Monday, January 11, 2016

The Death of Friendship: The heartbreaking fallout of the gay/transgender movements

All my children and grandchildren have gone back to home/school, and now I continue on with book writing and emails (help, Lord!). But this is something that needs discussing....


I came across this article (please, please, read the whole thing) and it has put words to the ache I have felt in my heart as I watch in real life even clearly non-homosexual, non-"gender fluid" teens suddenly begin to question their sexuality and even find an opposite-sex alter ego.

From "How to Stop Sexualizing Everything", emphasis mine:

The more friendship is misunderstood and ignored, the more people will identify as homosexual and bisexual. The more we condition our perceptions in a sexual way and the more children are exposed to sex even before they develop meaningful friendships, the less likely they will be able to separate healthy nonsexual feelings from sexual ones. Sex will become the defining feature of all their feelings. Eros will have slain phileo.

The death of true same-sex friendship.

I could have never imagined it even a few years ago, but now American children are expected -- expected -- to question their sexuality and "gender identity". They are not to assume they are heterosexual or male/female according to their very biology. They are not to be bound by those "societal constructs" which are now seen as destructive and repressive, even abusive.

On the heels of the first article, I read a brilliant analysis by (my new favorite author) Anthony Esolen, who writes in "A Requiem for Friendship":

Language is not language if it is not communal; it is a neat trick of political abracadabra to argue for an individual’s right to change the very medium of our thought and our social intercourse. If clothing is optional on a beach, then that is a nude beach. It cannot be a nude beach for some and an ordinary beach for others; to wear clothes at that beach at the very least means something that it had not meant before. If you may paint your house phosphorescent orange and violet, and you persuade a couple of your neighbors to do likewise, you no longer have what anybody would call a historic neighborhood. 
If all of Kate’s friends leap into bed with whatever male gives them a hearty dinner at Burger King and a round of miniature golf, and Kate chooses instead to kiss her date once on the cheek and leave him on the porch, she will suggest to everybody that she is a prude. She may be, or may not be; she may be more firmly in the grip of lust than they are, for all we know, and may just detest the boy. But her actions have connotations they did not use to have. 
Imagine a world wherein the taboo has been broken and incest is loudly and defiantly celebrated. Your wife’s unmarried brother puts his hand on your daughter’s shoulder. That gesture, once innocent, must now mean something, or at least suggest something. If the uncle were wise and considerate, he would not make it in the first place. You see a father hugging his teenage daughter as she leaves the car to go to school. The possibility flits before your mind. The language has changed, and the individual can do nothing about it. 
By now the reader must see the point. I might say that of all human actions there is nothing more powerfully public than what two consenting adults do with their bodies behind (we hope) closed doors. Open homosexuality, loudly and defiantly celebrated, changes the language for everyone. If a man throws his arm around another man’s waist, it is now a sign—whether he is on the political right or the left, whether he believes in biblical proscriptions of homosexuality or not. 
If a man cradles the head of his weeping friend, the shadow of suspicion must cross your mind. If a teenage boy is found skinny-dipping with another boy—not five of them, but two—it is the first thing you will think, and you will think it despite the obvious fact that until swim trunks were invented this was exactly how two men or boys would go for a swim. 
Because language is communal, the individual can choose to make a sign or not. He cannot determine what the sign is to mean, not to others, not to the one he signals, and not even to himself.
You see what he's getting at, right? You see what we have lost? What boys and young men have lost, especially? Please take the time to read it all.

The loss of pure, un-sexualized, un-suspicious same-sex friendship is a catastrophe. How on earth do we get it back?






124 comments:

  1. Hmmm.
    I read the article posted here and I am confused on the whole predicate. I'm a full step back of where she starts the idea, but here's my take anyway. Is warm passionate friendship on display really a problem? I am blessed to have not noticed. I guess it all comes down to personality type and comfort level. People look and (mis)judge all the time. They misjudge just by how we look, what we drive, they assume things wrongly all the time. What do we ultimately care? Assume away. That's on them.

    I say, “What does their opinion about my friendships even matter- whether passionate or reserved in emotion and emotional or physical gestures?” Heck, we live in a culture that says, “I dare you to even say something”, anyway, so we can be as physical as we want with friends—the bait is always seemingly set to dare others to even make a snap judgment. I don’t see how it matters in the large picture.

    To me, the best point of article is this:

    Friendship is a love that is rationally and freely chosen as you gravitate toward people who share the same interests and passions as you. It’s not a relationship that arises out of organic connections, such as mutual affection in families and communities, or the driving need of erotic love that sweeps you away by the impulses of nature. It’s a choice made between people who have shared interests that lead to common bonds and deep love. It’s a powerful love that enriches people’s lives and forms the foundation of a stable society.

    Yes, it is. And the real problem is back a full step. People in society nowadays have seemingly lost the skills to even make friends since everyone is so isolated with technology, they really don’t get out and form those bonds— we don’t even get far enough into the realm of “you seem gay with your friends” for people to ‘judge how gay it all looks’, ya know? I mean, is anybody really even making friends or all we all so disconnected? All I read about online is how “isolated everyone feels”. I think that’s the bigger issue than how passionate or not our friendships appear to be.

    Community is very important. Join a sport. Join a book club. Join a moms group. Go plug in somehow and form those bonds. They are there to be made and enjoyed—and pay no mind to how others perceive the degrees of warmth or reservation you show with friends. You’re not living your life for someone else’s ignorant judgment.

    I know a lot of warm-hearted guys who give big hugs to other guys and who are completely comfortable being excited about the friendship when they're together. They're straight. They actually seem to have an easier time of fraternity, actually. It seems that women are the more aloof ones because we're not normally the ones who clap each other on the back and make showy signs of camaraderie.

    Anyway, I think it's just a matter of personality type and that the real issue is that people don't even know how to bond, and it's not really b/c of an over-sexualized culture, per se. It's an overall lack of possessing social skills, IMO.

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  2. I absolutely agree with you about social skills or lack thereof, but as for the rest, I think you are mostly talking about confident and strong adults. I'm talking about our very vulnerable and impressionable teens and young people. I'm watching this stuff happen before my eyes, even with the children of friends, and it is shocking, assumptions and attitudes and actions that certainly weren't taking place in my large public high school in the 1980s, and even in my party college. Sure, you and I can be comfortable in our skin and in our identity, but these kids today are not. And everything is couched in sexual identity and gender and sexualixation of younger and younger kids. It's a real problem, and a growing one. Any affection is now seen as potentially sexual.

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  3. No, I know, but I mean across the board - teens to adults- who cares what people wrongly assume about your friendships? We get a read off of friends, no matter our age-- we hug the warm ones, we are more reserved with the non-touchy ones. We cooperate with how they are, in part, and they cooperate with us and our personalities. I mean the challenge is to get a good read off of our friends so those bonds can form.

    If any affection is seen as a sexual thing, that's in the mind of beholder. The only remedy to get back to anything healthy is to just be who we are-- whether touchy-feely or not. Even though everything everywhere seems to be about sex we don't have to buy into that and check ourselves if we know we're not doing anything immoral (hugging friends). We can teach our kids to be strong in who they are with their own personalities, despite the warped culture. The world is going to judge you (kids) because you're not warm enough or you're too overly warm with your touching...they're also going to judge you on whether you're wearing NorthFace jackets, Nike pants, and Ugg boots, whether you hang with the cool people, etc., I mean, so what? That's on them, is all I mean. Teaching our kids to be strong in who they are is about the only remedy to such a base culture as ours, because I agree, the culture is a ball of confusion. Our culture needs strong loving people as the example, free from fear of being seen as anything.

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  4. Yes, that is the remedy for sure. There just aren't enough of us out there, I'm afraid. But that's why I will not stop speaking up for sanity.

    I got this from a friend in another state, which shows what we are up against in this culture that wants to eat up our children alive:

    The school my daughter went to was an art school and she said that somewhere around 90 percent of the kids (they are kids!) Identify as bisexual there. She said even she was questioning for a couple of weeks! That scared me senseless. Now I worry daily for her and my other children and I am tempted to lock them all in the attic until they are 35. What can we do???

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  5. Agree with this:

    And the real problem is back a full step. People in society nowadays have seemingly lost the skills to even make friends since everyone is so isolated with technology, they really don’t get out and form those bonds— we don’t even get far enough into the realm of “you seem gay with your friends” for people to ‘judge how gay it all looks’, ya know? I mean, is anybody really even making friends or all we all so disconnected? All I read about online is how “isolated everyone feels”. I think that’s the bigger issue than how passionate or not our friendships appear to be.

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  6. Yes, that is absolutely true, but not at all the issue I was talking about in the OP. That's a totally different subject. It would be interesting to discuss if it were absent the complete and utter sexualization of our children and every interaction they do have, many of which are normal and natural and yet now are looked upon as sexual. There are so many young men who would love to feel close and intimate (friendship-wise) with a male friend, but who will now begin to wonder if they really are homosexual for having those (normal) feelings? It's a default position now, and it's been trained into young Americans to question their own sexuality when they really yearn for deep friendships. Just awful.

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  7. The author of the second article, Tony Esolen, tried to post this comment, but it wouldn't go through, so I am posting it for him:

    Leila -- I tried to publish a long comment, but Google wouldn't let me. Anyway, many thanks for your kind words and your support for boys, who are generally treated with shabby neglect.

    To those people who say that it shouldn't matter what other people think of you:

    1. You miss the point: Language is not a private thing. If someone says "dog," we all think of a dog. If a boy holds a girl's hand, we ALL think, "They have a crush on each other." If a boy holds a boy's hand -- the thought is as inevitable as the thought of a dog when someone says the word.

    2. People -- boys especially -- have been robbed of much of the "language" of friendship.

    3. It should not require tremendous courage to do the ordinary things in life. Sure, you can say, "These boys should not CARE what anyone thinks." That's hard-hearted. We should make it so easy to enjoy the ordinary good thing called friendship, that even boys who are shy and self-conscious can do so.

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  8. Yes. I'm not missing the point. I drew a new point (from the lady's article linked) and pointed not so much to language as I did to friendship in general.

    We can and do enjoy the ordinary things of friendship. At least in my experience. Maybe I'm just in a good place.

    I am exhorting people to be stronger. I'm not being hard-hearted. I'm stating a fact which is that the world misjudges and misconstrues. To say, "Who cares?" isn't dismissive, it's literally a bottom line question. Since when do we poll what the world thinks and worry according to that anyway? That's just my thought, not an argument.

    "Strengthen your brethren" is my take. I don't do so much hand-wringing as I try to find a concrete way to live the light. I was not being argumentative, as I agree with the ideas in general.

    For instance, Leila says:
    There are so many young men who would love to feel close and intimate (friendship-wise) with a male friend, but who will now begin to wonder if they really are homosexual for having those (normal) feelings? It's a default position now, and it's been trained into young Americans to question their own sexuality when they really yearn for deep friendships. Just awful.

    It's awful, yes. But men have probably always questioned this. Women, too. If someone compliments us, are we now becoming so paranoid that we think everything is a sexual advance or a pass? A female acquaintance said to me, "I want your lips." This was out of the blue, mid-conversation about something unrelated. No lie. She meant it as a compliment, not a sexual advance. We don't need to worry about our reactions or non-reactions to these things so much. Am I wrong?

    In terms of kids questioning their sexual identity, I feel badly that Leila's friend worries to that degree. I think worry solves nothing. But that's just me. I'm always trying to find a way to resolve. These days, it will take guts to remain strong-- but it will be a very strong contrast compared to the willows who bend. And many willows can be strengthened if exhorted to be strong. That's all I meant. Just an exhortation.

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  9. No, you're not wrong about that, but again, we are grown women who grew up a while ago. It's so different now. Really sort of freaky for the kids today. And unfortunately there are not many parents today who know how (or even feel that they should) address this strange turn in the culture. And the really unexpected part is that many very solid Catholics are seeing this "confusion" in kids that they very much have raised well. So, it's more about something very new that is happening, and I don't think a lot of parents expected it.

    I love exhortations. Keep it up. But there is some other angles that we have to work here. It's such a Twilight Zone now and changing/growing fast. Kids are swept up and caught in it....

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  10. Not a good thing if kids can't have normal friendships with out being worried they might be gay ( when they're straight). But nothing is simple. What has improved is the plight of young people who actually are gay.

    In the past gay youth lived in terror that someone might suspect they were gay and for that reason had a very hard time having regular friendships with men/boys. The lessening of homophobia has allowed gay youth to be far more emotionally healthy and develop deep friendships. Young lesbians never had it has hard as young gay men because close relationships between girls are normal and no one would suspect them.

    Also, women's relationships with gay men are often strong and a deep source of support for each of them.

    Also in my experience, even if people experiment when they're young, they settle into their natural orientation. People who are actually gay are much more likely to live a straight lifestyle than visa versa. That is because they don't want to live with the burden of homophobia. If a young person is experimenting with same-sex sexuality it doesn't last very long because it's not really who they are. And being heterosexual is so much easier than being gay so there's no reason to live with the pretense of being gay if you don't have to.

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  11. Yes, sad. And I think we should cut to the chase because it is very important for boys, especially. The idea is to separate when people are giving the boy crap (as teen boys do) just to give him crap, whether they use “bromance”, or “wimp”, or just get in his face. It’s not that they’re questioning a relationship, it’s a rite of passage sometimes. Stand up to them. Boys don’t think in terms of “relationship” like, “If Jacob says something warm to me, I’m wondering about what people think of my relationship with Jacob”. Guys just don’t think that way. That’s a female interpretation, not how guys really think.

    The best comeback for a teen boy is to comeback and diffuse it, to play into it, laugh it off, or stand up to it and deal with the consequences. But don’t become confused. Don’t walk away and wonder. Because that vulnerability was there before the incident.
    The big question is how is the dad handling it? Because mom interprets things through a female lens. How’s dad talking to this? It’s guy-code. Dad hopefully steps in and helps the boy sift through the situation. A man is a man, he can help get through any rites of passage—chest shoves, challenges, etc. learning how to handle it. We can’t just pin it on the culture. We need strong dads.

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  12. Thoughts...
    Your main question from the post was, "The loss of pure, un-sexualized, un-suspicious same-sex friendship is a catastrophe. How on earth do we get it back?"

    My previous comments tried to cover the point of 'how' (stay strong, reinforce being strong in personality, encourage kids not to hang their hat on the culture's confused opinions).

    You mention taking another angle. Then maybe having a conversation with new questions is needed to really cut to it. We need to ask that if strong Catholic families are now seeing this confusion in their kids, how are the parents (dad) approaching it? What kind of reasoning helps their kids sift through the cultural mumbo?
    If the teenager is genuinely confused (and it’s not just a matter of how the guys are treating him rite-of-passage-style), then what's a parent to do besides encourage them back toward reason? "Honey, what exactly are you confused about?” Kid says they’re thinking they might be bi or something because their friends say it, too, etc.
    Then: "I understand. Yet there's no need to be confused just because other people tell you to be questioning or experimenting or straight up confused. There's no reason to give that opinion any weight. If you're truly confused about being confused, then we need to hash this out. If you’re just taking crap from the guys and you feel bullied, then we need to get to the point where we’re talking beyond the vulnerability and into how we actually help you handle this (confrontation or whatever it might be)."

    I definitely see a need to separate out the true issue, here. Is it a matter of “awkward teen experiences” or is it “bullying” or something truly confusing? If the child is confused they’re feeling vulnerable, but that was there before the culture got to them, emotionally, right. So the angle maybe should be how do parents drive a good conversation to get out of the “confused vulnerable” mode and into the “this is how you handle it” mode. Some type of script needs to be shared. Some type of problem solving that gets them to sort whether they truly are confused (legitimately) or whether they're just listening to needless noise from friends or whomever.

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  13. Yes, stronger fathers, indeed, but the problem is that this is a cultural problem. It wasn't before. The culture didn't laud homosexuality and transgenderism and the stuff that is positively PERMEATING the discussions and assumptions these days (ask any kid in high school).

    And I think that there are boys (the "softer", more confused boys") who really do worry about the "relationship" stuff with other boys. Especially those who may lean towards homosexuality. They want to be like the other boys but they aren't. I will have to go back to my facebook discussion and bring Tony Esolen's comments here. I really think he's right.

    Johanne, there is such a difference between how gay men and lesbians relate and why they are in these relationships (another reason why it's hilarious when people claim there is no difference between men and women! Gosh, even gay men and women are so different!). There is a reason that some college kids joke about "LUG"s. (Lesbian until graduation.) Women are much more relational, and they tend to get close to their friends, intimate, deep discussions, etc. In a world that says it's all fluid, sexual, etc., we see more women having these relationships (lesbian) and really feeling they must be. But it's not necessarily a short time as a lesbian, it can be years until they get out of it. And when they do, it's left its damage, for sure. "LUG" was not even a thing when I was in college. I shudder to think if it had been! I know one great Catholic wife and mom of many who went to an elite all girls college and it was not until her senior year that she suddenly discovered "feelings" for her best friend and they were lesbians for years after. But she said that by that point she was pretty much the only one that hadn't had sex with women, so she felt like the freak and it was sort of "natural" for her to fall into it. Very disturbing to her now, looking back. (She is younger than I.)

    Anyway, dabbling in homosexuality carries its own wounds and problems. Sin always does and it's not something that is like experimenting with ice cream flavors. As for gay boys, it's so sad, as some of the gay men I've known were sexually molested by adult males in their adolescence or childhoods (camp counselors, family members), and that is a very confusing thing. There is a not a lot of "healthy" gay teen relationships, or after (I would say there are NO healthy gay relationships, of course, but there are some we can all agree are not healthy at all; these are not stable, lovely, beautiful things).

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  14. I understand, but what is the illustration? It's a cultural problem, ok, but it still needs to be handled in the home. That's my point. And my point of bringing dad in to sift through the issue was exactly because moms and dads are different and this is an instance where dad needs to take the conversation and have the guy-code-behavioral talk. Not to squash his sensitivity. But have the air cleared.

    Is he truly "confused"? Or is it a matter of needing the tools to handle himself if he's getting other guys in his face, etc.? There is so much crap guys go through, in terms of rite of passage. I don't think it's genuine confusion of relationships as much as it's just learning how to cope and confront and deal without feeling vulnerable. I'm speaking from growing up around many guys and knowing many guys to date. It's just a different mentality and a different protocol than we women see it.

    I don't see how Tony's point ties in, because I'm not suggesting squashing sensitivity in teens or guys. Anyway, just thoughts.

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  15. Nubby, I think that what you are saying is sound, of course, but thanks for letting me flesh it out further. Even if every good Catholic family in the nation handled it right, that leaves us with a MASSIVE cultural problem, still. It leaves the majority of the children vulnerable. I am addressing this as a cultural issue, because it's so pervasive. Even five years ago it was not like this. I've had three kids graduate (public charter) high school. When the first three graduated, there still was no believe, largely, that women could turn into men, for example. That gender was "fluid". Today, just a couple or four years later, that has totally changed. It's everywhere now. Most kids think like the LGBT community now on those issues. And that includes a scary number of very confused Catholic kids (from good families). It's really sick out there. My question is how do we turn around this cultural insanity, this utter break from reality? It's the most bizarre thing I have ever seen. And yes, a very sad, sad part of it started a while ago... the idea that same-sex intimacy HAS to be assumed sexual. That is so, so sad. There may not even be an answer for the culture, until things get so dark and hopeless (as they always do when a culture falls so far from truth and virtue) that we are like ashes, then a Phoenix has to rise up out of that. It's surreal at this point.

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  16. I don't think it's about guys being "in their face" or anything like that. I think what Tony said in his article (the second piece I linked) is that in the day of old (Lincoln, our grandparents' day, etc.) it was okay to have those intimate guy friendships. So, it was very, very different. Even when men were more like "men" and more traditionally masculine, with those expectations, there was a way to be intimate with male friends that is unacceptable today. Tony's piece really lays that out well.

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  17. This is the article which discusses what men used to be able to be like with each other:

    http://www.touchstonemag.com/archives/article.php?id=18-07-021-f#ixzz3wxITiA9P

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    1. And the point is that no matter what a father said to his sons, it wouldn't make this particular reality different. We are in a different reality, and we have lost something very precious. It's heartbreaking.

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  18. Leila
    No, there are fewer healthy gay teen relationships than healthy straight relationships but that is largely (in my opinion) because it is very difficult to be gay (despite the fact that society is more accepting than before. And I hear no concern at all about how homophia affects gay youth--suicides, despair, estrangement from family--and the horrors of times past. Only concern about how less homophobia is affecting things. This disturbing, and very unkind (at best).

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  19. But let's just think a second here and take it apart.
    The culture is what? A huge ship that isn't turning around anytime soon, right? So when we have this experience of the culture coming into our kids' lives, minds, experiences, whatever, we come against it, not by attacking the culture but by talking to the child about the culture.

    I mean, I agree, I lament the same things you do, but the culture's like the wind, right? We can't grab it or stop it. We can't build something so that the wind never blows in this way or that again. We know it's a reality with grip and sway on the people, okay, but we still solve that issue in the home.

    The hope is that our kids never wander from the narrow path, yes. But if we're worrying about it after having done 99% of our job toward effecting the good, then it's useless worry, afterall.

    I just exhort everyone to stay strong. Nevermind what the culture sells because it's like the wind. We cannot ever beat it back. It goes back to my first comment-- be strong in who you are.

    If you're not strong in who you are, and haven't walked the thought pasture with your kids about this ridiculous culture then don't really expect a good outcome.

    But to say "most kids" or make general sweeps about the culture, I just don't know that I agree. I mean, I know secular people who aren't influenced by the culture as much as it sounds like it affects Catholics here. Could just be where we live is different.

    I read Tony's article and I'm confused. Nobody talks like that anymore. And more, we cannot have it both ways. We can't encourage sensitivity in our kids and yet say that gay movement is taking over our kids, right? If the culture confuses them it means they're weaker to begin with, I am guessing. If you're strong enough to show emotions you're not going to be affected by the culture. Is the culture creating "whiners" or should our kids be strong enough to show emotion around other guys? If stronger then, the culture has no effect no matter what it does. Are we raising them to be stronger?

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  20. Johanne, I totally disagree of course. And think about an area like San Francisco, where tolerance for homosexuality is beyond legendary, and is in fact celebrated. So, so many unhealthy and truly dark and perverse relationships there. These are not healthy people. Meanwhile, pro-lifers and others are truly despised in San Francisco where the city council has even *condemned* them (and the Church), and yet these prolife youth are healthy, happy young people. Clearly, "acceptance" does not bring inerior happiness to people who are engaged in lifestyles and activities that go against our human dignity.

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  21. I think I'm confused about what you're saying, Nubby. I think we absolutely agree, you and I, on how we like to raise our children, so that's not the miscommunication. Actually I guess perhaps it's just that these articles spoke to me about what we are missing, what many people feel as a sadness, but that they can't quite put their finger on. I think the articles sort of speak to that void and, at least for me, they identify what we have lost in concrete terms, and sometimes just the identification of what has been lost can help focus the mind. I am sure many people don't even realize that these types of deep same-sex friendships existed, without any sexual implication or complication. What a lovely (almost primal) memory! Perhaps simply by identifying and conjuring up the memory of the good we've lost, we can inspire in the culture a deeper longing for it? But without even knowing that it existed, how will people understand that not only is it possible, but that we had it? I hope that makes sense.

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  22. I agree, it's just the semantics. When we use phrases like, "men being intimate in same-sex friendships", etc., they don't think like that. They don't think, "I want to share my intimate friendship with Nate tomorrow over a pitcher of beer." It's not the same phraseology, so to speak. Because we're not in a movie like Sam and Frodo (cradling the weeping friend), we're not writing poetry like King David to Jonathan, I mean it's just not how men operate.

    If my husband said he was going to join Chris for intimate friendship, I'd be like... um, huh? It's not how we talk, though I get your wanting to inspire strong friendships between men especially. I just believe it's not going to be described that way, not for shameful reasons, but just because that's not how we talk anymore.

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    1. Nubby, yes, ha ha. Esolen writes in very poetic, transcendent prose even while his concepts and ideas are so concrete (which is what I love, love, love about him). I don't think anyone would expect that actual conversations would take place using that prose. :)

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  23. Leila

    "So, so many unhealthy and truly dark and perverse relationships there. These are not healthy people."


    Of course there's no point in discussing this when you believe homosexuality is a sin necessarily. How many gay couples do you know from San Francisco?? There are thousands of healthy, happy relationships there. And all kinds of wonderful people. I know many of them.

    You cannot possibly mean that every person in San Francisco is unhealthy? And dark and perverse relationships, most of them straight, exist in every city. Mostly it takes place in the red districts which are hotbeds for disgusting heterosexual antics.

    Anyway, no point in going further. But I do wish the welfare of gay youths was of concern to the church.

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    1. AS someone from San Francisco, I can attest that the city is very well and truly screwed up. But not for the reasons Leila points to. The really awful thing about this city is that there are people homeless, relieving themselves on the street, sleeping in insulation, while homes made literally of newspaper are sold for $1 million, pushing out families that have been there for generations. No one gets to know their neighbors because they all move out and up within a few years. Schools are as segregated as they were before Brown v. Board of Education. Greed is eating away at the heart of the city, in my opinion. It's funny to me that people like Leila hold up San Francisco as an example of a place where oddballs and nonconformists reign, because there's really no room for the "freaks" and "misfits" anymore. It's just too expensive.

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    2. This is so interesting! I think Seattle is a bit like this now, too! Crazy and tragic. Thank you for clarifying the situation.

      And I guess I am thinking about the different gay "pride" marches and activities there, as well as the crazy declarations their city council has put out against Catholics and pro-life citizens.

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  24. Johanne,

    The welfare of gay youths IS of concern to the Church. The Church loves and cares for all people. However, the Church's definition of caring for people differs from your definition. Since the Church cares for the eternal salvation of all people and places that as far more important than any (sinful) desires us humans have. Ultimately, nothing (no human relationship, romantic or otherwise) is ever going to completely satisfy us. Thus, the Church wants people to see themselves as beloved children of God. Some may be attracted to members of their same sex, but that does not define people. We don't NEED romantic love in this life, it's nice and beautiful, but definitely not necessary. And if our lives are supposed to be about glorifying God with all we do, then that doesn't leave room for sin or for any romantic relationships whereby the couple cannot consummate the union. So, I don't even know why homosexuality is even a thing. Why not just have close friendships? Why why why does everything have to be sexualized????

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  25. Johanne, I can think of few things less true than the idea that the Church does not care about gay youth. Goodness, she is one of the only entities on earth that does.

    And you know well that I am very vocal about unhealthy heterosexual relationships as well. But, I'm sorry, I cannot lie, there is nothing healthy about homosexual sex acts, ever. Even your own Buddhist tradition (up until some Buddhist thought, recently) has not sanctioned homosexual behavior. How can a moral act somehow be "bad" one day and then the next be "good" simply because it is declared so by people who change their minds? Something that is known to be immoral and unhealthy is suddenly made good because we decide to do a 180 and say it's good? But... is that a valid way of ascertaining the truth?

    There are people today who are working very hard to lower the ages of consent in both the minds of the public and the law, and we would be fools if we can't see that such things will one day be seen as "good" in the "progressive" society in which we now live. These things are turning like light switches.

    Gay sex as good? Never! Now? It's awesome!
    Gay marriage as good? Never! It's not even a thing! Now? It's celebrated!
    Men becoming women? Not possible! Sick! Now? It's a beautiful thing! You are a bigot if you can't see it!
    This is not new. Same thing happened with divorce, contraception, abortion, and soon we will see things like polygamy (goodness, honestly, what's the big deal about polygamy if we accept the rest of this stuff?) and all the rest on the slippery slope, which I'm not allowed to speak of because (as I always hear), "No one is clamoring for it!" (until they start clamoring for it).

    Anyway, it's late. Margo, you asked the $64,000 question: Why does everything have to be sexualized?? I think it's because sex is the very mechanism by which God creates human life, and family is the foundation of every functioning society, and if the devil can destroy life and love (sex is about both), then he can drag us into darkness with him.

    I hate to believe that anyone would really think that the promotion and belief in virtue (and chastity is a virtue) is synonymous with not caring for persons. I just have no words for that.

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  26. Homosexuals are much more than their sexuality. And not all homosexuals engage in homosexual sex. Margot, you say you are a virgin but I'm quite certain that you identify as a heterosexual? Why does everything have to be sexualized?? When you speak about homosexual relationships you only talk about sex. Is there no room whatsoever for those individuals to have healthy qualities, whether they engage in sexual activity or not? What about sex outside of marriage? is that not just as "sinful" as homosexuality? Are people who engage in that only fornicators? Do they have no other identity? NO possibility of any redeeming qualities? I agree that we we shouldn't sexualize everything. It seems like you sexualize gay relationships and gay lifestyle far more than gay people do.

    And thank you for your response, Margot. I don't agree with it, but it's very clearly stated.

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  27. I didn't explain clearly what I meant by this: "Margot, you say you are a virgin but I'm quite certain that you identify as a heterosexual?" I meant that the fact that you're not engaging in heterosexual sex not threaten your identity as a heterosexual. There are lots of people who are gay even though they aren't in sexual relationships, or may never have been. It isn't fair paint them all as unhealthy just because they're gay. I hope this makes sense.

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  28. We Catholics tend not to refer to homosexuals as "homosexuals", but rather as men and women with same sex attraction or who are attracted to people of the same sex as themselves. Just as I really don't commonly think of myself as heterosexual, but just that I'm attracted to the opposite sex of myself. Either way, if I'm going to engage in sex, it is going to be for the greater glory of God and completely open to new life and where I give myself completely to my (future) husband. If a "homosexual" does not act on his or her desires, then there is no problem at all. It is not sinful to have an attraction to the same sex, but it is wrong to choose to act on that desire. Yes, people are more than whatever sin they happen to struggle with (for me personally, it's temperance with eating and drinking, but that struggle doesn't define me and I fully admit to it being a fault that I need to correct).

    Bottom line to put it succinctly: The whole purpose of sex and marriage is to unite husband and wife as one whereby they give themselves completely to one another, holding nothing back (including and especially their fertility). Anything outside of that is morally wrong/sinful and is inherently selfish as it makes sex mostly about pleasure and not about selfless, life-giving love.

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  29. Margo, thank you! Persons are persons, and each, from the moment of existence, has inviolable human dignity. It's the culture that is simply saturated and obsessed with sexual acts, sexual "orientations", sexual labels, gender labels, gender boxes (how many now?), etc. The Church is simply responding to the onslaught, to uphold the dignity of each person, who is so much more than his or her sexual desires (but is created male or female for a reason), and to uphold the truth and dignity of human sexuality.

    Johanne, is there a meaning or truth to human sexuality? If so, what is it? Sincere question. Thanks!

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  30. Can we flesh out the idea of "the culture"? I mean, can you define it as you/we see it in action? Because from there I want to open a thought on how accurate it is that we give so much weight to its pull. I mean, I know how I would not define it and I think it would illustrate a point or two. Just for convo.

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  31. Sure. I guess I would say that the culture can be defined or understood by what is popular, trending, or accepted at the time. Mores, beliefs, stuff like that. So, right now, it would be safe to say, for example, that we live in a sex-saturated culture, one that is obsessed with the issues of LGBT (saturating pop culture and the cultural elite's agendas), and it seeped into the minds/psyche of all the citizens, even those who don't welcome it or who reject it.

    Decades ago, no one would be talking about or hearing about homosexuality and transgender issues on a daily, much less even monthly (or yearly) basis. Now, we cannot escape it, unless we don't have any access to the culture, and we stay in our homes, unplugged. It's pervasive. So, we and our children must confront it, not because we asked for it, but because we can't avoid it. It's part of our culture, and it's not avoidable. So, it's one thing to say, "What do we say to our children?" (and I have that covered; it doesn't perplex me), and it's another to say, "How do we (or can we) recover the culture?"

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  32. and it's another to say, "How do we (or can we) recover the culture?"

    See, this is key in how we look at it/define it. We cannot overcome it or recover it.

    This is why I would not define “the culture” as an entity out there, like a swooping pterodactyl that is circling the house trying to swallow up our kids because of modern trends, etc. I don’t see it as being steeped in anyone’s mind, like it has its own staying power. It's too fluid and so it shoves and recedes and shoves again. I wouldn’t define it like a thing that must be confronted, because that illustration gives a dimension to it like it’s more what it is.

    I look at “the culture” as a fluid movement of all the ideologies at work in our world. We don’t even have a strong American culture anymore. It’s a mish mash, it’s diverse. Even if the culture was defined as an entity, the point is that should not affect us to the point of obsessive worry, as Catholics.

    No matter what is swirling around us, our identity is to be on the rim of the craziness looking inside at all of that overlapping, twisted, ball of confusion in there and preparing our kids to steer clear of it? Right, we are “the constant”. We are the steady lighthouse in the swirling messy culture. If it starts to have more pull than is necessary or desired, then the right conversations need to take place, right? I mean, we don’t bat down the culture to solve the problems in the home life. It’s too big. So the issue is, let’s look at what conversations should we be having.

    And since we were on topic of wanting our sons/boys to be able to be perhaps ‘more openly sensitive’, I think this is exactly the culture ripe for that- that would allow that. I see it as a culture that wants more feelings and more expressions of those feelings. So, I’m not seeing how that is not somehow being allowed or endorsed in “the culture” at large. I mean yes, simply because it is so sex-feeling-saturated, there’s no time like now to be able to be more freely sensitive, right?

    One more post coming...

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  33. On the idea of boys and open sensitivity.

    Ok, so he’s a sensitive kid. That’s Point A. I’m not going to psycho-analyze why he’s sensitive or ever try to undo that, of course, because the fact is that is how he is, so the next reality is Point B:
    Being that he is sensitive, how does he cope—regardless of the shifting culture?
    How does he resolve conflict with this sensitivity within himself and with other friends?
    How does he cope specifically with how he relates to males who aren’t as sensitive?
    How does he interact? How does he take into account how men act, men who may in fact challenge him because of his sensitivity alone?
    Does he have tools to deal with this?
    Does he know how to express himself, how to navigate, despite what the culture is selling?
    Does he understand himself better, even if it comes to a confrontational dialogue with other guys, or some type of confrontation?

    In summary, we don’t push back against a culture we know is going straight down. We stand firm. We let it blow past us and swirl around us, and the hope is that we are strong enough in our own identity because of good conversations that resolve this stuff in the home, and we are then able to stand firm against whatever the culture encourages or sells.

    It’s the same type of conversation we have about kids feeling inadequate or self-conscious or vulnerable in any way, whether it’s clothing labels we don’t wear, or cars we don’t drive luxury cars like everyone else does, whatever.

    See, it’s not about being hard-hearted, like Tony claims I was being. It’s the exact opposite. Truth to power, power to truth. Are we driving the right conversation with our kids?

    He writes about the “language aspect to male friendships” as far recognition of historical phrases and “warmer” type of interaction concerning to men to men, and how we should be able to reinstate that, etc. —with all due respect, I don’t even talk like that, or use phrases like that, or analyze interactions like that with other females, and I’m fully a woman. I see it being even more unrealistic for men to act that way-- not even because of the culture, per se, but because men just don’t talk that way, they don’t think relationally that way, and they don’t spend time psycho-analyzing their own feelings or assumptions of how they’re viewed by others “out there” when it comes to their male to male interactions.

    If they are wired to be more that way, then that came before the instance where he became confused, and that is what needs to be recognized in this conversation. The culture didn’t make him that way. He is wired that way, he has inclinations to be sensitive, so we cannot just paint the culture as forcing this sudden ‘confusion’. That’s the main separated idea right there, right? Say we’ve got all this stuff on the table, we need to pull that particular idea out and look at it.

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  34. I admit, Nubby, you've lost me. I have a feeling we are not talking about the same things. I am totally with you on how we are to train our own kids and stand strong in the face of whatever the culture brings. Totally on board, as you know.

    I'm also not sure that I was ever talking about what to do with the "sensitive boy" or making boys more "sensitive"? That was sort of an ancillary discussion (the effects of our gayed-out culture on the more tender, homosexually-inclined youth), but in general, I am all for manly men! That is the thing we have lost. And the manly men of the past had no qualms with physical affection and such with their manly peers. With no suspicion! That was the point, I believe.

    A man sent me a Chesterton quote yesterday, and Chesterton decried the loss of the male-kissing-male that used to be standard in England before other influences came in. He was saying that Englishmen used to greet each other with a kiss, and it was good! That Englishmen were not the stoics that they are now seen as. Anyway, the point being that no one would call Chesterton an unmanly or "sensitive" type male.

    I guess I am confused at what we are discussing?

    I totally agree that we teach our kids to be strong and not bend. That was never in question. I am looking more macro in the OP than micro, I guess?

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  35. Whoops, how’d I lose you? I’m speaking to the same scale.

    Tony tabled this idea: He laments that he believes that boys have lost the ability to have true friendships because of the dismantling and smearing of language. Doesn’t he infer that “many relationships and loves have already died inside of them [men]” (see his conclusion) due to language changes or changes since the sexual revolution? I don’t know any guy who wonders about this. To which I said so, and on a macro level. I also said men do not seek to interact this way -using language that is more intimate or wondering how to bond again. On a macro and even a micro scale, I see the opposite. I see male bonding all the time from teens on up, thru healthy outlets. Healthy ways. And these guys don’t wonder what other people think of them, tying in one of the main points in the article you linked from the female author in the OP.

    To which came the reply that included an idea of sensitive boys.
    To which I responded that the sensitivity was already there pre-cultural message, or pre-language change, or pre-lamenting of the days where men were apparently more touchy in their relationships. I was responding to what was brought up, that’s all.

    I also answered your OP closing question which was along the lines of wondering how to “get this back” or recover it [close relationships for men].

    To which I funneled down into: Regardless of language changes, regardless of what men used to do with each other (kissing on cheeks) we need to be strong in the here and now, in who we are as Catholics. We need conversations about “the culture”, what that even means, and how we approach the reality of there really being ‘sexual confusion’ or not. I thought it all tied together nicely, sorry.

    We start tabling a lot of thoughts. Is it a cultural issue? Well, how do we even define that? Is it really a cultural push or was the kid sensitive from the go? Is it really something men want to get back to-- this idea of more touchiness between them? Or is it really about a language dismantle and the idea that because of this, men are somehow ripped off from true bonding? (I don't agree with that last point at all, if true.)

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  36. I guess I am mostly working off of the articles I linked on the OP (even with Tony Esolen's words). And it's not just men, but women as well (going off the first article, by the woman). I don't know... it seems a no-brainer to me that most kids don't have parents/families who know how to give them the tools to not question and sexualize everything these days. It's so pervasive. I may just be tired and need to go back to writing my book, ha ha!!

    I'm not so much interested in the stuff about "sensitive boys" as I am about the paradigm and model shift of friendships (which I see as happening, but I get that you don't see it -- it's a perception issue, maybe). I think Tony in his comment was honing in on that particular thing in response to your comment, but it's not my main topic of discussion here.

    I watched Dead Poets Society recently... maybe that is also tainting my understanding of what we have lost among boys/teens! :)

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  37. Leila, no offense but I think you are beating a dead horse. I understand the Church teaching about marriage and your strong will to defend it but honestly this page is becoming a little bit monotonous. Your position about gay marriage is very clear and you explained it several times discussing different perspectives. Maybe now is time to focus also on other topics.

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  38. Hi PaxEtBonum! I appreciate your suggestion, but I'm going to go ahead and write about whatever I want to write about. That's the beauty of having one's own blog! :)

    Don't expect to stop hearing about the issue of gay "marriage" here on the Bubble, and if it's not to your taste or liking, I do apologize. There are so many more blogs for you to read, of course, that will not bore you or become monotonous for you.

    Peace, dear Pax! :)

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  39. Lol I can't tell if you're being snarky or not...I like your blog. It's thought provoking and honest. I don't always agree with your opinions (on the topic of transsexuals/transgendered persons I 100% do though) but I think you have an important perspective. People today seem to think that tolerance means all ideas are equally valid. This is absurd!!! But I'm getting off topic...

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    1. Lol, well, I admit I was being just a teensy bit snarky. As a mom especially, I find rude or boorish behavior to be quite unacceptable. In adults, it's really sad. And when it's done by a guest in someone else's "home", it's even more sad. ;)

      Thanks for the kind words!

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  40. Hi Leila! So what would be the tools, specifically, that kids need not to question and sexualize everything? Thanks!

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  41. Hi Beth! Honestly, on the individual level we just have to keep telling our children the truth and teaching them about the beauty and true meaning of friendship and human sexuality. But on the macro, what most kids (who do not have parents like us to teach them) will hear and know and learn is to sexualize and question everything in terms of gender and sexual context. I don't know how to give tools to the culture specifically, other than to bring attention to it (which is what I had hoped this post would do) and learn more about what we have lost in that area. The only hope for the culture on any level is to permeate that culture with goodness and truth and beauty, and to be very serious about our own sanctity (the culture needs saints!) and evangelization. There is a hopeless culture swirling around us that has bought into the lies of the Planned Parenthood mentality of sexuality, and so we bring hope by living our Catholic Faith and not having that existential angst that so many (including so many young people) have today. In the past, the culture was "with us" so to speak, in many of these areas. The very air we breathe, culturally, is different now then even a decade ago. I don't know how the average kid navigates it (well, I have seen it actually, and it's not good), but for our own kids, we teach them well and pray well and live our faith and the virtues well. Eventually, as both Pope Benedict and Arch. Sheen have said eloquently, the culture falls down far enough that the Church is there to help it pick up the pieces and rebuild. So, we fortify our own families and we also do not cease to speak up when we can, to give another picture, another worldview, that will speak to every human heart that still has a tiny crack of openness and is still made of flesh.

    Not sure if that helps, but it's inspired me to get back to writing about raising good men in this culture, ha ha, so off I go...

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  42. Thanks, Leila. Your response makes perfect sense. I have another question for you (it may seem off topic but it kind of ties back to the original point): What are your thoughts on moms these days who are so into having their own lives and own interests which quite often seems at the expense of their kids' upbringing? What I mean is this - I am in my late 30s and everywhere I look I see moms who are so into themselves. Moms' nights out all the time, mom getaways, kid-free this and kid-free that. Pursuing hobbies to the point of obsession. Girlfriend time. It goes on and on. I don't mean to say there's anything wrong with time with friends or getting away once in a while but what I'm seeing in the culture is mothers/wives wanting to have a completely separate life from husband and kids. I think it's another thing that's another part of the breakdown of the family. It seems families aren't spending enough time together bc girlfriend getaways take priority and then kids are left even more confused. I hope this makes sense, at least a bit!

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  43. Yes, I know of that whole scene and I have deliberately placed myself in a "bubble" of great Catholic wives and mommies who are not like that. I can't handle that whole thing. But I see it. It's not cool, and these moms are seriously trying to still live in high school. Weird. Now, having said that, my girlfriends and I are totally into our GNOs (girls' night out!!), and when we do it, we have a rip-roaring time. SO FUN. We don't get to it more than once every couple of months it seems, but when we do, it's awesome. We need breaks, we need fun, but I totally get what you are asking and that is something different, for sure. Very sad. Not sure how to combat it, except for what I said earlier about the children. I think the problem there is materialism. We are SO, SO, SO stuck in the temporal, in the idea of fun, comfort, pleasure principle .... it's really a massive blinder we have on. Extend fun and comfort and pleasure (and "I deserve", "I expect", "I want", "I need"). We are taught that suffering or sacrifice is bad. We are conditioned to "get our needs met" even at the expense of our families and our duties. I am appalled to hear (anyone got the stats?) that most divorces are initiated by the woman. Don't get me started on that one....

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  44. Yeah, I wasn't trying to say that moms should feel guilty for having a night out or anything so hope I didn't come across that way. I haven't yet found a good group of Catholics that I can do that with. But yes, what I see is moms almost acting like their families are burdens and just needing to get away multiple times per week. I feel like that sends the message to your kids that drinking with your friends is more important than your kids. Yes, it's like high school! I see women drinking/celebrating together when their kids go back to school each year. It just seems so childish to me, and I wonder how the husbands and kids feel. I could go on... But I just want my kids to remember that I was always there for them, and a Friday night at home with them meant way more to me than ditching the family to have girlfriend time. Sigh.

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  45. I agree with you 100%!! Yes, absolutely right. You described it well. And no, you didn't come across that way at all. It's a totally different animal, and it's no wonder that families feel disconnect and children and husbands feel neglected when women do this. It's weird and I'm pretty sure it's a new phenomenon in the history of mankind! We are in dire straits with families these days. That is why the Catholic worldview is so compelling, and like a drink of water to a thirsty man in the desert!

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  46. A long time ago I had a boyfriend who stayed in Turkey for a semester. He said one of the things he enjoyed most was the comfort and ease with which men could express nonsexualized affection through physical contact, like walking with their arms around each other's shoulders or giving each other hugs. Our society leaves little room for men to have closeness, camaraderie and affection for other men that is not sexual in nature. I actually think this contributes to (some) men's hatred of women. They are starved for affection, and since society tells them the only way to get it is by (essentially tricking or seducing) women into a sexual relationship, when they are not successful in the dating realm, they get terribly lonely and resentful.

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  47. Tia that is fascinating and so sad, too! I do think male loneliness is a HUGE problem in this culture. Men are not "relational" in the same way women are, and it's a real crisis when we cut off all the avenues they used to have.

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  48. Leila, This is a curious post to me. I do not follow the point being made in this overall idea. It’s fine if we disagree, I just like to be concrete. You say opinions like this in general terms:

    Men are not "relational" in the same way women are, and it's a real crisis when we cut off all the avenues they used to have.

    So which type of specific avenues of relating (that they used to have) do you assume they really want to bring back?

    I mean, point blank ask the guys in America. Maybe even ask non-catholic men reading this. Dothey really want to get back to touchiness and intimate exchanges in letters (emails, texts, etc.) in today’s American culture (we’re not Europe or Turkey)? Do they really feel this proves a better bond or a truer freedom of expressing their manliness to one another, as Tony’s article implies? Do they really feel ripped off or frustrated or stymied- therefore, sexually aggressive toward women- if they can’t interact more like this, because the culture sexualizes everything, including their man-to-man interactions? Furthermore, wouldn’t a return to this give more confusion? Like all of sudden we just start seeing this with men across the board and now the straight guys are truly confused if they might be acting on gay feelings, etc.?

    My guess: American guys don’t miss this in our culture. I assume when you ask men about this topic they’ll say, “Uhh no. We bond just fine through sport and group stuff like combat. Team oriented, fraternal activity. This is the stuff that builds the truest bonds between men.”

    This post sounds like a female projection to my ears.
    Ask the men to “rate factors important in male bonding” and I bet the variables hovering closest to the top do not even remotely reflect a longing for language to return to Lincoln’s era, or a longing for more touching per Chesterton’s era. I bet those are not even top two. That’s not what men spend time pondering or missing.

    Where are Chris, Sebastian, Francis, the male readers here? Am I off?

    I cannot see a Reggie White (RIP) or a Phillip Rivers type of godly man, burly, athletic, and on fire for God, wanting – no, lamenting—an era of more “intimate” exchange with the guys. I mean, you can love God and be truly manly without resorting to this relational touching stuff. It’s not a cheaper version of bonding in any way, so I disagree with Tony’s implication and your overall assumptions.

    It’s kind of a female projection: “Poor guys, you are missing out on real bonding because of this, that, or the other variable of the culture.” The guys are like, “What are you even talking about? We bond just fine. We have emotions but we don’t need to let ‘language’ be our tool for that and we don’t filter life experiences strictly through our emotions like women. We bond just by being side by side, no matter what it is—over a burger, sports, work, etc.”

    Even if we want to say that because everything is so sexualized that men are being ripped off bonding-wise, I still don’t think it follows that they want to return to days of old where it was expected or okay for a guy to greet a guy with a kiss or arm hang on each other.

    Most say, “Hey, bro.” And it’s a hand clasp to a hug or chest bump and maybe a back slap for good measure. Guys are not worried about any of it, and I don’t think it’s fair to say they don’t know what they’re missing because they’re ignorant about the historical language changes and they’ve no idea how they’re missing out on deeper intimate exchanges with the guys. It’s female projection to me. Guys that bond well are not nervous about hugging, back slapping, whatever touch. It’s really an issue of sensitive or nervous personality in a guy vs. non-sensitive or non-nervous personality issue. It’s not a cultural issue, per se. It is what comes before the hug. Or the touch. It’s not a cultural anything, because our culture doesn’t care about gay or straight anymore.

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    1. Nubby, I have no idea what a "manly" man is in your estimation. But this is something explicitly told to me by a (heterosexual) man, not cajoled out of him. So yes, at least some men do express this desire. It was something I never thought of till my ex mentioned it, to be honest. To your point, I doubt he would have articulated that he was missing this type of male bonding when he was here, but once he experienced it, he saw its benefit and missed it when he returned.

      I also know MANY of the men I interact with have volunteered to me that they find the whole "hey, bro" back-slapping culture empty, alienating and shallow. They say it to me, without any prompting. My husband has often expressed discomfort with the fact that in co-ed settings, he is often more interested in the women's conversations, and bored and unsatisfied with the sports talk/jokey insult talk/posturing that men engage in, but obviously he feels uncomfortable being an interloper in women's space. He is not effeminate or sensitive, and I would imagine he's even less comfortable with "sharing emotions" than the average dude. He is also extremely athletic and was ranked 2nd nationally in the NCAA championships in his sport, so I don't think he's somehow a less masculine guy or something.

      Then again, I live in San Francisco and find men who talk about sports to be sort of boring, so maybe my husband, friends and coworkers are all a self-selected bunch and are outliers when compared to the American population as a whole. I grew up in Texas, though, so the dynamic you describe is much more common there and in my opinion, a man can't get by very well unless he is conversant in sports and broey talk. In fact, boys in the Desi (Indian) community almost completely relied on this mode of conversation, often to the point of caricature. I often felt it was overcompensation for the fact that they never felt like they completely belonged.

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  49. OK, for what it's worth. First off, guys are as different as gals. A bit difficult to generalize. I feel like this, Chris or Francis will feel differently. That's okay, and I always am pleased to learn how they see stuff.

    Then, of course, I'm not American, so can't talk about the American male experience.

    I have a couple of really close friends, but we don't get physically closer than a hug when we greet, and that's fine. I'm not keen on hugging too many other guys and certainly not on cheek-kissing, though some guys (younger ones) think it's "chic". There are maybe one or two male friends to whom I would speak about practically anything, but we don't really see each other that often (busy family and work lives) and we certainly don't talk to each other on the phone for hours (unless there's a crisis of a magnitude that happens only a couple of times in a lifetime).

    There was a time in my young adult years when some people called my deep admiration and affection for one of my friends homosexual. I wondered for a long time whether it was, but always was very clear that I was in no way sexually attracted to him, or any guy. It was just a repugnant thought, though I certainly didn't harbour anti-gay feelings then (today, the whole gay culture just gets on my nerves).

    What matters is trust. That's the most important thing. It's not feelings or physicality (except in team sports, which is not my thing). If we trust, we are close in spirit, we can learn, we can laugh, we can talk about weaknesses or doubts, we can tease. And because there is zero sexual tension (and no one would even think about that possibility), everyone is very relaxed but still highly focused. That's the great thing about male friendships, even though such times are precious because they are rare, and as I said, because we are too busy.

    I am of Leila's age, and the issue she writes about seems not to be very relevant in Europe for guys my age. I wouldn't know about the younger generation because I don't interact frequently with young guys, having three young daughters (pre-teens), and not being close to younger work colleagues.

    Make sense? Answer Nubby's question?

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  50. Tia,
    That's fine that that was his experience and your experience. The guys I know are complete opposite. They don't find the hey,bro back slapping shallow at all. It is not posturing and it's inaccurate to assume that. You're pointing directly to my sensitive/nervous vs. non-sensitive/non-nervous disposition factor. It's not a cultural cheapening of male bonding because of language or because of peoples' assumed responses to male interactions. It's a personality thing.

    The guys I know are equally at ease talking in a female setting, too; mostly because they're charming and intelligent and they love the whole opposite sex communication dynamic. Maybe your spouse prefers it for that reason, too. It's not just a pitted argument men vs. women and who we'd rather emulate. There's a chemistry aspect involved, too. Maybe he prefers the company of women, but how does that tie to how he copes with men? He sees them as shallow because they backslap and hey,bro? That doesn't follow.

    My point in asking guys to rank what they see as the most important factors in male bonding is to illustrate that they bond through side-by-side interaction mostly and the touch/language stuff is probably secondary. The guy you referenced was an athlete. If it was a team sport, that was probably the strongest bond he had, right? Even if it was an individual sport, he still had strong bonds with coaches. The aspect of male bonding is usually over blood or sweat.

    Further, greeting with a kiss and the extra interactions is something that men can do today, because the culture is very "don't judge me", is what I'm saying. Wouldn't the men you know who want this agree?

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    1. I actually wouldn't say he prefers the company of women -- all his close friends are guys, for instance and he has no problem getting together with them. He just prefers the company of intelligent women to average men, I'd say. (One of the situations that sticks out in my mind is one where there were a bunch of women who happened to be doctors and PhDs talking about their objectively fascinating cases, versus their husbands just talking about basketball and making your mama jokes -- really dumb ones too -- in a separate room.) He has no problem relating to men in his field or to men he went to college with.

      As for "bonding side-by-side," while he does retain some bond with and fondness for his teammates and potentially his coaches, those aren't the bonds he values the most. The people he's kept up with are those he can have substantive conversations with.

      All I'm saying is that you have one snapshot of a male experience which tells you that what Leila's describing is not an issue; I have another set of experiences, which come from a culturally different but still prevalent group of Americans that tells a very different story.

      Maybe most men aren't missing manhugs or wishing for a closer, more intimate connection with their buddies or whatever. (I'm guessing that even our own estimation of how much this went on in the past is skewed by the fact that writerly people are the ones who recorded history, and they are the most likely to be drawn to expressing their emotions). But still, there's a substantial minority of men who find the dominant way of interacting as a man in this culture to be really empty. There is nothing wrong with these men, they do not have a clinical disease, nor are they less manly in some way. But their needs are not met by the current culture.

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  51. And because there is zero sexual tension (and no one would even think about that possibility), everyone is very relaxed but still highly focused. That's the great thing about male friendships, even though such times are precious because they are rare, and as I said, because we are too busy.

    Thank you, Sebastian! You hit on two important things here. Non-nervous and too busy.

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  52. He just prefers the company of intelligent women to average men, I'd say.

    Well, of course, but why are we assuming that any man is of average intelligence? I never implied that. The guys I know would probably prefer this, too. That's just a personality preference, and not really illustrative of where I'm steering.

    Now here's a determining question: Would the guys you know prefer the company of intelligent men to intelligent women? Make it an equal intelligence comparison and remove the dumb-jock/dumb bro stereotype. Because there's the sticking factor. Then you can analyze his answer, and see what he gives you. "I prefer men because..." "I prefer women because..." Then we get to the crux of it.

    Again, your comments (esp the last paragraph) really illustrate my whole point which is that the bonding factors are determined by sensitivity within the individual nowadays, because we're not in Chesterton's era. We're talking about a culture where anything goes, so the culture can't be really pinned for that. I'm talking to the point of struggling nervous teens, who are like that in their very personality. Are they really confused about bonding? Or are they just feeling that way inwardly and it has nothing to do with cultural messages? That's the separation factor.

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  53. There is nothing wrong with these men, they do not have a clinical disease, nor are they less manly in some way. But their needs are not met by the current culture.

    I never implied this at all. I'm looking at the assumptions contained in Tony's article and Leila's general comments. I'm not here defending some caricature opinion of the dumb jock stereotype.

    If their needs are not being met, then what would they rank as necessary to meet the need? That's my whole point. This would uncap the whole "I'm more sensitive by nature so..." reality. Versus just painting a broad brush at the culture, the culture, the culture. It's pre-conversation.

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  54. Nubby, I'm not a man, so I can't say exactly what they need. I'm guessing if I asked my husband "do you feel like you're missing out because you can't asexually cuddle with your bestie" he would laugh and say no. Obviously it's not like men are weeping into their pillows every night wishing there was a Patroclus to their Achilles.
    I strongly suspect that some, though, would say something more oblique like "I wish there were guys I could talk to about my problems or have a real conversation with." or even "I have dudes I can talk to about my problems but it's so hard to find time for them." Both of those statements reflect the fact that our culture discourages males from maintaining close, intimate friendships, devalues those friendships and expects men to heavily rely on women or sexual partners to get their emotional needs met. For instance, I know for sure my husband wishes he had more time for both interests and social outings (sadly, life with two toddlers means time is in short-supply for everyone).

    I don't have a bunch of data at hand, but I found this survey while Googling. No idea who this organization is (they likely have an agenda, who knows), and I didn't look carefully at the study to see who's surveyed, if they are depressed, if the group conducted the study scientifically, if the sample is representative or biased, it's from Australia, caveat caveat caveat, you get the picture.

    But in this survey at least, half of men said they rarely talked about deeper personal issues with men and a third said they wished they could open up more and have their friends open up more. Also, men who were more likely to experience loneliness were those who based friendships on common interests, as those friendships fell away when they lacked time for the interests or the interests changed. So at least some support for the notion that men in our culture are more socially isolated, and that they value more open, intimate relationships with their friends.

    survey link

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  55. I'm not arguing that most men today want to "greet with a kiss" (though I threw out Chesterton's quote as an example, since a guy sent it to me), but that something is different today than before.

    This: 'Further, greeting with a kiss and the extra interactions is something that men can do today, because the culture is very "don't judge me", is what I'm saying.'

    But it's not that.... the "don't judge" me has to include the rest of the culture implies today: "Don't judge me because I'm gay or bi". That's what "don't judge" means today.

    I'm not sure why we can't talk about culture and it's massive influence on individuals? I absolutely believe that culture has a language that everyone understands. And if we change the language, well, the experiences change. That was his point and I thought he made the point well.

    I am going to ask Dean to read the article (he does not read my blog, ha ha) and he is a manly man (though not quite a backslapping bro type), and I won't influence him or even show him the blog. I'll just ask him for his honest thoughts, and if he agrees or not. I'm interested to know! :)

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  56. Also, I think that the brother bonding opportunities are lessened more and more. Women in combat, women in the all-boys spaces, this gives men no real space anymore.

    It's funny that Tony mentioned naked swimming in the article. I remember a story that my father-in-law (now in his 70s) told us. He went to a Baltimore public high school, and swimming was required. Of course it was all-male swimming and they would swim naked! All of them, swimming naked in PE together! We sat around marveling at how that would NEVER happen today, and it seemed so weird! Even "yucky". Why? Perhaps we are all tainted now with sexual connotation to everything. Perhaps it was no big deal back then and no one cared or thought "something" of it, or sexualized it. We all kind of laughed, but why? What is so weird about it and why did it stop? I mean, it's just interesting to me, as I don't even know a culture like that anymore (and maybe that's good? But maybe it's not!).

    I'll try to get Francis over here, and Chris. And Sebastian, thank you! I really like hearing your take on things!

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  57. I'm guessing if I asked my husband "do you feel like you're missing out because you can't asexually cuddle with your bestie" he would laugh and say no. Obviously it's not like men are weeping into their pillows every night wishing there was a Patroclus to their Achilles.

    Tia, yes! This! My husband, too! It's not so cut and dry as an explicit desire to cuddle with men, ha ha. It's an isolation and a loneliness that is built into this (yes, I'm going to say it...) culture. And yes, there are a few venues left, like sports for the jocks, but truly, past high school and such, many men do not have time or inclination for team sports, and if they do, the teams are co-ed. So, where do men get their bonding time? They really aren't allowed to get it in the military or academies anymore (there are so many women there and they are expected to be gender-blind) and there are no men's clubs, really (and they are frowned upon in this culture).

    When my bishop was writing Into The Breach for his men, so many interesting thoughts came forth. One of them was from my friend Mike Phelan, the very manly head of the Family and Marriage Office here. He is a husband and a father of six, five of them boys. TOTALLY awesome dude, very much taps into the condition of men today. So, he said that women don't need to be "taught" how to be women. We just know. We have it right in our instinct and biology (and relational, nurturing nature). But men have to be TAUGHT to be men. They need males to teach them. They need to be given a path to manhood, otherwise they wander and lose any purpose or goal. Men help men. Men need men, and they really don't have a lot of man bonding opportunities anymore.

    I don't know if I am making sense, but the loneliest souls I see, the ones that break my heart, are men.

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  58. Leila,
    I appreciate the padded room for bouncing thoughts, I do. And you know I respect thinking aloud. I just look at the assumptions in Tony’s article and say, “hmm really?”

    The article linked was specifically about language breakdown leading to cheapened bonds between males—very specifically. It wasn’t about permeating culture with goodness, truth or beauty, as we know to do (as Catholics). When we say “most Catholic kids are now confused” that implies a number – a large number across the board.

    Are we just speaking to the families we know of whose kids are now confused?
    Then that’s as micro a scale as my speaking the teen boys I know who are not confused. Scale to scale.

    But when we say “most” that infers that there’s an actual report available that reflects that. Maybe there is. Okay then, we can talk about the why’s and the potential remedies to turn things around. I agree with you that the world is a mess. Yes. But the assumptions are there and Tony’s essay implies and assumes a main idea that men are not really truly bonding anymore b/c they’re missing the behaviors (kisses, etc.) that were never before seen as suspicious and that the language we now use is presently so twisted or meaningless that these men don’t really know what they’re even missing, way down deep in the masculine heart of friendships. Is that about a good summation? It’s the last part I don’t agree with. Look at his conclusion. It’s very strong.

    It’s fine that Tony writes in a lovely fashion or what have you, but I’m not concerned about how eloquent it all sounds as much as I am looking at the main idea involved. I disagree that men cannot bond effectively or fully. That’s my main point. Some men might want more touching or talking, okay. But that’s got nothing to do with the assumptions encased-- which is that men are missing out on real bonding. No, I don’t agree. You can just as easily write that they are NOT missing out. That’s my whole logical point.

    I don’t mean to infer about any “type” of man. I’m looking directly at the assumptions and saying, well, then if we assume they’re missing out, we need to ask them. Are you, men, missing out? Is Tony right in assuming that? What factors are highest? Where’s the guys to analyze this? Some are the back slapper types. Some are not. Do they really have lesser relationships? It’s just a hard assumption to make as concretely as Tony put it.

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  59. I strongly suspect that some, though, would say something more oblique like "I wish there were guys I could talk to about my problems or have a real conversation with." or even "I have dudes I can talk to about my problems but it's so hard to find time for them."

    That implies a sensitivity! That’s what I’m saying. They have those inclinations, yes. The cultural messages about bonding or expressing male interactions are, therefore, irrelevant—the feelings are there pre-situation, pre-conversation. The need is presupposed! That’s my point.

    Both of those statements reflect the fact that our culture discourages males from maintaining close, intimate friendships, devalues those friendships and expects men to heavily rely on women or sexual partners to get their emotional needs met.

    I do not see that reflecting reality at all. Our culture gives us freedom to join in whatever type of bonding or “meet up” or social experience we want. The fact that you have kids is not relevant to his bonding needs, see?

    The men I know are very intelligent, very athletic, very professional, good guys (yes, it’s possible to play sports and have way above average IQ’s, as some do- to combat the dumb jock stereotype). They do not rely on women for anything other than what men typically want women for- opposite sex interaction whether socially or sexually. That doesn't mean they're not encouraged to form these bonds. I don’t see the correlation, so forgive me.

    "Feeling socially isolated" has nothing to do with which factors they want to express with other guys. I'm talking which specific avenues do men want when they see each other?

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  60. Sorry Nubby I don't really understand what you're saying.
    This part especially I have reread multiple times and I find it very confusing:
    That implies a sensitivity! That’s what I’m saying. They have those inclinations, yes. The cultural messages about bonding or expressing male interactions are, therefore, irrelevant—the feelings are there pre-situation, pre-conversation. The need is presupposed! That’s my point.
    Also, don't know what this phrase means: The fact that you have kids is not relevant to his bonding needs, see?
    Perhaps you can clarify.

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  61. Also to put a disclaimer, I didn't read the Anthony Esolen post, so I'm not responding to anything specifically in that article.

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  62. Nubby, thanks for hanging in here with me. I really am confused by what you are saying and that is frustrating, ha ha. First, you realize (I'm sure, but just checking) that Esolen is not talking just (or even primarily) about the spoken or written language when he speaks of "language", right? He's talking about something much deeper and broader than that.

    And, you talk about bonding in sports. That is a certain segment of guys. There are a whole lot of other guys. They used to have guilds and societies (in church or wherever) and clubs and military academies and such.... All for men, all for purposes of building up and getting close to other men. And yes, they could be more physically expressive and not think twice about it. I don't think there are many guilds and societies and clubs and all of that anymore. So, we are left with sports, maybe hunting clubs, not sure what else. This is a real loss. Men are isolated in many ways. More than ever before, in my estimation.

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  63. Tia,
    I'm saying that if you (sensitive guy) are cut from that cloth, where you wish for friends to bounce feelings off of, then you are sensitive before the culture ever got to you. So we cannot necessarily blame the culture for your confusion (sensitive guy) on how to handle, or express that, or if you can even handle that, with whichever tools, etc. The culture is what it is. It's not an entity that is denying expression of any platonic, emotional, sexual, or potentially sexual kind.

    If you're confused or hurt about male interactions or what they lack, that is because you (guy) are sensitive and not because of what the culture at large has confused in your mind, or tried to sell you.

    In stark contrast, one who is not sensitive is perfectly at ease hugging a male friend, hand-clasping, back slapping, whatever... it's all a disposition vs culture thing.

    The "kids remark" I made in reply to your response where you indicated that your spouse would like more time for friends but toddlers take up time, etc. His concrete needs when he is with men is what I'm looking at and for - not obstacles men face. But their actual needs. Their ranked concrete needs. "When I am with men, I need...." Rank 1 thru 10. I don't know that Tony's assumptions are very accurate in terms of what men are really missing out on. It's a hard lined assumption and no real evidence to back it. He's saying we have screwed up language and expression so badly since for decades that it's literally hindering male interaction -- handicapping the best degree of how men relate. Maybe, but maybe not. We have to ask them. We cannot compare Turkey to America or Europe to America.

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  64. Okay and that's a new point, Leila. If guilds were once an avenue, that's concrete. Yes, I agree. Bring back guilds. But men are still not cheapened in their bonding, just because a few guilds are gone. You see? I mean, it's one thing to say we need more of x for men, it's another to imply that they're just missing out completely or to some large degree on the heart of male bonding. That's my point, is all.

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  65. Fair enough. But I'm not sure if you mean by "sensitive guy" a guy who thinks he might be gay or a guy who is just really needy, or a guy who needs physical touch and conversation? And I don't know if you mean by the non-sensitive guy, a guy who is super-confident or a guy who is super stoic? Because the super-stoic guy, who is not hyper-sensitive (again, whatever that means) is often the MOST isolated now that there are so fewer outlets for male bonding.

    And I really do believe that "culture" is not simply a nebulous thing, but a force that exerts real pressures and real constraints (or freedoms) on a person, and influences us greatly. Strong and weak, we go with certain assumptions and mores, etc. I don't think we can underestimate the power of culture on so much of what we do and think. And yes, part of our job and journey is to fight or correct the culture, or build a new culture out of the ashes of old ones. Of course, my hope is that we would have a thoroughly Catholic culture, which definitely include(s) guilds and Holy Name Societies and scouting and knights (Malta, Holy Sepulchre, Columbus, whatever). We just have lost so, so much of that. What still remains (to an extent ) in the church was also prevalent in the culture. The culture used to understand that men needed other men. Today? Not at all. I don't see that as being a social more at all.

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    1. In other words, the language (not just the spoken language) is different. Very, very different now. It does affect men, in my estimation.

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  66. Okay, I sat Dean down and had him read the article (which he was reluctant to do as he is about to take his sons out to see Benghazi), and I told him to give me his honest opinion, no matter what that was. He finished and I questioned him and then I typed in as he was talking....

    "There are a lot of esoteric thoughts in it, as far as the progression and meaning of language, but I think the notion of male camaraderie and male friendship among men is very relevant and speaks to the demise of this type of friendship today. Even if I see two men hanging out together, I reflexively just assume they are gay! It's totally wrong, but it's the way we are conditioned today -- it's total conditioning! But that's how destructive this embracing of perversion has been. The impact is devastating."

    When I asked him if he feels there is an isolation among men today, he was firm with a huge "YES!" It was unexpected to me how emphatic he was, as he does have some very good friends. And he went on (and I typed), "For me, my closest friends I value as true friends, we shared experiences, we forged a relationship from some adversity, or something where you have real skin in the game, you expose yourself. I think it most definitely that would have been easier to do in a previous era. Today it's a society of being immersed in technology and efficiency and self-gratification and a heightened sexualization and those implications , it has destroyed that."

    Anyway, now he's off for a bonding experience with his boys, through, ironically, technology, on the screen, to watch men who bonded at Benghazi, over war and death and blood and terror. Anyway, it's all very fascinating to me! I feel like Catholic men are ALLOWED to feel this manliness and they can lament the loss of more avenues for it, and they don't have to (like young people are conditioned today), speak the femspeak, PC language that cannot say that men are different and need something different than women, who are by nature easily relational, even those of us who like to think like men and eschew emotionalism. We "manly" women still can be relational and girl-friendy, in a way that men are not wired to be. They need help with it, venues, places.

    Don't know if that makes any sense, but it's my story and I'm sticking to it, ha ha.

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  67. PS: I invited Chris and Francis to come join the discussion and give their male perspective. Hopefully they can pop in!

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  68. Thanks to Dean for his thoughts.

    So for a results-oriented answer from this:
    Even if I see two men hanging out together, I reflexively just assume they are gay! and this: When I asked him if he feels there is an isolation among men today, he was firm with a huge "YES!"

    So then what would 'more avenues' or 'other avenues' for male bonding do for this perception then? Allow for more of that (assumed affection/gay), or less of that?

    I'm confused on the end game. What is the bullseye we’re shooting for?

    Because if we allow for 'more avenues' --whatever that might be-- then we're looking at ‘more ways’ for men to be relaxed and affectionate with each other (per Tia’s Turkey-related story and Tony’s reference to by-gone intimate male to male speech codes, kisses, etc.), which means more snap judgments, which goes against the desired outcome. That is, that relaxed affection without judgement is the factor of import, in any improved or legitimate avenue in how well men bond.

    So should men be more affectionate? How? Less? More concrete avenues, how? What does that start to look like? If the utopia started tomorrow, and all men had avenues or new avenues, then what would it look like? Can we illustrate it from concept to reality?

    One lengthier post coming then I’m off for a long bit.

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  69. I ran a quick trial test of my own, too. I took the main points in this comment thread and rolled them around to my favorite bro-man (successful businessman/educated/athlete/straight/intelligent/gorgeous lol/Catholic).

    I will run it again- same questions- posed to a different favorite bro who is baptized but not at all a practicing Catholic, and I’ll see how their answer differ if at all. I want to remove the faith component just to see a broader application of ‘what men really need in relationships with other men’ that’s not in line with any formal teaching.

    Me: "Do men need more or better avenues to bond in our culture?"
    Him: "To do what...?"
    Me: "To bond more deeply, or more meaningfully."
    Him: "What does the question assume we're missing?"
    I said: "I was hoping you'd tell me."
    Him: “Bond in order to do what, exactly?”
    Me: “Bond. Just bond. What ways of bonding are of highest importance?”
    Him: "We mostly bond through winning- winning at business, sports, brotherhood stuff, helping each other succeed."

    Me: “You don’t think there’s more to male bonding than that? That you’re missing out on something deeper? Or that you need a few more ways to go about that?”
    Him: “What? Why?”

    Me: “Do you feel the culture fails to understand the idea of men needing other men?”
    Him: “Why do you say that?”
    Me: “Because we have lost a lot in the Church with losing guilds or other fraternal groups for guys. Because guys are getting beat back by modern trends, feminism, etc.”
    Him: “No. There are lots of ways for men to relate.”

    Me: "Do you think bro-talk and high-fives or back slaps are just shallow posturing? Like maybe you guys should be more real or intimate with your bonding rituals or exchanges?"

    Him (tilted look): “That's what guys do—backslaps and bro-talk. That's how they show affection to each other. What do you think we should be doing?"

    Me: "I’m asking you. You wouldn't need to loop arms or greet with a kiss to bond more authentically, like they do in other countries? Or you wouldn’t want to bounce feelings off each other? You wouldn’t feel you're missing out on a more authentic experience of male bonding if you don't do this stuff?"

    Him: "If we want to talk feelings, we do that. But it’s not like how women talk feelings. And we don't need new or more avenues to do that. And, no, I don’t want any avenue to physically touch my friends.”

    He ended with a great point in joking: “Maybe it’s not a male issue. Maybe it’s the women who should be less comfortable with sharing emotions or deeper bonding. Why is it assumed to be better for men if it is more like a woman’s way to bond than like a guy’s?”
    Me: “I agree. It seems like a female interpretation to me, too.”

    He added: “Look what that would do to the majority of us who don't want avenues to be like that. Look what that means for the guys in the military. Let guys be guys. That’s what would help. We don’t need more avenues for affection or deeper bonds between guys--whatever that really even looks like, because the avenues are there. We have avenues through work and sports and the rest of the time we’re eating or sleeping. We don’t lack avenues to bonding. We’re not complicated. You women dream this stuff up.”

    He waved the idea away, so we just ended it over a beer. I love guys.

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  70. I will say this has probably changed from before (i.e. when I was young): When I went to have lunch one day a year ago with my best friend, and brought my 7-year old daughter along, I thought that people might think we were a gay couple who had adopted a girl. That was an absolutely awful thought. We even laughed about it. Doesn't stop me from doing what I do, but makes me self-conscious where I shouldn't be.

    Also, as you know we have nude beaches in Europe and people go to the sauna naked. I wouldn't go to nude beaches anymore where before it was a small thrill (as a young guy), and I would definitely not go to a male-only sauna, because I would assume that there are a lot of gays. Previously, those guys would mostly seek out places that cater to their needs. They certainly still do, but whereas before I perhaps wasn't so aware of gays as people would be less "forward", today I would more consciously avoid environments that should be innocuous but aren't.

    Finally, there are marriage issues that one can only talk about openly, and be understood, with other guys. Women will listen, empathize, even give smart advice. But they don't have a male perspective, so a good male friend is irreplaceable in this (if he's smart). I admit it's still not easy to broach the subject (I think it's easier to start talking intimate issues among women), but once you've had the courage to start, it flows easily from there. But I think that was never different and never will be. This last issue is also something that you can't talk to a priest about in the same way, even if he is a childhood friend, as in my case. I may confess a lot of intimate stuff to him, but I won't have a chat over a beer with him on this stuff. Maybe that's just me - Chris, Francis?

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  71. Sebastian, yes!! That's what I mean! Thank you for understanding! Those are excellent examples of some of what we have lost.

    Nubby, but... I never said anything about men wanting to touch or kiss more. Of course no modern man is going to say something like that! That's not the point and I feel like you're still missing the point. Even your friend's discussion of the military, well yes!! That's also the point! That and sports teams, those are some of the last acceptable "male-only" big bonding stuff (except it's not male-only anyway, and getting less so). Those aren't really the way that I would ask those questions. I would more likely just have him read either Tony's article or the first article and ask him if he thinks they have merit. That's all. Otherwise the whole thing sounds silly, and I'd expect similar answers from most men. I didn't even ask those types questions of Dean because it just sounds silly to ask. And I don't know that those questions were in context or necessarily the ones I would want to ask him anyway. I guess we will have to just agree to disagree and yet I honestly think we are not talking about the same thing. I do appreciate the fleshing it out, though.

    And as for what this "utopia" would look like… I'm in the car speaking into my phone as Dean drives us to my daughter's house ha ha so I'm not sure I can flesh it out eloquently here, but it would not really be a utopia, but it would go back to when things were not confused every day all the time In the (yes) culture. Where men could do what men want to do without suspicion or taint. I think that Tony did spell out what some of that looked like. My point is… Is it too late? I think for at least many decades and a few generations, yes of course that's not going to happen. But let's at least be aware of what has happened and why it's a loss. Awareness, understand there's been a loss. Young people have no clue. It has changed for decades, but recently with gay-rights crap, and the loss of even an understanding of heterosexual marriage, it has accelerated.

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  72. It's not silly at all. Those questions are spot on and totally in context and totally what article implies. I don't see the confusion.

    The whole idea is this, as you summarized right above:
    Where men could do what men want to do without suspicion or taint. .

    Then that = letting men be men more intimate in their exchanges.
    And that further equates to more displays of affection.
    And that further looks more like what the gay agenda is trying to get normalized. Bingo. There's the issue. Letting men be men doesn't include looking more this way. It actually includes the opposite.

    "Let men do what they want". Yes. What they want.
    Sebastian said he was worried someone thought he was gay when he brought his daughter to lunch with another man.
    He worries about that because of the taint that is already present-- and having more of this (more avenues) would not reduce that but increase those suspicions! That's my point.

    I am aware that men get beat up. I get the whole point. Tony's article feeds right into the whole idea of "we need more male expressions, please". That = gay agenda similarities.

    And the young people are the ones I am indeed thinking of, yes. It would only confuse them more when we put more male expressions into the mix. More male interactions on display is directly proportional to more suspicion, not less. Anyway...

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  73. "I am appalled to hear (anyone got the stats?) that most divorces are initiated by the woman. Don't get me started on that one...."

    Women initiate 70% of divorces. College educated women initiate almost 90% of divorces. But this doesn't indicate a fault or problem with women. Its a completely reasonable assumption that men's behavior is causing women to file for divorce and that we should focus our attention and efforts there

    CS

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  74. "He said one of the things he enjoyed most was the comfort and ease with which men could express nonsexualized affection through physical contact, like walking with their arms around each other's shoulders or giving each other hugs. Our society leaves little room for men to have closeness, camaraderie and affection for other men that is not sexual in nature"

    We have a real problem with blaming gay people for the problems that straight people cause. When I was a kid the boys were TERRIFIED with doing anything that could be moderately confidered gay. I remember in middle school the boys would go to the movies with one seat in between them because otherwise it was 'gay'. This was before being gay was widely accepted. I'm sorry but this is our and our fear of being gay's fault. We need to do a better of teaching our boys that sitting together isn't gay and yes that kissing is. We need to do a better job teaching them that being emotional and wanting to relate people isn't that the realm for gays and women. We have an entire generation of boys affraid to talk about anything that isn't 'bitches and money' because they have an irrational fear of being feminine, and you know whose fault this is? hint, not the gays

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  75. "Also, I think that the brother bonding opportunities are lessened more and more. Women in combat, women in the all-boys spaces, this gives men no real space anymore."

    I'm sorry but this is pathetic. What spaces do men need reserved for them? What spaces do women have reserved for them? All of the commenters on this blog have these absurdly high expectations of women that they be strong and stop playing victims, but men no longer have Good old boys club and we don't coddle them and we should feel bad for them? Come on. Find space. Take space. Adapt to changing circumstances. It's absurd that women shouldn't do things because men don't have a space. How weak are men that they need areas carved out for them?

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  76. Sorry, CS, I'm not getting how it's a "weakness" for men to want, need, or deserve "areas carved out just for them"?

    Also, you say women initiate divorce because men do bad things? Sure, that happens. Are you sure that's always the case? I've seen an incredible number of decent men abandoned by the wife because he does not "make her happy" or "meet her needs". It's practically a cliche.

    When men leave their wives and families, is it the women's fault?

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  77. And how is it a "high expectation" for women to stop with the "victim" status? It's not hard at all, in my opinion, to stop acting like a victim. I never started, so it's a breeze.

    Men and women are not the same. I want men to have their places, groups, and spaces. I want women to have theirs, too (how I love my girls' lunches!!). What on earth is pathetic about loving men enough to know (and be THRILLED) that they are not women?

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  78. "Sorry, CS, I'm not getting how it's a "weakness" for men to want, need, or deserve "areas carved out just for them"?"

    Well it depends what these areas are? You mentioned the military insinuating that men should have some all male workplaces? Its a problem to have all male institutions, absolutely. But no its not a problem or weak of men to want to go out on a boys night? Don't they have those already, and who is trying to take them away?

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  79. "Also, you say women initiate divorce because men do bad things? Sure, that happens. Are you sure that's always the case? I've seen an incredible number of decent men abandoned by the wife because he does not "make her happy" or "meet her needs". It's practically a cliche."

    As you've pointed out many times men and women are very different. Men are infinitely more likely to be psychically abusive, infinitely more likely to be emotionally abusive, more likely to physically cheating emotionally cheating and what not. Not making your wife happy or meeting her needs is a shallow reason to get a divorced if that means you don't plan week candlelit dinners,its a very substantive reason if that t means you ignore her, which is also so common its practically a cliche. In

    "When men leave their wives and families, is it the women's fault?"
    Well first, very few women leave their children when they leave their husbands. that is still mostly men's domain. Secondly, it depends why if men were divorcing women for not frivolous reasons en masse...

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  80. "And how is it a "high expectation" for women to stop with the "victim" status? It's not hard at all, in my opinion, to stop acting like a victim. I never started, so it's a breeze."

    Its a ridiculous expectation to tell people who have been historically marginalized who continue to experience marginalization to stop 'playing marginalized' I don't even know what to say to that.

    Furthermore its terribly bizarre to claim that women are crying victim needlessly while men are actually victims and we should all rally against their mistreatment

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  81. "Men and women are not the same. I want men to have their places, groups, and spaces. I want women to have theirs, too (how I love my girls' lunches!!). What on earth is pathetic about loving men enough to know (and be THRILLED) that they are not women?"

    What do you think those spaces should be? and who is trying to make men women? Where does this come from?

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  82. CS, I feel like we are often speaking from two different universes. Let me ask you in general, what do you think of men? Of marriage? Of sacrifice?

    My answers: I adore men. I revere true marriage as the foundation of every society (and a reflection of the Trinity). I believe that sacrifice (an offering of oneself or one's best to others) is synonymous with love.

    Can I make a joke? You asked: Who is trying to make men women. I would say, ask Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner, and all who support him. Ha ha, that was a bit of a chuckle. But then you asked, "where does this come from?" and I would answer honestly that it comes from the pit of hell. And that's not funny. :(

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  83. I think there are more bad men then good men, but i have an appreciation for them all the same. I think it depends on whose marriage we're talking about but good marriage is better than most things, and a bad marriage is worst than most things. I think sacrifice is sometimes courageous and sometimes stupid.

    Men are only as good as men behave
    Marriage is only as good as the people in them

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  84. Do you think Caitlyn Jenner is trying to convince all men to start wearing dresses, do you think that his supporters are?

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  85. CS, you know how I feel.... you are too young to be this cynical and it breaks my heart.

    As for Bruce/Caitlyn.... I don't think it's about "wearing dresses". I think he and his supporters absolutely are trying to convince all of us that it's okay for men to decide to be women, for women to decide to be men, and that anything goes, "gender"-wise. Yes, I believe that.

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  86. Men are only as good as men behave
    Marriage is only as good as the people in them


    Do you believe that there is inherent goodness in men? Or in humans in general? Is marriage intrinsically good?


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  87. I agree that Caitlyn supporters are trying to make the case that being transgender is ok, absolutely. But I don' think that equates to 'them' wanting to feminize our men. And for the record, while I don't particularly buy the whole Caitlyn thing personally. I think said supporters think that someone can have a female brain and be born into a male body, which given the boldly malfunctions that occur, is feasible.

    I agree that some of that culture is quite absurd and extreme but I also acknowledg much of gender is socialized, in that we made it up. If you didn't believe that, if you believed it all all inmate, the whole transgender movement wouldn't bother you

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  88. "Do you believe that there is inherent goodness in men? Or in humans in general? Is marriage intrinsically good"

    Quite an existential question. Are good people doing bad things or are they just bad people? I don't have the answer for that. I would say there is a general goodness in humanity.

    No marriage is not intrinsically good. If it were, everyone would applaud my decision to marry my mail man tomorrow. Or a 14 year olds marriage to her 45 year old uncle.

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  89. "No marriage is not intrinsically good. If it were, everyone would applaud my decision to marry my mail man tomorrow. Or a 14 year olds marriage to her 45 year old uncle."

    I'm sorry, but this makes absolutely no sense to me at all.

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  90. Beth, thank you. That was the exact same line I was going to say the same thing about. I have no idea what it means.

    And another line that has me confused is this one:

    I also acknowledg much of gender is socialized, in that we made it up. If you didn't believe that, if you believed it all all [innate], the whole transgender movement wouldn't bother you

    Yes, it would bother me, still. Saying that a man is a woman is an untruth, even if we culturally have determined that pink is more of a "girl" color. Biology is not "socialized", it is reality. It is fixed. So, it is fantasy and a lie to say that Jenner is a woman, or that "men can menstruate and give birth". This is a lie and all lies bother me, no matter how many gender expectations are socially influenced. Why would you think otherwise?

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    1. Wait, I think I get what you are saying on that last part. CS, I've never once argued that some gender expectations are social constructs, and I am glad you agree that Jenner is a man.

      I'm curious if you are personally offended as a woman, that the last two "Women of the Year" for Glamour Magazine were men? It's like the best women they could find.... are men. That is really an insult to women and the feminist movement, no? I know a very staunch feminist who is disgusted!

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  91. "So, it is fantasy and a lie to say that Jenner is a woman, or that "men can menstruate and give birth". This is a lie and all lies bother me, no matter how many gender expectations are socially influenced. Why would you think otherwise?"

    Some gender differences are absolutely biological, like only biological women can give birth. Some are essential, like women ten dot be more emotional men tend to be more protective ect. And some are social, meaning that if you raised your sons exactly like you raised your daughters your sons would ask more feminine. If some of gender wasn't socially constructed, you wouldn't be afraid of feminist emasculating men, by treating them like girls.

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  92. Hi Leila and Bethany,

    ""No marriage is not intrinsically good. If it were, everyone would applaud my decision to marry my mail man tomorrow. Or a 14 year olds marriage to her 45 year old uncle."

    I mean it pretty much as it sounds, if marriage was intrinsically good, then anyone entering into a marriage with anyone would be intrinsically good. We know of course that it isn't.

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  93. I believe Jenner is an attention whore personally, but I don't think its impossible that someone is born in the wrong gender's body. I in general call people by the name and gender they like, if i changed my name to Princess Unicorn, I'd expect people to call me that. I certainly think its possible to not exclude transgender people ( some of whom were likely genuinely born in the wrong body) without completely dismantling gender for everyone else, that's silly.

    As for glamour, I think Jenner was a terribly poor choice because more than anything, he/she hasn't done anything. I think its a 'shock value' decision from a dying women mag.

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  94. "I mean it pretty much as it sounds, if marriage was intrinsically good, then anyone entering into a marriage with anyone would be intrinsically good. We know of course that it isn't."

    That's like saying, "if eating were intrinsically good, then anyone could eat anything they wanted, like dirt or poison, and that would be intrinsically good."

    Way, way, way faulty logic.

    And, the reason I am against feminists emasculating men is because to be treated as such is a violation of human dignity. That's why it's wrong. I don't want men emasculated by feminists (who likely think as you do...that most men are bad).

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  95. CS, I make you this promise today: If you ever tell me that you are a unicorn, I will never affirm you. I will always tell you the truth. I will never go along with even the lies you (or anyone) make up for yourself. I will always tell you the truth, and that is my promise to you. It's the same promise I make to my own children. Hopefully there is still value that you can see in always telling the truth even when the rest of the world is lying.

    We are Christians, right? To lie, or to go along with a lie is a sin.

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  96. CS,
    So if I'm following your logic, then nothing can be intrinsically good because it has the potential to be misused in some way? Just trying to understand.

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  97. "That's like saying, "if eating were intrinsically good, then anyone could eat anything they wanted, like dirt or poison, and that would be intrinsically good."

    eating is a biological necessity, and the vast majority of people eat food and not poison. Marriage, as we practically define it is a human institution made up of humans. it can be great and can be disastrous. We might be having a semantic issue, as I wouldn't classify many things as 'intrinsically good'

    What do you consider as emasculation? Meaning in what ways do feminist emasculate men?

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  98. What are some of the things you would classify as intrinsically good? And speak to me Christian to Christian. What is intrinsically good in the human experience, in human nature? Marriage is something that every society, every place, every era has had and done. It is something that God ordained (you are Christian, so you know this). What does all that say about it?

    And, you used the word "emasculation" first, I think... so what did you mean by it? You said, "emasculating men, treating them like girls". What did you mean? If you clarify what feminists do, what you meant, then I will tell you if I agree with it (good or bad).

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  99. "CS,
    So if I'm following your logic, then nothing can be intrinsically good because it has the potential to be misused in some way? Just trying to understand."

    Bethany, I don't know of any institutions I think are 'intrinsically good' when I think of intrinsic good I think of more abstract concepts like 'love' 'honesty'. If you said loving relationships are 'intrinsically good' I'd agree. If you said all relationships are intrinsically good, id disagree. Good relationships are good and healthy, bad relationships are destructive. What about that is objectionable?

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  100. Honesty, love, kindness, equality, understanding, I think those are all intrinsically good things. All of those things tell us marriage can be good. I feel like we are constantly having discussions about marriage is and what marriage should be. Marriage is two people signing a piece of paper and deciding to get married. Sometimes it includes god often it doesn't. Marriage it is exists is often very bad not occasionally) very bad and often very good. This seems pretty self evident

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  101. I mean that I know you think we emasculate men and try to make them be like women! I don't think we as a society do that! I don't see the mass emasculation of men anywhere!

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  102. "Marriage is two people signing a piece of paper and deciding to get married."

    Um okay, get married why? Because of what marriage is about? Sorry, but your statement makes no sense. You're essentially saying marriage is about getting married. How is that a definition of marriage?

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    1. Basically, what is getting married - marriage? What is marriage - getting married? That just goes in circles.

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  103. CS, in my view, emasculating men is belittling them, saying that they are unneeded and unwanted, mocking their roles as protector and provider, saying that fathers are irrelevant, and men are not even needed anymore for conception (we just go to a sperm bank, thank you very much). We cast them as the buffoon in sitcoms, commercials, etc. Feminist icon Gloria Steinem said, "a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle". I can't think of a nastier thing to say to our men. I love men, I need men, I want men fully to participate and lead, and take their place in our lives. And I want to respect them, not belittle them.

    As for marriage, I have to agree with what Beth is asking and concluding. And I often try to speak to you Christian to Christian. God ordained marriage... we know this as Christians. Or do you not believe this basic truth of the Faith?

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  104. Leila,

    we just interpret things differently. I think the notion of men being unneeded is a result of men not being there, its a reactionary thing. Its a making lemons out of lemonade thing. 'Feminists' or whoever, tells women that men are unneeded because the men left. Said fathers were irrelevant because the fathers left. Gloria said women don't need men because men weren't reliable. Its a reassurance, when opportunities don't work out for people we tell them 'who don't need that in your life, you can find another way. Its another version of that

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  105. We are speaking past each other about marriage. I think you are talking about ideal marriage or marriage ordained by god, which are only subsets of marriage. What marriage is supposed to be and what marriage is are two different things.I

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  106. Actually, Steinem and others are pretty clear what they mean, and it's not lament for them, it's a liberation and joy.

    Let's not talk past each other. Let's talk about what marriage is, as Christians (because marriage began with God, not with society). We are Christians. Marriage, as we know, was ordained by God, not just for Christians but for all people. Is marriage not, then, intrinsically good? And if you don't believe that marriage is ordained by God, then how do you square that with your Christian faith, which is quite clear on that?

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  107. Whoops, I thought I sent this comment.

    Leila, when something is intrinsically good, it means that we should do it. Honesty is intrinsically good, so you should be honest. That checks out. If marriage is intrinsically good, you should be married. that doesn't check out. You should be married if certain conditions are met, i.e. you meet a respectful worthwhile person to marry.

    Marriage might have started with God. but marriage doesn't have to include God, Many of the times it doesn't.

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  108. Your implication there is that if marriage is intrinsically do it, you should always do it, and do it with anything or anyone (thus your previous scenario). That second part does not follow logically at all. Not at all. That would be like saying, "It's intrinsically good to grow a garden, therefore every human being must grow a garden and they can grow a garden wherever they like and people will have to "applaud it" even if I grow a garden on someone else's private property, or on a sacred burial ground upon which I am not allowed, or using the ashes of stolen corpses to grow it, or if I build a garden while neglecting my children, or (fill in the blank)....

    "No marriage is not intrinsically good. If it were, everyone would applaud my decision to marry my mail man tomorrow. Or a 14 year olds marriage to her 45 year old uncle."

    Are you really arguing that anything that is intrinsically good (we are not talking virtues... marriage is an institution, not one of the virtues) should be done/accessed/practices indiscriminately, all the time, out of any context, etc.?

    As for God.... Well, God made every human life, and every human life is intrinsically good. Even if a soul kicks God out of his or her life, that doesn't mean that God is not the author of that life, or that that life does not have intrinsic, inherent goodness. Correct? We abuse good things all the time. And we choose evil over God all the time, too.

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    1. Beginning should say: "Your implication there is that if marriage is intrinsically good..."

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  109. Let me try it this way:

    Are the things that God ordained and created intrinsically good?

    ("Intrinsic" means "of its very nature"; it doesn't mean we humans cannot distort and degrade and pervert these intrinsically good things.)

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  110. Sure Leila, then just we disagree, ita a semantics issue and we wont be able to overcome it because we dotn agree on the definition of intrinsic goodness. I think things are 'generally good' not intrinsically good. Because intrinsic to me means everyone. Gardens arent intrinsically good, they are good when used for certain purposes and not when they are used for others ( growing heroine). even human being are generally inherently good, but I wouldnt say they are all intrinsically good ( ie sociopaths/psychopaths are intrinsically bad)

    CS

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  111. Because intrinsic to me means everyone. - CS says

    ?
    Intrinsic is not synonymous with "in general".

    I mean it pretty much as it sounds, if marriage was intrinsically good, then anyone entering into a marriage with anyone would be intrinsically good. - CS says

    ? Why are you projecting types of relationships onto what marriage actually is? Why would you overlay that?

    A thing of intrinsic value or goodness (or whatever variable) already is valuable as it stands. Projecting relationships into it, or onto it, is irrelevant.

    You might as well argue, “If math was intrinsically precise, then any mathematician running calculations would be intrinsically precise.”

    And yet, math is intrinsically precise as a method of measuring-- apart from any mathematicians. And mathematicians are not automatically precise or perfect just because they do math.

    Do you see now? The value of math’s precision is isolated from the various types of mathematicians.

    She’s asking about the value within the thing itself, not if it’s merely fitting for all who enter into it or that it's even dependent on who enters into it. She’s not talking about a mere type of “goodness” that suits each of us personally as to how we choose. She’s talking about inherent meaning.

    Put the idea in a vacuum and isolate it apart from your projections about who enters into it. Is marriage “inherently good”, as it stands by itself? Evaluate it apart from anything else. What does your Christian tradition teach you about it?

    Your idea of marriage, CS, is that marriage might just be called an extrinsic good and not intrinsically good in itself (by definition). You obviously don’t believe that marriage possesses a value on its own.

    Yet, that’s not in line with Christian understanding and you are a Christian…so, maybe you don’t understand what “intrinsically good” means or if you disagree, you’d have to explain why.

    Cs, we really shouldn't need upwards of 10 replies just to flesh out what intrinsic actually means. It's pretty plain.

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