Sexless in the City

Sometimes reading romance novels doesn’t quite prepare you for a love life...

For this 30-year-old urbanite, love is always a misadventure: The Harvard Lickwit, Hippie the Groper, the 5% Man, and the Ad Weasel. These and many other men wander in and out of her life — but never her bed.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why are we single? The male view

Before I get to the meat of this post, a couple announcements:
  1. You can now pre-order Sexless on Amazon, though it won’t be released until Apr. 15, and I’m still working to get a couple things fixed in their description.
  2. Attempting to make announcement #1 last night resulted in royally messing up the site template. Though I managed to restore almost all the settings, the links style hasn’t been fixed yet in some places (as you can see). Anyone have suggestions about the tag(s) I might be missing?
Now then: as promised last week (though I must admit the line between a promise and mere tease is hard to discern in this space lately), this week’s blog engages the email of a guy I know, who recently felt compelled to explain why “the godly guys aren’t hot, and the hot guys aren’t godly.” He writes:

It is an unfortunate thing that many of the guys who are the most serious about being in-line with God’s will are the most inhibited; Christian boys are taught from a young age, You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. and Treat younger men as brothers, older women as mothers, and younger women as sisters, with absolute purity.

Then, one day, the Christian boy feels physical attraction to a girl, and since nobody has delimited where physical attraction ends and where sinful lust begins, the whole thing is tainted with guilt. He sees no way he can express attraction or flirt with a “sister” with “absolute purity.” He then gouges out the portion of his masculinity that would make him a man out of fear that the whole of him will be thrown into hell for lusting after a girl (or if not the fear of hell, the fear that the words of his mouth and the meditations of his heart are not pleasing to the Lord). And finding that the feelings haven’t gone away, he approaches the girl in an unappetizingly timid fashion, or lurks at a distance, or approaches tangentially as if his obvious attraction isn’t noticed. He’s been convinced that flirting and dating are “sinful” or “manipulative,” and is embarrassed before himself that he even has physical attractions, ’cause all he’s ever been told is that character and godliness are all important in a mate. (Christian authors and preachers often won’t even acknowledge the aspect of physical attraction which initiates virtually all pursuits.)

So what often happens next is that the godly Christian guy goes to the Christian book store for help (I’m telling you, just about all of my friends have done this, and all of them are still single)–because God knows his dad is never going to teach him how to flirt, to read body language, or to practice proper dating etiquette, and what he finds is that all the books in the Christian book store on relationships only talk about the morals (in other words, more accusations of wrongdoing and wrong feelings), and not the mechanics of winning a girl’s heart. And God knows there aren’t any sanctified men’s magazines; while attempting to learn about style, grooming, fitness, and how to approach women from such a magazine, the reader is bombarded with images of bikini clad women, raunchy articles about sexual practices, and fixations on material wealth and worldly lusts. (Blessed is he who does not take the counsel of the ungodly. . .)

The result is that the godly guys aren’t hot, and the hot guys aren’t godly. And the rest are like parking spots; all the good ones are taken, and the rest are handicapped. IMHO, this is the reason so many Christian women are paired up with non Christians; non-Christian men don’t give a damn about whether their thoughts please the Lord and do whatever it takes to get what they want, while so many of the godly Christian men are often one yard short of cutting off their own balls for fear that they cause them to sin, which is probably totally un-sexy to Christian women. (Am I mistaken?)
And lest I object to certain oversimplifications, in a subsequent email, he clarified:
[Not] that character and godliness are not more important in the long run, but that they are not usually the spark that initiates a pursuit. Christian parents usually don’t ask about whether a new boyfriend/girlfriend is attractive; instead, the inquisition usually goes something like this:
  • is he/she a godly Christian?
  • is he a good man/is she a virtuous girl?
  • is he/she smart? (a.k.a. “baby got brains?”)
  • is he financially stable/are you sure she’s not a ‘gold digger’?
The consequence of this upon Christian men who are serious about their walk with God is that they tend fixate on becoming godly/virtuous etc. and neglect the physical and social aspect of their cultivation . . . and then they become a bunch of awkward weirdos unequipped to do anything but fail at pursuing Christian women. And even if character will carry the relationship in the long run, if the guy is a total turn off to the girls he’s interested in, the relationship he’s hoping for is not likely even get started to begin with.

I wish God would open up the Heavens and declare from on high to all the the preachers to temper their preaching against lust with the a declaration of the fact that all those passages in the Old Testament that talk about the beauty of the wives of the patriarchs and of various other women in the OT were not written by blind men. (It is written that Sarah, Rebekkah, and Rachel, as well as Ms. Anonymous Shulamite were all über-babes) Someone noticed that they were attractive, and making that observation is not the same as having committed adultery in one’s heart, and that single men need not feel guilty about making such observations; they’ll do so whether they feel guilty or not simply by instinct, but when they do so inhibited by guilt, they sabotage their ability to approach a woman confidently.
So, faithful readers, what’s your take? I am personally a bit skeptical of explanations that mostly fault other people (though at least he’s more creative for his implication of leaders instead of women), but I will admit his emails gave me more sympathy for some Jesus freaks’ predicament.

That, and an even greater measure of gratitude for my newfound contentment in leisure knitting and gardening, and slowly paying down debt. I’ve sure been a while learning not to race ahead of the beat, but now that I’m finally “in the pocket,” it’s mighty nice. Viva la present!

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