I want to take a short break from my series to talk about a discussion in the comments of Dalrock’s latest post on women delaying marriage. I think he’s right in the aggregate, but there’s also some room to talk about the different ways this is ship is going down within the American Christian community.
When I write this blog, I always do so with my son in mind, but my child who is actually at this phase of life is my eldest daughter, Tina. A few weeks ago we went to breakfast at one of our family’s favorite restaurants. Everyone else was busy, and she’d managed to miss the times we’d went. Our waitress, Kacey, was blonde, petite, and young; no more than 22. After she took our drink order, she walked out of the room. As she did so she turned and locked eyes with me for a full five seconds.
“Tina.”, I said.
“Just…watch our waitress.”
“This is how to get a man’s attention.”
“What?” She had no idea what I was talking about.
What ensued, horrified and fascinated Tina. Every time Kacey came to our table–about every three minutes–she lingered. She’d ask for refills, and then stay to chat. Then she’d come to check to make sure we liked our food…and she stayed to chat. After a few times, she started touching my shoulder. Then she just started stopping to chat and touch my arm. On one of these occasions, when the table behind Tina called for our waitress’ attention, Kacey merely leaned towards their table while extending her hand out to me; physically communicating for me to hang onto her. Tina literally used her hands as blinders; alternately laughing and gawping in shocked horror.
On the drive home we talked about it.
“So, what did Kacey do to get my attention?”
“She just… She was touching you–Dad, that is so gross–and she kept coming by every five seconds.”
“How did I know she was going to do that?”
“I have no idea.”
“Because she looked me in the eye for, like, ten seconds. No, more like five. Anyways: Long enough for me to know she was interested. If you want men to know you’re interested, you have to let them know. We are notoriously bad about noticing it until it’s too late.”
“Wow. That could be so awkward. What if he doesn’t respond?”
“Imagine being the man, and having to risk actual rejection when you ask a woman out.”
“Good point. Still…”
“I was clueless that your mother was interested in me. One day, while working in class, she asked me if I ever just wanted to kiss somebody. Totally did not register why she asked me, so I said “Nope.” and went right back to work. I remember thinking she was a strange girl.”
“Dad…seriously? What is wrong with you?”
“She hadn’t made eye contact. She hadn’t touched me. She had a boyfriend. We’re not mind-readers, and I’ve known plenty of girls that wanted to use guys to pass along their interest in another man. I wasn’t interested in that game.”
“I told Missy what you said–“
“–about us being the most attractive now that we’re ever going to be, and to use this time to find a husband.”
“We both got depressed.”
I laughed. “That won’t do you any good, and it’s exactly why I told you to watch the waitress. You can’t wait around for a guy to overcome your shyness for you. If he’s a guy worth having, he might be too busy doing something else to see that you are interested. You’ve got to make the first move, and then see if he responds. Men should make the call, but women should give out the number. Make sense?”
“Kacey was cute, wasn’t she?”
“I’ll let you tell Mom.”
“She’s going to kill her.”
In general, women are the ones delaying marriage, but they’re getting an awful lot of help from their fathers. From the secular view, this primarily takes the form of daddy really pushing college and telling his daughters that you never know if a man is going to stick around or not; they must be able to fend for themselves. Secondly, these days even fathers are telling their daughters to “play the field” before the settle down. “Settle down”…what an ugly way to frame it.
More traditionally-minded Christians practice this same marriage aversion, but add to it the nonsense that their daughters are spiritual princesses. A decade or so ago the keeping-up-with-the-churchy-Jones’ Christian fathers started dating and marrying them. That is…so weird and wrong.
For the moment I’ll ignore the extreme connotations, but, why in the world teach casual, bloodless, dating? That’s crazy, and unfair to both her and her date. They both have sexual energies burning holes in their pockets, and Dad’s modeling for them to bury those talents in the ground when he ought to be encouraging them to invest them. The only explanation is that the sort of Dad who would date his daughter doesn’t actually see sex as the gift and responsibility that it is.
14 For the kingdom of heaven is as a man travelling into a far country, who called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. 15 And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. 16 Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made them other five talents. 17 And likewise he that had received two, he also gained other two. 18 But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. 19 After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. 20 And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. 21 His lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 22 He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. 23 His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. 24 Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: 25 and I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, there thou hast that is thine. 26 His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: 27 thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and then at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. 28 Take therefore the talent from him, and give it unto him which hath ten talents. 29 For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. 30 And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
That gift and responsibility was given to the actual owner of the vagina; not Dad. It belongs to her until she marries; at which point she trades it fair-and-square for a dick. What he should be doing is encouraging and directing her to make the trade with someone worthwhile; both physically and spiritually. Extended, platonic dating during her prime years is not the way to do that.
At the same time these fathers are acting out strange perversions of the modern courtship model, they are disparaging all the young men in their churches. They don’t have a degree. They don’t have a good enough job. They don’t have “godly enough” parents. They don’t have “a heart for Jesus”. It’s all bullshit. While Christian women are taught that Jesus is their personal boyfriend, Christian men are taught that they are the guardians of Jesus’ personal girlfriends; to let one of them be touched by a mortal is anathema. I was a 6’4″ 225lbs two-sport athlete; at church every day but Friday and Saturday; president of the youth council and the youth choir; son of a minister; personally led people to the Lord; had preached a sermon…and I still wasn’t good enough.
The situation is this: We’ve got women who are allowed to walk around in disrobed states, but discouraged from showing specific interest. Men who aren’t allowed to look (because women are half-naked), but are somehow supposed to differentiate and pursue their One True Love who ignores them. The fathers won’t allow their daughters to engage anyone who isn’t the equivalent of an established 35-year old, but in an age-appropriate body. And everybody is convinced that sex is the greatest thing ever and also a naughty thing–all at the same time. These things (among others) exacerbate, and even encourage, the problem of women delaying marriage.
 Especially the full away-from-home college experience: “Will this be the night I decide to be a bad girl! I totally could, you know. I wouldn’t, but it’s just so exciting to think about. I mean, I won’t be a real bad girl like Suzy Skankerini. After all, I can control myself if I want to, and I’m pretty sure I want to. Do I want to? Yes, I do…O.M.G, Billy looks so hawt!“
 This, by the way, would be a good time to cuss to yourself if you’re a father of a daughter. It doesn’t have the same punch to your gut to say, “She wants a husband.”; “She wants a mate.”; “She anticipates marital union.” I really don’t believe you’re telling yourself the truth with those talk-around phrases. What she wants is dick. Marriage is how Christian women go about getting it, and it is good.