When I was a Single woman in my early twenties, I thought most Catholic men in their early twenties were frightfully boring, and now that I am a Married woman aged forty, I think most Catholic men in their early twenties are frightfully interesting. How inconvenient! Still, Catholic men in their early twenties come up to me after Mass now and tell me about their interesting lives, so I have profitted in the long run.
It is a puzzle to me why I found most Catholic men in their twenties dull when I was twenty, when Catholic men in their twenties today are so interesting. Even more puzzling, during my recent travels, I spoke to a girl currently in her twenties, and she finds most Catholic men in their twenties dull.
And to add to the puzzle, the accounts of English debutantes of the 1920s and 1930s reveal that they found most of the young men that they met during the London Season indescribably dull. And yet, once the debs married, they had marvellous social lives and made friends with many men, young and old, not finding them dull at all.
What can all this mean? I have four hypotheses, which I will expound here.
1. The first hypothesis is that when I was twenty, I was too young to appreciate the merits of nice Catholic boys in their early twenties. Fancying myself an intellectual, I was more interested in men in graduate school. (When you are twenty and don't know any better, grad school status suggests that a man is a serious intellectual.) And I suspect that twenty year old girls find Older Men interesting because they seem to possess a glamour and a sophistication as yet lacking in twenty year old boys, to say nothing of the twenty year old girls. You want what you haven't got, in short.
2. The second hypothesis is that Catholic boys and girls in their early twenties are under a lot of internal and external pressure to find each other attractive and to be found attractive by each other. And since most of us are not really ready at 20 to marry, we rebel. "Marriageable" is a quality that means squat next to "fanciable." Boys our mothers are keen on ("He's a nice, stable boy with a good character. What more do you want?") leave us cold, and we all know wonderful girls who get passed over for nasty little passion-pots with bright red lips and talons.
Why? Because we aren't old enough to get married yet, that's why. In Canada, the USA, Britain and Germany (at least), our culture encourages us to stay teenagers (or "students") as long as humanly possible. (In Germany students get so many perks and discounts, losing your student status must be a serious economic tragedy.) I was a teenager until I was 30 or so. This is not a good thing. However, it was not entirely my fault. Society was to blame.
3. The third hypothesis is that Catholic boys and girls act in a very strange and fakely polite way around each other and relax only in front of oldsters like me, who privately think the youngsters are fantastically beautiful but usually have the brains to hide this. A relaxed and funny Catholic boy is a lot more interesting than a careful, hunted-looking Catholic boy. And a forty year old Catholic married woman, if she isn't too matronly, looks like an indulgent aunt--a cool aunt, with a job in publishing or television, who wants to know what the kids are saying these days. She never looks at a guy like he's a serial killer, which NCGs often do, and NCBs hate it.
4. The fourth hypothesis--and I admit this is a bit of a stretch--is that the most interesting twenty-something men are the ones who like to talk to forty year old women like me. Possibly the dull ones skulk off in corners, where I can't see and hear them. Only the cream of Scottish Catholic young man society is toodling up to me with teacups to ask me how I am, and that is awesome.
So to sum up my hypotheses, you might find Catholics your age boring because:
1) you're too young
2) you're too young to get married
3) you all need to relax
4) they don't have the social skills to talk to older ladies after Mass, and the best ones are talking to me.
One solution to this problem would be for forty year old married ladies like me to dress up to the nines and swan around town with twenty-something Catholic men. This would impart our worldly glamour onto the men, and twenty-something Catholic women, rightly resenting our trespass into their age bracket, would now sit up, take notice, and find the formerly boring Catholic men glamorous and even slightly wicked for running around town with married ladies. The only losers would be the husbands, but even then perhaps they would enjoy the fact that they no longer had to squire their wives around town and could stay at home in peace to watch TV and eat cheese on toast.