NAS: Chastity


Jen and Morgan and the other linker-uppers will have some great perspectives, too!

October 15: Chastity as a Single Person

Physical or Emotional. What are your struggles? How do you overcome them?

Well, there’s this:


or if he really needs to get a clue, this:











In all seriousness, chastity is both a man and a woman’s responsibility. And it’s not just men who have struggles. Women, do, too. But whoo, boy, is  this topic is a delicate wire to walk. Because to speak to one’s struggles in the physical realm not only means admitting sin publicly, but also potentially scandalizing your audience. However, I believe it important to talk about, at least generally, so that we can support each other in our faith journeys.

We are all called to live out this virtue, regardless of our state in life. Chastity is not about following a list of acts that are appropriate and avoiding ones that are not—because one doesn’t exist. Rather, I look at chastity as a state of mind and being that cares for not just your soul, but the souls of others. Chastity is a reservation of self for God. It is a way of respecting your dignity and the dignity of others. Thinking of it in these broader terms also helps when applying it to non-physical spheres, like emotions. I’ll address that in a separate post later.

But some inconvenient truths about our “fallen” human sexuality can cause us to struggle with our universal call:

1. Making out is really, really, really fun. But I think it is rare (if not never) that it can be chaste.

2. The female drive can be just as powerful as a man’s, and in some cases, more. This means women can get “excited” too—and sometimes it takes less than one might think. A lot less.

3. Women can satisfy their urges “solo” too. This habit isn’t discussed much, maybe because it doesn’t necessarily involve images to the degree that men’s does. But that doesn’t make it any more “okay”.

But there are ways to overcome the challenges:

1. Get out of the fire, the pot, or the kitchen entirely. Remove yourself from the situation to the degree necessary—make certain kinds of actions or dates off limits; wait for some things until you and the guy have reached a certain maturity, level of respect, or trust; don’t “date” or kiss at all.

2. Get an accountability partner—official or not—spiritual director, trusted older married friend, even a co-worker! Though I would never tell the nuns what I might have done one weekend, just the thought of having to go into work Monday morning knowing that it’s something that would have disappointed them, makes me think twice before I engage in it.

3. Get to confession. Regularly. I once heard reconciliation described as “approaching the throne of grace.” You receive grace, grace to aid you in sinning less and less; to grow stronger and stronger when confronted with temptation.

4. Get help from higher places. Pray. Saint Michael the Archangel is our defender in battle. Pure in Heart has a good one. The Memorare: Mama is here to help. The Rosary. Helps you re-orient your brain to focus on holy thoughts, not lusty ones.

5. Get your emotional well-being out of the gutter. You are not “broken,” “tarnished,” “dirty,” “damaged goods,” or anything like that. You are human. You are a child of God, loved unconditionally. But you are also not Mary, and never will be. You can try to come close to her standard of purity, but don’t beat yourself up if you fall short. Seek His forgiveness and then seek it from yourself if you need to.

Chastity is hard. But it is worth it. Because it cares.

For those with significant others or dates, here is an excellent blog post, and zebbart’s comment provides a great analogy: it’s like prayer.  And then this one.

NAS: Fav Recipes—For One!

41849-notalone5Link-up your favorite one-person meal recipes! It’s hard to cook for one sometimes and we could all use some help! Jen and Morgan have more!

Hello, ladies! Thanks so much for this topic! I could really use some inspiration. Because, disclaimer: I don’t really “cook.” Or “bake.” So I am so so sorry not to have any real, original recipes with ingredients and measurements for you.

Instead what I can show you is how I throw together some basic meals that don’t have me eating chicken for 6 meals straight. Each option is easy and flavorful. Some meals thrown together might seem basic, but the brands/seasonings I use might be new to you!

Sketti, Britt style:

– about ¼-1/3 box of Barilla whole grain + Omega-3 thin spaghetti. Yes, I pay more for the enriched pasta (sometimes Stop n Shop has a deal), and besides, it packs more nutritional punch than the 50-cent white flour kind.

– Newman’s Own Marinara or Trader Joe’s (TJ) Organic Tomato Basil Marinara. I like my sauces extra tomato-y.


1. Boil water.

2. Throw in pasta for 10-12 minutes.

3. Simmer 1/3-ish of the jar in a covered saucepan while pasta is going.

(I also try to avoid microwaving every dang thing)

4. Serve!

Seasoned Lean Protein

– package of individually wrapped chicken or tilapia (Sometimes I will do the kind you get in the whole package and preserve the rest for future lunches/dinners)

– seasoning or sauce of your choice. I have some fun ones: Chipotle rub, Salsa mix (it’s hot! – dried tomatoes, peepers, onions, and other spices), and TJ Everyday Seasoning (I love the grinders. So flavorful without worrying about ratio of pepper and salt). And of course, garlic power, TJ lemon pepper grinder. I also like TJ Sweet Chili sauce (it’s pink!), TJ cacciatore marinade (if they have it…been out of stock for ages!)

– veggie of choice

– baked potato

– olive oil


– Prep your protein (thaw protein, mix up olive oil, and seasoning or brush on sauce)

– Throw in oven at correct temp (usually packages tell you) with the potato.

– Prep veggies (sometimes it’s just opening the bag of baby carrots and finding a container for the uneaten sticks. For dinner, I like to boil up some broccoli from the freezer)

– Season potato with TJ Everyday Seasoning (if you can)…sooo much better than pepper alone, and the blend of spices is just savory and rich enough that I do not miss butter or sour cream or cheese. Really, I don’t.

And that’s pretty much all I know! I might also whip together a salad with TJ’s “Power to the Greens” (kale, spinach, chard—basically every type of lettuce those health magazines call “superfoods”) and cherry tomatoes—maybe a few shavings of Cabot Chipotle Cheddar cheese for flavor and the little bit of fat needed for a healthy diet.  🙂

NAS: I Want a Vacation from Vocation Talk


Careers as a Vocation?
A. How do we know what God’s call is for us if we are focused on our careers? B. Is it appropriate to focus on that career and then get married/enter religious life later? C. Or maybe the call/vocation IS the career and you could be single?

Oh, here we go again. Another vocation post. 🙂

You can also check out Jen and Morgan and the other ladies for very different approaches to this topic!

A. Prayer. And possibly doing your actual work, especially if your career is somehow connected to God (like mine).

B. Sometimes. Just ask someone who wanted to enter a religious community but was told she had too much personal debt. True story. StorIES. Plural.


Dearest Girlfriends,

Let’s have a heart-to-heart. The above questions, honestly, honey, I find them silly. Now, I know I don’t have a theology degree or official credentials, but I do have some life experiences and an amazing person who’s sort of my unofficial spiritual director (she has the degrees).  And she said something that affirms the ideas behind the snarkier draft of this post (which you will never see! thank goodness). But as Auntie Seraphic has counseled me, as one of her many readers, to be more joyful, I am going to write to this topic much more gently than I had intended. Here is what my editor of life said:

“Vocation is not about what we do, but who we are.”

Who are we? Children of a God who loves us; he gave us the world; and one day he hopes we come back home to him. That’s just one way to phrase the universal call to holiness. Or our “primary vocation.”

What we do on Earth certainly can either lead us to him or away. Sometimes our paths to him are custom-mapped and come with particular graces of sacraments or professed vows: the call to consecrated religious life in particular order/seminary or a call to marriage to a specific person. And yes, what we do for our careers—including mothering or wifing in the home—can certainly help us know God, love him, serve him, and one day be in Heaven with him.

But somewhere along the way we got the idea that discerning our vocation is a top-priority mental and spiritual exercise, and what particular “job” we do as people is how we are to define our lives. And you know what? I get it. I, a Type-A person, haaate uncertainty more than anyone we know. But you know,

“Faith requires uncertainty.”

Think about it: if we discovered the answer to the mystery of God in choices that might not happen until ten years down the road or why we were given a desire but it was left unfulfilled, why would we need faith? We’d be certain about our futures. If we are uncertain about them, but still living and loving and trusting in God—then we’re having faith.

I am starting to believe more and more that God is most happy that we are doing things for His sake, regardless of what they are (job, marriage, sisterhood, etc.). It is us making ourselves unhappy because we think there has to be one right answer or that the grass will be greener in the other vocational yard. But…

“Our very existence is God’s call for us.”

So to ask how we can “hear” God’s call for us while we’re focused on an earthly job at an office, site, or even the home becomes rather silly. Sometimes God communicates big ideas to us in language we readily understand. Sometimes, he’s just communicating: ‘keep doing what you’re doing at that there school/hospital/publishing house.’ If we feel like we’re not hearing him, the issue then isn’t that he’s not speaking our language—no, he always does—it’s that we’ve put proverbial cotton in our ears.

And of course it can be appropriate to focus on a career and enter into a secondary vocation (for that is what marriage and consecrated religious life technically are, subject to our primary vocation). No one should be making broad proclamations or decrees in that regard, because each person’s living out a sacrament or vows is going to be unique to him or her.

Finally, God’s will for you is to be you, his child, in the here and now, knowing him, serving him, loving him, working toward being reunited with him. You could be single and working. Or single and sitting on your mom’s couch watching HGTV. The latter isn’t the best way to live out God’s will, but hey, the economy is awful. God understands. Or, you could be married and have a job. Married without a job and no children. Married with a job and 17 children. Married with no job and children. Taking care of elderly parents solo before entering a religious community. Working a job-job and being a consecrated virgin.

Now, I know (and am guilty of it too), that we can angst a lot about having a desire for one particular call to something to do, but girl, it’s just not happening. Yes, it is true that we or other people can make choices that mean we may not get married or have children or get to enter the religious community. But you know what? That’s not a “missed vocation.”  Because why?

God’s will is never thwarted.

Think about it. If we presume humans have the power to alter God’s will for us and his movement in our lives, then we don’t have a very powerful God, do we? Faith, not angst, will help us eventually understand maybe just a fragment of the mystery of God’s beautiful design for our lives.

For now, let us pray for the grace to bear the sacrifices required of our vocation, whatever that may be, and ask for a cheerful heart and soul that rejoices as much as God does, simply because we are his.



NAS: NFP: Not Just a Married Lady Issue


NFP, baby! 😉
So, who’s begun charting?! How is it going? What advice do you have/what method do you use? If you haven’t, is something holding you back? Are you considering starting up?

Great topic, Jen!  Reading her blog helps me know I’m not alone with my awareness of NFP as a singleton. Also check out Morgan’s blog and the other ladies’ sites for their perspectives.

I have written about NFP before here, here, and here. And the obligatory disclaimer: as a single woman, I do not have personal experience with NFP in the context of a relationship. Where I’m coming from is support of how it provides information for single women’s health and support of singletons knowing about it (the good, bad, and ugly – mucus! mucus! mucus! :P) as an Church-acceptable practice for the future marriages they aspire to.

*Special note: NFP refers to Natural Family Planning, of which there are a few named methods based on what you track. There is also FAM: Fertility Awareness Methods, which essentially do the same thing, but when done in the context of a relationship, allow for barrier methods. Catholic no-nos.

At first, my support of NFP was no more than a shrug and an “I dunno, I think it’d work for me” when discussing birth control with secular friends in college. I didn’t even know it was called that—just thought of the rhythm method! Now that I’m working where I’m working, reading what I’m reading, and talking with whom I’m talking…NFP is ever-present on my mind. I fully intend to be open to it, even if I am unsure it will “work” or what that word even means to me (and my husband).

More importantly, as a single woman hoping for said husband, knowing that this practice may be in place in my future family, I NEED to know a man is open to it too, or would support it—before engagement even. Future Mr. Proverbial Husband has to be on board with this option when the ring goes on my finger. I mean, why put down non-refundable deposits if this could be the proverbial straw?

I am so adamant about this right now because I believe many young guys just don’t appreciate Church teaching on this issue. Because while they may go to Mass (if they even go! some advice-givers go so far as to recommend dating on the fringes), they are still a part of the world, and I fear disagreement over NFP, or misunderstanding, or worse—the “I didn’t sign up for this!” or “This is too hard!” exclamations that could lead to a very painful break-up or some unnecessarily hard first years of marriage if this issue is not aired at an appropriate time. Because it sounds hard (if the forums are any indication…). So I believe it is something everyone should be aware they might be signing up for when discerning a practicing Catholic marriage. /rant

So. My personal experience!

Basic Health Care

I started tracking signs: temp, mucus, position and to use the charts on and then the awesome CyclePlus app, which gives you sweet quotes about ladyhood and ToB and authentic love. And then it was summer, and then fall, and winter, and spring, and I have no a/c or consistent external environment, so my graphs on the free plotting charts started looking really, really wacky. And then I’d forget to take my temp, or when I finally remembered to record it, I forgot it. And then some weeks I’d have a cold AND dairy and couldn’t tell what was fertile mucus or not. And I ultimately decided that since in three years I only found one thing irregular ( a weird blip that corrected itself), I had no real good reason to stress myself out.

But I still like to read up on it and stay current. The awesome site has a quiz to help you figure out which method you might be interested in learning. With one of my answers being “I want the monitor to do all the work,” Marquette it is! (And my archdiocese’s office actually just so happens to teach a modified version of it—to engaged and married couples.) But since the monitor and strips cost money and I am no where even close to thinking engagement or discussions about a future family, I’ve decided to just do light tracking. Now that I know what some of the basics are, I feel like I have some awareness of my body and find it all rather cool. Come serious relationship leading to the engagement-discussion time (I want the way he asks to be a surprise, not that he’s asking!) I’ll pick it up again—especially to help schedule the honeymoon! 😉

To conclude, I would like to reiterate:

1) NFP is an option, a tool, a system of information that married couples can use, but do not have to. It’s not mandatory. But it is a great skill to have in your repertoire should you need it (pulling my catechesis certificate card with this one, I admit).

2) The fertility and cycle awareness part of NFP can be beneficial to single women and their health, precisely because it is a tool and system of information. ETA: Ignore Internet people who don’t want you talking about it or knowing about it because they are grossly presuming single ladies want the info to have contraceptive-free sex. Uh uh. It really is a HEALTH issue.

3) You should check out and or call your diocese’s family life/NFP office to get info on lady-business doctors who not only know about NFP/fertility awareness but also very likely support it. I believe having this doc on your team when you’re ready for marriage will help aid the transition from single life to married experiences.

4) You are the single most best advocate for your health. If you find yourself clamming up in the doctor’s office, practice discussing your issue or at least your “No, I don’t need that, thank you” with a trusted relative or friend.

If you need help figuring out Church teaching on this issue or witnessing to a friend about it, do check out: Contraception and Catholicism: What the Church Teaches and Why, available in November.

And I couldn’t go away without at least one snarky joke: NFP: when there’s more than one “that time of the month” (Phase 1? 2? 3? Please be 3… :P)

NAS: Fave Mom Blogs


Fave Mom Blogs

We can’t always relate to them, but we can learn a TON! Plus, we want them to know how much we love them, too! Jen and Morgan (link here!)  have more…

I am a futurist. I project very much to 5, 10 years from where I’m at and say


Then I ask: How?

With many wants of a 28-year-old, a lot of it is doable solo. Career? All me. Writing? As Jane Yolen said: “Butt in chair.” House? “Put down the credit card, Britt…” But the thing I want most—marriage and children—is actually the least out of my control. Those kinda depend on a man.  😛

However, once I get the man, I want to have some idea of what I’m getting into. So I read. And I read lots of blogs. THANK YOU, dear women. You are apart of the New Evangelization: you are female apostles, bringing Christ to the world through your witness and families.

Here are some of my faves.

Simcha Fisher, over at “I Have to Sit Down” on Patheos

She is the first woman who made me think that if I ended up with nine kids, I’d be okay. I think my generation of women—even practicing Catholics—have been formed to fear I was one of them for a good long while. But after reading her blog and columns over at the National Catholic Register, I come away with a sense of hope that if it happens to me, maybe it won’t be so bad. Because she is still Simcha, a delightfully intelligent, witty, sensible woman, but also a great-sounding mama, and excellent approach to faith and life.

Mary, at Passionate Perseverance:

I first “met” Mary through Fine Linen and Purple’s Sunday link-up “What I Wore Sunday” (and still works for those Saturday vigil people. :P) I love her attitude, spirit, and gracious heart, even across the Internets. Perhaps the element that struck me most was when she recounted something her husband had done for her and her daughter, probably ordinary in the course of family life, but something about it struck me as “he is agape.” One really gets a sense of his love for his family. A window into their humble, happy home helps me see what’s really important, and how my search for a husband isn’t just who the guy is now, but how he can be in the future, no matter what life throws at us.

Jen, at Conversion Diary:

Who does not know Jen? Woman is incredible. 6 kids.  Crazy house. Blogging awesomeness on all kinds of topics, including mommyhood. I am a huge fan of her birth story haiku movement (today’s post)! She has Can I be her when I grow up? Plus, I love how both grandmas are nearby and help with the kids. And her husband Joe also comes across as a hero, bringing home the bacon AND alcohol. 😛

Oh, there are many more I like to pick up every now and then on 7 Quick Takes Friday, those who have children’s books on What We’re Reading Wednesday, and married ladies who are moms or at least spiritual mamas to us singletons: Cindy at Veil of Chastity and Auntie Seraphic especially.

So I have a question for you moms: how’d you know when you said ‘I do’ that your groom had the capacity to be the husband and father he is now, through all of life’s changes?

NAS: Can a Woman Pursue a Man?


Hello, all! I was very sorry to miss last week’s Follow the Peace link-up. But then again, I was quite literally following my own personal peace by roaming the more natural parts of San Francisco solo while my host was at work. Now for this week! Go see Jen and Morgan (and married lady Stephanie!) for more opinions.

What do I think of women pursuing men? It depends. I really wish I had a more clear-cut answer myself or could speak to the experience of following some hard and fast rule. But as I have neither, I don’t feel right advising the greater world one way or the other. So here’s my take for both sides:

Let the Man Pursue:

Pro: You know he is interested in you because he is asking you out.

Pro: It is so gratifying to have him speak the words you long to hear: “Will you go out with me?”

Pro: It forces him to put in effort, and if he’s the only one who does so, he rises above the competition.

Con: If he is shy/timid at first, but at heart a great guy, waiting for him to propose a date could have you waiting for what feels like forever. Or worse, you give up, move on, break up with Mr. Second Best, and Mr. Awesome is now with someone else who might be Ms. Not-As-Awesome.

Con: His pursuit is conditional on being nearly certain you will want to be caught. If you’re not giving off signals of mutual interest, he’ll drop the hunt.

Con: It’s exhausting to always be wondering if he still needs to feel like he’s chasing you, or that if you give in to the pursuit too quickly he’ll get bored.

Con: It can be very frustrating waiting for him to come to you, and worse, wait for him to determine he’s completely caught you. In other words, he could be like a cat and toy with you, never fully committing.

(CLICK ON THAT LINK! Advice from the hunter’s mouth)

You Pursue the Man

Pro: You feel you have a sense of control, a say, a voice, an action item in the situation.

Pro: It seems logical: you want husband, you want particular type of man, you go find that man.

Pro: You may save yourself waiting time and angst if it turns out the guy was just shy.

Con: For all they may say about being “turned on” at your boldness or “cool” with you making the first moves, many men and guys, actually do NOT really like this. While they may entertain it for a little while, ultimately, they may feel emasculated, controlled, or too complacent. Or, once they’ve let themselves be grabbed, they realize they don’t like you as much as you liked them and end up performing a hatchet job of a break-up.

Con: You encourage male laziness within the relationship once he realizes you’re willing to do all the work.

Every situation and person is going to be different. That is why it is a tough call on how you want to act and react in each circumstance. Be gentle with yourself. Pursuit can look like many things to many people, and actions big and small have meanings big and small, all depending on each individual’s frame of reference. For example, would you consider sending a smiley face to a guy first as “pursuing,” (and bad) or are you like me, viewing it as a welcoming gesture, like smiling at him across the room? Right now I am in the phase where I will do the live action and online equivalent of the “Hi! Nice to meet you!” and let him take the lead. Then I definitely want the guy to suggest the next steps (what many call pursuit): going from messages to live chats to phone to live dates. But I’m also giving off subtle cues (I hope) that will assure him he will have a successful hunt without outright asking for a date. I think I may have suggested a couple of times “Wanna meet up?” and those never worked out beyond that first date (there were other reasons, too).

I wish dating didn’t have to be so fraught with complications and worries. Because I don’t believe the best relationships should depend on whether someone followed or broke hard-and-fast social rules. I pray that I can pray “Lord, if this is right, let us both know and act accordingly.” So, maybe instead of worrying about who’s doing the asking, the paying, the chasing, the game playing, we just run the race we were originally called to:

We Pursue God

What if instead of pursuing a person, we pursued the Almighty? We’re chasing after eternal happiness, look around, and see a fellow runner. Either one of us extends our hands, not mattering who did what first, and we pursue Him together.

EDITED TO ADD: After commenting on Morgan’s post, I realized something: when we say we want men to take initiative and the lead, it’s a little like they’re in the driver’s seat.  But we women are not to be passive. We’re more than some prize to be won . And the minute a guy’s pursuit “nails” us, we’re not to become some lifeless, so-to-speak, object, not contributing to the relationship. Oh no, if we learn after we’ve been caught that we just want to get away, we should. But if we want to stay, we have to be equal partners. So in my rough little car analogy, that means if we’re in the passenger seat, we can be the navigators, aiding our men as they get US where WE BOTH need to be.  🙂

Question! What Next?

Hello, readers—if you’re still coming back on non-NAS days. 🙂

Yesterday I teased that I had a date after work, which is why no pics of my family. Um, yeah, the guy canceled via text, saying he was sick. I texted back that I understood (really I do, I recently got randomly sick on a Tuesday as well!) and we could reschedule for when I returned from San Francisco.

But it’s bugging me that a few of my friends were wondering if he set a new date instantaneously. Um, no. So, here’s my question:

What do I do next? Should I text “hope you’re feeling better?” Wait for him to text me? Call him up? Wait for him to call up? Send a message through the dating site where we met?



I am Me and You are You


Oh, yay! I am so happy Jen and Morgan are featuring the survey I suggested. Just another way to know any of us are not truly alone. For example, I just learned Jen is 28, like me!

~ Age: 28.5
~ Area of country: Urban New England

~ Are you working? If so, what do you do? Or, are you in school?: Working a cool Catholic job full-time
~ Family (let’s see some pics!): Parents married 43 years; Twin brother (single!) in Florida.; sister, her hubby, and their 3 kids: Bran Muffin (13!), Mallomar (almost 10!), and Carob Chip (7.5). Still my sweet baby.  Pics will come when I have a break from work…maybe…but then I have a date tonight! Woot! 😀

~How Did Your Parents Meet: Through my aunt her boyfriend (now husband). My mom’s sister, Aunt Ruthann, was dating Les, who knew my Dad. They met up and the rest is history. Want a truly silly story? The proposal. They were in my Dad’s car, one of those 60s muscle things. TMy mom thought he was about to break up with her! I’m so glad she was wrong! 🙂

~ Confirmation Saint: Saint Catherine of Siena. She was a twin who told the pope what to do whilst writing amazing letters. HOW COULD I NOT?
~ Favorite Gospel?: John. Those Bread of Life discourses especially.
~ # of previous relationships (ya know, that required a FB status change!): 1 (though, to be honest, we weren’t real into FB, so that never changed because there was never a status).  5 phases of month-ish long trial and error dating.
~ Top 3 qualities you are looking for in your hubby: In no particular order: openness to following the two big rules about marital relationships (chastity; no contraception after); has a fun and slightly nerdy spirit; desire to grow in faith, virtue, and knowledge
~ Online dating experience? Advice? Yes! Mainly from CatholicMatch; gave up on eharmony years ago. Primary advice (told to me by a guy): Post a photo that shows your pretty face as you would look on a date (no blonde glitzy New Year’s glam when you’re now brunette with only some light blush and gloss); do not overload the profile with TMI—like listing every single band, restaurant, movie, TV show you like; and understand that if you are stubborn in waiting for the guy to do all the work after he checks out your profile just once…you might be missing out. Send a smile or a “hi” and throw the ball back into his court. The initial phases are like scoping out a party…he sees you at the chip table, but won’t go near you (he’s nervous!) unless you see him back and crack open the door for him with a smile, hello, touch of the arm and “Nice shirt!” as you pass by.

~ Advice for a single lady (140 characters): Pray, play; follow God’s Rules, break social ones; know how men think, but act like a lady; live as if you know you are loved.

~ Favorite Thing to Do When Not Blogging or Working: Hmmm…so many to choose from! Curling up with a good book. Curling up with HGTV or Doctor Who. Enjoying the company of friends.

7QTF: Hard Truths About Guys


Ladies, I went through something earlier this week that many young women have before, even though I was pridefully adamant that that was not MY situation. Pro-tip: The ugh-y ones almost always are. If you live life expecting to be disappointed, all the times you are not will be delightfully surprised. I may sound cynical, but the snarky slightly misanthropic attitude is much more mentally bearable than one of brilliant hopes that are continually dashed.

What happened, in a nutshell: Having no real discouragement, I put all my girlish hope and dream eggs in this one basket. Then the boy whom I wanted to find it (and he knew it too), picked it up, ran away, and gave it to another girl.

My editor, who is becoming more and more a Motherish mentor (solid Catholic counsel is not my own mommy’s forte), gave me some tough love (and soft love, too—she’s quite huggable). She shared with me the following hard truths about men.

*Now, you may say that Amazing Guy at Bible Study, your fiancée, your husband, whatever, is not a “guy,” thinking these things. He is more a man, and  is actually quite rare. I have met enough “guys” in and out of Church to know this applies to most males ages 26-33. Especially the ones in big cities, with lots of secular friends, and poor familial formation.


Guys have marriage radar. And it is NOT a good thing. Rather, they can lock in immediately on a woman who hopes/desires/believes marriage to be a joyous good and will want it. Soon. And to guys, “soon” is more like 5 years, not 5 months. As soon as their radar has picked up the ring blip, they will do one of two things: 1) Go buy the diamond because they have matured and want to spend the rest of their lives with you. 2) Run.

Nearly all young men opt for action 2. Why? As my editor explained: you have answered a question they haven’t even asked or, more likely, are unsure they even want to ask in the first place.


Guys do not know when they become men. Women can mark it on a calendar—not just physically, but figuratively. We’re oriented to be self-intuitive and reflective, so we discern the change that brought us from being just a girl to a grown woman. It’s much harder for men to have this moment of certainty. Worse, some feel as if they’re never there.  Or to go to there, they need to have A-Z accomplished, and if they fail at just one teeny tiny thing, that’s it, throw in the towel. And yelling at them to grow up and be a man just plumb will not work. Find and date men who already know they are men (this is why we’re all still single at 28.)


Guys will run if they learn you are starting to like them more than they know they like you. It’s probably why this weekend happened, likely why I was dumped by my one and only boyfriend right before Christmas in 2011, and credibly why some dates over the years never called back. My editor’s advice was to  find a man who likes me just a little bit more than I like him (of course, you should actually like the guy a whole lot. he just needs that one more ounce). Why? Again, it’s that whole answering a question they’re not sure they want to ask. Plus, they like to win. Or, it could be that they are discombobulated by your adoration, feel unworthy of it, and honestly believe they’re doing the right thing by freeing you from their horrid selves. *rolls eyes*


Guys do not see marriage the same way we do. (Go re-read the paragraph above #1). Women typically are the gender to see marriage as a joyous good, get really into the ToB-spirituality-beauty of it all. We especially see at as a beginning. Men see it as a duty or an end—the end of his phase of life of accomplishing career goals, the duty to the woman they love, or in some cases, the only acceptable end to a sexless-relationship. Women want the dreamboat spouse-soulmate. Men want sex and a companion to live out their days.


Guys want to lead. Always. In everything. They will want to drive, maybe even if you’re in your car (I won’t fight this. Have you been on 93?!? And rotaries. Rotaries everywhere.). They will begrudgingly be dragged onto the dance floor by girlfriends, but if that’s not you, they want to be the one to take your hand (if they like you).  And they will want to lead in the relationship. Don’t change your Facebook status from single prematurely (I will buy you your plane ticket to come over here and slap me silly if I ever do this). Don’t bring up “us,” “wedding,” or, God help you, “children”  first or put them in the same sentence. But But But, you protest, your boyfriend won’t bring these things up and you know you want them. Here’s what you do: tell him you’d like to have a conversation in the future (not immediately) about big picture things (don’t be specific.) When you are with him in this week/month/semester’s time (they like to plan and prepare), ask “What do you see in the next three months for yourself? Year? Three years?” DO NOT say anything about what you see or try to lead him into talking about the relationship. Let him lead the discussion of his own future and mind excavation. It will be the most honest and authentic response you can get from him.

If he wants a future with you and the same future (marriage, kids), he will say so (and yay, you!). If he does not, well, I’m sorry sweetie. You might need to break up with him. When he is dumbstruck as to why (and they almost always are), then you can say it’s because you want what you want and he wants what he wants, and those versions of the future are incompatible.

Of course, this conversation is best reserved for like, 6 months in, in most cases. Definitely by a year.


Guys don’t know what they want until they want it so bad they’ll do anything and everything to get it. It’s why women get proposed to by good Catholic men. They want you, have to have you, and will lock that s**t down because they know if they don’t, someone else will take you away from them. Remember…they have to win. And lead. And are in some weird unspoken competition with the rest of the Y-chromosomed.

But if they don’t know what they want, you can’t make them know. And don’t you dare wait around while he figures it out. Go live your life. Yes, it will be crushing when you learn that he discovered what he really wants is Not You. I am there right now, and struggling to take my own advice. Someday, we will be healed, and we have to have hope and lightness of heart that one day you will be wanted. Because the last thing any sane guy wants is a woman who is entirely cynical, bitter, or sad.


Guys will say what they think they want you to hear and encourage physical affection, and do not think it is abominable behavior once they decide they no longer want your company. Oh, this is so unpleasant. Guys typically talk a big game, get you all excited, because hey, he’s interested! And ohmygoodness he’s holding your hand an stroking the elbow during the movie.  And he shares things with you. And then three weeks later, he no longer feels it, wants to be friends, and two weeks after THAT, is with a new girl and touching her, but not sharing things, because hey, she’s not a deep, close friend.

Be very very careful when a guy seems to be intentional and touchy feely rather quickly. If he ends things, do not be his close personal confidant friend. What he is doing is segmenting his life: the deep stuff with one girl and the fun stuff with the other. A true man will see the value of having both in the same woman: you.

Now if you can stomach mommy and wive thoughts, go to Jen and the gang. 😛

NAS: Friendship


You’re not alone! Go see Jen and Morgan! But after you read this post! 🙂

What is Love of Friendship?
(What is love? But specifically within a friendship.
You can talk about it in any way you would like)

Sooo…last week I was mentally preparing a post continuing my rah-rah men-and-women-should-be-friends cheer. And then Sunday night happened. There is a friend. A boy. And he just told me something that makes my alluded-to challenge moot. This is one of those things that I really don’t think I should post publicly. Plus, I’ve still got this on repeat (lyrics NSFW). But the past 36 hours have really shown me the love within female-female friendships. God, my girls are great.

You see, God designed women to have emotional intuition, tender hearts, and all the fierceness of a mama bear. When women are together, we are not encumbered by the same social rules and cues as we are when we’re with men. There are no pretenses when it comes to hugs; no motivations behind light touches on the shoulder or arm; no wild and racing thoughts and heartbeats when you’re snuggled up together in cozy winter lounge things watching a movie. So it is easier for us to develop storge, the affective love C.S. Lewis writes about. Wikipedia calls storge the desire to care compassionately for one another. Storge leads to your work friend, practically your mom’s age, giving you a soft, warm hug at lunch because you are 1500 miles from your own mommy. Or your best girlfriends–one an ocean away, one a continent away–staying up with you till the wee smas allowing you to process. And like all mama bears, get all irate about the person who dared to threaten her dear ones.

In friendship you also have the philos (of course). But it is so much more than standing side by side, seeing the same. Philos is the love you choose. So when you have not talked to some friends in a while, or the relationship has shifted a little as you grow apart as you grow up, there’s still love when they consciously choose to maintain ties. And then when you say you really need to talk to them and ask a favor, you’re the first thing on their post-work to-do list. And no questions asked, no equivocations, favor is done.

Finally, in the best of friendships, you have dying to self for the sake of the other. This type of love is really hard to come across, and can take a long time to develop. And it’s actually the one you hope your friend doesn’t have for you, but the kind you hope you have for your friend. Because for a friend to do that for you means they are in pain themselves, and you’re trying to will their good, which we think means no pain. This love is not ever selfish, but selfless. Sometimes it can take God’s grace to not only be capable of this type of love, but to humbly accept the gift when it is offered. I don’t really have an example of when I’ve gotten agape love from a friend. It is to staggering, and my little heart cannot bear any more weight in this particular season.

But it takes receiving love to make the heart stronger. And I am so blessed to be getting some now.