Love, Awkwardly
Episode VI: Judgment Day

I was done. Internet dating was definitely not for me. Shortly before this time last year, I decided to erase my online dating persona and stick strictly to websites that would indulge my creative side. Having recently purchased a digital SLR camera for myself, I began uploading a lot of photos onto Flickr, and joining various Vancouver photography groups on the site. After I narcissistically added a self-portrait into a “Vancouver Nikon D90” group, another user sent me a message.  Before I knew it, we were emailing each other. I didn’t know what this was about, as most of the messages regarded nerdy photography ideas, like favourite places in Vancouver to shoot. His Facebook profile showed no sign of gayness, and there was even a wall post from an apparently distant aunt asking him if he still had a girlfriend. This only added to the eventual confusion when he asked me out to dinner.

Perhaps still a bit ambiguous, his intent became clear when he chose Davie Street for the locale. About two weeks had passed between our initial exchange and the actual date, which fell on the night before Halloween. Our dinner was quite nice, and conversation flowed quite well – until I cracked a joke about creationism, which brought me the most confused and evil death stare I had perhaps ever received. I had completely forgotten that in his emails he had mentioned his Christian intricacies. Speaking to my friends about him before the date was a challenge. “Don’t bother dating a Christian,” my friend Jess had told me. “They’re so judgmental.”

Attempting to dig myself out of a hole, I asked what his hobbies were, which opened the floor to a full on monologue about Jesus, his church, and the road to redemption. I will just make it clear now that I don’t personally have a problem with religion; I just have no place for it in my own life. I’m no Satanist or even atheist. Organized religion is just not my thing. I spent my elementary years in a private Catholic school, and even at age 12, when I knew I was more attracted to the boys in my class than the girls, I felt that Christian guilt creeping down my neck. I ran away from it as soon as I reached high school, never looking back at Jesus, despite his appealing scruffy beard and indie rock haircut.

As I sat across the table from this Christian, I took it upon myself to just “let it slide,” so to speak. He was definitely attractive, had good taste culturally, and seemed relatively well rounded. I attempted to be open-minded and not let our religious differences get in the way. After dinner, he surprised me when he told me he bought us tickets for the Halloween Train at Stanley Park.

Ironic in retrospect, attending an evil themed tourist attraction with a devout Christian was quite the juxtaposition indeed. I remember thinking that he couldn’t be “all that Christian” if he loved Halloween so much. We waited in line and boarded this miniature railroad among scads of awkward preteens and their feeble grandparents.

Within a minute into the train ride, right after a skeleton popped out of a steaming cemetery, he turned to me and asked me if I had plans the next day for Halloween. My plans were somewhat up in the air, and I asked him what his were. “Well,” he asked shyly, “I’m performing at a church service. I’m singing a song I wrote. Would you like to come watch?” I have absolutely no idea how I didn’t burst into a fit of laughter at this proposition, but I politely told him I’d have to make sure my friends would be okay if I skipped their party, a lie I pulled out of my ass pretty quickly.

The rest of the date was fine and fairly unexciting. We grabbed a coffee and walked back to Burrard Station where he boarded a SkyTrain. I sent him a text the next morning saying thank you for the evening, but that I wouldn’t be able to make his Christian Halloween Concert Series, and subsequently never heard back from him. A week later, I was checking my email and he popped up in my Gmail chat, apologizing for not responding to my text.  By this time I had already joked off the date in conversation with my friends, and almost forgotten about it.

Even through the emotionless context of an Internet chat conversation, he was awkward and demure. “I just wanted to tell you that I can’t be in a relationship with you,” he told me. Confused and somewhat cynical, I asked him what he meant, even though I considered the date a basic flop, and clearly not an indicator for any sort of relationship. “Well, after talking to you, I realized you aren’t into the same things as me.” My response was simple: “You mean God?” He took what seemed like a year to respond to that one. “No. You’re just too indie for me. The clothes, the friends, the concerts… I just don’t think I could ever keep up.” So, the same person I had kept an open mind for ended up being the one judging me. At this point, I was equally amused and annoyed: “Well, I have to go pick out my outfit for an Arcade Fire show. See ya.”

//JJ Brewis


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