I now notice things about the men in my life that I never noticed before, like their thoughtfulness, their love of family, their integrity, even their vulnerability. These are intangible qualities that don’t jump out at you when you’re in a frame of mind where you’re viewing men only as potential dates. Put together, they add up to character. It’s the most important quality to seek in a husband, and the one that’s least discussed in this day and age.
Likewise, when you become chaste, you’ll notice for the first time that women who have sex outside of marriage don’t really appreciate men. You can’t see this when you’re having nonmarital sex, because you don’t realize how much there really is about men to appreciate. You think the mere fact that you’re attracted to them and that they seem to wield such power over you shows you appreciate them for what they really are. From there, it’s a short step to the cynical stereotype we all know from popular culture—the worldly wise, “been there, done that” single woman who doesn’t trust men any farther than she can throw them.
Not that we’re generalizing or anything here.
I do love this style of writing — “Because I thought it, every woman who ever did what I did thinks it, too!” And then she makes a response impossible because, naturally, women who are having pre-marital sex just can’t see it. Right. Considering that the majority of Americans do have premarital sex, that’s a whole lot of non-appreciation of men going on there. And what about the women who marry the men they were having sex with? Does the appreciation materialize as soon as the vows are said, or does it never appear? If they stay married until they’re 105, is it just because they’re so darn attracted to each other?
I don’t know about the rest of you, but I’m not attracted to men because I feel like they wield so much power over me. I appreciate the men in my life for the same reasons that I appreciate the women in my life — because they’re kind, interesting, fantastic individuals, whose characters I evaluate on the basis of their individuality, not because I see them as walking cocks. Perhaps, before she swore herself to chastity, this was Dawn’s view of men. If that’s the case, then it sounds like she made a good decision for herself, and I’m sure she’s very happy with it. But just as I would never tell her that she must have premarital sex in order to appreciate men for who they are, I find it completely offensive that she would attempt to tell everyone else that we can’t possibly respect and love men as human beings unless we refuse to have sex.
On television and in movies, if a single woman is friends with a man, the pal’s more often than not a homosexual. The message is that heterosexual men aren’t capable of friendship or even worthy of it. In contrast, gay men are depicted as safe and nonthreatening, trustworthy, and having more to give than straight men.
Um, what? More often than not? Really? How many gay men does Dawn think are actually on TV? Because the only ones I can think of are Will and Jack (Will & Grace) and Stanford and Charlotte’s friend whose name I can’t remember from Sex & the City. I’ll admit, I don’t watch much TV. I don’t have one in New York, so I can’t tell you about the sexual orientations of most sitcom characters. But just glancing at a list of the most popular TV shows is pretty indicative of the fact that there aren’t too many gay men on television, and if we’re talking about actual numbers, then more often than not single women who are friends with men on TV are friends with straight men.
Oh, right. Not exactly Dawn’s strong point. (Yes, bitchy).
Imagine if the tables were turned. Imagine watching a TV sitcom where all the gay men are Neanderthal lunkheads, while the kind, thoughtful straight men are always ready to help their female friends without asking sexual favors in return.
Is this inferring that straight men on television are always Neanderthal lunkheads? Really? Again, I don’t watch too much TV, but the only examples of this that I can think of are The Simpsons (where everyone is a lunkhead), Seinfeld (again, where everyone is a lunkhead) and Everybody Loves Raymond (which I think is the worst show ever made). And even with those, no one was Neanderthal-ish. When I do watch TV, I tend to stick to The West Wing, Law & Order, Grey’s Anatomy, The OC, and Sex & the City. Again, no Neanderthal lunkheads. A few jerks of both sexes, certainly, but I hardly think that straight men are routinely insulted on TV.
If you saw a show like that, you’d think the producers really had it out for gay men. Yet, many women tolerate such stereotyping against straight men, because they’re conditioned to expect “manly men” to lack character. Part of this conditioning comes from the media, but a large part of it—I’d say, most—comes from such women’s own warped perspectives, brought about by the superficial nature of their dating experiences.
Are we talking about straight men, or are we talking about “manly men” — itself a characiture of masculinity? Because if the stereotype of manly men is what bothers Dawn, then she needs to take it up with Harvey Mansfield, not ABC.
When I had nonmarital sex, I became accustomed to seeing myself as a commodity—a varied collection of looks, wit, intellect, and je ne sais quois. I looked for men whose commodities were worth as much as my own.
Most of all, I looked for men whose commodities were readily apparent. The singles scene isn’t known for its subtlety. Men who were reserved or modest, who didn’t flirt readily, who weren’t attuned to my single-gal vibe—the nature of my casual-sex mind-set forced them all out of the running.
Is it any surprise, then, that I tended to date narcissists?
If you were seeking out men who are like you it’s not.
So, I built up walls of protection. I thought I was “guarding my heart.”
Today, I see those walls for what they really are — and they look like poorly installed weather insulation. They don’t do anything they’re supposed to do. The chill winds of rejection seep through, while the warm breezes of love are muffled.
I still have a lot to learn about sustaining a lasting relationship, but I firmly believe that during the time I’ve spent working at chastity, the hardness that men perceived in me has been gradually melting away. In its place are an openness and a vulnerability that makes me more susceptible to being hurt, but infinitely more capable of attaining and sustaining the lifelong marriage my heart desires.
Fair enough, if it’s what will make you more capable of attaining what you want. The problem comes when you try and convince the rest of us that making the same choices as you will set us on the path to eternal happiness.
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