Thursday 13 August 2015

Tinder: Horror and Hope

Never go on Tinder. That way one of the things that will make you a "creature unlike any other" is that you have never been on Tinder.

Hilary White sent me this link to an article on smartphone dating in Vanity Fair. Read as much as you can bear and then get back to me.

A few things called out to me from the pages. The first is that some of the girls mentioned go to Boston College, which is, like, you know, advertised as a Catholic college, and indeed you can find Catholicism taught there, go to Mass, find people who don't think you are insulting them when you explain you don't want to have sex with them, etc. The second is that the girls had taken Kerry Cronin's famous philosophy class, the one with the optional assignment of going on a date.

I think the Newman Society wailed and moaned over that, but it is, in fact, a BRILLIANT idea. Professor Cronin was a shining light when I was at BC, and we chatted at the Lonergan Center about things students would tell her about their personal lives. Crazy, absolutely crazy stuff was going on. One poor boy went over to a girl's house and found himself sitting on the couch while she voluntarily did a pole dance for him. She had a pole of her own in the sitting-room; it was the latest thing. And an elderly professor mentioned, also in the Lonergan Center, that it was common practice for shy freshmen to get absolutely hammered on beer at parties to kill their inhibitions and have sex with strangers. I'm not sure he did anything about this except shake his head and sigh; Kerry, at least, provides an alternative vision.

Speaking of action versus apathy, get Mr Horndog: "The double standard is real," Nick says. "If I'm a guy and I'm going out and ******* a different girl every night, my friends are gonna give me high-fives and we're gonna crack a beer and talk about it. Girls do the same, but they get judged. I don't want it to be like that, but sometimes the world is the way it is and I can't change it, so I just embrace it."

The girls could stop all this, of course, by refusing to go along.  I would, however, like to congratulate Tinder on being well on its way to eradicating the world's oldest profession in the USA by convincing beautiful, educated, employed, middle-class women (among others) to turn tricks for free.

But the gross commodification of people--not just sex, as I see the whoremongers choose their voluntary whores on the basis of looks, age and profession--is not limited to men. I had a very weird, yet strangely old-fashioned (now that I've read that Vanity Fair piece), conversation with a pretty young lady about introducing her to a young man I know. Because of her ethnicity, I had her pegged as at least a cultural Roman Catholic, but I was wrong.

"Is he Catholic?" she asked, narrowing her eyes with suspicion.

"Yes," I said, wondering why this might be a deal-breaker.

"Does he, like, not believe in sex in before marriage?"

"I shouldn't think so," I said, taking a very honest look at the reputation of the young man and deciding that he really didn't.  "He a nice, marriageable boy."

"But I could never marry anyone without a test drive," said the girl, which was--come to think of it--a brave thing to say to B.A. and me.

"What do you mean 'a test drive'?" we yowled. "What a lot of nonsense."

Neither of us felt comfortable explaining why the whole concept of a "test drive" is a complete crock when it comes to human sexuality and marital happiness. I did not bloody well "test drive" B.A., but I didn't feel like saying that in front of him. However, just thinking of B.A. gave me an idea.

"What if your father gave you a Porsche for your birthday?" I asked the girl. "A brand, new, shiny red Porsche. Would you say, 'Aw, Dad, you shouldn't have bought me this car without letting me test drive it! Aw. Take it away'? "

"But what if the Porsche has the engine of a Ford?" she asked. "Or what if I put the key in the ignition and it doesn't start at all?"

"People are not cars," I huffed, and that was the end of the conversation, not to mention any chance of the wee lassie meeting the nice, marriageable boy.

It was the end of the conversation because I knew exactly what she was talking about, and it was about the sexual performance of a man, any man, the first time he has sex with a woman, any woman, although naturally she was thinking of herself. What if I married a man who is bad in bed? think young women, having heard of the concept of "bad in bed" but not of that of "frank communication between spouses." In the premarital sex scenario, the mechanics of sex are the most important thing in an intimate relationship, more important than offspring, conversation, jokes, loyalty, support, shared enjoyment of meals, films, books, ideas, fellowship and mutual commitment to any cause save that of St. O.

I suspect this is because sexually active unmarried women are too scared to ASK for anything, for fear the men will leave them. Thus, the men better be great in the sack right from the start, for God forbid the women ever suggest to them what they might do to improve. Married women can make any old suggestion; leaving us is a much more expensive and bothersome option, and we know it.

Is "bad in bed" a myth? Probably not, but also not worth losing your soul over, or reducing an eternal being made in the image and likeness of God to the status of an automobile. (The condition probably could also be cured.) It seems to me that the poor "Tinderellas" lose more than half their value to their temporary owners once they are driven off the lot.

So there's the horror. Where's the hope?

The hope is that virginity, thanks to its rarity, will become valuable again. I don't want to turn virginity into the commodity it always used to be, but I do want to point out that eventually young men are going to feel sick to their stomach by all their whoring, or the whoring of their peers, and all the women who allowed, and even encouraged them, to behave that way.

When this day comes, the thought of girls and women who do not behave that way, and have never behaved that way, will come as a welcome glass of water to the sin-parched throats of these terribly disappointed men.

Once again, unless you live in a small, close-knit, community of church-going young people, do not expect to marry a man under the age of thirty. You might be younger than thirty, but chances are, he just isn't going to be.


  1. I read that article last night and almost sent it to you. Apparently dating really has gone the way of the dinosaur, which should make me feel better (it's not me) but instead is kind of discouraging (are there any good single men left?).

    I decided a long time ago that I would rather stay single all my life than live in a bad marriage. I also decided that I could marry a man with a "past" as long as he was committed to living chastely now and forevermore, according to his state in life.

    It's that last part that seems so tricky. I'm a Gen-Xer, and it seems like even the guys of my generation expect that there will be sex before marriage, if not necessarily on the first or third date. I recently met a guy I was interested in, and he was asking me all sorts of questions about my faith background and my beliefs. I thought he was interested, and he a degree. Once he got around to asking about my beliefs about premarital sex and I told him, he abruptly told me it would be a waste of time for us to date, because we weren't compatible on that point. I'm grateful for his honesty, and glad that got cleared up before there was emotional entanglement, but darn it, why don't people see what a mess that makes?

    I am surrounded by many, many good men, hard-working men, chaste men. I know they are out there. But all the ones I know are married or priests. I've about decided my fate is to marry some widower, 20 or more years from now!

  2. My "grandmother" married a widower with six grown kids and is extremely happy.

    1. I love hearing stories like that!

  3. Domestic Diva, I think that guy was an idiot. I wouldn't have been grateful for his honesty. I mean, yay, honesty means he's a decent human being instead of a lying toad, but I have to ask why he thought "no sex until marriage" was unattractive. Does he never want to get married? Does he just want a revolving door (if a slow one, you know, one woman per five years) of girlfriends? Ugh. Bleah. Well, I don't want to make you feel bad, but I wouldn't have let him get away without a think. Who was it who had a vision of souls falling into hell like snowflakes? Not to get all fire and brimstone, but that simile has been on my mind ever since I read the VF piece this morning.

    1. Oh, don't worry, I gave him a darn good explanation of why sex outside of marriage is a bad thing. And when I said I was grateful for his honesty, I meant that I was glad he was up front about what he wanted instead of pretending to be a nice guy and then dumping me down the road when our differences became evident.
      Yeah, he's an idiot. But the sad thing is, there seem to be lots of idiots around. Not to be Debbie Downer - I don't wish myself in a relationship with someone like that. Just...darn you, Sexual Revolution!

    2. Yeah. It's awful. Friend of mine is following her boyfriend to another town, but she doesn't even want to move in with him. (Or so she says.) And he doesn't ever want to get married, and she's okay with that. (Or so she says.) I said I was a real romantic because I didn't move to Edinburgh till I was actually married to B.A., and she looked sad, as if she were thinking, "Hey, I'm a romantic, too." And I was sad, too, because I know she is.

  4. That article was extremely depressing. I hope that's not really what most people are doing... I know its bad out there but that bad???

    1. Well, another thing I noticed was that this was yet another article about New York City. My guess is that it is "that bad" in New York City, but it has been "that bad" in New York City for awhile now.

  5. Well made it through the article, but I think one of the most poignant lines was early on: "there's always someone better." I think you've addressed this before, but it still affects the otherwise NCBs who moan "there's no girls around" in the presence of several NCGs. It just seems to be a modern scourge of not being content with what you have: whether it's relationships, or possessions, or job postings (not that trying to improve one's circumstance is necessarily bad).

    1. Yes! This seems like it affects all my friends on the coasts. Here in the middle of the country its not so bad.

    2. Amusing how they think "There's always someone better" without thinking, "Am I someone's someone better?"

  6. The thing is, be honest, I'm not going to be jumping for joy because some guy who spent the last however many years sleeping around has now decided that it's time to get married and chooses me just because I haven't been sleeping around. I'm pretty queasy about the thought of marrying a guy who's been around the block, especially if he thinks that that was no big deal. People change, and I get that, and I wouldn't necessarily dismiss a non-virgin guy, but goodness me, I would far prefer to marry a virgin for many reasons, which leads me to my next point.

    Why, in all of these articles about new sexual practices, does there never seem to be any mention at all of diseases? Have I missed the memo? Are human beings now immune from the myriad sexually-transmitted microbes that plagued our ancestors?

    Maybe I should change careers and become an STD specialist. Business is probably out of this world.

  7. Really didn't want to comment, but just have to say to Anamaria - it's bad, but there are patches of hope & light!

    I recently worked with a (raised atheist) teenager who lived an extremely middle class liberal hedonistic life. He started asking me about God and church, and from these conversations it emerged that the party life he led with his mates didn't translate to him sleeping with his ex-girlfriend. That surprised me, and was such a relief, as I reckon God has a very special plan for him. I just kept emphasising to him that 'he wouldn't want his sister treated like that', ie Tinder style. He got that, 'cos he loves his sister.

    He may be millenial rather than gen X Domestic Diva, but that is one example of an atheist who is not a Tinderalla (are the guys called that too?), and I guess all the commenters here are more examples, so there is hope. Especially as we should assume/hope that practising Catholics won't be indulging in Tinder, right?

    If the Catholics are on Tinder, then maybe Julia's new career is a lucrative call ;) Though maybe not if they are untreated for their STD's, as the media do gloss over the diseases.

    On the plus side Julia, it's fantastic that you don't just want to be settled for! You are worth so much more; to God, and to those who truly love you. It is not unreasonable that you feel queasy at serial monogamists. That you have noticed there are guys who would marry you precisely because you aren't sleeping around testifies to the truth of your behaviour, and begs the question of why they don't emulate you!
    God bless,
    Southern Bloke.

    1. Good point, Southern Bloke, and thanks for the encouraging word!

  8. The article is heart-breaking. And mystifying. Why do women participate in this kind of thing? It didn't seem like the ones interviewed for the article enjoyed the . . . encounters, at all. (Although some of them got food??) Their comments just broke my heart. It makes no sense to me. :(

    1. I don't get it either. Loneliness, maybe?


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