Speaking this past week to an attractive young woman, just making her way into the schoolteaching profession—and asking advice of this feeble old man, twice her age. My reader may already be expecting another of my diatribes against the public school system. Perhaps I might expostulate on the way it eats up and spits out the most promising young teachers, punishing independent ability and rewarding subservient mediocrity. But no. You get a different diatribe today. My topic will be the importance of chastity.
“I wonder if you know what it is like to ‘date’ these days?” she asked.
I will call her Priscilla, because that is not her name. She is a “nice” girl from an old-fashioned Catholic family, in one of Canada’s more remote rural regions, raised to observe the moral law. Well, not entirely nice: for she has a tongue sharp enough to open a tin, and a mind quite capable of deprecation. Scintillating smart; and for her age, extremely well-read and informed. Has already acquired experience teaching English in a Third World country, whose language she mastered. So, certainly not a hick, and indeed, street-smart (or, “prudent”) enough to have survived, so far, in that unionized NDPworld of post-modern state education, chiefly by keeping her mouth shut around her colleagues.
“Every time I have gone out with a guy, within two hours, he either bluntly or circumspectly asks when we are going to have sex. Some of them even want details about how ‘adventurous’ I might be,” she continued.
I have this information not only from Priscilla. I have it from almost every young, unmarried woman I know—and I’m a Catholic myself, so I know quite a few of them.
“When one explains that one will not be sleeping with the ‘gentleman,’ there is shock. Now, you would think I’d just be dumped at that point, but I become an oddity, something they can’t quite believe. So they keep coming back, in amazement. Sometimes, they keep
e-mailing and calling for ‘moral guidance’ with their other ‘relationships.’ Or perhaps it’s guilt, some latent awareness that they are cads, that keeps them asking me out to dinner ‘as a friend’—at least, until they find someone who will sleep with them.”
Under cross-examination, Priscilla admitted there was one exception in her last 10 dinner dates. This was some guy who took her out to pizza and a movie. A vegetarian. “He drove a very nice BMW, and drove it so badly, I felt sorry for the car.”
Everything went well enough until the theatre lights dimmed, and her date started trying to make out. She spent most of the movie fending off his crude advances, before finally administering the coup de grâce. She was left feeling like a creature who’d walked out of a Rebecca Eckler column.
And into my column, as it were. Poor Priscilla.
As I hinted above, I think her experience worth mentioning (on this feast day of Christ the King), not because it is unusual, but because it is common. Half-a-century after the sexual revolution began, and the gauntlet was set up for the young, with Playboy bunnies on one side, and Betty Friedan on the other, this is what it has achieved. A world full of cads, to say nothing of the hussies.
The old might roll their eyeballs at “same-sex marriage,” but long before that had become an issue, it was obvious that heterosexual marriage was collapsing. The requisites for a stable marriage—for finding one trusted partner for life—have been swept away. The young have been indoctrinated, instead, to roll their eyeballs at the whole idea of chastity. And they pay—O Lord, they pay—for being so cute. (I know whereof I speak from my own life.)
To my mind, the rebuilding of our civilization begins with small acts of faith, by individuals; not with some gargantuan bureaucratic scheme. For a moral order cannot begin to exist, even on paper, unless it is carried in people’s hearts. And good faith requires as much individual wit and enterprise as any high adventure.
Those who contemplate marriage must first become friends. The sex not only can, but must, wait. And it is in the taming of that dark erotic beast that men and women grow into adults, capable of making commitments they can keep.
My advice to Priscilla: continue teaching the young men. Women have always taught men the rules, so teach them again, strictly.