Friday, 9 July 2010

Auntie Seraphic & Fed-up Trad Girl

Darlingses! I am not sure this is a "Dear Auntie Seraphic" letter as much as a cri de coeur letter, one I enjoyed very much because, although men in general are the caffeine in the cappuccino of life, some of them would pop if you stuck a pin in them. Although I know this letter will test the patience of some of my male readership, the girls will find it hilarious. So here we go:

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

If you don't mind (and you're probably used to this anyway), I have a serious gripe about a majority of traditional Catholic men.

Why do so many of them act so stuck up, as if they are thinking that since they are a rare find, they are automatically a 'hot commodity'? Furthermore, why do they act less than masculine in the sense that they should be picky over the most insignificant things? They seem to be looking for a woman that will accomodate their inflated sense of self-worth due to their rarity. Please, let me give you some actual examples and let you be the judge. Here is just a sample of some of the objections I have come across:

* She's travelled abroad
* She's borderline diabetic (OK, so that's a rare one, but it's happened, and it's an example of some of the odd excuses that only seem to come from 'trads')
* She doesn't know enough about British actors (this came from an American)
* She's too pious *(i.e., she actually enjoys reading theology)
* She wears makeup
* She probably doesn't wear any makeup (can't tell from picture)
* She isn't a career woman (not very traditional, I know)
* She's been married --- must have issues
* She's never been married --- must not take marriage seriously enough
* She's not under the age of 30
* She's probably not exotic enough (many seem to prefer a woman who is young, foreign, and interested in them because they are American, where they can be the one to form them in the traditional ways and the traditional Latin Mass. I've seen this many times, actually. It's as if they assume that you are a naive, American, farmgirl, especially if you live in the midwest and you are a devout Catholic lady.)

Of course, however, most of these (except that last one) largely only apply to meeting men online. For some reason, men are often more ammenable when they meet a woman in person, perphaps simply because they are more visual.

I think traditional Catholic men are a lot more unfair to traditional Catholic women than vice versa. What are your thoughts? Have you heard similar complaints from other "traditional" Catholic women?

This is getting ridiculous. Really. I meet men in person who are traditional Catholics (just a few single ones) and they often have heresies (one is into eastern meditation but thinks it's Christian, another is a sedevacanist, another is just a neo-con --- all of them are pushy and a bit over-the-top narcissists).

Yours,
Fed-up Trad Girl


Dear Fed-up Trad Girl,

I feel your pain. No--that's totally untrue because in 2008 I managed to snag a Trad Catholic Man and before I met him I had gone to only one TLM in my life and zzzzzz.

However, I felt your pain when I was heavily into the pro-life movement when I was much younger and--eeek! All the boys seemed to be into this one girl, and she was so kind and sweet and holy, it was if she were made of vanilla ice-cream, only warm. And what made it almost kind of worse was that she didn't take any of these boys seriously. She was on a mission from God and therefore spent a lot of time in minimum security prison, a confessor of the faith. Argh! Argh! Who could compete? Definitely not me, someone weekly denounced by her principal crush object for being a feminist.

Anyway, Trad Girl, thank you for your letter because I always enjoy a laugh at the expense of Catholic dating websites. The problem, my dear fellow Trad Girl, is not with the men in themselves. It's with the dating website culture. Dating websites are exactly like CATALOGUES. And I anticipated this bizarre culture in 1986, when I wrote a story about three schoolgirls who dreamed of finding a "Man Catalogue" from which they could choose dates based on hair colour, etc. This story was published in the school newspaper, and one of my religion teachers thought he and I should have a Serious Chat about A) my attitude towards men B) my character's preference for blue-eyed blonds, which my blue-eyed and blond teacher thought suggested neo-Aryanism.

But--hey, presto--it is 2010 and the internet is covered with Man Catalogues and Woman Catalogues, ones aimed at every taste and market. And just as I poured over "Consumers Distributing" catalogues as a child, dreaming over the jewellery section, now adults pour over "Catholic Singles" catalogues, peering at the photographs and examining the self-promoting blurbs. Is it any wonder that men and women are now quite open about their consumerist judgments of each other?

But even these days, there is one reason and one reason alone why an unmarried traditional American Catholic man will not pursue an unmarried traditional American Catholic woman. No, wait: there are three. One is that he is called to the priesthood and/or religious life. Another is that he has SSA. But the third, the one that all women should keep in mind is, that he is just not that into her. Borderline diabetes, forsooth.

Women, in general, are complex. Men, in general, are simple. Women can talk themselves into love. Men can't. I got interested in B.A. because he wrote funny, intelligent comments on my blog. I found his photo, and I thought, "Eeek! He has a beard and is therefore so not my type!" However, he was funny and intelligent, so I suspended judgment on his looks until I could see a better photo or him in the flesh. And when I met him he was wearing this BLINDING tweed jacket, and I thought, "Eeek!" once again. But then he said funny and intelligent things so often that the tweed jacket began to look like angel raiment.

A man, however, doesn't operate like this. He toddles around and then he sees a woman (perhaps even one he's known for awhile) and a bomb suddenly goes off in his brain, and he's in love. The bomb goes off and he's in love, or it doesn't and he isn't. End of story.

This God-given simplicity, however, can get warped if he's shopping on the Catholic Dating Catalogue, stoking harmful fantasies of ignorant French/Thai peasant girls longing to be gently initiated into the mysteries of the Traditional Latin Mass and sex. He needs to get off the internet. ASAP.

Now, let's talk about you. You, my dear, are being picky, too. Let's go back to eastern meditation boy. Is he hot? No, seriously. After kindness and basic religious compatibility, this is what counts. You spend a third of your life in bed, you know. Is his thing yoga? Because if it is, I bet he is hot. Flexible, anyway.

Heresy-shmeresy. All of us have lurking in the corners of our minds weird ideas that might startle the CDF, ideas that we might think are 100% Grade A orthodox. Speaking as a tradition-loving Roman Catholic, as long as a guy is a tradition-loving Roman Catholic and thinks Benedict XVI is a great guy, I don't see where the problem is. This, of course, shuts out the sedevacantists, but they might be fun to meet for coffee occasionally. Incidentally, one word, and I want you to remember this word: Episcopalians. The Anglo-Catholic ones make great husbands--I mean, converts. Convert-husbands. Convershands.

When all is said and done, the problem with narcissist trad men is not that they're trad or even actually narcissist. It's that they're young and afraid and hiding behind a lot of snotty-sounding bluster because they want to BE a hot commodity and think ACTING like a hot commodity will make them so. Their model is not our risen Lord but Tupac Shakur, poor things. They don't have an inflated sense of self-worth. They have an deflated sense of worthlessness. They need women around them to be comparatively "lesser than", so that they can be "more than." And this is sad. It's all so unnecessary. If only they would just be whomever God is calling them to be.

Bless their little hearts. Say after me, "Bless their little hearts." The only way to deal with men-in-general when we are becoming furious with men-in-general is to allow our Inner Mothers to silently embrace them all. They all start out as sweet little boys with innocent, happy smiles, and those little boys are often still in there somewhere. So think about that and say "Bless his little heart" every time you see a man (online or in person) for the next three days.

I hope this is helpful!

Grace and peace,
Seraphic

P.S. I had a sudden brainwave. Are you basing your judgment of narcissism on first dates? Because dollars to doughnuts, these guys think they should act on first dates the way they act during job interviews. Between their ads on Catholic Catalogue and their job-interview-style first dates, no wonder they look like arrogant twerps! They're using the wrong tools for the job at hand.

UPDATE: Internet Dating Tips:

1. Meet in real life sooner rather than later. This nips harmful, wrongheaded, exploitative fantasies in the bud.
2. Accept a second date unless s/he's really awful. Few of us are at our best on a first date.
3. Tell a friend where you're going and tell them you'll call when you get back. Never go anywhere private with a man/woman you barely know.
4. Listen more than you talk. For one thing, too much talking overwhelms the other person. And for another, people seem to blurt all kinds of interesting, personal stuff on a first date.

25 comments:

IA_ said...

Funny, intelligent and beardless? I'm sorry you can only choose two.

Seraphic said...

Well, exactly.

some guy on the street said...

I've read that somewhere before...

Oenophile said...

Some guy, you've seen it here

http://againstallheresies.blogspot.com/2006/11/marriage-top-ten-list-of-why.html

theobromophile said...

I'm inclined to think that any man (or woman, but I don't date them so I wouldn't know!) can use his situation in life to determine that he is either a) a great catch who has his pick, or b) a great catch who should have his pick, but evil feminism (or other boogyman) is depriving him of his natural right to a young, hot, smart-but-not-as-smart woman.

I've met atheists who thought that they were the best thing EVER because, you know, they were intellectual atheists. Or they are pro-abortion, and that's such a rare find in young men that we should all be fawning all over ourselves to date one, right? Beyond religion and Life issues, there's also men who think they are great because of their profession, or who complain that they don't earn enough money to attract hot, shallow, sexually available women. Trust this, and do not blame this phenomenon on Traditional Catholic Boys.

(Finally, my life among the non-uber-Catholics can be a semi-helpful addition to the commbox!)

Oenophile said...

I think Seraphic ably demonstrates for guys and gals alike that you are much more likely to find true love if you start with a charitable attitude toward your neighbors in general.

Kate P said...

So. . . to boil down what Seraphic and Theobromophile and Oenoephile (chocolate & wine are good for you! hee!) said, stop thinking you're so darn special and try some humility?

some guy on the street said...

Oenophile, I didn't mean the list, I meant the "only two" rule; I think it was in a funny little orange volume with a charming redhead on both covers...

Kate, that *does* seem to follow, doesn't it? But don't forget the *other* recurring motif in Seraphic's advice, that what Searching Singles (or lonely folks, generally) ought to be searching for is, primarily, friendship; because who in their right mind would marry someone they can't be friends with? And what friends in their right minds would allow such a thing to happen? I nearly always cheer-up when I see that motif again, because it rather rings true, as often as I may forget/ignore it myself. It seems to echo things I've said to myself in the Lost Years.

Am I getting that right?

Seraphic said...

Yes, that sounds right!

Trad Girl noticed that the men she meets behave better in person than online. This is, I think, because when someone meets someone away from the Catholic Singles Catalogue, they see that they are real, live, human beings with feelings, not consumer goods to be examined and probed for every fault before "paying" with an semi-commital greeting.

We should most definitely should be thinking about making friends and developing friendships and communities instead of shopping for The Perfect Spouse (TM) as if a person (or a sacrament) was something that you could buy for $15 a month.

The internet is a wonderful place to START friendships, and even maintain frienships, when you're divided from your friends, but without real, live face-to-face meetings, you're never going to develop a full, really-real, friendship.

Also, if you have a shopping list of Mr. or Miss Perfect's must-have traits, a list that your friends can't pry from your fingers, you're going to reject a lot of people who might make great friends

Jessica said...

Funny, I just had the opposite experience with a self-styled NCB. I went to a Theology on Tap earlier this week, where the topic happened to be Christian marriage. The talk was actually better than I had anticipated -- witty, charming, realistic -- given by a middle-aged husband and wife. Afterwards there was a Q&A time, and one young man raised his hand and asked a rambling "question" which covered his recent unemployment, how he was trying to fill his time playing sports and going hunting, but he really just wished he had a girlfriend...any advice?
I nearly slid under the table with embarrassment for him, but I decided to say a little prayer for him instead, in the hopes that someone shows him how to be a little more seraphic in his singleness. Luckily the wife in the presenting couple answered with something about "patience" and "hope," but I think what she really wanted to say is "Well, one way to get a girlfriend would be to NOT REVEAL ALL YOUR NEEDINESS AND SELF-PITY TO A ROOM FULL OF ELIGIBLE CATHOLIC WOMEN!" Sheesh!

Julie said...

Hahaha, Jessica, that is painful but hilarious. Thanks for reminding me that it's Theology on Tap season again, I always forget about that.

I think friendship is the key also because it's something you can act on. Maybe he doesn't call (and as Seraphic points out and I have to remind myself constantly, there is no point chasing boys) -- or maybe there is no one of your chosen gender to hand who you would want to call or to call you. But friends you can call up whenever, and friendships require you to be active in pursuing them. I can't *make* anything romantic happen, but I can make plans for every night of the week with my various friends.

Seraphic said...

Oh, no. Poor boy. Maybe some of the girls saw it as refreshing openness though?

Was he hot?

I'm sorry: I know with me it always comes down (after we have the religion question covered) to hotness, but this is actually an important question.

Hunting actually sounds like an intriguing way for a man to spend his time. Was he hot?

Actually, rambling is never hot, so I guess he wasn't hot to you. I hope he was hot to somebody because he was definitely open to a relationship.

Lovestruck girl: That guy is hot.

Friend: What are you saying? He rambled in a self-pitying way!

Lovestruck girl: Huh?

Friend: He's been talking for ten minutes about how lonely he is.

Lovestruck girl: Do hunters still wear those plaid jackets?

Friend: His eyebrows grow together in the middle.

Lovestruck girl: I love outdoors types. Aw man, I'm gonna go talk to him.

Sigh. An auntie can dream. I want all Catholic Singles and all Singles of good will to be happy. Meanwhile, that was a serious glass of wine B.A. gave me tonight. Whoo!

fifi said...

The spirit moves me to add my own howl about trads, from whom my best gal pal gleaned the following gem. Has anyone heard the one about how, since the Blessed Mother is the model of modesty and purity, and since she is dressed basically the same way every time she appears to people, that women today should ideally dress in the robes of the Blessed Mother?

I kind of wanted to strangle myself with my adorable Audrey Hepburn-inspired summer dress when I heard that.

I think there's a big difference between orthodoxy and fundamentalism. I would like to think I'm very orthodox... even conservative... but fundamentalism of any kind is hard for me (and a whole lot of other people) to handle.

Jessica said...

Dear Auntie,
Sadly, he was sitting behind me, and was actually first addressed by the presenters as "disembodied hand waving...oh, there's the guy it's attached to!" so I can't really speak to his hotness, but...not really. Like you said though, different strokes for different folks, right?

sciencegirl said...

Fifi, I think it beautiful if nuns model their habits off one of Our Lady's many costumes, aka blue over white. Actually, maybe some of them do pick their colors for that reason.

Now, what would I tell the unfortunate man who seriously suggested I dress like Our Lady? I would probably appall him by making some wisecrack about the impossibility of my ever being both Virgin and Mother, or how very difficult it would be for me to get some stars to glitter around my head, or how I really couldn't survive my heart being on fire with a sword in it. PETA would probably stalk me for crushing all those snakes under my bare heels. The moon under the feet bit could be great exercise though, like one of those balancing pads that build "core muscles."

Mary is the model of a lot of things. Purity & humility, sure. But she is also Queen of the Universe, eh? Gate of Heaven? Star of the Sea? She has a whole litany, but I'll stop there. What I'm saying is, that's one mantle I'm not fit to touch, let alone wear. I'm just a Novus Ordo wench with pierced ears and a scandalous collection of kneelength A-line skirts, so I'm pretty much a lost cause.

Oooh, oooh, I just figured out that I'm ripe for being courted and trained in the art of the Latin Mass by some rare and exotic EF hottie. It's so terribly fun to be the Bad Girl!

theobromophile said...

The spirit moves me to add my own howl about trads, from whom my best gal pal gleaned the following gem. Has anyone heard the one about how, since the Blessed Mother is the model of modesty and purity, and since she is dressed basically the same way every time she appears to people, that women today should ideally dress in the robes of the Blessed Mother?

I had some total moron say that to me, just worse! His argument was not that we should dress like Mary, but that burqas are good because they are basically like what Mary wore.

It was insane. I tried pointing out that what Mary is modelled on wearing is beyond slutty and unacceptable in burqa territory, because you can actually tell that there is a woman under there and you can see her face, but he thought that was a downside to what Mary is viewed as wearing, because it's tempting for men to see women's faces and their figures.

I take my fashion advice from people who love women and want to protect us, not middle-aged unmarried men who apparently hate even our bodies.

AveLady said...

Has anyone suggested to these guys that they dress like Jesus did? He always appears dressed pretty much the same too...

Alisha said...

Man, ladies, where DO you meet these guys and who the heck are the crazies who raised them? If I had sons like that, I'd smack em into the 21st century. As Barbara Nicolosi said, there is nothing more pathetic than a teenager who pretends to live in the 1950's or 1850s! (Dressing like the 1950's can be cool though - I'm all for retro, just not enforcing it because of some twisted idealism)
Science Girl - that was awesome!

Shiraz said...

Brilliant idea about responding by asking them to dress like Jesus, AveLady! I haven't run into that EXACT problem, luckily -- I thought all the dressing in ankle-length potato sacks in the name of 'purity' stuff was more the preserve of some insane independent Baptist and fundamentalist churches in the US. But I did spend ages actually avoiding self-styled NCBs after one told me I should actually be trying to consciously train myself for motherhood (I was studying law at the time), and another one told me I was hell-bound on account of not being a rabid political conservative (!?!), and loftily informed that he would be praying for me. Then he tried to persuade me to come to Latin Mass. I didn't go. Orthodoxy OK, sanctimonious superiority --- aaaaarghhh!

Seraphic said...

Oh dear. I just tuned into this thread, and I'm appalled.

Some young men are just so... so... young.

Meanwhile, they don't own the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. The EF is very beautiful, and I recommend it as something beneficial to your prayer life. I am sure that most of the people who go are lovely, and I can attest that some of young men who go to the EF are lovely.

The only response I can think of to a young man who thinks women should dress exactly like Our Lady is a confused stare and a "That's just weird." There is no point in arguing with a young man who is desperately struggling with his youthful issues about chastity, sexuality and women in general. There is just gently saying, "That's just weird."

Bless his little, confused, young heart.

The Chef said...

Hello Seraphic,
This is Fed-up Trad Girl.

Thank you for your response.
I have to say, I actually meant in one of those bullet points to say: "She's never been married --- must have issues." Some trad men are more prone towards this ironic judgment towards traditional Catholic women over the age of 35 and still single.

Actually, I have not been on what I would call a date for about 8 years. However, I have discerned several men as possibilities and spent time out as friends with them. Each of these men had expressed an interest in courtship*. *("Aha! The plot thickens!" I can almost hear you thinking now.)

Before I go any further, I must digress and first say that I agree with you on the "Catologue" mentality. However, of the men that I have dealt with directly (in person), I've found that they are often pushy and/or less than humble, even while they are in pursuit. My thinking is that if they act this way while they are attempting courtship, then they may very well be worse when they finally have you.

Many of the more painful examples are just too painful to mention publicly, but I will tell you one annoyance of Mr. Yoga* (*actually, his thing was Centering Prayer, which was inspired by his former "mentor", Basil Pennington -- one of the most renowned "Catholic" heretics of the past century ). He had spent several years in a very good seminary, and by your own declaration, he should have been expected to be sensitive to a woman's feelings. Not so. Upon meeting him he persisted that I should reveal to him my age. When I finally shared with him my age over the phone, he said that he had guessed it because simply, in his own estimation, I look it --- to which I replied, "You just lost your chance, buddy!"

He's 47, but has decided that since "most people would say" that he looks to be in his 30s, he would say that he, himself looks to be in his 30s. However, he felt compelled to tell me that his own opinion of my looks was 40ish. (Truth-be-told, most younger people would think me to be in my 20s or early 30s, as I have been often told.) What was his point of going out of his way to tell me this, that I did not ask?

Another issue I have not pointed out, but is not really directly related to the issue at hand but another issue altogether is some of these men cannot afford to have a wife. Your Mr. Yoga has not worked for ages, and is picky about his methods of job searching. Another brags all the time about his latest purchase on something he didn't need, and dines out constantly at nice restaurants, then struggles to pay for his bills. This is from men in their 30s and 40s.

(On a side note to Shiraz) By the way, there is nothing "sanctimonious" about the Mass that all the saints had themselves attended.

Anonymous said...

Hello Seraphic,
This is Fed-up Trad Girl.

Thank you for your response.
I have to say, I actually meant in one of those bullet points to say: "She's never been married --- must have issues." Some trad men are more prone towards this ironic judgment towards traditional Catholic women over the age of 35 and still single.

Actually, I have not been on what I would call a date for about 8 years. However, I have discerned several men as possibilities and spent time out as friends with them. Each of these men had expressed an interest in courtship*. *("Aha! The plot thickens!" I can almost hear you thinking now.)

Before I go any further, I must digress and first say that I agree with you on the "Catologue" mentality. However, of the men that I have dealt with directly (in person), I've found that they are often pushy and/or less than humble, even while they are in pursuit. My thinking is that if they act this way while they are attempting courtship, then they may very well be worse when they finally have you.

Many of the more painful examples are just too painful to mention publicly, but I will tell you one annoyance of Mr. Yoga* (*actually, his thing was Centering Prayer, which was inspired by his former "mentor", Basil Pennington -- one of the most renowned "Catholic" heretics of the past century ). He had spent several years in a very good seminary, and by your own declaration, he should have been expected to be sensitive to a woman's feelings. Not so. Upon meeting him he persisted that I should reveal to him my age. When I finally shared with him my age over the phone, he said that he had guessed it because simply, in his own estimation, I look it --- to which I replied, "You just lost your chance, buddy!"

He's 47, but has decided that since "most people would say" that he looks to be in his 30s, he would say that he, himself looks to be in his 30s. However, he felt compelled to tell me that his own opinion of my looks was 40ish. (Truth-be-told, most younger people would think me to be in my 20s or early 30s, as I have been often told.) What was his point of going out of his way to tell me this, that I did not ask?

Another issue I have not pointed out, but is not really directly related to the issue at hand but another issue altogether is some of these men cannot afford to have a wife. Your Mr. Yoga has not worked for ages, and is picky about his methods of job searching. Another brags all the time about his latest purchase on something he didn't need, and dines out constantly at nice restaurants, then struggles to pay for his bills. This is from men in their 30s and 40s.

(On a side note to Shiraz) By the way, there is nothing "sanctimonious" about the Mass that all the saints had themselves attended.

Alisha said...

Fed up Trad,
Wow...that guy just sounds awful :( Oh, and I'm pretty sure Shiraz meant the guy's attitude was "sanctimonious" not the Mass itself.

Charming Disarray said...

I've been trad my whole life and most of the men I know do not act better in real life. In fact, most of them are far too good to even try online dating. Once I sat for an hour listening to three trad guys complain about how ugly and what a sense of entitlement most trad girls have. This was in front of me and several other trad girls. I got pretty tired of it and told them off, including telling them that the girls they hang out with are always stylish and dressed up. One of them responded, with genuine surprise in his voice, "Well, of course. We wouldn't hang out with you girls otherwise."

Seraphic said...

Heh, heh, heh. I wonder if it would not have been helpful also to point out to them, in this extreme circumstance, perhaps never be to repeated (alas), everything that is wrong with them, man-wise. For example, perhaps they don't have chiseled abs, and they probably would be useless at building a cabin in the woods. They obviously lack chivalry (you might have added) and their expectations about women merely mask their own--and perfectly justified--sense of insecurity. And meanwhile, they have offended the only women willing to spend that kind of time with them, and they all owe you an apology.

And then you might have swanned off like Ava Gardner, leaving them gasping.

Listen, I know trad boys, and the more I see of trad boys, the happier I am that I am 40 and hang with trad MEN. Never mind Lady Julia: Lady Marchmain kicks butt.