Dear Phrontis is our advice column, featuring the questions we imagine people would put to us were anyone batshit crazy enough to write us for advice. The questions may or may not be made up or entirely drawn from our own personal lives, and the answers may or may not be safe to apply to your own.
I’m 27, and between Susan Patton, Julia “What Are You Waiting for” Shaw, and my Aunt Agatha, I’m totally freaking out about my marital future. Sometimes I don’t want to get married right now, and then I feel like kind of a bad person/idiot. And then sometimes I do want to get married (abstinence kind of sucks?), but then I feel like I’m going about it the wrong way. Should I entertain the attentions of any boy not raring to charge up a mountain in order to bring me eidelweiss? Is that actually a real flower? Should I be avoiding bars? Frequenting bars? Wearing lipstick? So many questions, so much pressure! Help!
Conjugally Challenged in Charleston
I’m going to pass over your vulgar allusion to your so-called “sex drive;” which, by the way, reveals quite a lot about the root of your problems with nice Catholic men. I’m glad you’re feeling bad about your ambivalence towards marriage; it is a sick and sad world when women play coy with their duty and only shot at happiness because of some immature piffle about “goals” and a lifetime of unpaid labor. Economic upheaval, widespread moral anarchy, and the growing threat of Golden Dawn fascism in Greece are all mostly the fault of unmarried women.
But, although guilt is the first step towards atonement, I’m not sure there’s much you can do in your case. As my friend Tennyson (mostly) writes:
Her tongue got sharp, her hips got wide;
Her ovaries shriveled up inside;
“Crone-hood has come upon me!” cried
The lady of Shalott
How do I put this gently? You, my pet, are a 27 year-old prune. As James Taranto tells us out of the disinterested helpful goodness of his heart, young women like older, clever, sophisticated, rakishly charming men (much like James Taranto), and older men (like James Taranto) like coeds. Once you’ve passed your expiration date, there’s nothing any of us can do about it.
If you insist on freaking out about a grim future completely beyond your control, why not focus on the things that will actually destroy your life? Scan the headlines; “sequestration” and “North Korea” are getting a lot of press time right now. I’ve found setting up a google alert for “pandemic” can be particularly helpful.
But, if you really think you’re going to be the one that beats the odds, here are some ground rules rules to follow.
1) Men are not real, different, complex people like
you and me. The lessons from the decline and fall of your roommate’s last relationship should definitely be extrapolated to all men, everywhere, at all times.
2) Men don’t like: girls who are easy, frumpy, ditzy, threatening, talkative, boring, crazy, opinionated, made-up, ugly, feminists, not Grace Kelly (actually, no one should like you if you’re not Grace Kelly), women who make the first move, women who make any moves, and in some cases, women. Adjust your behavior accordingly.
3) Remember, there is nothing more attractive than a woman living with the paralyzing fear that if she violates a constantly shifting set of arbitrary rules and fails to mold herself into the perfect Eternal Feminine, no one will love her and she will die alone.
P.S. If you are fool enough to go out with some Mickey Rooney clone, or any other sop who goes around yowling “Annie Laurie” (of all things). I wash my hands of you.