So here it is.
You also want to know what I think. And what I think is that it is time to stop shouting "Man up" at the Catholic men of America. Devlin Rose's article is just one more example of the Great Internet Nag.
Yes, it is great fun to sit at home and shout "Man up, man up", especially if you are married and have a spouse nodding sagely behind you. And I was rather touched and amused when Mark Shea discovered this blog and, thinking I was still single, told the men of Scotland to man up and pursue beautiful me. But I don't think shouts of "man up" are all that effective. They are even rude.
Men are indeed very influenced by other men. And I do believe they love and respond to challenges. And I will even go so far as to say some men can get them to do stuff by making them angry. But I think these men are men the men already know and admire, like their grandfathers, fathers, older brothers, friends, coaches, teachers and spiritual directors.
Yesterday I wrote about spiritual motherhood. Challenged by sciencegirl, I'm still working out what that would look like in practise. There is, of course, that dreaded statement, "You're not my mother" and Sting's lament "Every girl I go out with becomes my mother in the end." Motherhood in this case does not mean the quiet, loving, helpful support Stein was talking about but being an awful, clingy nag.
Men hate The Rules, but one great thing about The Rules is it thinks nagging is kryptonite. Summed up, it says "Look good, look busy, keep the tourists at a distance and let men do their own thing in their own time. You should only want the man who pursues you whole-heartedly anyway."
And I agree with this. Women should not chase men. If the men are kindly, chivalrous men, it really bothers them to have to tell women the obvious fact that they're just not into them. And women should not nag men they are not related to by blood or marriage. And, yes, I know how tempting it is. Look at me hectoring you all every day.
Of course, "you all" are girls, and I have tried to drive the male readership away, not only because I don't think they should be intruding on our girly-girl conversations but because I don't want to nag at them.
Men are not the enemy. And when they go hunting, they don't scare away their beloved deer and rabbits with shouts of "Man up, man up" because the deer and rabbits don't simply flop in their paths. Noooooo. They go where the deer and rabbits go, sit very still and wait.
Vague apologies for the hunting metaphor. But I really think we should stop thinking of Single Catholic men as sulky toddlers. Instead we should try to watch them and see them for who they really are, in the way hunters and biologists study animals in the wild. Men are who they are and not who you want them to be. And, like deer, they're beautiful, you know? Sorry to get all sentimental and stuff. But the way Catholic American men and women snipe away at each other in the comboxes is starting to get to me. Saint Edith Stein wanted nothing other than to be a Carmelite nun, but she loved men.