Monthly Archives: March 2013

Weekend Roundup

Safety Tips for Ladies gets a whole lot better, and probably just as accurate.

Jon Cozart’s made a four-part harmony with himself of what happens to Disney princesses After Ever After. This not for kids–Jasmine begins by singing,

Hey, I’m ok, but I’m slightly scared
My husband’s a mark for the War on Terror

Hyphenated surnames get complicated after the second generation. As a friend said on Facebook, “No no, it’s Smith-en dash-Jones-em dash-Taylor-en dash-Brown!”

The Onion scares the daylights out of the entire millenial generation simultaneously.

Just find the thing you enjoy doing more than anything else, your one true passion, and do it for the rest of your life on nights and weekends when you’re exhausted and cranky and just want to go to bed.

This is not the right dating site for you. I hope. I also hope someday we can just bring back the village Yenta so we don’t have to keep having infinite bad dating sites. Because really.

I find this video very disconcerting yet a little adorable–maybe it’s the missing teeth.

I’m trying not to be too amused by the fact that it’s an ad for dating advice book/seminar hosted by a guy named Hussey.

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Words of Wisdom

Single persons pro-tip: never miss an opportunity to make someone’s day, even in just a small way. It may be the only chance you get to see someone’s eyes light up in joy for that day…. Anytime you witness that is a beautiful respite from the world going on around you.

– E.

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Round-up: Boundaries and The Friend Zone

So the Friend Zone has gotten into the Oxford English Dictionary. But what on earth is it?
According to the OED: a noun, informal; a situation in which a platonic relationship exists between two people, one of whom has an undeclared romantic or sexual interest in the other: I always wind up in the friend zone, watching them pursue other guys

The Friend Zone, as a term, is frequently employed by whiny men who can’t understand why women don’t want to sleep with them (or develop a relationship, as the case may be). It’s often used in the sentences, “I keep ending up in the Friend Zone,” and “She put me in the Friend Zone.”
Notice anything about those sentences? The guy in question is taking no responsibility; it’s as if the situation happened to him or the woman did it to him.

The Friend Zone is most-often used by Nice Guys™. (We will get into Nice Guys™ and Nice Guy Syndrome later, but the short version is that these are men who act “nice” and do things for women, thinking that the women will then be obliged to reward them with sex, relationships, and other forms of attention. They then whine that women only date jerks and they aren’t getting adequately rewarded for their niceness. So it’s not “nice” at all.)

So here we have the short pictorial version from now-defunct tumblr Nice Guys of OkCupid. (Yes–real guys, real excerpts, online dating sucks.)




So there’s that.

The Art of Manliness archives have some gems on the subject: Nice Guys Don’t Have to Finish Last and Stop Hanging Out with Women, Start Dating Them are some of my favorites.

Too many men use their niceness as a cover for the fact that they’re in fact insecure. It’s this lack of confidence and swagger that kills their chances with the ladies, not their well-mannered ways. Men often set up a false dichotomy. You can either be an arrogant jack ass or a demure nice guy. But there is a middle a ground, the combination women are truly looking for: the extremely confident gentlemen.

Oh, and you want proof that women land in the Friend Zone too?


The Gloss has a nice article on that.

Women might be willing to stay in the friendzone longer than men – and with less objection – because it makes us feel good to be needed. And besides, Eponine is the heroine of Les Mis, right? Her and Fantine, who both sacrifice all their own needs and desires for the sake of their loved ones? We’re told that is what it means to be a good woman.

That doesn’t mean that women aren’t be friend-zoned just as often as men. It just means that we feel better about the fact that we’re suffering away in that situation.

Thomas Ruthford of Orthromance fame wrote a pretty funny post on the idea of the Friend Zone, inspired by the Slate article Anna linked to last weekend. He talks about The Friend Zone coming from mutual (inappropriate) emotional leaning-upon. And he had a few tips on good boundaries for men:

1. The Schedule. There is a great deal of power you have in the schedule. I think one of the reasons I was getting friend-zoned so much was I was leaning too much on girls for time — hanging out with them too long, talking too much. I would have gone to their dorm rooms to talk, and then left after 20 or 30 minutes. This way, you retain your mystery about yourself, and you don’t actually get to the point of needing to be given the “just friends” talk.

(Bonus: he links to baby pictures.)

On the other hand, as one woman on xoJane put it,

Friendship isn’t second place for losers, it’s the start of a beautiful relationship. Why would you want to harsh on that by talking about being friend zoned when some super-cool person you like says she wants to hang out with you and develop a friendship, but she’s just not interested in boning you right now?

Though to be fair, this video shows how men and women think about male-female friendships a leeeetle differently.

Finally, if you do end up in the Friend Zone or the object of someone else’s unrequited love/lust/like, don’t be a jerk about it. Modern Primate breaks it down to a level a twelve-year-old could grasp using Buffy the Vampire Slayer examples.

Add all this up, and we end up with two things worth noting:

1) Maintain good boundaries–or as my priest put it, “Guard your heart.” Regardless of whether you’ve talked about dating or not yet, don’t spend all your time and emotional energy inappropriately, and don’t let your friend do so either. Respect yourself and your friend.
If you have to, it is okay to let go of the friendship for a while or forever. It sucks, but it is an option.

2) Gents–if you want to date, be brave and honest enough to say so. (And trust that you are worth dating. And I promise, much of your “competition” is appalling.) If she doesn’t want to date, see Rule 1. Ladies, if just-friends isn’t working for you, then something has to change. Read a lot of Auntie Seraphic, talk to your priest, consider a conversation with the gent, and see Rule 1.

So! That one turned out long. What do you think?

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eCupid: The Creep Chronicles

So I’m the errant terce reporter for The Onion Dome, and my latest was eCupid: The Creep Chronicles. The difference between this one and most of my articles? This one was almost entirely the spiffed-up truth.


From: Sasha
A–quit whining about not knowing anybody. Let’s sign up for eCupid tonight. Come on, we’ll make a girls night out of it.

From: Anya
Fine, you win. But we’re watching both Pride & Prejudice and The Holiday, and you’re making caramel corn.

From: Sasha


From: Anya
OK I admit it–last night was fun. Saw a couple of cute Orthodox guys but haven’t talked to any of them. Got any messages yet?

From: Sasha
A few, all creeptastic. One guy said only, “I love your lips” — uh, no.

From: Anya
I see what you mean… The weirdest said, “Hello there!!! how are you doing? just wow! lol you are drop dead gorgeous! luv your hair! :-) almost makes me wanna ask if i can be your suga daddie? hehe… so do you like shopping? I would luv to spoil you with gifts! ;-) ”
Sash, I’m scared.

From: Sasha
He’s complimenting your hair and offering to take you shopping? I’m confused. Does he want to be your boyfriend or GBF?

From: Anya
I told him I’m cutting back on carbs and asked him to be my xylitol daddy instead. He didn’t know what that meant.

From: Sasha
Bahaha. Next!


From: Sasha
Message of the day: “Man You’re a regular Lara Croft. All thats missing is a tiger,a jet and guys with guns.”

From: Anya

From: Sasha
…Can I have a tiger?

From: Anya


From: Anya
The Orthodorks are cute. I mean, I don’t consider mentioning St John Chrysostom to be a great pick-up line, but it’s cute.

From: Sasha
As Ella said last week–we don’t mind nerdy guys. We have a nerdy religion.

You can read the rest at The Onion Dome.
(And yes, really–I received every message verbatim.)

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Words of Wisdom

“Men are who they are, and not who you want them to be.”

from Auntie Seraphic

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The Fray

A roundup of recommended reading.

All this demonstrates what Jane Austen was trying to tell us 200 years ago: Sometimes it doesn’t pay to let a guy down easy. Many a woman has uttered the phrase “Let’s just be friends” on the theory that something a little more direct would result in an angry reaction. doesn’t elevate dating to holy heights by bringing God into the picture. It belittles God because it uses him to try to baptize what amounts to an online version of The Bachelor.

The whole concept of God taking time out from his busy schedule to match you with the that one perfect person for you is no different from athletes actually expecting God to intervene so they can win.

We fast simply because we are homesick for Paradise, and we just want to go back home.

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Lenten Book Recommendations

As I mentioned in my last two book reviews, my reading habits are changing slightly with Lent. I’m looking for books–especially fiction*–that’s wholesome, but not bland. It can be classics, lesser-known older books, even recent novels if they fit the bill.

This is not a post to tell you what you should read during Lent. And it’s certainly not a comprehensive list of Lent-friendly fiction.books2

Some people don’t touch anything but CS Lewis and the Desert Fathers until Pascha, while others have no problem reading Harlequins any time of year. I’m looking for the middle path.

My priest’s guidance was this:

Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Phil. 4:8 – ESV)

Continue reading

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Some thoughts on 21st century courtship

yhst-30479181885695_2244_170556744Why the heck is it so hard to attract a mate these days??

Brigid has been covering The Rules (here and here). Books like The Rules or The Game are read because there is a hunger in our culture for wanting to know how to attract (or keep) a mate. One of the reasons for the popularity of how-to courtship guides is because we are dealing with what what Kay S. Hymowitz calls “the loss of the script”. In the last 50 years there has been an upheaval in the system of courtship that had been in place for centuries. In its place came the “relationship” system; instead of having a series of clearly defined steps (the “ladder of commitment”) with a destination to marriage, today people move in and out of romantic relationships of varying duration and commitment.

Many singles have a hard time thanks to the relationship system. For example, most women respond to confidence and initiative but many guys today have no idea how to project confidence. Another example is that women of marriageable age are encouraged on the one hand to pursue men and to gain sexual experience, but also find themselves hurt that they men they love don’t commit to them. In order to get married, the (humiliating) burden is on the woman to turn the live-in boyfriend into a husband.

Another reason it’s hard to find a compatible mate is that institutions are no longer vested in getting people to meet each other and get married. The onus used to fall on families, schools, religious institutions. Now it’s largely up to the singles themselves to find their mates, hence the popularity of online dating.

The Rules

The Rules came out at a time (early 90s) when women were dealing with the confusing courtship fruits of the sexual revolution. The answer to the problem of commitment-phobic men, said The Rules‘ authors, was to behave in certain, old-fashioned ways, that would either make men doggedly pursue you or give up very quickly. If the later was true, that was okay, because those men were just out for a good time while Rules Girls knew to keep their eyes on the prize: marriage.

The Rules are touchingly old-fashioned in that they recognize that marriage is important to women, and help women identify behaviors that screw up their chances for marriage (example: neurotically telling the nice man who asked you out for coffee things that would be better to tell your confessor or therapist). On the other hand, The Rules sometimes seems more obsessed with getting married than marrying the right person. The Rules propagates the belief that in order to snag a man, you have to play games.

The Good

The Rules told ‘liberated’ women something they possibly hadn’t considered before; that if a man really wants to be with you, he will do whatever he can to make that happen. There was no need to chase men by asking them out and being constantly available to them. In fact, those behaviors were likely to be counter-productive. At best women might expect to end up with a man who was too lazy or shy to pursue another woman that he might be really into.

The Bad

The Rules are meant especially to be followed the first three months of a dating relationship, which is an important amount of time because that’s about how long it takes for people’s ‘best-behavior masks’ to start slipping. And while they have some redeeming qualities, the silliness of the advice runs deep. One Rule is titled, “Don’t See Him More than Once or Twice a Week”. Personally, I think this is a great rule because it helps women from getting too attached from the onset and helps them evaluate whether he is right for them. However, that’s not what The Rules are getting at. What they say is that you have to pretend that you’re too busy to see him more than 1-3 times per week. The focus isn’t on actually being a social woman with a productive life, it’s about giving the appearance of it.

The Ugly

Even if the most manipulative tactics worked and women did get married to men they used them on, would that marriage really be based on a sound foundation? How could love and respect be present in that marriage? It’s like building a house on sand and expecting it to not tumble away in the first storm.

The male equivalent of The Rules is The Game/PUA-guides. Like The Rules, on some level there are some redeeming aspects of those books, because some men really do need help in the “how to attract women” department (Orthogal hints: practice good hygiene, don’t put women you don’t know well on pedestals, stop being a doormat). But those guides are exploitative of women; basically they are about how to treat women like prostitutes you don’t have to pay.

Ultimately these guides fail in love. They are about manipulating people to get some selfish outcome, rather than helping men and women to grow up and act with decency and integrity.

What’s an advice-seeking Single to do?

What singles of both sexes want is to be with some they love and admire and who is with them for the same reasons. I would hope that if women employ some of the tips in The Rules they can weed out the men who are in it for a fling and also learn some tips for dating with dignity. But there is a much better courtship advice out there. If you’re a gal (or a guy who wants to find out what women want), read Auntie Seraphic‘s blog or The Jane Austen Guide to Happily Ever After by Elizabeth Kantor, which I’ll be reviewing down the road.

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Where ‘The Rules’ Fail

For the record, I believe The Rules work…per their definition of ‘work.’
The Rules is designed to help women develop and further their relationships with a specific type of man: a man who’s respectful and gentlemanly, who’s able to plan dates and take the lead, who can hold a conversation, who’s secure in himself, who adores you enough to pursue you, and who’s intuitive or at least clued in.

While that’s one great type of man and covers a large population of marriageable men, not all good men fit that role. Their opinion–which annoys me–is that if The Rules don’t work, either he just wasn’t that into you or he’s not marriage material. I disagree. Continue reading

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Where 'The Rules' Fail

For the record, I believe The Rules work…per their definition of ‘work.’
The Rules is designed to help women develop and further their relationships with a specific type of man: a man who’s respectful and gentlemanly, who’s able to plan dates and take the lead, who can hold a conversation, who’s secure in himself, who adores you enough to pursue you, and who’s intuitive or at least clued in.

While that’s one great type of man and covers a large population of marriageable men, not all good men fit that role. Their opinion–which annoys me–is that if The Rules don’t work, either he just wasn’t that into you or he’s not marriage material. I disagree. Continue reading

Categories: Articles, Reviews, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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