I never know what is going to touch off a blog post, let alone two. But this weekend it was definitely a five minute conversation in a grassy courtyard, between blossoming cherry trees, with two handsome men, one Polish, one Scottish, who didn't actually say that much. Our topic was this funny "How to Win Women" clip on Spotify, which I actually never saw, and I went smack into Auntie Seraphic mode. Dedicate an hour every day to something, and you become it. Believe ME. Let's just say they didn't have the chance to say much.
But one of them did say something, or maybe one or the other just thought it and I read his mind. I can't remember, and at any rate he didn't get very far, because although he said or thought it in the most general and polite way, the concept was "Money."
In a split second I thought about the hundreds of my readers, most working madly at school or at jobs or at careers, most paying their own bills, most longing for male company, for a man who would make them laugh and meet them at the airport at the end of a business trip.
"Women don't care about a man's money," I trumpeted. "We don't really care how much a man makes! We have our own money! We have our own jobs! We don't need men for money. We choose men for their looks. MEN ARE A LUXURY GOOD!"
That last sounded really great until I thought about how that might sound to someone like, you know, John Paul II.
"Don't tell anyone in Poland I said that," said I hastily to the Polish one.
Okay, so men are not a luxury good. They are our brothers, our spiritual spouses in "unity in two" (see Mulieris Dignitatem), our friends, our companions and co-creators of the future. And thus they are so much more to us than a source of income I do not even know where to begin.
"Of course women want men to work," I said. "Men need work for self-respect. But it is not about money."
Neither of them pointed out that my unusual and comfortable if simple lifestyle is not being supported by my meager Catholic writer's earnings but by my heritage sector husband, which was prudent of them. It's never a good idea to suggest to your hostess that she married for money although, actually, people constantly suggest that I married B.A. for the Historical House. I did not marry B.A. for the Historical House although I am awfully fond of the Historical House, which is a good thing, as the Historical House is the focus of my husband's career. It's like loving Christendom College when your husband is a professor there.
Career. Work. And, really, what adult Catholic Single woman really cares what work an attractive man does as long as he is doing it, he enjoys it, it isn't evil and it makes him independent? Yes, a young women who anticipates having a houseful of kids is going to ponder how she and a potential husband are going to best support those kids, but the majority of women are not thinking, "Oh wow. I just want a guy to pay for my Gucci handbags." I mean, hello?
Now, I admit there are probably some women out there who really do think of men as sources of Gucci handbags. My former housemate Jonathan swore up and down that women in the bars and clubs of Boston would crane their necks to have a look at his watch or go to some lengths to have a look at the label of his coat. He also claimed women sometimes ask complete strangers what kind of car they drive. It had never occurred to me in my life to do that, so eventually I asked a man what kind of car he drove, and he said "Whichever one is available", which I thought supremely clever.
I am trying to see life from the perspective of women who go to bars and try to figure out which men are earning a lot of money. For some reason, all I can think of is Margaret Thatcher supposedly saying that anyone who takes the bus after age 40 is a loser, or whatever she said that makes Scottish bus-takers and bicyclists so mad. I suppose these label-reading women might be trying to separate the men who have embraced what they think is adult life from the men who are content to coast through life as perpetual teenagers. And young men starting off in their careers tend to buy shiny toys like cars, watches and handsome overcoats. So I can well imagine a woman scanning a man trying to impress her in a bar and thinking "So where are your shiny toys, then?"
But, yes, I admit there are women who are looking for walking cash machines, although I don't think I know any personally. And I know a lot of single women. These are women who go to church. They have jobs. They don't usually go to bars, and if they do, they are surrounded by female friends. Most have put in a lot of time and work to get degrees or certification, and those who think they won't work after marriage think this will be because they have babies to tend. They have been told since they were old enough to grasp the concept that women SHOULD work outside the home, and that women SHOULD earn money, and it is actually very difficult for many contemporary educated women to grasp the concept that--as Saint Edith Stein wrote--women shouldn't HAVE to work outside the home. ("Family wage? Whaaaa-?") These are good women who are interested in men for themselves, not for their money.
In short, as long as a man has work, work he likes, or a job he doesn't like but he's willing to work at it until he can get work he likes better, then as far as money goes, he is marriage material. He is marriage material because getting and keeping a job, or working for himself, shows character,maturity and interest in life.
Conversely, a guy who sits around all day, not working, not studying, not doing something constructive (think the Hugh Grant character in About a Boy), is NOT marriage material, no matter how big his trust fund or personal wealth. But I suppose he will not go wanting for female companionship because he can always go and flash his watch at girls in bars, hopefully attracting only the ones he deserves.
As a favour to our brothers/spiritual spouses/co-creators of the future of the world, would you kindly write in the combox exactly WHAT it is you hope the right one will add to your life (if you do)? Anonymous comments will be, as usual, deleted.
Aktualizacja : To jest najnowszy wywiad ze mną: "Single nigdy nie są samotni".