one and several more that I experienced in the short 6 months between that post and falling in love. One of the things I most enjoyed since my last post is how many women have opened up to me, confessing their own tales of horror.

As I said in my last post, opening up about these moments takes some vulnerability–even though I was intentional and careful about dating, I still found myself dealing with creeps. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where our first thought is “How’d you find yourself in this situation?” and end up blaming the woman. That said–don’t judge, just enjoy:

  1. The guy who, when I asked what his favorite genre of movies is, he responded with, “Well, I really liked Mall Cop 1, but I hated the sequel.”
  2. The guy who broke up with me through text saying, “You’re a Proverbs 31 woman, and I would have loved that in college, but you’re too good for me today.” He didn’t get far enough with me to have known that I resent that passage.
  3. The guy who texted me every day for two months after I broke things off with him, each time saying “you’re pretty and I miss you.” You’re desperate and I’m blocking you.
  4. The guy who messaged me 6 months after breaking up with “How’s your bod?”
  5. The guy who randomly messaged me a year after we dated with “Sometimes you just need to make out with a pastor and get some holy kissin’ in.”
  6. The guy who I met online, and we quickly established that he was another local UMC youth director. Five minutes into chatting he asks me if I want to “come over and snuggle.” Lawd.
  7. The guy who, after several months of flirting online, we finally go on a date. Afterwards he texts me, “are you okay with having sex before marriage?” The guy was the worship pastor at his church.
  8. The guy who ghosted me (I was okay with it, to be honest), but several months later texts me to check in with me because he still thinks I’m a decent person. He said that he ghosted me because he “just can’t have sex with a youth pastor.” As if there was an offer?
  9. The guy who, after a month of dating and after a really great date, immediately texted me: “I think things are going really great with you, and I can see this going somewhere. First you just need to accept my devout atheism.” …how is this the first time this came up? (okay, enough with text tragedies)
  10. The guy who moved here from California a week before our first date. I asked him why he moved and he said that he felt like God told him to, and he didn’t know why yet. After Facebook stalking him, he moved to Indiana because God told him he was going to find a wife. And he told all his family and friends that. In a public Facebook post.
  11. The guy who knew I was cooking dinner for him for the first time, and then showed up three hours late. It was my first time ever cooking for a man. Ever. But I pressed on.
  12. Another guy who, on the first time I cooked him dinner, I asked if he had any allergies. He said none, but apparently he was severely lactose intolerant. He spent 20 minutes in my bathroom after dinner.
  13. The guy who I didn’t realize was ghosting me; I thought he was just wrapped up in finals week in his last semester of grad school. Being the wonderful woman I am, I made him a finals week care package and left it on his front porch. I didn’t hear from him again.
  14. The guy who wouldn’t let me eat any of the nacho cheese from our pretzel app on the first date. I made a joke about how people in Indiana like to dip everything in nacho cheese, so he told me I couldn’t have any. I sat there and choked down a dry pretzel…and tears. I love cheese.
  15. The guy who thought it was appropriate to put his hand in my bra on the first date. Before you judge me–he was too slick. Obviously he had some practice.
  16. The first time I went over to a guy’s house, he had me drive around the neighborhood for thirty minutes because his mom had decided to pop in.
  17. The guy who gifted me a copy of “The Mist” on our third date because I said I liked scary movies.
  18. The guy who texted me all day before our first date, asking me what he should wear and what I would want to order when I got there.
  19. The guy who couldn’t stop staring down my dress on our first date as I was talking.
  20. The guy who, on our first get-to-know-you date, kisses me on the couch of my favorite coffee shop. And when I laugh and pull away, he kisses me again. Don’t ruin coffee for me, dude.
  21. The guy whose apartment had no furniture but a futon and a card table, with mallard wallpaper on the walls of his duplex.
  22. The guy who parks his car in the shed behind his house. You know, with a padlock.
  23. The guy who, on our second date, suggested we carpool downtown because he had a “really great parking spot.” The parking spot was a mile away from where we were going.
  24. The guy who invited me to dinner on our second date, then asked me if I minded paying for my own. Then he says to me, “I”ll get your drink though” and gave me a wink…as if paying for my $4 drink was a favor. 
  25. The guy who gave me two craft beers on our second date because I told him I was into craft beer–in truth, it was a thoughtful gift, but I had a terrible gut-feeling about him. Later in a text message he was very forward with me about progressing the relationship, so I told him that he was moving a little too fast for me and that I didn’t want to have another date. My gut feeling about him was correct: He got angry with me, and demanded that I give him the beers back. As in, threatened me. I told him that he could get the beers from the nearest police station, if he so liked.
  26. The guy who I wasn’t dating, but this is still a dating story: My good friend liked him, and we all went out one night dancing. He put a kiss on me, and I told him that I wasn’t into him. He disappears, and next thing we know we’re all asked to leave. We still don’t know what he did to get all of us kicked out, but the manager was clear that it was his fault. When I reject guys, clearly they go crazy.
  27. The guy who, when we were messaging on the dating app, had an entire conversation using Beyonce lyrics. I was hopeful. But in person…..his personality was terribly dry. Just awful.
  28. The guy who wanted to take me out to a nice breakfast, and we ended up at Perkins. I’m not knocking Perkins, just don’t tell me Cracker Barrel is gourmet.

Apologies to the men who are reading about themselves. Maybe next time, to the next woman, try not to be so lame? ;)

**As an aside–the picture that I picked for the header to this post is from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and I used to joke that it was my dream come true to kiss a man with a cat between us. How my life has become just that!


My 26 Most Memorable Dating Moments

Millennial in Ministry, single in ministry, women

I recently read the new book “Modern Romance” by Aziz Ansari.loved his book, even though it was written from a “secular” point of view–often times when Christians write books about dating and romance, it really misses the mark. They tend to focus more on what it means to “protect your heart” and “save it for marriage,” but forget to talk about the realities and practicalities behind dating. It’s as if these books don’t understand the culture, and assume you’ll find someone who shares the same morals as you easily.

It’s just not that easy. And because dating these days is not easy, I aggressively do so. I go on handfuls of dates, and although they rarely go to a second or third date, I get lots of great stories and free dinners. Life could be worse.

I’ve wanted to share my experiences for a long time, and I’ve refrained because (1) it’s my business and (2) I didn’t know how to share them. I’ve joked about starting a blog called “Evangelical in the City” where Christians share horror stories about dating. But I’m learning that if we don’t talk about the things we are struggling with, then we won’t be able to reconcile them. So I’m sharing some stories here. Maybe one day I’ll write a book of my own.

So, here is my list of my strangest dating moments from the past 8 post-high school years. And since I turn 26 this week, I’ve made 26 points–some of them are from the same dates/men, but I split them up.

  1. The guy who talked for ten minutes about the types of video games that he likes and then said, “There’s just something about unloading a gun into a crowd of people.”
  2. The guy who was reading his thick study bible as I walked in, and if that wasn’t enough, brought out a journal of handwritten hymns and used it as something to gesture with while talking.
  3. The guy who sincerely asked me if I could curse or drink alcohol because I’m in ministry.
  4. The guy who called himself a beer snob and then drank 4 Coors Lite back-to-back.
  5. The guy who did the same, but with Bud Light.
  6. The guy who was with me as I ran into a former boss at the go-cart rink. And then his go cart broke and I felt like I had to slow down for him, even though I could have rode circles around him. Okay, so maybe this one wasn’t all on him. But the next two were him:
  7. The guy who analyzed why I wouldn’t eat all my ice cream (not because I’m fat and self-conscious. Because I was on antibiotics for a double ear-infection).
  8. The guy who at the end of the atrocious date, told me that he didn’t want to see me again. Then he hugged me and told me “You’re a beautiful woman, Heather. You’ll find somebody someday!” Then he gave me this weird puppy-dog face.
  9. The guy who I had a lovely time with at the park playing games with and feeding ducks, but apparently his mom was running laps around the park watching us.
  10. The guy who didn’t ask me a single question our entire date. I led the entire thing.
  11. The guy who did the same thing, and I refused to fill the space and tried to allow him time to ask questions. He then comments, “I can tell you over-think things a lot.” Judgey.
  12. The guy who talked a ton about how he grew up on a farm and never watched TV until college. He moved to Indiana to go get a degree from an unaccredited Bible college. Indiana was CULTURE to him and everything was mind-blowing. After 45 minutes I had to bust out of there.
  13. The guy who said, “You seem like an empowered woman who will want to pay for her own food” as we order. And you seem like a chivalrous guy who will want to pay for me, anyway.
  14. The guy who read “Wild at Heart” after our third date and realized he wasn’t man enough to date me. He joined a men’s Bible study/cult.
  15. The guy who told me on the first date he considered himself a feminist. On the second date he took me to see an extremely sexual movie, and then mentioned he appreciates modern-day feminism’s culture of unapologetic sexuality. Oh.
  16. The guy who told me his dad was a preacher of a huge church until he read his son’s Left Behind books he got for Christmas. Now he has a church of 30 he preaches turn-and-burn passages to every Sunday. I may have joked that this was all his fault…
  17. The guy who related everything we talked about back to his Catholic culture and then rebuked me for being ecumenical.
  18. The guy who told me on the second date that his dad’s house was possessed by demons and that he gets possessed every time he goes there. But I’m the weird one in this story, because I still dated him.
  19. The guy who told me he was like Buzz, I was Jesse, and right now we’re just on the hunt to find Andy. After rewatching all the Toy Story movies, I don’t think he understood what he was talking about.
  20. The guy who was a teacher at a school I have students at, and he told his entire department I was his girlfriend after just a few dates–and I found out because his coworker told her best friend who told her daughter who interned for my coworker.
  21. The guy who told me his drink of choice was Mountain Dew. I can’t trust a guy like that.
  22. The guy who came into my apartment and immediately comments, “This looks so twenty-something white girl. I think I’ve seen these curtains at Target.” No, I actually made them…
  23. The guy who told me I wasn’t allowed to wear dresses anymore because he was so attracted to me in them.
  24. The many, many men who have told me they don’t think women in ministry is a thing (and that I’m sending kids to hell).
  25. The mom who tried to hook me up with her kid who had just left for college (in her defense, I was 20, but as the youth director it was still mildly inappropriate).
  26. The guy who I “fell in love with” when I was 14 and yearly adds me on FB, deletes me when I say I’m not interested, and then always comes back around. Going 12 years strong.

My apologies to the men who are Googling me right now to stalk me before we get serious: you may one day turn into a blog post.


My 2016 Resolution: Vacation

Millennial in Ministry, new years resolutions

I don’t usually set New Year’s Resolutions, but this year I’m cracking down on a major flaw of mine:

This year, I will use all of my vacation days.

It sounds silly, but it’s extremely serious: In fact, every person I tell my resolution to tells me “It’s about time.” I even got smacked upside the head today by one of our clergy. I love my church.

But in all seriousness: She told me that every time I don’t take a day off, I’m setting a standard that is unfair to everyone else that I work with, whether I mean to or not.

So this year, I’m using all of my vacation days. All of them.

This weekend when I work Friday and Saturday, I will then take an extra day off next week.

I will no longer answer emails and texts on a Saturday night when I’m chilling with friends and vino. That’s my time.

When I’m allowed time to take a personal retreat day, or some time working in the coffee shop, or building community with my volunteers instead of in a stuffy office, I’m going to go for it.

In fact, I’m writing it into my goals for this year (my supervisor has been working with me on this for a while. If you’re reading this, I’m trying but it’s so hard because my list is so long and there’s always so much to do and please have grace with me because this perfectionism thing is tough…).

This year, I’m taking Sabbath seriously.

…or, at least, I’ll do better than I did in 2015…


Allowing Tweens to ask Tough Questions

junior high ministry, Millennial in Ministry

I’ve officially been at my church 2 years. Wow! As I turn 26 in just two weeks, I’m sure you can understand that I’ve never been in any position this long. It’s not my fault altogether; I mean, us Millennials are flakey. So I read.

I never thought I’d find myself in a progressive church. Women teaching? Heresy. Welcoming gay people? Blasphemy. Topical sermon series? Grandma is crying.

But the thing that terrified me the most: Creating an open space for people to ask tough questions.

And wouldn’t you know it: That’s the thing I love the most about my job in youth ministry.

We say we want students to ask the tough questions. We hope that students will come to us when they are stuck. But what are we doing to create that opportunity for them?

This year I took over our Confirmation class, and it’s been a pretty cool experience. One of the things Confirmation allows is for students to ask hard questions. So, I have three “panels” a year that gives students an opportunity to lay them on me.

And my, it’s terrifying. Every time I have one of these, I am anxious and have to lay down the coffee. In fact this last Sunday, I was so nervous I forgot my trusty pink Bible.

They ask me how I can know that the Bible hasn’t been mishandled by people over time (I read them the curse at the end of Revelation…smart move, Heather). They ask me who is going to Heaven, and what Hell is like. They ask me if God is going to allow the earth to get destroyed by the sun/ice caps/war/zombies, because, you know, there’s scientific proof for all that. And then we get to have a conversation that while science is true, God is bigger.

Then they ask me the things everyone is thinking: Did God get Mary pregnant the way that we get people pregnant? How do I break up with my girlfriend? Who should I pick for my football draft this week? Why exactly should I come to church? Will going to church help me play sports better? How do clams have babies?

(these are real questions)

And every time we do this, I walk away like I got slapped across the face 17.3 times. But every time they become more open to explaining their questions, laughing at my answers, and trying to figure it out on their own.

As a young adult, I have many of the same questions as them, and I tell them that. I don’t know who all goes to Heaven and what Hell is like. I can speculate. I can be gracious. I can even doubt it all together. But if I don’t have space to present my questions and my fears and my doubts, then I don’t have church.

So, here’s to two years here. I won’t be the flaky young adult that leaves when things get tough and scary. Nope, the toughness will define me and empower me.