Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Can We Just Be Friends?

Last week, I went to volunteer at the homeless shelter. Whenever I walk into their safe haven, it feels like being home. Everyone is so warm and friendly and ready to help out when needed. Stepping inside those doors always reminds me of being back in the south instead of being in gritty downtown LA.

Outside of church, it's the only place where I see people openly talk about the power of God in their lives. Most of them are ex-addicts who have found Christ so you can imagine how grateful they are to God to just still be alive. But this post isn't about God, it's about me possibly getting into a sticky situation with a MAN.

Most of the men flirt with the female volunteers because they are surrounded by only men for the length of the program (13 months). It's harmless flirting and I play along. I bet you're thinking that my possible sticky situation involves a homeless man; wouldn't that be an interesting saga! In reality, it's one of the employees that works there as a cook.

I deemed him harmless at first because I thought he was married when I met him a few months ago. He talked about missing his older daughter who is in Iraq and he just seemed like a family man. I guess I should have suspected something when he asked if I was married or single but I didn't. I didn't give him my usual "I have a boyfriend" spiel. I think his part-time seminary school status elicited my honesty.

While we were cleaning up after the food service, Seminary man asked me and another volunteer what church we attended, if any. We both rattled off the names of our churches as did he. He then invited us both to his church and asked if he could have our contact info. We both agreed and gave him our phone numbers. In case you are wondering, the other volunteer is a gay man. At this point, I should have known what was up.

Last night, Seminary man dialed me up. He said he just wanted to call and see how I was doing and invite me to church one Sunday in the near future. He then said that he would really like to get to know me and asked if he could take me to lunch or dinner. There it was; the real reason why he was calling. Sunday service was just the point of entry.

He told me that he liked the way, "I carried myself" and that I seemed like a nice mature woman. Although his old school approach was quite refreshing, my interest in him stops at the friend mark. I can already hear you saying, what about what you said in your previous post about fully getting to know someone before you make a conclusion so quickly.

In return I say to you, there is an exception to every rule. He is a nice man and we do have somewhat decent conversation together but we are at two exremely different points in our lives. He is 49, has been married before and has a daughter in her 20's. Not quite the ideal of what I am looking for.

From the brief conversations we have had, he does seem like he has lived an interesting life and I would really like to get to know him but I wonder if the man/woman friendship is only a myth. I've only had 2 platonic male friends since the onset of adulthood and it only worked because neither of us had a romantic interest in the other.

I intend to be completely honest with this man so no one gets hurt. My "filler" days are over and I no longer feel comfortable using someone else just to please my own flesh. I kinda hope he is okay with just being my friend. It would be nice to have a platonic friendship with a man again but at this stage in life, I'm just not so sure it's possible...

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