Thursday, 27 September 2012


Mustard Seed brought up an interesting question about why if men want to talk and talk and talk and let the date go on forever, women should call it a night instead.

And this inspires yet another post in which I compare men to puppies, which might not sound flattering, but I like puppies. Men are good; puppies are good. They both can be really cute, and they bark at scary people and might rescue you if there's a fire. They vie for the title "Woman's Best Friend." Nobody write a snippy little post about how I'm obviously bitter and hate men. Au contraire.

Some puppies, I am told, do not know when to stop eating. They just don't know. You have to dole out the proper amount of food and hide the big bag of dog food, because if you just leave the open bag they will eat and eat and eat until they throw up and then they will eat and eat and eat again.

I think many young men are like this when it comes to early dates or the heady early days of a relationship. Such a young man is having such a good time on a date that he wants it to go on for hours and hours and hours. Or he is so enamoured of a woman, that he wants to see her all the time.

And then, not always but often, strangely and bizarrely, unless you remember my poor bulemic puppies, he feels bored and empty. He's lost that loving feeling. He thinks that that was nice, if ultimately not what he was looking for, and it's time to move on. He might even be surprised and annoyed that you don't see the wisdom in that. After all, you had a good time, didn't you? Why ruin the memories with this tearful scene? Aw, don't be like that.

Many of us Catholic women have sat through chastity lectures where impassioned speakers, their foreheads wrinkled with moral seriousness, tell us that we have to be STRONG for men's sakes, because in some aspects of life we are STRONG whereas men are WEAK.

Many of us swallow this line although others sit there thinking, "Uh-huh, it's a good thing you can't see what's going through my mind half the day, honey." Some of you, I know, have felt outraged because this "Women are strong, men are weak" philosophy seems to give Catholic boys a free pass to behave like barbarians while Catholic girls have to act like the world's snottiest doorkeepers, or else we're trollops and hussies.

So I'm not saying that. What I am saying is that young women are emotionally smarter than young men, and you know not only how you feel now, but how you will feel tomorrow if X, Y or Z happens, and a lot of young men simply don't. They don't know that if they get as much as they want today, they will feel disappointed and bored tomorrow.

And this is why, even if you and Mr Date are both having a great time on your date, you must end the date when you thought the date would end, and not agree to go somewhere else afterwards. And why you should not live in Mr Date's pocket in the first heady weeks of your relationship. Spending all that time with him, will make you--the woman--feel attached and will risk making him--the not-woman--feel satiated and bored.

Women and men are different. To honour men is to honour their differences and to honour yourself is to be rooted in reality.

And yes, it is hard to be that disciplined. It is hard to get up early on a cold morning to go to the gym, but lots of you do that day after day, and frankly, I don't see why it has to be that much of a difference.


Em said...

What a helpful insight! This is so true. Thank you so much for pointing it out.

Larissa L. said...

Oh, yes. Discipline is a very good... Sweet Mother, that Andrew chap looks good in a beret!

Happy Saint Cosmas and Saint Damian's Day, Seraphic! I don't know how it is on the rest of the world, but in Brazil is like a Catholic Halloween, with children roaming the streets for candy.

Seraphic said...

Larissa, I agree that Andrew rocks a beret. He's a cutie!

Seraphic said...

Oh, and SS Cosmos and Damian are not such a big deal in Presbyterian Scotland, so the streets are quiet.

Clare said...

"Spending all that time with him, will make you--the woman--feel attached and will risk making him--the not-woman--feel satiated and bored. "

You know, Seraphic, I often find myself nodding my head at your advice, until it comes to the reasoning behind. Then I start shaking my head, because it just doesn't jive at all with my experience. So I have come to the conclusion that much of your advice works on several levels an across several different kinds of situations, while the reasons you give for it generally only deal with one or two, probably the two you think most widely applicable.

Aha! Now I am going to stop worrying that I am some kind of mutant.

Cindy said...

You are really wise. Love the puppy analogy!

Seraphic said...

Clare, nobody should think that she is a mutant because she disagrees with me! For starters, I don't have an ounce of teaching authority here. I just calls it as I sees it (or as I lived it).

Bernadette said...

I have a theory, based on the discussion of modesty in Love & Responsibility, that there are two kinds of modesty: physical & emotional. Both types prevent the kind of overexposure that tends to make it difficult for others to see the immodest one in their totality as a person made in the image & likeness of God.

In general, women have to be more conscious of physical modesty, since men in general tend to be more vulnerable in that way. And since most discussions of chastity & modesty historically have been written by men, we are used to thinking of modesty as only applying to women's bodies.

However, I think that men should be just as conscious of emotional modesty. When a man bares his soul to a woman and becomes very emotionally open to her, or spends longs hours talking about emotionally charged subjects, it can have just the same effect on the woman he's talking to as it would have on him if she started taking her clothes off in front of him. Yet the same men who would judge a woman who wore tight or low cut clothing think nothing of doing just this. It's not entirely their fault - no one talks about emotional modesty, and I never even heard the phrase until I read L&R. But it's still not a nice thing to do, and nice men should respect their female companion's sensibilities just as much as they expect their female friends to respect theirs.

All of this is to say that I agree with you, that there is a time when you have to say, no, I cannot stay and talk with you for hours, I must go home now. However, I think that instead of the woman having to be entirely responsible, the man should bear the burden of guarding emotional modesty, like woman usually bear the burden of guarding physical modesty. Well, really in an ideal world they would both equally use modesty to protect themselves and one another until the time came when it would be appropriate to lay modesty aside. But until we get to that ideal world...

Sheila said...

It's funny, I may be one of your noisiest non-Rules reader, but there's one rule I agree with. Whether you're a performer or just trying to train your cat to sit on your lap, you always have to leave 'em wanting more. Even if you make the first move, sooner or later you have to let the man seek YOU out.

From my experience: you know I did make the first move with my now husband. But it was a long, long time before he ever made a move back. Finally I started distancing myself from him. When he asked why, I said very simply and honestly, "I don't want to lose my heart to you when you're really not that into me. It is very hard for me to keep up a relationship on this level, and I'm tired of doing it."

The very first week, I started getting "I'm worried about you" notes. Then he started seeking ME out for once, to hang out. And after about three or four months he started a serious relationship with me.

There's something about not being 100% available, 100% of the time, that's attractive. Even now we both profess that life would be so much happier if he didn't have to work and we could be together always ... but I think we both know, deep down, that the romance wouldn't be the same.

Andrea said...

I'm going to remember this line for future "I don't want to lose my heart to you when you're really not that into me. It is very hard for me to keep up a relationship on this level, and I'm tired of doing it."

You say you only used it when he noticed that you were distancing yourself from him. But in my experience, don't notice. In that case, would you have bothered to explain that a) you were distancing yourself and b) why?

Urszula said...

I have a hard time deciding between "Men are like puppies" and "Men have the emotional intelligence of carrots" as my favorite Auntie Seraphic quotes of the week.

Clare, you mentioned your experiences aren't at all reflected in the situations described on the blog. Yet you reach the same conclusions. I wonder why that is? Very interesting topic.

Sheila said...

Andrea, this is just a guess, but it seems to me that if you're close friends with a man and you suddenly start ignoring and avoiding him, he'll notice. If he doesn't notice, either you're not really avoiding him (I was pretty drastic and noticeable about avoiding our old hangouts, turning down invitations to "hang out with his friends" with no excuse, just a "no, I don't want to"), or ... sad to say ... he probably really and truly isn't that into you.

At the time I was being honest in saying that I didn't believe he'd ever be that into me. But the fact that he sought me out after that proves that he actually WAS that into me ... just hadn't had a chance to realize it because he'd never had a chance to miss me.

In a similar vein, a friend of mine asked me, "Why does my boyfriend never pursue me? He never calls me, seeks me out, or plans dates." I asked, "How often do you contact him?" Her answer? "Only a few times a day." Um ... yeah. That would be why.