Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Takes: End-of-year random

Wrapping up the Old Year with some randomness for you to savor.

1. Looooooved this article about introverts, and all you sassy little extroverts out there need to read it and digest!

I especially love #2. I could scream it from the rooftops: "INTROVERTED DOES NOT MEAN SHY!!" If I had a dime for every extrovert who has said to friendly, talkative me, "Whaaaat?? No way! You're not an introvert!" even though I am about as classic an introvert as they come, I would have at least 37 dimes. Yes, I am an introvert, and introverts are not necessarily shy. Introverts can even be the life of the party. If they feel like it. Tell your friends.

2) Y'all have probably seen this one, but it's just so… right

Here's a peek. See if it doesn't resonate with you:
Once upon a time, women wanted to project an innocence.  I am not idealizing another age and I have no illusions about the virtues of our grandparents, concupiscence being what it is.  But some things were different in the back then.  First and foremost, many beautiful women, whatever the state of their souls, still wished to project a public innocence and virtue.  And that combination of beauty and innocence is what I define as pretty. 
By nature, generally when men see this combination in women it brings out their better qualities, their best in fact.  That special combination of beauty and innocence, the pretty inspires men to protect and defend it. 
Young women today do not seem to aspire to pretty, they prefer to be regarded as hot. Hotness is something altogether different.  When women want to be hot instead of pretty, they must view themselves in a certain way and consequently men view them differently as well.
Read it all, and with apologies to Justin Timberlake, let's bring pretty back!

3) Here is family law attorney Rebecca Kiessling who should have never been born:

Mother of five

Well, at least according to most folks. You see, Rebecca, like many other people in this world, was conceived in rape. A violent rape by a serial rapist. She is only alive today because abortion was illegal when she was conceived. For everyone who says, "I am pro-life, except in cases of rape", I hope you will read her story and those of the others like her, and never say those words again. I applaud their courage, as it must feel pretty yucky living in a culture that believes you should have been killed. There are stories, as well, from courageous mothers who gave birth to their children conceived in rape

4) I saw from Betty Beguiles that some bloggers are ending their year with links back to their favorite 2011 posts. Well, I am notorious for linking certain of my posts all over the blasted universe, but some of the lesser known ones would be fun to revisit. Many of which I'd forgotten I'd written!

2011, you had your moments. There was...

My correspondence with a sex educator (in three parts)

and also...

Answering "L": The Culture War and more

Oh, and this was a good one...

The power of a nun in a habit

…which in turn made me think of this next post to which no secularist or pro-"choicer" even responded (other than to suggest these women were lying). The total silence from the left honestly shocked the heck out of me:

Laughing at dead babies and the avenging conscience

And then...

Who is obsessed with sex?

And of course this one is becoming scarily more true by the day:

Catholics: Your misguided compassion will come back to bite you in the rear

So, let's end with a funny one that makes me smile:

Motherhood: It ain't all wine and roses

5) Speaking of funny, Andrew Centrella (who let several of us bloggers hog tie whip his butt lovingly mother him back into the Church) made a funny comic for me a few weeks ago. I especially love the way he incorporated the new mass translation confusion into the strip. Am I the only one who loves Catholic humor?? Cracks me up, I tell you!

(Why yes, that is Danya's left ear in the third frame!)

Thanks, Andrew! And the world thanks you for not going with your original idea of drawing me in a trashy-looking superhero bikini costume.

6) No words needed. Just read it:

See, we Catholics have real superheroes.

7) So excited! Tomorrow we will meet my daughter's boyfriend Carter, who arrives in town to stay with us for a week! We will be trying desperately to convince him that we are normal. But the fun part is that he and my daughter were introduced a year ago by a fellow blogger, the lovely Mary at the Screllos (now private). The Catholic bloggy world is amazing, people! 

Happy New Year, and thanks to Jen for hosting!!!



  1. I love the introvert myths. I am such an introvert, and I completely relate to those points. My sister and I have endured many ridiculous comments in our lifetime. Some teachers were even shocked to discover we were top of our class, because they thought quiet equaled dumb. But we don't want to change into extroverts -- There's nothing wrong with us :). It feels good to be understood.

    Great post! I will have to read some of the other links in the morning.

  2. The introvert part is SO TRUE! Introvert just means plenty of "quiet" time for introspection.

    Happy New Year!

  3. I like the comic strip, that is pretty cool! And while I haven't read the above woman's story about coming into this world as a result of a serial rapist, I find it haunting and incredible. Any woman brave enough to share her story is incredible.

  4. Boy, this post has given us a lot to read and think about! I read just about all the links you set up. I read all the way through and then worked my way back starting Carter--sounds like a great guy! Then I read the love letter--made me get teary, so I had to cheer myself up and re-read that hilarious post about your son, chuckled again over that comic strip (how did he do that?) and read about the introvert link. My mom just recently told me that she does not understand me---boy, am I tempted to email her this link!

    Great post!

  5. On, there is a video showing Rick Perry admitting to a change of his stand on abortion, due to speaking with Rebecca Kiessling. He says he was transformed, previously he had allowed for abortion in the case of rape or incest. Rebecca's face convinced him that abortion was never justified.

  6. Julie, amazing! Praise God! And, since the introvert article made a splash, you might want to read what I wrote on being an introvert, the quest to be understood:

    My premise is that introverts understand extroverts, but for some reason, extroverts do not understand introverts! I love what fellow introvert Jen Fulwiler once proposed as a slogan: "End extrovert tyranny!" ha ha!

  7. Whoops, meant to address the others regarding the introvert article; wasn't intending to single you out for that, Julie, but is sounds like I was, ha ha! Too early here….

  8. Great post. This is a great blog.

  9. Yay! You linked to my blog and it's increased my traffic a ton yet I'm in a blogging rut. Wtg me! I'm way off topic.

    I like all your quick takes. There.

  10. I like everything! I love this blog! Yay!

  11. Happy New Year, Leila. Why try to convince boyfriend of normal when abnormal is much more fun- whee! :)

    Hilarious last frame, Andrew. Mass really demands alert participation since the liturgical changes, doesn't it?

    On the whole introvert/extrovert topic, doesn't a lot of human interaction just depend on mood and interest at the present moment? Small talk can be nice with the right person, even if it is just chatting with a stranger in the store.
    I might find myself giving off the "please don't engage me vibe" while out and about busy on errands, but then find I'm usually glad when a conversation opens. God works in those situations.
    I think I walk the middle, personally, I could take it or leave it when it comes to attending certain social situations but that is probably a defect of selfishness more than a designation of int/ext. and really depends on who I will be engaging. We all have a bit of snobby preference in our fallen state, eh.

    Interesting how different we all are. Takes all kinds to make a world.

  12. I'm such an introvert. No one believes that.

  13. Welcome back, Leila. I hope your Christmas has been, and will continue to be blessed and peaceful.

    #2 has really caught my attention as of late. I think it's so interesting, because it's a conversation that my husband and I have had in the past (honestly, while referencing friends of ours and why they're still single). I had always described it as a sort of naivete. You know, men jumping into chivalrous action to save the "damsel in distress".

    It occurred to me, after reading the article, that "pretty" may be a good word to describe the outward appearance. What, those of us who agree with the author of the article, are really talking about is humility. If a woman is humble at heart, then she will be humble in her dress, in her mannerisms, in her attitude, in life.

    Therefore the "Death of Pretty" is really just a symptom of the Death of Humility.

    Does that make sense.

  14. Love the comic strip also. Some very creative people out there!

  15. I appreciate random. The introvert thing is so misunderstood. Thanks for some great links!

  16. I'm such an introvert, too, and everybody seems surprised when they hear me say that. I wonder why that is?

    Happy New Year, Leila! Looking forward to another year with the Bubble! :)

  17. I love the introvert article too! (Another common misconception: Melancholic temperaments are clinically depressed. No, no, no! :))

    Have fun introducing Carter to the family... that is so cool Mary helped introduce them! What a great blogosphere. :) And hey, "normal" is overrated. :)

  18. I recently started reading your blog and really get a lot out of it - it's good food for thought and prayer! Blessings to you and your family in the New Year!

  19. Thanks, everyone! Bethany, that does make sense, at least in today's context. What really stuck out at me, though, about the article was the author's point that even women who may have been living lives of great sin and impurity still desired to look "pretty" and project a more pure and innocent look. That's fascinating to me. What do you think?

  20. Ha! Andrew is cracking me up!

    How's the visit with Carter?? MEZ really likes him!

  21. Leila
    can you answer a question for me? Why is innocence so important in women? Why without innocence ie (virginity or the semblance of virginity) do women turn into commodities?

    ~ College Student

  22. college student, because if you give all of yourself to a man in the "baby-making act" with no commitment and just for short-term or medium-term pleasure, you are a commodity for the time being.

  23. college student, why do you think that women used to want to look pretty, but now want to look "sexy" (even sleazy)?

  24. PS: Did you ever find that book I recommended, For Young Women Only? So much can be gained just by understanding how the male mind is wired, and why dressing to titillate flies in the face of the dignity of both men and women.

  25. I suppose I find the word choice puzzling and the conclusion dramatic. Innocence brings connotations of childishness, native, and virginity. Generally women are not any of these things.It seems like an obscure thing to elevate to me, which is probably one of the points of the article

    Also you can call it sex ;) I will not forget it procreative capacity

    ~College Student

  26. College student, ha ha, okay, I will call it sex again. :)

    Well, that's not the connotation I get when I think of innocence. I think of purity. Purity is a virtue, and it's not just about sex. It's a way of life, a mindset, a disposition of the heart. Innocence is poetic and profound, as even secular stories and songs are written about the "age of innocence" or lamenting the "end of innocence" in the macro as well as the micro. Innocence and a time of innocence is something we all long for innately.

    Who longs for corruption, guilt and cynicism? ;)

    I don't see your definition as the first thing I google:

    1. The state, quality, or fact of being innocent of a crime or offense.
    2. Lack of guile or corruption; purity.

  27. college student, why do you think that women used to want to look pretty, but now want to look "sexy" (even sleazy)?

    I can answer that on account of last night was NYE and I was in fine immodest form ;)
    For attention of course. Who doesn’t like being told how beautiful they are? And because everyone else is doing it

    I imagine women wanted to be pretty for similar reasons why women want to be hot today.

    It was in vouge and it was how you got attention from men who wanted to marry virgins

    No I didnt get for young women only, I am currently reading Unhooked, about the hook up culture though! So many books so little time
    ~ College Student

  28. Unhooked sounds intriguing!

    See, though, I cringe when you say that it takes looking sleazy and immodest to get attention or be called "beautiful". I imagine that if you dressed in a classy, fashionable way, even without boobs and butt exposed, you would be called beautiful. And it would be about YOU, not about your body parts that men stare at because they want to use them as commodities.

    And just for fun, let me ask you: If it takes showing off your body parts to get attention and to be called beautiful, then getting nude for a man is even better, right? Then a woman would really have the guy's attention, and no doubt he might tell her she is beautiful. But does he really care about who she is? Or is he trying to get something? Again, commodity. When women dress like skanks, they get attention from men who are looking to get something from women who will give them what they are looking for. Commodity.

    Did you get the part in the article about men getting a protective feeling for a woman when they see an innocent, pretty look? As opposed to the very different (sexual predator) feeling they get when they look at someone dressed like a sleaze?

    You get that those are two different responses, right?

  29. And, you're smart enough not to do something just "because everyone else is doing it." ;)

  30. That love story is powerful. So much love and courage, so much faith. It must have comforted his girlfriend so much too.

    Happy New Year!

    P.S. I shared your "little sanctifiers" phrase with someone! Oh, kids!!!

  31. I wear lots of pants and sweaters, and still get compliments ☺ so yes I think you absolutely can/are beautiful without showing all the goods.

    But I don’t really get this

    And it would be about YOU, not about your body parts that men stare at because they want to use them as commodities.

    When we look beautiful without dressing overtly slutty, and men are attracted to us, they aren’t magically attracted to the ‘real us’ they are attracted to our faces which is just as arbitrary though, more distinct as our buns and thighs.

    “If it takes showing off your body parts to get attention and to be called beautiful, then getting nude for a man is even better, right?”
    First, no you don’t need nakedness to get the attention of a man. But I think the point of dressing a certain way is to appear beautiful to men not a man. Getting naked for one man assumes u want his attention exclusively, getting half naked for many assumes you want attention from many
    ~ College Student

  32. “Then a woman would really have the guy's attention, and no doubt he might tell her she is beautiful. But does he really care about who she is?”

    Of course not. But when a guy is attracted to a cute face he also doesn’t care about who she is. Outward beauty of any sort no matter how modest doesn’t make a man care about ‘who she really is’

    I did get through the article when she said innocent girls make men feel protective, but is that a good thing? Does he want to protect her like he wants to protect a child? Does her experience make him feel inadequate in his abilities? Certainly women (like all human beings) need protection from violence and similar things, but I am not sure that they need protection from orgasms ;)

    ~ College Student

  33. College student, I'm on record saying that your comments actually depress me. It makes me sad for your generation. And, that's coming from a woman who grew up with Madonna and the M-TV generation!

    I may or may not address your comments later. It might fall under the "discipline" that I am trying to impose upon myself. If you don't see the difference between an attraction of persons (when a man is attracted to a pretty woman, modestly dressed, admiring her beautiful eyes, for example) and a man who looks at a woman's exposed boobs instead of her eyes when talking to her -- well, then I don't know how to have this conversation.

    I will ask one question, just to see if there is any hope for fruitful dialogue on this: Do you see any difference between wanting to use someone for sex or wanting to love someone (which could one day include sex)?


  34. PS: A couple of your comments make me think you are hung up on this idea of women having to be either sleazy and overtly sexual or "childish" or "little girly". That is weird to me. Am I reading you wrong?

  35. Yes Leila,

    Of course I see a difference.

  36. PPS: I really hope that it doesn't sound like I'm brushing off your comments. I want people to read what you wrote and then see for themselves what the "other side" is thinking. I do get frustrated because I find it so sad. But let me try to put it in a simpler way, and then if you still don't see a distinction, I will move on.

    If a man is attracted to a woman's face, i.e., her eyes, her smile, is that sexual in your mind? And if you say yes, then is it always sexual (he is thinking of using her)?

    If a man is attracted to the body parts that are falling out of her immodest clothing, is that ever non-sexual in your mind? Or do you think he is always thinking what he wants to do with those body parts?

    I'm just wanting to know if you see a distinction between using someone and getting to know them?

    Is there a difference between using and loving? Or are they very intermingled in your eyes?

  37. Oh, sorry, just saw your comment! Good. I am glad you see the difference. Let's say we want to appeal to the better instincts of men. Do we show them our body parts, or do we make it easier for them to look into our pretty eyes and see our smile?

  38. Yes you were reading it wrong. I absolutely think that most women are in the middle and don’t try to be either trashy or innocent, as neither strikes me as particularly ‘womanly’

    I do see the distinction your trying to make. But I do think attraction is essentially shallow and motivated by the same thing. I think that when a straight man finds a woman’s face attractive and approaches her its because he finds her sexually attractive, which means on some level he wants to sleep with her. I don’t really know how to separate attraction from sexual attraction, they seem like synonyms.

  39. I currently am a junior year college student and I would just like to share my thoughts with college student. I'm single and I'm not going to lie, it is often very difficult, especially seeing my friends so happy in their relationships. However, I refuse to dress immodestly to attract a guy's attention. I want a man who is going to admire ME - my personality, faults, attributes, everything. What good is a relationship if it is all about exterior appearances? I just want college student to know that there ARE men out there who will see your beauty, without having to be provoked by clothing. I agree with Leila, it breaks my heart to see the way women my age dress these days. It's so unnecessary and it is my prayer that women will rediscover their value, their self-respect, that we can stop competing with each other and learn to love ourselves for our individual uniqueness.

  40. I think that when a straight man finds a woman’s face attractive and approaches her its because he finds her sexually attractive, which means on some level he wants to sleep with her. I don’t really know how to separate attraction from sexual attraction, they seem like synonyms.

    I appreciate your honesty. These words just make me very sad.

    And as far as "protection", do you think men's protective nature should only be about violence? So, not guarding their heart or their dignity or their virtue? Do you think a guy can say, "I would die for this woman to keep her safe from harm; but as long as there is no violence around, I'm going to stare at her boobs and think about what I will do with her body parts to give myself gratification."

    See, I don't get that. The man's deepest desire to be a hero is not just to save her from a burning building. It's to keep her safe from ALL harm. Using people as objects harms them. Objectifying people harms them.

    I do hope you will read For Young Women Only. It will literally take you one evening. It goes that fast.

  41. Here is a male perspective:

    Men - at least most men - want the best of all worlds: to fall in love with a woman for her essence, her soul; to adore her for the companionship she provides with her mind; and to, yes, be attracted to her for her physical beauty (which may manifest itself in infinite varieties - a true miracle of God if you ask me).

    The problem is that women often choose to highlight one particular aspect of themselves and ignore the rest. In the case of a woman who dresses provocatively, she has made a choice (in the mind of a man) that "this is my best feature. Why bother accenting anything else?" At that point, to my dismay, many men therefore turn what is a wonderful creation of God (i.e. physical beauty) into a utensil; a means to an end. Even more disappointingly, they will disregard, or de-emphasize the woman's other gifts.

    What I can say is that physical beauty is ONE of many potential features that God has graciously bestowed upon human beings. While physical attractiveness is a component of the "total," I have witnessed far too many women focus nearly exclusively on their physical appearance while paying little attention - at least vis-a-vis how they present themselves to men - to their other important (nay, CRUCIAL) features.

    The fact that a man might be attracted to a woman's physical beauty is ultimately beside the point. Men - surprise! - are like women: they want the package. The question for a woman is whether she decides to accentuate her physical attributes AT THE EXPENSE OF her spiritual gifts. Invariably, a woman who dresses in a way that emphasizes her sexuality is a woman who is uncomfortable with her other gifts, and the men she attracts will be equally imbalanced.

    To address the idea of men as protectors, I offer that it is as insensitive and counter-intuitive to de-emphasize men's natural predilection to protect as it is to de-emphasize women's natural predilection to nurture. These tendencies (quite magically, if you ask me!) most often produce happy marriages and well-raised children.

    Unfortunately, modern media has turned these natural tendencies into "traditions" and "roles." Worse, it has shunned those roles as "antiquated." That's too bad. Because a protective man and a nurturing woman make one hell of a team!

    Finally, to College Student: If a man finds your eyes beautiful, that may be because he is captivated by what he guesses they might see. If he finds your voice lilting and song-like, it may be because he hears in your voice the prayers he barely recalls his mother saying over his crib. If he finds your hair, your smile, or even your curves, captivating, it may be for any number of other non-sexual triggers. Do not be so quick to believe that every physical observation perceived by a man is intrinsically linked to sex. Believe it or not, men are quite capable of finding connections between the physical and the metaphysical. The ultimate question for women is whether they will make that connection impossible, by making any thought OTHER than sex impossible.

  42. Ken! Praise God for a man's perspective on this. It's sort of half-baked to only have women in on this discussion. You have said some very profound things in your comment, and I think I'm going to read it several times to get the fullest benefit of your wisdom. I hope college student takes it to heart as well. (In fact, I wish every young woman could read this.) Thank you!

  43. Recently, I was at my son's soccer game conversing with some of the other fathers. I'm not sure how it came up, but suddenly one interjected that he "was a pacifist." Of course no one said anything, but all I could think was "thank the Lord I'm not married to that guy." Some protection. Eesh.

  44. Sorry Ken, I somewhat disagree with you. I work in an all-male environment. No women in my work place. This allows for some freedom in the expression of opinion by the less savory elements (almost everyone except one or two of us). There is none of this "want the best of all worlds," there is only the desire to screw the next conquest.

    "a woman who dresses in a way that emphasizes her sexuality is a woman who is uncomfortable with her other gifts, and the men she attracts will be equally imbalanced."

    I'm sorry, I don't look at porn, I go to Mass
    every Sunday, and I dearly love my wife. However, I am very frequently attracted to any woman who combines a pretty face with nice curves. In possession of a personality or not, I don't care, and most men don't either. A great wife, good habits, and the grace of God keep me in line. Am I imbalanced?

    Everyone is making women out to be the bad guys here. Look, men are animals, you need to accept that. But they are animals with reason and the potential for virtue. So the issue here is not first how you dress, but first a question of whether you want to go to the zoo, or the library.

    As a woman who gets dressed to go out you need to think of a few things. 1) For all the men that don't get any woman that night, are you willing to be used for masturbatory fantasies later? 2) For the men disatisfied with their woman, are you willing to be the face and body a man uses when making love to his now stale and boring girlfriend/wife/whatever? 3) For all the men struggling for control over their passions, are you willing to "overflow their cup of desire," and thus move them toward options 1) or 2) where they use you (and in option 2, another woman as well) as mere objects of sexual satisfaction?

    Here's the thing, you have to decide whether or not you want a man who's most interested in sexual pleasure, and only interested in satisfying other intellectual/emotional/etc. needs you have on the side in order to just get sex, or you need to decide whether or not you want a man who will love you enough that he will say I want you (physically, emotionally, intellectualy, and otherwise) sooo much that sex can wait until we can make sex exlcusive between the two of us. I will wait to sleep with you for however long it takes to ensure that you and I will only ever sleep with each other.

    Think about it, a man willing to wait to have sex in marriage is saying that he's interested first in convincing you to stay with him for the rest of your life because you choose to do that because you like him as a person, not because you two only have great physical chemistry and a common interest or two.

    If you want the latter, then instead of dressing for sex in places where that's what men are looking for, still dress pretty but don't frequent environments designed to encourage man's pursuit of getting laid.

    By the way, any man that was interested in marrying a woman and not interested in sex is crazy. The first purpose of marriage is to make babies, i.e. have sex. Better get married to someone you're physically attracted to. At the same time, if you get married only for sex, or you have sex without being in marriage, all you're doing is using the other person as if they were as unimportant as a particular meal on a particular day.

    Ditto for any woman who wants a man who's not interested in sex. Don't be a prude, that's the purpose of marriage, making babies and the mutual comfort of the spouses (both of which equals sex, and the second one sometimes conversation. :^P). The primary issue should not necessarily be dressing sexy, but should be where you go and who else is there when you dress that way.

    Quick, what did you eat May 21st, 2006? Don't remember? Oh, okay. Same with most guys and the girls the 'achieve.'

  45. Guiseppe, am I understanding you correctly? That it is more important for your woman to have curves then a personality?

    "In possession of a personality or not, I don't care, and most men don't either."

    That is interesting because my husband and I both think that Kim Kardashian is beautiful but seriously lacks a personality. You can only be around that so long....She is beautiful and has beautiful curves. YOu can have that all day long, brotha!

  46. Sew,

    No. You are not understanding me correctly.

  47. I think it needs an explanation because I would rather be married to Ken! LOL

  48. Woo hooooo thanks for the shout-out haha!
    I can't wait to hear about the visit! :)

    Happy New Year!

  49. Giuseppe, but isn't there a big distinction between simply being attracted to a pretty face and curves (you) and the desire to "screw the next conquest" (the men you work with)?

    -- An aside: I like how Dennis Prager says that we (male and female) have to fight the worst of our (fallen) nature. For men, that is the strong inclination to be a sexual predator ("screw the next conquest") and for women, it's our tendency to worry, worry, worry. --

    But just because some men fall into the abyss of sin, shouldn't we be speaking to men's higher nature, regardless? I think that is what Ken is talking about.

  50. Giuseppe, we are probably not as far apart on this as you think and the latter half of your post makes perfect sense, mostly.

    However, what in the world makes you think that a group of men, by virtue of having no female influence, is HONEST?? You're telling me that every sexual exploit some of these men may have promulgated to you is true? That everything they are telling you is, now finally free from the shackles of conforming to women's expectations, truthful (even though the shackles of male expectations can be equally influential)? Every co-worker who told you he slept with dozens of women during his college days, or that he has a 12 inch penis, you would believe him? Because he is among men? P'shaw.

    I am glad if whatever baser instincts you possess have been subjugated thanks to your faith. I do not deny that they exist in every human being in some form. But I do take issue with your contention that men are naturally "animals." I might remind you that men, like women, are created in the image of God. While, yes, we are born into a world of sin, and therefore temptation abounds (which is really what this conversation is about), the reason why mankind has always sought the truth of a higher being is because we are actually programmed for GOODNESS.

    Look, yes I am a man, and yes I am therefore as susceptible to temptation as any other man, and while, yes, in my pubescent years sex was surely a preoccupation, it didn't mean that at age 17 I wanted nothing more than to get laid. Even at that age, what I wanted was a companion. THAT is the true nature of men and women as a species: we desire God, and we desire to emulate the trinity - that miraculous existence of one into three, in our case, one man, one woman, into a family of man, woman and child).

    So while I can concur with much of what you said, I cannot agree that you are merely sexual reptile whose appetites, but for your adequate self-control and your wife who evidently tolerates your 'reptilian' base nature (provided you exercise the aforementioned self-control), would ordinarily consume you.

    In my view, that simply does not scream "image of God." Does it to you?

  51. Happy New Year, Leila! I am very slowly working my way through your quick takes. Love the article on introverts! It explains my mom so well - she is from a family of politicians and can glad-hand with the best of them, so I was always surprised at how desperately she seemed to need her alone time. She is 79 and still works because she absolutely has to be around people, yet she has an even greater need to recharge at the end of the day. She is a non-shy introvert, apparently!

    Really enjoying Ken and Giuseppe's comments and am saving them for discussions with my 14 yo ds.

  52. Leila,

    Yes, you're right, there is a difference. One involves the controlling of passions for the sake of the subject so as not to turn her into a mere object, the other is a mere objectification.


    I like what you had to say the first time. Here's the thing, Man (men and women) are animals. The Church thinks so anyway. Rational animal, I think, is also the simple aristotelian/thomistic/Catholic definition of "Man."

    Like I said: "Look, men are animals, you need to accept that. But they are animals with reason and the potential for virtue"

    The use of reason and the establishment of virtue meet the dignity that God gave us when He created us in His image. The fact is, most men don't accept His grace, and/or choose to raise themselves to that dignity.

    Also, I'm not talking about things my peers do, I'm just talking about things my co-workers want to do with women. This is not an issue of believing exploits, I was describing more my listening and hearing about their desires.

    How often are you in contact with 18-30 year old single men who have disposable incomes? I'm in contact with hundreds of them each day because that defines my profession. I stand by what I said, that most men are animals, meaning they embrace their animal side of their nature rather than balancing it with their reason.


    I'm saying personality doesn't matter in initial, sexual attraction. Most men stick with the sexual attraction and don't go deeper.

  53. This is all very interesting to me. This may seem off topic, but Giuseppe, do you think that most men experience a broken heart at some point in their lives? Or that they fall deeply in love? I think most do. And I think that most men want to fall in love in their lifetime. That makes me think that they do know that they have dignity, and that they should or have aspired to something higher than animal instincts. That they sublimate that better nature is tragic, but I think on some level, even the most hedonistic men understand that there is something better they are supposed to be. What do you think? Or am I misunderstanding this conversation? (Could be!)

  54. Just wanted to add in my 2 cents with the whole "pretty" topic. I got all dressed up for New Year's Eve - I had no body parts hanging out, just dressed nicely. After I finished my make-up I asked my husband if I looked 'pretty'. He said, "No, you look hot!" I looked at him a little disappointed and said, "Really, you don't think I look pretty?" He said, "You look better than pretty, you are 'smokin'!"
    This just shows me that that article is correct in the fact that 'pretty' is no longer a compliment. I was not dressed sexy nor was I trying to, but my husband was trying to compliment me and he felt that 'pretty' did not say enough.
    Leila, I agree that this just makes me sad. Sad that society can't see that being pretty is the best compliment. I know my sweet husband thinks so much of me that he just wanted to pay me the highest compliment possible. It is sad to me that "hot" and "smokin'" were the best compliments out there right now and that pretty just didn't seem good enough. Sigh!

  55. Caitlin, wow, that does say a lot about the sad state of our culture! Sigh is right… (But God bless your sweet husband for trying his best.)

  56. I don't know. Is "hot" a bad term because it's somehow sexually charged? Isn't "hot" just cultural slang for pretty, beautiful, etc?

    Men don't call women "dames" anymore, is that a good thing? They still call them "chicks", I guess that can be seen as disrespectful (?).

    When goofing around, we call things "dope" as in "cool" or "awesome". Ie, "These shoes are dope!"

    There's a whole lot of urban slang "phat", "sick", etc that is on the same level as "hot" is to me. I guess I don't see the breakdown. I certainly don't mind if husband says "you look hot" or "you look really good" or "damn, you look really good!" It's all good.

  57. Nubby, good question, and here is my perspective on it: I do think that "hot" is quite sexually charged, and I think what bothers me is that boys and girls starting in middle school use that word to describe girls. It's not the worst thing that can be said, but when it starts so young, and it really is not said about people who are dressed modestly or look pretty (esp. when the young use the term), then that's why it does not seem like a compliment so much as a way of saying, "I would sleep with her." Not such a bad thing if it's said between married couples, but in popular culture, it is sort of crude.

  58. Gotcha, thanks. What do you (or anyone) make of using "hot" all around in casual conversation? Ex: "That car is smoking hot". "That hockey player is hot." (not sexually, just on fire/awesome). Seems kind of harmless in that regard, as it's a word that has soaked the culture for so long now.

    IMO, "hot" is overused so it's not as meaningful (?) therefore, we're desensitized to its sexual connotation, perhaps?

    I don't think "pretty" ever goes out of style, it's just been watered down. Like "cute". Who wants to be called cute?

    I just don't think men think to use "pretty" or "cute"it as often.

    And when a husband says "hot" to his wife I do that that's more powerful than saying, "you look pretty. so, so, so pretty". I mean, we wives already know that he finds us "pretty". "Hot" is the va-va-voom of "pretty".

  59. Right, I agree that if we are talking about a performance or performing person, then being "hot" is equivalent to being "on fire", so no sexual connotation there.

    I guess I would love to know what men mean when they speak of women as "hot". I have only ever heard it used to mean something purely sexual. Not the equivalent of "pretty" or "lovely" or "beautiful". It's pretty common for men to use that word about women that are not their wives, at least from what I've experienced. Guys? Any thoughts on the word "hot" when used by men to describe women?

  60. When my 6 year old is dressed up for church, I tell her she's pretty; I can't imagine calling her "hot". So what is the difference there? When does the word "hot" become appropriate?

    Personally, if anyone called me cute or pretty, I would be flattered. :-) But if they called me hot, I think I would be wondering what they meant by that. Maybe it's what you are exposed to as you grow up, how many times you heard the word "hot" and if you just got used to the word and replaced "pretty" with "hot", I don't know.

    I do know that growing up my parents were extremely careful about the slang that was used and "hot" wouldn't have been acceptable as a respectful way of describing a pretty girl.

    Just my own two cents.

  61. I must be really proving your point because I don’t even understand what the issue really is

    The issue seems to be that women want to be considered (hot) where their whole body and face is attractive versus pretty (their face is attractive). And I don’t understand why one of those is noble. They both seem equally shallow to me. I could understand if u were saying that not enough women want to be beautiful as defined by internal beauty and kindness to others and instead want to focus on their outward appearance. But the distinction you are making seems marginal. I feel like a better article would bemoan the fact that more women want to be beautiful then complex, and that prohibits men from getting to know the real them. The idea that being pretty, i.e. attractiveness of the face, allows a man to get to know the real you while being hot i.e. attractiveness of the body allows a man to use you as a commodity seems like a false juxtaposition. Both are first impressions and neither alone allows a man to know the real you.
    ~College Student

  62. Also about protection, obviously there are a number of things men can protect women from. But I think it’s awfully paternalistic to include consensual sex in that list. I don’t think most fathers, brothers and other males want to protect said woman in their life from pre-marital sex because they know it is in her best interest, but rather because the idea of their mothers, daughters, sisters having sex makes them uncomfortable. Given the mechanics of sex most brothers would not to imagine their sister doing it, even if it was with a man that loved her and would give her pleasure.

    ~ College student

  63. College student, let me make it simple: If a woman hangs her boobs or her ass out so men can see them, she is dressing like a tramp. Men will see her as such. If a woman dresses keeping her boobs and ass covered modestly, but still looks attractive and like a woman, she is dressing decently. Men will see her as decent.

    It's not rocket science. I want men to see my daughters as decent yet pretty girls. So far, they do. No one has mistaken my daughters for an easy score, and that's a good thing. And yet, they are still very pretty. They attract very nice, very respectful attention from decent men who don't try to get them to go to bed.

    Does that help?

  64. I don’t think most fathers, brothers and other males want to protect said woman in their life from pre-marital sex because they know it is in her best interest

    You don't know the fathers and brothers that I do.

    Your insistence that innocence is "childish", etc., is still odd to me. I showed you a definition, and that concept of "little girly" was not included. The idea that innocence and purity has some kind of condescension attached is something that you are projecting for some reason. It never occurred to me. Innocence and purity are for men, too, by the way.

  65. Yes Leila I get your laymen’s terms ;)

    I think we’re missing each other because we’re coming for polar opposite places and experiences. Let me try to illustrate my point of view.

    When I first came to college I dressed pretty conservatively and had a demure demeanor. Guys never hit on me, though I learned later many men found me attractive. I learned towards the end of my senior year( after being depressed because I was a dateless loser) that one of the reasons men didn’t approach me was because they assumed, based on the way I carried myself, that I wasn’t interested in men. By saying I wasn’t interested in sex I was saying I wasn’t interested in dating/ a relationship. I know it seems backwards to you but looking back I know now that about my college culture. If you don’t want to have sex they think you aren’t open to dating.

    Case and point—I was dateless throughout college, but do you know how I got my current boyfriend… I slept with his roommate…ironic right? **Oh the things you’ll say over the anonymity of the net

    No I didn’t sleep with said roommate with the hopes of getting the other roommate, nor do I suggest it. But it’s a funny story isn’t it?. During the last three months of college when everyone knew I was hooking up I didn’t just get offers to hook up, but for the first time ever I got offers for dates, some of which turned into a pretty great boyfriend, who begged for monogamy, opens car doors, encourages me to spend alone time with his mother/grandmother, and invited me over for Christmas dinner.

    I hope this explains why I was having trouble with our original thesis. I really do believe that in many circles men’s view of women’s innocence/sexuality has shifted

    ~College Student

  66. I agree that it's shifted, and I appreciate that you had this experience and are saying it honestly. I also think it's incredibly sad. Beyond sad. But, you already know that I feel that way. :)

    "If you don’t want to have sex they think you aren’t open to dating."

    Um, so to hell with 'em.

    I honestly wouldn't want those kinds of men (boys) around my daughters. If that's what it takes to get a date, then being dateless is ideal.

    Okay, and now I'm really going to sound crazy, but in my circles now (believe me, I used to be in very different circles than now), dating is not for recreation anyway. Dating is to find a life partner, a spouse. Like it used to be. If it doesn't work out, you move on, with dignity intact and no regrets and emotional strings, not having offered your whole self to a guy who had fun with you for a few months and moved to the next girlfriend for more fun.

    Believe me, I am not naive at all, having been a college student myself once and lived the Planned Parenthood philosophy. But now as I look back, the whole scene is incredibly seedy, sordid and just plain yucky. Blech.

    Would your current boyfriend have been completely fine if you didn't dress immodestly on NYE? Or, does he expect the boobs and ass to be on display for all so that you can get attention (from him or from other men)?

  67. Here's another man's perspective: A pretty, innocent girl/woman can be magically attractive. It is much more of a danger to an unmarried - or married - man's heart than the hot girl. I speak from painful, repeated experience.

  68. Leila,

    Just reading this post and wanted to comment on number 3! Rebecca is an amazing woman and dear friend. I felt so thankful to her for trying to remove the stigma of being conceived in rape.

    Knowing your father violated your mother is about the worst thing I had to forgive. I still feel fatherless sometimes even though I had a wonderful stepfather.

    The sting of being concieved in rape is severe, but knowing you were loved so much by your creator God and your Mom who bravely chose to give you life is grace enough to fill all the hallow spots that the evil one tries to stuff down your spirit.

    I thank God everyday that my heart is still beating and that I was given the chance to live. Rape should not be a death sentence for any child concieved in that manner!

  69. When I first came to college I dressed pretty conservatively and had a demure demeanor. Guys never hit on me, though I learned later many men found me attractive. I learned towards the end of my senior year( after being depressed because I was a dateless loser) that one of the reasons men didn’t approach me was because they assumed, based on the way I carried myself, that I wasn’t interested in men. By saying I wasn’t interested in sex I was saying I wasn’t interested in dating/ a relationship.

    CS- Wondering: what's the highest, most passionate compliment you can receive from a guy?

    BTW- I don't think Leila or other Catholics here are advocating giving off a reserved, modest, shy, or coy look (which is what demure means); nor do we advocate giving off an unfriendly, pious vibe.

    I think what Leila's pointing out and what I'm trying to flesh out, is that we're wondering why you'd not raise the bar for yourself, knowing your own self worth? Dateless doesn't = loser. Why call yourself that?

    Body parts don't need to be visible to send the right vibe and let guys know you're at least open and interested in being asked out (speaking from experience).

    Meeting in the produce aisle in jeans and nike shirt isn't only in fairy tales.

  70. Okay, so on a lighter note to my above comment . . . Have you all seen the recent commercials for the Egg McMuffin? If not, sorry, you will not understand this . . . but it so, here it is . . .

    I was talking to my husband about the above comment and of course he was confused as to what I want to hear from him. So he told me that I'm the "Egg McMuffin of wives" HAHA! I love that man!

  71. Sebastian, that sounds like a sad story! :(

    Amazing Life, you have an incredible story, and being conceived in rape gives you great moral authority to speak on this. Your beautiful life speaks volumes.

    Nubby, great questions!

    Caitlin, I wish I'd seen the commercial! Now I need to...

  72. No Leila doesn’t sound crazy at all

    Its just differences in culture. The differences between ‘dating’ in my liberal Midwestern College are very different than they are in New York City, or how they would be in Or Arizona or even Utah.

    That is not to defend them, or imply that one must succumb to circumstances. But one must be ware of them. There is a game afoot. You don’t have to play it, but you best be aware of it.

    I honestly wouldn't want those kinds of men (boys) around my daughters. If that's what it takes to get a date, then being dateless is ideal.

    I understand why you say that, but there would be no men left ;)you forget how popular this behavior has become. Its not just slime balls that are partaking. Many many decent hardworking men, that will treat you well and provide for a family(once they mature a little) want sex.

    Boyfriend would have been fine with whatever I decided to wear on NYE. I think he liked the ability to show me off given what I was wearing. But he would have been very happy with pretty

  73. Nubby,

    CS- Wondering: what's the highest, most passionate compliment you can receive from a guy?

    I would say the highest compliment would be that I was ‘interesting’ , or that ‘he loved me, or that he’d never ‘met/been with a girl like me before’

    I was just poking fun at myself with the dateless loser comment. I had self-esteem issues in college due to my inability to find a boyfriend, but no I don’t go around thinking girls without boyfriends are dateless losers ☺

    ~College Student

  74. I really enjoyed your quick takes. Though it took me 5 tries to get through only some of it :) I thought the letter to the sex educator was absolutely perfect. What an amazing thing you do. I hope her lack of response was that she is contemplating the beauty/truth of your responses. I was also fascinated by the pro-life stories of people conceived in rape. Wow, what powerful pro-life messages they had to share.

  75. Oh, I just read some comments about sex and college and men. My younger brother, no longer practising the faith, has finally met a girl, a good girl. And when she told him she wouldn't sleep with him before marriage, he was pissed off. But then he told himself that she is so great, in many ways, I am going to hang on. As he has gotten to know her, over the past couple of months, he says that he is now glad that she isn't going to sleep with him. It's funny because when he didn't really know her, he wanted to sleep with her and now that he really likes her, he is glad she is sticking to her guns. Maybe the shift can be shifted back? But I guess there were a lot of losers who bailed on her because of her stance on pre-marital sex. But then I look at that as the natural weeding process...Let's the good men stand out.

  76. A link to the Egg McMuffin Commercial:

  77. Leila

    I am new to your blog and just now read "Laughing at dead babies..." for the first time. You say you never had a pro-choice person respond. I am passionately pro-choice so I guess I'll be the first.

    I find the humor disgusting. There's nothing funny about abortion. I am continually amazed by Abby Johnson's stories; not because I think she's lying, but because her experiences working at Planned Parenthood were NOTHING like my experiences; and I worked there for almost a decade. The PP clinic where I worked didn't do abortions; we provided women with a lot of important, compassionate health care for no or little charge. I was proud to work there. It makes me so sad to read Abby's stories because they color thousands of people's views about Planned Parenthood--an organization I fervently support.

    But the jokes are sick. I agree with you on that. They make me cringe and make me embarrassed to be associated with people who would say such things.

  78. Sarah, if you didn't abort babies at your clinic, then you wouldn't have to find a way to cope with dead baby parts staring at you all the time.

    I find it also strange that you find the humor sick, but not the shredding of children. Do you see any irony there?

    I thank you for being the first to respond and that you didn't claim the two ladies to be lying. But why do you think that folk in these clinics (where abortions were actually performed) did joke like that?

  79. PS: Abby Johnson was very proud to work at PP, too. And she thought she was doing very important, compassionate work.

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  81. Also, you asked why I think the women Abby talked about were making those jokes. I really don't know.

    I have heard wonderful, compassionate nurses and social workers from hospice make jokes about dying people that shocked me. They said they do it to let off the tension from being involved in such serious work all the time.

    Perhaps the women at the abortion clinics were doing it for the same reason; but still, the humor was way over the top, even if they were letting off steam. I still don't understand it and I have NEVER heard any comments remotely similar from clinicians I know who do abortions.

  82. Sarah, if I have this right:

    You believe the ends justify the means. (I.e., in the case of abortion it is sometimes necessary to kill certain human beings so that other human beings don't have to suffer.) Is that right?

    You said:
    But the shredding of women's and girl's lives caused by unwanted pregnancies bothers me more.

    I cannot tell you the number of women I have known personally and encountered whose lives were "shredded" by abortion. Devastation. And lies from the pro-"choice" side. Awful, awful stories. Surely you are familiar with Silent No More? There are so many women like that. I know many of them. True horror. The "horror" of having a baby can never equal the horror that these women live with who have killed their own child(ren).

    And I use the term "shredded" here figuratively as you did. I know you are trying to equate the "shredding" of women's lives (by which you figuratively mean "suffering or discomfort or inconvenience) with the literal shredding of the bodies of the babies that are killed in an abortion. I don't equate the two. Again, one is figurative "shredding" and one is literal and real shredding of lives and flesh and bones.

    One more thought: The nurses in hospice are not in the business of targeting and killing those who come to their facilities. They are not doing anything that would make the release of their tension with "jokes" macabre. But the people in the clinics actually are in the business of killing. Do you not see how the avenging conscience might be at play there? After all, Abby and Jewel are not the only women to get out of the abortion business and tell those tales. I don't see many hospice workers fleeing their jobs because their consciences were screaming and they were trying to get the blood off their hands.

    Do you see what I mean?


  83. When I speak of the "horror" of having a baby, you realize I meant that facetiously, because that is how the pro-"choice" side sees it. Of course Catholics view all human life as sacred, and having a baby as a great gift and blessing.

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  85. Sarah, are there any abortions that you think should be illegal?

    Human beings don't get their dignity from having certain "concerns and needs". They get their dignity from their existence. They are human beings = they have human dignity. Human life is inviolable.

    Here are two posts of mine that answer your points in the way I'd like to say it to you. If you have the time:

    Off to bed now! Blessings and thanks for your courtesy!

  86. Some for medical reasons, and some for psychological/spiritual ones.

    By the way, do you know how awful that sounds? "Killing my unborn child was just the thing I needed to help me grow spiritually!" It reminds me of this chilling video:

    All sorts of "goodness and love" there, eh? Shiver.

  87. "By the way, do you know how awful that sounds? "Killing my unborn child was just the thing I needed to help me grow spiritually!"

    It does sound awful but it is not what is said. I don't think women need abortions for spiritual "growth" but some do for their survival.

    I read most of the blogs you mentioned---wow--it took about two hours.

    I need to go to bed and I'll get back to you.

  88. Sarah, so killing her unborn child saves her spirit? How does that work, exactly?


    And forgive me if I get right to the points and am very brief when (if) I address your points. As my latest post says, I am weary. ;)

  89. PS: Sorry for the amount of time it took you, Sarah! I only meant for you to read the original posts, not all the comments, ha ha, but I know it's easy to get sucked in.

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  92. Thanks, Sarah, and yes, I am certain we are at an impasse.

    Most of the pro-"choice" people here are atheists who talk a lot about science, but then they get all metaphysical on us when we speak of what is a human life. Of course, science ended that debate long ago, as we know from embryologists and scientists and their texts that a new human being is begun at conception.

    My guess is that from what you are saying, you believe that it's definitely a human life in the womb, but just one that is "dependent" on the mother. Of course, the worth of a baby in the womb cannot morally change just because its location changes, because location does not change the worth of a human being. However, if you still insist that because the child is more dependent, then it needs less protection, I would say… huh? I thought civilized societies protected the least among us, the weakest? The more dependent someone is on another, the more we are to love and care for them? But you are saying the opposite. You are saying that the weaker can be killed for the sake of the strong.

    There is no comparison to the intruder whom the young mother killed recently, as an unborn child can never be seen as an "aggressor". It is just not possible.

    Now, the dependence of course continues after the baby is born. I've had eight and they are utterly dependent as infants. The only difference is that when they were still residing in my womb, it was extremely easy (passive!) taking care of them. When they were born, well, that is where the true sacrifices began. So, you might have that backwards as well. Pregnancy requires not much of anyone except a certain level of discomfort, and about nine months of selfless waiting, to protect that child till it can be placed with someone who will love and raise her. Until then, it's pretty passive stuff. And even then, or even in a most difficult case, the people in the pro-life movement are ready to assist at every step, financially, physically, emotionally, etc. No woman is ever left abandoned. Nor any child. Isn't that the society we want to be?

    As for saving the life of the mother. First, there is no time, ever, that direct killing of the child is a cure for any disease or condition. OB's have testified to that. And in the case recently with my bishop and the nun who was excommunicated for authorizing an abortion, that, also, could have had a good outcome, had the medical professionals cared enough to treat both mother and child:

    (note first footnote)

    But ultimately, you are okay with all the abortions that take place in America. 53 million and counting. How many do you think were performed to save the very life of the mother? I am sure you realize that the answer is hardly any.

    As for pro-lifers not caring about the woman as much as the baby, I hope and pray you do read this:

    Maybe you don't know enough pro-lifers? ;)

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  94. Sarah, what happened to you was horrific. It was the worst kind of crime. You were a victim of the unspeakable. And your children were victims, too. It is personal to you, so I will let it lie. But the fact that your father kept the abortions secret did allow him to continue. If others (outsiders) had known, he would have been arrested! Whoever did the abortions should have ascertained that something was horribly wrong….

    Thank the Lord, your situation is so rare. It is not the norm. I am the norm as far as teen Planned Parenthood clients. I never had an abortion, but I did go in secretly for birth control. It makes me sick to think about how easily those adults handed it over to me. As a parent now, it makes my blood boil. No one ever tried to talk me out of anything, or act like an adult. Not one. It was a failure on the part of those who knew what I was doing, aided and abetted me, and made me a "Code Mindy" to keep it all a secret from my parents. They put me on steroids without even knowing if I was done growing:

    So wrong. So wrong.

    Anyway, I am sorry for all your losses and pain. I am also glad you are not an atheist. I thought Buddhists do not ascribe to a deity?

    Just a note to one of our amazing readers, Amazing Life, who is the product of a rape and might read what you wrote: It is a blessing that you are walking this earth. You are as dignified and worthy as any other human being.

    I know you would like her, Sarah.

    And if I misunderstood your position, I don't know how. You said that the unborn child could be killed because it was dependent on another. And that when a child is born she is independent, so she now should not be killed. How can I not read that to mean that dependence (weakness, vulnerability) means that the child has no rights?

    The woman who refused cancer treatment for her unborn child did something heroic, but it was not required of her by Catholic morality. If a pregnant woman needs treatment for a pathology or illness, she may legitimately take it. If the baby dies as an indirect and unintended consequence of that legitimate treatment, that is called the principle of double effect. No one intended the death of the child in such a case, and no one went in and directly killed the child. I would link you to some posts I've done explaining that, but I know you are weary. I get that.

    The woman on my blog whose doctors said she might die is having her baby tomorrow. A little boy named Henry, who was supposed to have been aborted if she had listened to the doctors and conventional wisdom. Let's all pray for her and for Henry, and for a healthy delivery.

    Blessings to you, Sarah. You have had a hard way in life and I am sorry for that.

  95. Sorry, that part about my PP experience should have gone on the other post, where you mentioned how you helped girls with birth control because they wouldn't listen to reason anyway. I mixed it all up in one response.

  96. Yes, I will pray for little Henry and his mother.


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