In my last post, I discussed a Boundless post by Tom Neven about his daughter Hannah, who had gone on a stealth date with a male friend who she knew was interested in her. Naturally, the readers, good Christians that they are, piled on in the comments on everyone involved — so much so that Hannah felt compelled to write a defense of herself. Oh, Hannah. This is something that I would never recommend doing except in a case of libel where it is imperative to your legal or job security that you right the record. First of all, nothing on the internet is as important as people on the internet think it is. It’s very easy to get into an internet echo chamber where every voice has an exponential effect on the noise, and before you know it, you’re swimming in the din over something as trivial as which objectively attractive actress is a 9 and which is a 10. Second, who cares?! Why get ruffled over what a bunch of keyboard critics whom you’ll never meet think of you, your beta boy, your dad, your approach to dating, or anything else? Nine times out of ten, a person who takes to the internet to defend his or her opinion is only going to dig the hole deeper and give opponents more grist for the mill. Let your opinion speak for itself. If other people don’t like it, they can fight about it amongst themselves while you go out and do something constructive with your time. Besides, most people are bad at putting out their own fires, hence the existence of the PR industry.
What Hannah wrote is not all that interesting, anyway. Anyone with a clue about college-age church girls could have written a nearly identical blast (“blah blah blah, I am not shallow or vain, we don’t have any chemistry, why is everyone hating on me? I’m innocent and he needs to man up!”). What is actually interesting is the variety of opinions expressed in the comments. Boundless is only occasionally useful for advice, but it is eminently useful for taking the temperature of young evangelical thought. Here is a smattering of “advice” from the Boundless commentariat (my paraphrases):
- The reason you don’t feel any sparks is because you didn’t start praying about it the minute he started giving you attention! Elisabeth Elliot prayed when her third husband first started paying attention to her.
- You’re just an alpha chaser who is going to get her heart broken!
- OMG Hannah ur so wise and it was so totally not a date! U GO GURL!!11!
- Tom Neven, you’re a bad dad who humiliated poor Beta!
- Women should never initiate a DTR until they are asked out!
- We need to be more like Jesus!
- I am GRIEVED that I hurt you with my comments! I am so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so, so sorry!
- Women shouldn’t turn down any dates because they will get a reputation for saying no and then no one will ask them out!
- Don’t give up on chemistry, Hannah! My own personal experience proves that chemistry is important!
- Hannah, I know you are a woman of substance because I have gone through the same circumstance!
- Hannah has the right to date only men with whom she feels chemistry!
- Men need to stop bringing their hurtful baggage to these discussions so things can stop being so tense around here!
- OMG WHY IS EVERYONE SO MEAN HERE? JESUS WOULD NOT APPROVE.
Sometimes when I read comments like these, I wonder if there is any hope for harmony between the sexes in Churchland. I suppose the most salient point is that Betas now have even more motivation to “man up,” because of the fear that their target’s dad might take to a widely read blog to advertise their beta-ness.
Possibly the worst comment of all, more for its substance than its attitude, was that of a young woman who had dated a man for an entire year while not being at all physically attracted to him. She writes:
A few years ago I had my first boyfriend whom I dated for about a little over a year. He was a great Christian guy, a true gentleman, always paid for me, and even remembered the exact calendar day of when we first started talking and our first date. The problem: I wasn’t physically attracted to him. We held hands once but I never wanted to do it again. I never let him kiss me either. Sure, he would have made a great husband and if I never broke it up, we would probably be planning our wedding right now. The point is that I believe attraction and spark should be among one of the top priorities in a potential spouse. [AH: my emphasis in bold]
OH MY GOODNESS. I CAN’T EVEN WRAP MY HEAD AROUND THIS. IS SHE A ROBOT?!?!?! (…IS HE A ROBOT?!?!?!)