Monday, 29 April 2013

Successful with Women

For over twenty years, I have been attracting the attention of intelligent men of my own intellectual and religious parties who enjoy arguing with me. Their eyes light up, and they roll up their rhetorical sleeves, and I can almost hear them thinking, "Oho! A foe worthy of my steel!" as if they were Batman witnessing Catwoman ravage a jewellery shop. TH2 at Heresy Hunter, once actually referred to me  (with affectionate glee) as his arch-enemy. All I did was ask him to stop being so mean to my friends. Oh, and to stop insinuating that Lonergan was a Kantian. He wasn't.

At some point, I may get tired of this friendly fire, and start saying to all the incarnations of Batman things like, "Honestly. No. There are much more intelligent women with whom to do battle. I can barely barely add fractions. I failed Grade 10 math. Really, I'm Just a Housewife. Shoo."

However, occasionally Batman says something purrrfectly catastrophic, and I sense there is some fun to be had at his expense. For example, yesterday an IMOMOIARP dropped the expression "successful with women." I think it was prefaced with "Everyone knows that men with money are the most."

"What do you mean, as a Catholic, by successful with women?" I demanded. "Do you mean, a man  who who has persuaded a woman to marry him and have his children and live with him year in and year out, a man who also has many daughters who love and respect him?

And, astonishing as this will sound to you, that's not what he meant. The definition of "successful with women" held by this loyal son of the Church was "attractive to women."  And yet I suspect that if I had thought of following this line of questioning, he would not have defined Saint Jerome as successful with women although Christian women flocked to Saint Jerome and listened to his teachings, fasted too much 'cause he said so, did his housework, etc. Meanwhile I doubt Saint Jerome had any money beyond that his rich patronesses gave him. And as he had a serious fasting habit himself and was rather contemptuous of the body, I doubt he was a looker. In fact, I vaguely recall reading a report that made clear he wasn't.

Whence the terrific popularity of Saint Jerome?

Could it be that Saint Jerome had something that these ladies wanted? Obviously it wasn't money, or a handsome face to look at, or the ability to give a great massage. It probably wasn't flattery either, since Saint Jerome was terribly inflammatory and is on record as having called St. Augustine nasty names.

I think it must have been his brains. Saint Jerome was a powerful and convincing thinker, and thus gave all those well-born Roman ladies something to think about. But if one had laid a tentative hand upon him, he would have slapped her silly, so I cannot imagine any of them trying that.

It could also have been his gigantic confidence in being Saint Jerome: "Hey, Saint Augustine! You're an idiot! I blow my nose at you!  I'm Saint Jerome!" That's kind of awesome especially as St Jerome did, after all, compile the Vulgate.

I'm starting to wonder if I would have been crazy about Saint Jerome.

It's too bad that even Catholic men think, when they think of men who are successful with women, of men other than good Christian husbands with wives, daughters and grand-daughters who love them, or of Christian thinkers around whom Christian women flock to hear the Good News, or even of popular professors or revered artists like frog-faced T. S. Eliot.

Noooooo, I suspect even they are thinking of footballers, film stars, rock stars and, heaven help us, basketball players and boxers. Wilt Chamberlain, reports wikipedia, had 20,000 sexual relationships, but never had a wife or child. Call me sentimental, but I don't call that successful with women.

Mike Tyson beat his first wife, cheated on his second, raped Miss Rhode Island, but may now be having a happy third marriage. All the same, I wouldn't consider him successful with women either.

And so on.


MichelleMarie said...

This is an interesting observation! I do suspect that much of the resentment men carry nowadays is that they don't have a crowd of women batting their eyes at them, hanging upon their every word and giggling at their jokes, and seeking them out them out in a crowd like they're the target of a heat-seeking missile. So men give up trying to endear themselves to even just that ONE woman (and there's always at least ONE) who is friendly or open to them.

That being said, it's also easy for women to get into the angry mindset of "oh, I don't have a string of guys pursuing me at the moment, therefore that must mean I'm not attractive to men, therefore to h#%@ with all of them!"

Probably the moral of the story, for both sexes, is to stop walking around like a wounded puppy because you don't have a string of would-be suitors/girls following you around. We need to stop buying into this type of victim mentality, and as you have stated, our culture's success-with-the-opposite-sex narrative - aka, the "hotness" narrative. We have our own narrative that follows different rules.

From my experience, our narrative requires more humility, because it requires conceding that someone may like you not for your "hotness" or superficial attractiveness, but for the very things that you don't like about yourself, the ones that set you apart from all the other women/men, the ones you may be embarrassed about. It's not about attracting a crowd, but the one that God has in mind for you - the one that you will give up your life for. So it's not about looking in the mirror and getting discouraged because your physical characteristics don't match up with what the majority of men/women find attractive - it's about looking in the mirror and trusting that what God gave you is sufficient for his purposes. No, it won't serve to attract you a crowd of admirers, but it will serve to attract your spouse if that's your vocation.

It's kind of a paradigm shift to think that a man may like or express interest in you solely because he thinks he actually has a chance with you. Not in spite, but BECAUSE, of your (perceived) flaws!!!

TH2 said...

Specifically, it was "arch-nemesis". Wasn't Professor Moriarty from Scotland?

Specifically, Lonergan was a proponent "transcendental Thomism", a result of the gradual percolation of Kantianism, subtle, inexplicit, into neo-Scholastic thought, which started about 100+ years ago. Gilson sounded the alarm about this, but nobody listened. Sigh...

Seraphic said...

Oh, yes. Arch-nemesis. That was it.

There is some debate in Lonergan circles as to whether he really can be considered a so-called Transcendental Thomist. That is a label less controversially applied to Karl Rahner.

Scarlet said...

Ok, I give up. IMOMOIARP??

Woodbine said...

What's an IMOMOIARP?

Seraphic said...

Intelligent Man Of My Own Intellectual and Religious Party.