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How ’bout that local sports team

Like last week’s post, this reader question also came to us via the questions from the search terms.

how to respond to rude are you dating questions
Depends on the type of question. A cheerful “So honey, are you seeing anyone?” from a parent can be answered with, “Sure, Friend and I see Otherfriend and Acquaintance regularly to play poker. Oh, you mean dating? Nothing to write home about, but I’ll tell you when there is. By the way, how’s your XYZ project doing?”

Sometimes it’s awkward because you’re just getting to know someone, or you’ve been on a series of bad dates, or for some other reason you’re not not-dating but you’re also not ready to announce a relationship to one person in particular. For that, I suggest an airy “Oh, here and there, you know.” And then change the subject to the local sports team or their children or that book you just read.

If they specifically ask if you’re dating Theophilus, and you aren’t, just say “nope!” cheerfully and move on. If you are (or it’s that awkward transition stage), and you don’t want to talk about it yet, just laugh and say “You know I’d tell you if I had news to announce.” Whether you’re not telling because you don’t have news or because you don’t have news to announce, well…none of their business. Then change the topic.

If it’s from an acquaintance or someone who has no business asking, you can just say, “No.” Smile if you want to, or don’t. Let it hang in the air. If they start the awkwardly-insulting reassurances, check off your bingo card and maintain your smiling, expectant silence til they trail off. (What are you expecting? Oh, maybe that they’ll clue in and stop talking now. Or maybe that they’ll choke on the foot in their mouth.) Maybe if they feel awkward enough they’ll stop asking. One can hope….

Sometimes the question is asked in a rude way, with snide undertones. There’s always, “No, are you?” Which—assuming they’re married—is fairly rude in response. But funny. Honestly though…there’s nothing wrong with you for being single. There’s plenty wrong with being rude. It’s okay to misunderstand the question, or if you’re really fed up to change the subject as if you didn’t hear them. “Are you dating anyone yet?” “I loved the weather this last week, did you get to enjoy it?”

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Friday Linkage

Blessed feast!

Links for today:

Be lucky – it’s an easy skill to learn [Telegraph]
Fun and informative article

Two Phrases That Can Change Your Life [LinkedIn]
Even though this is on LinkedIn and ostensibly about work, it’s one of the best things I’ve read on thinking about boundaries in general

One Theory of Marriage and Kids [Atlantic]
In tautological news for today, happily married women are happy.

The Death of Dating [Ethika Politika].
Argues that careerism is partially to blame for the hookup culture.

Date’s Flaws Coming At Woman Faster Than She Can Rationalize Them [The Onion]
Rings painfully true

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True contentment is a thing as active as agriculture. It is the power of getting out of any situation all that there is in it. It is arduous and it is rare.

— GK Chesterton

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Male Friends and Boundaries

This started out as an answer to one of our questions from the search terms, but it got so long I figured it deserved its own post.

male friends and boundaries
Ooh, boundaries. Tricky subject, but what a marvelous thing. I love boundaries, they’re great. In this circumstance it basically boils down to this: Be courteous. Pay attention to the choices you make and the words you use.

First of all, it doesn’t have to be weird or awkward. Yes, you’re technically potential romantic partners, so what? So’s half the world. There is potential awkwardness in spades though, so being intentional about your words and actions is a very good thing. Over time you’ll develop a rhythm, a sense of what works for you, and you won’t have to think so hard about whether XYZ is okay. You’ll just know how you feel about it, whether it works in this friendship or doesn’t.

For a start, don’t ever imply he’s somehow not a man / not a real man / doesn’t count as a man / not a man you’d like to date; that’s ridiculously disheartening when it comes from a guy friend, and it’s no better when done to them. Obviously don’t imply that you want to date them, unless you do, because that would be confusing and weird. But don’t act as though they’re undateable or less-than-dateable, and don’t say things like “there are no decent single men around here” or “why aren’t there any good-looking Orthodox guys?” Ouch. Think before you speak, and don’t try to blow past it by saying “Well, you don’t count!”

Oh, and for heaven’s sake don’t introduce him as “Eusebius who is just a friend and of course I’d never date him.” Yes, I’ve seen that, and it’s demeaning and rude. I know that gossip is frustrating, but pre-empting it by insulting him or by drawing attention to the fact that you’re not dating is not going to help. If someone confuses Eusebius for your boyfriend, smile and say you aren’t dating. It’s not a big deal. In this regard, treat Eusebius like a single girlfriend: speak warmly and respectfully about him, because he’s a cool dude and totally dateable, you two just aren’t interested in dating each other.

By the way, try and keep your signals clear. If you’re a banter-y type, banter with Eusebius the way you’d banter with a girlfriend, not the way you’d flirt with a date. If you’re not sure you can tell the difference, ask your bluntest, most perceptive girlfriend how you’re coming across.

Especially with very young women, I sometimes see a sort of intimate playfulness that’s sweet and meant in fun, but isn’t entirely appropriate—the sort of extended cuddling that excused with “but he’s like a brother!” Seriously, who snuggles like that with an adult brother? Cf. Seraphic on that. I’m all for hugs (hugs are awesome) but if I want to curl up for a while with my head on a friend’s shoulder, I pick a close girlfriend.

It’s a bit different if he’s married, because then you want to pay attention to keeping two relationships healthy: with your friend, and with his wife. Even if you and she aren’t friends, if you’re friends with her husband then you’re more than acquaintances, and you want to be extra-thoughtful. Besides, if you really value your friend, you don’t want to set him up for a fight with the person he values most in the world.
To begin with, while hugging hello and goodbye is usually fine, never do anything unless you’d do the same thing while she was watching. It’s one thing to go bowling just the two of you if you’ve known each other since you met in your 3rd grade bowling league. It’s another if you’re just getting to know each other, especially if things seem a little off-kilter with his wife. If you’re not sure about the dynamic, hang out in groups, or with the spouse included. And—this is a big one—it’s probably a bad idea to be the person he goes to when he needs to vent about his wife. That can create a really bizarre dynamic. He has guy friends, family, a father confessor—you are not his only emotional outlet. Or at any rate you’d better not be, that’s not a healthy dynamic. If possible, get to know her a little. Being friends with one spouse doesn’t mean you have to be friends with (or even like) the other, but it helps if you can see them as a whole person.

If at any point you get a weird feeling about things (whether he’s married or single), just bring another friend along. Text him to let him know that Philonella is coming with you because she hasn’t been to the movies in forever, or because you thought the three of you could have a really awesome chat about Tolkien. Having Philonella around can take an edge off the awkwardness, and she can also tell you if there are observably-weird undertones.

Also…talk to him. If he really is a friend, have a conversation about what works and what doesn’t. If you value the friendship, then bother to communicate.

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The Thing About the Mother of God [Malheure]

What Battling Depression Teaches You About Love [Thought Catalog]

On Faith and Anxiety [The Toast]

Embracing the Spiritual Side-Effects of Fear [The Sounding]

Report from Iraq [Patheos]
Pray. Pray. Pray.

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“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

Viktor Frankl

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Recipe recommendation: GF Baguettes

“Gluten free baguettes” is not a phrase I expected to say with anything other than an eyeroll. But this recipe, it is magic. And it’s vegan.

It’s actually fairly easy. Mix the flax eggs first; if they’re not gelling, put the ground flax and water in a small saucepan and heat til they come together. Note that their flax egg recipe makes enough for 2 eggs, and the boule recipe calls for 4 eggs. Stir, and set aside.

Mix your oil, honey, and warm water. Set that aside too.

Then mix your dry ingredients together. (If there’s no health food store or Trader Joes type of place around to get things like sorghum flour and xanthan gum, I’ve used and can recommend them.) Dump the eggs on top of the dry mix and start stirring with a wooden spoon. Add the wet mix one-third at a time, and just keep mixing.

When it’s nicely mixed, let it rise on the counter (covered but not sealed) for an hour, then refrigerate it for at least 2 hours. Then take out 1/4 of the dough and shape it into a baguette; keep your hands wet and it’ll go easier. Let it rest on the counter for 40 minutes, then bake at 475* on a parchment-covered pizza stone (and a baguette pan if you have one) with a roasting pan full of water beneath it. Details on all that are explained on the recipe page.
You can leave the rest of the dough in the fridge for up to a week, and make a fresh loaf whenever you feel like it.

Tips I learned from definitely not setting my kitchen on fire:

  • It tastes just fine without seeds on top.
  • If you can’t count to 2 2/3 cups water without leaving out 1/3 cup somewhere, finish mixing the dough, let it rise on the counter, convince yourself that yes really this is a little dry you clearly left out some water, and then sprinkle 1/8 – 1/3 cup on top when you put it into the fridge to chill. It’ll absorb just fine.
  • If you don’t have parchment paper, but your baguette pan is nonstick, skip it—it’ll be fine.
  • If you don’t have a roasting pan, definitely donottry and use a jelly roll pan unless it’s industrial-strengthwithfairly high sides. The water will evaporate out and your poor pan will get all warped and funny-colored.
    • But a cast-iron skillet full of water should be fine.

(Really, I didn’t set my kitchen on fire. It just got a little interesting, that’s all. The jelly roll pan may not recover.)

The baguettes come out fluffy and light, with thick hard crusts and a wonderful flavor. I fed it to a group of mixed gf/gluten-eating people, and they all loved it.

Dunk in black coffee, or olive oil, and enjoy.

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Linkage: Science Edition

Why Readers, Scientifically, Are the Best People to Fall in Love With [Elite Daily]
Psssh. Like we needed science to prove that.

We Experiment on Human Beings [OkCupid Blog]
Sure, they set you up with Mr. Laughably Wrong for kicks, but you can definitely trust them.

Wives With More Education than their Husbands No Longer at Increased Risk of Divorce [Science Daily]
Oh, goody, now I can get that degree without ending up an old maid!

Our Relationship with God Changes When Faced with Romantic Rejection [Science Daily]
Tl;dr: vulnerable people are vulnerable, and these scientists were jerks.

When It Hurts to Think We Were Made for Each Other [Science Daily]
Or as someone else put it: marriage is a cornerstone, not a capstone.

Guess I’ll Go Eat Worms [Medium]
The lonely brain works differently.

The Health Benefits of Kindness [Big Think]
Why being nice is selfish

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Words from a wise woman

“While we were yet sinners Christ died for us….”  That right there sums up everything about how Christians ought to behave towards those whom they consider to be “other”.

— Alana

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