Dropping eaves

Confession: Last night I deliberately eavesdropped on the public conversation of two gentlemen.

Disclaimer 1: I rarely eavesdrop.

Disclaimer 2: And I never eavesdrop on private conversations. It’s against my code of conduct. If I notice you engaged in one, I will hum as I walk by, to block sound waves from reaching me and to notify you to make said waves more gently.

But if you’re having the conversation in the middle of a crowded gymnasium—well, finders keepers.

Disclaimer 3: I paid a price for my bargain. The same conversation tickled and infuriated me.

Overheard last night:

[Background hum of a conversation about the advantages of marriage. Person 1 telling Person 2 how happy he is, how this beats dating hollow. Singlehood too.]

Person 1: So! Do you have any prospects?

Person 2: No.

Person 1: Come on—not even in your heart?

Slight pause.

Person 2, slightly defensive: I wouldn’t lie to you.

Person 1: Well, what are you looking for?

Slight pause.

Person 2: Well—she’s gotta be pretty…

[Hackles rise on eavesdropper. Really? Requirement number one?]

…she’s gotta be smart…

…and she’s gotta speak Thai.


(laugh here)

I was impertinent to a lot of gentlemen last night. I told one what he ought to do about a job offer he’s considering; I told another congratulations on his graduation; I told another to comment on my blog and accused him of being shy (hi, Mr. V—but you see, I will not betray you); and I invited a kiss from The One in the middle of the crowded gym; but the gentleman-of-three-criteria I let slide.

In his defense, he was nice-looking and articulate himself, or I would have been angrier.

At home, I asked Ryan Is this really how men think? And he gave me a complicated answer: Yes.

My response is to laugh aloud. Look around you, man. Within a stone’s throw are fifty beautiful, smart women who could learn Thai in 6-12 months, same as you did.

There are many things I do not understand about men, but this hesitancy is at the top. It is not fair of me to preach to a crowd who does not read this blog, but if you are a single man (hi again, Mr. V—you see, your confession set you up as a target, but I’m not talking to you; just pass the advice on to all your friends—) If you are a single man and God has not given you a compelling reason to remain single, for heaven’s sake ask her!

The world awaits your initiative. Good things come to men who act.

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mama zook
11 years ago

wow!! I love this, Shari, you brave woman!!! I’d never think to tell a bunch of single men what they should really hear…I told four single guys what I thought they should hear and that was enough!! My single guys are all married now (happily, I might add)!!

Virgil Nisly
11 years ago

Confession #1: I’m Mr. V.
I overhead the same conversation you did (and I’ll vouch that you represented it well), and again, the place to laugh was after the comment about knowing Thai.

Confession #2: it becomes very difficult for me not to comment on this post.

Confession #3: If those words spoken were completely honest, completely all encompassing, I too, would be somewhat angry. However, speaking as one who can eat his foot in public, I daresay the first two qualifications were conversational fluff – essentially meaningless until they could be defined further. The last qualification seemed to leave a scent of a trail that means something. I would guess this person was thinking of a face or two as he causally dropped out the qualifications – but only in the third did we begin to get a hint of his true self – tongue in cheek, surely, but certainly an expression of a deeper, unstated goal. Maybe the unstated qualification is:
1. she should be the kind of person that wants to make foreign missions a priority, or,
2. she should be the kind of person that you would meet at IGo – someone who wants to be stretched-but comes from a traditional Mennonite family, plays volleyball well (but doesn’t make it a priority), can pick up sports or languages with minimal effort, a go-getter, the type to be involved in kids club, with money to travel (please excuse the generalizations which I’m sure are inaccurate and possibly offensive in some way).
3. she should be have interest in foreign countries and see it as a good excuse to go on many short-term mission trips.
4. I don’t want to tell you what qualifications I consider for a wife – but I think Thai is a cool language.

So in short, we must look past what he said to see what he said.

Confession #4:
“If you are a single man and God has not given you a compelling reason to remain single, for heaven’s sake ask her!” – seems like a stout pill to swallow. I appreciate the advice, but perhaps it might be at least as useful to invite some of the young men in your church over to your house so you can personally tell them these thoughts and listen to their “compelling reasons.”

Confession #5: I really enjoyed reading this post, even if I had to try to deconstruct it.


11 years ago
Reply to  Virgil Nisly

Bravo! Bravo!

I am howling.

And chastened. There is always more to the story than meets the eye, isn’t there? And you (being a man) read between the lines better than I did (being an arrogant and indignant female).

Great response, Virgil!

11 years ago

Best Sunday funnies ever between your post and the deconstruction thereof. Thank you!

11 years ago
Reply to  Sharon

I absolutely agree with Sharon! If Mrs. Z and Mr. V choose to engage in further on-line discussions on this topic or others, I would be one of the happy eavesdroppers.

Still laughing…

11 years ago
Reply to  Anna


11 years ago

The systematic listing of confessions, disclaimers, and explanations gives the post and the rebuttal a wonderful blow-by-blow flavor. The honesty is refreshing…

11 years ago
Reply to  Josh Nisley

…and funny.

Hope Anne
11 years ago

Your blog post is great–the comments make it even funnier! I am so glad I discovered you blog!

11 years ago

Thanks for giving me a good laugh….and yes…I have a few people that intend to send this link to. 🙂 🙂

Sharon Yoder
11 years ago

Smiling. . . You pulled us right into this gymnasium adventure and invited us to participate. Gladys Hunt wrote in her book, Honey for a Child’s Heart, “Everyone ought to know the pleasure of words so well chosen that they awaken sensibility, great emotions, and understanding of the truth. You accomplish this in your blogs, Shari!

11 years ago
Reply to  Sharon Yoder


11 years ago

I really think you are giving guys too much credit for being able to ask a girl, even if there are 50 to be hit with a stone 😉 First of all, it’s not as easy as it looks to decide who/if/when to ask as it may appear. Secondly, myself and many of my guy friends have had to ask multiple times before they found a girl who was willing to accept them (maybe some of them had expectations like, “knowing Thai”). I agree with Mr V, you should invite a few of the young men into your home (probably work best one at a time), and hear out their compelling reasons 🙂 Thanks for filling us in on such a juicy conversation!

คน # 2
11 years ago

ผมพบคุณ, แต่ตลกดี ผมล้อเล่น 55555555555!! 🙂
sincerely, person #2

11 years ago
Reply to  คน # 2

Oh Lord! The thing which I greatly feared is come upon me.

God bless you for the smiley face. It restrained me from tearing out my hair while I deciphered the rest. I deserved worse.

Touché! And kudos for the pluck.

I have the 50 names and addresses if you want them.

11 years ago

please send them to me! And could you also please invite me to your house for more info in this situation…I am new to the Mennonites and need some direction in this area. thanks and God bless!

Chad W.
9 years ago

I had to google this blog article after having lunch with Person 2 and this article came up! We had quite a jolly conversation. I find his humerous list actually quite short. After studying marriage counseling for numerous years I can see trends which might make my list even longer!!! I Also agree with one of the other posts as well. It would be great if it was that easy but I’ve found that some women are not as eager as you might think! 🙂
Blessings, Shari!

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