Monday, 15 November 2010

Young Men Have a Lot to Give


I shall return this afternoon.

Afternoon: I'm back. This morning I was writing for money, which I dearly love to do, so think about buying my book, if you haven't bought two copies already. I weep to think how much Ann Landers and Dear Abbey must have been paid. Weep weep weep.

To add to the discussion, which I began in response to a reader's brother, who said that he didn't have anything to give to a woman [right then], I certainly think young men do have a lot to give. In fact, I like young men very much, and they improve my life in many ways that have, of course, nothing to do with my love life since, you know, I am married and stuff.

When young men join my traditional Latin Mass community, it makes me happy because it suggests both the Latin Mass community and Catholic life in Scotland are going to continue on into the next generation. Their participation underscores that church observance isn't "just for girls" and, besides, they are nice to look at. I beam at their jacketed backs from my perch beside the Men's Schola. When they volunteer to be altar servers, everyone is happy, and when they go into the seminary,our hearts swell and we brag to other Catholics about these Glorious Young Men of Our Parish, ignoring the observations of the envious that they had lived outside the parish boundaries.

I also enjoy talking to young men. Occasionally I chat with a young man of the sort who seems to regard me not as part of the scenery but as an actual woman, possibly even a potential Mrs Robinson, and I find that flattering. Obviously I don't want to be That Wicked Mrs McAmbrose, but it is nice to think I could be That Bad Mrs McAmbrose were I not a pattern card of all the earthly virtues.

Then there are the young men who write letters to the papers for which I write to say that they like my column. These chivalrous men are sometimes seminarians or priests, and I love them. I support them in any secret desire to learn the TLM and their clandestine saying of the Rosary. To them I say, "Hello, Good Men!"

There are also the young men who open doors when my hands are full and give me their seat on the bus when I am tired and help me pick up the shopping when I have dropped it. Wonderful young men! Incidentally, I have a very helpful Young Man younger brother who fits nicely into the category.

Finally, there are the young men who buy my book and the very few young men who dare to leave comments here, comments for which I am grateful, knowing how much my largely female readership appreciates a Guy's Eye View.


Cordi said...

Sounds like a pretty uncontroversial statement to me. :)

Catholic Bibliophagist said...

Back when I was in college, guys my own age seemed too young to be attractive. And in fact, the fellow I ended up marrying was four years older than I. (Though I knew him as a friend of a friend for quite some time before he started courting. Which was okay since I wasn't thinking of him in "that way" at the time.)

Catholic Pen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Catholic Pen said...

...but women have to let them give. Some women I know jump in too quickly and don't give men a chance to give of themselves. Or else they worry about giving "equally."

Clare C said...

After I was sexually assaulted, every time we went to a party or bar my male friends would form a little protective circle around me: making sure I felt safe, making sure that someone was always on hand if I needed them, fending off anyone who was making me uncomfortable or just seemed creepy, walking me to my room at the end of the party or whenever I wanted to leave.
Keep in mind that these were 20 year old rugby team darling meatheads who have by no means even come close to their full maturity/sensitivity.
My girlfriends were the ones I talked to and cried with and they truly were my rocks, but I do not believe I would have gotten throught that time of my life halfway whole without my guy friends.

Catherine said...

I'm guilty of complaining about the collective immaturity, indecisiveness, and cluelessness of young men. But to be fair, young women can be just as immature, indecisive, and clueless, if not more. Young men, when they make the effort to be aware of their surroundings and actively decide to engage in conversation with present company, are positively delightful.

When I was a university student, I knew lots of NCBs who always had headphones on, or who refused to attend parties, or who wouldn't participate in conversations during group dinners. How can NCGs - or anyone, for that matter - get to know how interesting you are, if you won't look up from your plate of chicken? Or if you grumpily sit alone in a dark corner during social gatherings, staring at your computer screen? There's such a thing as being shy, all right. But sooner or later, shyness can cross a line into smugness, self-importance, or crippling insecurity - none of which are so delightful.

Young men shouldn't be afraid to talk, offer an opinion, hold a door for a young lady, smile, make a joke (even a bad joke), or look people in the eyes. They do have a lot to offer. It's a shame they seem so eager to hide it.

MargoB said...

Hear, hear! Because I seem to run into many men who have not had the chance to develop in the Manners, Intellectual, Friendly (and other) categories, the NCBs who act (what I consider) normal -- who smile, aren't afraid to say 'hi,', make a joke (yes, even a bad joke), engage in enjoyable/intellectual/engaging conversation -- are MUCH appreciated here! :)

dark but fair said...

I think that we are all in agreement that every person is a gift from God. Personally, I have met very few men I did not think were awesome in some way or another. I love men! Their general lack of awareness of how much they have to give is rather baffling. Some of the best men I have met were seminarians and priests and it was such a joy to know them and see them give themselves to God and the church. The best priests and seminarians I know did not avoid women like the plague, or sit in their room "discerning" while there was a social activity going on. They actually talked to women like they knew that they had something to give and knew that in the future they were going to serve a congregation made up largely of women and administer the sacraments. I wish more young Catholic men knew that they did have something to give to their communities. Gentlemen, when we ladies come up and say hello to you or initiate a conversation, it does not mean that we are flirting with you (well, alright maybe we might be a little bit, but still!) We are talking to you because we simply like to converse and we like to listen as well as talk. We want to talk to you fellows, in short, because we appreciate you and you are interesting. It does not neccessarily mean that the lady is smitten with you if you do that. You do not have to run and hide just because a lady in the same pew smiled at you. You do not need an income, a degree or career in order to obtain the right to smile at people. You should probably have those things before you start asking tons of women on dates (because he who asks, pays). However, I do not understand why some fellows seem to think that if they would not date a certain lady, or if they can't date anybody at the moment, that they should not talk or socialize or converse.

Seraphic said...

I said my bit above, but I wanted to pop in and say to Clare C that I'm very sorry that that happened to you. I'm glad the assault did not interfere with your friendships with the "darling meatheads."

Ladies, could we word what we think young men have to offer just a wee bit more positivelieeeee? For practise, I mean. _I_ don't get into a snit what you say or how you say it, but think of the men. Think of the men, I say!

Dominic said...

Well, as a man, I've not sensed any negativity (even implictly) in anything said so far, so I wouldn't worry too much about us, Seraphic!

Clare C said...

Thanks Seraphic:) Also today is my birthday and I am treating myself to your book!


That is all.

Seraphic said...

Thank you, Dominic!

Clare C, how nice that you have got my book! Meanwhile, I'm afraid I can't click on your youtube vid because my service provider has blocked youtube, weep weep.

AveLady said...

Clare C - I LOVE that song!

Now, because this has all got me thinking about it, a list of what the wonderful men of my experience have had to offer, regardless of their financial situation etc. Some have been said before, but oh well:

1. You make me feel safe. Men, even if you consider yourself small compared to many of your fellow men, you are bigger and stronger than me. This does not go unnoticed, and I am often surprised by just HOW strong you all are. But it's not just that, of course. Just your presence makes me feel safe. I would try to explain why, but that would take a long time. For now, just remember that you do.

2. You make me feel special. Look, we might not like admitting it, and no fellow will score brownie points by implying that he's God's-gift-to-women JUST for paying attention to us, but we do love normal, friendly male attention from all you NCBs. Just as your ego can get a healthy boost from our nicely asking you for help carrying something, ours (or mine at least, I suppose I cannot speak for all women) can get a healthy boost from a genuine "You look nice today" or a really-cares-about-the-answer "I haven't seen you in a while, how have you been?" (as long as it really has been a while, of course).

3. You loan me your coats.
If your situation is dire enough that you do not even have a coat, I am very sorry and hope you get one soon, but I'm guessing that most/all of the fellows reading DO have coats. In any case, if and when you do, start offering it to ladies if they look cold. I know men who seem to bring more layers than they really expect to need to outdoor events. I do not know if they are just prepared in general, are really good at hiding the fact that they DID, in fact, need that coat, or actually expect some lady to stand in need of it. If either of the two last, I think that is just about the sweetest thing ever. I DO bring my own coat, I don't like to think of you fellows freezing, but I STILL get cold.

AveLady said...

4. You can take charge of things. This is a delicate one, because one oughtn't to take charge of a situation with no regard to the feelings/desires of others, but if it's just a minor issue like "How should we get from the restaurant to the movie with this big group when not enough people know how to get there?" or whatever, it's always wonderful when a fellow steps in, sees a solution and implements it. It may seem small to you, but when there is a man I know who can generally be counted on to be That Guy, it makes a BIG difference in general cheerfulness and comfort, and that is not a small thing at all. Perhaps this is a personality thing and not all men are equally comfortable doing this, but if you are, that is yet another thing you have to offer. If it isn't clear, this is particular to guys because I, at least, feel that in "taking charge" of a non-emergency situation like that, I make myself either the "group mommy" or the "group nag." I'm sure there are gifted women who can lead a group without falling in to either category, but overall it's more natural when men take the lead, as usual.

5. You listen. And you give solutions. I realize there is frequent confusion as to which you ought to do at a given time (i.e., whether the girl really just wants comfort or is genuinely in need of advice). I apologize for my part in that confusion. But really, when you're doing the right one for the occasion you do both MARVELOUSLY. Men have been sponges for my stress and some of my best counselors. I talk to girls about "what-should-I-do" allllll the time, and it's very helpful, but your perspective is therefore all the more needed.

6. You are you. There is, ultimately, always going to be that undefinable thing that is delightful about you simply because you are A Man and a million other delightful undefinable things about you because you are you in particular. Don't forget that we want that most of all - even more than coats and shiny things :) You're our friends, our brothers, our husbands. You can't help being wonderful.

I apologize for typos and incoherent statements - this is all off the top of my head. See how easy it is to go on and on about you fellows?

Alisha said...

@Clare C:
That comment about the rugby boys is a moving one for me - praise the Lord for that, seriously!

@DBF "You do not need an income, a degree or career in order to obtain the right to smile at people."

That's a great list!
Here's mine:

1) Your influence on me shows me I'm not self sufficient, and that's a necessary reminder of my need for God.

2. You make me laugh and I can be silly with you in a different way than with women.

3) When you're smart, the quality of conversation is different.

4) Somehow your simplicity in certain matters makes it easier for me to see you as a child of God, and therefore to understand how we look to God.

5) For those of you who have been my friends, you've understood me the best, and I understand myself best through you.

Seraphic said...

Great stuff, girls! AveLady, your list is awesome.