Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Guys and Dolls

A couple of weeks ago I got the rare pleasure of spending some time with my brother, Joe. We got updated on the details of each other’s lives; the joys and frustrations of day to day existence. Then, as always, our conversation turned to the past. See, we live about 20 miles apart and don’t run in the same circles, so other than a few relatives, what we mostly share is a common childhood.

We saw something – I can’t remember what – that caused us to laugh at ourselves for how we used to hide our girly magazines in the attic, under the pink insulation. (Dads – if your attic stairs are seeing a lot of action, you might want to check for loose bats of insulation.) Now, in case you weren't aware, that pink stuff is pretty itchy... turn the page, scratch your arms, turn the page scratch you neck... you get the picture.

Are arranged marriages the way to go? Well, I’d say that depends on who’s doing the arranging...

I need to stop the train right here for a moment and point out a couple of things. First, this was a loooong time ago; and second, I was the younger brother, and very impressionable! I just want to keep the record straight.

We laughed about the fact that the girls in those magazines don’t really represent real girls. In fact, they don’t really even resemble real girls. The same is true for the actresses and models we see on TV and ad copy. The expertise of professional makeup artists and skilled airbrush craftsmen – that’s what we’re seeing! Real girls look like… well, real girls! What’s happening is they are appealing to the hot button in a man – what’s known as the ‘sight gate’. Pornographers have always banked on the fact that men are stimulated by what they see with their eyes.

Not so much with the female of the species. Women aren’t moved nearly so much by what they see as by what they think and feel. The romantic plots of soap operas and books that portray the hero as a tall, handsome, masculine yet sensitive man whose faults, while slight, are endearing – such is the hook presented to a woman. This image doesn’t even resemble a real man, but the books keep selling and the soaps keep soaping. I’ve seen it referred to as ‘emotional pornography’.

And while society recognizes the foolishness of the girly magazine brand of pornography, we seem to encourage emotional pornography. I’m thinking they’re both about equally dangerous.

So an astute female goes to palates, applies makeup and wears sexy outfits in order to appeal to the eyes of the male. And she wins her prize. And a shrewd man builds himself up with promises and flattery, painting a picture upon which a woman will build her hopes and dreams. And he gains the desire of his eyes.

But she looks different in the morning… and his words prove to be empty. Surely there’s a better way.

You know, if you go to the Bible for advice on dating, you won’t find dating in there. Remember Isaac, the son God Promised Abraham? When it was time for him to take a wife Abraham sent a servant out to fetch a maiden, which turned out to be Rebekah. And they lived happily ever after (except for a few trips to the principal’s office over the antics of Jacob and Esau).

So, are arranged marriages the way to go? Well, I’d say that depends on who’s doing the arranging, and what their motives are. If you will let GOD do the arranging you’ll find his motives are purely to your benefit.

And in the mean time, stay out of the attic.

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