Via me and Fr. Z.:
I am writing to you because I believe you are read by the largest number of Seriously Catholic Single Men in the USA and Canada, or certainly ought to be. Personally, I write my blog for Seriously Catholic Single Women, and after reading their thoughts about Seriously Catholic Single Men in America, I have a request.
Would you please ask the Seriously Catholic Single Men of the USA and Canada not to mention Theology of the Body on the first date? The Seriously Catholic Single Women of the USA and Canada do not like discussing sex, no matter how marital, on the first date. Even secular humanists just out for what they can get tend not to put their sexual cards on the table until the third date.
Frankly, it makes my readers blush. My readers don’t even know if they are even remotely attracted your readers yet, and there your readers are, saying, “So… Christopher West. Ever heard of him?” It rather ruins the mystery, Father and Mark. A nice Catholic girl doesn’t know what to say. Obviously she wants to make a good impression on Seriously Catholic Single Men, but that doesn’t mean she wants to discuss mutual gifting on the first date.
Additionally, it would be kind if you reminded readers that Catholic dating websites often conduct orthodoxy tests on their members when they sign up, so there is no reason for your readers to behave, on the first date, as if they are volunteers for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and the women across from them at the coffee tables of the world are Mary Daly, alive again and in disguise. They aren’t.
The whole point to a first date, as apart from a first winkie on a dating site and an introductory email in an In-box, is to discover if a man and a woman have any spark or sense of rapport when they meet in person. It should involve polite, lighthearted and humorous chit-chat or, if there must be a deep, soulful discussion of something, a deep, soulful discussion that does not involve the most private thoughts and most personally held beliefs of either party. There is a reason dates used to be preceded by a trip to the cinema: it gave the man and the woman something neutral but shared to talk about. A man who needs to discuss women’s ordination on the first date gives the unpleasing and heterodox suggestion that he thinks his date might personally bring it about.On behalf of my readers, dear Father Z and Mark Shea, uncrowned earthly vicars of the anglophone segment of the Catholic blogosphere, I ask for your intercession in this matter.
Two things must be stated.
First, laddies, is that despite the title of the blog, the fetching lass who styles herself “Seraphic Single” is, I am given to understand, no longer single and therefore not available for any trans-Atlantic wooing by corn-fed strapping American men. So don’t get any ideas. Please feel free to mourn–in a manly way–this state of affairs.
Second–and I will try to put this as gently as possible–what is *wrong* with Catholic males that they need something like this pointed out to them? Bringing up the Theology of the Body on a first date is just the smells and bells way of telegraphing “Let’s cut the chit chat. I’m thinking of one thing right now and it’s not the Eucharist.” Channel all that male energy, not into talking about your male energy in particularly unsubtle, creepy, and unnerving ways, but into the traditional things like courtliness, elevating your intended with talk and action about things she cares about, a dash of adventure and charm, and real–not pretend–self-donation that is not calculated to bring the conversation right back to “So. About me and my needs and desires. Here is how I fit them into my theological system. How about it? Can you sign on to that? And how quickly? I realize it’s our first date, but I’m not waiting forever here.”
This is perhaps not the most pastoral advice to single males (perhaps Fr. Z will provide that). But… sheesh! Theology of the Body on the first date? Makes me glad I’ve been married since 1983. I like being out of that loop.