A trip to Boundless is always good for getting me all het up with semi-righteous fury. Though their advice reeks of sincerity, it tends to coddle women, castigate men, and completely ignore the biological imperatives of both sexes. I feel like in Boundlessworld, if you just pray and believe enough, people will stop acting like…people. Christian belief does not rewrite the biological code; it merely submits it to self-restraint. If Christian beliefs truly overrode biology, then hot Christian men would be marrying fat and merry Christian women by the truckload, and average-looking Christian women would be dying to marry sincere but impoverished and shy Christian men. I’m pretty sure a planet of such persons does not exist in the Milky Way.
And because Boundless does not address the harsh realities of biology, we end up with sad single Christians such as this young woman, who wrote to Candice Watters:
I am a 25-year-old Christian. I would like to have a family, and I always thought I would have met my future husband by now. Not surprisingly (as our timing is not always God’s), I haven’t. The possibility of meeting a man at all is very scarce. My church, which I love and am invested in, is very small. The young-adult scene is dominated by women, and only two of the six or so men are beyond age 20.
At first, I was praying pretty intensely for a husband, keeping a journal for him (at my friend’s suggestion), and (separately) writing to God about the characteristics I wanted my future husband to have. I did enjoy keeping the journal; I thought of it as a way to share the parts of my life I’d live before meeting him. I was doing this for several months when it hit me that my future husband may not come for another 10 years, and there are a lot of other things I could be doing and praying for in the meantime.
What I would like to know is: WHO IS THE FRIEND WHO THOUGHT KEEPING A JOURNAL FOR HER HUSBAND WAS A BRILLIANT IDEA? Has any man ever expressed sadness and regret that he was not privy to his wife’s most intimate thoughts prior to their meeting? How many men have any desire to read a journalful of their wife’s every thought about, well, anything? (Cue NAMALT chorus.) Here is a classic case of female projection. Like, to the nth power. Not that Mrs. Watters addresses this aspect. Instead, she very gently suggests to the reader that keeping a journal to her husband will send her off into a fantasy world that will prevent her from meeting actual men. (But, wait…isn’t that what Twilight is for?)
Then there was this poor Christian beta who wrote to John Thomas:
I’ve done my best to play by the rules in terms of intentionality and avoiding passivity. My question is what to do when the woman doesn’t do likewise.
I was pursuing a young woman from my fellowship group earlier this year. I was very up-front and intentional with her from the start, making sure she never had to “guess” or “assume” what my feelings were. It was crystal clear that I was asking her on a date and not merely to hang out as friends. She agreed to the date, and it went well. Conversation was never lacking, and we got along great.
As time went on, things continued in — what I thought — was a positive direction. Our conversations were meaningful; her body language was affirming, and she even left encouraging messages on my Facebook wall (for what that’s worth).
After all this, I’ve recently discovered through a friend that this woman is not romantically interested in me and, in fact, does not even enjoy my company. This came as a surprise to me, and I gave her the benefit of the doubt. But after talking to her about it, it turns out that this is true.
I am certainly not angry that the girl isn’t interested in me, because I understand that not everybody is God’s match for me. But I do find myself a little frustrated that it went on so long without any negative indications of her interest. I was very straightforward, honest and intentional with her. I don’t know why she couldn’t have done the same.
What should I do in the future to make sure we’re both on the same page and avoid this from happening again? Or is it just one of the unavoidable risks of being a man?
Now, on the one hand, I do feel for this guy, because finding out that the girl you are dating doesn’t even like being around you is cold. But on the other hand, what does “her body language was affirming” even mean?!?! That doesn’t sound like flirty touching or kissing. This dude sounds like he was completely de facto LJBFed by a girl who wanted the ego massage of his attention. And this guy isn’t even angry at her over her behavior? MESSAGE TO DUDE: THAT IS WHY SHE DIDN’T LIKE YOU AND WILL NEVER LIKE YOU.
Not surprisingly, Boundless can’t come up with a good answer for why this girl strung this guy along while not actually liking him. John Thomas responds:
I can’t explain why she acted the way she acted. I am just as surprised as you are at the outcome. There isn’t anything you could have done to change the decisions she made. For all we know, in His sovereignty, God could have protected you from something He saw, but you didn’t. Maybe time will shed more light on it, but whatever the case, you can absolutely trust His good for you and for her.
So women just remain an ephemeral mystery to all of Christendom. It might have been God. You just can’t know.
But not men. No, men and their wicked motives are transparent in Boundlessworld. Carolyn McCulley recently got yet more cyberspace to remind men that they need to work harder to live up to women’s standards. In “Gentlemen in a Digital Age,” she invokes Jane Austen as the height of a more civilized time and casts contemporary men in the role of sneaky Petes who are out to scam women on the internet. She advises:
Be willing to become known. Yeah, it’s risky. Yeah, it can come off weird. But it doesn’t have to. You can be charming, low-key and reassuring in offering this information. Tell her why you are making the connection (“I have heard a lot about you from our mutual friends, and then I saw your profile on Facebook”). Tell her why you want to be in contact (“You sound like a lot of fun, so I’d like to get to know you a little better”). Offer information that will make you legitimate in a cesspool of spambots and viruses (“I’m sure you’d like to check me out, and that’s cool. Here’s the contact info of some people we know in common/my pastor/my family, etc. Or if you prefer I first talk to someone you know, I’d be glad to do that. Whatever makes you comfortable”).
My knee-jerk reaction to this advice was CREEPY CHRISTIAN ROBOT BEHAVIOR THAT WILL SCARE OFF WOMEN. It’s all too much, too soon, tries way too hard, and takes ANY mystery out of the equation. It also completely ignores the reality that women judge strangers by their looks. If you’re not reasonably attractive, and you send a message like McCulley’s to a single Christian woman, she will not want to get to know you better, or think YOU sound like a lot of fun, or have much belief that any action you take will make her feel comfortable.
McCulley’s final paragraph is a passive-aggressive kick in the teeth to men, too:
The fine folks of Jane Austen’s world might strike us today as being a bit rigid in their manners. But they demanded character and accountability even among the limited relationships of a small town. How much wiser would we be to honor the same practices in a world without boundaries.
Translation: You should emulate Mr. Darcy, you spineless, greedy perv.