Friday, December 22, 2006

Holding one's tongue

Figuratively speaking, of course.

Pretty Lady quite enjoyed this interview about chastity; she also commends Rebecca Traister for keeping comments like, "To hear her tell it, chastity cures everything that might ail a single woman and might as well clear up acne" to a relative minumum. One can see that dear Rebecca is at least attempting to be gracious and open-minded, much as the very notion of chastity flies in the face of...well, anyway, Pretty lady liked the article.

Instead of following the pop-culture prescription, to single-mindedly pursue a man who's going to make you happy, I am suggesting women should be singular and concentrate on being the best people they can be and displaying grace as individuals and as women. In doing that they will become more giving, more appreciative of everyone around them, so not only will they be better able to have meaningful friendships and relationships, but they will also be able to enjoy this time they have as singular women.
But the nature of sex is it's a physically sacrificing act: I give myself entirely to you. If you're giving your entire body to a person without giving yourself emotionally, you're creating a dichotomy. You're setting yourself up to compartmentalize all your relationships into transactions.
Now, Pretty Lady herself is not particularly a fan of Extremism, much as she has a warm place in her heart for Extremists of all stripes. And she does not believe that Radical Abstinence is a cure for acne or anything else.

But this transactional aspect to sex and relationships is something she has noticed, over and over, in our free and liberal culture, and she has a very large practical and ethical problem with it. As someone very close to her once said, "Many people simply do not believe that their friends love them for themselves. They only believe themselves loved for what they give."

This state of affairs is miserable and distressing, no matter what side of the transaction one happens to be on. Needy people wear themselves out, trying to Give enough to keep pace with their ever-deepening Needs. Generous people become first bewildered, and then exhausted, by the blank and desperate look in the eyes of persons to whom they generously Give, merely out of the overflowing grace in their hearts; eventually, these generous people become drained, and abandon their friends out of self-defense.

Now, friends, let Pretty Lady explain things very simply. Relationships are not transactions. That is business. When a stranger calls up Pretty Lady and wishes a service, Pretty Lady is happy to provide this service, for the standard fee. This is the nature of business. Business is not love.

Love is not only free, but self-increasing--the more you give away, the more you have. You do not buy love by bribing people with sex, presents, favors or compliments. You may express it with those things, but the love must come first, or there is no relationship, merely a parasitic manipulation of circumstances.

If it takes Radical Abstinence for this lovely lady to figure this out, then Pretty Lady says, rah, rah. And she says, to all those who believe this lovely lady is attempting to Impose her Morality--shut up and read it again. She's not imposing anything. She is, for perhaps the first time in her life, refraining from doing so, and Pretty Lady applauds her for it.


The Aardvark said...

Radical Abstinence

This phrasing is a curiosity.
To Abstain means "Not to do something".

The Point is to do or do not.
Where does "radical" even enter in?

"I radically do not drink Dr. Pepper."

No pun intended, but it seems the other side of "a little bit pregnant".

Perfidiously and lovingly yours,
The Aardvark

The Aardvark said...

Oh...and thank you for bringing this to our attention! Well written, hers and yours.

A blessed, Joyous, and safe Christmas to you!

Bimbo said...

Look, Dorothy Parker said it best: "Chastity is no more a virtue than malnutrition."

Pretty Lady said...

Who said anything about virtue, darling? It is not virtuous to separate business and pleasure; it is merely pragmatic. Otherwise you never know whether you're only invited to dinner because they want free prescriptions, or not.

Pretty Lady said...


Radical Abstinence: I will not have sex with anyone, ever, until the proverbial Wedding Night, by God, not for any reason, not even if the love of my life who was thought lost at sea comes pounding at my door at 3 AM, while I am sipping Booker's in a negligeé, listening to Billie Holiday and staring moodily into the fire. By God. Not even then.

Moderate Abstinence: What, are you kidding me? Pretty Lady may be virtuous and pragmatic, but she's not Made Of Stone.