A girl (22) from secular, mundane Michigan moves to Nashville, Tennessee, and learns that here, religion is everywhere – lowering her chances on the dating market. Meanwhile, she pens down an interesting and well-written story about religion in contemporary America.
Kinda reminds me of the Dutch book Zwarte dauw that just came out – about a 28-year old girl from Amsterdam who temporarily moves to the strictly Protestant village of Genemuiden. She similarly encounters a faith-imbued world that is not her own.
If you got time and are interested in this subject, read this nice piece by Maggie Flynn on Salon.com:
I’d only been in Nashville a few months when I met this guy – let’s call him Matthew — at a downtown honky-tonk through friends of friends. He was sweet and charming, teaching me the two-step over a shared pitcher of beer. The following weekend, he took me on our first date to the Sunset Grill, one of Nashville’s hippest dining destinations, despite being named after a Don Henley song. In his sexy Southern twang, he ordered a bottle of wine to go with the meal.
After the waiter departed, Matthew leaned across the table, almost apologetically, and said, “You don’t mind that I ordered a bottle of wine, do you?”
I assured him that I approved of his choice. Still, he looked bothered.
“I just don’t want you to get the wrong idea. I like to unwind with a drink now and then, but I don’t drink all of the time,” Matthew said. “I bet you don’t either.”
“Not in the morning.” I laughed.
“Oh, a joke. That’s funny. But seriously, do you think you’ll drink after you have children?”
I was certain he was putting me on. I was 22, freshly graduated from college and unaccustomed to this line of questioning, especially on a first date. But he persisted. He’d enjoyed our tipsy two-step, he explained, but he was looking to plan his future. He believed in getting the serious business out of the way on a first date. I wondered how many second dates Matthew ever had.
“I don’t even know that I’ll have children,” I said.
“Is that another joke?”
The wine arrived. As if to demonstrate how moderation worked, Matthew poured me half a glass, which I definitely saw as half-empty.
“Are you religious?” he asked.
“But you believe in God?”
I drained my wine glass and reached across the table for the bottle. I gave him an honest answer, though I suspected I would never see Matthew again. I said that I really wasn’t sure. I certainly didn’t believe that the Bible was the literal word of God, nor did I buy into stories about building giant arks and visiting whale’s bellies. While I didn’t consider myself a Christian or a practitioner of any other religion, I wasn’t an atheist, either. To say definitively that God didn’t exist seemed as restrictive as saying that he did. I was a skeptical agnostic, I concluded.
Matthew listened carefully and nodded, conceding my logic, if not my position. Maybe he was an OK guy after all.
“Can I ask you a question?” he said.
“What do you have against God?”