Prayer #4: Boy Power

I call it the 'Aunt Angela syndrome.' It's the feeling of anticipation you carry for hours, weeks, days about a really fun event, such as your favorite aunt coming to visit.

But when the moment of truth arrives -- her car should be in the driveway, the doorbell should ring, etc. -- it doesn't happen. She's disappointed you, for whatever reason, and left you as deflated as a day-after Party City mylar.

That's how I feel right now, except this time, it's about one boy, four phone messages, and two weeks of unfulfilled anticipation.

Prayer #4: Boy Power

Dating is a terrible and dangerous game. It caresses you with one hand, and twists your heart in the other. Intellectually, you know you shouldn't live and die by date nights. But emotionally, you percolate with hope, despite your best efforts to stay cucumber-cool and composed.

In this era of instant communication, how do daters still manage not to connect? That seems to take more effort than actually picking up the phone and calling. It worsens when dates fall through without explanation. Then you're left wondering: Did his cell battery run out? Is this his way out of further commitment? Is he dead on the side on the road? Was he mauled by a bear on the way to the movie theater?

The human institution of dating proves God is male. Free will be damned! No benevolent female God would ever have made women so neurotic over the search for a perfect mate. She would have hardwired us much differently -- maybe crafted Adam from our hipbone, and left men forever wandering and wondering instead.

So sorry God -- tonight's prayer is going to the Blessed Mother. (It's a girlfriend thing. Ask her to explain it to you.)

Dear Mary, do you understand dating? Do you understand what a quagmire my age group has gotten itself into? I hope you do, because tonight, I'm laying at your feet every phone wait, every boring dinner, every second guess, every over-analytical thought, every moment of self-doubt, every attempted outfit, every expensive cocktail, every awkward make-out session, every pint of ice cream consolation, every swear word, every treacly chick flick, and every emotional roller coaster EVER experienced, by ANY person, on EITHER side of the dating aisle.

But I also lift up all the first kisses, the second dates, the anniversaries, the trips, the (good) movies, the inside jokes, the end-of-day sync-ups, the compliments, the cuddling, the takeout Chinese, the adventures, the confidence, the certainty ... the love. That certainly makes all the rest worth it, doesn't it?

So I pray for all those struggling in relationships tonight, Mary, however new or old they may be. Please comfort and sustain everyone through the 6 pints of Ben & Jerry's they'll probably consume. Remind them that their self-worth is reflected best in God's eyes, and that he is a constant Lover.

And I also pray for those who are succeeding in dating, Blessed Mother. Keep their relationships strong and healthy. Be with them in their personal and mutual decisions. And bless their friendships with neurotic singles ... we need all the help we can get, on earth or from above.

I like talking woman to woman, Mary. Care for a bite of Phish food?