Dating 101: “I wish I were mature enough for that”

By: Natalie Plumb

One weekday night, at a bar and out with friends, I was in the ladies room washing my hands. The woman at the sink adjacent to me let out a heaving sigh, looking downcast. I asked her what was wrong. She said “boys,” and left it at that.

She seemed like she needed someone to talk to her, and so I asked: “What do you mean?”

She relented: “Well, there’s this guy out there right now; we used to date; it’s really awkward right now.”

Knowing that it was likely awkward to her because she had experienced a long, drawn-out emotional and physical connection with him only meant for her future husband (later, she implied exactly that), I was about to cheerily encourage her and even offer advice. But before I could open my mouth, another woman (call her hand-washer for distinction) stepped up to the sink next to me and piped in, saying: “Yeah, they’re all jerks.”

smiling_coupleI uncomfortably crinkled my brow, thinking that they all certainly are not “jerks.” I know plenty of good men. So do lots of women. I quickly estimated that she was exaggerating, and decided that maybe she was looking in the wrong places, and at the wrong guys altogether.

“Just don’t give those types of guys the time of day,” I said. “You can’t do that to yourself; you’re worth more.”

The hand-washer girl waited no more than half a beat before saying something that I never expected to hear in response.

“I wish I were mature enough for that.”

The girl who had been downcast began frantically bobbing her head up and down in agreement. And with that, both of them had left.

The door slowly came to a close. I probably looked exasperated and confused. Did I hear correctly?

Gazing at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I thought… “What has become of us, ladies?”

I mean to insult no one. But to say what she had said, effectively dismissing the idea that any woman should try to uphold any form of “mature” standard when it comes to going out with a man, and to just take him as he comes, is appalling.

Men want to live up to the standards of women who have them, provided they are good men, and not “boys” looking for something “cheaper.” As women, we can ask for what we deserve. In turn, you end up encouraging yet another man to be a man, one who deserves you. And the rest of the “boys” in the field are not your problem.

I mean, think about a concept like natural selection… May only the good men win! I’m jesting, but it’s basically true. By marrying a good man, you’re not stealing someone else’s good man; you’re actually creating more good men in the children you choose to have or adopt. Even the male friends and relatives in your circle see that. People will try to imitate good fruit if they see it and want the same for themselves. Those good sons and friends and relatives of yours will (likely) respect the women they eventually marry. It’s cyclical.

I’m here to shout what Wendy Shalit says in “Return to Modesty.” I’d love to echo the voices of Stasi and John Eldredge in their book, “Captivating: Unveiling the Mystery of a Woman’s Soul,” when they call for us to “to be romanced, to play an irreplaceable role in a great adventure, and to unveil beauty.”

That is what you are made to be, Daughter of God. Beautiful, irreplaceable, inspiring, romanced… All of these things are written on our hearts.

What has become of us when we cannot stand up for the dignity we deserve by holding the men in our lives accountable, and refusing to make excuses? What has become of us when we decide to wear skimpy clothing and encourage our sisters to do the same?

Who are we becoming when we call our girlfriends expletives? Who are we becoming when we compete for another woman’s husband, rather than respecting the dignity of what is truly ours, not someone else’s, and then still expect the husband we stole to be faithful to us? (Fool me once….)

Why do we not stand up for what matters? Why do we not call every single man to action, to confront the problem of pornography, and defeat it?

I’m here to speak to you, ladies. Ladies, I want you to know that you are not alone. A man of God is out there for you, God willing. Do not settle. Advice, support, teaching and encouragement are here. That’s what this intermittent series “Dating 101” aims to do, through both lighthearted and heavy topics – abuse, dating advice and experiences, etiquette, divorce, transgender issues, marriage, egg freezing, Natural Family Planning, seduction – all and more are relevant. That’s what the Church is for. That’s what your fellow Sisters in Christ are for. Let Her, and let us, support, encourage and teach you.

Comments are wholly encouraged! Let the discussion begin.

Natalie writes on Thursdays about faith, dating, relationships, and the in between. May her non-fiction stories and scenarios challenge you. May they help you laugh, cry, think and wonder.

3 thoughts on “Dating 101: “I wish I were mature enough for that”

  1. I loved this, Natalie! I wish more women respected themselves and those around them and realized WHOSE we are. And religious beliefs aside, I can’t help but wonder what society would be like if we all stood for dignity and love. I guess all we can do is live by example and help encourage those around us when opportunity presents itself–just like you did at the sinks in the bathroom!

  2. I really appreciate your feedback, Jonathan and Jackie 🙂 A world in which love is pursued above all else — what would that even look like? With regard to the bathroom sinks bit, I keep thinking of how unusual the setting was. He works in mysterious ways!

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