Girls! It has come to my ears that some of you are still running amok, freaking out because you are not married, kissing the wrong men every Saturday night and generally being unseraphic. What is this nonsense? Do you not realize that I have worn the letters off the keys of my laptop in my concern for you? (B.A. cannot use it anymore, and I don't remember what letter is beside the G. Thank heavens for touch-typing muscle memory.)
Why, I ask, why are you so worried about your God-given Single state? And when will you come to the conclusion that running amok does not telegraph "winsomely marriageable" to the already marriage-shy bachelors of your land?
I am particularly annoyed by the making out with the wrong men every Saturday night thing. In churchy circles, where any kind of extramarital sexual behaviour is noted and discussed, this is fatal. Besides, it puts you at an extreme disadvantage, for although making out can make you feel attached to a guy, thanks to your female chemistry, it does not necessarily make a guy feel attached to you. Occasionally I get updates from a kissing bandit, and although he does not condemn his partners in snogging, he doesn't exactly praise them to the skies. Apparently there are girls he snogs and girls he worships as goddesses, and they are never the same girls. I am unsure as to whether he ever snogs the same snoggess more than once, but I suspect not.
When I think over the many women I know who have married, who I see are women getting on with life and behaving with calm and dignity, whatever they may have felt like inside. Well, maybe not my future mother and her pal waddling down Sussex Avenue in a jokey imitation of the heavily pregnant while my future father looked out the window and wondered what on earth they were doing. But definitely the women not related to me.
Intentional! You must be intentional! This means paying strict attention to what you are like in public and reining in your irrational impulses to weep because you have just discovered that your elementary school sweetheart, whom you have not seen in a decade, has been married for two years.
Making out with a man on the first date, or within two hours of meeting him, is akin to making out with a man from your job interview panel. He might be delighted, but you're so not getting the job. And it is as irrational to weep over the marriage of your long forgotten childhood sweetheart as it is to weep over the news that some other woman got the job you wanted so badly ten years ago.
For most of us, marriage is more optional than work, in that we need to work, not to get married, to live. And therefore we tend to listen to lectures about professionalism and get advice on our resumes and how to behave during a job interview. We are less likely nowadays to listen to what older women say about presenting ourselves as marriageable. It took jet lag for me to understand how devastatingly attractive men find it to be able to talk without constant female interruption.
I remember a rather fussy male teacher warning a thirteen year old classmate of mine named Kathleen that if she kept dressing like a punker, she was going to attract only punk rock kind of guys. And Kathleen, instead of moping, cheerily said that was great because she loved punk guys.
Mr Fussy was struck dumb, but I am grateful to him for his insight. If you dress and act according to a certain set of cultural values, you are going to attract the men most in tune with those cultural values. If you dress head to toe in vintage 1940s wear, you are going to attract men who are similarly slavish about vintage. If you act like a respectable woman from 1890, you are going attract those men who behave as though it were 1890 (which is great unless you enjoy voting). If you dress and act like the Duchess of Cambridge (that is, H.R.H. Kate), you are going to attract ambitious men who fancy themselves princes (future kings of industry, perhaps) in search of a princess. If you join the army, you'll probably marry a soldier. And if you behave inconsistently, making out on Saturday night and going to Mass on Sunday, you are going to attract similarly inconsistent men.
Pick who you want to be--the you who seems the most natural fit, the you God is calling you to be--and stick to the path. Stick to it calmly, deliberately and rationally. Pay attention to the impression you are making on others, and choose kindness over attention-seeking. Acknowledge your feelings, but govern them. Few men intentionally set out to marry a drama queen.
End of sermon.
Meanwhile, it's American Thanksgiving, so spare a thought for the American Singles in the bosoms of their families. Hopefully your fellow readers are looking forward avidly to their relations' personal remarks, each reference to their Single state worth a delicious point. I am dying to see how the bingo cards work out, too.