Thursday, 8 September 2016

A Very Dangerous Woman

UGH! I have shivers. This woman is actually walking around out there.

Every Sunday I pray for my Single readers that their/your loneliness and impatience don't lead you to sin, exploitation and...well, pretty much everything in this story. 

I felt very sorry for this woman up until she began--with controlled hysteria--to show how very, very sorry she is for herself.

You may also be thinking that I should be examining my own moral standing for being party to adultery. As the daughter of a vicar, I have some background in taking social and personal morality seriously. I have adopted as a creed J B Priestley’s 1945 play An Inspector Calls, which tells of a day of reckoning for one powerful family, the Birlings. They all have variously known a vulnerable young woman, Eva Smith, that day dead by suicide. The Inspector’s purpose is to show the Birling family the cumulative effects of their individual behaviours in Eva’s life. Individually, collectively, the Birlings’ actions are responsible for deepening Eva’s vulnerability to the point of hopelessness. 

She clearly thinks she is Eva, and perhaps the Birlings are her lover's family, which includes a strong woman--who would not put up with garbagey treatment if she knew--and three children. I hope she didn't mean that innocent family and just means men in general--which is bad enough. In assigning blame for her life, she starts with her vicar father and older brothers. 

God knows it is awful to feel unsettled and unloved in your late thirties, let alone your forties. It was, of course, a lot worse to be single-at-35 before women were able to earn a decent living outside of domestic service and farming. If you're 35-and-single, you may be sad, but at least you aren't totally despised by society. Thank God. 

I write as one who was single at 35, 36 and even 37, and blogged on single issues for years. Being single and unhappy can land you in grimy situations but, even worse, it can also twist you into a kind of monster. I have written several times about "the badness of bitterness", and if some Single goes postal because he (it's usually he) is single, I write about it. Since I refuse to remember the names of mass murderers, I will remind you by link of the Health Club Shooter and this little worm. Both of them left writings full of Single self-pity. Both thought they were victims. 

Don't get me wrong: I have not lost my sympathy for Singles. I think the Sexual Revolution was simply terrible for women--and for men, too, my husband often reminds me. I think its horrible that the ancient rhythm of marriage, childbearing and grandparenting has been so violently disrupted. Men and women who don't want to have sex before marriage are in a terrible situation because current courtship rituals simply assume sex as a precursor to marriage. "What if you're not sexually compatible?" is a question the defenders of the current mores have asked me more than once, although it really makes as much sense as "What if he's a vegetarian? What if he doesn't like pickles? I love pickles!" 

To put it bluntly, if you take your pants off, you are complicit with the Sexual Revolution and are part of the problem. Sexual Revolution 1; You 0.  Of course, some men and women are lucky and they personally do not suffer any obvious negative consequences. Pimples forming the words I am in a state of mortal sin  do not appear on their foreheads. This will give the about-to-be-seriously-unlucky false hope.

The writer of the Telegraph piece has been seriously unlucky, and now holds the happiness of an innocent wife and three children in her hands. Naturally I think she should keep her mouth shut and her idly typing fingers busy doing something else. She walked into an affair with a married father of three; he didn't kidnap her. Common decency still includes saying, "But you're a married man! I'm no homewrecker, thanks."  If she does vengefully destroy her lover's marriage with her revelations, there will be three children whose attitudes to the opposite sex could be warped and tarnished forever. "My mother never forgave my father: women are unforgiving." "A woman destroyed my parents' marriage and my home life: women are evil." "My father cheated on my mother: men can't be trusted." "My father left us and got a new family: men will leave me too."

Being single can feel absolutely awful. Loneliness is horrible. Involuntary childlessness hurts a lot. However, these things are not justification for terrible behaviour. Unfortunately, a perfectly ordinary Single person is at risk of becoming a monster of selfishness thanks to self-pity and bitterness. The only cure I can think of for a Single who feels so sorry for herself that she wants to destroy a family---yes, the man is a moral weakling, but the children shouldn't know that--is to take a long hard look at herself, admit that she got herself in her abysmal situation, read what Our Lord  Jesus Christ said to the woman taken in adultery, draw a line through her past and take steps to ensure her future is different. 


  1. Just to sound a note of warning here: it is possible for a single woman in her 40s to attract hostile attention from the people around her if she looks too confident, happy or successful, or even if she seems just a little luckier than average. Men and other women are more reluctant to risk taking on married women with families. Also, I recall noticing that my most beautiful single friends were especially likely to attract negative attention, not when they were very young, but if they remained unmarried beyond the usual age.

    Alias Clio

  2. Oh yes, I can well believe that spiteful people will hit below the belt. All I meant was to highlight how much worse it used to be to be a never-married, financially dependent on a brother, perhaps. --MrsM on her new tablet.

  3. That was one of the things that Jane Austen illustrated so well in Sense and Sensibility. Although neither of its heroines was much like her, the book mirrored her own situation after her father's death rather closely. She and her mother and sister were left dependent on the random generous impulses of their brothers rather than being given a steady income by them. Her clerical brothers all allowed themselves to be talked out of doing so by their wives. Only her naval brother (I forget his name) behaved really well, with the result that naval officers come out better in her books than clergymen. Or at least that is what I remember reading in one biography. An unpleasant way to live.

    alias clio