Still, he's interesting, he wanted to be a priest until he was 25, he does comedy and writes screenplays, he seems like an intelligent guy. We probably have enough material for an interesting conversation.
So he calls. He is intelligent, he's a good conversationalist, he's really interested in talking religion, he's a serious Catholic but says liberal things about women and gays in the priesthood, he asks good questions about UUism, he's not nervous, he seems like a person it might be fun to meet for coffee. I don't like how often he refers jokingly to the Catholic Church as "the one true faith," but I figure maybe we can date once or twice before that attitude drives me crazy.
"By the way," he says. "I don't know what I put in my profile, but I could care less about having kids." I tell him, "Well, it's in your profile that you definitely want children." He then says, and I quote, "You've got to say that if you want to get laid." I play along, joking about the sensitive father vibe that women are looking for and he spills it all out, because he thinks he's found a kindred spirit in lying to women in me: "Oh yea, you act all interested while the women are around, pay a lot of attention to the kid," etc. We chuckle.
Now, I know he's joking. I know he's a sarcastic dude, and a comedian. I know he really isn't a vile bastid. But here's the thing: he's a serious Catholic. He's falsely advertising on Match.com that he really wants kids. He's out there trolling hard for chicks, by his own admittance. He identifies himself as Catholic on his profile, so could be assumed to be attracting Catholic women who want a Catholic husband and children.
Yet he claims that in truth, he doesn't want kids. Which says to me that this former priest wanna-be intends to get into relationships with attractive women just to, in his words, "get laid." As a serious Catholic, might I assume that his attitudes toward contraception and abortion are in keeping with his Church's official position? Or is he, rather than a "serious Catholic," a seriously hypocritical Catholic who uses contraception with all those babes ("girls" in his language) he's reeling in on Match.com in defiance of his Church's teachings? In which case, why all the obvious fervency about the One True Faith underneath all the joking around about it?
Oh, by the way, he holds the utmost disdain for "lightweight" and "Chinese menu" approaches to religion like the UUs often have (and I concur with him on this, except I'm not the one saying this and then contradicting my church's official doctrine on, like four important issues within my first conversation with a total stranger).
I can see lying about your height on Match.com, or about your weight or how much money you make. But to lie about one of the most important aspects of a committed relationship in order to get booty is just gross. I'm sure that Father Paul wouldn't think so, but I think it's just as unethical in some ways to lie on a singles dating site about wanting children as it is to lie about your marital status. In both cases, you're identifying as someone who's available for a relationship whose basic components you have no intention of fulfilling.
Of course it may be that he really does want three kids and he was just lying to me because he thought I might potentially be a tasty morsel. None of the options are good.
Meanwhile, there's a funny guy who writes me a mash note and who apparently wants to keep the red-headed population thriving. I respond by saying "aren't you sweet" but (1) I don't intend to contribute to the population and (2) my red hair is, how shall we put it, not entirely authentic. He says, "Well, maybe we can just meet and smooch!" and tells me he's going back out on Match.com to find a mother for his children. His religion? Nothing. His honesty? Totally appealing.
I'm particularly grateful today to be a member of a religious faith that contends that religiosity is no guarantor of ethical decency. Religiosity, I could do without. Religion, I'm still interested in.
Best comment I heard lately about our O.W.L.* program? "Man, it totally ruined me for meaningless sex!"
(O.W.L. = Our Whole Lives, a comprehensive sexuality curriculum taught in our churches)