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).
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,
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.