Cordi thinks I should open up a combox to such male readers as are left (small exodus when I got married, alas), and ask them what they think women should do to further Catholic courtship. Cordi, how many times do I have to say, Don't "DO" so much? :-D
One of the greatest compliments a woman can pay a man is to not assume he thinks just like a woman. And sometimes asking a man what he thinks can be a very jarring experience. Sometimes you really don't want to know. You think you want to know, but you don't want to know.
An evangelical Christian website did a huge survey of young evangelical Christian men, asking them what they thought modest dress for women was. They had to vote and comment on specific types of clothing, jewellery and hairstyles. Do you wear heeled black boots that come up to your knee? If you do, there's a whole lotta American evangelical Christian boys who think you're a sinful temptress out of Babylon. Meanwhile, one of you gals told me about a Catholic boy who honestly believes and argues that all women should dress like Our Lady, i.e. in what we think was first century Galilean women's dress.
This hyper attitude towards women's clothing stems from the fact that most young men have sexual thoughts all the time. They float through their heads like fish in the sea. Sometimes a man hooks one of these thoughts and contemplates it, but others have trained themselves (through long practise) just to ignore them. All of them know that just blurting out exactly what they're thinking (why do women always ask men what they're thinking?) at a given moment is probably a very bad idea.
Then there is the question of whether masculine thinking has anything to do with sexual attraction whatsoever. My friend Lily told me this great story of a young man she knew who got stupidly involved with some woman or other.
"What were you thinking?" demanded his female friend.
"Thinking?" he replied, incredulously.
Lily found this very witty, and so do I. Thinking had nothing to do with his actions.
Of course, some thinking has to go into courtship, but it's usually before and then after the sexual-attraction fact. A guy may go to Daily Mass to find the right kind of pretty girl, but he's still going to fall for the girl he thinks is prettiest. (Fortunately, men's ideas about female beauty are way more openminded than ours.)
To tell you the unvarnished truth-as-I-see-it, men are brilliant at figuring out how to build stuff, compose arias, and solve ab+cd/zq, but they are not so hot on knowing what they think about women. How many of you have wondered, since logically you are perfect for Mr. Nice Catholic Boy, why he is in love with some mini-skirted trollop who isn't even Catholic instead? Your average Nice Catholic Boy thinks that he prefers women who don't wear any make-up, hipsters or low cut tops. He is wrong.
I'm not saying to go out and buy trampy club gear. I'm just saying that men don't think like women, and they certainly do not call up their men friends to have long, involved, intricate discussions on what they like and don't like about certain women. I recently tried to trap a man into explaining what he meant when he declared a mutual female acquaintance to be beautiful, and he looked exactly like a guppy in distress. Either he didn't know, or he would have chosen to sew his lips shut rather than to tell me.
I say all this not to snoot at men, most of whom are marvellous, but just to underscore once again that men don't think like women. They don't think like women, and they don't think like women. They think about things, not about relationships, unless dragged along to a counsellor and forced to.
That all said, what the heck. The combox is open. Male readers are invited to say what they think they want women to do to make Catholic courtship easier in this year of grace 2010. Keep it clean, and remember that Our Lord died just as much for women as He did for you. Men ONLY, please, so women can see the tumbleweed blowing through the combox and learn as much from your silence as from your words.