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It's the feast of St. Valentine. That means all the young Catholics will start complaining in unison about why they can't find a member of the opposite sex to marry. Poor you. There's a cornucopia of reasons why young Catholics can't manage to get hitched. But the two most prominent are that the Church's men are charisma-deficient and the women are blinded by unrealistic expectations. Frankly, it's Catholic nerdism all over again.
For those who don't know, the Church of Nerds and Church nerdism is a topic broached on Red Top Report. The terms describe modern Church youths using Catholicism as an escape from a world they deem to be mean and filled with bullies — instead of converting the world.
Being a Catholic means rejecting this notion. The Faith is as much about being a lion as it is about being a lamb. Burying your nose in theology and prayer cards while doing nothing to aid the future of the Church is futile and puts authentic Catholicism at a standstill.
Let's start with the men. I've railed on this before, and I'll rail on it again: No one wants to marry a stinky weirdo or a malnourished creep. If you are an unkempt and scrawny man-boy, you deserve to be single. There is nothing desirable about a greasy toothpick in tweed — unless you're looking for a woman who's equally undesirable. And I guarantee you aren't.
Wash your hair (with shampoo), wear deodorant and brush your teeth daily. And please stop dressing like Norman Bates in public. How you dress for Mass is one thing; how you dress in your social life is entirely another. Nothing against suits, but if you choose to wear one, try to look more like Daniel Craig's James Bond and less like Benjamin Whishaw's Q.
Going casual? You can never go wrong with a properly fitted, solid black T-shirt, a pair of nice blue jeans and a silver or gold religious chain of your choice. Don't like jeans? A pair of chinos will serve you equally well. If you want to be expressive and wear a graphic tee — buy something that reflects your brand of masculinity (I personally like Warrior 12).
If, for whatever reason, you look like a glob of puffy marshmallow goo in a fitted T-shirt, change it. Stop eating yourself to death, and get a gym membership. If you can't afford one now, then you definitely can't afford a wife.
Now that you look presentable, work on your attitude. That means disabusing yourself of the notion that women owe you a date. It's actually you who owe them a reason to date you. Don't get mad if you're rejected. Never shout shameful profanities at her. Ask yourself why you may have been rejected, and fix it. That is, unless you want a reputation as the village miscreant.
Perhaps most importantly, it is not acceptable for a man to be weak. Can we please stop trying to be overly vulnerable with women we barely know? Women will neither love nor respect you for being a wuss. You'll be viewed as pathetic and incapable of strong leadership.
It's one thing to ask for comfort; it's entirely another to bawl your eyes out like a soft, little schoolgirl because you're more focused on being a victim than an adult. Take internal custody of your emotions. You're a man. You shouldn't let emotional damage usurp your leadership role once you're married, so why do it when you're dating?
Catholic commentator Amber Rose (aka The Religious Hippie on YouTube) puts it this way, "In order for women to really feel fulfilled in their role of womanhood, we need these strong men who are willing to suffer and sacrifice."
That means demonstrating command and control over your emotions. It's OK for a man to feel, but it's more important that he learns to choose when he will or will not feel. Women won't marry a wet-eyed man with snaggled emotions.
For example, Catholic women are unlikely to fault a man for weeping in prayer. In fact, they'll more likely respect it as ordered submission to Our Lord.
Now before all the young Catholic single ladies start screaming "yaas king slay," it's your turn. Girls, you are required to take care of your body just as men are. This means the days of eating a tub of ice cream whenever you're sad are over. No one wants to date a frumpy shrew. Don't give yourself an eating disorder — but please never allow yourself to be obese or stay obese.
Young Catholic men love women who are comfortable with their femininity, which means a woman who rocks modest attire is traditionally viewed as feminine. That means fewer pants and more skirts and dresses. I'm no expert in women's fashion, but men feel much more comfortable with a Catholic gal who isn't literally "wearing the pants." I'm sure you can handle your wardrobe.
And on attitudes, good grief, spare men the fairytales. Lower your expectations. You aren't a princess — life isn't a Disney movie.
You aren't the apple of the world's eye. You could become the apple of your future husband's eye, but you need to earn it. There is nothing young men hate more than an entitled woman (unless they're desperate) who demands conformity to her arbitrary checklist of demands. That screams "I'm not ready to be led."
You're not going to find a sensitive warrior Catholic who never sins and brings in six figures a year (and enough left over for a lake house). Settle down with someone at your level, and don't strive for an ideal that can't be reached.
Your future husband will likely be average like you most likely are, which is a good thing. Exceptional people are exceptionally hard to understand or get along with; it's better to be normal and ordinary.
The trad-wife fantasy glorified on social media takes work. It doesn't begin on day one. And ladies, that means transforming yourself for your man and sacrificing aspects of your elaborate fantasies to be the beating heart of a real and healthy household, one where you trust your husband to lead you.
You may not always think your future husband is right, but any desirable woman will seek to demonstrate to a man her humility and submission to him in all but sin (The Catechism of the Council of Trent, John A. McHugh and Charles J. Callan, trans. [Rockford, IL: TAN Books, 1982], 377). When you find the man you want to marry, you'll trust him enough to do that.
If it seems like no man meets your expectations, then perhaps lower your standards to roughly five criteria: Catholic, conservative, virile, healthy and employed. Go out with guys who meet these standards, and you'll probably find a man to have kids with before you're 35.
As much as young Catholics obsess over rebuilding the family, they'll need to ditch their stinky personalities and extravagant chimeras of relationships before they can ever hope to achieve this. So this Valentine's day, do the world a favor and work on you — both for the good of the Church and yourself.