Saffron Cross Excerpt

While the rest of America digested fried turkey, I sat at a computer in the apartment I shared with my mother and checked several hundred boxes describing my temperament and habits. I pored over endless squares indicating my desires in a partner: values, physical attributes, nature, habits, spirituality, religion, or lack thereof. I worked hard to spare myself from a psychopathic, balding smoker with a TV addiction and moved onto more sacred matters.The eHarmony television commercials had been enticing: a silver-haired Dr. Neil Clark Warren boasted that, for the price of new shoes, his lengthy questionnaire would help me meet the love of my life…
Dr. Warren was a clever devil. His dating service set itself apart from the competition with this dissertation-length survey that included the added component of faith not limited to Christianity. “What faith(s) would you accept in a partner?” The eHarmony algorithms inquired.

My dating history had been insularly Christian, save for the nonpracticing Muslim law student I dated briefly while at Salem College. What would I accept? Tolerate? I ticked off “Christian” and “Jewish” without hesitation and narrowed the field. The Jewish bit was no surprise; I felt kinship with my Hebrew brothers and sisters and had had a lifelong infatuation with Adam Levine lookalikes. But the remaining traditions? I bit my lip and wondered. How did I feel about “Muslim,” “Buddhist,” “Hindu,” “Spiritual, but not religious,” “Agnostic,” and “Atheist”?

The last two were out; it would be difficult to bridge the gap between a Christian minister and someone who wasn’t, at the very least, seeking God. The global traditions remained. I looked out the window in search of an answer… My pool of suitors was shrinking, and as far as I was concerned, I was one inch closer to turning 45 and having 27 cats. I needn’t decrease my chances further by being picky about the ways in which a future beau approaches God.

“All remaining world religions? Sure.”

I ticked them off one at a time, while whispering this mantra: “The possibility that I’d get matched
with anyone who wasn’t a Christian is minute, anyway, right?”

“Right,” God giggled.

—From Chapter 2: eHarmony

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