The problem with conservationism is that it isn’t rooted in anything real, anything solid. This leaves conservatives grasping for anything they can claim as “traditional” in opposition to the current culture, while taking care not to do anything that would be considered offensive to current culture. One quite comical example of this is Dennis Prager’s pretzel logic on gender bending*. Prager isn’t a bigot, so he is all for a man deciding he is a woman, or vice versa. But Prager is a traditionalist, and tradition requires that men have men’s names, and women have women’s names. This applies equally to men who declare that they are women, and vice versa. You are whatever you say you are, so long as you choose a name that fits. To do otherwise would blur gender distinctions:
When Bruce Jenner came out as a woman, he/she took a female name, Caitlyn. Once he presented himself to the world as a woman, Jenner thought being called Bruce would be confusing and inappropriate. Rabbi Silverstein could have taken a male name — if only, for example, by shortening “Becky” to “Beck.” Had the rabbi done so, I would never have cited this example.
Retaining a distinctly female name while being called a man represents a desire to blur gender distinctions — which is all I care about in this matter,
Modern Christians do something similar with dating. The goal is to conserve something they are sure must be God’s plan, and must have been the way men and women met and married in times past. This doesn’t come from the Bible though, it comes from chivalry/courtly love. As I noted yesterday, Lisa Anderson’s book on finding a spouse is titled The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage with Purpose. Dating is a key part of Anderson’s solution to delayed marriage. And this dating must be “intentional”, as the Bible commands (emphasis mine):
Marriage is a good thing, and biblical, intentional dating is a great way to get there. But it takes work. And that work should start earlier rather than later. Learn from my mistakes on that one, folks.
To Anderson, seeking marriage means men ask women out on paid dates, and women wait to be asked on paid dates (emphasis mine):
HOW DO YOU ENCOURAGE YOUNG ADULTS TO ACTIVELY PURSUE MARRIAGE, INSTEAD OF PASSIVELY ASSUMING THAT IT WILL JUST HAPPEN “SOMEDAY” OR “EVENTUALLY”?
I believe marriage is an intentional pursuit. It begins by praying boldly for marriage and your future spouse. It involves preparation and growing into mature adulthood so you’re in a position to marry. And finally, it’s an active search. For men, this means literally finding women of character (Prov. 18:22) and asking them out. For women, it means being open to marriage, talking about our desire for it, and accepting offers of dates from eligible, godly men. For both sexes, this means getting out of our comfort zones, managing expectations while still holding high standards for the things that matter (walk with Jesus, maturity, emotional health), and building a community around us that will help us through the process.
Anderson reinforces the importance of the courtly love/paid date model in the following youtube video:
All of this is required if we are going to get back to the dating mores of the glorious 1950s, a time before hookup culture, when women sat around waiting for men to declare their intentions and take them out on paid dates!
I did a bit of skimming from the parts of her book that are available for preview on Amazon. She offers her mother’s experience at finding a husband in the 1950s in contrast to what she experienced. Except she doesn’t notice that her own parents “courtship” bore no resemblance to the myth. Instead, it happened the way that Cane Caldo and I have said this usually happens. As it turns out, her mother actively pursued her father, overcoming his initial rejection of her:
My mom’s story is something you’d expect from someone who got married in the 1950s. She met my dad in college, stalked him at a few basketball games, went to a senior banquet, and he popped the question. They got married, started out dirt poor, built a life together, started having kids, became dirt poor again, and before they knew it, they had fifty years together.
“I don’t know why it’s so difficult for you,” she tells me with a frown. “When I met your dad, I just knew.” Of course, she conveniently omits the fact that my dad wouldn’t even date her at first. She was from Conneticut; he was from a small farm town in northern Minnesota. She arrived as the new girl on their Chicago campus with her powdered face, red lips, and kitten heels. My dad was convinced she was unsaved and didn’t give her a second look except to hope that she would attend the next citywide revival and meet the Lord. Her friend did the requisite reconnaissance to determine my dad’s misgivings, and within a week my mom was makeup-free and looking substantially more spiritual and demure. With that minor issue resolved, her road to the altar was blissfully unencumbered.
To clarify, I’m not against dating. I’m also not against a culture defining traditional rules of courtship. What I’m against is declaring something essential, and from God that is neither. Moreover, what modern Christians are doing with the dating myth is erecting unneeded barriers to men and women who are already struggling to meet and marry. We are adding a false level of formality that only gets in the way. We may as well teach that women who want to marry need to wear poodle skirts, and men must slick their hair back, don leather jackets and play a neato doo wop song on the jukebox to show they are serious about marriage.
- A challenge to traditionalists
- *Real men* confess their love to the gas station attendant.
- The wages of wooing.
- Weak men screwing the sexual revolution up.
- What a setup looks like.
- She isn’t getting enough dates.
*H/T Red Pill Latecomer