Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Seraphic Singles Dating Manifesto

Dating culture is before us in pieces, and it up to men and women of good will to put it back together again. And therefore I propose my dating manifesto, in the hopes that it will miraculously catch on and improve the lives of Single people immeasurably.

Preamble: Men and women are made in the image and likeness of God and therefore must be treated with dignity and never as a means to an end,  e.g. a free dinner, a sexual adventure. God having ordained that men and women should be "fruitful and multiply," the natural end of the human being is marriage although God may call upon a human being to forego that natural end to assist his or her spiritual end, which is happiness with God forever.

Over the centuries, courtship has taken many forms or, when parents arranged marriages for their children, dispensed with altogether. It is worth noting that from the earliest days of the Christian community, Single life, particularly consecrated Single life, has been privileged over marriage, and therefore it has been recognized that there are not only spiritual joys, but spiritual sacrifices, involved in the married state. (Even after Vatican II, Catholic marriage ceremonies feature special prayers over the bride.) And therefore it behooves men and women not to hold themselves cheaply, and be willing to do anything in the hope of marriage, but to consider carefully whether they ought to marry and whom they should marry.

Traditionally, perhaps for reasons as psychological as they are cultural, it has been the difficult privilege of men to court women for marriage. There have been, of course, exceptions to this rule, e.g.  as the heir to the throne, Princess Elizabeth (now H.M. the Queen ) had to propose to Philip of Greece (now the Duke of Edinburgh). But there is no denying that this rule has caused pain to women, who feel that if only they could openly pursue their chosen love interest, their suit would be successful. This is, in fact, sometimes true. However, it is rather often not, particularly when it comes to men who are sick of being chased by women.

Crikey. I do not think I can keep up this tone all morning.

In short, we need some rules, so here they are:

1. Whoever asks, pays.

2. Seraphic Singles do not ask men out on first, second or third dates. Seraphic Singles invite them to their  parties and make sure they are fed, watered and having a good time. Whenever tempted to ask out a crush object, they have a party and invite him to that.

If asked (at a party, say) by the crush object's pal if she likes the crush object, she should say that she thinks he's great and leave it at that.

3. Seraphic Singles cheerfully go on as many first dates that are offered by kindly men of good reputation whom they like in the knowledge that although a man might not look like Ryan Gosling now, he might look like Ryan Gosling later, should Cupid's arrow strike. In short, it's just a coffee.

4. Seraphic Singles signal that they are willing to consider a man a potential boyfriend and not "just a friend" by not paying on the first date. If by the end of the first date she knows without a shadow of a doubt that she does not like him at all, she should insist on splitting the cheque.

5. Seraphic Singles signal that they are not just spending time with a man for the free food and treats (should there be any doubt on this score, e.g. in a very economically depressed area like a university or a ghetto) by occasionally offering to pay for something, e.g. on a second venue on a second date, i.e. the popcorn stand after the ticket booth or the cafe after the restaurant.

That said, if a man ever complains about the money he spent on dates that were his idea, then he is a toad. And if a man as much as hints that he expects sexual favours in return for the money he has spent, he is a super-toad and the Seraphic Single tells him off and never speaks to him again.

6. Seraphic Singles do not go to men's houses for dates, nor do they invite them into their own houses for dates or after dates, unless the house is ablaze with light and brimming with relations or housemates. (Taking pity on a heavy smoker for whom restaurants were agony, I once agreed to come to his house for supper, but said I had to bring a chaperone. He was so super-trad, he was delighted. My chaperone wore flowing black draperies and brought her own cigarettes.)

7. Seraphic Singles despise the Third Date Rule. However, three dates is enough time to decide if one wants to continue seeing a man or not. If a Seraphic Single wants to continue seeing a man after the third date, then she should wait to see if he asks her out for a fourth date, and only after that start thinking about (A) the future (B) initiating dates (C) paying for dates (see Number 1).

8. Seraphic Singles are careful to listen for clues that a man believes that the Third Date, not marriage, is when modern men and women have sex. For example, if a man says the following, don't agree to a third date: "Well, we can go to only so many cafes and restaurants. Why don't you come to my house on Friday night?"

9. Seraphic Singles resist the temptation of being a career girlfriend, dating a man for a year or two and then dumping him when he gets boring. A Seraphic Single breaks up with a man as soon as she realizes she really does not want to marry him, and in the case of adults-out-of-education this really must not take more than a year.  A Seraphic Single also resists the delicious drama of lovers' triangles and racking up as many male hearts as she can break before her reputation has more holes in it than a target in the local rifle range. A Seraphic Single is kind.

10. Seraphic Singles resist the fate of being made into career girlfriends. If the subject of marriage has not come up in conversation within a year of her first date with her boyfriend, a Seraphic Single needs to bring it up herself. The conversation does not have to be a marriage proposal; it just has to be an indication that marriage is on the cards.

11. Seraphic Singles do not write love letters, love emails, love texts or love tweets to state how they really feel and to clear the air. I wonder if I burned that agonized note from that seminarian or whether I will still have it in 30 years when he is an archbishop and I am dead broke. Hmm... Hmm... Actually, I think I burned it.

12. Seraphic Singles do not persecute men with their attentions or yell at non-boyfriends for not being sufficiently attracted to, attentive to, or in love with them. They imagine how much they would hate it if men did that to them and keep a firm hold of themselves.

13. Seraphic Singles do not knowingly go on first or second dates with discerners or seminarians, even if the seminarian is on summer holiday and his bishop supposedly told him to date. If while dating a man he becomes a discerner, a Seraphic Single is within her rights to break up with him or "support him with her loving friendship" as she chooses. If he becomes a seminarian, she breaks up with him.

14. Seraphic Singles do not give men-not-their-relations gifts except on very special occasions, and then only very modest, inexpensive presents. A Seraphic Single never inadvertently gives a man the impression that she is trying to buy him. Silver cigarette cases are right out.

15. Seraphic Singles never, ever judge their worth by how many times they are asked out on a date, or if they have ever been asked out on a date. If feeling blue about this whole datelessness thing, a Seraphic Single organizes a party.

Update: I think I should remind everyone that it seems that dating is in itself less frequent for the young now than it was for previous generations, including my own, as more and more men are more and more reluctant to marry until they are much older. Therefore many of these rules, though I think they are practical in themselves, may prove to be more theoretical than anything else.


RT said...

It's great to have all of these in one place.

Regarding #3, what if he doesn't look like Ryan Gosling, but you also know nothing about him, and don't know whether he is a kindly man of good reputation? Should you still go? This is a purely hypothetical question, since I haven't actually been on a date in almost a decade...

Cath said...

Why do you mention the point about special prayers over the bride? Just curious, because I feel like I am not understanding that part.

Jessica said...

Amen, Auntie!

And thank you! I wish I seen these a long time ago. That way I wouldn't have had to learn them the hard way.

I am a "good Catholic girl" and have a great Mom to whom I am comfortable going with almost any relationship issue, but how we never got around to discussing these I'll never know. They just seem like something I would start instilling in my daughters the minute I scented a first crush.

BeeLeigh said...

Ooh, good point Cath! I wondered about that too. Are special prayers over the bride, who is sacrificing her opportunity to be in union with God, more special than for a man, who is sacrificing his opportunity (in the Roman rite anyway)to be in union with the Church? If anything, in these modern times there are quite unsavory things that men are far more typically to be susceptible to fall into, even within marriage.

I do love this manifesto, but #6 gives me pause. At what point in a dating relationship can older Singles ease up on the no house dates rule? Should things get serious, there are some things I can imagine there would be hesitation to discuss personal matters in a restaurant or with another party 3 feet away or even on a park bench. Or is it specifically for early dates and/or with men of unproven character and moral strength?

Anonymous said...

please don't kill me for going anonymous (not that it would keep him from recognizing this if he saw it, but still), but yes...what about qualifications on #6?

What about a man and a woman both early 30s, for whom there is 3 hours separating their locations. After an incredibly long time after the first date (almost 2 months due to weather and scheduling conflicts due to the fact that said man is a doctor and has weekends he is on call) he drives down to the woman's location for the "second date" (they've been talking since long before the first date even) where he plans to get a hotel room for the night so as to go to church with said woman the next morning and get to spend some more time with her, also to avoid having to drive three hours back after a show on Saturday evening... Saturday afternoon (not evening) and Sunday afternoon (again not evening) end up spent talking non stop in the woman's living room (along with a bit of music - both of them being musicians and the woman owning a piano). The only time they even ended up sitting immediately next to each other on the couch (more due to the desire to sit where one could converse well looking at the other than anything else, but still) was when he wanted to show her a youtube video related (oddly enough) to both their careers...

So how is that wrong? I mean granted, I was concerned about it before hand - not because I didn't trust the man in question, but because I've had it drilled into my head from an early age that you DO NOT DO THAT but when one's parents live 9 hours away, what alternative does one really have?

Seraphic said...

I won't kill you for going anonymous.

The "don't go back to each other's houses" apply most of all to the first three dates, when you don't even really know each other well yet, but then of course it might apply even more on the fourth date and after when you realize how much you like this guy and how much he likes you and...

Long distance and internet dating are different situations that I will have to ponder further. And I give a pass to the over-30s in weird situations.

Seraphic said...

I am not 100% sure about the prayer for the brides part, but I think it may have something to do with the poor old bride not becoming a nun instead and soon not to a virgin anymore (in case she might have been), etc., etc. But do not quote me; it is just an idle hypothesis. Single women like nuns live longer
than married women, too.

So sleeeepy. Should not attempt theology of marriage when sleepy.

Sunnysaffer said...

Great rules Seraphic - perhaps I will print them and use them if (sorry when)I need them again :)

As far as Anon's post above about the house visit from the doctor, I think the most important question is can you trust yourself? If you are struggling to keep your feelings and thoughts in control when a man is not around then it is probably best not to be alone with him in a private space. This is how I judge whether house dates are OK or not, no matter how long we may have been dating (although I agree with Seraphic - never on the first few dates).

Alisha said...

I'm glad you included the update because sigh...afraid I could never qualify, Auntie. :( I just don't think I could ever follow that many rules...Not that I don't agree with a good deal of it but I really think a lot of it depends on the situation. I have written a good many emotional letters in my time and I can't say I would be better off not having written them. There are unrelated male friends to whom I would not hesitate to give gifts if I had the means and inclination.
I just can't agree with number 2 or the first half of number 4 because it seems too arbitrary and impersonal for me...if we are not to judge our worth by whether or not we are asked out, why should we judge a guy's worth based on his willingness or ability to pay?

Seraphic said...

Yes, but Alisha, you are not a Searching Single. Don't forget that you are in a different situation from the majority of your fellow readers. Most of them simply want to get married and have children.

If you never intend to marry and have children, then you don't have to be as prudent, although of course you should always think twice about whether or not you are going to hurt and confuse or bore some guy with your effusions.

As you are in the theatrical community where performers have had a lot of specialized training and put a high value on drawing upon emotions and emotional honesty 24/7, you are simply going to live differently from the vast majority of people.

Seraphic said...

Oh, yes, and people in the theatrical community are probably going to be a lot more tolerant of expressions of deep personal honesty. Training!

MaryJane said...

Excellent! Clear and conscise. What's funny is that these don't seem like a set of rules that are externally imposed (by no one, of course), but rather all the things that long years of experience have taught. Wisdom, right here, Auntie S. You should copyright and publish it.

Incidentally, I am totally sympathetic to guys who think they are being used for coffee or a dinner. But a man who doesn't like me enough / isn't interested enough to ask a woman if he can buy her a cup of coffee doesn't seem very interested to me. [I'll qualify that with "a man who is over 30 and/or done with school."] Was your male friend tired of feeling used or just frustrated with women in general?

Alisha said...

I meant even if I was or if ever anything changes. Also, I just don't think things are usually that black and white. If I invite someone out for coffee just because I want to hang out with them, whether I'm searching or not, the gesture is the same but the intent may be different, and I think it's a shame to miss out on a genuine human connection because girls shouldn't invite guys out. I also think - even though this has caused me difficulty - that it's a shame that someone would curb their natural generosity of heart and desire to share to the point where they feel they are not themselves. I can say this even after my most recent experience that I had spoken to you of when we were here. It was intense but I don't want that person to feel less free to be himself - after all, that same gesture 2 years ago would most likely have been completely no problem...I don't know how to explain it, it just doesn't seem to have enough freedom to me though I don't doubt it will save people a lot of trouble.

Cat said...

Do Seraphic Singles text with people who ask them out?

Then, when they have misjudged whether they should have gone out with a certain person, how do Seraphic Singles answer texts like "Want to come over and hang out on the couch and get cozy/snuggle/sleep?"???

Silence? "Thanks anyway"? Something snappy? Yikes!