by Mel cross posted from her blog When Cows and Kids Collide
Quoted material from the book will be in blue text.
For people who have been reading along with Botkin Sisters through this series what I will say next will surprise no one. The Botkin Sisters manage to find guys who are willing to talk about how girls should talk to each other about guys when no guys are around.
Let that sink in for a minute.
I find the idea of receiving moral advice on how I’m supposed to interact with other young women condescending. Equally disturbing is the idea that all moral information has to be filtered through men. Heck, in this case the moral orbiters are not men but half-grown boys.
Ugh. Here we go:
James, producer, says… Girls up and wonder why guys won’t take the lead in approaching girls or simply initiating conversation. The truth is, that many guys I know are unwilling subject themselves to the gossip that they know will occur if they have a conversation with a girl. ” Did you see Tommy talking to Sue? I wonder if he’s interested in marrying her?” Worse yet are the mothers to try to play matchmaker. “So… When are you going to get married? What about Ruth? She’s a nice girl. I saw you talking to her this afternoon. Are you guys courting?” It’s not fun walking into a room and feeling like a fresh hunk of meat thrown into a shark tank, just waiting for the circle and women to attack. (pg. 181)
- If I remember correctly, the boys were adamant that in a conversation girls should never let their personal sense of awkwardness get in the way making guys feel comfortable. According to James, though, this is not a reciprocal requirement.
- How exactly are the teenagers supposed to control adult women who are trying to be matchmakers? Think about your audience, James.
- I have a certain amount of sympathy for the adult women who are playing at matchmaker. The guys are not starting conversation with the girls. The girls are not allowed to start conversations with the boys. All need to end up married to fulfill God’s will. if the women don’t step in, who will?
I’ve been asked why it is that all of the godly young men seem not to care about marriage, since we are getting older and there are many eligible young ladies out there. The answer is that we guys do care about getting married, and are actively seeking it. I can’t think of one godly, single young man that I know that is over the age of 21 who has not attempted at least one (some as many as three, four, or even five times) to pursue a relationship with a young lady. These relationships did not lead to marriage for a wide variety of reasons, but the fact they did not do so does not constitute a state of emergency or signifies some systemic problem. The real reason is that it ultimately was not God’s will for that particular man to marry that particular young woman. And since the young man at whom these questions are being directed are too honorable to go gossiping about the young women that they have attempted to pursue, the conclusion that is jump to is that “they are just not interested in getting married.” (pg 183)
- James argues that 1) all guys are afraid of talking to girls because of gossip and 2) all guys over 21 are actively looking for a wife but can’t talk about it. Logic was not a large component of his education, I suspect.
- There’s a huge difference between gossiping about a girl you were courting/dating/whatever and mentioning that you’ve not had a courtship that ended in marriage yet.
- On the other hand, maybe I am being too hard on James. The Emo-Pure folk have convinced an entire generation that a single romantic thought will doom your future marriage and a failed courtship…whew! Your future marriage is toast. Perhaps, in this situation, pretending that a girl has never been through a courtship is actually an act of chivalry.
Rex, reformer, says….
I’ve met many girls who view personal relationships like the Soap Opera Digest. They find great satisfaction in getting the skinny on everyone else’s personal lives. Their thirst for the juicy inside story seems nearly insatiable. Whether it involves some confidential conflict which is none of their business, a potential courtship, the rehearsing of a he-said, she-said (and don’t you agree they’re so right for each other!), they want to be the first to know the scoop and are generally not hesitant to broadcast what ‘news’ they were into their girlfriends.
Women who meddle like this in relationships are not the sort a godly man cares to befriend, for they’re self-serving, untrustworthy, immature, and their actions often wreak havoc on relationships. They don’t act in a way befitting a godly Christian woman who is to be modest and speech and build up her brothers in the Lord. (pg. 188)
- Let’s welcome Rex, everyone! He’s the male version of the “wet-blanket” model of interaction favored by the Botkin Sisters.
- Pretty sure the word he meant in the fourth sentence was “rehashing” not rehearsing – but neither he nor his transcribers caught it, so…who knows?
- Technically, no one in this scenario is meddling in a relationship, Rex. There’s a heap of gossip going on, but no one is actively getting involved in the couple or people being discussed. And let’s be honest, when you deprive men and women of all education, all career paths, all outside interests beyond church and family and keep them too poor to have hobbies….gossiping is the only stress-relief valve left.
Robert, entrepreneur, says…
Beyond the social reasons matchmaking is a no-no, it’s also a major red flag to good men, because it displays the pride and self-identity of a girl who practices it. There is no girl so self-absorbed is the one who believes that she should be the one to predestine, preordain, and then sovereignly direct the affairs of her fellow man and woman to achieve a union that she approves of. Talk about setting herself up as a god! It shows us just how much she worships her own ability to be all-knowing about what’s best for the people in her life. And a thinking fellow would rightly wonder if she believes she’s capable of manipulating and leading so many other people in the most important decisions about their lives, isn’t that just an indication that she will see herself as a spiritual superior in every relationship, including marriage? (pg. 182)
- If you think Robert is pompous when you’re reading this, try reading the section out loud. Seriously. I had to do that because of my transcription software and it was all I could do not to start laughing aloud at four different spots.
- I wonder if some of Robert’s judgmental nature is due to the fact that no one has tried to set him up with a girl. I know that I would quail at the idea of trying to set Robert up with one of my friends.
- I think it’s an absurdly large jump to connect acting as a matchmaker for your friends with being a poor wife. In fact, it’s statements like these really drive home to me the fact that most of the Botkin Sisters’ male friends are unmarried. Well, most of the guys in this book are their brothers but anyway…
Ah, at last we reach the end of chapter 10. There are three chapters left; the Botkin Sisters have really phoned it in by now. Chapter 11 is Anna Sofia and Elizabeth critiquing how every failed relationship they’ve ever heard about fell apart. (Because that’s NOT gossiping if you do it for mass market publishing….right?) To make it more coherent, I’m going to do chapter 11 in by relationship(s) rather than linearly through the chapter.
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 She is also an very valuable source of scientific information for us here at NLQ. Mel is also blessed with the ability to look at the issues of Quiverfull with a rational mind and break them down to their most basic of elements.
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