Four years in an all-girls Catholic high school prepared me for college writing and defending my faith in the face of persecution; it didn’t prepare for the kind of male attention college has brought me so far. I really don’t mean to be vain, but I can’t walk a block in the city or take the light rail without getting complimented on my appearance and/or asked for my number by multiple men. I suddenly have guys waiting for me after my classes, offering to take me to lunch, carry my books and walk me to class. This is all so new and bizarre to me, having been holed up in my Rapunzel tower for the past four years. The first day of school, I had to double-take when I walked into a classroom full of guys. I haven’t had classes with guys since I was fourteen. Furthermore, last I checked, I still look about fourteen or fifteen, with my “Cabbage Patch Kid” cheeks and round “baby face.” Needless to say, my body image isn’t quite ideal either; I spent my holidays in an eating disorder rehab center last year. So, the fact that so many guys are suddenly paying me notice is kind of overwhelming to me and my Ugly Duckling Syndrome. Frankly, I don’t think I can distinguish a real, genuine compliment from words of lust and objectification. Men are actually looking at my body, and suddenly, I remember why modesty is so crucially important.
Anyway, I’ve recently met this guy I’ll call “John”, and he kind of has my head spinning for a number of reasons. I met him a few weeks ago at a barbecue on campus and found out he’s a senior at a nearby college, a Criminal Justice and Psychology major planning to join the FBI. I immediately thought he was quite attractive, charismatic and intelligent, so when he invited me to accompany him to Barnes & Noble, I was thrilled at the chance to keep talking to him. We sat in B&N for roughly three hours, just talking about psychology and religion and whatnot. He had all sorts of questions, and somehow I ended up telling him about my family, religion and even my eating disorder (he actually guessed that, among other things). He told me that I reminded him a lot of his ex-girlfriend, who was, like me, devoutly Christian and chaste, though he himself is a cradle Catholic-turned-agnostic. He said something under his breath, and when I asked him to repeat, he said, “Oh, I just told you that you have a really cute face.” He grinned and explained to me that my reaction to that comment—to look down, turn bright red in the face and loosen my shoulders—was a foolproof indication that I found him attractive. I admitted that he was probably right, then he bought me a Starbucks latte. It started raining hard, and he offered to make me dinner at his apartment, saying that, knowing about my disorder, he couldn’t let me go without eating. Being the trusting, reckless person I am, I accepted. (Go ahead and lecture me about that, I need it.)
He and I have since been hanging out like that every other day during the school week. After my classes, he’ll take me out to lunch, or we’ll watch a movie or South Park at his apartment (he has roommates, but we typically just hang out in his room). I can’t help but worry that maybe that in itself is sinful, though he’s never tried anything on me, or even kissed me. He likes to tickle me a lot and touch me in playful ways, though. We curl up next to each other sometimes while watching movies on the floor, which is probably only significant to me due to my lack of experience with males, haha. He’s had plenty of sexual experience, though, so he probably thinks nothing of the amount of physical contact we have. I sometimes can’t help but wonder why he invests time and money into a shy freshman girl who won’t “repay” him with sex, especially since he has plenty of female friends who are perfectly willing to put out. I think it ultimately has to do with the fact that I remind him of his ex. They dated for eight months (the longest he’s ever been in a relationship), never had sex and broke up a while ago. It’s obvious he still cares about her a lot, and he often draws parallels between her and me. I’m convinced that he actually does care about me, and that indicates that at core, he seeks purity of heart. He’s said himself that he’s tired of casual sex. He could use some grace, grace like a hurricane.
Anyway, he left the country yesterday for vacation in France, and he’ll be back in about two weeks. I sat with him at the train station before he left, and religion came up. To tease me, he talked about the French girls he’d be meeting, and I rolled my eyes and told him I’d be praying the Rosary for him while he’s gone. He seemed interested in the fact that I pray for him, then said that he has problems with certain “inconsistencies” in Christianity. I told him that when he gets back home, I want to take him to some religious functions. He was cynical, saying that youth groups are all the same and that he’d probably hate it the second we got there. I really want to help him see Catholicism in a new light the way I did when I found my faith. Yes, I’m attracted to him, but regardless of whether that works out, I want to lead him to Christ. I’m now including him in my intentions when I pray my nightly chastity prayers, and as I promised him, I plan to pray a Rosary for him. What else can I do? I’ve never fully devoted myself to someone else’s conversion before. It’s usually a passive thing I pray about when I remember, but I want to be his active prayer warrior. I want to take him on dates to volunteer at soup kitchens and help him find Jesus however I can.