I'm not Single anymore, and I hope B.A. has a good long life, but if there is anything that convinces me that it is best not to avoid meeting any but men in the traditionalist end of the Catholic spectrum, it was the news that on a Catholic dating website there is a man over 40 who hopes to have many children and a wife who will home-school them all.
My guess is that this man is not that rooted in reality. He certainly can't be interested in marrying a woman his own age. No, he wants a young woman.
How many young women--women in their early twenties--really want to marry a man twenty years older than themselves? If English literature is anything to go by, young women very rarely want to marry men twenty years older than themselves. And if they do, it is because the man in question has turned out impressively well, by worldly standards: he has gained a reputation, a good salary, a position in the world or at very least a well-tended back 40 (i.e. acres of fields). He might not be as good-looking as the girls' twenty-something peers, but he symbolizes what manhood can be and is therefore pretty darn attractive.
One thinks of Colonel Brandon. Colonel Brandon had travelled around the world, at a time when most people hadn't, and either inherited or amassed a large fortune. (Both, I think.) He had a very good character, he was spoken well of. As middle-aged men went, it is credible that a twenty year old girl might find him attractive.
I have limited time with the internet today, so I don't have time to find the statistic, but apparently there is evidence that most men prefer to marry women of their own age group, not women who are younger or older. And I think it very sensible for men who wish to have many children to know this when they are in their twenties, and to look for a mother to those children THEN, when there are still a lot of women his age available.
It is not very sensible, at the age of 40+, to get on a Catholic dating website, and inform the women of the world that NOW you want a lot of children and a woman to homeschool them all. I do not subscribe to that website, so I cannot tell you what this Single trad Catholic man has to offer this fertile, patient, home-loving woman in return for her youth. Social position? Riches? Come on, man. Come on. When you are mostly interested in a woman as a means to an end, you get what you pay for.
Nature is unfair, but she is not that unfair. Yes, women start to lose our ability to give birth to healthy children around the age of 35, but fertility starts to get a bit problematic for men, too, it appears. There is a link between old fathers and children with mental disorders, for example. And although women, who are said to be less interested in looks than men are (which I don't entirely believe), are more likely to be attracted to older men than men are to older women, there is a limit.
I think it is a very bad idea to use a Catholic dating website as a place to make public a Christmas List of fond wishes that reveal a man to be, not a man who wants to look like good husband material to the lassies, but a man who wants to use a woman as a means to an end.
Here is what I think would make a good dating website Intro:
I am a Catholic man in my mid-forties, never-married, who is an [profession], who earns X and owns my own X. I am currently employed and have no reason to believe I will lose my job despite the economic crisis.
You see that he is beginning his advert with what concrete goods he has to offer. A woman who is more interested in home and children than in earning money will want to know this. And not having a career in a society obsessed with "What do you do?", she might derive some identity from his profession. (How utterly awesome if I get to be Lady McAmbrose some day. Sure, it would rock to be Dame Seraphic, but Lady McAmbrose would definitely do.)
He might not want to say his EXACT salary, but I bet you dollars for donuts that he will judge all the women who write to him primarily on their photographs, so nobody talk to me about shallow.
Although I attend the Traditional Latin Mass to the exclusion of the Novus Ordo, I accept the validity of the Novus Ordo. I just like the TLM better, and would feel unhappy if I did not attend it. I strive to be as orthodox in my thinking and as orthoprax in my behaviour as I can.
Now we know where he stands on religion.
Although I am in my mid-forties, I hope to have children. I can support a wife and X children in comfort, although of course I will accept as many children (or none) as God sends. I am not so poor as to justify the use of NFP, although of course if my wife has emotional or physical needs that justify it, I am open to the use of NFP.
Now we know he likes and is orthodox about children. We also know that he is open to his wife not working. He doesn't say she can't work--which frankly he has no right to do, even in the abstract--he just says she wouldn't HAVE to work.
I believe with the Church that parents are the primary educators of their children. I am open to discussions about homeschooling.
That is the least scary way of introducing the homeschooling subject, if it really means so much to him that he has to mention it in a personal ad. Not that many women are on fire with the idea of homeschooling; it's a good idea to write an ad that attracts as many women as possible, and just mentioning homeschooling will scare off a zillion.
As I am a reasonably attractive man who enjoys life and has many friends, I believe I am not married because X [I am a convert/I have recently retired from the navy/I was in a long-term romantic relationship that did not end in marriage/I did not feel I had enough job security until now/my fiancee died when I was 25 and only now do I feel emotionally available/it took the Holy Father this long to get my name in the pile of laicization requests.]
Listen, if you're a man over 35 who is not married, we want to know why. I'm just kidding about the wording regarding the laicization request. Just say you had to be released from your vows as a religious.
Don't say "laicised priest" at once, if that's what you are, because quite a few Nice Catholic Girls will simply vomit at the abstract idea of marrying a priest, despite all the very nice married Ukrainian and ex-Anglican priests they may have met. Concretely, women will marry ax-murderers if they are in love with them, never mind the poor chap who got bullied into the priesthood by his mother. So the laicizied priest thing is something that comes down under the "Now that I know you better, I should tell you that" heading.
I am a practical man, but I have a romantic streak, so right now I am willing to meet many women and see if I "click" with any of them. Like everyone else, I hope to find love in this life, as well as in the next.
Okay, now I'm practically crying. Who is this paragon? And why do I spend so much time writing for free when I could be running an ad-writing service for Nice Catholic Boys?
At any rate, there is no point wasting energy getting really mad at men in their 40s who partied (or whatever) for twenty years, thinking now they can just have six kids and a homeschooling wife by snapping their fingers. Maybe they can. Maybe they can't. At any rate, you don't have to marry such a guy. But you might enjoy a chuckle at him and his complete inability to write an attractive dating website profile.
By the way, you will notice that my model profile is for a middle-aged man. It is not the profile I would write for a young man, unless he had an independent income. A middle-aged man needs to stress his accomplishments; a young man will have the freedom to stress his potential and not to explain why he isn't married yet. The line "I hope one day to be in a position that my wife won't have to work if she doesn't want to" is a polite yet practical way of saying he'd prefer to be married to a woman who stays at home. And if gives him the freedom to admit he simply can't carry the financial load on his own.
Update: I haven't been able to monitor the tone of the combox because I currently don't have internet access at home. Ladies, please remember that this is supposed to be a comfortable place for Catholic Singles and other Singles of Good Will, and many of those Singles are traditionalists. I am deeply touched that both sedevacantists and folk-Mass preferring Catholic liberals, both Thomists and Calvinists, read this site; this is, given the nature of the internet, an absolute miracle. I'd like to keep it.
For what it's worth, my TLM-loving husband has two portraits of Belloc over the fireplace: Belloc young and Belloc old. And yet B.A. is a kindly, sophisticated man who is deeply sympathetic to women. Please do not tar all men who love the traditions of the Catholic Church with the same brush. My ex-husband was an Anglican who loathed Catholicism, and yet you will not find a breath of disdain for Anglicanism on this blog.
Meanwhile, you know I have deep reservations about internet dating sites. If a dating site is not helping you, if it is actually making you more contemptuous of men and despairing of marriage, PLEASE QUIT and write to the site managers to tell them why. There is no substitute for meeting people and making friends in person.