I had been wondering whether I should marry my future wife after two dates or two years, and it appears I now have the answers. Both of them. If I know I want to marry someone I shouldn’t waste any time and should board the next train to Gretna Green, and if I’m not sure, I should break up with her.

Alternatively I could score up the time taken, minus the doubts, multiply by deep reflection and out pops at the end of the equation that magic result of a perfect partner. Love, sometimes the open door, might only be window dressing.

As your illustrious Boy About Town I thought it my duty to report back from the field on how to know that you know, and know that the other person knows that they know. As well as knowing that they know that you know. Do you know what I mean?

Because I don’t. Know that I know, that is. I’ve been told that when you know, you just know, and maybe I will because I don’t right now so according to at least one of our correspondents, that’s enough.

I’ve also been told there are ways to know if someone is interested in you – something I’ve never quite got a handle on. Is it when they wait for exactly the same amount of time between their message and your reply, to reply once again, or is it if they reply the instant the double tick appears in Whatsapp? Is the sure sign of affection the curling fingers through the hair, or laughing just that little louder in group settings to ensure their presence is noted?

If knowing if someone is attracted to you is this complex and mind-bendingly confusing, what hope is there to know whether that person is the right person to get married to? At this point theology and Facebook stalking might have something useful to tell us. And understanding what knowledge we’re after.

When a girl crosses my path, and I think gosh, she’s attractive got a wonderful spiritual personality, I may have been known to turn to Facebook, find out everything I can about her. And also work out where and how I might conceivably be able to meet her. Yes, I’m like that. I can know a lot about her (dependent on privacy settings and whether I’ve the courage to send a friend request), but I don’t know her. Knowing God is a lot like that too. I can read books, I can study theology, I can spend days in the Bible learning about God, but I don’t necessarily know God. That sort of knowing is about a relationship, and not an accumulation of answers and the balance of probability.

There’s one particular difficulty with this, and it’s called the ‘friendzone’. If you’ve not been there, it’s a quagmire, quicksand, the place that takes your hopes and dreams, and sucks them under layers of well-meaning and friendliness. It’s where getting to know someone becomes a no-fly-zone for anything more. Once you’ve been placed in the friend box by a girl apparently that’s game over for hopes of romance, not reaching the end zone, but the dead end zone.

But what if this Boy About Town is stuck there, in the friendzone? What if, in trying to know whether he likes someone, he’s got to know them, but in trying to build a basis of friendship has instead built a concrete silo that becomes a cage? Have I, as Pink Floyd put it, exchanged “a walk on part in the war [of love], for a lead role in a cage [of friendship]”?


Photo credit: orphanjones via flickr cc

Written by Boy About Town

He's a boy about town finding his way in the big bad city. He likes real ale, taking photographs and the Smiths. He's got plenty of bromance and not enough romance. He's trying to figure out what the world and girls want from him. Come on ladies, give him a chance.

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