If you’re a Duggar fan, you’ve probably heard the rumor by now:
People in the know are convinced that Jana Duggar is courting Lawson Bates.
Yes, this rumor has been around for years, and yes, nothing has come of it in the past.
But this time, there’s real reason to believe that Jana and Lawson are involved in a romantic relationship.
Or at least that they’re involved in what the Duggars would consider a romantic relationship, which is to say that they sit side-by-side at a suitably chaste distance of 10-12 feet and discuss possible baby names,
Anyway, the Duggar courtship rules are the stuff of legend, and they’re the key to understanding the current Jana-Lawson situation.
Earlier this week, Lawson’s sister, Carlin Bates, posted a video on her Instagram Story that seemed to shed some light on her brother’s dating status.
The clip shows Jana playing a board game with Lawson, Carlin, Carlin’s husband, and Jana’s sister Johannah Duggar.
Now, a board game isn’t exactly an engagement ring, but believe it or not, many of Carlin’s followers have taken the video as a sure sign that Jana and Lawson are more than just friends.
The group setting is the key to understanding why this video triggered a fan freak-out:
Single women are not permitted to be alone with single men in the Duggars’ world.
It’s just one of the family’s many archaic methods for ensuring that no one gives into their biological urges before they have a ring on their finger.
Crazy stuff, but hey, we’ll reserve our judgement for another time …
So it’s not surprising that Jana and Lawson would be required to have chaperones, even if their relationship was, indeed, completely platonic.
But the reason Carlin’s post — which was quickly deleted, by the way — is raising eyebrows is the composition of the group.
Siblings are always the Duggars’ go-to chaperones, and fans have zeroed in on the fact that they seem to have doubled-down in this case.
Jana and Lawson were joined by one of her siblings and one of his.
We don’t know that such extreme precautions have ever been taken before.
Some have taken this as a sign that Jana and Lawson are not yet courting, but are involved in some sort of weird pre-courtship.
Others believe the exact opposite.
They’re convinced that Jana and Lawson’s courtship has been placed on the fast track, as Jim Bob believes these two have no time to waste.
Jana recently turned 30, and she’s the only one of her siblings to hit the big 3-0 having started a family first.
This may not seem like a big deal.
But Duggar women are taught from a young age that procreation is their primary reason for being.
They believe it’s a sin for a woman to waste her most fertile years, when she could be spending that time popping out a baseball team’s worth of infant fundamentalists.
And so, Jim Bob might have these two hanging out round the clock, with a rotating team of chaperones to ensure they don’t get down to baby-making before they say "I do."
It sounds crazy — but really, what doesn’t sound crazy in the Duggars’ world?