Wednesday, 19 March 2014
Saint Joseph embodied many masculine virtues: prudence, obedience to God, strength, work, provision, protection of children and of women from harm, fatherhood, silence. In the Gospel narratives, we hear nothing from Saint Joseph after Our Lord is born. It is Our Lady who speaks for Saint Joseph, the head of the Holy Family, to Our Lord after they find Him in the Temple. Joseph's silence does not close him off from others; when we first hear of it, he uses it to shield his apparently disgraced fiancée.
It can be very difficult for some men to be silent. The hallmark of a gentleman, which is to say a man who has perfect command over himself, is that he will fall silent to allow women and children to speak and even to listen seriously to what we and they say. And I am very grateful to those men readers, formerly called Eavesdroppers, who managed to read this blog in respectful silence, acknowledging the comments box as a women-only zone.
Of course, women are often impatient with men's silence, and this is our fault. For many, if not most, women, speech is a balm, a healing oil that soothes the burns, scratches and cuts of life. Our feelings weigh upon our hearts and the most efficient way to relieve our hearts is to ease our feelings out of our mouths with the healing balm of words. Responding to these words with words, the right words, is how women care for one another, create bonds, restore friendships. This is so important to us that we often shy away from women who don't know how to do this, and we forget over and over again that this way is not men's way. What most girls instinctively learn in the schoolyard, most men need three years in the seminary--or thirty years of marriage--to master. Most men show care differently, wordlessly.
There are many reasons why so many of you are Single now, and why I did not remarry (I had an early marriage, divorce and annulment) until I was thirty-eight. Some have to do with historical circumstances, guaranteed. Some may have something to do with character. And some may have to do with the tendency of men and women not to understand each other. And this is why I think it is time to ask for male readers to contribute to our discussions: they have probably learned a lot from us over the past few years, and now we can learn from them. As even cloistered nuns receive letters and visits from men who request advice and prayers, even Serious Single women may profit.
And now without further ado, here are two kind responses to the theme I set yesterday. Thank you very much, gentlemen.
What Single Men Wish Single Women Knew About Them
1. NCBs HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU’RE THINKING
They don’t know if you’rre interested in them. They don’t know if you’re lonely. They’re not sure if you’re happy or sad, and they don’t know how to change your mood. To many NCBs, the emotions of NCGs are a black box. Who knows what should go in, or what will come out?
NCBs and NCGs fail to realize that men and women use words differently.Men use words as a means to an end. They figure out how they feel, and they use their verbal skills (such as they may be) to explain those feelings as clearly and fully as they can. Women use words as part of a journey. Words elicit words from others; feelings are shared; reactions are gauged; and in the end, the speaker arrives at an emotional state that is enmeshed in the broader context of social relationships.
This phenomenon makes no sense to men. All they see is that women say one thing and mean another. They cannot fathom the process. A man says “I don’t want to get married soon” and a woman scrutinizes the statement as though it were the latest revelation from the Dead Sea Scrolls. A woman says “It’s okay – I don’t need an anniversary present this year,” and a man thinks, “well – okay then!” And he cannot understand why you’re angry at him forbelieving you .NCBs will take you too literally. You won’t take them literally enough.
--L [whose Seraphic Singles combox name shall now be Leo--SS]
2. WE ARE ALLIES
The first thing Single ladies must know about Single Gentlemen is that we are fundamentally allies in striving for goodness and wholesome living and good taste. The World (as it is called in St. John's Gospel) hates manly virtue in men as much as it hates womanly virtue in women. You can tell a true gentleman by that he will never seek to compromise you. A Gentleman delights in Lady.
The second thing that Single ladies must know about Single gentlemen is that we're all different. Some of us are tall, dark, and handsome; some are shorter and stouter. Some are engineers and some farmers and some are academics. Some of us have long hair. (Think Captain Jack Aubrey on The Far Side of the World.)
And lastly, one owes a Single gentleman as-such nothing beyond charity (ordinary, philosophic, Christian charity): if a Single gentleman seems to be after your heart, you are perfectly within your rights to insist he win it, or send him marching home. A true Gentleman rejoices in a challenge to rise against! (and he will in time recover should fate conspire against his present hopes).
The combox is open. Everyone may ask everyone respectful questions. All answers must also be respectful.