Chick Magnet

Today, while I was at services, I found myself being mercilessly teased by one of the girls there (who was eight years old, I think) who kept on running behind me and tapping me in the back. For personal reasons, I tend to find that exceptionally uncomfortable, but she seemed to think it to be cute and adorable to be such a tease to me. This is not an isolated sort of occurrence. I know two adorable twin three year old girls who are often running up to me to hug me and run around my legs. Last week, after services, I got a rather random and unexpected hug from behind, which tends to freak me out a bit, from a somewhat older girl who happens to be in my Sabbath School class. Since I did not grow up with any younger sisters, nor have any children of my own, I tend to see these girls as cousins, or potentially even nieces, with all of the sort of protectiveness and concern that involves.

My awkwardness when it comes to girls is something that tends to be the subject of nearly universal humor among my friends, who simply find it impossible to believe that someone can be so friendly and so timid at the same time, and who are constantly encouraging me to be more bold with others. I am sure that I must be the source of considerable confusion to many people, who simply may find the sort of conversation that it takes to draw out my feelings to be extremely exhausting and time-consuming. Given the fact that I refuse to take advantage of young ladies and have no interest in pursuing romance with married women (or even those in other romantic relationships), that has left precious few people for me to court in my passionate and sincere but certainly eccentric way. Given the fact that such a young woman is likely to hear about my own dysfunctional personal and family background and far too much knowledge about my own horrible childhood, a woman who is not scared away by knowing my struggles to live honorably and to face my difficulties courageously is presumably someone with whom a relationship could develop over time from friendship beyond. As in so much in my life, I am a person with somewhat ambitious aims but a rather gradual and patient approach to developing relationships.

In my experience, I am used to girls being interested in dangerous people who are exciting and not particularly nice people. I have never been that sort of person myself. Most of the danger of my life (of which there has been a lot) has not been deliberately courting risk and peril but rather having to face it unwillingly and without enjoyment in it. In contrast, I am someone who has lived life as an outcast and an outsider, and in the combination of my longing for better relations with others and in my own terrible loneliness and isolation, I have simply sought to understand others as they are, to listen to them speak their own stories even as I feel compelled to tell my own. Whether someone is young or old, male or female, I see them as people worth getting to know as they are and worth being respected for who they are, apart from any kind of ulterior motives. This is especially a matter of concern that I face in my friendships with the teenagers I have gotten to know in my congregation through my singing and involvement in sports and the life of the congregation. In light of my general friendliness [1] and extreme caution when it comes to romance and intimacy, I find it more than a little baffling when I draw the teasing and playfulness of teen girls, given that I am not intending to awaken any sort of inappropriate longings [2] and wish to conduct any courtship in an open and honorable fashion, without giving anyone cause for regret or shame.

So, how did I get to be a chick magnet in the first place? I don’t consider myself to be a particularly handsome person, and I’m definitely a serious person who requires suitable company to have a lot of fun. I like to get to know people, and regardless of how young or how much of an outsider someone is, I’m generally interested in seeing them for who they are and hearing their story. I’m curious about how others are doing and like to spend time with others. I’m rather gentle and kind by nature, and awkwardly honest about myself in my own quirky way. I find other people interesting and worthy of attention and concern, and even the concerns and fears of little children are worth paying attention to and attending to. For I too remember what it is like to be a little person whose needs were not met and whose longings for gentleness and kindness were met with abuse and harshness from those who should have been the most loving and understanding. I have resolved that whatever issues I have in my own life that I will treat others better than I have been treated. I too remember what it is like to be a teen and a young man whose tentative and shy efforts at flirtation and courtship have been met with grave threats and deep and cutting offenses. If my own character and personality has not been enough for me to fulfill my own longings for a wife and children of my own, it certainly has made me at least somewhat popular with those girls who truly deserve more understanding treatment from friends and family, and even (God willing, when the time and situation are right) a loving husband someday in the future. For the good thing about my being a chick magnet is that I am puzzled and confused by the interest others show in me, and that I am resolved to treat the girls tenderly and let them live in innocent joy without the burdens I have carried on my shoulders since I was an infant and the horrors that still haunt my nightmares even now.

[1] See, for example:

[2] /

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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9 Responses to Chick Magnet

  1. Cheryl says:

    Kids can sense good people.. No judgements! You’re good people nathan! We heart you!

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  4. It is so very sad and disheartening that you only remember the past history of those being in authority over you as harsh and abusive. I have meditated on this a great deal and found that forgiveness has to do with understanding that adults do the best they can with what they have to work with. Often it isn’t enough and doesn’t meet the needs of their children–but it does tend to be better than what they themselves suffered as children. It often takes several generations to completely break the cycle. I PTSD’ed recently when a relative by marriage unwittingly pressed a couple of buttons from my own past. I was shocked to say the least by my automatic reaction and had to dissect the experience in my mind before I could explain it to her. I thought I was further along than that in my own recovery but I obviously am not; hence my continued OCD issues. They really do feed into each other. However, I no longer play the blame game because people simply do what they do, and it’s their business–they have to square it with their Maker. We are all images of Him–made in His likeness–and every act of harshness and abuse is directed at Him, not us, even when they mean it personally or intentionally. It’s taken a half century to come to that realization in my heart as well as my head, which means that I can begin to live with that kind of attitude. It becomes easier with practice to react to meanness by saying something kind such as, “You must have had a very hard day or time of things” or “I’m very sorry about this inconvenience. How can I help you with solving the problem?”–or simply ignoring the other drivers that are angry, aggressive and disengaged. When I start to become impatient in the grocery line, I punish myself be inviting the person behind me to go in front of me. If the clerk is abrupt, I’ll deliberately say something about her shift or how hard it is to stay on her feet for so many hours, etc. We have so many opportunities to rise above our upbringing as you pointed out–for it is our responsibility to do so–and it doesn’t end when our children are grown and leave the nest. Although the relationship becomes different, we have to be certain that our loving care and motherly, protective instincts remain intact for a lifetime. The love we have must always shine through as each of us grows older as wiser in our respective generations–and we learn to reach out in respect for the other. It really is a two-way street, and the hope remains that any shortcomings of the past can be placed in the perspective of the adult at that time searching to do differently than his or her own past history but having no guidelines or standards to follow. All he or she knew was a narrow knowledge of what not to do.

    • I think that’s certainly a wise perspective. I don’t think I *only* remember authority as abusive, but the vast majority of my own personal experiences with authority figures have been rather negative; at best they have been fraught with difficulty and an extreme amount of anxiety on my part except with most of the teachers I have had. It does seem as if this particular blog entry hit you rather closely. I do agree that adults do the best that they know how to do (and that includes me), but it is rather sad that this is not necessarily good enough.

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