You know the phrase “unlucky in love”? If you’re single and of a certain age and named Tony V. (sorry, Tony), you’ve quite possibly heard it applied to yourself. Perhaps by an aunt or adopted Jewish mother. Perhaps by strangers on Instagram commenting on your vast collection of retro-filtered shots of scaldingly lonely Lean Pockets. As if love is dispensensed by some officially licensed Cupid® slot machine to those fortunate enough to hit quintuple jackpots on line 9 while placing a max bet. Or so I’ve heard.
But being single around this, the season of St. Valentine, has its advantages. Namely, you don’t have to make the decision on wether or not to break up with your significant (though not matrimonial) other before, during or after the Hallmark Holiday of the Month. Because while not having someone to love is a bonafide bummer, it’s a few notches above having someone to loathe that you can’t quite shake. After all, as Christians, we have a tendency to be overly nice (except while driving, gossiping or harumphing at point three of the pastor’s last sermon), and don’t really want to hurt someone’s feelings by, you know, completely rejecting them as a human being created in the image of the Most Holy God. It’s enough to make a Gentile verklempt.
Nonetheless, honesty is the best policy and is currently offered for $300 less than other character-related policies on Geico.com. But honesty can also be tactful, loving, gentle and appreciated. Characteristics that in no way apply to the following Step-by-Step Guide to Breaking the Bonds of Christian Datingdom Before the Need to Buy Histamine-Requiring Tokens of Loveishness Arises. Or simply, the SBSGTBTBOCDBTNTBHRTOLA.
*Step 1: Embrace the King’s English *As any good fundamental Baptist knows, the best Bible translation is the one just below the original Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek texts in degree of difficulty to understand – the King James Version. And not the New King James, either, hippie. You want to show your not-so-much-beloved just how Bibliotastic you truly areth? Go very old school with both tongue and pen and keyboard and possibly texting if autocorrect doesn’t stymie thee. Slap on the already alluded to “eth” to every verb possible, along with your more malleable nouns. Never see or look, always behold. Substitute F’s for S’s. But watcheth thyfelf before thou wrecketh thyfelf. You may end up sounding like either a pirate (so avoid non-biblical words like “scallawag” and “wench”) or Colin Firth. Neither of which is a good thing at this stage.
*Step 2: Less Wry, More Ryrie *We live in a postmodern, post-ironic, post-everything-to-Facebook world wherein 98% of the under-40 crowd is 100% versed in snark. So back off the clever banter and rededicate yourself to the Truth with a capital T (which you should have already noticed) by hoisting out a Ryrie Study Bible. Weighing in at a scant 57 pounds (slimline version), the RSB lets the object of your disaffection know just how high of a holy roller you are. Especially when thou continually ploppeth the tome in front of him or her with the admonition to “check a few of thefe paffagef I’ve marked for thee.” The heft of the RSB will allow you to flee before it striketh thee in the noggin, forsooth.
*Step 3: Keep it Legal with a Double Dose of Istic *Age of Grace, Schmage of Grace. Nothing spreads faux joy and love like twisting the Lord’s gracious, merciful gift of forgiveness into a works-based system of “thou shalls” and “thou shalt nots.” That apple cider been in your lesser half’s fridge a few days past its sell-by date? Accuse her of fermenting with intent to imbibe. Mr. Notsogoodbar a little too skilled at Dance Dance Revolution? Toss his Xbox into the street whilst screaming, “Get thee behind me, Satan! Back to the (Bill) Gates of Hell with thee, Boogie Man!” Because if successful relationships require flexibility, ending them requires flexibilidont.
*Step 4: Bounce Your Eyes Like a Super Ball *A Sunday school teacher once told our class of young married folks that, to stay pure of mind and free of lustiness, we should “bounce our eyes” whenever an attractive person of the opposite sex came into view. So make it the new normal to continually shifteth your gaze away from the one you’re finding increasingly repellent anyway. This works on three levels: First, he or she will think you’re hiding something and are thusly untrustworthy. Second, you may be accused of having some sort of Charismatic fit which does not coincide with his or her Jacob’s Well / Upper Room / The Gathering vibe. Third, once you explain yourself, you’ll seem even stranger than the first two reasons.
*Step 5: Go Amishish *Anyone who thinks technology isn’t of the Devil has never tried to set up a multi-point wireless network in their home or built a Macintosh out of non-Apple-supplied hardware. But my frame of reference may be a bit narrow. Regardless, show your true commitment to Christ by disavowing all forms of modern convenience like cars, texting, bathing and employment. Churn some butter (eating it is neither required nor recommended). Grow a sweet beard (ladies, too). Wear black clothes. Make sure the previous two items don’t make you look like a contemporary Christian hipster as that could cause this whole thing to unravel. A little extreme? Perhaps. But that’s what being wild at heartlessness is all about.
*Step 6: Pull a Rapture Out of Your Hat *When in doubt, be absent with your body and present with the Lord. Somewhere else. Perhaps in a closet. Send your now-lonely love disinterest an explanatory SomeEcard via Snapchat and call it case closed. Sure, you’ll have broken fellowship with another believer and will be forced to seek their forgiveness before God will once again commune with you in prayer, but this is all a small price to pay to get to eat a box of Godiva’s finest without having to share.
Juft don’t blameth me if thou can’t ftop talking like Mr. Darcy.
*Jason Fox has nothing but the utmost respect for Mr. Colin Firth despite his appearance in “Bridget Jones’s Diary.” *