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September 28, 2006

Of men, women, standards, and assumptions

In response to my first post about single women, "Puzzled" writes:

There are plenty of single, godly, upstanding evangelical men in this country. Perhaps most of them are in the red counties. I don't know.

I do know that most of them aren't in the top 2% in height, or the top 10% in wealth and looks, and so single women often don't 'see' them in the first place.

Elsewhere, under a post of Kristine's, he comments that we single women "place externals, power and money ahead of character" and thus will continue to overlook eligible men. Under the same post, dh12 brings up the question of standards -- specifically, are single women's standards too high?

With all due respect, I believe it's worth pointing out that no single woman on this blog, either blog members or commenters, has ever spoken of any "standards" for an ideal mate other than faith in Christ, godly character, and the ability to lead a family. And of course heterosexuality, which for most of us is an absolute must. Single Christian women who possess the kind of character and values referred to in the original NRO conversation aren't necessarily looking for Cary Grant in An Affair to Remember to sweep them off their feet. Most of us would be more than content with Jimmy Stewart in It's a Wonderful Life: not rich, not powerful, not drop-dead gorgeous -- simply a faithful, loving man of integrity who gives willingly of himself to his family. Are these standards too high?

But there's something about this subject that leads men and women alike to make hasty generalizations and assumptions about the opposite sex as a whole. I've been guilty of the same thing, when encounters with supposedly Christian single men who did not exhibit godly character, trustworthiness, or kindness have led me to say some pretty bitter -- and unfair -- things about single men in general. Apparently single men go through much the same thing for their part.

In an area so fraught with emotion and frustration, and in a time when standards have eroded so much that many have trouble just figuring out what godly Christian men and women and their relationships are supposed to look like, I believe it's urgently necessary that we pray for the grace to really listen to what our fellow Christians of both genders are saying, to respect their opinions, and to ask ourselves how we can become the kind of men and women who shatter cynical assumptions instead of helping to create them.

I found a very good quote I'd like to share on the subject, but this post is already getting a little too long. Stay tuned . . .

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That wasn't bitterness, Miss Delfonzo, that was just a humorous observation.


Please indulge me in a word of clarification. In my response to the original woman’s article, I pointed out that the lady author was being illogical. She said that there were not enough men, yet she also stated that she had dated many many men. How can both be true? It is illogical.

I then asked if perhaps she meant that there not enough GOOD men. I also asked if perhaps her standards were skewed. Is that why you referred to as me making “hasty generalizations and assumptions?” In what other way would you attempt to reconcile her seemingly illogical statements?

BTW, in your comment, you said, “Under the same post, dh12 brings up the question of standards -- specifically, are single women's standards too high?” To the contrary, I specifically did NOT ask if that woman’s standards were too high. I simply asked if her values were SKEWED. In the future, you may want to quote people correctly, and also not read more into their statements than what they actually wrote.

Finally, I thought that I had been gracious to the original lady author because I did not mention the possibility that perhaps the lady author had not yet married because some or many of the men she had dated did not think that she met THEIR standards. It may be interesting to note that this particular “hasty assumption” was not mentioned by any of your male repondents.

I once had a professor who was also a prolific writer. He said that when people write book reviews, the reviews often reveal more about the reviewer than about the book. Does your response reveal some of your own assumptions about this subject?

Gina Dalfonzo

My turn to clarify. First, I thought the author made clear in her article (particularly through her use of satire and hyperbole) that by "no men" she meant "no good men." Second, I was using "too high" as a synonym for "skewed." It seemed evident to me that someone whose standards were skewed would necessarily be someone whose standards were too high. (Based on the examples she used -- for instance, not wanting to date a man with a hangover -- I tend to think that her standards were not at all too high.) But I apologize if it looked as if I were reporting your words wrongly.

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