Update: Welcome again, Patheos readers! I had no idea Max Lindeman was among the few men who still read my blog despite its rosy hue and swashbuckling protectors. Trads, sedevacantists, folkies, Max... Here comes everybody, indeed!
B.A. and others told me to read this post by an American convert who actually writes for Salon. I am always astonished and impressed when a Catholic writes for famous and seriously secular journals because I have a persecution complex as big as the six counties of Ulster.
Anyway, Max Lindenman's piece is making the Catholic blog rounds, so I thought I'd read it. The one piece of advice I'm going to give you ladies, especially all you ladies who LONG to know what men are thinking, before you dive in is that we don't always like what men are thinking. It can be insulting. It can be challenging. It can be pretty darn aggravating. But men are who they are and not who we want them to be, and fortunately we only have to marry one at a time, if we have to marry one at all.
I have a few thoughts about Max's account. First, Max is a good writer. He seems to be an emo-blogger, though. An emo-blogger is the guy who has his heart broken by Miss Perfect and then tells you all about it, even though the girl in question is presumably still alive. There are ways of doing it that are poignant and ways of doing it that are cringeworthy. Doing it the day of the girl's wedding to someone else is definitely cringeworthy, and Max didn't do that, so good on Max.
Second, Max writes about a weird world in which Christian girls in skintight clothing boast about the number of guys who tried to get them into the sack. He calls them the Sexy Puritans, and I hope none of my readers are acting like that. But Max also mentions seeing a girl in tiny shorts and a mantilla, ending his piece by suggesting that even trad Catholic girls are getting in on the Sexy Puritan action. Eek.
Third, Max hones in on a snuggle-bunny culture in which Catholic girls treat their boyfriends as if they were as temptation-free as teddy bears. Snoggy, snoggy, snuggle, snuggle. Now (super rare confession, mark the calendar) I used to behave like that myself, and my mother read me the riot act. Like Max's Nice Catholic Girlfriend, I thought it was okay to get as much physical affection as humanly possible without falling into sexual sin, without much pondering if treating boys to whom I hadn't made a firm commitment like squishy toys might not be itself a sin.
Max doesn't quite put it that way. In fact, as much as I enjoyed Max's piece, I wonder if there isn't a thread of passive-aggression throughout. He's trying to keep it light, but somewhere in there Max is seething "How come you get to treat us like squishy toys?" I suspect from the comments that a few outraged women have picked up on Max's anger, and his not quite subtle suggestion that there is a double-standard going on and that he tried to get "his".
But I wonder if Max would prefer to eschew all physical contact whatsoever. A snuggle simply does not have the moral equivalence of a [name obviously sexual act here], and heaven knows there are thousands of single men rather older and less attractive than Max suffering from skin-hunger. They would be happy for a bit of a snuggle. They would be happier for a lot more, of course, but a snuggle beats a kick in the teeth.
Anyway, Searching Single life is tough, and having a boyfriend or girlfriend or human teddy bear doesn't make it much easier. Dating relationships bring their own problems and they are no substitute whatsoever for marriage. And speaking of marriage, I don't snuggle with any men except my husband, so why are girls snuggling non-stop with men not their husbands? I don't say this in a judgmental way because, let's face it, I was a snuggle monster myself. I'm just throwing the question out there.
If it is totally okay and in keeping with Catholic traditions to snuggle non-husbands, then that is totally awesome, and I will keep my eye peeled for plump, warm, snuggly looking chaps. But somehow I don't think it is.