First, I loved the article originally linked in Julian's first post, just linked above. I think commentator Paul is totally correct in saying that stereotypes are totally unfair. He writes:
These kinds of stereotypical narratives go along way to obscure the true nature of masculinity. We don't like it when femininity is abused by bad stereotypes and marketing campaigns, etc. Why do we tolerate it for men?True, very true indeed. But there is some truth even in silly stereotypes, right? For example, I notice that men are generally going to tell women they want to impress bad jokes. And to men, bodily functions are pretty much always funny. So, I think the key is to learn to appreciate those silly masculine qualities that make guys...well, masculine. I have been in the liberating position of having no desire whatsoever to date anyone, for obvious reasons. Don't get me wrong, I still desire to be married. The frustration is not knowing to whom, since marriage is always with a particular person. The pain is thinking that I did know, but was wrong. However, it is nice to just sit back and enjoy the company of young men without any wonder at what any one of them could be to me in my life. And then you can appreciate them for just being men, and seek to get to know the person for who he is. That is refreshing.
Agatha and I (and I am sure Julian too, I just have not asked her) loved the way commentator Paul ended his last comment:
I just want to say that it's so important to put persons ahead of manners/cultural conventions. Manners, etc., are for persons, not the other way around. And if we're talking about romance, the best ones are not a case of two perfect lovers finding each other, but of two imperfect people, learning to be perfect lovers together.That is true. Seeing a person as unique, the way God created him and intends him to live is crucial - it is what it means to love as God loves, which is precisely how we long to be loved.
The sentiments that Julian and all of us ladies I think can relate to is the utter frustration of having to put up with guys who don't always treat ladies with respect, and perhaps are not willing to learn, either. Maybe they just want to get a girl into bed or speak endlessly about how women fall over their feet to date them. Yes, that actually happens. It should not. And while men can learn, I think it gets tiresome to women to have to be 'the teacher.' Maybe that is part of the single woman's vocation - to charitably remind guys how to 'man up.' But that can have a backlash too, because one of the most common complaints is that we women are always trying to 'change' men. And I think it's a balance, not that I can say I have struck that balance...
It would be nice to live in a society where men opened doors and would refuse to let a woman pay for her meal on a date. But unless you live in the South, that just is not the case :-). I am being silly, but we don't live in that kind of society even if we should be. (And let's not forget that Agatha's point that great manners don't necessarily make a good man.) And women don't have to go out on another date with such a guy. Bad manners is usually a bad sign, but door opening is not the end of the world. And of course, we can place some blame on feminism, which skewed men's roles and often sent confusing signals about a woman's expectation. (Sidenote -- but one I want to develop more. Back in October, Agatha emailed this to me and Julian on the effects of feminism in the Church. It has some fascinating points related to this, so I will try to write another post on it!) Let's not forget ladies, when a man is seeking our attention, he wants approval and acknowledgment from us. And if he does not want that, then he is not interested. Women should tame men into gentlemen, and men should in return make a lady out of a woman. The key is a mutual self-sacrifice, certainly not easy (or, one might argue, even encouraged!) for the majority in the current dating scene.
So, suffice to say this: women are not from Venus and men are not from Mars, but we are different and we think differently about things. If we try to first of all respect each other as human beings, and as human beings differentiated as male and female - I think we will be facing the right direction in which we can walk together toward eternity and help each other along the way in whatever capacity our vocation demands.