Saturday, 16 March 2013

Open Questions for Girls

I have to write a paper today, so I will just leave the combox open. In anticipation of St. Joseph's Day (Tuesday, March 19), do you have any questions for the few Single Catholic guys who lurk around my blog, reading away even though this is a GIRL BLOG?

Maybe they will deign to answer them for you. They can send me their answers or they can respond in the combox on St. Joseph's Day.

I am trying to think what I would ask the Single Catholic men of the world, and the first thing that comes to mind is "If you are frightened of women, why?"   The second one is "If you are in a drunken fistfight with your pal, does the fistfight solve the dispute or make it worse?"  (This is because I have a quirky interest in boxing, having been a boxer in my younger days, ah me. Triceps to here.)

Anyway, you can be candid, but you must be respectful, and hopefully on Tuesday any boys who chime in will themselves be respectful and think carefully before using any bad words because we are the Most Easily Shocked Women in the Blogosphere and Proud of It.

It always startles me when men suddenly speak up in the combox; I can "hear" writing (hard to explain), and compared to your comments their comments sometimes sound--aesthetically, not intellectually--like cans falling off a shelf. However, on Tuesday we will be prepared for such masculine forthrightness and clamour.

36 comments:

Ellie said...

O.K, I will start...How much is too much of an age difference in a woman you would date? I ask because currently I am being pursued by two 31-year-olds and I am 46. Of course I am flattered and in my defense I look very young (a seminarian guessed my age at 32, thank you!)

Anyway, both are in graduate studies and I think they are attracted to my sense of peace and spirituality that they have not found in those their age (I know ladies, I was 31 and clock-ticking unpeaceful mess at times). Neither lives close enough that I have had to confront the issue, although one is moving back to my city this summer and wants to see me more. Both know my age.

So do I pat them on the head and send them away? What about kids? (I brought this up to one of them and he said, "we don't know God's plan").

Anyway, I would appreciate the male perspective on dating an older seraphic woman.

MaryJane said...

I have more of a statistical question though of course I am interested in the "why" behind it. Presuming you are a heterosexual male hoping to get married someday, how old are you, and do you ask women out on dates or do you just "hang out"? Feel free to say why you follow whatever m.o. you follow, of course.

(I'm curious for these stats given the recent discussions of texting, dating, etc.)

c'est la vie said...

Okay, I have a question!

One of my friends is an unusually pretty and talented girl(she sings opera) and she complains that lots of men flirt with her, but she doesn't get asked out. Her sister's fiance, consulted for a man's point of view, says that men are intimidated because of her looks and her talent. (It can't be her personality, because she is very sweet and not at all diva-ish!)

Are men frequently intimidated by girls they find attractive? Or are they usually put off for other reasons (e.g. she doesn't seem interested, she's with another man, she's attractive but not my type)?


Maria said...

Oooh, I have some!
What can Good Catholic Girls do to put Good Catholic Boys at their ease? The ones I know don't flirt. I think it must be that they are very keen on projecting Respect for Women and making it clear that they are not one-night-standers, nor do they want us to be, good things in and of themselves. But no flirting at all makes it difficult to think of them romantically if ever the question of dating comes up. What can we do to help men relax a bit?
Also, what cues should a girl give if she is interested in you and wants to be classy and modest? And conversely, what cues should a girl give if she is NOT interested in you, and wants to be polite about it?

Claire in NE said...

I second MaryJane's question! (really, all of these are very interesting topics...) I'd like to add:

1) Where can we find you? That is, besides obvious places like church, school, work, the local coffeeshop, grocery store, library...is there some magical place where NCBs and other good churchgoing men congregate? Is there a secret club we don't know about? Where ARE you?

2) What are your opinions on and experiences with online dating? I'm specifically interested in what any 20-somethings have to say about free mainstream sites like OkCupid, PlentyofFish, etc., but I am interested in any and all input about other age groups and sites.

3) Women who are naturally quiet and/or introverted are often told that we may come off as stuck-up or unapproachable to men because we do not make the rounds at parties or chat with strangers in bars as gracefully as our more extroverted sisters. Is that actually true? What do you think of the quiet girl standing off to the side, perhaps talking to only a few people throughout the evening? The advised cure is usually "flirt more! put yourself out there!" - but you might as well tell a bubbly social butterfly to "smile less! stop talking so much!" How do introverts deal and show you that we don't hate you, and we're not socially awkward weirdos?

4) A little while ago here there was discussion on the negative impact the economy has had recently on dating and traditional courtship. Seraphic suggested that the reason young (student and non-student) men don't ask young women out the way they used to is because no one has extra money to pay for it. Has that been your experience? In what ways (if any) has the economic downturn affected the way you interact with women you are romantically interested in?

5) I had a question about getting/giving The Talk here but realized that would maybe be inappropriate. So, if men have insight that they want to share about it, that'd be awesome. But I also understand if that's too personal for the interwebs.

Seraphic, thanks for offering this opportunity, and men, thanks for answering! I don't know very many guys in real life who I would feel comfortable asking about this stuff (oldest child, no brothers/cousins old enough, no guy pals who are religious, etc.), and I hope your male eavesdroppers don't find me terribly impertinent. You are all great!

Elisabeth said...

1) Which non-physical attributes/characteristics are you most attracted to in a woman?
2) Which non-physical attributes/characteristics are you most turned off by in a woman?

Irenaeus G. Saintonge said...

Seraphic, and ladies, I would be more than happy to offer a bit of my own perspective as a young Catholic guy on Tuesday, for whichever questions I may be able to give some insight into. Would you like me to wait, and post in a combox on Tuesday, or is there some other way that is more convenient for everyone?

Kate P said...

Claire said what I was going to say in the time it was taking me to formulate those ideas, so--I second what she said! (Thanks, Claire!)

Anonymous said...

What do 20 year old men think of women who wear skirts (knee length or lower)for most of the time? Does she come off as a prude? Is it attractive? Is it preferable? To me it seems that men only like femininity when it appears sexy or in the form of a sandwich.

Johannes Faber said...

I haven't commented on here for yonks... so here goes!

Ellie: The half-your-age-plus-seven rule would probably apply here! Easy enough to work out if you are older - if you are the younger party, the formula is 2(x-7). [lol]

MaryJane: I would follow Seraphic's suggestions here, namely that coffee is just coffee is just coffee - so I would go for coffee (or whatever) and see what happens from there. Texting is easy so it's always a temptation.

C'Est La Vie: I don't really understand the question - it might be a case of 'how long is a piece of string'? I think a guy might be intimidated if the girl is intimidating. If your question is 'are guys intimidated by attractiveness', then I would hope that the answer would be 'No'! But then are 'guys' a homogenous group...?

Maria: I think if girls are relaxed and just being normal then hopefully these boys might relax too. Just be nice, and funny. It's easy enough in terms of cues that you're not interested: don't reply to any form electronic communication, and nip anything flirtatious totally in the bud either by leaving or just looking skeptical or whatever. As for cues that you are interested... hmmmm. Well playful joking etc, isn't immodest. Be nice, be funny.

Claire in NE: Where are we? We're in the pub, or at work, or wherever. My mates tend to leave after Mass pretty quickly to go to the pub for breakfast/lunch/whatever. That's where we are anyway. So tag along to those things?

Online dating is a bit of a cattle market. There is a tendency to commoditise people in an un-Christian way.

The quiet girl? Some guys will go and speak to her. If she doesn't like them, or there are no such guys... maybe she should attach herself to a more extroverted girlfriend at such events?

I don't know what you mean by the talk. Or rather, I do - but I don't know what there is to say about it...?

Elisabeth:
Attractive non-physical: funny, pleasant, kind, living a Catholic life, excited about Catholic stuff (rather than just tolerating it), gets on with my male friends.

Unattractive: 'Putting up' with things that are so central to the man's life (Church, job, family, dog, whatever) that if you don't love them yourself, that should be evidence enough to end whatever romance is going on. Also: loving drama, pressurising men to do things they are uncomfortable with (the talk goes both ways...).

Cheers Auntie Seraphic - keep up the good work! :)

رشاد بن ابو رشاد said...

Ah, yes. I'll knock another can off the shelf, why not?

Where I come from when we can we actually use glass (mason jars) that are in fact rather beautiful when arrayed on pantry shelves in all their glory, the fruit of past harvests all pickled stewed fermented and jellied, ready to eat. When one falls, it usually thumps, often "jarring" if you want, being plum solid with nutritious substance. Which means that can metaphor is quite a compliment in my lexicon.

Ellie, I have no strong opinion about age in dating. I used to not date older women, but a recent girlfriend was a year older than me, and she was both beautiful and - besides being Italian from Italy (which means she is *crazy* - mostly in good ways, but not always) - and I loved it. I guess I prefer younger women, though, and when I was in Guatemala last year dated five different girls - none from in country - in their 20's. Not by design, that just happened, and while it was fun.. I dunno.

Mary Jane, I am 42 and when I am in the States I do not date. I don't do much texting, except with my landlord and businesses. I haven't dated here since I was in university in my twenties. I am more often than not overseas though, and apparently I look younger than I am, and when I am abroad weird things tend to happen.. Everytime I levae the country, I have much more fun. There's something about the States that is stagnant for me, I don't know why.

c'est la vie, the answer is yes. I think most guys are scared to death of beauty. Until the last five to seven years or so women that I found really really attractive terrified me. Now, I just don't care anymore. I've been involved with lots of beautiful women in my life, anyway. I've never dated a girl I thought was ugly. Most girls have something beautiful and interesting about them, and I think most grown men have a connoisseur's appreciation of that beauty. I have atypical (I guess) taste in looks, anyway. Anyway, I like curves, and think the Vogue aesthetic is frankly weird. It verges on pedophilic and homo erotic from my point of view. Ten year olds are not sexy, neither are most models. Too thin, too angular, with boring faces. Have hips, please, and full bodies. Eat something. Character is essential. Express emotion. And relax.

Maria, the psycho-sexual dynamics of a practicing Catholic male who takes the Church seriously on sexuality and tries to be chaste in this culture while remaining single are usually pretty turbulent, I think. I don't seduce women. The reason I'm still single at this late date, are a bit complex. I've never married, and may never marry. Typically for my ("NCB") genus, the ideal of celibacy is a big reason why. I got invited to join the OP when I was at PC as a student, and that was a big issue. I also had a disjointed run in with the LC and RC back in the day that did not go all that well. Then, I joined the Army and then abortively converted to Orthodoxy (OCA).. All of which distracted me and has consumed a lot of my energy. Now, I don't know. I don't need a wife to be happy, or one to be holy, so maybe I should just stay like I am.. Or, finally jump into the seminary like may have been supposed to do 15 years ago.. j'n sais pas, on verra.

I leave the questions directed at 20 year old guys to them. I'll just say I, for one like flirting, even if I don't always do it that well. Otherwise, I like to talk. A lot. Smart conversation and kindness are big turn ons. If you like to travel like a gypsy, and can speak more than one language, that is also hot. Girls that downhill and dive are also nice. Like them.

That's all I have. I hope that was interesting or edifying or whatever. Cheers.

Alisha said...

Only one question: why don't you dance?

Violet said...

Why do you think cigar smoking is cool when it makes your breath stinky and is bad for your health? (I apologize if this question is a little rude, but it baffles me so I had to ask.)

Bernadette said...

I like Alisha's question, but here is mine: what intimidates you about young women, and would you date a young woman who intimidates you?

Al said...

As a 21 year old Eavesdropper:

Ellie: It all depends on you. You're not obligated to date them. Though I will say that usually age is no object.

Mary Jane: I do a mix of both, though my dating experience is necessarily limited by my studies.

C'est la vie: Yes, men are often intimidated by attractive or talented women. They fear rejection, mostly, which is why they play it safe. She should take the initiative in asking them out.

Maria: that I would not know. Perhaps a little flirting yourself to start it off? As to expressing disinterest, come out and say you're not interested.

Claire:

1. In the United States, check your local university's Newman Club. But NCBs can be found anywhere decent people congregate. I'm taken, though.

2. Never used online dating, except those quizzes on OKCupid.

3. Oh, guys notice even the introverts. Not all guys, but enough do.

4. I still ask women out even on my limited means. Now that may mean something that's only $10 than $100, but if she can't appreciate a good time because it's cheap (if tasty), not my kind of girl.

5. What do you mean, the Talk? If it's about the ethical standards you expect from your date and later spouse, well, I never had that much of a problem, as either (in the case of this Protestant I dated in high school) we largely shared the same ethics (and personal facts made the point about openness to life a little moot), or in the case of the Catholics I've gone out with, they've known me long enough that the Talk was unnecessary.

Elizabeth: Commitment to the Faith is attractive to me, as is someone well educated (which does not have to come from graduate education), and a sense of humor. Turn offs are the same in reverse. Oh, and no smokers.

Anonymous: depends on the skirt, but largely I don't mind either way.

Alisha: because I'm awful at it. I mean, I can waltz and foxtrot and slowdance a little, but otherwise I have two left feet.

Violet: I suppose because Chesterton. But I wouldn't know, never having smoked in my life, so I agree with you.

Bernadette: Fear of rejection, largely. And the solution to that is to make the first move. Under those circumstances, I would, if I was still single.

Girl with the yellow hat said...

I'm asking a question for a friend . . . seriously:) There is a guy in my friend's social circle who is friendly towards her ie. chatting her up at Catholic events and inviting her to Catholic things, always in a group and she wants to ask him point blank if he regards her as something more than a friend. I think I know what Auntie would say but do you fellows think it's doomed?

Withmycupoftea said...

I second Claire's question about introverts!

Therese said...

I have a question that can pretty much only be answered in a forum like this!
I grew up with some pretty strict guidelines about modesty (skirts below the knee, no spaghetti strap shirts, no tight jeans - at all times, not just for Mass). Part of the explanation was that we might lead boys into sin by dressing in ways that tempt them to think lustfully.
I'm currently trying to figure out which of those standards are still applicable to a 20-something woman, which were useful for the teenage years but are probably a little extreme, and which were just plain wrong. (The idea of "leading a guy into sin" has some connotations that squick me out.)
My boyfriend says that modesty is about dressing appropriately for the occasion, and that some clothing that is both classy and sexy is kind of nice from time to time. He also says that most guys have been so exposed to p*rn or p*rnographic images in advertising, etc., that simply seeing a girl's bare shoulders (taboo in most circumstances in the modesty guidelines I was taught) wouldn't have that much power over a guy. But...he also comes from a tropical culture where women tend to dress more "sexy," so I'm not sure how much cultural norms are influencing our conversations about this.

To sum up, my question is a little like Anonymous' above (w/r/t skirts): What do you think about modesty? Is it a gender-specific virtue? Are there ways that girls dress that tempt you to sin? Do you think that women's clothing & its effect on men is a bigger deal or a smaller deal than what many of us have been taught?

Frank said...

Maria:

"What can we do to help men relax a bit? Also, what cues should a girl give if she is interested in you and wants to be classy and modest?"

Two questions, one answer and a staple of Auntie's advice at that: a smile and a light touch of the arm. I pause and calm down when women do that. I told my girlfriend that it's my favorite of all the ways that she can greet me. It helps that she's got the most beautiful smile in the world.

"And conversely, what cues should a girl give if she is NOT interested in you, and wants to be polite about it?"

Simple, but not easy: tell him (if he asks). I've actually had a female friend come to me with this problem once. Never to be ambiguous about it. As the Auntie says, men are literal creatures; tentative-sounding indirections such as "I'm busy" (Man thinks "Let's go when you're free then!") or "I'm not ready" (Man thinks "Ready when you are!") are guarantees that he'll keep hounding you. You don't have to say "You're a loser and the last man I'll go out with", but make sure that he knows that you aren't interested and give him no loopholes that he can work around.

Short answer is be firm about it first, polite about it second (but don't forget the latter). You'll disappoint him for sure, but he'll cope. Straightforward works best as men's brains explode on ambiguity. Being vague about it is likely to hurt more by making a man feel cheated, whether that's justifiable or not.

Incidentally, the female friend who asked me this took my advice and came to me later for a post-mission debrief (i.e. he turned down the guy). She told me that she was worried BECAUSE the guy looked okay afterwards. I told her that she carried out my advice and got the best outcome - the guy backed off, no apparent hurt feelings - and that she had absolutely nothing to worry about.

Frank said...

Claire:

"Women who are naturally quiet and/or introverted are often told that we may come off as stuck-up or unapproachable to men because we do not make the rounds at parties or chat with strangers in bars as gracefully as our more extroverted sisters. Is that actually true? What do you think of the quiet girl standing off to the side, perhaps talking to only a few people throughout the evening? The advised cure is usually "flirt more! put yourself out there!" - but you might as well tell a bubbly social butterfly to "smile less! stop talking so much!" How do introverts deal and show you that we don't hate you, and we're not socially awkward weirdos?"

I really can't give a good answer to this one, so I'll just share my own experience with an introverted woman myself. I think part of the problem is precisely the expectation that good chemistry consists of endless laughter and a constant stream of funny talk. I'm an introvert myself, and my current girlfriend is also one. I'd say we're both well into the introvert side of the scale, and what surprised me a lot is how much of our time together is spent NOT talking. If you watch all the romantic movies no talk spells the doom of a relationship, but I love every moment with her, including (especially) the quiet ones. I mentioned the favorite way that she greets me, one which involves no words.

For introverts, what matters more about talk is quality over quantity. My girlfriend and I dislike small talk, but will endlessly talk about topics that we're knowledgeable about or find interesting. Introverts talk about the weather not to chat people up but because they genuinely find meteorology interesting. (Just to make it clear I'm speaking about talk with a small t here, as opposed to The Talk which you also asked about but have no answer for unfortunately.)

"A little while ago here there was discussion on the negative impact the economy has had recently on dating and traditional courtship. Seraphic suggested that the reason young (student and non-student) men don't ask young women out the way they used to is because no one has extra money to pay for it. Has that been your experience? In what ways (if any) has the economic downturn affected the way you interact with women you are romantically interested in?"

A couple of years ago I was a student with little money, and now I'm a working grad student with a little more money. I'm not really the sort of man to ask a lot of women out within a short period of time, so perhaps I had the luxury of being able to pay for at least the first couple of dates. I don't go "all out"

on the first date - usually just lunch or dinner in some quiet inexpensive place, with coffee afterwards if she asks. As the Auntie says, it's just coffee.

I deliberately "under-bid" the first few dates: no car (may or may not work depending on where you live) and nothing too fancy. I do this for a couple of reasons; first, I don't want to come off as a showoff, second, if a girl thinks I'm "cheap" after the date and no longer wants to see me then it's a good way to filter those who may not share the same personal finance philosophy, which will be a huge dealbreaker. I've paid for dates in unorthodox ways (gift cheques, credit card coupons, etc.) and each time either my date didn't mind or she thought it was clever that I did that. So yeah, it could be done.

Al from the Rust Belt said...

Hello ladies, I'd like to offer my answers to a few of your questions. Obviously, I can only speak for myself, and not for all men. To give you some context, I'm close to 30, Catholic, American, introverted, and haven't been on a date in quite a while (though not entirely for lack of trying.) I also don't drink coffee, so that limits my first date options somewhat...

Ellie: concerning age difference, I would generally be looking for a woman from about 5 years younger to about 1 year older than me. I suspect that as I get older, that range may expand somewhat, but I can't see myself ever dating someone 15 years older than me. I don't want to be a widower by retirement age.

MaryJane: Where I am, "hanging out" is generally done in mixed groups. Women seem averse to "hanging out" one-on-one. I haven't asked a woman out on a date recently, because I get the sense that the women I know see me as a friend and therefore could never see me as anything more. Does "hanging out" in Catholic groups cause women to put me in their "friend zone"? Maybe, but I haven't found any other way to meet Catholic women who are my age and single.

c'est la vie: A women who is exceptionally beautiful can be intimidating to me, regardless of how nice she is. When I see such a woman, I tend to think either, "There's no way she could be single", or if I happen to know she's single, "Someone like her could have any man she wants; she would never settle for me."

Maria: To put a man at ease, make it clear that you notice him and are happy to see him. Smile, make eye contact, and move in his direction when you greet him. Take an interest in his life and work (or school), remember things he said to you on previous occasions and ask follow-up questions. If you want to make it clear you're NOT interested (without explicitly saying so), avoid smiling at him, limit your conversation to small talk, and end conversations after a minute or so. Also, talking excitedly with your female friends about another guy you ARE interested in, right in front of him, will send a pretty clear signal. Of course, if he is already asking you out, then just telling him, without any ambiguity, that you're not interested would be best.

Claire in NE: Regarding introverts: being one myself, I do notice them, and I'm more drawn to them than to the social butterflies. I've never perceived someone as stuck-up because she's quiet or introverted. As for a cure... I wish I knew of one!

Elisabeth: Things I find attractive include: intelligence (but only when combined with humility and faith); a relaxed, laid-back sort of personality; responsible money management; safe driving (rare among women!); and musical talent. Things that turn me off: intelligence without humility or faith (e.g., many typical feminists); uptightness; drama; "diva" mentality; gossip; obsession with conspiracy theories, private revelation, or cats.

Alisha: Why don't I dance? Two reasons, both of them shameful: First, because I'm terrible at it. I've tried learning, and I just don't have the talent. Men value competence, and we don't like to do things if we can't do them competently. Also, women can look graceful dancing even if they don't know what they are doing; most men can't. Second, when a man is in close physical proximity to an attractive woman, certain parts of his body can do certain annoying things (over which he has absolutely no control) that make him extremely uncomfortable and self-conscious. You ladies really have no idea how embarrassing it is when that happens.

Violet: I think cigars are disgusting, and I would never smoke one. I'm baffled by how many women seem to find it attractive when men smoke cigars, and how many otherwise intelligent women will even smoke them too.

It's Just A Coffee said...

Wow...I never expected to see so many questions! My answers are mine and mine alone -- many answers from other men will probably differ radically, and it would probably not be helpful to extrapolate any of this to men in general. I have actually made this mistake myself in the past -- reading on blogs what an average woman would want a man to do in a situation, only to discover that the woman in question preferred a completely different approach.

How much is too much of an age difference in a woman you would date? -- I am 30 -- 23-39. I've had lady friends with a similar age gap, but there was an aunt-nephew dynamic, and I couldn't imagine it getting romantic.

Do you ask women out on dates or do you just "hang out"? -- I would prefer to see a woman several times (with a good and long -- but not private -- conversation each time) before asking her out, but then clearly call it a date. I would want these encounters to be a group setting, but if our paths don't cross often enough, I would do something like come to a charity event she's involved in or invite her to another group event (which seems embarrassingly blatant anyway).

Are men frequently intimidated by girls they find attractive? -- A little, but a greater effect seems to be that there are certain personality traits which seem common to very attractive women (self-described fashionistas come to mind) which are intimidating and seem to telegraph disinterest.

What can Good Catholic Girls do to put Good Catholic Boys at their ease? -- Say hello! Be conversant, ask questions and act interested in the answers, and tell interesting stories about yourself. (This does embarrassingly sound like something I would read in the teen advice column of the local paper, but maybe it's repeated so often because it's really true.) To accomplish the reverse, do the opposite.

Where can we find you? -- The same places where we could find you; no secrets here.

It's Just A Coffee said...

What are your opinions on and experiences with online dating? -- I would like to try it if I don't seem to be meeting enough people, at least once my life/job is stable enough that I anticipate sticking around town indefinitely. I only want to meet faithful Catholics and a Catholic dating site seems like a good bet here, although I'm afraid I would just meet the same people I'm already meeting elsewhere, and perhaps a mainstream site would have Catholic members who don't hang around "the Catholic scene" all the time.

Women who are naturally quiet and/or introverted are often told that we may come off as stuck-up or unapproachable to men because we do not make the rounds at parties or chat with strangers in bars as gracefully as our more extroverted sisters. Is that actually true? -- Not really stuck-up (unless the woman is extremely attractive / see above), but "disinterested", yes.

How do introverts deal and show you that we don't hate you, and we're not socially awkward weirdos? -- I don't have an answer here -- not because it can't be done, but because I could only repeat the conventional wisdom that every trusted adviser is already giving. I do think the question is worthy of an answer.

A little while ago here there was discussion on the negative impact the economy has had recently on dating and traditional courtship. Seraphic suggested that the reason young (student and non-student) men don't ask young women out the way they used to is because no one has extra money to pay for it. Has that been your experience? -- No; the economy has not been great, but nobody is so poor that they can't think of ANYTHING they can do (even the free things).

I had a question about getting/giving The Talk here but realized that would maybe be inappropriate. -- "The Talk" could refer to several different things...

Which non-physical attributes/characteristics are you most attracted to in a woman? -- Creativity / a desire to succeed in her own unique achievements / the feeling that she has an interesting life that she could share and teach me something. This is vague, but seems like an amalgam of everyone I've been interested in. The woman who painted murals all over the walls of her house really blew me away.

It's Just A Coffee said...

What do 20 year old men think of women who wear skirts (knee length or lower)for most of the time? Does she come off as a prude? Is it attractive? Is it preferable? -- Not 20 years old anymore, but I find women more attractive when they dress stylishly in the contemporary sense (with the one exception that I don't like the immodest stuff -- which I am intentionally not going to elaborate to avoid yet another 'modesty debate'). The difference between skirts and pants doesn't really matter to me (one could dress stylishly or not with either style) …. One big exception here is the women who intentionally wear skirts and dresses which are clearly and manifestly out of style. (I'm not talking about not updating your closet often enough -- I'm talking about sewing your own clothes because you can't buy really traditional clothing -- or at least I imagine it that way.) To me, that kind of dress makes a statement that the woman is a TLM/traditional type (in the same way that hair and tattoos would make a statement that one is a punk type), and I think a man's reaction to it would depend on how the man feels about the trad scene in general.

Why don't you dance? -- Too clumsy and it's hard to learn (I have sporadically taken swing/ballroom lessons). I will dance at social events when it's silly rock music and I feel comfortable with the people there. I will also dance to Latin music (with a Latin crowd, not a hardcore swing/hustle/salsa crowd) because the dances seem much easier for a man to intuitively pick up than the swing stuff.

If you are in a drunken fistfight with your pal, does the fistfight solve the dispute or make it worse? -- I don't see myself getting in any drunken fistfights, but surely it sometimes feels better to air disputes rather than to continue to stew over them for days. I could imagine that the fistfight would symbolically give you permission to stop walking around angry, which I don't think anyone really wants to do.

Answering all those questions was fun; unfortunately, this took way more time than I thought, and I'll have to post without proofreading...

Anonymous said...

Claire and Elisabeth,

As far as secret clubs go, they do exist, but they are not so much secret as obscure. Men's friendships with one another tend to be based on activities - doing things. So, men will get together to do things with men that share their interests.

What is really attractive to me in a woman is one that will take the time to learn about something men do with each other.

If you'd like to see an example, take a look at the Firefly episode "Shindig" (it should be on Netflix). The ship's engineer, Kaylee, becomes the belle of the ball by being able to talk engines with the men.

As a place to start, you could learn enough about sports to make small talk. I say this as a geeky introvert that speaks sports as a second language. If you wanted to go farther down that road, ask some men about the worst team in the sport you are going to follow and then become a fan of that team. This is useful in that men like to josh each other when their teams beat each other. I've noticed some compassion when it comes to teams that are perennial losers. As well, it's not likely your team will win, so that will avoid puncturing fragile male egos. Finally, it will give men an ability to give you small friendship gifts, team logo hats for instance, that will allow them to test the waters in a nonthreatening way.

In some ways I hesitate to say this, because I'm not sure how practical it will see to you, but if there is a stereotypically male hobby that you like, please delve into it more deeply.

-L said...

-L here, de-lurking upon invitation to share my thoughts with those willing to hear them. I am a married traditional American Catholic who is a little younger than Auntie Seraphic. Single young Catholic/Christian women seek me out for the kind of relationship advice that only a witty yet thoughtful arch-reactionary can provide. Let’s begin.

How much is too much of an age difference in a woman you would date?

Harsh truth time, ladies: Scooter does not care about your age qua age. Scooter assesses his dating prospects along two axes: fertility and attractiveness.

If Scooter wants children, he cares about your age only to the extent that he wants a plausible window of fertility (and preferably peak fertility) in which to have children with you, sometime in the not-too-distant future.

If Scooter does not want children, he does not care about your age at all, provided that he finds you attractive.

In general, questions of age weigh more heavily on the female mind than the male mind. My NCG friends often remark on their desire to be with a man slightly older than themselves. My NCB friends never give a moment’s thought to the issue, except to complain that some of their female peers have written them off as being “too young.”

Do you ask women out on dates or do you just "hang out"?

Back in Grover Cleveland’s first term, I asked young ladies out. Nowadays it goes another way, and that’s a shame, as the “hang out” scene prevents both men and women from exercising the boldness and discretion that ought to characterize the offering, accepting, and rejecting of dates. It’s as if modern singles are afraid to take ownership of their feelings and attractions, and such timidity is universally unappealing.

Are men frequently intimidated by girls they find attractive?

Yes. To understand why, you must take a voyage into the mind of Scooter. And to Scooter, you may very well seem incredibly, impossible, unapproachably…complete, in a way that he is not.

Confused? Most single women are. But consider Scooter’s plight (and here we shall assume Scooter to be a well-meaning NCB a few years removed from academia). He’s young, he’s single, he’s just getting started in the job world, and he isn’t quite sure who is or what he’s going to be when he grows up. Men define themselves by their deeds (about which more anon), and Scooter is painfully aware that he hasn’t done much. He’s competing for the attention of young women with men older, more established, and more confident than he is. And oh by the way, he’s struggling with intense biochemical impulses that cannot readily be resolved through means that the Catholic Church condones. It’s tough!

Now, into this maelstrom comes…you. Scooter sees you, and sees not only that you are lovely and well-dressed, but you’re satisfied with your life. You have close friends, family, hobbies, interests, a good credit rating, and a lively life of the mind. You don’t appear to be struggling with impulses of any kind. You seem at peace with everything around you – a real grown-up, not an overgrown adolescent like he thinks himself to be. And Scooter thinks to himself: “She’s complete in her little world. I have nothing to add to her life. She couldn’t possibly want what I have to sell. Maybe I’d just better slink away.”
Scooter does not perceive your need for intimacy, attention, and engagement. Men are visual creatures, and your needs are not visible. He assumes that your need for such things is the same as his, i.e., rather low. Failing to understand what he could contribute to your life, he passes you by. Alas!

What’s to be done? See my next post...

-L

-L said...

What can Good Catholic Girls do to put Good Catholic Boys at their ease?

Here’s my stab at an answer: cultivate and articulate a sense of gratitude for the deeds men perform that add value to your life. Men are doers of deeds, not speaker of words, and they often communicate more through their actions than their eloquent speeches. Men want women to notice and appreciate their actions, and they’re elated when they learn that one of their actions earned the attention and gratitude of a Nice Catholic Girl. So if flirting is not your scene, consider telling Scooter how happy he made you by doing thing X. Or how much you enjoy it when he always does Y. Or how his doing Z made you smile. Very likely Scooter will be so pleased that he’ll take you to coffee to find out what else he can do to make you smile. If you begin your interaction with Scooter at the level of deeds and not words, you’ll likely be pleased by the results.

Note that this advice does not encompass advertising your vulnerability and desire for intimacy. Men don’t like neediness and negativity, and the men who do like it aren’t the ones you want anyway. Your message ought not to be “I am incomplete; help complete me” but rather “My fun life would be more fun with you.”

Note also that this advice applies to the 85% of men who are not unusually gifted in the verbal arena. Verbally gifted men are quite different. But they’re also quite rare, and in any event you’ll know what to do with them (i.e., engage them in witty banter and playful word games until they can’t help but ask you out).

More later.

-L

-L said...

What are your opinions on and experiences with online dating?

Never did it myself, but it’s led to two happy marriages in my family, so I’m not totally down on it. It seems that the trick is to avoid the fallacy of plenty – to avoid holding out for that one bird in the bush who is just a little more handsome and perfect than the two in the hand. NCGs on such sites can expect a great deal of male attention, which can be flattering and intoxicating. But many of those men will not have proper Catholic intent (no matter what their profiles say), and many other men will lose interest and move on when you disclose even the smallest hint of non-perfection to them. Auntie Seraphic has offered many warnings that online dating can distract you from the hard slog of really getting to know a suitor, and I echo those warnings.

What do you think of the quiet girl standing off to the side, perhaps talking to only a few people throughout the evening?

I myself think that she has class and dignity. But I’m an atypical guy. Sadly, I have no easy words of advice for the introverted woman, even though I am an introverted man. Smile. Be graceful. Find ways to demonstrate your kindness and consideration. Put yourself where NCBs can see you - men are visual in nature, so be seen.

Seraphic suggested that the reason young (student and non-student) men don't ask young women out the way they used to is because no one has extra money to pay for it. Has that been your experience?

Yes. This gets back to the “I have nothing to offer you” problem. Worthy men want to do great deeds and support their future families. When men cannot do so, they feel unworthy, and do not seek out nice young women to marry. Unfortunately, this problem will only get worse because many young men cannot find entry-level positions in their chosen fields, and accordingly they will always be a step or two behind in their professions. This phenomenon (which was well-documented as it applied to the casualties of the 1981-82 American recession) will handicap their confidence and earning potential for a very long time. Anemic economies are very cruel, but especially so to enterprising young men who want to excel and prove their worth, but cannot find opportunities to do so – and no man worth your time dreams of supporting a family with a welfare/disability/unemployment/
make-work check. Something to remember when voting, ladies.

More later.

-L

Nervous Guy said...

Hello,

Ellie
I'm now thirty and looking in the range of +3/-3 years years; however I would tolerate little more years. I would not want a woman who is too mature, since I feel there is the risk of the relationship being more of a mother-son-type (this was partly true with my parents, she being so dominant). And now, I also want kids.

Maryjane
I used to "hang out" in real-life and was mostly using online-dating. I occassionally did ask girls out for having a drink but I don't think this was seen as a date from her side. However, I tried to invite girls to common activities, but didn't name it a date. Now I will ask out a girl much earlier and more clearly; since after the "Nervous Guy" thread, I understand the situation far more better.

c'est la vie
I would say, from my past experience, it is clearly the case, that an attractive woman can have less chances to get asked out. If the woman is very attractive, (a) you think of yourself as having lower chances (b) subjectively feeling the loss from a rejection is greater. (c) you feel your own errors more serious. So I often - when I had some choice - contacted the other girl, who was not so attractive and felt more relaxed in interaction.

Maria
Q1: relaxing
I would say, mix-gender-group interaction! groups of girls could approach groups of guys and talk with them; so this leaves the guys still in the position of having to ask a single girl out; If you are interested in me, your friend (girl) can talk with my friend (boy);

Q2: positive signals
inviting to group activities, being easily available to talk, smiling, laughing, touching

Q3: negative signals
yes-no-conversation, face of ice. Maintaining sort of "business-like-contact". However I would find it rude if a girl would talk how great other guys are in front of me, as some guy suggested.

Claire in NE
Q1 don't know any
Q2 think online dating is a viable way, but people should be open to real-life dating as well. So both ways can complement each other. Because there seem to be more christian women than men, I am not considering nonchristian online-dating sites.
Q3 Find an extroverted friend who introduces you to others and starts the discussion with you. Organize midex-gender group activities
Q4 Money is not an issue for me
Q5 Giving the talk is not the problem, but finding an appropriate way for initial physical contact seems more difficult. For me physical contact should have it's place, sooner or later and should naturally evolve. Once on a 4th date, I started to touch my feet on her feet and she treated me afterwords in a way as if I had touched her breasts.

Elisabeth
Q1 I am very attracted to a woman who is intelligent enough, so that she can be a companion to have long talks with and emotional enough, so that she can open me up a whole world of perception

Q2 not able to let a conversation evolve, Medjugorje, talking about women-specific health problems, a job or education which is not on my level

Anonymous
I'm not 20 but 30 and skirt is perfectly ok for me

Alisha
I'm not so good in motion and have other hobbies. However, I did some florett fencing, which is similiar to dancing ;-). Do you feel it legitimate, if I go dancing to get to know girls?

Violet
Never war interested in Smoking

Bernadette
Being amazed by her and not feeling worth

Girl with the yellow hat
I had a similar experience recently (for this see the thread "Nervous Guy" here on Seraphic Singles); I guess he wants to "play safe" and have a friendship first (following a dating advice that I often read in Christian circles, but which I know reject). I think he has not yet the courage to ask her for "just coffee", which would make things much more easy. Being turned down in tfor group activities hurts more than being turned down for coffee. This was a lesson I just learned.

healthily sanguine said...

I really enjoyed your comments, -L! Also, I hope everyone notices the general trends in the comments from men regarding how to discourage a guy's attentions--there is really nothing simpler, and it still boggles my mind that girl friends of mine don't know how to do this.

MaryJane said...

Ok I just have to say - healthily sanguine, reading the "how to discourage a guy's attentions" was totally eye-opening for me! I know it is obvious, but I guess I just was so afraid to be rude, it never occurred to me that kindly smiling and chatting with a guy (I had no interest in) was anything other than friend-ly. Looking back, I see the problems it produced (like one guy's aunt chasing me into the parking lot and trying to make me wait for him to bring me flowers?! So weird.)

-L, awesome comments esp. re: the inner mind of the guy. Different does not even begin to describe it. Thanks for the enlightenment!

-L said...

Thanks for the kind responses. Let’s keep going:

“I had a question about getting/giving The Talk here but realized that would maybe be inappropriate. So, if men have insight that they want to share about it, that'd be awesome. But I also understand if that's too personal for the interwebs.”

This is a tough one. Apply your helmets.

You should not have The Talk with Scooter on the first or second date. It’s off-putting and a touch presumptuous. What is more, you should plan on having not less than two talks with Scooter.

The first talk should occur the first time relations take a turn toward the physical, however harmlessly. If Scooter is good enough to be worth a for-realsies kiss from you, he is good enough to be told “Just so you know, I’m saving myself for marriage, as the Church teaches.” It doesn’t need to be more than that. And it is vital that you emphasize that you’re saving yourself out of religious and personal commitment – NOT because Scooter is ungainly and unappealing, and NOT because you’re uncomfortable with the entire concept of, um, profound personal intimacy.

It is sadly true that this speech may cause Scooter to withdraw from dating you. But if Scooter is that kind of fellow, better to know it sooner rather than later, before you might really get hurt.

The second talk should occur when Scooter takes his shot. Now, let me clear: it is NEVER EVER okay for Scooter to coerce, bully, intimidate, or manipulate you into doing anything at all! Ever! But even the most pious of Scooters will take his shot, if he has an ounce of red blood flowing in his veins. And if he’s at all charming or appealing, you might not mind a bit. But at that juncture, you need to tell him “Look, I’m very flattered and maybe a little interested, but no means no and ‘wait until marriage’ means just that. Can you do that for me, sweetie?” If Scooter is an upright man, he will acquiesce (however glumly), but secretly plot to have his way with you through another means, involving rings and tuxedos and what not.

Ladies, do not think less of Scooter for taking his shot. He is as God made him. He does what he does out of an abundance of affection for you…and an abundance of testosterone, but so be it. You don’t want to date an inert lump. And note that if Scooter never takes his shot, he might be an exceptionally holy and self-controlled fellow…or he might have intimacy problems in the post-wedding world, or his intimacy preferences may extend beyond the realm of the distaff. Auntie Seraphic has discussed this very phenomenon.

But assuming Scooter backs off as ordered, do not shame or scold him. Men cannot bear to suffer shame and scolding from their women, and rejection (he will perceive it as rejection) is painful enough. Be gentle but firm, and don’t humiliate him for the crime of being strongly attracted to you. At the same time, don’t be equivocal. Don’t apologize or over-explain or make excuses or qualify. In my experience, NCGs frequently apologize, over-explain, make excuses, and qualify whenever caught in a socially awkward confrontation. Brevity and clarity are your friends. And if Scooter seems a little too crushed or abashed after getting the big no from you, you might borrow that lyric from that old Janet Jackson chastity song: “I promise I’ll be worth the wait.”

Incidentally, every word in the above paragraph applies to the question about dissuading unwanted suitors from pressing their suit. (Except the “I’ll be worth the wait” part.)

-L

-L said...

Elsewhere, the question was asked “Why don’t men dance?” The answer is worth exploring.

1) We’re no good at dancing. When courting a NCG, we want to sing our song, dance our dance, and impress you with our so-suave super-coolness. These goals are hard to achieve when we’re flailing on the dance floor idiotically.

2) Other men will be present, and they will dance better than we do. The fellows on the Dark Side often discuss the concept of “social proof,” i.e., the fact that women prefer men who enjoy some degree of social standing and respect from worthy peers. They have a point. Getting shown up by trained dancers does not give us the social proof we crave. It makes us look and feel inferior to potential romantic rivals. Awful!

3) You’re better at dancing than we are. Now, in a mature relationship, men can gracefully accept your superior abilities in certain spheres. But early in the going, men chafe at the notion that their dates and girlfriends will show them up at anything.

So consider: to a man, a dancing outing involves a public demonstration of his lack of coordination; a shameful comparison to the grace and elegance of Tommy Sequintights; and the constant reminder that your skills exceed his in a given field. Really, why should men WANT to dance?

From these insights you can derive some useful lessons for dating generally:

1) Let the man take the lead in planning outings. He will never direct the two of you to an outing where he will be humiliated. But if you take the planning lead, you might do otherwise.

2) Try to avoid putting men in situations where they will have to compete with other men (e.g., your brothers; your dad; your workmates) in front of you. It will draw out the worst in all parties. I could tell a story about a touch football game in the snow at my now-wife’s house the first time I met her parents. It…well..you know, I don’t wanna tell that story. And the reason I don’t wanna tell it is the reason you don’t create such situations.

3) Early in the dating game, don’t outshine Scooter. Sad but true. Let him do his thing. You’ll have plenty of time to be better than him at most things after you’re married.

-L

c'est la vie said...

Thanks so much to all the boys for the comments! Profoundly enlightening. I have discovered all kinds of interesting things!

alliecat said...

My boyfriend recently told me that occassionally, it takes a little work to see me "as a human being" (He didn't mean it as badly as it sounds). I understood what he meant, but I didn't understand WHY. He gave his reason as being because of all the things girls use to make themselves beautiful (clothes, makeup, jewelry), saying that these cover up their humanity. Can anyone comment on this? I understand that some girls look SO put-together that it makes them seem not quite human, but I think of myself as a fairly laid-back, not overly done-up girl. How much "frippery" is too much?

It's Just A Coffee said...

My boyfriend recently told me that occassionally, it takes a little work to see me "as a human being" (He didn't mean it as badly as it sounds). I understood what he meant, but I didn't understand WHY.

I'm not completely sure where he's coming from either, because I've never heard of another guy saying something like that.

I think it means that he's so attracted to you that he's getting distracted by your appearance. You've probably heard that "men are visual" enough times that the concept needs no additional explanation.

I wouldn't expect changing makeup or clothing choices to have much of an effect here. He is smitten by your appearance, for better or for worse!