I think I might have mentioned before that one of the things I like about the londonpaper is the londonlove section. In particular, I’m often amused by the texts sent in by people trying to take an exchange of smiles on the Tube to the Next Level.
Sometimes I think that people need to be a bit more original, because “I’m the brunette who smiled at you on the Jubilee Line” is not particularly eye-catching (even if smiling at someone on the Tube is noteworthy these days) and could illicit all sorts of dubious responses from people trying their luck. On other occasions I can understand why an exchange of numbers never happened in the first place; I can’t say that I’m especially well-versed in this sort of thing but I’m fairly certain that “I really did have some cold-sore cream in my bag” is not a follow-up to a great chat-up line. I also wonder why some people bother when they end their messages with such gems as “you drove off in a gold Nissan Micra”. Gold. Micra. Both wrong.
Anyway, I might mock, but after visiting a church recently I can see the merits of a similar system extending beyond the confines of the London public transport network. I’m sure we’ve all been in the situation of chatting to someone and then making the schoolboy error of leaving without any means of further contact.
This got me thinking then, about what would happen if The Church Times had a love page like the one in the londonpaper, and it opens up quite a few questions.
Obviously there’d have to be more to the original encounter than simply smiling across the aisle. Churches tend to be full of Christians, and a lot of us smile a lot anyway. Unless the church in question is one of those where people have a Deep Joy, smiling at someone isn’t as unusual as it is at 9am on the District Line.
In my experience, the texts in the londonpaper are rarely particularly risqué, but I would probably still advise caution when describing the person in question. On the positive side, to pay someone a compliment would fit in nicely with Paul’s teaching about “building one another up and encouraging one another”, but over-step the mark and you risk falling foul of the warning that “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery in their heart”. Have that hanging over your head and any further meeting is bound to start awkwardly.
Then you’d have to think carefully about what constitutes the Next Level. In the more conservative circles, I don’t think that ending a message with “Drink” is particularly appropriate, do you? You could, however, get around this problem by being more specific about the type of beverage. “Coffee?” is bound to be more universally acceptable, although in some cases you might want to make it clear that you weren’t simply concerned about their Doctrine.
Finally, whereas “the brunette on the Northern line” could be anyone*, Christian circles tend to be quite well connected. No matter how small and out of the way St Frideswide’s happens to be you can guarantee that someone somewhere will pick up the paper and know that it was you who went there last Sunday and took quite a shining to his brother's girlfriend.