I’m willing to sacrifice a lot for the right girl, even on a first date. Like the time I scheduled one during Game 7 of the Minnesota Wild’s playoff series this past April. You read that right: Game 7.
This girl, let’s call her “Sofia,” was gorgeous. Her beauty was enough to make a man nervous, and I was not exempt. Walking tentatively, yet intentionally, through the first few minutes of our date, I had one goal: make a good first impression. I typically hate small talk, but it’s a nice way to warm up to a person, get a feel for them, and eventually proceed into deeper conversation. So imagine my alarm when she interrupted our opening pleasantries with, “Is that a purity ring?”
“What are you talking about?” I responded—not realizing in that moment that her directness would limit my ability to dodge the question. Turns out, Sofia is a bit of a straight shooter. So I explained it to her, as briefly as possible, hoping we could then move on to other weighty topics like, “What’s good here?” And for the most part, I succeeded, but I could tell that she wasn’t satisfied.
After a romantic dinner and lively conversation, Sofia said she’d like to watch the hockey game. Things were looking up! We headed to a beer garden offering free shots of bourbon (!) every time the good guys scored.
For those of you keeping track: here’s a gorgeous woman who’s as thrilled as I am to watch a hockey game on a first date. Allow me also to mention that she’s outgoing, thoughtful, hilarious, smart, ambitious, athletic, cultured…I am not exaggerating, this was one of the best dates of my life.
I was eagerly anticipating our second date when she started to express hesitation with continuing our fledgling relationship. I believe her exact words were, via text, “I’m wrestling with the idea of your purity ring.”
Ah, yes, that damn ring.
“Believe it or not, I think I could deal with the no sex thing,” she said, again, via text. Well, that’s a relief. She went on to explain, that she had recently broken off an engagement, and was not yet ready for an exclusive relationship. I hadn’t expected to be the only guy she dates, but she felt that it would be “out of place” for her to also continue dating guys with whom she might potentially have sex. I had to agree.
I appreciated her honesty, but it left me disappointed, and not just because I was looking forward to seeing her again. I understand, to a certain extent, that the best way to get over a difficult breakup is to find someone new. Maybe it’s just me, but I just don’t think that a few random hook-ups really help us to get at the real issue. There is real pain after a difficult breakup that needs healing, trust me I’ve been there. But, while it might be more convenient, no-strings-attached sex seems to me to be a lousy substitute for a real, loving relationship.
The other thing that our little ring conversation revealed is that Sofia was not looking for something particularly meaningful in a relationship with me. And, frankly, that’s good to know, sooner rather than later. The truth is, I am looking for a real relationship—one that includes commitment—and I’m willing to sacrifice to get it. And yes, that means sacrificing things even more precious to me than Game 7s. You know, like sex.
It’s funny to me that some women see a purity ring and conclude that sex isn’t important to the guy wearing it, when it’s actually quite the opposite. The ring has meaning precisely because sex has meaning, great meaning, to its wearer. I think sex is so important that I refuse to share it with just anybody.
But Sofia isn’t “just anybody,” and that made it difficult and regrettable to part ways. In fact, I’ve considered not wearing the ring, if only to ensure that I get to date #2 before I have to talk about how soon I plan to have sex with someone. The point was never for it to be a flashing billboard for my sexual habits, anyway. I mean, it’s not like it has “SEX” with a big red “X” over it, for crying out loud.
But the longer I live, and the more women I meet, I’m ever more grateful for that stainless steel conversation starter. While I’d rather not talk about it, and I’d definitely rather it not turn away beautiful women, I take great pride in it and what it represents.
And if I do end up walking away from a gorgeous hockey-loving woman as a result of it, then hey, I consider that a feather in my Wild cap.