When “traditional” means socially awkward.

As I’ve covered in recent posts*, Focus on the Family (FotF) teaches that in order for men and women to marry men must first approach women and boldly state their romantic intentions.  The woman’s job is to wait around for men to formally approach her and declare their intentions, and then decide which men she wants to allow to take her on a date.  As FotF’s Director of Family Formation studies complains, this isn’t happening (emphasis mine):

At lunch with some colleagues the other day, some of the women—ladies in their 20s—were discussing how rare it is for men their age to step up, approach any feminine peers, and ask for a date, much less show any interest that could be seen as a move toward romance…

It’s passivity, not toxicity, that is the real male problem today. Ask any young woman how she vets all the nice young men who approach to decide who will advance to the bonus round of an actual date. She will ask if you rewind your VHS tapes before returning them to Blockbuster, or just pay the fee.

The problem with this obsession is not only is it totally out of step with current culture, it isn’t in line with how social interactions work in the first place.  Every day we interact with the people around us in subtle but meaningful ways.  Think about your best friends.  How did you come to meet them and become friends?  Did they boldly approach you and declare their intention to become your best friend?

Hi I’m Glenn Stanton, and I want to be your best friend!  Don’t worry if you don’t want to be my friend right away, I just know I’ll win you over!  Will you have dinner with me tonight?

This is the epitome of terrible social skills.  If someone approaches you this way chances are you will feel initially repulsed, although that may change to compassion as you recognize the nature of their affliction.  Other times it won’t come off as awkward, but as suspicious.  What is this weirdo after?  Is he trying to rob or con me? 

There are of course exceptional situations where the approach wouldn’t feel awkward or creepy.  If the man introducing himself as your new best friend is effortlessly cool, owns a great boat and has access to the best hunting and fishing land around, chances are you will think to yourself what a genuinely friendly fellow!  But this is a corner case, an exception to the rule.

In real life we are constantly meeting and evaluating people in a multitude of ways.  There is no formal path to friendship because it isn’t how real social interactions work.  We meet people and strike up conversations, and if there are common interests we learn that organically.  Most of these interactions aren’t particularly consequential, and very few turn into true friendships.  But the ones that matter end up mattering a great deal.  We just don’t tend to know that up front when we are making a first impression.  The women complaining to Stanton are being evaluated by potential husbands on a regular basis, but either aren’t making much of an impression on these men or are being quietly rejected by the men as not a good candidate for marriage.  Stanton pretends the women are all fabulous potential wives, and that there is nothing they could do or change to make themselves more attractive to the men they are failing to attract.  He says the problem with the women who are failing to attract husbands is they are just so awesome that men are too intimidated by their perfection:

The social opportunities open to women today are making them better catches and thus increasingly intimidating to too many young adult males, who approximate a mole.

This is a cruel lie.

This doesn’t mean that a society can’t have accepted rules about courtship, but that isn’t what is going on.  Modern Christians are pretending that a specific set of social conventions are in place, with the implicit claim that these conventions are from God.  Neither is true, and as a result they are throwing stumbling blocks between men and women at a time when it is already difficult for them to meet and marry.

This isn’t about the Bible or an agreed upon social convention.  It is about a group of people trying to rework the culture to the conventions of a stunted love-struck teenager.  For what else is the courtly love model that they are basing this “tradition” upon?  Consider the first 7 stages of courtly love:

Stages of courtly love
(Adapted from Barbara W. Tuchman)[41]

  • Attraction to the lady, usually via eyes/glance
  • Worship of the lady from afar
  • Declaration of passionate devotion
  • Virtuous rejection by the lady
  • Renewed wooing with oaths of virtue and eternal fealty
  • Moans of approaching death from unsatisfied desire (and other physical manifestations of lovesickness)
  • Heroic deeds of valor which win the lady’s heart

I don’t mean to be cruel to stunted teenagers.  They are suffering as it is, and hopefully they will go on to live happy well adjusted lives.  But we can’t mine their fantasies for wisdom on how Christian men and women should meet and marry.  To do this is cruel to everyone, especially the stunted teenagers who are most taken in by the fantasy.

H/T Novaseeker

*See Also:

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Posted in Courtly Love, Death of courtship, Finding a Spouse, Focus on the Family, Glenn Stanton, The only real man in the room, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Weak men screwing feminism up | 114 Comments

Feminine wiles

Commenter Joe describes how his wife used her feminine wiles to get his attention 32 years ago:

[I went] to a singles class thinking that I’d find a girl to my liking to marry. And I did. Actually, she found me there. Even though she remembers her first day sitting next to me, I’ve no recollection of that. I just remember her butting into one of my conversations. Her first words to me were “I’ll help you”. This was another month or two after her first day. Until she spoke to me, I didn’t know she existed. Bottom line: she showed an interest. So I let her help me. She painted the inside of my rent house all day with me. She specifically pointed out how she was dressed that day ( old T-shirt and jogging shorts) as if to apologize for looking so scruffy. Buy hey, we were just painting. And I found her little shorts and tight old t-shirt quite fetching LOL. Still do 32 years later!

The thing is, if one hot woman in the group had noticed what a catch Joe was, all of the women in the group had to have noticed the same thing.  This was a Christian singles class, so all of the women there were ostensibly looking for a husband.  Fortunately for Joe’s wife, the other women were waiting for him to boldly declare his desire to take them on a paid date with the hope of courting them for marriage.  Joe’s (now) wife wasn’t about to stand back and let one of those bitches steal her man.

The reality of course is that all but the most clueless Christian women eventually figure this out, which is why we see so many women suddenly marrying in their 30s and even early 40s.  The women who marry late in life didn’t suddenly get thinner, prettier, or sweeter.  Nor did their options suddenly improve.  Their options in fact got worse over time, as smart women like Joe’s wife poached all of the best prospects, leaving the slowpokes to duke it out for the leftovers.

I had NO IDEA who she was! Never laid eyes on her before.
All I could see was that she was a 5’10” brown eyed 125lb stunner. So “yeah sure you can come help”!!
Turns out she was and still is a VERY hard worker.

We still laugh about that day and how she showed herself off to me so obviously and the tension between us.

As obvious as it was, it was also deniable had nothing come of it.  Here was a Christian sister offering to help a brother in Christ.  It would be different if she made a habit of doing this for all of the attractive men in the group, which is why it is important for a woman to learn her SMV/MMV as quickly as possible so she can aim high, but not too high.

Posted in Beautiful truth, Death of courtship, Finding a Spouse | 84 Comments

Raising her right

Football is clearly one of the main areas of focus in feminist mopping up activities.  It was one of the final socially acceptable male spaces, so it is only natural that feminists feel compelled to fully mark it as feminine.  The Pizza Hut ad below combines territory marking with ban bossy.  Forget a gentle and quiet spirit. Good parents raise their daughters to be as loud and cartoonishly masculine as possible.  From the Ispot desciption of the ad embedded below:

When a family of Steelers fans sits down to watch the game, the daughter gets a little too into it, screaming and ripping up a pizza box after an Antonio Brown touchdown. Pizza Hut says it’s more than just pizza, it’s that moment you realize you’ve raised your daughter right.

Posted in Ban Bossy, Commercials, Feminist Territory Marking, Moxie, Ugly Feminists | 37 Comments

She did her part, but the man didn’t man up.

As I’ve noted in my last two posts, Lisa Anderson of Focus on the Family teaches modern Christian women that “actively pursuing marriage” means:

  • Praying for a husband.
  • Talking about wanting a husband.
  • Waiting for her godly man to show up and answer her prayers.

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.

Of course, in their “season of singleness” while waiting for God to send them Mr. Right, modern Christian women are forced to focus on becoming independent career women.  And who can blame them if they find themselves riding the carousel to pass the time?  They don’t want to follow the feminist script, mind you, they just have no choice.  They have to wait for God to send them their husband.  They are simply too traditional to do anything else.

This reminded me of a story I shared a little over a year ago about Gladys Aylward.  After converting in her late twenties, Aylward decided to travel from Britain to China as a missionary*.  Some time after she followed Focus on the Family’s advice to Christian women who want to marry.  She started praying for a British husband, and no doubt talked about how much she wanted one.  Then she waited for the man to travel from England to China to find her.  But as Dr. John Piper explains, the problem with the plan was the man she prayed for failed to man up:

“Miss Aylward talked to the Lord about her singleness. She was a no-nonsense woman in very direct and straightforward ways and she asked God to call a man from England, send him straight out to China, straight to where she was, and have him propose to me.” I can’t forget the next line. Elisabeth Elliot said, “With a look of even deeper intensity, she shook her little bony finger in my face and said, ‘Elisabeth, I believe God answers prayer. And he called him.’” And here there was a brief pause of intense whisper. She said, “‘He called him, and he never came.’”

Now, that experience, I would guess, is not unique to Gladys Aylward.

*You can read more about Aylward’s story here and here.

Posted in Aging Feminists, Dr. John Piper, Focus on the Family, Lisa Anderson, Traditional Conservatives, Turning a blind eye, Weak men screwing feminism up | 137 Comments

Empowered to avoid responsibility.

In her book The Dating Manifesto: A Drama-Free Plan for Pursuing Marriage with Purpose, Lisa Anderson explains why she didn’t start considering marriage until she was 30.   As she recognizes (to a degree), her story is a feminist cliché.  As a girl she was “intoxicated” with the idea of being a woman on her own, living a life of “freedom and joie de vivre”.  Moreover, her feminist mindset was repeatedly encouraged by the adults around her:

Sadly, as I immersed myself in girl power at school, I received little at church and beyond to counter it. Most of the well-meaning couples in my parent’s circle saw no reason to question my trajectory toward worlldly success; many of them outright supported it. I was told… to focus on my education and career. Here are a few of the mantras I commonly received–see if any of them sound familiar:

“Make sure you can support yourself; it’s a tough world out there!”

“You’re so smart; you don’t want to waste your intelligence [implied: by getting married too soon].”

“We’re expecting big things from you.”

You have your whole life ahead of you–have fun while you can!”

“Relax; marriage will happen when it happens.”

“I wish I’d had all the opportunities you have.”

As she was taught, she expected marriage to “just happen” for her, and her only focus was making sure it didn’t happen too soon.  She contrasts this with her mother’s mindset:

…my mom finished college, but marriage was a next step. It was always a priority. It was talked about, planned for, and expected. She didn’t mess around when she spotted my dad; she got busy.

She is right, the difference is stark.  She was empowered to focus on everything but marriage.  This empowerment depended on the pretense that she wasn’t responsible for finding a husband.  This would “just happen”, and her greatest fear was allowing it to happen too soon.  Her mother on the other hand felt responsible to make it happen.

This is where the modern Christian obsession with an idealized form of dating comes in.  It reinforces the same feminist message Anderson received as a girl and young woman, but it sounds traditional.  As I quoted before from an interview with Anderson on the topic (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.

This is what Focus On The Family’s expert on the subject is telling Christian women!

Notice that for modern Christian women, women who are awash in the same feminist temptations and mantras that Anderson was, being proactive about marriage means talking about wanting to marry, and waiting to be asked out and won over by her future husband.  Unlike Anderson’s mother, the modern Christian woman is told that her job isn’t to try to find a husband.  It is the man’s job to find her and win her over.  This of course is what we see in practice from young Christian women as they follow the same feminist script Anderson followed.  They talk about wanting marriage while waiting for the man of their dreams to make it happen (but only once they have achieved all of their feminist credentials).  Of course this naturally devolves into complaining about men:

Where have all of the good men gone?

What is wrong with men?

Why won’t they step up, state their intention to court me for marriage, and ask me on a paid date?

But some women are sharper than others, and sooner or later they figure out that if they want a particular man they need to do something other than sit around and bitch about not being married.  They do like Anderson’s mother did and use their feminine wiles to snag their man before another woman beats them to it.

Internalizing a sense of responsibility for finding a husband helps women in other ways, beyond just out competing the clueless complaining squad.  Much of the problem is that the women don’t have an accurate sense of their own marriage market value, or league.  They have been told repeatedly by Christian leaders that they are incredibly beautiful, and their moxie and girlpower makes them a catch.  The problem (they are repeatedly told) is that the men they deserve are failing to man up and ask them out.  As a result they typically have a greatly inflated sense of their own prospects with no way to get real world feedback.  The lack of fantasy dates isn’t taken as unrealistic standards, but yet more proof that something is mysteriously wrong with men.

If on the other hand a woman goes against modern Christian teaching and thinks like Anderson’s mother did, she has a way to get real world feedback on her own attractiveness.  She can subtly indicate interest to the kind of men she thinks would be a match for her, men she is attracted to.  If her standards are too high and the man isn’t interested, or is only interested if fornication is on the table, her ego is bruised but she has retained deniability in her expression of interest.  As her over inflated ego is reduced to reality, eventually she will be able to feel attraction for the kind of man who wants to marry her.  Internalizing responsibility creates a mechanism for her to both get real world feedback on her self perception, and for her to be able to become attracted to the kind of man she can attract for marriage.

See Also:  Feminine wiles

Posted in Aging Feminists, Death of courtship, Finding a Spouse, Focus on the Family, Lisa Anderson, Traditional Conservatives, Weak men screwing feminism up | 45 Comments