So I’m in my local coffee shop last weekend when I find myself in a delightful conversation with a funny, kind, and good-looking barista. After I got my Americano and the conversation ended, I thought it would be nice to chat with him more. Like on a date. This leads me to my question: What would you think about me (a woman) giving him my number? Societal norms would dictate that I wait for him to make the first move, but that just doesn’t sit right with me. I’d love to know your thoughts…
-French Roast Feminist
Are you the coolest person ever? The answer is yes, yes you are. Ordering an Americano, chatting it up with the rustically handsome, Special Ed teacher by day (barista on the weekend), rock climbing enthusiast—probably named Micah or something cool.
Wait, you didn’t say any of that, did you? Well this is awkward.
Anyhow, you’re awesome, and I’m glad you don’t shy away from thinking about (and challenging) the status-quo. This trait will serve you well, particularly as it pertains to this conversation.
You’re right. There is a dangerous Christian value system in place that tells women that making the first move in a relationship is outside of their God-given role. This is a lie, and there is no biblical basis for this thinking. Some will point to the unique roles of women and men within the pages of Scripture as proof of this belief. However, there is no mention of subservience of women—which is often what this really comes down to. The idea that a woman must wait on a man to initiate romance is nothing more than a way for men to exert false leadership.
Yes, I feel that strongly about this issue. But don’t take my word for it:
Wives, be subject to your husbands as you are to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife just as Christ is the head of the church, the body of which he is the Savior. Just as the church is subject to Christ, so also wives ought to be, in everything, to their husbands.
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:22-27).
Many have used this passage (or part of it, at least) to make the case that women are the second tier on the humanities organizational chart. Yet a more thoughtful and educated reading illuminates that Paul is actually calling for mutual service and submission between both husbands and wives. There is no dominant spouse, there is only a mutually serving and sacrificial spouse.
Which brings us back to you, FRF. What in the world does my tirade about marriage have to do with your handsome barista?
Giving someone a phone number is, at its most rudimentary and earliest form, marriage practice. Now wait, don’t quit reading, walk this out with me.
I’m not saying you have to want to marry this man in order to give him a number—far from it. However, you are doing one of a thousand acts that test the waters of compatibility. And in each one of these acts, you’ll learn a little more about this relationship and what it may (or may not) be evolving into. To that end, successful dating will require that both of you work and learn to serve each other—especially when it’s hard.
Giving out a number is simply the first potential step into those waters, but it’s certainly not the only or most important step. It’s just one act. So go ahead, ask him out! As any good spouse can tell you, some of the most defining moments of their relationship came not because they did something great, but because the person they love helped refine them. That’s what you’re doing for him. You’re showing him that there’s a great opportunity in his life that he can choose to engage. (The great opportunity is you, by the way.) And while I’d love for more men to take this first step, it doesn’t mean they have to in order to be a realized man. Remember, the currency isn’t who did what first—it’s mutual service and submission.
FRF, I’m proud of you for taking a step and flexing the “service” muscle! I hope that if he does reciprocate, you’ll then get to see him take the same initiative you have. And if he doesn’t, politely send him back to the coffee shop and move on to the guy that works at the Icee place—he seems sweet (and those eyes)!
Quick personal note for those still reading: For two years, every word of this advice column has been edited and immeasurably improved by my dear friend, Dargan Thompson. As God and fate would have it, she’s taking the next steps in her oh-so-cool millennial life and will leave this column to other, very capable hands. But before she goes, I wanted to extend a personal thank you to Dargan, who has changed the lives of so many because of her determination to make the writing great and my advice non-blasphemous. Go get ‘em, buddy…
Have a question? Good! Send an email to [email protected]. All identifying information will be kept anonymous.
Eddie Kaufholz is a writer, speaker and podcaster and serves as a director of church mobilization for International Justice Mission. He also hosts and produces "The New Activist" podcast. You can find on Twitter @EdwardorEddie.