I don't know how to get my Searching Singles readers spouses. From time to time I ponder how it could be done. My favourite dream is to have some sort of central Seraphic Singles jamboree, in London or Warsaw, say (and wouldn't you love to see Warsaw?), at which all readers could meet up and dine and dance the night away drinking champagne. I don't know what my publisher would think of this dream. Maybe I will float it past my PR woman.
At any rate, I take a Catholic "Zen" approach to the subject which is probably not Zen at all and just intensely Christian: Fear not and know that God is God. I see three stages to Seraphic Searching Singledom:
1. Petitioning Prayer: "Saint Anne, Saint Anne, send me a man" is my favourite.
2. Encounter Prayer: "Dear God, I need a spouse. Where is my spouse!? Give me a spouse! ARRRRRRRRRGH!"
3. Acceptance Prayer: "Father, Thy will be done."
But I still occasionally think about the ideal Singles' Club because Single people without children--including priests--need solidarity and friendship like nobody else.
My Seraphic Singles Clubs would be open to all Catholic and Catholic-positive Singles over drinking age. Anyone under drinking age is too young to be fussing over whether they are Just Single, a Serious Single or a Searching Single. They should concentrate on their homework and who loves who, like normal teenagers.
Possibly there would be two branches of the Seraphic Singles clubs: the 21-40 branch, and the 40-60+ branch. I would make it a rule, though, that both branches must have dinner together twice a year. And I would also make it ironclad that once you turn 40, you are out of the Junior Branch and into the Senior Branch. No sentimental hanging about, like the aging no-longer-a-student hippies at CSUs and Newman Centres across Christendom. Forty year old women don't mind chatting to flirty sixty year old men, but twenty-one year olds do. Sorry to burst any bubbles, but it is true.
Second of all, I would emphasise that these groups are for Singles' solidarity. The point is for the Singles to get together, complain about Single life, listen to interesting lectures of interest to Singles, and then go to dinner or a film or dancing. The clubs are NOT for dating. Members would be encouraged to see each other as FRIENDS, as brothers and sisters in arms, and not as marks. This would not be lavalife, people. It would not be speed-dating. And it would definitely be several cuts above floor-hockey in the parish hall. (Ugh!)
Of course, what would happen is that various members would date each other behind everyone else's backs. When the pressure is off, and men and women approach each other as friends, brothers and sisters in arms, and not as marks, true romance has a chance to grow. And a little bit of necessary restraint--like the threat of being kicked out of the Seraphic Singles Club--always adds sauce.
If the sneaky members get engaged (to each other or to someone outside), they have to tell the Chapter President by letter. The Chapter President then formally kicks them out (in absentia) at the next meeting, reading the resignation letter to the other members, who boo loudly, venting their own frustrations, and then club together happily at the next meeting for a wedding present.
(I wonder what religious orders do when one of their members runs off to get married? Their sense of betrayal is a lot more serious than the envy of my Seraphic Singles Club members. I imagine they don't do anything--I bet they just complain separately to their superiors and then cry in their rooms. This seems to me wholly inadequate. Surely there must be some ritual for the others to vent their anger together, allowing them to blow off steam and open their hearts naturally towards real and healing, not fake, wimpy and forced, forgiveness? They should solemnly burn the chap's or gal's habit or vestments in the back garden at very least.)
Members of the Seraphic Singles Club would be given gold stars and mentioned in a special Mass for their 1st, 5th, 10th, 20th, 25th, 40th and 50th anniversaries in the Club. It is high time Single people (who aren't priests) got a nice anniversary of their own, celebrating their state in life, and so there they are.
The only drawback to this Club so far, in my opinion, is that just being engaged gets you kicked out, and being married I would not be able to join and therefore I would not be able to run everything myself.
Meanwhile, as soon as I know, I'll post exactly when and where my book launch will be. It will be in Toronto in the second half of March, and I bet it will be a great opportunity for my readers, long-term and short, to come and meet me and mix and mingle and drink as good a wine as Novalis thinks it can afford!
The photo is of me becoming an aged no-longer-a-student hippy at a Newman Centre Advent Ball. Note the two glasses of beer. One might have belonged to my friend, but I forget. Meanwhile, I feel ripped off, as a young matron, that dances don't have chaperones anymore. Now that I am married, I want to sit in ballrooms with a handy sewing box/first aid kit, offering advice and comfort to young things, lending them clear nailpolish to stop up their stocking runs, etc. B.A. could rescue wallflowers. I've seen him do this at a ceidhli, and he's marvellous at it.