Sunday, July 20, 2008

Don't Let Yourself Go

One of my single friends recently told me that several of her friends have said, "Don't let yourself go or you'll never get married." I immediately sensed my own incipient rage building to intolerable levels. To prevent myself from flying off the handle (Yes, I have a handle.) I decided to use my enormous intellect to figure out why someone would say something like this. I came up with a traditional tri-lemma (the best ones use alliteration so you can remember the three choices without referring to a note card). Why would someone say this to a woman? It could be one of three things: One, they could be Idiots. Two, they could be Ignoramuses. Three, they could be Iniquitous. Idiot, Ignoramus, Iniquitous.

IDIOT. Perhaps they are too stupid to recognize the patent falseness of their statement. Perhaps they have never noticed that not every woman who gets married looks like someone from the cover of a magazine.

IGNORAMUS. Perhaps they, like the character in the 1615 play by George Ruggle, are simply ignorant. This is another way to say that maybe they are more inexperienced than Stupid. It's possible I guess.

INIQUITOUS. In other words, evil. I favor this interpretation, as the theory that a woman's main marriageable quality is her body is clearly one spawned by demons. Although some people will use the Bible verse, "Women, be sure th
at your body is thin and anemic so that your husband will be attracted to you -- for lo, a man cannot be attracted to a woman unless she looks like an air-brushed, half-starved, surgically-enhanced and unattainable cover model" I assert that this verse is taken out of context. In fact, it seems that women are regularly encouraged NOT to become caught up in their outward appearance. You know that old verse, "Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight. " (I Peter 3:3-4 NIV)

Okay, some of you think I am being harsh. You are thinking, "C'mon, Matt, it could be that these friends are just victims of the culture which they live in and meant no harm by saying that your friend should be sure to focus on her outward appearance to make sure to draw a mate." I will grant you this point. But it seems to me that even if we are parroting the evil philosophy of our culture, that doesn't make the philosophy more acceptable. "The culture deceived me and I ate." Doesn't sound too convincing to me.

I am not denying that people care about exterior appearance. I'm not denying that many relationships start from across the room when someone says, "Hey, I like the looks of that person." I am denying that this is the most important aspect a woman should be concerned about in finding a prospective mate.

That's why I've taught my kids an important lesson. If a man ever comes up to them and says, "Don't let yourself go or you'll never find a husband" I have given them clear directions: Kick the guy in the crotch and say, "And you'd better toughen up or you'll never find a wife."


  1. i concur ... and to prove your point, read this

  2. Matt, I would offer one alternative view: giving up one sin (a fixation on an unhealthy low body weight) does not give a person (a woman, in this case) the right to indulge in another sin (gluttony). I think that far too often we see anorexia as a more serious sin than gluttony, which is a mistake.

    Either way, it's an unhealthy view of our bodies that ultimately separates us from a close relationship with God. "Letting yourself go" can mean many things, but I do think that our American culture and citizenry are rife with examples of both sinful extremes.

  3. Hot damn, Jesse...good words. Stewardship of the physical body is a duty, just as we are to steward the spiritual.

    Also, the opposite of being attractive is being repulsive.

    Not to take either to the extreme, where attention becomes obsession, but God designed the biological and hormonal systems that fuel attraction, and to play within those lines is not sinful. The fact is, no one marries someone that they are not attracted to physically (golddiggers notwithstanding). It follows then that no one will get married that is not found physically attractive by someone else.

    Beauty and brains are a package deal.

    - adam h

  4. Amen, Matt. As I raise my two boys, I pray they will learn to value women for who they are and not how they, they'll have the added bonus of not being kicked in the crotch by your girls!

  5. Ken-- I love it when science spends a lot of money to prove without a doubt the patently obvious. Thanks for the link. I had a good laugh over that one.

    Jesse-- I'm really not talking about anorexia, per se. And you're right, encouraging someone to indulge in gluttony would be as ridiculous and stupid as trying to convince a woman that her appearance is the primary means by which she will get married. Gluttony, by the way, is not a physical descriptor. I've known plenty of skinny gluttons.

    Adam-- Ha ha. Of course I wasn't arguing that our advice to women should be, "Do your best to become ugly and unattractive." But you know that. And experience tells me that people well outside of the realm that I find attractive do find someone attracted to them. And I wholeheartedly agree that beauty lacking brains doesn't do a thing for me. But you and I have that in common, since we are geniuses. And, may I say, extremely attractive men.

    Jennifer-- I have both my kids in soccer and they are practicing their big kicks. :)

    Matt-- Good grief man, you talk too much.

  6. Matt - friend of single women everywhere! Rah, rah!