‘True love waits’ is the name of a movement to encourage youth to stay celibate until they are married. It makes your emotional life less complex: no worrying about various diseases or unwanted pregnancies. However, if you have friends who don’t understand, it can be difficult trying to explain the ‘why’ of TLW without looking like a 3-D loser. Still, picture your marriage without the complications of former relationships, and the future seems bright enough to stand up against the troubles of the present. There are songs about the concept: “True Love Waits” by Soul Jazz and “Wait for me” by Rebecca St James. (At least I’ve not seen any TLW wristbands at Koorong. Large oversight there by some marketer.)

Nevertheless, I am not getting on the bandwagon for TLW because it makes one gargantuan assumption: that there is something to wait for. And what does true love wait for? Marriage, isn’t it? This is my beef with the idea: TLW assumes that you will get married. What if you’re not? I know Christian people who have been in romantic-yet-asexual relationships before they met their current partner. Their past shows that they can have those relationships; that they are desirable to the opposite sex. But if there’s no evidence of that in your life – if you’re 35 years old and never been in a relationship – how would you feel?

I know a girl who has a plan. She’s 23, recently graduated as a teacher, and plans to teach overseas, travel, and come back to Australia to settle down. She’s beautiful, vivacious, intelligent and talented. She’s had at least one boyfriend and has no doubt that she’ll find a husband. She has something to wait for. Three cheers and a platypus for her.

I, on the other hand, have nothing to wait for. Several girls have told me that I’d be a good husband. Every single one of them is married or otherwise partnered, so they’re quite safe in tossing me these platitudes. I wear glasses. When I was 15 I discovered that the hair on my head was avian: it started to migrate south to various destinations. This was undoubtedly because it was repulsed by my scrawny physique and felt the need to cover it. My skin is a combination of bone-china white and faded newspaper, except when I’m cold, when my extremities turn blotchy pink and purple. My face is neither ugly nor handsome, just average. Milk Arrowroot average. If I passed you on the street, you wouldn’t notice I was there.

TLW is for helping people to overcome temptation. But if that temptation never comes your way, why bother to make the pledge? Instead, just pray for the gift of celibacy – the most unwanted spiritual gift [1].

[1] Martyrdom, incidentally, is only the third most unwanted gift. The penultimate one is administration. Please note that this assertion is based on no research whatever.

copyright Troy Grisgonelle 2007.