This morning I'm going to be as stroppy as I want to be. I feel like a good aunty scold. First I will scold the girls. Then I will scold the boys. No more Mrs Nice Aunt. En garde a toi.
Girls! I do not know whether to hug you or shake you! It is quite true that the average English-speaking young man is completely obtuse and can barely see two inches beyond his nose. That is why I completely advocate wearing lipstick and bright colours. Lipstick and bright colours say "Yoo-hoo! Pretty girl over here! Hel-lo!" And if you really like someone, and he seems to like you, I have also advocated touching his arm while smiling in a dazzling fashion. Finally, with a liberality that astonishes me, I have even suggested inviting young men you like to parties thrown by you and your girlfriends. All of these things, from the lipstick to the invite, are clear but not aggressive indications that you like men and that, if pursued, there is some hope of catching you.
So WHY, I ask myself, banging my head on my desk, WHY do you persist in telling young men--in pre-emptive strikes--that you have feelings for them? WHY do you do this? One of the great challenges that makes a man a man is wondering if the woman he cares for has feelings for him. WHY do you take away this man-creating challenge? WHY do you spoil the plot?
And WHY instead of keeping your lips to yourself, do you plant them on the object of your affection before he has the idea of planting his lips on you? Again, a plot spoiler! It makes me cross.
If you were all mad devotees of the sexual revolution and couldn't care less what happened in the long run, I would merely raise my eyebrows and say nothing. The definition of insanity is doing something that fails again and again thinking it will eventually work--something like that. And what can one say to the insane? But you are not insane, my little Single girls, you are just impatient and meanwhile, you think you can make a man love you just by willing this to happen. Alas, no.
You will think my conclusion utterly terrible, and I thought it utterly terrible when my mother uttered it to me, but at the end of the day, you can only contemplate the men who pursue you and either say Yes or No. You cannot blatantly pursue men; it does not work. Men are remarkably proof against marrying women they do not love. Men are binary: they love you or they don't. Give them time to figure out what side of the line they are on, and when you know, rejoice or move on.
Boys! I would smack you were you not so modern and enfeebled that you would immediately summon a big strong policeman to your aid. What is your problem? No, you look me in the eye, young men. I'm almost old enough to be your mother.
How old are you anyway? Twenty-five? Twenty-six? Do you know what you are going to be when you grow up? Newsflash--you are grown up. It is time, young men, to go out into the world, to seek your fortune, to win the hand of a beautiful princess, to sire beautiful children who will gladden your old age.
What's that I hear you say? Where are the beautiful princesses? Well, my dears, I am not exactly sure how this could escape your notice. A whole bunch of them are reading my blog. Has it ever occured to you to try to get in touch with them? Meanwhile, have you tried Daily Mass? Have you tried the Newman Centre or Cath Soc? Have you gone to your favourite priest and said "I think I have a vocation to the married life. Do you know any nice Catholic girls?" Has it ever occured to you to email the women who write the blogs you like the best? I myself, as a Single woman, turned down dates with readers, but I respected them for asking and then married the funniest one.
I am not telling you to marry the first girl who comes along. I am merely pointing out that this princess-winning is up to you. Here I am, discouraging the women of the world from foisting their attentions on you, which should leave you free to go trotting after them. Yes, they will usually shoot you down. Figure out why the last one did, and then carry on.
Whenever I meet a marvellous, devout unmarried Catholic woman who feels very called to marriage but has not been snatched up by the age of 30, I feel paradoxically that this was (A) God's will but (B) that Catholic men are shirking not just their responsibilities but the greatest gifts of earthly life. I shake my finger at you.
None of this applies to priests, male religious or seminarians, of course. Bless your heroic hearts! (And start thinking about how to encourage marriage among young Catholics, please. Why not talk to some rabbis?)
I'm scolding only because I care. Have a cookie.