I hate complex guys. Or rather, no, I don't. Alas. When I look back at the blasted heath of my dating life, I see a lot of complex men, most of them very well-read in philosophy. A lot of them are now academics, successful or failed. Instead of having a single-minded pursuit of woman, family, money and house, their thoughts were all over the place. Plato, Aristotle, Hegel, Heidegger, Kristeva, Deleuze, Foucault, Derrida... The more pretentious, by which I mean the less bright, read De Bono and that awful tick whats-his-name. In the pop philosophy section at W.H. Smith. Not Mark Kingswell or Alain de Botton, whose "Consolations of Philosophy".I rather liked. Some pseud or other. Not Dario Fo, but some name like Fo. No doubt I am blocking the memory because his fan, though mesmerizing, was so unpleasant. Anyway, these guys did not get their heads together, if they ever did get them together, before age 28.
How happy I am that I dated someone nice in the hard sciences before I married former philosophy lecturer B.A. (Fortunately I met B.A. when he was in a single-minded pursuit of the Catholic Life, so his thoughts were very concentrated.) The scientist was complex, too, though, because he was not sure what he wanted. If I had to guess, I'd guess he just wants to be a nice God-fearing bachelor scientist of the sort that used to employ a housekeeper. There are not a lot of contemporary models for this way of life. Fortunately he is in Germany where it is totally unprofessional for colleagues to pry into your personal life or assume single = gay.
Anyway, I am pondering Simple versus Complex because a reader wrote in about a guy who would ask her out and then avoid her and then ask her out again and then not text for a week, etc. He told her that she was beautiful and wonderful, and he didn't want to jump into things, and he would really like to be good friends for now. Later, after she pointed out she wants to date men, not just hang out, he texted her to say he was not romantically interested in her. She's disappointed, although I am not sure why, as he seems rather addlepated to me. For one thing, he does not know what he wants to do in life, etc., etc. That must have made picking majors rather difficult. I shouldn't say this on such little evidence, but I bet he's in philosophy.
"Good friends for now" rang a little bell in my brain because I had a reader who had a crush on a guy who went with her everywhere at college, although she never heard a word from him during summer holidays, and when she asked him about romance he said "Just friends for now." Well, he turned out to be gay, so now when readers tell me young men act like their shadows but insist on "just friends for now", I get suspicious. However, in this case, I don't think the young man has deep-seated SSA (although presumably 2 out of every 100 Catholic guys do indeed have them). I think he honestly doesn't know what he wants from girls. You know, I bet he isn't even complex. I bet he is just addled by the culture of choice.
Part of the problem of the post-war generations is too much choice, or (often) the illusion of too much choice. I doubt anyone asked my dad where he wanted to go to school. He was packed off to the same boarding school as his brother and told by the pre-Arrupe Jesuits how to be. If I remember this correctly, he won a scholarship to X sponsored by his father's company. That determined where he went to university. (There were no girls at this university.) He then won a scholarship to Y, so off he went to Y. Then he won a scholarship in Canada, so off he went to Canada. He met my mother there, and if it is true that it was love-at-first-sight for old Dad, as one of his pals told me 20 years later, he didn't have much choice there either. It's really lucky he wasn't called up and sent to Vietnam, something else that would not have been a choice.
All that said, my father--whom I personally consider the greatest catch of the twentieth century--did not marry until he was 29. TWENTY-NINE. And my mother was 23. TWENTY-THREE. Six year age difference! And you know what? I think you Searching Single youngsters should give the men your age who don't seem to know what they want in life a miss and try to meet men who are up to six years older. Because if you are under 25, chances are that the men your age do not know what they want in life yet. They are befuddled by so much choice or, with easy credit and tempting student loans and Catholic dating sites, the illusion of choice. Or they are so focused on their career path, they can't think about girls right now--unless THE girl suddenly appears. And almost never is this girl you.
Naturally you will worry, as girls have always worried, that older guys = unchaste guys, but that is not necessarily the case. You can't know unless you meet them and talk to them.
Well, what do you think? Is the way to cope with today's men-so-spoiled-for-choice-they-don't-know-what-they-want is to pass them by and intentionally meet older Single men, men who have already made bold choices that have determined the direction of their lives?
And, incidentally, do you think it would be better for parents to order their kids what to study at university? Is planning their kids' careers a responsibility parents ought to have?
Finally, remember Shakespeare's immortal words:
Sigh not so, but let them go,
and be you blithe and bonny,
converting all your sighs of woe
into hey nonny nonny!
Update: ONE HUNDRED READERS bought Ceremony of Innocence! Whee! Would Number 100 like to take a bow? Thank you all so much. Where I would be without my "Seraphic Singles" readers I can't imagine. Believe me, readers have given me as much as I have given readers, if not more.