Friday, 14 October 2016

Why I No Longer Write About Dating

This article just about sums it up. The author was horrified by what she saw, and I was horrified by what I read. The "Hollywood wax" behaviour is just so sad. I keep thinking about nineteenth century hookers and how astonished they would be. Nineteenth century hookers might have thought there was nothing that could surprise them about sexual behaviour, but if you told them how well-off 21st century women would abase themselves--without being paid a penny--the pros would have been speechless.

There wasn't much of an internet when I was a teenager. (N.B. This was in the twentieth century.) My dad worked for a university, so when I was 19 I could use his computer to call another university's computer and send him emails when he was there. There was a lot of complicated typing involved and the honking and whistling of something called "the modem." I remember I was 19 because I was writing to my parents (my dad printed off the emails) about my very social summer. Thanks to pro-life activism, I had an ever-increasing group of like-minded friends and acquaintances. Not a single one of the boys had ever seen internet p*rn because there was no internet p*rn.*

Back then, when I had finally reached the proper age group for dating and marriage, there were four types of pictorial p*rn: paper, cable TV "Pay-per-view" broadcasts, films at X-rated cinemas and videos. Videos were quite a technological revolution. It meant that p*rn consumers didn't have to face the person selling tickets or sit with a bunch of weirdos. It also meant that boys didn't have to sit in front of a blurry television trying to see what the cable station was broadcasting to subscribers.

Of course, if the boys were under 18, they were not able to go into a video store and boldly rent the stuff. However, there was always the possibility of finding their fathers' "stash", just as their fathers' generation had found their fathers' stash of magazines. That said, I gather that the stash usually took some effort to find, and the chances of someone walking in while the boys were watch the stufft, from sofa distance, on TV were probably high. Finding and consuming p*rn was something of an risk-taking adventure for teenage boys.

I cannot remember a single instance of any girl I knew confessing to watching it; we were the market for erotic novels. Erotic novels were supremely easy to get. I read part of Princess Daisy at Girl Guide camp and never thought of walk-in closets in the same way ever again.  It never occurred to me that women would want to watch pornography, so when a reader got mad at me for heaping shame on the heads of women who do, I realized I was terribly out of touch with contemporary female sexual problems.

Back when I was 19, young women shaved our legs and underarms (or melted the hair off with a product called "Neet"), and some of us waxed our "bikini lines". There was much more modesty of speech among young women at that time. "Bikini line" waxing was considered advisable before wearing swim suits. The idea of returning our "personal parts" to their pre-pubescent state was considered disgusting.

As I was running around with a rosary-praying Catholic crowd, sex was completely off the table for the unmarried. I imagine there was a lot of "How far can we go?" worrying and negotiation for others as there was for me although no girl breathed a word about it except in the confessional. (There may have been some locker room talk among the denser of the boys. In those days boys didn't feel comfortable telling the girls about it.)  We knew that we were in a minority, but as this was Canada, which then was about 49% Catholic, we were a big minority--at least culturally. And everybody knew (or should have known, I grumbled) that the Catholic Church taught that premarital sex was a Serious Sin. Occasionally a priest even said so.

This is the context to my dating life, dear cherubs. Just imagine. The men of my generation did not see internet porn until they were in their twenties. It did not form their sexual expectations. Also, "No thanks, I'm Catholic" made almost as much cultural sense then as "No thank, I'm Muslim" does today (for girls). Naturally instead of being humbled into chastity and admiration, 99% of suitors fled.

Young people did not carry around mobile phones. There was no texting. If you wanted to ask a boy out, you had to ask him to his face, call him up or write him a note. Naturally, this was the feminist thing to do. My mother thought women should sit tight and wait for men to ask, which I now think too. Eventually you develop a radar for which men have a crush on you if you weren't born knowing.

For a highly informative artifact of what dating was like in the 1990s, please see The Rules, which was considered quite the counter-revolution but actually made complete sense. It was a great resource for my dating advice until I found out about Tinder. Tinder broke me, people. If marriage-aged men can get sex from attractive marriage-aged women as easily as they can get dinner at McDonald's, dating is dead. It's time for arranged marriages.

Well, I am mostly kidding about arranged marriages. However, I do think limiting what we called "the dating pool" to those people most likely to share your most cherished values is the only way to go. For the majority of my readers, this means doing your level best to get your post-secondary education at those Catholic colleges that are actually Catholic or to find work among graduates of those schools. Of course, such circles are small, so you must not act like Scarlett O'Hara but be sensitive, reasonable and not gossip about your suitors.

Another possibility--I see I am writing about dating despite the title of this post--is to figure out who the Singles are at daily mass or the TLM (EF) and to get to know them. If they are trads and you are a girl, sit tight and smile, but wait for the guy to make what he thinks is the first move. Actually, you will have made the first move--as women have usually done--by being approachable or going right up to him to chat after Mass, but he will think he has made the first move, which is pretty crucial in trad circles.

Amusingly, I know traddy Singles--male and female--who have gone to the local SSPX chapel just to see what their Singles look like. Perhaps there has been much exaggeration, but it would seem that the Scottish SSPX men are a tough lot, with scars on their close-cropped heads telling of bar fights and smashed bottles. Personally, I have profited from the Anglicans fleeing "progress" to the bosom of Holy Mother Church, so consider disgruntled Piskie circles as potential dating pools. You may have to put up with a lot of complaining about women-on-the-altar, however.

In conclusion: Benedictine Option. At least, I think so. I haven't read the book yet.  But don't settle. Don't marry the first decent Catholic guy who comes along if you realize he is a dead bore. It's not fair on him; it's not fair on you. Some other girl (possibly also a dead bore) will see in him her heart's desire, and they will be happy and boring together.

*Actually, fallen  human nature being what it is, there was probably internet p*rn as soon as there was any internet whatsoever, but presumably only a few professors/scientists/military personnel could see it.

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