A blog for Christian men "going their own way."

Friday, March 14, 2008

Candice Rearranges the Deck Chairs

In her latest offering, Candice Watters discusses the question of whether or not women should "settle" for men who are not the most desirable mates. She makes reference to a quote from an article from Laura Nolan. As I saw that name, I had a thought that can be expressed as follows: "Oh no, I hope it's not that lady that made a comment about older single men being like eggs." I read on ... "Nolan says men are like eggs. If they don't hatch in time, they go bad." Yep, it's that lady. Sigh. Candice. Candice. Candice. Why must you scrape the bottom of the barrel?

Candice goes on to talk about an article by Lori Gottlieb in The Atlantic that basically calls on women to stop waiting for Mr. Right and just settle on getting married (or something like that). Honestly, I haven't bothered to Lori Gottlieb's article, because the oft-repeated swan-song of the aging feminist who bewails her choices has lost its novelty. Predictably, there are plenty of feminists and other kneejerk gynocentrists in the blogosphere, etc. who have taken issue with Gottlieb's essay. "We will not settle!" screeches the peanut gallery of female journalists.

Candice takes more of a middle-of-the-road approach. She thinks women need to be realistic about mate selection, but they do need to have standards. That's good advice--if there are any men that want to marry, that is.

All in all, it's more of the usual from the Spin Sisters. It used to be discontentment with men. Now it's discontentment with the lack of men. And yet, when I read these kind of narratives, I am left with the impression that female journalists think the interest men have in women and marriage represents some of sort of mathematical constant not subject to change--something to be taken for granted. More rearranging of the deck chairs. Even if twentysomething women suddenly decided changing diapers was more rewarding than sitting in the cubicles of the Customer Service department, what would change for men? Unfortunately for many women, there are a number of men who have the temerity to ask that question.

Indeed there are some men who are "settling." Not for the contemporary woman. No, they are settling outside the Anglosphere because they are tired of the stupidity, decadence, loss of liberty, and male-bashing that seems to plague many Western societies. Then there are others who are "settling" for the bachelor life. They find themselves truly "settled down"--unlike their harried married counterparts. So the beat goes on.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Well, Boundless website continues to amaze me. One of the recent brilliant ideas discussed on their blog is the suggestion that if the wife commits adultery, the husband is responsible.

We can't hold women accountable for their actions, can we???

LadyElaine said...

first off, speaking as a Christian single woman, let me say this:
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE TO GOD FOR OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS, NO MATTER WHAT RELATIONSHIP WE ARE IN!

wombatty said...

Interesting post Anakin.

Recently, Mark Levin had Dr. Laura on his 03/13/2008 radio show ( free download or stream ). There was this exchange (related to York’s ex-governor Elliot Spitzer’s fall from grace) starting at 57:14:

DL: [On a morning show] I then said, when they asked me why men cheat, I said ‘Well, some men are socio-pathic; narcissistic and all bets are off because they do whatever they wanna do to serve themselves, but most men are decent guys. And when women treat them with adoration and love and respect and affection, they don’t stray. That is what I said, that got turned into ‘Mrs. Spitzer is responsible for Elliot’s misdeeds.

ML: Well, I went back and listened to the audio, too. And you didn’t say that the men were not to blame. You pointed out as you just said that there is certain behavior by both men and women, and you kinda have to analyze both, don’t you?

DL: Exactly. But you know, this is the liberal, feminist era which means – liberalism mostly seems to be focused in on victim-hood, so – women are victims. No matter how badly they treat their man, he’s supposed to just take it and die in a corner. She has no responsibility, whereas as I came out four years ago with ‘The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands’ and pointed out that we have total control of the relationship cuz you guys are putty in our hands. When we’re loving and sweet and adorable, you’ll swim through shark-infested water to bring us lemonade. When we’re bitchy and cold and horrible, you know, another dish looks exciting.

ML: God, you’re good. That’s just common sense, isn’t it?

DL: Yes! Wouldn’t you think it’s common sense? But it means that women have to take responsibility and that, that , was an evil thing for me to say.

Granted, she is discussing marriage here (and in her book), but the principle applies outside of marriage as well – including dating. I think Dr. Laura makes some excellent points here. I think her characterization (e.g. total control) is a bit off, but I think the gist of what she is saying is right on (shark-infested waters and all).

One’s behavior while dating is a preview of what to expect in marriage. If someone is unpleasant, snotty, condescending, etc. before marriage – and worse, if they are convinced that such an attitude is proper and justified – is it any surprise that they might have trouble finding a mate?

No doubt Dr. Laura earns Maken’s disapproval for invoking that phantom ‘bogey’ of feminism. The victim-hood issue aspect of liberalism/feminism is on point. I don’t think that Maken is a liberal or a feminist at all, but I think she has bought into some of the underlying assumptions, especially the whole victim-hood thing. The other side of the victim-hood coin is that if you’re always a victim, you’re never responsible. In Maken’s world, men are always, or nearly so, to blame for the woes of women while women are virtually blameless. And as Dr. Laura points out, her chief sin was pointing out ‘that women have to take responsibility’.
It seems to me that Maken has bought into this crap hook, line and sinker. Many of my observations, recounted below, were first made many moons ago on Anakin’s blog.

In her book, Debbie Maken proudly recounts her confrontation of a bachelor with her infamous ‘eunuch question’. She is openly contemptuous of single men throughout her book, repeatedly condemning their bachelorhood as sinful for a myriad of reasons. On her blog, she has continued her shabby treatment of single men who don’t toe her line.

Anakin wrote:
Indeed there are some men who are "settling." Not for the contemporary woman. No, they are settling outside the Anglosphere because they are tired of the stupidity, decadence, loss of liberty, and male-bashing that seems to plague many Western societies.


Apropos of this are some remarks offered by Maken in the comments section of her January 31, 2007 post entitled Reflections On Singleness In The United Kingdom (I also made these observations shortly after she posted this).

Commenter MuleChewingBriars wrote:

In my own case, I wanted to marry, and had a lot of "assistance" from married women in the Church, but all the women I met gave me the message that they deserved better than me. By 35, I hadn't progressed very far vocationally, and past performance was used to determine future prospects. So, I decided to give them what they wanted - my absence. Eventually, I married a Christian woman from overseas, and became the father of two. Under the pressures of family, I overcome my lack of ambition and now my wife does not have to work.

To which Maken replied:

Thank you for your very transparent comment; I appreciate that level of honesty. I do want to ask two questions, but please do not see this as a personal attack, for my questions are merely designed to elicit discussion.

First, overseas bride shopping. I have known a few American men do this after repeated failures with relationships here. I have even known a friend of mine (who was not ordinary, but a lawyer from a fine school, very good looking, fit and from good stock), do this, not because the women he found were "climbing the corporate ladder," but because some poor social habits and not being able to muzzle some thoughts kept getting him rejected here. With some other men, I have noticed that it is a combination of perhaps being not particularly attractive combined with not being ambitious, and as you put, being so "ordinary," that very few women see the jewel that might be there. Often, what I see with the average candidate that goes overseas bride shopping is that they do not want to personally develop themselves or gain the requisite masculinity to attract women, so they simply choose to blame the American women. So, the question is-- doesn't this ordinary man have some personal responsibility to "put his best foot forward," so that a woman can decide to take a chance on him?


Now consider Maken’s own journey to marriage, recounted in her book, in light of these observations.

First, like her friend, she couldn’t find a mate here in America. Of her friend she says he had ‘some poor social habits and [wasn’t] being able to muzzle some thoughts kept getting him rejected here.’ I cannot help but recall the pride Maken takes in her ‘eunuch question’. Her account of this conversation in her book reveals a snotty, condescending attitude, not to mention more than a bit of hypocrisy. Poor social habits anyone? Anybody have a spare muzzle?

Second, she speaks of men that ‘do not want to personally develop themselves or gain the requisite masculinity to attract women, so they simply choose to blame the American women.’ Having never met Maken, I cannot vouch for her physical ‘presence’ or how feminine it might or might not be. But, having chosen to ‘blame the American men’ for her inability to find a mate, I cannot help but wonder how she measured up to her own standard. Had she been willing to ‘personally develop herself or gain the requisite femininity to attract men’? Just a question to elicit discussion…

Third, and this is simply precious, she sums up ‘So, the question is-- this ordinary man have some personal responsibility to "put his best foot forward," so that a woman can decide to take a chance on him? Given the above, I can only surmise that Maken believes than women have no such responsibility themselves.

It seems that Maken’s observations of men who go overseas bride-shopping fit her like a custom-tailored glove. I can’t help but wonder if Maken was being more than a bit autobiographical here, even if unconsciously so.

Regarding personal responsibility, or the lack thereof, another portion of Maken’s remarks above is revealing:

Second, while I understand that the only thing a man may want is "an attractive girl who is sweet to them," wants need to be correlated with what we bring to the table ourselves. I am sure that there are plenty of "ordinary" women out there for the "ordinary" men; surely there is someone out there on the spectrum for everyone, right? Are most American men (because there is no gatekeeper on the woman's end) aiming too high, and leaving themselves frustrated in the process of serial rejection? Or alternatively, are the women (because they lack a parent figure to keep watch and counsel them) entertaining perhaps too puffed up am image about their accomplishments, and therefore, cannot spot an otherwise decent match?

So it isn’t a woman’s responsibility to have a sober and realistic assessment of themselves – it’s the duty of her ‘parent figure’. Interestingly, and uncharacteristically, she lets guys off the hook here, too. It is, again, the duty of the woman’s ‘parent figure’ to inform a suitor of his worthiness, or lack thereof. This was probably an oversight ;-)

Whatever happened to the Apostle Paul’s admonition in Romans 12:3?

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you.

Granted this isn’t in the context of pursuing marriage, but it certainly fits with Paul’s repeated commands to conduct oneself with humility, grace and forbearance. Nor am I denying that we should seek the counsel of friends and family, including to keep ourselves in check and our feet on the ground. But when it comes down to it, it is each one’s individual responsibility to do this.

When you’re standing at the judgment, giving account to God for your lack of humility and mental sobriety (not talking booze, here), it will not do to shift the blame to your ‘parent figure’.

LadyElaine wrote:
first off, speaking as a Christian single woman, let me say this:
WE ARE ALL RESPONSIBLE TO GOD FOR OUR OWN INDIVIDUAL ACTIONS, NO MATTER WHAT RELATIONSHIP WE ARE IN!


Well said, Lady, well said.

noseintheair said...

Where is that boundless post (or was it a non-boundless-authored comment) that "suggests" the husband is responsible if the wife commits adultery?

Hermes said...

It's the Headship on "Lost" post. Motte Brown didn't make that statement himself, but he approvingly quoted Douglas Wilson making it.

FYI, outrageously, Wilson wasn't limiting his discussion to adultery. The same quotation from him says "When a couple comes for marriage counseling, my operating assumption is always that the man is completely responsible for the all the problems" and "men, whether through tyranny or abdication, are responsible for any problems in the home."

Noseintheair said...

Thanks. It puts me in mind of _Point Man_ by Vic Farrar. In that book he says something to the effect of "in twenty years of marriage counseling, he had never seen a case of trouble in which the man was not at fault." Paul Coughlin mentions this in his book _No More Christian Nice Guy_ as an example of someone who is seeing what he wants to see, and speaks with compassion of those men who have been injured by church teaching like this.

wombatty said...

Paul Coughlin's book is a welcome antidote the the default 'blame the man' mentality that has fostered so much of this female superiorism.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I meant "Headship On Lost" post, thank you, Hermes. I haven't been on computer recently. The comments were quite revealing, too. Interesting, they want the husband to assume all the responsibility for his wife's actions; but do they similarly want him to have the legal power of correcting his wife is she errs? I don't think so.
As for Wilson, some of the "Conservative Christians" are feminists of the worst kind, imo.

noseintheair said...

Wilson's book _Her hand in marriage_ is execrable (I used to be "singlechristianman,) to the point it deserves its own posting. He actually states that marriage is between two families (!)

wombatty said...

Hermes quotes Doug Wilson:

"When a couple comes for marriage counseling, my operating assumption is always that the man is completely responsible for the all the problems" and "men, whether through tyranny or abdication, are responsible for any problems in the home."


This is the kind of pious bilge that leads to what Emmerson Eggerichs notes on pages 233-234 of his book Love & Respect:

What I see happening in some marriages is that the wife believes - or appears to believe - that she does not sin. In many other marriages the only sin that a wife will readily admit to is her negative reaction to her husbands failure to be loving or for losing patience with the children. beyond these areas, women do not see themselves as sinning, even though they readily admit bad habits and wrong attitudes. They write these off to chemical imbalance, hormonal problems, or dysfunction due to family of origin.

[...]

...it's easy for a wife to discount or disparage a husband's suggestion that she has some problem that need's correcting. Even if he is gently and diplomatic in suggesting that she needs to make a correction to avoid hurting herself or others, he is quickly silenced. She is offended, wonded, and angered by his assessment. He is accused of being without understanding and compassion. He has no right to speak. And he will often wind up being shown contempt.

When I speak on this topic at a Love and Respect Conference, I often get feedback, not all of it positive.


Throughout this book, Eggerichs includes testimony from many who have been brought face to face with their own fault within their marriage – and yes, Mr. Wilson, that includes women.

It is very encouraging to read these personal accounts of people, men and women, accepting responsibility and taking action (sometimes unilateral) to remedy their own fault in the marriage and seeing it bear Godly fruit.

Mr. Wilson’s grossly lopsided approach makes it more likely that whatever fault the wife does bear for marriage problems will instead be transferred to the husband, freeing her from taking personal responsibility. Needless to say, problems dealt with, or rather evaded, in this way will remain to fester and do further damage – damage that will, again, be laid at the feet of the husband.

The likes of Wilson surely gladden the hearts of Maken and her ilk, who often seem to be on a quest to find their own personal scapegoat.

Incidentally, I can’t help but wonder who Wilson would fault for problems within a female friendship. Say two long-time female friends have a falling out for whatever reason – who is to blame? I suppose Wilson could always resort to their fathers, their brothers, or some other male figure if necessary.

It wouldn’t do for Wilson to simply draw a distinction between marriage and friendship – neither a woman’s character flaws nor her personal responsibility to confront and resolve them evaporate upon taking her vows.

Wilson’s counter-productive presumption promotes the abdication of (female) personal responsibility - not exactly a recipe for a healthy marriage.

Knightwatch said...

Candice "discusses the question of whether or not women should "settle" for men who are not the most desirable mates" ...

I would think this depended on a woman's timeframe, their marketablity, and on their tolerance to wait on the "right man". Simply put, if anyone whines and complains about the dreadful thought of having to "settle", then the correct decision is to stay single and shut up.

I wish authors like Candice would look at what they write before they send it in. I mean, wow, I've been discussing the question of whether or not men should "settle" for women who are not the most desirable mates. The cream shall rise to the top (tsk).

emarel said...

"FYI, outrageously, Wilson wasn't limiting his discussion to adultery. The same quotation from him says "When a couple comes for marriage counseling, my operating assumption is always that the man is completely responsible for the all the problems" and "men, whether through tyranny or abdication, are responsible for any problems in the home.""

Gary Smalley has this M.O. as well, holding the husband ultimately responsible for whatever unhappines or negative feelings the wife has.

Anonymous said...

On Maken's talking down to guys looking overseas when she did it -her blog has two "success" stories on it. One guy in the UK married a Romanian, one guy in the US married a woman from Venezuela. So its OK if she does it, or people that make her money by purchasing her book do it.
http://debbiemaken.blogspot.com/2008_04_01_archive.html