Well this is quite the review of Dawn Eden’s book. It sums up a lot of what Dawn writes, so that people like me don’t have to suffer through actually reading a self-help mantra for 30-somethings who are willing to do just about anything to get hitched. To copy something Amanda said, the book essentially comes down to, “All single women are like Dawn. Except Dawn.”
EXAMINING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN the lifestyle choices of sex (mostly casual) outside of marriage and the decision to wait until sex can be fully experienced within marriage, Eden identifies two types of women: single women and singular women.
She explains, “A single woman bases her actions on how they will or won’t affect her lacking state.” In other words, if the activity doesn’t apparently bring her immediately closer to her desire of not being single, then she’s not interested. If the party doesn’t guarantee some quality eligible bachelors, forget it. If the fellow asking her out on a date doesn’t fit her ideal of what her mate should be, forget it.
The single woman is excessively utilitarian, and auto-determining; she defines her relationships, her circumstances, and her future, according to her desires. The “other” only comes into the picture insofar as that person is useful to her. She spends her time resenting what she does not have, especially the lack of an intimate relationship, even though she bases her identity on that very lack. Her identity is about what she hasn’t got (a boyfriend or a husband), not who she is.
A singular woman acts integrally. She chooses to do things because they are good in and of themselves, not because they will serve her immediate interests whether they involve dating and romance, getting a job, or any other desire. She allows herself to actually experience what a situation offers, even if she didn’t foresee it. Unlike the single woman, she will go to a party simply to have fun and be with people she enjoys. If she meets someone at the party, it will be all the better. But whether or not she meets someone won’t determine the success of the party.
I’m assuming that Dawn thinks she’s a “singular” woman, and most other unmarried women who aren’t chaste are “single.” But when I read “She spends her time resenting what she does not have, especially the lack of an intimate relationship, even though she bases her identity on that very lack,” I think of, well, Dawn. After all, this is someone who bases her blog, her book, and her entire public persona on being chaste in order to snag a husband, since fucking didn’t get her exactly what she wanted. Talk about utilitarian.
In essence, the difference between the two types of women lies in the direction of their gaze: inward, at one’s self, or outwardly, towards the other?
Most women are navel-gazing selfish bitches. On the other hand, Dawn, despite having a website dedicated entirely to Dawn, and a book based entirely on the assumption that Dawn’s experiences are similar to those of most women and Dawn is right, is gazing… outward.
The lived example of the Sex and the City philosophy happens to be a particularly acute instance of the condition and it affects many people who think that sex without marriage will wipe away their loneliness and ultimately bring them the intimacy of marriage. But the experience of countless men and women proves otherwise.
I don’t get the obsession with Sex & the City. Two of the characters ended up married, and I’m pretty sure the other two turned down proposals at some point — and at the very least, they ended up in relationships. They all ended up happy. Putting aside the fact that Sex & the City is absolutely nothing like most women’s lives and that it’s a friggin TV show and not a case study (and this is coming from someone who was once slurred as “a Carrie Bradshaw wannbe” by a conservative blogger), I still don’t understand why it’s the pinnacle of unhappy single woman examples. None of them end up single. They all end up happy. They have good moments and bad, fabulous moments and depressing ones. Yeah, they’re shallow and materialistic, but as far as I can tell, the “Sex and the City philosophy” — which I think is “fucking because it’s fun, and sometimes having feelings for other human beings which are not contingent on them buying you a wedding ring” — is what most people engage in. And by “most” I mean 95 percent. Count that.
In addition to the well-placed Chesterton quotes in her book, Eden has some memorable lines of her own. Articulating the root of the problem, she writes, “Once you allow yourself to be defined by your loneliness, it’s a small step to violating your most deeply held beliefs.” Precisely this action determines whether an individual woman or man is single or singular. The single person defines the self with her loneliness, i.e. the lack of an intimate relationship in her life.
Would defining the self with the lack of an intimate relationship in life be evidenced by, say, writing a book about how you lack an intimate relationship and really really really want to change that?
EDEN WRITES CONVINCINGLY, “[O]nly through chastity can all the graces that are part of being a woman come to full flower in you.”
You know, graces. Like making sure the greedy bastard buys the cow before he gets all the milk, that little perv. After all, “being a woman” apparently means trading pussy and housework for jewelry, financial support and social status. And if you don’t refuse sex, that wonderful man who you want to marry will treat you like a blow-up doll.
As much as the people involved may think that they are experiencing love, it is not a fully committed and unreserved vulnerable love that can only exist in an exclusive and permanent marriage. In any other type of relationship, there’s always an “out.”
Problem: We can never know if our marriage is permanent. Until we die, that is. We can assume it will be, hope that it is, and believe that it’ll last forever. But there is an “out” (“divorce” for regular readers of the American Spectator), and I think most of us are pretty glad it’s there. So, really, none of us can ever experience real love.
Recently, a friend mentioned a Sex and the City episode where the promiscuous blonde has the flu and has just bought an apartment. She needs someone to install blinds so that she can sleep. She opens her little black book and calls the men from her various dalliances. In the end, nobody wants to install the blinds. She realizes that although she’s had lots of sex, she’s actually very lonely and has no one.
Whereas if you’re married, you can just order your husband to install the blinds for you, and he will. So if you wait for marriage to have sex, you can get yourself a built-in handy-man, or at least someone to buy some stuff for you. What was that about “The single woman is excessively utilitarian, and auto-determining; she defines her relationships, her circumstances, and her future, according to her desires. The “other” only comes into the picture insofar as that person is useful to her”?
Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (yes, you read that right) also gives her a glowing review. I link to it only because it contains a direct quote from Dawn’s book, which illustrates her perspective on marriage, and explains why positioning herself as a “singular” woman — you know, one who doesn’t define people in terms of their utility to her, and who isn’t obsessed with her relationship status — is borderline hysterical:
“The other night I had dinner with a male friend, a charming English journalist I would date if he shared my faith (he doesn’t) and if he were interested in getting married (ditto). He peppered me with questions about chastity, even going so far as to suggest that maybe, given that I’d been looking for so long, I might not find the man I was looking for.
‘That’s not true,’ I responded. ‘My chances are better now than they’ve ever been, because before I was chaste, I was looking for love in all the wrong places. It’s only now that I’m truly ready for marriage and have a clear vision of the kind of man I want for my husband.’
’I may be thirty-seven,’ I concluded, ‘but in husband-seeking years, I’m only twenty-two.’”
And in real years, I’m only 23, and my ring finger is pretty nekkid (excuse me, nude and waiting for an expensive purchase from a good man to cover it — being naked is for sluts). If you share my religion and think that $40,000 is a fair price for unlimited baby-making and house-cleaning, call me. I prefer platinum to gold. Blood-free diamonds only, please.