I think it goes without saying that my relationship with my father is more than a bit strained—something about being called a tool of the devil and a childhood of being carted along to playgrounds so your dad can hookup with random dudes in the public restroom just a few hours after praying in front of the entire church makes one less than stoked to have him walk you down the aisle at your wedding.
I’m fairly old fashioned but I’ve never been bothered by the fact that my future fiancé won’t have anyone to ask for my hand in marriage. I’ve been independent (albeit periodically impoverished) since I was 18 years old– I’m the only one who’s earned the right to give someone permission to marry me.
But apparently this doesn’t stop some of the men folk from trying.
About a year ago, I logged onto Facebook and discovered a mysterious “Other” folder on my messaging inbox. It turns out this is a place where correspondence goes to languish and die when sent from someone who is not already one of your friends. Unless you go out of your way to look for it, this long lost message is doomed to wander the wasteland of social media.
When I saw notification of (1) mysterious message waiting for me, I innocently clicked—not realizing I was about to enter a bartering exchange for my supposed virginity and feminine charms.
It was a message from a guy I’d known in my childhood. Wait, that’s giving him too much credit. He was the older brother of a boy I’d vaguely known through church but they were the sort of homeschool family that didn’t allow the temptations of female companionship lest it distract them from their arduous musical or intellectual studies. His name was Frank and all I knew about him was that he wore huge photochromic glasses and played the harp.
I hadn’t seen, heard from him, or breathed the air in his vicinity in at least a decade. But here he was, in my “Other” box, with a proposition that was damn near hard to resist:
Conversation started June 22, 2012
Frank — here. I ran into your parents at my friends’ wedding the other weekend and had a wonderful conversation with them. Your mom gushed that you’re single, and I immediately recognized that we’re perfect for each other by mere virtue of the fact that I’m also single.
Unfortunately, your dad wasn’t keen on me pursuing you, and I couldn’t seem to win him over. However, your mom produced a photo on her phone, I blurted out “Wow! She looks like a ten goat girl,” and with those dowry numbers on the table he quickly warmed up to the idea. I of course don’t tell you that to impress you — although my stable is sizable — but to inform you that I have your father’s blessing.
So! With the formalities out of the way: would you care to have breakfast or dinner one of these weekends? I think IHOP on Canterbury and Main would be ideal for breakfast, but dinner I’ll leave entirely up to you.
I’m looking forward to hearing back from you!
As I stared at the “Reply” button, a few thoughts went through my mind:
1. I will admit, this line is actually kind of funny: “I immediately recognized that we’re perfect for each other by mere virtue of the fact that I’m also single.”
2. You obviously know nothing about me other than what can be gleaned from my Facebook profile (I’m the Mother of Baby Seals, etc.) otherwise you wouldn’t have mentioned your wonderful conversation with my parents. Really?! Everyone in my corner of the world knows about the fiery implosion of the Lorens family– where’ve you been?
3. I may have vomited in my mouth a bit after this line: “Unfortunately your dad wasn’t keen on me pursuing you.” Um, I’m a grown ass woman with my very own savings account and an extensive scorecard of personal failings, no one makes my decisions for me.
4. Did you just refer to me as “A TEN GOAT GIRL?!” Weighing my value in livestock is offensive, antiquated, and masochistic. (PS: Is there some sort of conversion table I can consult? For instance, how many goats is Jennifer Lawrence worth? If you say 900 I will punch you in the face. If you say 9 then maybe we can discuss this over breakfast.)
5. “DOWRY?” W-T-Fuck.
6. You mention that you “of course don’t tell [me] that to impress” me, except that’s actually exactly why you told me that.
7. “My stable is sizable.” Wait. Are we talking about your manjangles or your net worth?
8. “I have your father’s blessing.” And I have a hole in the toe of my right sock. See, I can make completely meaningless statements as well.
9. Thanks for informing me of where we will have breakfast. I cannot wait to have 50 babies with you, I just hope that most of them are men so that they can take care of the farm, be capable of rational thought, and inherit our land and titles.
I thought better of responding. I know, I know, it would have made for a much better story if I had. It was a very confusing time of my life during which I exercised an inordinate amount of self-control and maturity. Don’t worry, that didn’t last long.
Have you had any weird messages lurking in your “Other” inbox or Junk Mail folder? What’s the most backhanded compliment or proposition you’ve ever gotten? Do you measure your worth in livestock?
Oh! And for what it’s worth– you guys proved I am worth WAY more than 10 goats. When you paid my dowry.
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