At a gathering of British Catholics, I met "a high-profile Catholic," a phrase employed by England's Catholic Herald. She's so high-profile, I'm afraid British readers will guess, although for the sake of this story I must say that she has a very nice, rather handsome husband and is not Cherie Blair.
Anyway, I was telling this high-profile Catholic about my book, in the half-embarrassed manner of fledgling authors longing to increase sales, and she interrupted me to tell me that in her view, girls should be told to just settle.
"Er, ah," I said, hoping to get a protest in edgewise.
My protest couldn't squeeze in, and so I listened, slightly horrified, as the high-profile Catholic (with, I stress again, a very personable husband) went on about how girls should stop waiting for Mr Perfect and settle for Mr Good Enough.
The one part of her enthusiastic monologue that I agreed with was the idea that girls are foolish to wait around for a chap with movie star looks, a millionaire's salary or both. When I say "Don't Settle," I don't mean that you should look blankly at any man who does not look like a character from "Gossip Girl" or that he approximates Prince William in some extremely obvious ways. I mean you should wait for a man with whom you share the most-important-things-to-you in common, is in love with you and who, within a reasonable period of time, convinces you that he is actually quite sexy, whatever you might have thought at first.
As this is a Catholic's blog, it trumpets day and night that devout Catholics should court or wait for other devout Catholics. (It also warns against suitors who say that they will convert to Catholicism if you marry them, and then don't.) However, not all of you are devout Catholics, of course, and so obviously your priorities differ. If you are, for example, a semi-agnostic kind of Catholic who thinks prayer and worship are boring but is on fire with love for the poor, you might be very happy indeed with a committed Marxist or union organiser or anti-poverty activist of any other creed. If you are a fiery Scots nationalist, you should probably find (or be found by) another Scots nationalist. If your life is breeding Russian wolfhounds, your future spouse Must Love Dogs.
Sometimes I think with guilt of the way the consistently inconsistent character I had in my youth made NCBs suffer. I was very bad about day-dreaming out loud, and so made at least two very NCBs think I would marry them, and it was all very rotten.
One of these turned out very well indeed and is still very well-liked by mutual friends, but I knew then (as I know now) that I would not have been happy married to him. Despite us both being Catholic, we simply did not have the same basic things in common. His principal interest then was rock music, which he thought appropriate in church, and I was uneasily becoming aware that men whose principal interest in life is rock music (or who like to play rock music in church) bore me out of my mind.
In fact, many men bore me out of my mind. I hope the boys don't mind me saying that; I will underscore that many of you are very, very nice to look at, especially before you are thirty, and when I am fifty I may raise that number to forty. And there are lots of men who are interesting to talk to at any age; I know several and if you are a man who reads my blog, you would be among them. But being the woman I am, I have a low boredom threshold, and therefore it is a darned good thing that my husband is so interesting and can make up alternative dialogues for characters on TV.
Uh oh. This is about me again. Well, this is to encourage you to think about you and what your core values really are. My guess is that they have nothing to do with being married to a guy with movie star looks and a spendthrift's lifestyle. If so, though, you may be disappointed because those men are few, and they tend to go for women with movie star looks and great pots of money, too.