zack reynolds

Home | About Me | Short Stories | Poetry | Articles | Links

Susy's Talking Problem

(thanks to Lincoln for posing this question)

Susy was homeschooled. She's never talked to a boy in her life, has worn long dresses with long sleeves and a head covering since the day she was born so no boy would think awful thoughts about her. She went to every anti-dating seminar. When a boy comes into her life, she looks the other way and thinks, "I am not thinking about that boy." She was once caught accidentally sitting on one end of a church pew when a boy was sitting on other end. She is 20, but still considers herself a homeschool kid. She's not intentionally trying to attract attention from boys.

Tom likes to honor other people's personal preferences, but does not know what Susy does not like. Tom asks Susy what time it is.

How should Susy respond?
Should she say, "Noon"?

Or what if she thinks that asking the time is not appropriate?
Should she say, "Please don't disturb me. I don't tell time."?
Or should she not respond?

How should the boy respond?
Should the boy have asked her what time it was?
How should the boy behave if she says, "Please don't disturb me. I don't tell time."?
What should he think of her if she does not respond?
What if she does not respond?; but tells a third party; and the third party tells Tom: "All girls don't like you. A girl told me about this, but I won't tell you who. Never ask any girl what time it is again." Should he seclude himself in a mountain and never show his face again?


I say in this case, due to the unique nature of the belief, the girl should always stay really close to her dad whenever they go somewhere so if some handsome dashing guy comes up to ask her the time, she can tug at her dad's sleeve without having to answer. Then, of course, her dad can slug the sinful, wicked, flirtatious dude and then all their problems are solved.

And when the dude becomes conscious again after Daddy's Special Knuckle Sandwich™ wears off, he can do one of two things; hang himself in remorse over the great sin he has committed in being a stumbling block to the girl, or he can vow to be celibate and join the Hermit For God residency on the local mountain.

Now as far as the existence of the dude’s watch—well, he could simply be astonied at the apparent discrepancy of his watch and has a desire to validate the time, coinciding, coincidentally, with the desire to talk to said girl, resulting in the quite obvious solution of asking her the time. Or he could indeed be placed in the unhappy position of not possessing a watch, in which case instead of asking the girl the time, he could ask of her a watch (and then, as you say, if she desired not to talk, the situation would be resolved simply by handing over the watch).

In regards to respecting personal beliefs, this dude does realize that not all beliefs should be respected, even if it be at the cost of death or torture. Per exempla, if said person believes homicidal tendencies glorify God, one could be justified in being a stumbling block in that situation. Or if their tendencies tended towards an unjust view of other races, one could be justified in not respecting those beliefs. If one were black, for instance, and in a racist area, one should ignore the prejudice and sit where one pleases, for if any of the white people are offended, it is rather their own fault. And in this case, perhaps the girl is one of the "white" people, being offended at something that is rather ridiculous.

For you see, this dude possesses intelligence far beyond the common man (for “common” intelligence is not so common after all…). He realizes and confirms, most emphatically, that it is quite impossible to respect all people’s beliefs, for in order to do so, one must be an Universalist and also solely a member of the religion of the persona in the situation with which one is involved at the moment, which poses some certain difficulties when the personas present entail more than one religion. One must then possess Pluralist tendencies, which nonetheless still consequently pose a stumbling block to at least one of the said personas, and thus must prove unsatisfactory when all considerations are taken into account.

One final consideration this dude also realized (due, of course, to his Higher Intelligence) is known as common courtesy, beings as it is polite to acknowledge the presence of any ladies, at which point it is then incumbent upon the ladies to acknowledge the acknowledgement, and depending upon the manner of the acknowledgement of the acknowledgement, it may be determined whether it is desirable to make a closer acquaintance with said lady, or whether the repulsions in affect are detrimental to any such approaches, or even if the lady is of a flirtatious nature, in which case the dude has several choices before him. Naturally, if he is of a flirtatious nature, the latter response would indicate a tendency for the situation to take a turn of that nature. However, if he does not incline towards those tendencies, it could result in a unorthodox termination of the acquaintance. Such men do flee at times, when circumstances warrant it. In this case, however, we see a lack of any acknowledgement at all, which I must admit poses a serious difficulty on the dude’s part, for not only does he have no feet wherewith to stand on, the proverbial foot-in-the-mouth disease came upon him with some rapidity, and with no advance warning.

His natural response might be to smile uneasily, cough nervously and with unnecessary volume, and then beat a hasty retreat before Daddy offers to sell him a Daddy’s Special Knuckle Sandwich™.

Gossip may ensue at this point, due, naturally, to the dude’s hasty retreat with no reasonable explanation. One might even assume that he was making sinful advances, and upon the righteous glance of the most pure and proper lady, guilt prompted his hasty escape; for “the wicked flee when no man pursueth.” Perhaps the lady would even encourage such gossip, as it could perhaps have a soothing effect, due to her righteous behavior in time of temptation (“and such temptation, too! He’s the cutest guy in church! ‘Tis sad, though, that such looks concealed such a rotten heart…:long, heartfelt sigh: …but maybe he’ll reform! :hopeful heart:”).

Gossip, of course, would be a most dangerous aspect of the situation for the poor dude, for he may be put to trial, accused, proven guilty, and pronounced sentence upon before even he was aware of the court date. This may result in some awkward social situations, and perhaps even some not-so-social occasions involving certain irate parental figures and the overly active fist of such.

The end result being, of course, that when perhaps it might be assumed that the dude is being a stumbling block to the girl, it is, in fact, quite the reverse. And that is the paradox of the day.



For you see, although Susy may deem her life to be a non-stumbling block to mankind, so he, after all, is not forced to seclusion, Susy's very example encourages the secluded life! Unless, perhaps, she proposes some silent form of communication, which could actually be more dangerous.

But lack of communication cannot communicate any such help, and in fact, communicates the reverse. For a refusal to communicate indicates not only a lack of trust in other people, but also a form of pride. Can other people be trusted? Not always...but our very existence on this planet necessitates trust to some degree.

To be perfectly serious...there is a fine line here which perhaps some people miss.

The question in hand seems to be whether it is modest to talk to guys.

However...the only way you could give a pat answer to this question would be if there was a universal standard for modesty. But there isn’t a universal standard, and I know for a fact that this is true, because I searched on Google for “Universal Standard for Modesty”, and Google said there is none (quote, "Your search - 'universal standard for modesty' - did not match any documents."). And as we all know, Google is never wrong.

Hmm...okay, so that wasn’t so serious. But my point is serious. There is no “universal standard.” So what is right?

Is it modest to talk to guys? My answer is, “It depends.”

Modesty when talking to guys really has almost nothing to do with whether the girl is alone with the guy. Being alone merely has the implications of temptation and gossip.

Modesty is much more the demeanor than the act of talking. I’ve seen girls who flirt without saying one word, and other girls who chatter their heads off, but are obviously not flirting.

Most of modesty, methinks, has to do with being ladylike, rather than being alone with a guy (gasp!) or talking one-on-one with a guy.

In other words…it isn’t talking to a guy that’s immodest. But the manner in which a woman approaches or talks to a guy could be immodest.

My personal take on this is how “forward” a lady is, and I'm not referring to how outgoing she is.

© 2007-2017 Zack Reynolds. All rights reserved.