For someone as rational as I am, and who enjoys mathematics, statistics, and other related subjects as much as I do, I’m not a very calculated person when it comes to matters of the heart. I tend to think very rationally and critically (both about myself and others), but I’m not someone who tends to walk around life with a lot of secret plots and agendas. It’s not the way I operate—I tend to either be painfully closed or painfully open, and there isn’t a lot of space between the two options.
For that reason, I have been greatly bothered, and more than a little offended, at many of the comments I receive about my own personal life and its relation to my trip to Thailand. People seem to think it well within the realms of being socially appropriate to say, either with a wink and a nod or a bit of a hopeful sigh, that they hope or expect me to find a bride here in Thailand. I happen to disagree. I’m not that calculated when it comes to my (thus far fruitless and extremely depressing) search for love and marriage. Whoever or wherever the right young lady for me is, she is going to have to be an extraordinary young woman, and there is no point in trying to gnaw at secret plots or conspiring to manipulate circumstances for what amounts to a search for a tiny needle in a giant haystack.
I have a good idea of what I am and what I like. I know I am a person who is sometimes very hard to deal with—with a fierce temper, a passion for justice, an extreme sensitivity about being treated with disrespect, a tendency to be either brutally direct or extremely indirect in my communication, who is dryly humorous, often serious, and prone to give lectures about the most obscure and arcane subjects. I am not particularly handsome, I have never been particularly wealthy or athletically gifted, and anyone who falls in love with me is going to have to love my heart and mind, neither of which is always easy to love.
I also know what I like in a young woman. I like her to be “cute” rather than “sexy.” I tend to like innocent young women, because in all honesty I am not a terribly experienced young man. I would be inexperienced for a fourteen year old in modern day society—as a thirty year old I am extremely so. To find a young woman who is innocent enough to captivate me is a very difficult task in whatever country I happen to be in. I tend to like young women who are a bit shy (that comes along with the innocence, I suppose), sweet, very loving, happier and more carefree than I am (which is not difficult, as I am by nature a somewhat gloomy and pessimistic person). I also care very much about her ability to be interested in what I read about, write about, think about, and talk about—she does not have to be as much of an intellectual as I am, but she needs to be appreciative of the fact that I am that way and always will be, God willing.
Given that, it disturbs me that people think I treat romance as a late 19th century Victorian hunter going on a safari, looking for exotic locales to bag exotic prey. That’s not the way I operate. I do not think of the search for a godly marriage as a hunt where one uses trickery and fancy weaponry to fell elusive beasts. I rather think of it like a very complicated dance with someone else, seeing how the person steps with you, what they are after, what you are after, and if you are willing and able to walk together for the rest of your lives. Given what I have seen in my friends and family (and my own native personality), the prospect leaves me with considerable anxiety. I will neither run into it, nor run away with it, but I do not see the timing or place as entirely within my control, or at all within my knowledge at this time, and I’m not inclined to act in such a cunning fashion as to trap someone in a relationship with me, or to be very willing to fall into such traps as other people may construct to ensnare me.
I’m also not inclined to be the person who engages in flings, nor do I welcome other people who would merely want a fling with me. I don’t consider relationships to be a fun pastime or hobby. I take them, like I take most things, very seriously. This does not mean I do not enjoy them, but rather that I try to put the fun in its proper perspective, and not let it overwhelm the very patient and long-term process of how I deal with matters of the heart. I’m not someone who tends to be in a hurry when it comes to love and intimacy, though if someone is very suitable (and that is rare, but it has happened to me before) I am at least quick to recognize how serious it could get and examine what I would have to do to pursue such a relationship as seriously as it would deserve. That nothing has come of such matters yet does not mean that nothing will, it just means that, God willing, I will not be caught blindsided if it does happen. I will certainly be surprised, but I hope not to be scammed at any rate.
And so I am extremely bothered when people seem to assume that I am far more calculated and far more of a player than I am. While I am flattered, in a way, that people assume I am attractive enough to find love easily in foreign lands, I am bothered by their assumptions that I will return from Thailand (if I return) with a lovely and blushing bride in tow. It may happen, I certainly would not wish to rule it out, but to excite hopes or expectations that it will occur is very unreasonable. If it happens it will not be the result of plotting or calculations, but the result of divine providence combined with sincere and awkward human effort. With the heart and mind I have been given to work with, it can be no other way.