Friday, 29 October 2010

Auntie Seraphic & Lady In Waiting

Dear Auntie Seraphic,

I moved to a new city from a small town about 2 years ago. I got involved with the young adult group here and have met a few nice guys but so far no one has expressed any interest in me whatsoever. I just turned 24 years old and have never had a boyfriend, let alone gone on a date. I am so tired of waiting around for someone to come along. I thought that moving to a bigger city would help in finding a NCG, but the guys that I like never ask me out or single me out in any way. I have tried to "redeem the time" by doing other things, but it is really hard to watch as the people around me marry and are starting to have kids. I love my friends and I'm not jealous of them, but I feel like there is nothing I can do to remedy the situation.

I would appreciate your thoughts,

Lady in Waiting

Dear Lady in Waiting,

Thank you for your nice note! The first thing I want to say is that it is difficult to be 24 in the western, English-speaking world. If it weren't, I would love to be 24 because 24 year old girls have (A) lovely, glowing skin and (B) all the time in the world for men and babies and career.

But it is difficult to be 24 because if you're not married, you worry about being single at 25 (which is a completely irrational worry that seems to affect almost all religious girls in Canada and the USA), and if you ARE married, you feel left out of all the fun things Single 20-somethings do (like backpack around Europe, go to grad school, go out dancing, go to rock concerts). My mum got married at 23, and although she loved baby me (born 13 months later), she felt she was missing out on all the parties and fun. At 24, the grass ALWAYS seems to be greener on the other side of the fence.

The second thing I want to say is that you have already done something very good by joining the young adult group. Now I want you to mentally write off all the young men in it as future husbands and think of how you can make them your friends, if they aren't already your friends. Anecdotal evidence suggests to me that most people find The One through their friends, be the friends male or female. In your twenties, you should make as many friends as you can, leaving the whole husband-question to God. If God wants you to get married, He can send you a husband.

And I really mean that. Although since the feminist revolution young women have been told again and again that they can pursue men now, human nature (especially male human nature) hasn't changed. Men still value only that which they have to work to get. Men still hold cheaply girls who throw themselves at them. Men still refuse to fall in love with women just because the women love them and would do anything for them. That's just the way men are.

So the answer is that girls just have to wait for love, and yes, that hurts. However, I didn't meet Mr. Perfect for Me until I was 37, and he was totally worth the wait. My greatest wish is that I had known Mr Perfect for Me was waiting for me in 2008 because then I wouldn't have wasted so much time and energy and dignity pursuing/dating this man and that!

Meanwhile, strive to look and feel your best and to make many friendships with men and women of all ages. Live as much in public as you can, which is to say, get involved in work activities or in school activities, stay involved at church, take an evening class in something that fascinates you, or join a Meet Up group involved in one of your interests.

Also, take note of, and celebrate, all the accomplishments from other parts of your life. Many women put too much value in courtship milestones, like "first time a guy held my hand" and "first kiss" and "first date." I could understand this in 19th century women, for back then attractiveness-to-men was the most (or only) important thing a woman had going for her. But today we have so many other opportunities and challenges, we can and should learn to treasure OTHER kinds of milestones, like our first big paycheque, our first university degree, our first piece of published work and our first visit to France!

It is true that being married to the right man is one of the sweetest things in life. (Being married to the wrong man is one of the worst!) But very few of us know when God is going to send us that man, and being able to wait is one of the great challenges of womanhood.

I hope this is helpful. Please know that you are not alone. Unless the statistics have changed drastically unbeknownst to me, most people who read "Seraphic Singles" are American, Canadian and British Single women in their 20s.

Grace and peace,


Thwarted Throne said...

Dear Seraphic,

I'm glad you believe, as you seem to, in the idea of The One. Many Catholics do not, which makes me sad. Not that The One has to be perfect, but "perfect-for-me," as you said. And so, I wait...

That said, I suppose men also have a waiting game to play. They also have to wait for their "perfect-for-me" to show up on their radar (after which time, they should pursue, of course!)

I'd be interested to hear from men what it is like for them to have to wait.

Seraphic said...

They shouldn't be waiting. They should be out there actively looking.

I'm not a hardliner on "the One." The only hard-and-fast One, as I wrote in my book, riffing off St. Paul, is the One Lord. I am sure there are three or more men in the world any one of us could be happy with. However, sometimes you meet someone and know you'd be absolutely delighted if both God and he thought he was the one for you.

Meanwhile, I use the expression (only slightly tongue-in-cheek)to hammer home the idea no-one should marry "just anyone" or "the best deal going for now". And, of course, most of marry only once. And, finally, once you marry a man sacramentally, he's the Only One for as long as he lives.

Seraphic said...

By the way, men often write about what it's like to "wait", and it's not pretty. The Health Club Shooter (aka Psycho Single)wrote an online diary on the subject; he seemed to think women were just supposed to throw themselves at men.

Thwarted Throne said...

Well, I agree men should be actively looking, but at what point should they start courting? It could be years before they actually come across a lady sufficiently suitable (or perfectly suitable, should such a creature exist.)

Seraphic said...

My guess is a lot sooner than they do now. However, that could be because men (for various reasons, many of which cannot possibly be laid at their door) no longer embark on their careers right away. A guy whose plan is to backpack around Australia for a few years, picking up bar jobs here and there, is not yet a good marriage prospect.

I find it sad that, in one community I know, the women work their butts off at school, then get into a professional degree program (like med school) and then start their highly-skilled careers before the men their age have stopped saying "Oh dear me? Should I be a priest or what? Maybe I'll go on a walking pilgrimage to Compostella on my student loan to think about it."