Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Great Men We Know Already

"Men," I like to say, "are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life."

I go at some lengths about this topic in My Book. As annoyed as women get at Men in General, and as criminial as are Some Men in Particular, life would be a lot more boring without some men in it. Women who go into cloister are making a very real sacrifice. I know I could never join a religious order, for I would disgrace it by flirting with the UPS man at every opportunity.

Happily for me, the whole time I was Single, I had some great men in my life. And it was through contemplating these great men--and comparing them to not-so-great men I knew--that I became Seraphic Single. I was washing dishes at the time, and I stood over the sink and said, "Okay, God, if you want me to be Single, that's fine."

These great men included my father, my brothers, my oldest nephew, an uncle (fondly remembered), my grandfather (dimly remembered), two heroic great-grandfathers (known through stories), some professors, some priests, two mentors, and a male religious buddy. Mostly, though, I was entranced by the glorious mental spectacle of my menfolk. And I thought, "We have great men in our family! Why mess that up?"

You see, it had occured to me that I might not ever meet a man who was up to the dad-and-brothers standard. Unless I was very strict with myself, I might bring a complete dud into the family. My poor family would have to be nice to the dud every Christmas, pretend he was not a dud, and look under his dud exterior for whatever gleam of divine light there might be within.

Or even if I managed to find a nice man who was on the same level of greatness as dad-and-brothers, we might have a dud son. We might have six dud sons. We might give birth to a gang, the kind of gang who gets extra harsh sentences because they come from a good family and therefore have no excuse.

"So far," I mused, "I am proud of all the menfolk. So why mess that up?"

And I felt a great sense of peace over Singleness that I wanted to tell all the world about.

Since then, as you know, I got married to a non-dud, basing my decision on an overwhelming sense that my family would love this guy, that he was "so us" and that he had quite a lot in common with the oldest of my brothers. He is even on the dad-and-brothers level and so quite worth the 38 year wait.

We might still give birth to a gang, although it seems unlikely. And poor B.A. might get squished by a bus, leaving me Single again. But after I got over the horror of the squishing, I would still have the memory of B.A. in my list of Great Family Men. I would mind being widowed, but I would not mind being Single, if you see the difference.


Dominic Mary said...

You hit the nail on the head, Seraphic : losing one's spouse is horrendous - but that's because of what you've lost, not because you've become single again.

Anonymous said...

Seraphic S,

I ended up here because when I read Fr Z's blog, your somewhat snarky sense of humor has started to grow on me (even though I think I've been the target of it at least once :-( sniffle ).

So I wanted to see if you were a real person and how to go about getting your book (I live in the US - lucky me.) Have always wanted to visit Toronto - my family is in Michigan and I am very far away from them.

Your post on the men in our lives almost made me cry, because I think it all starts with our Fathers. Mine is ill now because of a bad infection last year. It would, I hope, make him happy to see me and my four sisters act like family. Anyway, maybe that is why I may never marry, although I guess there is always hope :)

So -- where do I find your book? If I make it to Michigan this summer, can I drive through the tunnel and buy it, or will Amazon have it by then? If I've missed something obvious, mea culpa.

isabella (small "i")

Seraphic said...

Oh dear, isabella! Did I snark at your expense? How can this be--normally I only snark at men-who-deserve-it and priests who indulge in liturgical abuse. Normally I don't snark at nice young Catholic ladies!

Well, in the USA, you can either get my book from OR you can wait until fall when it comes out courtesy of Liguori Publications.

Welcome to Seraphic Singles, and thanks for posting! Meanwhile, I am totally real, as you will see if you read my newspaper articles (see right margin).

Seraphic said...

By the way, I hope your father gets better soon and that peace among sisters reigns!

theobromophile said...

Coming from a very snarky family (it's how we show our love :) ), I don't really notice it from Seraphic.

Moving onwards: Seraphic can tell young women what to do. My life is merely a warning, not an example. Thus, says she who learned the hard way: if you have a gut-level feeling that he would not get along with your family; if he expresses fear at the idea of meeting your 6'4, former college athlete father; or, if he meets your family and does not get along like a house afire (and if you have a very nice, loving, albeit snarky family), then Do Not Continue To Date Him.

Just sayin'.

Seraphic said...

Amen to that!

Deirdre said...

I loved this piece - this is ME. My friends tell me I'm too fussy when it comes to guys, that's why I'm still single. I tell them I'm happy enough this way, I have high standards, - I know that there are amazing men out there, men who are strong, faithful, fair-minded, mannerly and all the great adjectives I look for in a guy - because I was raised by one, and grew up alongside 2 more. That's where I got those standards. And any guy I even consider bringing into this family has a lot to measure up to. Now...if I could just find where they all hang out....