This year during the clergy session at conference, JF said there were dating guidelines in the Journal. I was actually excited to hear that revelation! Years ago my brother gave me "The Idiots Guide to Dating" and while I've read it, I have not found dating to be any less complicated. So, I thought, "Great! Someone has put out dating guidelines for pastors--that could help a ton." I was wrong. Oh so wrong. As soon as I returned home, I flipped to the page with the dating guidelines and there they were, one simple paragraph, maybe 2, talking about not dating parishioners, or, if one is to date a parishioner, what the proper protocol is. Okay, I already knew that rule, there was nothing revelatory relayed there, and, in reality, 1) I already have a "no dating parishioners" rule for myself and 2) While I do have a penchant for attracting the old and quirky, I am not inclined to date any of my 65+ parishioners...you know?!?! So, for the record, the Journal failed me.
Dating still remains a complicated mystery to me. My parents have remarked on multiple occasions that they think I should date. They think it would be fun, that I'd enjoy myself and I'd get to meet some neat people. I am not convinced of the same. For starters, I am fairly convinced that the rules of dating have changed so drastically in the last 35 years, that there is hardly room for comparison. It seems there isn't simply a dinner out or a simple movie, or maybe I pick the wrong men. Who knows? But what I do know is that even the defining lines are blurry. Maybe it's just me, but it seems that men know women are more reluctant to simply be asked on a date, so there is no longer a direct dating invitation "Hey, would you like to go out sometime?" Instead, to be less intimidating or less straightforward, the invitation gets boiled down to "maybe we could go for coffee sometime?" or "maybe we could grab lunch?" there is no explicit "date" language, which makes it all a bit fuzzy. I go for coffee and lunch and even dinner with friends, (single male friends even), so what is it that distinguishes these *other* outings as an actual date? That's what I want to know. And what, exactly, are the rules?? All I want is a little clarity!