Why I would like for someone to just giftwrap Captain Wentworth and send him to my house

I went on a date recently. (I know!!)

But because this is my life and nothing can ever be simple, it was with a guy that my boss set me up with. To be specific, she met him a few months ago, found out he was single, and told him that there is a new single librarian at her library and he should really come in and check me out. Another coworker was with her at the time and rushed back to warn--I mean, tell me about it.

"I mean, maybe you'll like him. Do you like obnoxious guys?"

He eventually did come in and did ask me out. And since he didn't seem to be an axe-murderer or anything, I said yes.

We went out to dinner and he was very nice and polite and, dare I say it, even witty. And then this:

The server brought us our food and he asked, "Would you mind if I offered a quick blessing on our food?"

Me: "Um, I guess that's fine. Do you mean silently or, like, vocally?"

Him: "Well, out-loud if that's okay."

Me: " . . . Sure."

Note: We Mormon folk typically do say grace/offer a blessing/what have you over our meals in our homes, or church activities where food is served, but not so much in restaurants. When I was at BYU and living in the dorms, people would close their eyes and say a quick, silent prayer over their cafeteria trays before eating. But everyone knew what that was about, and were all so excited to finally be Among the Righteous where you actually could pray over food without being called a Jesus freak. But the restaurant thing? To me that just feels awkward and conspicuous. And after his prayer, which to be fair was very brief and quiet and did not involve vials of sheep's blood or any other unexpected thing, I had pretty much decided that I'm not down with the restaurant praying.

Only I feel a bit like a hypocrite to be all, "Yeah, I'm not into you. I like guys who pray less. And drink more." If I were in New York City and sitting near a Jewish or Catholic or Muslim family and noticed that they were praying over their food, I would probably think, "Cool. Good on them." But out here in Utah where lots and lots and lots of people are the same religion as me and none of them feel the need to pray vocally in restaurants, the ones doing it might come off as a bit attention-seeking and self-righteous, if you see what I mean.

So we're going out again, but if the subject comes up I'm going to tell the truth, that I'm just not down with that. And that I said a 3-hour prayer before the date and made sure to cover any food products I might come across.


Cooldad said... [reply]

If you'd like an example of what some Church leaders do, I saw Elder Dalin H.Oaks offer a brief silent prayer in a restaurant before eating.

Lady Steed said... [reply]

At least he asked if you minded or not. He could've reached out and batted your fork out of your hand and said, "WAIT! We haven't blessed it yet!!" That certainly would have been worse...and also raised some huge red flags for you.

Good luck on date number two. I think your three hour prayer solution is a good one.;)

ed said... [reply]

Awesome post. I second the notion of not causing a scene/praying in public over food.

Just say a prayer in the car before you go or a silent prayer under your breath before you eat.

If it happens again definately speak up.

Jenny said... [reply]

Good luck when you bring the smack down. I hope my some miracle you can channel someone else and say it in a way that doesn't make it a bigger deal than it is. : )

ed said... [reply]

Also in my days of waiting tables at Olive Garden, Macaroni Grill and Carrabas I have seen guys make the girls hold hands and pray out loud sometimes for minutes. Some acts fell slightly short of dancing around the table or something.

These type never tipped well if at all!

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

Praying vocally in a restaurant is weird enough, but praying on a first date is even weirder, in my opinion.

Jason and Hannah said... [reply]

My sweet husband actually broke up with a girlfriend he dated before dating me cause she insisted on praying aloud in restaurants and he thought it was weird.

I totally agree with you...no praying aloud in restaurants.

Sarita said... [reply]

Could someone giftwrap Wentworth miller and send him to my house?

banana said... [reply]

Hmmm... I'm not sure about this one. I have a friend who always prays quietly before we eat. I sometimes feel awkward - but the scripture about not being ashamed comes to my mind every time and I feel bad.

Who are we more scared of... God or other people? Who do we respect more? If its a quiet thing that isn't to show others how spiritual we are but because we are truly grateful to God that he has blessed us with food that so many others in the world do not have...then I think that's a good thing.

And I've yet to have someone stare at me and shout 'Hey look that weirdo is praying!'

Jenny said... [reply]

Wentworth Miller is totally hot. I love that his mom named him after a Jane Austen character.

Noelle F. said... [reply]

I don't like to pray vocally in public places (restaurants) either. At times, depending on the company, we might say a silent prayer. That's fine. I feel the vocal part draws attention that I really don't want.

Then, I have this friend, who's trying to come back to church (she's recently divorced/separated). She won't drink a lick of caffeine AT ALL--prays OUT LOUD in restaurants, and then will take the Lord's name in VAIN! I've tried to gently love her and tell her that she needs to re-evaluate her PRIORITIES!

Nemesis said... [reply]

So I just realized I might not have been absolutely clear on this one bit--if I should tell this young man that I don't really do the vocal public praying, I will of course say that I'm happy to sit quietly while he does whatever he needs to do.

Janssen said... [reply]

Wow, that's too funny. I'm interested to hear how the next date goes!

lilcis said... [reply]

Ed brings up a good point - how well did he tip? I think if he left a good tip you can definitely overlook the praying in public thing. But next time tell him you're okay with the prayer if it's a quick, silent one. And just explain that you feel that public meal-time prayers are more for the benefit of letting other people see how benevolent you are and less about expressing your gratitude to God.

lilcis said... [reply]

Actually, that's kind of a snotty comment, don't tell him that. Go with what you said, much nicer.

But definitely say something, there's no reason for you to be uncomfortable. And you don't want to start a relationship with a LIE!

kristen said... [reply]

I wouldn't condemn someone for praying in public. Sure, it's weird, but who doesn't have a quirk? I think it's obvious who's doing it for vanity reasons and who's doing so out of sincerity. If it's loud enough so that anyone within a 20 ft radius can hear, then ok, there's some problems.

Claire said... [reply]

Public prayer first, there's no telling what's next.....naming all your children scripture names: Nephi, Lehi, Moses, etc. (not that you will marry Mr. Pub Prayer, but just saying) Hope the second date goes well!

scienceteachermommy said... [reply]

Interesting discussion. I didn't think of anything religious through your post, I just kept thinking, "Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater." My mother-in-law had been engaged to my father-in-law for nearly a year when she realized, "This man will NEVER be a nurturer, and I will NEVER change that." She decided he had enough good qualities she saw as most important, that others didn't matter. Although I would put "nurturing" on the same list as "praying in public" for things I can live without.

April said... [reply]

I often pray out loud in public: "Dear Lord, please let this idiot in front of me get out of the way." "Dear Lord, make that moron shut his mouth." "Dear Lord, please make the jerk who just pulled out in front of me get a flat tire."

You know, typically the people I see praying out loud are newer to their faith, and therefore a little more exuberant about showing it. Maybe he falls into that category and he'll grow out of it?

Rachel said... [reply]

I couldn't do it. I couldn't pray out loud in public and I couldn't sit with somebody who did. If one really *must* pray in public, I think it's perfectly acceptable to offer a short, silent, inconspicuous prayer and then get on with the meal.

I have my own views on the motives of conspicuously praying in public, but I'll keep them to myself for fear of enraging the religious masses.

Cicada said... [reply]

I'm glad that you're going to go out with him again. When I started reading this post, I thought maybe you decided against him. But so far, despite the public praying, I like him. Keep us posted.

ed said... [reply]

April and Rachel have some killer comments here. I totally agree.

The Misanthropic Mormon said... [reply]

the last time i prayed in a restaurant i got food poisoning.

Jér said... [reply]

Let that be a lesson to us all.

'sposita said... [reply]

i confess - i have prayed (aloud) in public over food... in Costco no less! but it was because my son said, "we have to say prayer before we eat!" and... i didn't want to say we don't pray in public, and he doesn't get that "silent prayer" bit....

does that fall under some exception clause?

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