Sunday, 7 March 2010

Auntie Seraphic and Older "Sis"

Dear Auntie Seraphic:

I have a dear male friend who is five years my junior, whom I affectionately think of as my little brother. He's a good man, and, being only 19, is rather mature and 'together' for a young man who's only a college freshman. We had breakfast the other day and he confided that he has gotten a reputation around the Catholic student center as a heartbreaker.

I inquired how this could be so, knowing he probably wouldn't hurt anyone on purpose, and he posed a question. "If you want to get to know a girl, just as friends, how do you do it? If we go for coffee or a meal or something, she thinks it's a date. If we spend too much time alone, people think we're together. How do I get to know girls better without actually dating them?"

Part of the unfortunate problem, I think, is that woman aren't often used to true gentlemen treating them as ladies. So when a man, such as my friend, holds doors open for them, lets them go first, offers to help carry things, and other signs of courtesy, they immediately interpret his intentions as romantic rather than polite, because few men have ever acted this way before.

I suggested that, unless he really does intend to date a girl, that he only see her as part of group outings, so no one can make assumptions. He seemed rather disappointed in this advice, and I can't say I blame him; you can't really get to know someone when you're with six other people at a bowling alley or a movie theater. So, dear Seraphic, I pass his quandary on to you. :-)

Older Sis


Dear Older "Sis",

Ah ha ha ha ha ha! That's what I say. I say it roughly and with cynicism. What your little "brother" needs is a deep and prayerful read of my reply to Modest Millie. And if he's cute, so do you. Why have you put this nice, mature, 'together' Catholic man in the "little brother" slot? Five years your junior, indeed! Breakfast, forsooth! What's the story, Morning Glory?

In Grown-up Land, asking a single woman out for a coffee is making a date. Asking a single woman out for a meal is making a date. Asking a single woman out to the movies is a making a date. Asking a single woman to the dance on Friday night is making a date. Date. Date, date, date, date. It's not a marriage proposal. But it's a date.

I assume your little, ahem, "brother" is a hottie, otherwise his date requests would have been swiftly answered with "OMG, just friends, right?" And he is nineteen years old. The happy, halcyon days of the playground are over. No longer can he splash naked in the girl-next-door's paddling pool. No longer can he send innocent valentines to every girl in the class. No longer can he kiss girls at parties with impunity. Childhood is over. It is time for him to grow up and drink the coffee.

Yes, it is nice to be made much of by girls, and pour one's manly hopes and dreams into an appreciative female ear, but that is what really-truly sisters are for, to say nothing of mothers, grandmothers and aunts. Most other girls like to know that there is something in it for them, e.g. courtship. Not all Catholic girls are interested in wasting their leisure time on cute men who just want to be friends. I am most definitely on the side of all the girls in this scenario, including you.

When and where was this magical mystical time and place in which young men were allowed unfettered access to young female friendship, anyway? 19th century Britain? No. 19th century America? No. 21th century India? Definitely not. The West in the 1960s? Yes. And see where that got us.

If your 19 year old hottie wants to get to know nice girls better as friends, he can do it in company like every other generation of respectable men before 1960. He can throw parties in which he invites lots of girls and, being a good host, spends just as much time on each one of them, to make sure each is having a good time. He could start asking two or three girls at a time to dinner or to coffee or even to the dance on Friday night, making it very clear he has asked the other(s) also. He could volunteer for committees heavily dominated by women. He could even squish maidenly egos left and right by ending every single social invitation with the phrase "just as friends, I mean?"

Or he can keep on asking girls out for dates, not ask them out again, and develop his bad heartbreaker reputation, about which he will complain to you at breakfast while being mistaken by other men, handsome men in their twenties, for your boyfriend.

Incidentally, I see that not only are you on this man's side against your fellow women, you assume that our heads are turned by door-openers because most other men behave like baboons. Alas.

But I will go easy on you this time because you have wisely turned to me, young padawan. You show knowledge, insight and auntie-potential. To deepen your wisdom, I recommend a girls-only slumber party, complete with pedicures and group viewing of Moonstruck.

Update (March 8): It just occured to me that a man's having a heartbreaker reputation (if undeserved) in Catholic circles is not necessarily a bad thing. I was warned (by a Discerner) that B.A. was a heartbreaker at whom women threw themselves, and of course my curiosity was aroused. I wanted to see this heartbreaker for myself. And if he thought I was going to throw myself at him, he had a another think coming! Humph, humph! The rest is history.

21 comments:

Mike said...

Hm. You write with such damn wit and flair, Dorothy, that it's hard to even say anything critical at times! Still, I thought I should comment. I really enjoy reading your posts - they're funny, insightful, and get right into the heart of some pretty difficult things. Not to mention that they're usually helpful. This particular post definitely struck a chord with me, mostly because, well, I'll be brutally honest - I've had coffee with single women before and they were not, to my understanding, dates. I guess what I'm trying to articulate is this: yes, in general, men need to be more careful of women's feelings, especially since women generally experience things more emotionally and are more affected by politeness and concern - largely because there are so few 'gentlemen' around. Granted. But following a 'general' rule in every case is not, I think, always the best thing to do! Obviously, there is need for sensitivity and discernment and emotional modesty (and I could even go as far as agree with you that to be safe, one could always abide by your rules)...but the truth is, this approach also has the potential of taking some of the awesome color and vibrancy out of life. I know that truly platonic friendships between single men and women are rare, but they're not non-existent. And when they happen, they CAN be quite beautiful...it's tricky waters to be treading, but it's possible. So I guess what I would suggest is this: yes, asking a single woman out for a coffee is generally speaking a date, but let's not the 'general' ruin those truly beautiful and sincere 'particular' coffee talks between two mature people who just want to talk. Not everything we do has to have the often seemingly indestructible and unavoidable charge of sexuality and romance behind it.

Anna said...

This post made my day. I think it needs to be sent to ALL MEN over age 18 and drilled into their brains!!

Dominic Mary said...

With great respect, dear Seraphic, I think you are being almost as unrealistic as the young man.

OK; I accept that if he invites young ladies out to dinner, or a movie, then it's unarguably a date : and the same goes for parties, or anything of that nature.

However, I have to say that, in any world I've ever lived in, a coffee - when it simply happens in the run of the day (as opposed to being a specific future engagement) - is not a 'date'; and I don't think I've ever encountered a lady who would interpret it as such, either.

Lemons said...

I'm going to take a stab in the dark here and say "Older Sis" would rather not stick that label on "little brother."

I've been there-- trying to justify having a closer-than-normal platonic relationship with a guy I was attracted to. I dunno, I could be wrong, but I'm going to say that there's something more than just a brother/sisterly relationship here.

But I agree-- a date is a date. And that goes for you, too, "Older Sis" no matter what the difference in age is.

In high school, I didn't understand why my parents wouldn't let me go places by myself with my guy friends. Though my reasons now for not wanting to myself in that position are different than theirs were, (their fear was of us making out in the back seat, lol) I won't go anywhere one-on-one with a platonic guy friend-- no matter how clear the line we draw between friendship and romance-- and need at least one other person (usually another girl) on board before I feel comfortable.

fifi said...

Whew! Them's fightin' words, ma'am. I think I am going to get a bowl of popcorn and just watch this comment stream. This is gonna be gooooood... ;P

I think your best point is about how there has never been a point in history where men had unbridled access to feminine friendship. In their defense, I think many decent men take refuge in it because they are intimidated by the travesty that is the modern conception of "dating": physical, dramatic, intense, and exclusive. If "dating" meant something much more laid back, I don't think so many of them would mind admitting they were doing it.

However, I do think you need to cut the five year age difference a wee bit more slack in this particular instance. Five years, I agree, is but a breath, but a bubble of time, particularly the older you get. I am 26, and would not at all mind dating a fine 31 or even 21 year old if he were properly mature. However, let us recall the days of university. To a 24 year old who perceives herself as graduated from the university scene and well into a career or grad school, a scruffy freshman still experimenting with facial hair whose voice has not yet finished changing may well inspire maternal feelings, however mature he may be socially or emotionally. I came to college late, and even though I outranked some of the juniors and even seniors in age and experience, as a freshman I just was never accepted as an equal. But I admit, by the time I graduated at age 24, all those 17/18 year old freshman looked like babies. We forget once we leave, perhaps, but it's kind of an alternate reality.

Seraphic said...

Bring it on, kids! Bring it on. Let's scrap. I'm rolling up my sleeves.

I want to bend on this coffee thing, believe me. But I notice that so far the readers who are arguing for beautiful, sincere, particular coffee talks are MEN. (But don't worry, boys, because eventually Seriously Single Alisha will see this post and immediately take your side. :-D ) Don't you boys have sisters or young, hip aunts?

I am reminded of a character in Alexander McCall Smith's "Sunday Philosophy Club" series. She's in her forties, and she often meets for coffee with her niece's 20-somthing ex-boyfriend, and she is secretly but completely in love with him. Maybe, though, big-age-gap love is more common to over-30s than to under-25s.

When I was 35, I got a massive crush on a 21 year old, AS YOU WILL SEE if you buy my book. But at 19, I got a massive crush on a 6'3" 15 year old. Of course, having a massive crush is not the same thing as pursuing a relationship, which I wouldn't encourage any woman to do. Just sit there looking happy and beautiful, I say, and let your No be No and your Yes be Yes. (If he's under 19, it should be No. I mean, what's the point?)

For the record, I go for a beer or coffee with a Single man from time to time. He's in his 60s, and I'm married, and my husband says its okay, and these are so obviously not dates.

But as for fresh-faced young 20somethings, being "just a buddy" gets so wearying, doesn't it? Young men loving to have coffee with you, and telling jokes and stories, and it's all fantastic, and they confide in you about their love lives, but you don't confide in them about yours because you haven't had a date in months and months and months, just coffee non-dates with men who think you're nice but just don't see you "that way."

If you have a boyfriend or husband, fine, these coffees-with-men-friends are not dates, although he might very well wonder. But, girls, girls, girls, becoming an auntie before your time... Well, you might pay a price.

I have seen the nicest girls of my generation... Ooh, I think I could write a poem starting like that.

Seraphic said...

Incidentally, there are thousands upon thousands of gentlemanly men. All you have to do is take the crowded subway in Toronto, and you will eventually see a man stand for an older or a pregnant woman.

The way to meet them is to refuse to associate with ungentlemanly men, and to chastise the borderline almost-gentleman when he lets the door swing in your face.

As for the others, it is not entirely their fault. A generation of men grew up terrified of being screamed at for opening doors and offering to carry heavy things. Women under the impression that they belong to the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM) still occasionally attack men for such small courtesies. As you will read in My Book!

Alex said...

"Don't you boys have sisters or young, hip aunts?"

No. Believe me, every day, I wish I did. And perhaps that's one of the most overlooked negative consequences of another phenomenon unique to post-1950's Western culture (plus China)--the 1-2 child family.

In a 2 child family, by definition, if it is a boy and a girl, neither kid has any same-sex siblings. If it's two boys or two girls, neither has any opposite sex siblings. God help the only child!

I'm perfectly aware that some people do have valid, non-selfish reasons for having smaller families. I'm also perfectly aware that kids in large families do not just pop out in boy-girl-boy-girl order--I know a family with six kids, all boys. But that's against the odds.

(In my particular case, I've got some other factors working against me that are probably better discussed with my spiritual director than either on this blog or with you by e-mail. But what I have said above applies to quite a few of us, and maybe even the 19-year-old in the original post. Your point is well taken that the responsibility should not fall entirely on young women today to solve this problem for us; but it is a problem that needs a constructive solution, rather than the unconstructive solutions that have been tried thus far.)

Seraphic said...

Well, there's always the "just friends" option.

"Michelle, I want a girl's eye opinion on something. I don't have a sister and I, well, could I buy you a cup of coffee--just as a friend--and talk?"

If you make it clear you're meeting up with a girl as JUST FRIENDS (or she has given you the green light to friendship by telling you you're JUST FRIENDS), then I don't see a problem with going out for coffee with a nice Single girl as if she were your sister.

The one drawback is that the girl may be sick of guys asking her out as JUST FRIENDS, but it's up to her to say Yes or No, and if she says Yes, she shouldn't complain afterwards.

Seraphic said...

And there's asking out girls in groups, or asking two girls out at once. Since we're constantly asked not to wear stuff all the other girls are wearing, and who get all the male attention for wearing it, it doesn't seem a lot to ask that boys make it 100% clear right from the start that they only want to go out with a girl for no-strings friendship. Some girls (like Alisha) LOVE platonic male friendships. Some, like me, are suspicious of them. And then there are nice girls with boyfriends and husbands. They can make good friends--if you can see them often enough. Jeepers, sometimes it's hard enough for a girl to make an appointment to see a married or boyfriended friend.

sciencegirl said...

You guys who disagree with Seraphic are so clueless it would make me sick if I weren't laughing so much.

I am laughing because "coffee as a first date" is so widespread in our culture that Eddie Izzard, a 40+ English transvestite, has built it into a hilarious comedy sketch. It is not only a date, it is THE first date. It is what you ask a girl you are not well acquainted with to go do, because it is cheap and can be ended fairly quickly if it's not a great date.

You are also not very gentlemanly if you would rather risk leading women on and hurting their hearts rather than risk your own feelings by being deprived of a potentially beautiful platonic friendship with a woman.

My best friends as a child were boys. We had a lot of fun.

I currently have several platonic men friends. We have a lot of fun. Sometimes we do things one on one. It is fun.

However, while these platonic friendships are rewarding, they did not arise by the men in question asking me out on what society terms "dates" at the beginning, but by doing things in groups. Yes, it is indeed possible to have an enjoyable conversation around other people. At small gatherings, conversations often break up into pairs of people conversing. Yet they cannot be confused for dates. If the conversations become wildly flirtatious, they may generate dates.

Gentlemen who dream of platonic female friends who are like their sisters may indeed get them. There are several paths to that friendship, none of which involve being a single man asking a single woman out for coffee on short acquaintance-ship.

Call yourselves gentlemen while wanting to run the risk of hurting women to satisfy your own needs again, and I will call you out for being cads. Oh wait, I just did! Note that the "little bro" in question had got a reputation, not for being a delightful friend, but a misleading heart-breaker. He was young and naive, and needs to grow up. If he doesn't, then, newsflash: he's actually not a gentleman at all! Just a jerk who opens doors.

To be fair, women can do this too, and then men get sadly stuck in "the friend zone" and resort to reading PUA books to learn how to get out of it.

My next comment adds some tips on how to get some good platonic friendship.

sciencegirl said...

"Other ways to actually get platonic friendship, or at least non-romantic conversation from a woman, since for some reason, men just won't cut it for you."

Route 1: get a girlfriend
Forget about platonic friends until you have a girlfriend that you deeply cherish. Then, hang out with your girlfriend's friends, and your own male and female friends. Get to be friends with several woman. When you meet a new woman you want to befriend, tell her that you have a girlfriend immediately. Then she will know you just want to be friends. Never complain about your girlfriend.

Route 2: Have a good male friend who has a girlfriend you find physically unattractive. You also must know that the male friend is stronger than you and could end you if you ever hit on his lady. If your guy friend is uglier than you, and his girlfriend has a reputation for ditching boyfriends for shinier models, then don't go this route. Be friends with the girlfriend.

Route 3: Be as flamboyantly gay as you possibly can, without violating church teaching, and be out of the closet. Be out before you start asking her out.

Straight? Try finding a nice lesbian to be your friend. One who is out, not just some girl you think might be gay because her hair is short.

Route 4: Make friends with a woman over the course of several years, and hang out occasionally.

Route 5: Get a better relationship with your mom/aunt/granma. Call her. Confide in her.

Route 5b: That nice old professor who has dozens of teaching awards and mentorship plaques hanging on her wall? Go hang out in her office. She may meet you for coffee, or even pay! Plus, when you graduate, she will also write letters of recommendation that will advance your career.

Route 6: Volunteer with the elderly. Meals on Wheels, pastoral care of the sick, nursing home volunteer. Lots of elderly women are nice, have lived very interesting lives, and love doing nothing but drinking tea and chatting. They would love you to talk to them, and would quite freely give you advice. If you volunteer to visit the sick or to feed the hungry, you are also pleasing God with your corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Use your skills with women friends to please God by helping lonely old women instead of misleading hot young women! So perfect.

Route 7: Get married. Have children. Have female children. Diaper them, feed them, cuddle them, raise them. Be a great father. Talk to them about how to survive in the world. Listen to all of their stories, and fears, and joys. Wave them goodbye when they grow up and move away, but let them know you and your beloved wife are always there for them. Carry their photos around in your wallet.

There are other routes available. The only one that definitely won't work well the vast majority of the time is the pretend date model that only you know is a pretend date, and that the other person is thinking is a date. That one is out. Right out. Let it go.

Being a grownup has annoying responsibilities, like paying bills and taxes, and having to consider other people's feelings, which (for adults) include hormones and dreams of marriage and family life. Things that, you know, gentlemen and ladies actually do.

Dominic Mary said...

Dear Seraphic;
I may have misled you. I accept that 'beautiful, sincere, particular coffee talks' are clearly dates : I was thinking (and speaking) only of the sort of coffees when you are with colleague / classmate / fellow-congregant and both feel the need for refreshment . . . I quite accept that anything 'organised' is a date, or at least trembling on the verge of being one, and thus requires sensitivity.

Alisha said...

Seraphic knows me so well! I roll up my sleeves too - and know that I do so without malice, for she knows I have been amongst the first to support her book.

"Why have you put this nice, mature, 'together' Catholic man in the "little brother" slot?"

Perhaps because she's not attracted to him? Perhaps because he reminds her of an actual younger brother she has? Perhaps she recognizes that she can help him in a real, practical way and that, as Christians, we are called to do that? Perhaps, because, even if she is attracted to him there is no way she could pursue a relationship due to differing priorities, life paths etc?
Why, indeed, are you so suspicious of platonic male friendships? Such suspicion is what leads to nonsense novels such as the type that Dan Brown writes, positing the possible offspring of Jesus and Mary Magdalene because they couldn't have POSSIBLY been just friends, now, could they?
(Don't be too horrified. I'm not saying your Dan Brown at all. I'm just saying I don't think that much suspicion can ever be a good thing)

"In Grown-up Land, asking a single woman out for a coffee is making a date...Date. Date, date, date, date."

Suppose, for the sake of convenience, we call it a date. But why must a date necessarily be so heavily laden? I'm sorry, but it's a very fragile person who puts a great deal of emotional stock into a couple of hours spent at a Tim Hortons or Starbucks. I mean, seriously...I'm the last person to be unsympathetic to fragility...but one must recognize when it's getting in the way of settling down and seeing things clearly. I think it's fair and necessary to draw distinctions in types of dates - there's a world of difference between an afternoon coffee and going out to dinner for a whole evening or being invited to meet the parents - and even then, I think one has to consider the source. (I introduce everyone to my parents because they are nice people and because if you are my friend, you will know my family. Simple as that.)

"Most other girls like to know that there is something in it for them, e.g. courtship. Not all Catholic girls are interested in wasting their leisure time on cute men who just want to be friends."

I fail to see how spending time in genuine friendship and good company can be a waste, even if one is looking for a spouse. If that person helps you grow in holiness and cares about your destiny (which is the mark of any true friendship) then that is a good thing! It may in fact help you find your spouse!!

As for getting to know people in groups, while that may be a good way to see who amongst those people you would like to spend more time with, there is no way to really ensure you are getting to know someone in that setting. Most people put on their company face, their social persona, and will probably not reveal some of the key aspects of themselves...and if there are several women with one guy? Unless they are all good friends with each other, they may be particularly careful in what they reveal, for fear of looking stupid in front of the other women, or because they may be in competition with them!

"...about which he will complain to you at breakfast while being mistaken by other men, handsome men in their twenties, for your boyfriend."

If men are going to give up the idea of pursuing me just because they see me at breakfast with someone, that's insane. They are obviously wimps and not people I would want to date. After all, they could make a couple of inquiries to people who know me and find out in 30 seconds whether or we were together. Unless I see a couple holding hands or something like that, I never assume a guy and girl I see together are a couple. They could be brother and sister, for heaven's sake.

theobromophile said...

Not to be entirely contrarian:

Many of my very close friends are men. It's hard to describe how valuable their friendship is to me: their different perspective on life, their different attitudes and ways of carrying themselves, and that they care about me as a person (not me as a potential date). I'm incredibly thankful to have both men and women as close friends.

Nevertheless, Seraphic's advice is incredibly sound; let us recognise exceptions to the rule (Serious Singles like Alisha or seriously unfeminine Singles like me) when we see them.

--

Now for my evil side: next time this young man starts complaining to "Older Sis" about how he's developed this terrible reputation in all the nicest circles, she should reiterate Seraphic's excellent column (as appropriate). Then, follow it up with an offhand comment along the lines of "You only don't run into this problem with me because you're such a wee mite of a thing."

Younger Brother, whose reptilian brain garners some enjoyment in being a dashing young heart breaker, will not relish this role! In fact, he will probably be somewhat inspired to mend his ways, both with Older Sis and with these lovely young women.

theobromophile said...

Women under the impression that they belong to the Society for Cutting Up Men (SCUM) still occasionally attack men for such small courtesies. As you will read in My Book!

Oh, dear. My male friends do complain about this. too. The best advice that I've mustered for them is to continue to hold doors: it's an excellent screening tool. Good women appreciate it (or at least don't get snippy about it); women whom one should stay far, far away from will get angry and might even accomplish the "far, far away" part all on their own.

For five seconds of a man's time, holding a door is one of the best screening tools out there.

(Hey, I say the same thing to my female friends who ask if they should call him or text him or write on his Facebook wall: for the effort of not logging onto your computer or using up your minutes, you get to find out how interested he is in you.)

Seraphic said...

Science girl, your suggestions are fantastic, but you must not be meaner to the boys than I am. They are merely writing what they honestly feel and believe, and thank goodness.

There are some horrible men out there too cunning to say (aloud) what they really think and what they think would never cross the minds of any of the men whose comments I allow here.

It is sweet that men long for sisters, and someone very intuitively suggested that men want friendships with nice girls without it all being fraught with sexual expectations and fears. But I still believe this is best done in groups. Science girl's suggestion that young men adopt lonely old ladies as surrogate grandmothers sound very nice to me. I am sure I will be delighted when I am an old lady and hosts of young men flock around me. (How I will bring this about, I am not sure yet.) Men are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life.

But is it merely female companionship these boys are after? Is there something about YOUNG women (though not in themselves fall-in-loveable to the boys who wish to befriend them) that single men particularly desire (but not in a sexual way)?

B.A. suggests that young men long for friendship with young women so that the young women can explain to them how other young women think. If this is so, I suggest young men approach much older women for these insights, or the girlfriends of their friends, as Science girl very brainily suggested.

I've asked B.A. how many female pals he has his own age or younger. He has none closer than Aberdeen, except for me. I am it. But he has a zillion male pals.

AveLady said...

I haven't enough life experience to argue my points convincingly, but I wanted to throw in two cents as a young lady with (thus far) successful platonic male friends.

Two of my three best friends from college were guys and (horrors!) are seminarians. They were pretty solid in their vocations and more importantly they were not the sort of guys to come crying to me about their confusion with their vocation. One of them, in fact, found such behavior so offensive that he BOUGHT HIMSELF A PLANE TICKET to go visit a fellow seminarion who he thought was stringing a nice girl along and gave him a talking-to. They could talk about the pros and cons of their vocation without making me feel like I or my other girlfriends were "confusing" them.

I believe that it was a bit risky, emotionally, and I believe that it was worth the risk. I still correspond with both these young men by letter, and while physical distance and their entrance into seminary (they were just in a pre-theologate program in college) has necessitated some drawing back, they are still two of my closest friends and I know that they care intensely about me and pray for me regularly. I think all three of our lives have been greatly enriched by the friendships.

That being said, I'd rather fellows didn't ask me out for coffee until such a clear-cut platonic relationship has been established. I also think it's easier when there's something (serious religious vocation, romantic attachment, etc) to help define the whole thing. If I break my heart over a guy with a girlfriend just because he tried to be my friend... it seems that could just as easily be my fault as his, depending on the circumstances.

AveLady said...

PS I also think the kind of friendship I'm thinking of is a lot easier to establish in college or a similar setting, where co-ed groups happen constantly and one-on-one time can happen more organically. I don't really expect to be able to foster that kind of relationship now that I've graduated, although I would (cautiously but gladly) accept it if it came my way again. Male friends are invaluable.

sciencegirl said...

AveLady, your friends sounds great. I bet they'll be super priests!

When it comes to friendship, I think slow and steady wins the race in platonic friends, in my case at least. Making friends through 1-on-1 conversations is so much fun, and works quickly to build deep friendships, but in grad school I've only seen it backfire for all inter-gender pairs who started off that way at the beginning of their relationships. Even this poor college freshman "Little Bro" didn't make nice Catholic female friends using the 1-on-1 method; he just made all those potential friends angry and it will take a longer time to turn that around into friendship. Taking the long way to being friends with men has been worth it for me, and now we get to have those occasional chats drama-free. By being willing to hang out in small groups of men, or mixed groups, I have got dozens of male friends who are really fun and interesting, without hurting their feelings or mine. Then again, I work in a male-dominated field, so it's incredibly easy to find a man's perspective on something!

Dear men on this blog: I don't want you to think I don't like you, so consider yourself getting a virtual hug from me. The following song goes out to all of you:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UEl4lBTc2Po&feature=related

Cordi said...

Seraphic, I love your blog! Thank you for writing it!

For the record, I am a single young woman, and while I am sorry for any girl who is hurt because of miscommunication, I am delighted to hear that there are men who ask girls out for coffee without intending it to be a date. I thoroughly enjoy the company and conversation of many young men who don't intend the relationship to be anything more than friendly, and I think it would be very sad if guys weren't allowed to ask girls out for coffee without a romantic interest to justify it.