Sunday, 6 March 2011

Love in the New York Times

This is a rare Sunday post, which I am posting because I am so moved by this story.

When I read stuff like this, my first inclination is to blame that large and amorphous mass called "the Baby Boom." However, my second inclination is to remember that the Baby Boom were overly influenced by those about ten years older than themselves--their professors and whatnot. That lying weirdo Kinsey wasn't a Boomer.

Anyway, if this is truly what the lives of America's college students look like, it's time for another revolution, or the counter-revolution. It's time for the Restoration. And with that, I'm going to get ready for Mass now.

Update (Shrove Tuesday): A Guy's Eye View: also sad. Thanks to Urzula for sending it in.


sciencegirl said...

It's what the lives of SOME American college students look like, and I hope you notice this sad young lady is not even following the "3rd date rule" very well (except for the gross Jesuit seminarian), as she fretted over the sleeping habits of her 2-date-old boyfriend. We need a reformation for sure, but I think most college students would find this lady kind of a sad case.

Seraphic said...

Well, yes. It's not just the boys who need revolutionizing (or counter-revolutionizing, or restoring); the girls need it, too.

A sad case. Well, it is certainly a sad story, and I wonder how many girls--for you can scarely call someone this young a "lady"--get sucked into this kind of a life, thinking that it is normal.

Mary Rose M. said...

I started to read the article before Mass and was just as affected by it. I've returned home now and finished it. My goodness...

First, when I was in college, my relationships (if you can call them that) were as thin and amorphous as gossamer wings. Although I longed for a "real relationship," most of my fellow male students were just as involved with the main objective of obtaining a degree. Weekends (and some weeknights) consisted of bleak hook-ups, which did not interest me in the least.

But secondly, and perhaps more importantly, this young woman's story exposes her very deep longing for a stable relationship -- one that tells her that the man isn't going anywhere and that he thinks a relationship with her is important enough to draw a hedge around and protect it.

The squirrely antics of the men (or as she says, "guys") reflects their own fear and ambiguity about what it means to be a man with responsibility. There is accountability within a relationship and God help us, that scares the dickens out of them. I've also seen young women who exhibit the same apprehension, masking it with some silly idea that they will "date like a man." (A horrid thought. Someone actually wrote a book with that title aimed at single women.)

I'm in the midst of discussing with other married women issues of modesty, charm, and beauty. I am seeing a resurgence of wearing a veil at Mass by younger women and am greatly encouraged by this. I believe that as single women change their perspective and approach, that a lovely ripple of influence will eventually reach some young men. At least this is my hope.

It breaks my heart when I see young women already forlorn and hopeless when it comes to dating, much less a stable, loving relationship. And I do think young men secretly yearn for the stability, too. It's just that our culture has pounded into their head that there is no such thing as commitment.

From the article, a most telling phrase by the young woman:

During the night he kicked and snored, grabbing greedily at me with his well-moisturized hands like a child snatching at free candy.

That is what many young women are, when they give themselves to a man who has no intention of commitment -- free candy. And the men are children.

Seraphic said...

Yep. I just looked again, and she is a junior. That makes her probably--what? 20? And has anyone bothered to tell her that women under 24 (whether or not their partners use condoms) are at a greater risk for cervical cancer, a risk that becomes riskier the more partners she has?

Her mother tried to have some kind of conversation with her about "dating today." I wonder what the poor woman had to say when she read her daughter's essay. I hope she says she didn't raise her daughter to be free candy.

Meanwhile, I am sure increasing fatherlessness must be part of the problem, and I will soon rant about-- I mean, write about--this. My heart is breaking for all these young men who haven't the foggiest clue that without responsibility, they are not men.

wishful wounded woman said...

Yup, that's what it's like. And it seems in my experience like one is not much better off to meet men in Church. Are they all sick?

Just had a really nice business meeting with a married evangelical and saw what I miss. Strength, passionate faith and conviction.

Mary Rose M. said...

Dorothy, (I so love your name!) I look forward to your thoughts on men and being fatherless.

My husband and I just had a 1 1/2 hour conversation about this topic. As I've mentioned before, I married for the first time at 39. I was waiting for a man who would love and cherish me. My husband is definitely God's gift to me and an answer to many years of prayer.

What I asked him today was this: where did your awareness regarding how to treat a woman with respect start? Did it start when you were young? Were you enamored with knights and fair maidens? How did it begin?

His answer was multi-leveled (which if you knew my dear hubby, you'd laugh and understand). He grew up with a father who greatly respected his mother. In fact, when one of my husband's brothers mouthed-off to his mother as a teen, he received a backhanded slap from his father with the stern admonishment, "I don't ever want to hear you speak to your mother with such disrespect again."

Another area that affected my husband was the Japanese culture and in particular, the Samurai warrior. The Samurai were raised to be both a warrior and a poet. There was a time to fight but also a time to love. They were trained to show great respect to women and this deeply influenced my husband when he was studying martial arts.

Hollywood has played its part in emasculating men. I can't tell you how irritated I am when I see men portrayed as stupid, clumsy, and unimaginative; finding themselves stuck in a certain bad situation but a woman comes in to 'save the day' with her resourcefulness and (sigh) more kick-boxing moves than Jackie Chan. I am seeing more female characters resort to violence in movies and now, television. It seems the more docile men have become, the more raw and violent the women.

Ah, this is definitely a topic I feel strongly about, lol! I could fill up your combox but I'll refrain. I jotted down some thoughts from the conversation I had with my husband and will be crafting a blog post, myself.

I do feel the Holy Spirit is up to something monumental with Catholic women, though. (I'm not sure if this is happening in other churches.) I am witnessing more and more women voicing their disapproval and being more determined to do something about it.

What that "something" is, is not fully formed, but something is bubbling up. I also believe that we'll start to see various efforts going forth to reclaim that which has been lost, for both men and women. Thank you for your original posting because other than reading your blog, I'd probably have missed it and it is important.

Many blessings to you, dear sister! :-)

Maggie said...

Similar discussion over at Leila's blog (Little Catholic Bubble)

St Joseph, pray for us.

Gloria said...

Wow-what a poignant essay. What IS IT with men and their inconsistent "wooing"? (if it can even be called that) I move in Traditional Catholic circles and have really only been involved with Trad men, and I experience the same "I'll court you when I feel like it, and when it gets uncomfortable, I'll just stop, and act like it's you" attitude from the young men. I really don't understand it: I don't dress immodestly or sleep with guys, so I know it isn't that.

Anonymous said...

I am beginning to wonder if - instead of looking for nice Catholics - it might just be simpler to look for nice *men* and convert them.

As in "if you really loved me, you would come to Mass with me" after the notorious third date. Even if he only came to humor me, I think that would do some serious weeding out. Especially if he only came to humor me. My mother was right all along.

Now that I am no longer in my 20's, I'm starting to be more attracted to strong, smart, protective men who are kind and have goofy senses of humor. Who stop to pull strangers out of the ditch after a snow storm. Who stack my firewood. Traditional guy stuff. I like to flirt and men flirt back, but for some weird reason, not a single Catholic among them.

One NCB took me to dinner and spent most of the meal grumbling that I could cook better than the restaurant. Flattering, but he completely missed the concept - it's a courtship ritual. Was it Seraphic or one of the others who said that women are our own worst enemies? Unless/until we are married, I only cook for you on special occasions and you go home afterward.

If God wants us together, I'll be able to lead him to the Church. If not, I've had a recent change in priorities. We can be friends (without benefits), and I plan to work on becoming more seraphic - what a nice word - about being single. If I can't find a man who is a man (as opposed to an indecisive GF in drag) I think I'd rather stay single.


PS - If anybody here remembers me from several months ago, I made some very inappropriate comments here after a horrible death in my family. I apologize to Seraphic and to anybody else who saw them. I'm seeing a counselor.

Seraphic said...

Eeek! Isabella, never use the expression "If you really loved me, you would" after the third date or EVER. What you should say is, "Would you come to church with me this Sunday? I'd like you to see why I'm crazy about it!"

"If you really loved me, you would" is like a big red flag that reads "Disfunctional Relationship Ahead."

Why do you assume you'd have to nag Mr Right into coming to church? A man who is that into you will just come with you to church--unless he is that terrified of church. Whether or not he becomes a Catholic is up to the Holy Spirit, not you.

I'm glad to hear about the counsellor. After a tragic death, counselling is exactly what the doctor orders for many of us.

Urszula said...

Has anybody read any of the other articles in this series, perspectives of college students on love?

I went through most of the other ones and they were kind of scary as well... The one written from a guy's perspective was especially informative:

It's sad that nowadays guys see going on an actual date as a rite of passage or mysterious step towards adulthood that they are both attracted to and terrified by.
"The idea of a date (asking in advance, spending rent money on dinner and dealing with the initial awkwardness) is far too concrete and unnecessary. As the adage goes: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?"

Having lived in Europe ever since I was 13, I haven't experienced the US college culture at all; in Poland, which tends to be rather conservative, we do still go on dates, and guys still ask girls out. There isn't also any of this third date nonsense - if people want to do something, they do not, but there are no magical cut-off dates.

I know plenty of great Catholic and non-Catholic Americans who have values and morals and will wait for a girl if she asks them too, even if they don't quite understand why. Possibly it's because they weren't exactly 'mainstream' while in college (mostly incredibly sweet computer geeks). I think there is hope yet in individuals although the whole environment doesn't seem too promising.

Anonymous said...


Your words better convey what I am actually thinking. No nagging and chances are we already have plans for later, or I wouldn't be asking him to Mass.

Then, leave it and see if he is intrigued or merely polite. There's a good chance he'll show up (I've invited friends to Mass before), but if he doesn't want to return for the sake of the Mass itself - instead of merely to humor me - he's probably a good person, just not for me. Even a tiny little bit of genuine interest would be encouraging, though...

And I need no more manipulative relationships - hadn't thought about those words in that context before. I was semi joking about the "if you really loved me..." bit, but need to wonder why that seemed like an appropriate way to invite somebody. Maybe because I've heard it so often? And from Catholics, at that.