On Becoming A Woman Chapter 8

Chapter 8

Falling In Love and Out

 

The author begins with a story. This story is quite long and takes up the majority of the chapter. This isn’t really necessary, they could’ve cut half of it out and it would have been shorter and more to the point. But our author feels the need to inform us of lots of little details about Carolyn and Howard. I hope like hell those aren’t their real names, cuz I’m not going to bother changing them

Carolyn was 16 and in her senior year of high school. Howard was 18 and also a senior.

Either Carolyn is a genius, she started school early, or this is a typo.

Howard has a job, a car, and good manners.  But he still doesn’t make enough money to keep up with Carolyn’s preference for luxurious items.

As their senior year wore on, Carolyn and Howard found themselves spending more and more time together. They found they had many interests in common. At school they would visit in the hallways between classes. During the noon hour they were always together….By springtime their friendship had progressed so far that Carolyn and Howard talked frankly about their future together. They had never actually become engaged, because they realized that they were still too young to be married.

I mean, in some states, Carolyn would still need her parents’ permission.

Furthermore, Carolyn’s standards of living were so high that Howard recognized they would have to delay their marriage until his income was really substantial.

Wow, Carolyn is… really something.

This is probably a wise decision, nevertheless. It’s a good idea for people to be established in their careers before they marry.

I’ll spare you the rest of the boring details. Basically, Carolyn’s grades go from As and Bs to gasp, Cs and Ds! It’s not like she was failing, jeez.

In any case, Carolyn stops caring about her schooling because  Howard. Yawn. I don’t care, but it’s very important to Shryock, who goes on about it for at least a good 2 or 3 paragraphs.

There’s a paragraph about graduation, and how Carolyn and Howard were always together at picnics.

On class night the class prophecy was read, and it was predicted, of course, that Carolyn and Howard would soon be married and would “live happily ever after.”

Ah, class predictions. They’re always so accurate. I was voted most likely to become a hermit, and least likely to ever get married.

After graduation things became a little different. Howard obtained a full time job away from home and was able to see Carolyn only on weekends.

Oh noes!!!!!11!!! The lovers are going to be separated for FIVE WHOLE DAYS A WEEK! What are they gonna doooooo!!!!!!

Howard makes more money at his new job, but it still wasn’t enough for Carolyn’s expensive tastes. Howard decides to put most of his money in the bank so he can pay for college. This was a great big shock for Carolyn, who thought they were going to get married right away. I don’t see why they can’t do both. Carolyn gets very lonely during the week while he works, you see, which is why she wants to get married.

But, like, won’t Howard have to work even more if they were actually married? I mean, if he had to move out of his parents’ basement NOW there’d be all kinds of expenses. You’d still be “lonely.”

Also, go make some friends, jeez.

The thought of having to delay marriage while Howard struggled through 4 years of college was just too much for Carolyn to accept.

I’m so glad Carolyn isn’t my girlfriend. She sounds stuck up and whiny.

Howard began to realize that she (Carolyn) could not be happy in life unless she could continue to have the luxuries that were provided in her parents’ home.

Stellar girlfriend.

He knew that only as he was able to obtain a good education could he hope to maintain the pace to which Carolyn was accustomed.

If your only reason for going to college is so that you can afford your girlfriend, You probably need to rethink your life.

Also, he had high personal ambitions for accomplishment, and felt that he could not be content with ordinary day labor as a means of earning a living.

It’s ok for Howard to have ambition and not be satisfied with being a “day laborer,” but it’s not ok for Carolyn to desire not to live simply? Uh huh.

Howard breaks up with Carolyn and Carolyn goes home to cry. Shryock reassures us that Carolyn’s mom is largely responsible for Carolyn liking expensive objects, because he has to find something negative to say about a woman, I guess. Otherwise it doesn’t really fit into the surrounding text.

Carolyn’s mother had been largely to blame for Carolyn’s fondness for luxuries and expensive things, but in spite of this, the mother had a great deal of common sense, and she now came to her daughter’s rescue.

Fondness for luxuries and expensive things are a moral failing, clearly. I mean, why else would the author even mention it in this story?

If Howard truly went to college because of his own ambitions, why even bring this up? Just say, “Howard had his own ambitions and wanted to go to college.” Not, “Howard wanted to afford his girlfriend ohandhetotallyhadhishownambitionsOFCOURSEheis

notthatpahteticcough.”

He is totally inserting this thing about Carolyn being expensive just to make Carolyn and Howard look bad.

Anyway, despite her moral failing of liking expensive things, Carolyn’s mother is wise and gives  what the author reassures us is some good advice.

She assured her that her present heartaches would be forgotten someday and that the time might even come when she would be thankful that the special friendship between her and Howard had not endured.

Carolyn’s mother talks about her own love affairs and I am so glad the author skips over that part. Apparently the mom wanted to tell Carolyn multiple times that it might end this way but, wisely, held back because she thought it would lead Carolyn to believe she didn’t like Howard.

Carolyn’s mom tells her to remember that the Lord knows what is best for her and he will find her a good husband.

Carolyn does some thinking, realizes she was just as much to blame for the breakup as Howard was, and moves on with her life. She realizes she’s been pretty selfish and resolves to learn something from this experience.

With this more serious outlook she decided to attend college and take courses that would serve to broaden her outlook on life and also provide a specific preparation for home making.

We are told that there is character growth in Carolyn, then we get told that she basically goes to college to get her Mrs degree.

The last I knew of Carolyn she was enjoying college very much….incidentally, I understand that she has recently been accepting the attentions of a fine young theology student.

I hope Carolyn’s gotten over her desire for expensive things, because that theology student is not going to make a helluva lot of money.

That’s the story of Carolyn and Howard, wasn’t it interesting?

Not really.

The author tells us that this story is very common, and that most high school relationships don’t last. He talks for a paragraph about crushes. A girl may like a boy, but never do anything about it and the boy is largely oblivious.

There are various levels of relationships. It could range from a non serious thing lasting for a week or two, or a “date” to the school picnic.  These particular relationships don’t usually last very long at all.

But these early “affairs” usually do not make a very great impression on the minds or in the memories of the young people concerned.

I’m just curious, how many of you remember all your various “dates” to vespers? Me, I never went on dates. But I do remember who I went to all 4 of my banquets with.

Sometimes a girl developed a friendship with a boy who is not good natured and throws a fit when things don’t go his way. She decides that this is not a good relationship. Perhaps a girl develops an interest in a boy who proves to be selfish. This is not a good relationship either. Yawn. This chapter is really quite boring. Oh, a girl should also avoid a “heart smasher.”

How can we tell if a boy is a “heart smasher,” as the kids were calling it in those days back when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Here’s a few things to look out for.

You might do well to inquire about a young man’s reputation before you accept special attentions from him. If you find that he is the type that moves quickly from one special friendship to another, you have reason to be on your guard.

Unless that’s your thing, in which, totally have at it. No that’s not what the author says.

Some young men boast of their successive conquests, and often carry on an intimate friendship with two or more girls at the same time.

I mean, as long as the girls have full knowledge and consent… is this really a bad thing?

Furthermore, if in his early friendship you should discover that he is free in making promises but careless in fulfilling them, you have another reason for caution. Also, if he presses the friendship too fast, manifesting particular interest in personal attentions and liberties–if he is the type that tries to persuade you against your better judgement–then you may be quite certain that his motives are selfish and that his friendship will bring regrets. (emphasis mine.)

The author and I agree that this is a red flag. If someone is pressuring you to go farther physically than you are comfortable, this is a bad sign. Consent, in any relationship, is the most important thing. If a boy is constantly trying to push you, push him–into the garbage can.

Somewhere along the line, perhaps in the late teens or early 20s– a young woman tends to “fall hard” for a young man who seems to be so much superior tho those she has previously known that she feels quite certain that their friendship will be permanent.

The friendship might be, a love relationship might not. The author shies away from using words like “boyfriend,” “girlfriend,” or “lover.” I can’t help but wonder why that is. Maybe it’s some 1960s thing I’m 4 decades too young to know about.

The moral of the story is that Carolyn and Howard moved too fast, and they didn’t last. Be careful, kids, that the same thing doesn’t happen to you.

If it is true that he is really the one for her, the friendship will endure the test of time. If not, it is better to have been conservative than to have fallen so deeply in love that she feels crushed with the termination of the friendship.

Joshua Harris did not come up with this on his own. A lot of other people, as we can see, first came up with the concept of “guarding your heart” to avoid heartbreak.

This idea that one can avoid heartbreak is appealing. Largely, however, it’s probably a fantasy.  Your heart might not get broken if you follow all the rules of courtship… but it might. And if your heart is going to get broken, it’s better to have it broken before marriage than after.

So, gentle reader, how are you going to deal with said disappointments?

Your answer to this question will depend on whether you have been forewarned. If you understand that it is part of life that many early friendships do not survive, then you can develop such an attitude toward your friendships as will spare you a large part of the disappointment that Carolyn experienced.

Except that I can guarantee you that every single person reading this thinks they’re the exception. I approve of what the author is trying to do here, for once, because a little bit of warning is always nice. However, it’s probably more useful to tell people these things after the fact when they are more likely to listen.

This chapter could’ve been shorter, wasn’t the most interesting, and a lot could’ve been cut out in order to make the message a bit more prominent. I will try to get a post up tomorrow. I know I’m way behind, because real life’s been getting in the way. But my goals this weekend are to clean, write, and cuddle with my cat. Hopefully it all works out.

 

 

 

 

 

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