“[Aziz] Ansari has had some trouble lately and I may be of help.”
I have found my attention turning to Aziz Ansari and a date he had that made its way into news talk and social media. Ansari is a 34-year-old actor and comedian of global renown. I am not a fan. Not because I dislike his material, I have seen little of it. My recall of him is from the Parks and Rec sitcom. I have only seen a few episodes and I am not familiar with his standup.
We are of a different generation and lifestyle. I’m getting old and he’s still young. I am a small-town preacher in North Carolina and he lives the celebrity life in New York City. He fills Madison Square Garden with millennials and I am struggling to fill the pews in my church on Sunday morning. So, in terms of crowds he has had more success.
He has also done more thinking about the nuances of dating and sex in the digital age. Once again, it is not my world. The last time I dated, the most up-to-date technology was the corded telephone that was attached to my dorm room wall, and Tinder was dry twigs to start a campfire.
Ansari wrote a book, Modern Romance, that I will probably not read, which became a New York Times best seller. He has “built his career on being cute and nice and parsing the signals women send to men and the male emotions that result.…” I haven’t been cute for thirty years and stopped sending women signals a long time ago. But Ansari has had some trouble lately and I may be of help.
He appears to be a decent enough fellow. It would not have troubled me if, when my daughter was still under my roof, she had attended one of his shows. Though, the latest news is that he went on a date that went terribly sour. He took a woman to his apartment, moved too fast and failed to read her signals that she was not ready for what he wanted, which was sex. He eventually heeded her no, however dimwitted he remained.
The day after, he had texted her with the message, “It was fun meeting you last night.” When he found out that she had cried the whole ride home he apologized. “I’m so sad to hear this,” he responded, “Clearly, I misread things in the moment and I’m truly sorry.” When she later saw him televised at the Golden Globes wearing a pin to support the movement against sexual harassment and assault, she decided to go public. She says that it was “the worst night of my life.” The debate now rages as to whether this was simply a bad date or sexual assault.
What appears to be missing from the media talk and his ponderings on romance is a conversation about covenants. It’s too bad, because “parsing the signals women send” aside, it would have saved him a heap of trouble. So, perhaps this outdated, over-the-hill preacher can offer some guidance.
Men and women need restraints. We always have. Sex is a drive like no other, except perhaps the desire for money, and we know how that can get out of hand. Sex is a God-given longing, a deep thirst, and a “very good” one, to quote a few words from Yahweh in the first chapter of Genesis. That said, sex needs boundaries; otherwise, it turns in on itself and becomes a destructive force, a destructive force that has left a trail of human misery.
What I would like to say to Ansari, who has researched all the latest date apps and knows the singles bar is this: The best hookup is that one that lasts a lifetime. People of faith have known this for as long there have been a people of faith. The young woman who you brought to your apartment had God’s divine imprint upon her, as do you, and when the holy and good inside her wasn’t honored she was offended. This is why she cried.
So, take it from this small-town preacher, who seems out-of-touch and lost in time, the best sex is wrapped up in “for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until we are parted by death.” I understand. You have been raised in a world of one-night-stand gratification, but the best rush is the one that lasts a lifetime.