Our national director, Pascal, is awesome. Pascal is a Senegalese man, aged around late 30s, father of two, and husband to the beautiful Aurelie. Let me tell you something about Pascal, that man loves to laugh. At nearly every meeting we have at Pascal’s, our team goal is to make Pascal laugh so hard he cries. We’ve succeeded twice.
One day Aaron told us, “We have another meeting with Pascal after our prayer meeting. We’re dating with Pascal.”
Excuse me? Est-ce que tu peut repete s-il vous plait? Dating with Pascal?
Yup. Ladies and gentlemen, c’est vrai. After 7/8 of us spent our Valentine’s day flying solo, Pascal thought he’d help us desperate, barely maneagable singles. Is it really that apparent that even in this culture that we are in dire need of a resuscitation into the dating world? Yup. Lord help us….
The first thing Pascal asked us where we are on the dating spectrum: left side-dating, right side-marriage. He asked, “Mary, where are you on this line?” I replied, “About a foot away from where the paper begins on the left side.” My response was as if I said something completely horrificly perverse in front of his 105-year-old grandma. [again, I think he is banking on those goats]… His reaction wasn’t truly that bad; I’m being way overdramatic, but I think he was shocked to hear about half of us say we don’t date/aren’t dating/don’t plan on dating soon.
The first thing to know about dating in Senegal is that women are prized commodities, sort of. You see, when a man wants to marry a woman he is supposed to give something like a dowry to the bride’s family. Pascal is our family here, so he has priced us all appropriately. I, personally, am worth a whopping 50 goats. Rachel, because she is blonde and has a boyfriend in the United States, is worth 100 goats. Pascal joking states that we all need to get married because he wants his goats. Now that we’ve started our dating lessons, I don’t think he’s really joking.
We then learned about what love is: agape, phileo, and eros; serving, giving, selfless, not based on an emotion, etc… We learned what it isn’t: lust, infatuation, self-seeking, prideful, controlling, arrogant, romance, etc. It was actually really helpful for me to better put into practice how to love everyone the way God does. But then…
Our homework was to be thinking about what kind of spouse we want. He then said, “I asked all the girls at our church’s dating conference what they wanted in a man. Do you know what they said, ‘I want a man with chocolate bars.’ Do you know what chocolate bars are?”I’m sorry. Even after the typical announcement of, “We’re all adults here…”, I could not keep my laughter in. I hid my face in my hands and started cracking up for a good three minutes. My uncontrollable ruckus was caused mostly because::
1. I don’t know what chocolate bars are and was too scared to find out.
2. Typically when around the opposite sex, I get a rare case of an undiagnosable disease that makes my hands sweat and truly unflattering, illogical sentences fly right out of my mouth. [Have I not told the goat story? Oh, just the worst date ever. Not with a goat. Gosh. So Awkward; it's painful]. Talking about dating/chocolate bars with an older man just made it worse. Only solution: laugh like a 5th grader sitting through the first ever health class.
3. Even if I am almost 24-years-old, talking about relationships, seeing people fall, or hearing someone fart STILL cracks me up.
Turns out, chocolate bars are an African man’s meticulously chisled abs. Chocolate bars. Don’t let that sink it too much ladies.
So, I will keep you informed on what else we learn, how we’ve been practicing (or not), and our success with the Senegalese’s method of dating as soon as more news is to be reported. Well, I’ll probably just keep you updated until he finds out about this blog and asks me to take it down. If I hear anymore dating slang, I might just keep it to myself because as I’m sure you all love it, I’m slightly mortified knowing my mom checks my blog everyday. [Sorry Mom].
Until next time!