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Marriage and Womanhood

February 8, 2010

This blog is a complement to Msgr. Pope’s January 4th blog, Marriage and Manhood. There, he laid out some ground rules for men concerning marriage. Fabulous blog, in my opinion!

As a follow-up, I felt the need to encourage women to do their part as well. So with my own experiences and the input of a single marriage-minded man, I’ve compiled this list.

1) If you are interested in attracting a man, look the part: choose feminine dresses over androgynous pants; fitted contours over ill-fitting clothes; enhancing colors over plain blacks; natural, youthful makeup over heavy, concealing makeup; and always choose a smile over a blank stare or a scowl.

2) Never ask a guy out! If he is interested and is a real man, he will ask you out. If he doesn’t ask you out, he either isn’t interested or isn’t a real man. This point could not be more clear or more important.

3) Do not have an intimate friendship with a man who is not dating you. If you are hoping that someday he will date you, it’s very unlikely. (Sorry, Taylor Swift.) This can also be a red flag that this man does not have intimate friendships with other men. This is a problem since men need other men to be real men.

4) Ok so you’re on your first date, and this guy starts sounding an awful lot like your ex…give him a chance! If you start projecting your ex’s worst characteristics on this new guy, you are inviting your own disappointment. Each man is unique, so give him the respect he deserves. It has been said that a man’s desire for respect is comparable to a woman’s desire to be cherished.

5) Once a man initiates a friendship, continue letting him pursue you as you get to know each other. Let him plan the dates. Let him pick you up. Let him pay. Let him set the pace. Let him be the first to use the words relationship, dating, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Follow his lead, and don’t make assumptions.

6) Dress modestly and act chastely. Despite what television and commercials tell you, seduction is entirely unnecessary! Your beauty and the fact that you are a female is enough.

7) If a relationship doesn’t work out, don’t let that affect your relationship with God or your appreciation of yourself as a woman. (I just got on a proud-to-be-a-Catholic-woman kick. Above my bed is a recently-purchased painting of the Blessed Mother and baby Jesus, and on my bedside table is my rosary and my current pile of books: “The Privilege of Being a Woman” (von Hildebrand), “Woman” (Stein), “Theology of the Body for Beginners” (West), “Graced and Gifted” (Hahn), “Introduction to the Devout Life” (de Sales), and “The Soul of Elizabeth Seton” (Dirvin). This is new venture for me, but I can tell you that so far it’s been entirely enriching!)

Try all 7 of these guidelines, and let me know how it works for you! And if you’ve been grazing in one pasture for a while, try a new one! God never promised that your future husband would live within a 20 miles radius.

God bless your journey toward marriage!

“When one finds a worthy wife, her value is far beyond pearls.” Proverbs 31:10

Comments (38)

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  1. Katherine G ERT says:

    It also pays to be a prude once IN relationships. I have found the good men are the ones who respect me for waiting. I don’t agree with men setting the pace though on a few aspects. I agree that if a man really wants and respects you, then he will be the one to initiate if it’s a relationship, whether you are his girlfriend, etc. But I have been in relationships where men thought that if they had all the power of where things were going that that meant they could push where sex was going, too. If a woman is in control of some things of where things are going, this can be avoided. Usually.

    I am also not your typical woman. I dress for me, not for men. By dressing for me, I don’t imply that I am not modest. I am modest, but if I want to wear sweatpants and no makeup to run errands, then I do that. I am very independent, and I have no problems with being the first one to talk to a guy (rather than him approaching me). If I don’t date the guy, I have at least gained a cool new friend. I don’t go with the hook-up culture that is the norm in my profession, but I will say it is very hard to date someone outside of the profession, because they don’t understand the long hours, or the things I might see. They don’t understand that a lot of times I don’t want to talk about what I see, and I don’t want them treating it like the elephant in the room, either.

    My independence has been a problem for some of the men I’ve dated, and also my profession has been a problem. But, that only tells me that I need to up my standards, and date men who will accept me for me. Unfortunately, those are rather hard to come by.

    Great post, Laura, and I hope to get to see you and talk with you more at young adult events!

    • Laura Ferstl says:

      Hi Katherine,

      Thanks for joining the conversation! Obviously, women should take a stand when it comes to morality and respect. A woman should end a relationship with a guy that disrespects her or invites her into immorality. (And vice versa.)

      Keep serving in your profession! And have no doubt that there are good men out there!

      ~Laura

  2. Bender says:

    Never, ever ask a guy out! If he is interested and is a real man, he will ask you out.

    In other words, play games with him. Don’t bother to be open and honest. Make him have to read your mind to determine if you are interested before he will ask you out.

    • Laura Ferstl says:

      Hi Bender,

      I don’t know what you mean by “playing games”. However, I could have added the importance of body language and flirtation (which should be reserved only for guys we are interested in…there seems to be far too much non-directional flirting going on).

      Have you ever seen “the look”? Most guys can spot it a mile away, and most women certainly know how to use it 🙂

      Is there a risk in asking a girl out? Yes. She might say no. Move on! God has someone else in mind for you!

      ~Laura

    • Carlos says:

      Bender, as a guy, I completely understand what you mean. In fact, I agree to an extent. It is very frustrating when you don’t know if she likes you even a little bit or would be somewhat open to at least giving some thought to saying yes to a date. Ladies can even use technology in this regard: we’re all on Facebook now, so she can easily stalk him 😀 She can read his posts, comment on them, “like” them, bring them up when they talk in person… He’d better notice her by now! Ok, kind of topic, should’ve posted as a reply to http://blog.adw.org/2009/07/marriage-can-wait/comment-page-1/#comment-688 instead…

      That being said, Laura and Msgr. Pope (and a whole lot of other people before them) are right. I’m awful at taking hints, I truly am, but what they say is even biblical: if woman came from man’s rib, man’s gotta go get his rib back. It doesn’t work the other way around. So with or without hints, with or without games, with or without frustrations from chasing ribs that aren’t our own, we have to keep going.

      Picture it this way: would you rather have your future wife telling “no” to guys or hearing “no” from guys?

      • Laura Ferstl says:

        If a man is really attracted to a woman and he really really wants to go out with her, why would he feel frustrated if he doesn’t know 100% if she likes him beforehand? Does a person not start a game unless he or she knows they are going to win?? Does a person not take a interview unless he or she knows they are going to get the job?? No! It’s the competition and the risk and the confidence to push forward that is so valuable!

      • Carlos says:

        Laura, true to an extent. You don’t apply for a job if you know you’re not going to be accepted. You might not know that you certainly will get the job, but at least you know you have a chance. Asking for a date is like submitting your resume, and the date is the interview.
        In the end, I think it goes back to your first question. It’s not necessarily that she has to like him, but at least that she’s open to considering it. Bring him for an interview, that’s all! You talk about risk; how about the risk she didn’t take by not saying yes?

  3. Vonna says:

    Sounds good, but I think you overlooked something, besides just a well intentioned outfit and make-up, I think attention to prayer and perhaps a novena to a personal favored Saint isn’t far off base and should be part of the plan. I believe that God has a hand in our lives and He helps those who help themselves. I prayed a daily novena to my personal favored Saint (St. Anthony) in my young adult life for finding a mate and spouse that would be a strong, marriage minded Catholic, and I thank God that my husband’s mother was praying the same novena to St. Anthony for her sons to find devout, marriage minded, young Catholic women for her sons. We (my husband and I, in a very unique way) found each other and I know that God and St. Anthony made that reality in my life. So please young women in today’s world don’t discount the power of prayer in your personal life!

  4. Don Altabello says:

    Good points, Laura. I saw some women commenting on the “points for men” post, so I hope nobody will mind if a man posts here.

    I’ll just add that on the appearance side, the same applies to men as well (writing under a psuedonym, but I am a man). If I am going down the hill to Starbucks, things can be a little loose, but wherever there is general social interaction, I make a distinct effort to be well dressed, shaven, and groomed. Also, it is a fairly hard and fast rule that men like to be the pursuers. It may be seen as overly-aggressive (or needy) if a woman makes the first verbal move. But, yes, “looks” are good things.

    As far as paying and setting the plans goes, perhaps this should be more a man’s responsibility. With that said, 1) on some level I also would like input and suggestions on what to do (assuming this is past the first few dates). Everyone likes being surprised and trying something they hadn’t thought of, 2) paying can get extremely expensive. After the first month or two, does this really need to be a hard and fast rule?

  5. Terence Filmore says:

    Laura,
    Why on earth should not a woman ask a man out? If a “real man”, whatever that is, will ask the woman out, does that mean a woman who asks a man out is not a “real woman”? How many couples (Catholic or otherwise) began with the woman asking the man out? I cannot understand why you would write such a definitive and unsupportable comment in a forum like this. The rest of your points seem reasonable.
    Terence Filmore

    • anon says:

      First off, I really cant stand that “real man” thing put into paranthesis as if a question. Do we not know what a real man is anymore? If a man is supposed to be strong enough to guide his family, should he not also be strong enough to make the first move? Please don’t suggest it is more appropriate for women to take the traditional first move of men. Don’t you get it- the over masculinity of women leads to the emasculinity of men?!!

    • Laura Ferstl says:

      Hi Terrence,
      If I hadn’t written in such a definitive manner, I bet you wouldn’t have commented, and then we wouldn’t be having this great conversation!
      Now, why do you assume that my comment is unsupportable? The reason it’s on the list is because every one of my male aquaintances has made the comment. They want to lead and pursue! (Believe me, I’ve done my share of pusuing…it never ever worked.) Have you ever read the book “He’s Just Not That Into You”? That male author says the same thing.
      I know there are wonderful couples where the woman asked the man out, and I would call those exceptions to the rule. Overall, I see it as a very good rule that allows the man to lead and pursue.
      ~Laura

      • Terence Filmore says:

        Laura,
        You are right – had your #2 not been so definitive (I thought long and hard about “objectionable”), I would not have commented. And I do appreciate the overall thrust of your other points. They are good general pointers that, on the whole, make sense. I do find it disingenuous, however, to draw such definitive conclusions from one’s limited and subjective experiences. Your male circle of friends all want to “lead and pursue”; my friends and I wanted that but also appreciated when a woman showed initiative. Even if there is something vaguley romantic (for want of a better phrase) about a man taking the lead, why should not the woman do so if the man does not read the signals, or is too shy, or any one of a million reasons? Perhaps indeed God has someone else in mind for her – or perhaps he gave her initiative to make a move herself. To suggest that she “never” do this is disempowering and promoting the kind of power and control games that make relationships a nightmare.

  6. Bender says:

    A “real” man and a “real” woman are willing to treat the other with the same respect that they would like to receive themselves, including being open and honest enough to say what they mean and mean what they say. If you like someone, say so. Don’t play this silly game of making the other person, who may be totally clueless about your interest, initiate things. Enough of those “rules” that you can’t intiate this or that, or you can’t call until this long after a date, etc.

    Now, I know that if a woman is open and tells a guy she likes him and would like to go out, that she no longer has power and control. And I know, and most people eventually realize, that that is the reason for the “coyness” and the “playing hard to get” — power and control. If she asks, then she no longer has the upper hand and is at the mercy of him saying “no.” But if you are going to have any kind of authentic relationship, a relationship based on love and respect, it begins with honesty and openness.

    It comes back to that fundamental rule of any and all interpersonal relationships — do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Treat a guy the way you would want him to treat you.

    As surprising as it may seem, “real” men do not want passive, wishy-washy followers — they want equal helpmates. They want women at their side, not a step behind them (or a step ahead). A “real woman” should know that.

    • Laura Ferstl says:

      A “real” man and a “real” woman are willing to treat the other with the same respect that they would like to receive themselves, including being open and honest enough to say what they mean and mean what they say.

      I couldn’t agree more! If a man asks me out, I should be open and honest enough to give him an authentic yes or no. That is truly respectful.

      It’s interesting to hear your interpretation of roles; it’s actually the opposite of my interpretation. When I play easy to get, I see this as giving the man the opportunity to lead in the relationship. When a woman asks the man out, I see her taking control of the situation. What do you think of that interpretation?

      You use the word passive. Others use the word receptive. They are very different. To receive is actually an action. I’m going to share a philosphical thought via the Theology of the Body in order to explain why a real man is active and a woman is receptive. Think about our male and female bodies and then think about marital relations…nuff said. I’m not throwing the term real man around casually. Our bodies truly say something about how we are meant to exist in relation to each other. Men lead, women receive.

      What do you think?

    • anon says:

      I have two children (one boy, one girl) of or close to dating age. When it comes to dating, I tell my eldest daughter to give the boys opportunities to step up. If she is the one who takes the lead, she will attract boys and later men who are accustomed to being led. We have a rule in my home that none of the girls are allowed to call or text boys though they may respond when one calls them. We talk a lot about being mild rather than wild. Personally, I think it’s much more attractive to be mysterious than all out there. My kids sing this song with a great line, “I don’t have to take off my clothes to show you what I got.” Obviously, I don’t think anyone should be taking off their clothes when dating, but they also shouldn’t be revealing too much of who they are. It isn’t about playing games, but saving yourself (not just your body) for the one you are meant to have. Holding something back, allowing oneself to be pursued and saying yes or no aren’t “playing games.” That’s part and parcel of being reserved and discriminating. When my daughters meet someone with whom there is a potential for something greater, only then is openness appropriate.

  7. Jules says:

    For the strong and independent women out there, this is just one big opportunity to relinquish control and trust God! Marriage is a very big decision in life, and He has a plan for us (Jeremiah 29:11). We can’t make it happen. Thanks, Laura, for helping us prepare for God’s sovereignty to activate us and our spouses into action.

    Also, to those women who insist on the “right” to pursue men– whether or not it’s right or wrong– it just doesn’t work ninety nine percent of the time. Your time is better spent (and heartache better averted) by not going there. Just wait for someone who’s crazy about you. I for one don’t want to look back on my marriage one day and wonder if it would have ever happened without my own interference and jump-starting it. I want to be won!

  8. Kelly says:

    I cannot echo Bender’s comments enough. I, too, have many male acquaintances, and they would actively refute several of Laura’s ground rules, especially #2 and #5. The post seems to encourage gaming in a relationship (telling a man you like him is out, but flirting is okay?), and implies that women should eschew open and clear communication with men in favor of operating under assumptions about what they want or what they’re thinking. I cannot tell you how many relationships I’ve seen undermined by this kind of thinking.

    To me, a “men always do this, and women always do that” approach also leaves no space for God in the relationship: coming into a relationship with another human being without openness to the authenticity of what develops between us is antithetical to what I’ve learned from my relationship with God through prayer.

    Also, I found it disheartening to see this post on this particular site. Ordinarily, I would just pass this kind of article by without comment, simply noting to myself that we disagree, but that we each have our own experiences in dating, and perhaps this approach works for some. However, context is key: this is not Busted Halo. This is the ADW’s website, and the blog carries with it a tacit endorsement of that body. Many women I know feel alienated by the Catholic Church, and stay away because they do not feel welcome. Whether or not you agree with that feeling, one may understand if, upon coming across a blog on the website of Archdiocese that tells them to wear a dress rather than pants in order to meet a man, they may feel that the Church has nothing to say to them.

    • Laura Ferstl says:

      Hi Kelly,

      As I said to another commenter, I don’t see how a guy asking a girl out and a girl giving an honest yes or no as “gaming”. What could be clearer communcation than saying “Yes” or “No”?

      Besides, if a man is really attracted to a woman and he really really wants to go out with her, why would he worry whether or not he knows 100% if she likes him first? Does a person not start a game unless he or she knows they are going to win?? Does a person not take a interview unless he or she knows they are going to get the job?? No! It’s the competition and the risk and the confidence to push forward that is so valuable!

      As I replied to Jeanne, through the Theology of the Body we learn that God is the one who says “men do this” and “women do this”. Please read my comments there, and let me know what you think.

      With regard to this blog post: Busted Halo is a website geared toward young adults, and I am the Coordinator of Young Adult Ministry here in the ADW, so if there are similarities in our two posts that makes perfect sense. I have been invited to blog about the current issues facing young adults Catholics in the Archdiocese of Washington. I can’t tell you how many conversations I have had with women lately surrounding the question “Why is no one dating? Why am I not getting asked out?” Even a woman who I had just met five minutes prior wanted to discuss the topic with me. So in response to Msgr. Pope’s post to men, I wrote this post and invited women to try these guidelines.

      I am certainly familiar with the fact that many women feel alienated by the Church and don’t feel welcome, though I’m sure their disagreements are deeper than what to wear to attract a man. On this blog there is an “Ask a Question” link, so I encourage you or your friends to let us know what the most pressing issues are. The Church does not intend to alienate or to be unwelcoming, so if the other bloggers or myself can discuss those issues and break down those walls, that would be a blessing!

  9. Jeanne says:

    I cannot agree anymore with Kelly and Bender.
    While well-intentioned, I think these guidelines undermine that women, too, are greated in the image of God (in fact, the word for Holy Spirit that is used throughout the Old Testament, as well as the word for God’s Widsom (sophia) used in the Gospel of John are feminine nouns…in other words BOTH depict God just as fully as the other)

    My thoughts on the following guidelines:

    1) If you are interested in attracting a man, look the part: choose feminine dresses over androgynous pants; fitted contours over ill-fitting clothes; enhancing colors over plain blacks; natural, youthful makeup over heavy, concealing makeup; and always choose a smile over a blank stare or a scowl.

    –Does this mean that men are expected to be what the world labels as “masculine” in order to be “attracting to us? Or are we (both male and female) equal under Christ (Gal. 3:28) and called to follow the Savior of the World who did away with all this “this is what men do” and “this is what women do” nonsense through the first evangelist being female (check out John’s account of the women who saw Jesus resurrected and went back to tell the town), and Jesus discipling women so that they could teach (also in the Gospel of John: Jesus at the house of Mary and Martha, with Mary at Jesus’ feet (which is the pose that pupils of Jewish teachers took to then go out and reteach). I encourage anyone who wants to learn more to google and order the book “Why Not Women”

    3) Do not have an intimate friendship with a man who is not dating you. If you are hoping that someday he will date you, it’s very unlikely. (Sorry, Taylor Swift.) This can also be a red flag that this man does not have intimate friendships with other men. This is a problem since men need other men to be real men.

    Point 1. While it may be important for someone of either gender to “guard his/her heart” if in a close friendship with the opposite sex, it seems it is through friendships that we best establish a healthy foundation for a potential relationship OR simply a good friendship where we learn and grow and learn more about the other and about ourselves.

    Point 2: On the comment: “men need men to be REAL men”–What does this mean? Why are we imosing all these rules of what constituted “real” manhood/womanhood? Can simply being made in the image of God not define us? **Also while God made humanity “male and female” God ALSO made people who do not fit either gender (who are also, mind you, in God’s image) 1 out of every 2000 births are intersex, meaning the baby bears sexual/biological characteristics of both genders…this is more common than down syndrome and cystic fibrosis combined…maye it is “of the world” rather than “of God” to enforce what society already tells males and females they are supposed to be….

    4) Ok so you’re on your first date, and this guy starts sounding an awful lot like your ex…give him a chance! If you start projecting your ex’s worst characteristics on this new guy, you are inviting your own disappointment. Each man is unique, so give him the respect he deserves. It has been said that a man’s desire for respect is comparable to a woman’s desire to be cherished.

    –Sadly, women who are physcially/verbally abused in one relationship, typically date partners similiar to their previous relationship and expereince a continued history of abuse….something can be said for intuition. BOTH genders deserve “chances,” Each man AND woman is “unique,” and each man and woman desires “respect” and to be cherished (in fact, if we think about it, these words really mean similiar things….we just use “repect” to describe valuing a male, and “cherish” to describe valuing a female.

    5) Once a man initiates a friendship, continue letting him pursue you as you get to know each other. Let him plan the dates. Let him pick you up. Let him pay. Let him set the pace. Let him be the first to use the words relationship, dating, boyfriend, or girlfriend. Follow his lead, and don’t make assumptions.

    –This sounds like a lot of (unfair) pressure on men….why not take turns? I cannot imagine too many men having a problem with a surprise planning of the date or even picking up the tab….why box people into roles/responsibilities like this?

    • Laura Ferstl says:

      Hi Jeanne,

      Thanks for your thoughts on this topic.

      The first thing I’ll say is the same thing I shared with Bender about the Theology of the Body. I’m not just throwing the words real man and real woman around casually. If we look at the male and female bodies and if we think about marital relations, God created us with a very clear “men do this” and “women do this”. We are created equal, but we are not created the same. If we read our bodies, we will see that men lead and women receive. Contrary to what some might think, this is not a passive role; rather, to receive is an action verb. The comments about real men taking the lead is based on the God-given physical makeup of men. I wouldn’t call it “unfair pressure” to have a guy initiate, pay, and set the pace; I would call it a God-given gift to lead, provide, and protect women! It’s awesome! For more on this, a good start is “Theology of the Body for Beginners” by Christopher West.

      With regard to people who are born intersex, my understanding is that when this occurs, doctors quickly determine which sex organs are dominate. They perform surgery to save the most dominant sex organs, and the child is then raised that sex, male or female. There are always exceptions to rules, but that rarely changes the rules.

      With regard to friendship, there will be a post on this specific topic in the coming weeks. It will discuss the value of romantic friendships at the start of a relationship, the dangers of opposite-sex intimate friendships, and the importance of same-sex intimate friendships.

      I am in no way supporting abuse in relationships. If a woman was abused in a previous relationship, I would highly recommend therapy and spiritual direction in order to heal before she enters into another relationship. If a woman begins to notice abusive behavior in a relationship, she should get out of that relationship immediately.

      As I said at the end of my post, I invite women to try these guidelines and let me know how they work!

      • Elizabeth says:

        I’m glad to hear that there will be a post addressing opposite-sex intimate friendships. I’ve been wondering what’s an appropriate level of closeness. I’d also be interested in hearing about how this fits with “letting the man set the pace.” I know of situations where a man will initiate a friendship and it will become close–or, at least to the woman, it seems that way–but then the man doesn’t take it any further.

        • Laura Ferstl says:

          Hi Elizabeth,

          We’ll discuss this in detail later, but if a guy has taken a girl out 2-3 times and hasn’t even hinted at his intentions, she should start to be curious. Yes, the beginning of a friendship and the beginning of a relationship may not look very different, but it should feel different. At some point, she may want to inquire about his intentions.

          ~Laura

    • Don Altabello says:

      re: 1. Correct me if I am wrong, but I don’t think the list was implying that *only* dresses should be worn by women. It said “feminine dresses over androgynous pants.” I take that as an example. Dress sharp and with a measure of feminine decor. I’ll do the same–if I go to a co-ed event, I may be extra sure to use a bit of hair gel and wear a tie. At formals, women typically wear dresses and men wear tuxedos. I’m not sure that having pants and dresses in the same phrase should cause us to imply some sort of rigidity.

      I may get some heated responses for saying this, but let’s throw out two qualifiers first: 1) I am not advocating anorexia and 2) this is directed toward men *and* women. That is: exercise and take care of yourself. This is a part of one’s overall appearance, and it projects a whole range of messages to others (not just the opposite gender). Swimming, running, weight lifting–all great ways to stay active.

      re. 2. This is a tough one for me, but as I said above, a man should probably almost always do the asking. Being a bit of a private person, it’s always somewhat hard for me to ask a women out when there is no opportunity for relatively private conversation. I’m really not big on having an audience. Hopefully, within the young adult Catholic community there are rules on both sides. Men–quit after a few “I’m busy” responses with no reciprocity. Also, it’s typically not personal. Both genders know there are great people that they just aren’t attracted to. Women–you don’t need to be snarling or rude. If a guy is inexperienced (or perhaps your “no” signals weren’t clear), just be clearer and say “thanks, nothing personal, but I am not interested.”

      re. 3. I am not sure exactly what “intimate” with a man means. On the one hand, I would hope that it is a given that “friends with benefits is out.” On the other hand, I hope we would not rule out having genuine friendships with the opposite sex. Personally, I think sometimes groups like Opus Dei take too strong a line on these issues of separation (is that aspect of them more a Spanish quirk than a part of Catholic sensibility??). With that said, if it means not having these sort of hybrid relationships where the lines are blurred for at least one party, that’s fine. Clarification?

      re. 4. That post really was not about abuse per se. When that enters the picture, then women (or men) have issues that go a bit beyond the thrust of this post. That’s a perfect example of when trusted friends and family members should be kept in the loop and listened to in dating relationships. From my own experience, I can tell you that women (and probably men) do sometimes project the worst of their exes onto current men they are dating. I dated someone years ago who thought every little verbal tease I made was symptomatic of her past (admittedly bad) experiences with men, and I am fairly sure that while I have my faults I harbor no proclivities to slapping around women. So it’s not bad advice.

      re. 5. Though I think this is more of a general rule but not necessarily universal, typically it is a good advice. I’m pretty dense and probably on the introvert/shy side, but I’ll definitely make these moves with a little bit of helpful signals on the woman’s side.

      re. 7. See above comments re: letting a man down easy. We men too don’t want to have a reason for our God-given dignity or self-worthy called into question by way of snarling. Of course, I’ve probably made a few bad moves that have gotten me (somewhat) deserved snarling responses, but whatever…

      On this end, I think learning how to read people and developing human intuition is important. That’s important in all walks of life.

  10. Jan says:

    Dang – I’m late into this. Jeanne has hit the nail on the head about one thing – the respective roles are too blurred right now. Having said that, I agree with the spirit of the post. If you want to attract a quality date, no matter which gender you are, you should look decent. Men should initiate the dating ritual – at least in the good old days there was a lot at stake for men; they had to be fairly confident that the woman they chose would be open and willing to launch his genes into the future, and care for their children. She, on the other hand, had to determine whether or not this man who was pursuing her would support her and their children – financially and with respect to their physical comforts and needs.

    The way things are today, many women are closer to financial independence than ever before; they don’t ‘need’ a man to look out for them. (Never mind what they are missing out on.) They don’t even need men to make them mothers. Of course in this world women are going to be the aggressors a lot of the time, and not just with respect to dating – they are even proposing marriage to men.

    I think there is a lot to be said for the way things used to be; but, I do think women should become more adept at quietly making known to a man that she would welcome an invitation. At that point I think it’s up to him to actively pursue and pay! I don’t know any men who resent this.

    There is too much emphasis on equality in relationships. We all have different roles to play; women give birth, men provide. This is a great system and it’s worked throughout the ages. It’s foolish to mess with that. I feel sorry for women especially who think they are getting a raw deal because of what they are.

    One final thing – maybe I move in the wrong circles, but I’ve never known this to be a power or control issue. Maybe since my head isn’t wired that way I just don’t see it. On the other hand, guys are better off steering clear of women like that to begin with, don’t you think?

  11. anon says:

    “We are created equal, but we are not created the same.”

    On a lighter note, my girlfriend has twins- a boy and a girl. She sent me this list:

    1. You throw a little girl a ball, and it will hit her in the nose.You throw a little boy a ball, and he will try to catch it. Then it will hit him in the nose.

    2. You dress your little girl in her Easter Sunday best, and she’ll look just as pretty when you finally make it to church an hour later. You dress a boy in his Easter Sunday best, and he’ll somehow find every mud puddle from your home to the church, even if you’re driving there.

    3. Boys’ rooms are usually messy. Girls’ rooms are usually messy, except it’s a good smelling mess.

    4. A baby girl will pick up a stick and look in wonderment at what nature has made. A baby boy will pick up a stick and turn it into a gun.

    5. When girls play with Barbie and Ken dolls, they like to dress them up and play house with them. When boys play with Barbie and Ken dolls, they like to tear off their appendages.

    6. Boys couldn’t care less if their hair is unruly. If their bangs got cut a quarter-inch too short, girls would rather lock themselves in their room for two weeks than be seen in public.

    7. Baby girls find mommy’s makeup and almost instinctively start painting their face. Baby boys find mommy’s makeup and almost instinctively start painting the walls.

    8. If a girl accidentally burps, she will be embarrassed. If a boy accidentally burps, he will follow it with a dozen fake belches.

    9. Boys grow their fingernails long because because they’re too lazy to cut them. Girls grow their fingernails long – not because they look nice – but because they can dig them into a boys arm.

    10. Girls are attracted to boys, even at an early age. At an early age, boys are attracted to dirt.

    11. By the age of 6, boys will stop giving their dad kisses. By the age of 6, girls will stop giving their dad kisses unless he bribes them with candy.

    12. Most baby girls talk before boys do. Before boys talk, they learn how to make machine-gun noises.

    13. Girls will cry if someone dies in a movie. Boys will cry if you turn off the VCR after they’ve watched “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” movie three times in a row.

    14. Girls turn into women. Boys turn into bigger boys.

    • Cynthia BC says:

      hmm…some comments based on my experience with my daughter, now a third-grader.

      2. If dressed in her Sunday best she will somehow find a chocolate-frosted doughnut, the evidence of which will be all over her face.

      4. Sticks are a great means of making noise.

      6. Grooming my daughter’s hair has always been a tortuous experience, which is why I keep it in a short style (which my husband despises). Had I to deal with ponytails et al I surely would lose it.

      One afternoon when it was “too quiet” I found my then-preschooler in her bathroom, clutching a pair of scissors.
      Her: (proudly) Look, Mommy I cut my hair!
      Me: (aghast) AAAAAAAAAGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH
      Her: Mommy, didn’t I do a good job?
      Me: (gazing despairingly at her practically-bangless forehead) Um, I think you should have left your hair alone.

      Picture day was two days later. I had my daughter wear a hat.

      7. My daughter hasn’t gotten into my makeup, which I seldom wear. When she was a toddler, however, she created a wall collage out of panty liners.

      8. No embarrassment here. The louder the better.

      9. She’s too lazy to cut hers. Also they’re always dirty. No doubt I’m thought to be a neglectful mom. And don’t get me started about remembering to flush the toilet.

      11. I’ll have to tell my husband he should feel fortunate he still gets free kisses.

      12. My daughter said “cat” “meow” and “cookie” before Dada or Mama.

      13. Only three times? About two weeks after “Finding Nemo” came out on home video, my husband and I could recite the dialogue just about word-for-word. Thank heavens it wasn’t a musical. I wouldn’t be able to take Disney songs over and over and over and over and over…

      • anon says:

        I think only children tend to march to a unique beat, or that was my experience w/my eldest (an only child for 9 years). Their personalities tend to be larger than their bodies, and I think birth order makes a difference too. I have four daughters and two sons and the “pack” is funny to watch together. Yesterday, my son got a bloody nose while sledding. All the boys stood around the bloody snow saying, “Cool!” The girls ran away screaming, “Eww!” I later found out, my youngest daughter was the one who gave my son the bloody nose. She told on herself as the older kids let her get away w/everything.

        Omt- smiled at the panty liner collage- we have some pretty interesting items turned into rockets. My daughter also did the bangless haircut the week before the first day of kindergarten- took the whole year to grow out.

  12. Katherine G ERT says:

    As a psychology major, I am studying this kind of stuff to a certain degree. What I have noticed in my own life, and observing those of my friends and acquaintances, yes, there should be some rules on things, but too many rules are excessive.

    As for what to wear, well, if a guy finds me attractive in sweats and no makeup (which is my common attire outside of scrubs), than he is the guy for me! All joking aside, while I think it is appropriate to look good for a guy, he should appreciate you when you aren’t looking your best, either. Dating for me is different than it is for a lot of people outside of my profession. I am not special by any means on this, I just have different issues to bring up when dating. For instance, some men I have dated have been shocked by the fact that I’ve been through a lot of traumatic stuff, and they think that I am damaged, or “broken” or whatever they wanna call it. I am kind of “stuck” on whether or not I should be up front with certain things, like certain things with my past, or my career with the ER. I guess maybe that is a risk I take when dating, and some guys will handle stuff well, and others want a woman who’s more pure and less tainted, who knows. I expect some guys to not be able to handle some stuff with me well, it’s just very frustrating at times. Maybe someone could tell me how to better handle this? I’m actually a very private person, but I want to use some of my life experiences to help others. And I do think that if I’m potentially going to be in a relationship with someone (the whole point of dating) that they have a right to know certain things about my past, especially if it would potentially affect things. I’m enjoying reading people’s responses to all this and commenting.

    • anon says:

      Katherine,

      Whether it is with dating men or in friendships with other women, there are times when private issues are best kept private. Everyone has their “issues,” only some of ours have had a greater impact on how we might behave in some ways. Unless you are developing a significant relationship with another, I don’t believe they have a “right” to anything about you. Msgr. Pope had a great post here a few days back when he made the distinction between secrecy and discretion. He made another point that really hit home for me and that was the difference between addressing another’s concern and satisfying their curiosity.

      I believe people are basically good but others usually cannot understand me. I’m a little bit puzzling to them. Those who come to know me often wonder why I hold back and keep my distance. Once a solid (and usually long standing) friendship develops, I may explain my history a bit. Those who love me won’t judge me but often still cannot understand me. It does sort of become the test of a friendship, if they can accept what they don’t understand. I can honestly say, there are probably only 2 people in this world who know (almost) all about me- one priest & one counselor. One helped me spiritually the other emotionally. I will tell my loved ones as much as I feel they need to know, but even with them, I still hold to, “There are some things others don’t need to know.”

      • Katherine G ERT says:

        Thank you for this. I did read Monsignor Pope’s blog on the secrecy and discretion. As far as personal stuff goes, I too only have maybe one or two people that truly know everything about me. You sound a lot like me in the sense that you are a bit distanced, as well. My family does not know quite a few things about me, and I am happier keeping it that way. Since this blog was about dating, and it’s a Catholic website, I wanted input on that and I definitely got it. I appreciate those who responded, and I also enjoyed reading everyone else’s posts.

  13. Cynthia BC says:

    If you didn’t catch this article in the Outlook section of this past Sunday’s Washington Post, it is worth a read:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/05/AR2010020501442.html

  14. Bender says:

    I expect some guys to not be able to handle some stuff with me well, it’s just very frustrating at times. Maybe someone could tell me how to better handle this?

    Katherine — I think you would agree that as far as some guys not being able to handle stuff, it is good to know that early on, before you are invested, so there really isn’t a “better” way to handle the situation in that respect.

    As to the bigger question of handling delicate information about oneself and one’s past, as you note, too many rules are excessive and, in this case, there is no hard and fast rule. You don’t necessarily want to disclose really intimate information in the first five minutes of meeting someone, but you should probably tell them before your 10th wedding anniversary.

    You want to give the other person some time to be able to see the real inner you before being confronted with some particular aspect, but you also don’t want to get too emotionally invested in the relationship before making such disclosure (and even if they choose to stay, they might feel misled). It really depends upon the nature of the personal information to some extent as to when to fully disclose. If one had a sex-change operation, for example, simple honesty demands that it be disclosed early on. Or, if you are a single parent, the fact that you have a child is something that should be mentioned fairly soon.

    But the truth is that none of us are perfect. We all have “issues” to a greater or lesser extent. The person you are going out with for the first time should already know that, but if not, perhaps that truism does not need to be mentioned the first date, but if there is enough interest for a second date, perhaps then. And unless it is a “game-changer” (e.g., I’m a convicted ax-murderer) there really doesn’t need to be more disclosed at that time. A key factor is honesty, and you can be honest by merely saying that you are not perfect, without necessarily getting into the gory details right away, so as to allow the other to get to know you a little better. If you want a “rule” about full disclosure (or greater disclosure), perhaps you should pick a number, e.g. five, and tell them, “I will tell you on the fifth date, if we are still going out then.”

    In any event, whatever the information is, there is always the chance that the other person will not be able to accept it, just as you might first learn something about the other person a year into the relationship that is a deal-breaker. That is the reason for a long engagement – to give each an opportunity to fully learn about the other in order to back out.

    • Katherine G ERT says:

      Thanks for your response. I am generally a pretty private person, but there are some aspects of my life that could potentially affect the relationship, as I mentioned before. I’ve had good and bad experiences with dating since I started in the ER, and since I’ve been through some really tough stuff. I have really only experienced a few men that couldn’t take it, but it shook me up enough that I am always looking for answers on how to best deal with it. From personal experience, it hurts much more to invest a lot in a relationship only to be rejected for the “issues” later. Maybe there is no hard and fast rule or way to prevent this, but I do appreciate everybody’s input on it. I figured I would ask my questions in a Catholic blog such as this one without revealing too much as to what I have been through. I have gotten some good input reading your response, and Anon’s and I will keep it in mind when I decide to date again (I’m currently on a vow of celibacy with a friend).

  15. Bender says:

    Can we all agree — I hope so — that whatever you do dating-wise, don’t act like Kate or Jack. James has learned his lesson, but Kate and Jack do nothing except mess things up.

  16. Shonda Gowens says:

    Well said! If I could write like this I would be well pleased. The more I read articles of such quality as this (which is rare), the more I think there could be a future for the Net. Keep it up, as it were.