Apart from political battles, we'd noticed the same old complaints and stereotypes seemed to come up time and time again in the Catholic Match Forums. Some of these perennial favorites include what we call the "The Lady's Lament," which is not to be outdone by the infamous "The Cry of the Over-Forty Love Warrior."
The Lady's Lament
You know her. She's in her forties here on Catholic Match, and though she reads and enjoys the forums, she is shocked (shocked!) by the attitude of some of the male posters. She cannot believe that even though these guys are in their forties too, they only seem to want to date young, slim women! She feels they are very uncharitable, shallow, and downright unchristian. Finally, she wonders why when she's attempted to make the first step and send them emotigrams, they ignore her.
What We Think
First, women should never send emotigrams to guys they don't know. Why? Because all men are seeing is a photo and an age. And if they are not replying, obviously, they don't like what they see.
It's kind of hard to say exactly why men are so, er, "visual." But it seems to be a fact of life. A part of human nature, let's call it. And as we all know, human nature is fallen. Obviously, God had some purpose in mind when he made men this way. No use complaining, we say. Put it on your list to ask Saint Peter when you get there.
We think the lady in question should briskly move on to what she can do. (Bev is quite sympathetic, by the way, to her problem because she joined Catholic Match in her mid-forties, and felt much the same way this lady does.)
The key, in our case, was to start actually meeting real people from Catholic Match. Let's face it — right now everyone's just a photo and a few words on a computer screen. While our imaginations tend to fill in the details, the truth is that we don't know anyone until we have actually met them.
Ladies shouldn't waste time huffing about guys' attitudes. They need to meet real people; Catholic Match has lots of events where everyone can get involved, and meet new friends.
If this is intimidating, ladies need to ask themselves why. Could it be that they have "let themselves go" and don't feel that they can "compete?" Many people feel this way, and give vent to their frustration because they feel they shouldn't need to compete, especially in middle age.
A Reality Check from Bev
If you are truly serious about finding a husband, then you need to make yourself attractive. If that means dropping fifty pounds, so be it. Get yourself to Weight Watchers and the gym. Do whatever it takes to be the best you can be — for your own health, for your kids and your future husband.
Are there good men on Catholic Match that are worth all this effort? Emphatically YES. I married one of them, and have met many, many more through this site.
Ask God for help doing this. He's always there; He'll hear your heartfelt prayers. Remember, the Lord helps those who help themselves. Start helping!
The Cry of the Over-Forty Love Warrior
It usually goes something like this:
I am a 43-year-old guy and I'm proud to say that I'm still a kid at heart. I drive a Jeep, play video games and wait feverishly for the publication of the annual swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated. My problem is that for some reason the 25-year-old babes that I want to date don't seem to be attracted to me. Why is this? I still have most of my hair, and I'm much better financed than I was in my twenties. I don't get it.
A Reality Check from Harry
Think back to when you were 25 years old, man. How many 43-year-old guys did your classmates and sisters date? Not many, huh? This is because — now hang on to your hat — most young adults consider 43-year-old guys to be old.
I know it's not fair. I know they couldn't possibly mean you. I know that young waitresses still smile and flirt with you — not because they want a big tip, or anything.
But there it is, nonetheless. You are old.
Now, before you get all mad and start calling me names you'll have to go to Confession for, here's the good news: people over forty don't think you're old. They see you as a peer. That is, to the extent that you act like their peer, which is to say, like an adult man.
What We Think
So, how exactly does a man act his age? Well, let's see. You resist the urge to clown around. You treat women like ladies. You show maturity in your tastes. Let's just say — when you are embarrassed to be seen with your baseball cap turned backwards because you know the kids are pointing and snickering at you, you are on the right track.
You see, God has this plan. He wants children to be brought up by adults. Have you ever noticed that immature men tend to father children (as in be the "biological father") — but they are rarely around to actually bring the children up?
This is because it takes an adult man to be a father.
So if you want to be a father, our best advice is to grow up first. And quickly, because you've got a whole lotta catching up to do.
How do you do that? Pray. Think critically about yourself. Are you the kind of man that a woman can trust her life and her soul to? If you aren't perfect — and none of us are — have you gone to Confession and the Sacraments seeking to amend your life? Have you read Augustine, Aquinas or Francis of Assisi? (Check Ignatius Press for books on them by Louis De Wohl. Leave the swimsuit edition for the twenty-somethings.)
Sound like a lot of work? It is. Why bother? Why not just channel-surf your way to Sports Center and fahgeddaboudit?
You're not looking for a fast woman on Match.com or MySpace.
Your hedonistic, narcissistic youth must finally be left behind. Because now you're looking for the Real Thing.
And you're likely to find the Real Thing at church, or at Catholic Match gatherings. Go on and try it. Hey, the numbers are in your favor. Our experience is that there's usually many more women than men at these events.
Because somewhere out there is a wonderful Catholic woman who will love you and give you children. But she needs you to be a grownup before she will appear in your life.
All in God's time.