This chapter is supposed to be about ‘Courting Delays’ but it is more about tearing down other patriarchs ideas about courtships and shaming those Von considers old maids.
At this point in the book “What are you Doing?” author Vaughn Ohlman is starting to slip. There’s zero introduction as to who someone is and no indication where this is taking place. The ladies in this chapter could be holding this conversation at the Picnic Table of Confession or just as easily at a grocery store, school or Chippendales club. Zero idea. Which kind of sums up this chapter. That, plus a little bit of Old Maid Shaming (at least in the author’s mind an unmarried woman over 30 is a dried up old crone passed by. Oh the shame!)
Isha Davidson, she of the intruding on a stranger’s physical space by demanding a hug, is back, along with the atrociously named Maydyn Terrefille. They’d joined by shamed old maid verge of bitter crone-hood cousin of Maydyn (gag!) Beth Terrefille. More heavy handed naming as Beth means “House of God”
Maydyn has brought Beth along to discuss the wonderfulness of courtship with Isha ‘Hugger-Mugger’ Davidson. They start with a few introductions of Isha to Beth and Beth to Isha before getting down to the subject at hand, getting a Godly guy to the altar via courtship.
Beth: Yes. My family read ‘Her Hand in Marriage’ by Douglas Wilson. It is a wonderful book, you should read it. It tells all about how to get married in the Biblical way.
Hold on to your buttonhook, Vaughn is about to throw some serious shade at Doug Wilson, he who has married literal sexual predators in his church.
Isha: Really? We went through it several times, and we found almost nothing ‘Biblical’ about it.
Hee. Does anyone else get the idea that the author is mentioning and then denigrating these other Good Christian Patriarchs out of jealousy that they are much more well known and quoted than he will ever be? Climbing up Patriarch BS Mountain over the dead bodies of other patriarchs to be The One to plant the flag.
So this is followed by some verbal scuffling back and forth as to what exactly the scriptural references cited by Wilson really mean in regard to courtship. Isha asks Beth how long she’s been married by using Wilson’s methods and she’s forced to confess she is still unmarried, and with zero courting potentials on the horizon.
Beth: Not all courtships lead to marriage, you know.
Isha: I had hoped… so your courtship didn’t work out?
Beth: I had two, actually.
Oh no! Beth just revealed her unwrapped pre-licked candy bar status in that old bullshit trope of giving away pieces of your heart. Beth explains how wonderful and perfect her first courtship was and how it ended.
Beth: (speaking of her father) He said the young man didn’t have a good enough job, he wasn’t college educate, and he didn’t have a good enough financial basis to be thinking about marriage.
Isha; But, I don’t understand. You are saying that he allowed a young man to court you who didn’t have a ‘good job’, wasn’t ‘college educated’ and didn’t ‘have a good enough financial basis to be thinking about marriage’, but then, after you had courted a while, when you were getting close to being engaged, he broke off the relationship for those reasons?!
Isha kind of has a point there. All those situations were already in place when Mr. Terrefille let Beth enter courtship. Why bother in the first place?
But, at the same time knowing the realities of our modern society it seems to me that what Beth’s father was concerned over are valid and reasonable things, not some silly whims, no matter what Von says. Being able to support a spouse before you marry is being wise. Moving in with mom and dad without having any education or career prospects just looks like a marital disaster waiting to happen.
Beth reveals she still thinks about this young man, indicating what a fundamentalist might term a ‘soul connection’ – indication she’s given away a piece of her heart. She explains that she courted a second time before the other young man broke it off over some minor quibble over infant baptism and if salvation can be lost. Minor minor points of contention.
Beth dodged a bullet with that guy. If he’s so stubborn over minor bits of theology what happens when you cross him or disagree with him over something big once you’re married?
Isha: Two failed courtships? I’m so sorry for you.
Oh, if you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?
Beth: (after a pause) I’m thirty-two.
Isha: And you don’t think a system that has left you unmarried and barren at thirty-two has failed?
At this point Beth bursts into tears. I don’t blame her Mr. Buttinski’s wife has asked some invasive questions, like her age, and then tried to shame her for being post thirty and unmarried. I feel like visiting physical harm on Isha for her behavior. Of course you know in that world of fundyvile, err, fundyville if it was an unmarried man of 32 then they would be defending that man and saying he was ‘choosy’ so he found the ‘right’ woman. The sexism is breathtaking in this bit.
Isha: You’ve shown me that courtship is a system which calls being a thirty-two year old woman barren and unmarried a ‘success’. Are there many other girls like you?
Knitter please! Knock it off right now. Enough with the shaming this poor women.
There is some compulsory talk about how failed courtships feel like personal failures before Maydyn (ugh!) says this:
Maydyn: Wow, yes. I can’t imagine. Whenever I imagine someone courting me, I always imagine marrying them.
The ladies sit without speaking….
Good! Nothing good came out of their speaking earlier. Silence is golden.
What were today’s lessons:
- Vaughn believes in the old pearl clutching ancient idea of Old Maids.
- Two courtships equals personal failure, giving away pieces of your heart and pre-licked candy bars.
- Isha Davidson is completely lacking in appropriate healthy boundaries towards others.
- Dads can be jerks by actually insisting on bonafides for the prospective grooms, like jobs and education.
The next chapter is all about Mr. Buttinski Sakal Davidson putting some youth pastor in his place and denigrating everything Mr. Youth Pastor is teaching.
As always on Sunday night at 7 pm est I will be doing a reading from this chapter and it will involve laughter and liquor. This will take place on Facebook Live video on NLQ’s Facebook page. Bring your questions and comments.
Suzanne Titkemeyer is the admin at No Longer Quivering. She’s been out of the Quiverfull Evangelical world for nine years now and lives in the beautiful Piedmont section of Virginia with her retired husband and assorted creatures. She blogs at Every Breaking Wave and True Love Doesn’t Rape
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