Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why Doesn't She Have a Boyfriend?

Every therapist and coach has heard a woman ask: How can I find a husband?

Freud might have thought that women don’t know what they want, but most unmarried women have a very clear idea: they want a husband. If they are in college or just out of it, they will opt for a boyfriend, that is, for a husband-in-waiting.

Sometimes, when a woman had raised this issue in my office, I have replied: Do you want to be a wife?

I can’t speak for other parts of the country, but in New York this reply often provokes shock and dismay.

And yet, it follows logically that if a woman finds a husband she is going to become a wife. If she finds a boyfriend, she is going to become his girlfriend.

It is interesting to consider that the term “girlfriend” contains the word “girl. How many young women are happy to consider themselves girls and their lovers boys?

For quite some time now the term “wife” has borne a negative connotation.

Today’s feminists are out marching to make the term “slut” a term of endearment. Their foremothers managed to turn the word “wife” into a four-letter word, at least for their cult followers..

I was thinking about this yesterday while I was reading a guest post on Susan Walsh’s HookingUpSmart blog.

The guest post, by a male, was not very informative, but it did link to a post that Walsh herself had written almost a year ago. That post was highly informative.

In her post Walsh offers a number of reasons why a girl might not have found herself a boyfriend.

Admittedly, the current cultural climate in colleges is not conducive to boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, but it doesn’t hurt to know the dos and don’ts of relationship building.

When you ask the question of what a woman should do to become a girlfriend or wife, the answer is not even that difficult.

Walsh’s advice is on point. If I had to sum it up I would say that a woman who wants to be a girlfriend should act like girlfriend material. She should comport herself at all times as though she will be a great girlfriend. Or even a great wife.

Girlfriends do not hookup. They do not flirt with any man who walks by. They do not sext, dance drunk on tables, or otherwise behavior indecorously.

Many young women today have learned that while they are young they can sow their wild oats-- as the quaint old expression has it-- but that once they are ready to settle down they will  put away childish things.

Yet, a pattern of bad behavior can easily become a habit. Even if it doesn't it does create a certain reputation. All in all it will make it that much more difficult to master the kinds of good behavior that characterize a girlfriend.

No woman is ever going to become a good girlfriend if she has bad character. And she will not have good character if she feels that sometimes bad behavior is good, that she can do as she pleases now, but that she will stop it once she finds a boyfriend.

Character requires constancy and consistency. No man wants a woman who is one thing one day and another thing the next. No man wants inconsistency or inconstancy. In truth, no woman should want it either.

Walsh is right to place the strongest emphasis on character traits. In truth, nothing will make you better girlfriend material than being reliable, responsible, loyal, and trustworthy.

How is your character going to be judged? It will be judged according to the same principles that you should be using to judge a man’s character.

You can tell more about a person’s character by the way he or she behaves when it doesn’t really matter.

If you keep your word and fulfill your obligations even when you don’t need to, you will gain far more points than you would if you skip out on small events and show up only for important events.

Nearly all of Walsh’s advice involves character building. She does not place too much emphasis on appearance, because she knows, as even I do, that women don't need to be told to care about their appearance.

When it comes to appearance, a girlfriend dresses like a girlfriend. A wife dresses like she’s married. I am not going to explain this. All women know it… or, at least, they should.

A girlfriend is not obsessed with her appearance. She is not in love with her image. She is not aiming at perfection. She is trying to dress like what they used to call… a lady.

If a woman dresses like a vamp or a tramp, she will get a lot of attention, but she will not be considered girlfriend material. Exposing too much flesh makes a woman look desperate and trampy.

When a man thinks about a woman’s appearance, he is thinking, if he is looking for a girlfriend or wife, about how the two of them will look when they are out together.

If he has made his way through adolescence, he is not thinking about whether or not other men will envy him his girlfriend or will drool over her.

I assume that all women know the difference between dressing like a sexy lady and dressing like a tramp.

Again, dressing like a lady all the time is better than doing it some of the time.

How do you act like a girlfriend? You act as though you have confidence. Do not act desperate or jealous or insecure.

As Walsh says, you do not flirt with other men. Even if you have just started dating, make your man the center of your attention. The more completely you are focused on him and on him alone the more you will be girlfriend material and the more attractive he will find you. Of course, being focused on a man does not mean obsessing about him, or wanting to spend all your time with him.


Dennis said...

When my son was a teenager I caught him"cutting" the curves in the road. I was going to town and he was coming home. When I talked to him I tried to tell him that life is a series of learned habits. One can learn good habits or one can learn bad habits. I emphasized that when the pressure is on a person the habits they learn will be what they automatically go to without thinking. If it is a bad habit like running stop signs, "cutting" curves, enjoying being a "bad" girl, leaning on guttural language to make a point, threatening, et al then there is a high probability the results are going to turn out badly.
I am not sure why one has to keep repeating the old phrase that, "If you want a friend then you have to be a friend." If you want respect you have to give respect. This is true of almost every social interaction. How can one expect that which they will not give?

Memphis said...

It's anti-feminist to demand that a woman have character on any level according to the dogma of feminism. Character and feminism don't mix, so of course they toss character in favor of their dogma. Its no coincidence that American women today report being less happy than any generation of American women in history.

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