Fitness Magazines and Hot Wings

man-on-futon-reading-magazine-200Once in a while my girlfriends and I get to talking about guys we’ve dated and the problem of pornography. Msgr. Pope discussed the main issue in his post about internet pornography, but I want to take the discussion a step further and explore some other places where porn lurks.

Pornography: material that depicts erotic behavior and is intended to cause sexual excitement (Merriam-Webster)

A few years back I was dating a “nice Catholic boy” and one afternoon we were watching TV and he picked up a fitness magazine that had recently come in the mail. As he was thumbing his way through, he got to a page featuring a topless woman, arms strategically crossed across her chest.

“Now that’s nice!” he said.

I snatched the magazine, rolled it up, and smacked him over the head.

“What was that for?” he asked, surprised by my reaction.

I had to explain to him that while the female body is beautiful, this woman had unfortunately sold her body to the fitness magazine. (I wonder how much she thought her beauty was worth?) Now he was seeing a very intimate view of her that he had no right to, and the most respectful thing he could do would be to not take advantage of her vulnerability.

He thought I was overreacting.

In college, I dated another “nice Catholic boy” who informed me that he and some friends had gone to Hooters for dinner. The thought of scantily-clad waitresses leaning over the table to set down their steaming plates of hot wings was very upsetting, and I tried to explain my concern. It centered around the fact that as I was making an effort to dress modestly he decided to get around that barrier by pleasing his senses on women who voluntarily dressed immodestly.

He passed the situation off as “no big deal.”

Gentleman: Yes, these are big deals and no, we are not overreacting. It is very hurtful to be in a relationship with someone who does not respect your womanhood, your beauty, or your mystery.

Here is what I would ask:
1) pray for purity of heart and mind
2) cancel subscriptions to magazines featuring erotic pictures or advertisements of any kind
3) don’t go to Hooters (or other bars and restaurants featuring scantily-clad women)
4) call your friends out on this “small stuff” and support each other in respecting women

(Yes, we women have unhealthy fantasies of our own which I will address in a future post.)

What Happens After the First Date?

Wow! In case you haven’t been keeping up, the “Marriage Can Wait???” post has 35 responses! I think Msgr. Pope hit a chord.

To continue the conversation, let’s just imagine that Boy X and Girl Y meet at a party. They get into a great conversation (she’s flirting and making it obvious that she’s interested) and he asks for her number. They go on a date, it’s a great time, and they are both excited about going on a second date. Now what?

Well, let’s talk about friendship! Certainly, taking initiative and asking a person out is a big deal. But the process of becoming friends is where the relationship really starts to take shape and where a deeper discernment begins.

Does she have strong relationships with the women in her life? Does he have strong relationships with the men in his life? Do they know how to begin a friendship with someone of the opposite sex? Will this person be a faithful husband or wife? Will this person be a loving father or mother? Do I see virtues in this person that I admire? Will this person help or hinder our journey toward Christ?

All of our friendships, whether romantic or non-romantic, have as their goal God who is Love. What does this mean to you? Leave your comments and attend our next Relationship Speaker and Discussion Series! Working with insights from Pope Benedict’s Deus Caritas Est as well as Scripture, Dr. Yohe will speak on how to be a good friend,  the importance of same-sex friendships, and the importance of opposite-sex friendships as a groundwork for dating and marriage.

Sunday July 19 – 6:30pm (after the 5:30 Mass)
Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle – North Conference Room
The Essential Groundwork of Friendship

Dr. Katherine Yohe received her Ph.D. in Historical Theology with a focus on spirituality from Catholic University of America.  Her dissertation was on human friendship as a means to grow in union with God, and most of her publications and lectures have centered on the lay vocation and friendship. She has taught at Catholic University and LaSalle University and is presently teaching Scripture and Catholic Doctrine at Trinity School at Meadow View. She has been married for fifteen years and has a thirteen year-old son.