Preparing To Be A Help Meet: Part 1 – Cinderella

Preparing To Be A Help Meet: Part 1 – Cinderella December 28, 2014

Preparingby Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide

I’ve found two different types of toxic views in reading CP literature. The more common toxicity is “Do this or really bad things will happen to you!” Debi has given us plenty of these examples so far. This chapter is a different type of toxic. This is the “Do this and life will be magical!” toxicity.

Personally, I think the second type is more pernicious than the first. With the first, once you’ve done the forbidden action, you can figure out pretty quickly if the predicted bad outcome happens. The second type, though, is hard to disprove because life isn’t always magical.

Moral to the Story: One of the sweetest things you will ever know will be those intimate things you first learned together.

For a woman who writes extensively about sex, Debi manages to use a ton of euphemisms. Wouldn’t it be clearer to say “Sexual activities with your spouse are so much better if neither of you have ever had sexual activities with anyone else.”

On a practical level, how could anyone prove that sexual activities between two virgins are more “sweet” than between any two sexually experienced people or one virgin and one sexually experienced person?

Random thought: Does Debi mean to imply that the first time a couple has sex is the best time ever? Because….no. Not that the first time is awful; just that practice brings additional pleasure.

A Caution: A first time is only the first time. Once lost, it is forever gone.

How could you “lose” a first time? Does she mean “experience with someone other than your married spouse?”

Sloppy writing like this can be extremely painful to sexual abuse survivors. Not that Debi cares about that….

How do widows/widowers fit into this world view?

How about people who are involved with a partner who has a different set of expectations about premarital sexual activities? (Imagine the stress someone who wanted a parent-lead, hands-off courtship could have if they fell in love with someone who felt that passionate kissing and petting was allowed in a committed relationship…)

Enough with the sad stories. Now let’s consider a girl whose love story is so special she calls herself Cinderella.

*Raises an eyebrow*

An orphaned girl treated horribly by an abusive stepmother who only escapes when a prince falls in love with her at a dance – that Cinderella?

Are firsts important to men? What do I mean by first?

How stupid is Debi’s target audience? She’s needed to define “antsy” and now “first”.

Your first kiss is a first.

Ugh. On behalf of everyone who has been traumatized by watching three Duggar agonizing kiss-free courtships, let’s kill the kiss-free courtship.

Your first true love, the first guy you take home to meet Grandma or maybe your first night in bed with a man.

Ouch. That hurt.

My husband and I met when we were nearly 29 and 30 respectively. I’ve met three of his four grandparents – his paternal grandfather not long before he died and his maternal grandparents who are both quite well. His paternal grandmother had died not long before I met Nico after living for several years with Alzheimer’s.

Nico wasn’t able to meet my grandparents; they had all died multiple years before I was dating Nico.

Every first is a moment of awakening. The man who truly loves you will treasure these first moments you gave him and to him alone. Will you save your firsts for him?

No, I won’t save anything for my spouse. That’s just asinine.

Let’s be honest. Debi could care less if you wait to go water-skiing for the first time with your spouse. She clearly feels that cheese-making should be entered into before marriage.

(My husband is fake crying because I made cheese without him. He’s heart-broken because he was waiting to make cheese with his wife for the first time and now we can’t share that. Yeah, it does that stupid when put anything besides sex in there. And now we’re talking about accordion lessons)

She’s selling the whole hoopla about “emotional adultery” along with an incredibly strict injunction against sexual contact but is trying to make it seem sweet and romantic rather than creepy and demeaning.

My church was pretty clear on limiting sexual intercourse before marriage, but the prohibition for the good of the person’s relationship with God. The future spouse wasn’t being cheated or expected to treasure…marrying..a…virgin.


I think I realized why Debi uses euphemisms. The truth is too disturbing when written out in actual English.

God told his people to bring their first fruits to him (Exodus 23:16-19). Why? Because they are very, very special. When you save yourself for your man he will know your are giving him your best.

Well, let’s look at Exodus 23:16-19 (NRSV):
“You shall observe the festival of harvest, of the first fruits of your labor, of what you sow in the field. You shall observe the festival of ingathering at the end of the year, when you gather in from the field the fruit of your labor. Three times in the year all your males shall appear before the Lord God.
You shall not offer the blood of my sacrifice with anything leavened, or let fat of my festival remain until the morning.
The choicest of the first fruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God.
You shall not boil a kid in its mother’s milk.”

Ok….agricultural sacrifice outline…..more details……sacrifices should be of good quality….one rule of kosher eating….
What does that have to do with interpersonal relationships? Absolutely nothing, of course. We’re supposed to give God our best. The connection to our spouse in Exodus is completely unclear unless your husband is God. Since that’s clearly an example of idolatry, I’m sure someone as Titus 2 wise as Debi keeps telling us she is would NEVER say that.
AntiPearl: To dare is to lose one’s footing momentarily. Not to dare is to lose oneself.
Soren Kierkegaard


Introduction | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 |Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | 

Read everything by Mel!

Mel is a science teacher who works with at-risk teens and lives on a dairy farm with her husband. She blogs at When Cows and Kids Collide


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  • Nea

    How does does Debi irritate me? Let me count the ways:

    For a woman who writes extensively about sex, Debi manages to use a ton of euphemisms.

    It’s one of the things that makes me most contemptuous of Pearl sex advice. Not just how awful it is, but because I think it takes a lot of nerve to claim to be a sex expert when you can’t even use medically accurate terminology. (I am reminded of a Victorian story – possibly a Victorian urban myth – about the woman who was very active agitating against The Secret Sin until the day she realized that she was agitating against masturbation, which she practiced and considered normal. Euphemisms breed confusion, not understanding.)

    Does Debi mean to imply that the first time a couple has sex is the best time ever?
    One certainly hopes not, considering that her husband is on record saying that he wasn’t thinking of her, he was trying to “outdo” another guy, she is on record saying that she wanted him to leave her alone while he talked her into sex she didn’t want, and they’re both on record that he literally worked her into collapse. If that was Debi’s Best Time Ever, their marriage is more horrific than anyone has realized.

    A first time is only the first time. Once lost, it is forever gone
    Remember girls, the only thing you have of value to God and man is that hymen! And utter ignorance.

    An orphaned girl treated horribly by an abusive stepmother who only
    escapes when a prince falls in love with her at a dance – that Cinderella?

    *amused snort* Yep, the one who ran off with a guy she had known only for a few hours and knew nothing about.

    My husband is fake crying because I made cheese without him. … And now we’re talking about accordion lessons
    I like your husband. A LOT.

    The truth is too disturbing when written out in actual English.
    Ding, ding, ding, we have a winner! That’s exactly why they use euphemisms, and why they redefine the words they do bother to use. (Michael referring to x kind of whipping as a “beating” but y kind of whipping as just “training” is another big example.)

  • *facepalm* From personal experience (and Debi would agree with me if she were capable of being honest with herself) Ignorance and Inexperience do NOT lead to Happy Magical Funtimes, in ANY sense of the phrase.
    Sex is something a person needs to be *educated* in, otherwise there’s no possible way that they can truly find fulfillment in a physical relationship with *anyone*. (Even if that “education” is simply self-exploration.)
    Debi has no idea what it actually is to enjoy a physical relationship. I have to think that she’s worse off than I am, to be honest. She doesn’t even *realize* she’s being cheated. I’m all too aware of it.

  • tulips

    Somehow she manages to miss that a couples first time for things ~together~ is their own unique experience no matter what either of them have experienced before? Reality Debbie, it burns doesn’t it?

  • Gypsy Rose B

    I love your husband’s interjections into these posts. He’s snarky and insightful just like my man.

  • Astrin Ymris

    During our family get together, my four-year-old niece “XJ” asked to watch a video. While sorting through our collection for something kid-friendly, I found a non-Disney version of ‘The Little Mermaid’ which follows the plot of the Hans Christian Anderson fairy tale. Once XJ got her mind wrapped around the possibility that there could be a different take on ‘The Little Mermaid’, she said she wanted to watch it.

    As the movie played, I realized how really, really toxic the basic fairy tale is. Give up your family and species forever in the hope that a handsome man who literally doesn’t know you exist will fall in love with you and marry you? That’s bad enough, but agree to DIE if he doesn’t do so within a set time period? And all without any ability to verbally communicate with him to boot.

    There were other toxic elements, like the fact she refused to kill the prince because of “love” rather than “He’s a nice guy who doesn’t deserve to die just because he doesn’t requite my love”. Still, I suppose I can be relieved that the walking-on-knives part was left out. *shudders*

    I wish in retrospect I’d re-directed XJ to another choice, but that WAS the first actual children’s movie I came across. I take some comfort in the fact XJ declared that she never wanted to see it again, that it was “boring” (despite watching it to the end). I told her it was okay not to like it, and she never had to see it again.

    I need to get a copy of ‘Ponyo’ before her next visit.

  • I was telling my son the other day that Andersen must have been a blast at parties.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Reviewing the Wikipedia entry on him, Andersen DID experience a lot of rejection and abandonment in his life– so consistently that you have to wonder if his neediness and difficulty in respecting other people’s boundaries played a role. He once was invited for a brief visit by Charles Dickens and had to be finally told to leave after five weeks. Andersen reportedly never understood why Dickens refused to answer his letters after this.

    Looking over his body of work, it’s striking how many times Andersen’s “happy ending” involves the protagonist dying. It’s also noteworthy how often women are severely punished for minor faults– I’m thinking of ‘The Red Shoes’ specifically here, which was baffling to a ten-year-old Protestant in 1970s America. WTF was wrong with wearing red shoes to church?

    Perhaps it’s not surprising that most re-imaginings of his stories involve changing the endings.

  • Allison the Great

    It amazes me that the people who claim to be “bible scholars” like the Pearls and all the other fundgelicals out there are so horrible about interpreting the bible and understanding the meanings behind it. They also use verses that don’t have shit to do with what they’re talking about.

    I know, I know, we come across this with every Quoting Quiverful. We see people who don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about every goddamn day, and it never ceases to amaze me.

  • Nea

    The Pearls obviously don’t see the Bible as a set of complete narrative books. More like a massive collection of single random verses that can be attached, like little present toppers or possibly “Inspected by No. 6” stickers, to whatever they want to give the Good Biblekeeping Seal of Approval to.

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    Heh, I’m doing a bit of my own re-imagining on Walt Disney of all people with his sitting down to read through a story turned script and after getting to the end he thinks, “Ok, the end needs to be completely changed because this won’t do! Children are the intended audience!”…at least in the mental picture that popped up in my head…

    The brothers Grimm were rather dark-minded in their ideas fairy tales. Step mothers dancing themselves to death in metal slippers heated till red like the queen in Snow White and all…Child stealing, child eating…

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    It would be different if Debi were keeping these silly notions to herself or limiting who she was continuously trying to foist them on to her own family exclusively. Someone needs to cut off the Pearl family’s access to publishing of all types.

  • Astrin Ymris

    People forget that fairy tales started as ADULT entertainment, crafted and passed along by oppressed peasants who didn’t have HBO for evening entertainment.

    The scholars who first wrote down these stories for a more affluent audience gave them a spin which fulfilled their own prejudices and preconceptions, just as individual storytellers had for centuries. I’ve read that the Brothers Grimm selectively chose to publish the stories where women were more passive, leaving out traditional stories with a more feminist bent. Though to be fair, they had to meet the expectations of 19th Century editors and publishers, who wanted to make sure that the stories promoted “good moral values”.

  • Rebecca Horne

    The whole idea of your first sexual experience being something “lost,” or “given” or worst of all “taken” needs to go die now.

    Assuming everything was consensual and in the neutral-to-positive range, you don’t walk away missing any piece of yourself (if those assumptions CAN’T be made, then you lose things like the ability to trust, but still not any actual part of yourself.)

    It’s an EXPERIENCE. Not a thing. It isn’t a thing that can be given away or lost–it’s an experience that you share and create with the other person.

    Your first time can be good without being magical. It can bad without being tragic. It can be magical or tragic. It can be life-changing or not….there’s at least as much variety available as with any other type of experience. It isn’t limited to “magical and fulfilling in every way,” “sad and empty,” or “rape.”

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    The Upper Palatinate where the person who collected the newly discovered unedited stories mentioned in that article is where my mom’s side of the family was traced back to prior to the first that arrived in the U.S. in 1723. 🙂

    However, the pretty yet dumb and proper acting type of lady that the edited versions place high value on being just isn’t practical when it comes to continued survival. It’s a shame that so many fundamentalist families believe that, despite avoiding government institutions like hospitals when giving birth and keeping their children from a substantial amount of knowledge because it’s too worldly, and refusing vaccines because they’re ‘poison’, they’re going to have the new generation of people who will survive through even the collapse of modern civilization as ‘live off the land’ types. They want women to be dependent on men and even in the home that’s supposed to be women’s area of skill and capability they’re lacking – if it’s how to keep the house from burning down and meal preparation, they can do all that just fine, but what happens when they need to figure out how to purify water without specialty products to help and their husband/male family members are out hunting to provide meat for sustenance? Will the girls who were raised in middle to upper class-income homes even make it through a few months should something like a super-volcanic eruption occur even if they’re married at the time – once they’re done talking about how such things can’t possibly happen because it’s not in the Bible….?

    I’m also wondering what kind of twisted adults would be entertained by some of the early versions of the stories that were turned into fairy tales and sanitized. Other than myself of course, but I already know I’ve got a weird and slightly twisted sense of humor.

  • Nea

    The kind of sheltering & learned helplessness some women are subject to makes sure they are not fit to survive in any situation, inside or outside of civization. I doubt any Duggar daughter could cook off the land for all Jessa waved that rifle; I equally doubt that either Botkin daughter, proud of her skills, could negotiate her own bank account or job when Daddy inevitably pre-deceases them. Ironically, the Pearls have done their daughters well in this regard; having raised them in grinding poverty with begging for the basics, those women know how to deal with poverty and begging.

  • Astrin Ymris

    True; if civilization really DOES collapse, it’s not like the internet is going to stay up, so what would be needed is people who have a sound knowledge of science– AND how the scientific method works.

  • KarenH

    “First fruits” aren’t actually the first ones that ripen; they’re the best of the harvest. the *first quality*. And those can happen throughout the harvest.

  • gimpi1

    “Good Biblekeeping Seal of Approval”

    I love that. I’m definitely going to steal it!

  • B.E. Miller

    Do you have a copy of “Kiki’s Delivery Service” or “Spritied Away”? Those are both great movies. I’ve only seen SA, but I’ve heard great things about KDS, which ended up the FB page, “A Mighty Girl”.

    Also, I know that “Kiki’s Delivery Service” was the subject of an attempted boycott by some extreme Christian group, Concerned Women for America. So that’s got to be a good vote for the film, right?

  • B.E. Miller

    Oh, I don’t know if any of these exist, but if you can find any of the old Baba Yaga tales…. (the ones that are a bit more pre-Christian.)

    I was reading one storyteller’s talking about the older Baba Yaga’s objection to a “good mother’s blessing”. Not the blessing, in itself, but Baba is the Wild Woman of the Woods, who goes off at 3am or whenever she feels like it, while the Good Mother makes sure her child is provided for.

    (In essence, a part of the Good mother has to ‘die’ so that her child may live.) Which might be an interesting concept to introduce to a modern kid.

  • B.E. Miller

    Don’t forget that some of those ‘step-mothers’ were originally mothers, like in Hansel and Gretel. So it was the mother who was for abandoning the kids to possibly die of starvation.

  • B.E. Miller

    I’d think I would rather have #6’s interpretation, rather than what #2 attempts to tell me. (And who was #1 anyway?) Sorry, The Prisoner reference, there….

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    That sounds like a barely disguise dig at the poorest of the poor mothers from the dirty streets and in the work/poor houses unable to do anything for their children and abandoned by their husbands or widowed – the mother part, which then became step mothers because Walt Disney has a problem with step parents? That’s just a guess,I have no idea whether or not Disney actually had such a view. 😛

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    If there’s no one to beg for assistance from and their husbands are useless when it comes to figuring out a way to survive/obtain needed supplies, then maybe they’ll survive the poverty but lack of knowledge will be what gets them in the end. 😉

  • ConcepcionImmaculadaPantalones

    All the more reason to print out survival manuals now! 😉

  • Astrin Ymris

    I’ve heard about ‘Spirited Away’, but I though it would be above her developmental level; she IS only four!

    From Googling ‘Kiki’s Delivery Service’, I think it seems more appropriate for tweens than preschoolers. It does some like it would be absolutely great for girls facing the Great Fall in Self-Esteem that comes with puberty.

    I suppose I really should watch all of ‘Ponyo’ before I make a firm decision on it. I’ve only seen the first half, and read up on it in Wikipedia so I know how it ends. Maybe after we get our firestick…

  • Astrin Ymris

    No, I’m not familiar with that one. I’ll have to remember to look into it when I feel better.

  • Astrin Ymris

    Thanks! I had just recovered from a previous sick spell when this one struck. I’m hoping it’s just post-Christmas overindulgence.