Femininity is certainly a controversial issue. And here on Seraphic Singles, whenever an issue seems particularly controversial, and feelings are high, I write about it again.
Femininity is controversial firstly because social codes of femininity have been used--and still are (burkha, spike heels) used to restrict women's freedoms and flourishing. It is controversial secondly because if we don't measure up to someone else's standard of femininity we tend to take it personally. At Mass on Sunday, our priest extolled motherhood and condemned how some today actually hate motherhood and I felt all very sorry for myself because I'm not pregnant yet and what's with that?
Anyway, I thought to myself later, how did this turn into a "How to Get Guys" blog? Beyond the part-self-help book, part-Catholic-anthropology, part-learning-from-mistakes philosophical mishmash that my group of friends collectively known as Les Girls and I concocted, what do I know? Mostly what I know is how to avoid Mr Wrong and how to spot other women's Mr Wrongs in those women's honest emails to Auntie Seraphic.
How not to scare Mr Right away, I think I have a good handle on. But as to finding Mr Right, that I leave to God. Let go, I say, and let God. The only three great truths about men-in-general in this area that I grasp with both hands are that 1. Men will work for what/who they really want; 2. Men are terrified of marrying the wrong woman; 3. Men prefer women to look like what they think "women" look like; fortunately there is quite a lot of variety here.
If you are a happy Single, and do not give a flying fish what men think women should look like, then you are free, free, free as a bird to ignore what men prefer. And why not? Go take a look at a modern-style nun, the kind with no habit. How does she dress? And how short is her hair, eh? I know umpteen modern-style nuns, and they all have short hair. And they love pantsuits. If you are wondering who is keeping the pantsuit makers in business, it is thousands and thousands of modern-style nuns over 60, bless them. And one thing you can say about nuns, ancient and modern, is that they rightly have zero interest in attracting men.
Two of my favourite modern-style nuns are not very feminine. I love them, and they could kill a rude man at ten paces with a glance from their nunly eyes, and they are not very feminine. I know feminine nuns, but these ones aren't. They are sharp-talking and loud and raucous. They love football, which they watch on TV. They wear trousers in and out of season. If you handed them a row of false eyelashes, they would take it outside and lay it on the porch to run free, since they could only assume it was an unusual new spider.
They have their Rule, their devotions, their convent, their household rituals, their paid employment, their other ministries, their lefty theologies, their responsibilities to the oldest sisters away in the nursing home, their holiday cottage. They have an amazing way of life. I could have shared their amazing way of life because they asked me, and I am very proud of that, but I just couldn't.
I couldn't, not just because I couldn't be a modern-style nun, but because it would just about kill me to cut my hair short, cutting my hair short meaning that it was over between me and men-as-caffeine-in-the-cappuccino-of-life forever. And indeed, that is why old-style nuns originally had their hair cut: it was THE sign that they were permanently unavailable. Buddhist nuns shave their heads, too.
Meanwhile, I know non-nun Single women who are equally as uninterested in attracting men. They live make-up free, cute-shoe free, skirt free, short-haired existences, and they have beautiful lives. They have their jobs, their hobbies, their pets, their friends (men and women), and nobody could care less that they can't flirt their way out of paper bags. It just doesn't matter.
St. Augustine, when contemplating which female lives were best, rated Permanent Virginity (proto-nun life) first, then Marriage next, because married women have to looking pleasing to only one man, and then Unmarried But Wanting To Get Married dead last because those women have to look pleasing to many men, which St. Augustine thought terrible.
My Searching Single readers may say "Thanks for nothing, St. Augustine," but perhaps this will cheer Serious Single readers who wonder if there is anything wrong with them for not being at all interested in men-as-caffeine, and prefering a quiet, busy life of comfortable shoes, Pears soap and cats.
And of course there isn't. It seems like a marvellous way of life to me. Perhaps when B.A. shuffles off this mortal coil, I'll live that way, too. When arthritis hits, I'll have to cut my hair anyway. But for the time being, I will continue wearing cute shoes and mascara, not only because B.A. likes them but also because other men seem to, and if St. Augustine thinks that is simply appalling, then I can only grovel and say "Amen, for, lo, I am a frivolous thing."
UPDATE: EEEK! Viking hordes from The Crescat! Welcome, welcome! Buy my book for Christmas! IF you have one, buy one for your buddy! Buy two! There's a special one for Americans, protecting you from Canadian spelling conventions! Special Inside American Version: an imprimi potest!