Some years ago, my darling daughter (DD) came home from college in a strop! “That Joe Taylor!”
From the tone of her voice, Joe Taylor had obviously done something despicable. “It’s so insulting!” she growled, “All the girls are fuming about it!”
The ‘it’ in question was a list, drawn up by Joe, which rated each girl in his group according to ‘how fit she was’. This naturally caused quite a stir. Yet, despite my initial feminist sensibilities, I quite admired Joe Taylor. For the next few weeks, he became the focus of attention with every girl trying desperately (but unsuccessfully) to discover her score. Let’s be honest, not many guys can get so many girls so interested in their opinion.
Did the list even exist? If not, it wouldn't surprise me. Joe, who later went up to Oxford, was an extremely clever young man with his eye set on a political career – in which such tactics would doubtless prove useful.
But would they work on any female over 16 with any self-esteem?
I'd like to think not!
Being top of the list is not enough.
Being Number One infers there’s a Number Two and a Number Three and countless other numbers. A man with more than one woman in his sights is not ready for a serious relationship. A man with a list is STILL LOOKING. And a woman with any self-esteem wants to be NOT Number One but THE One, the One and Only.
Sadly, an ever-widening choice of partners and the willingness of both sexes to hook up with whoever takes their fancy has made intimacy as meaningful in modern times as a trip to the public urinal. Sowing wild oats is a rite of passage, along with social diseases, unwanted pregnancies, broken marriages, loneliness, lovelessness, depression and heartbreak.
So what’s the solution? Maybe we should all take a giant leap back into the past. True, previous generations saw injustice, poverty and exploitation (just like today), but they got at least one aspect of their life correct.
Courtship wasn’t just for the upper and middle classes. Every level of society craved respectability, to have a good marriage with a good person.
In Jane Austen’s day, young couples enjoyed chaste activities under the watchful eyes of their chaperones. Instead of rapidly shrinking hemlines and necklines, the hint of an ankle was as far as it went. Extreme, maybe, but many a strong marriage was formed by exercising self-control.
Of course, in many ways women are better off these days, but the very fact they are no longer dependent on fathers and husbands makes it even easier to hold oneself worthy – to view oneself as more than a number on a checklist!
A few tips from Jane Austen
Don’t hold yourself cheap.
Never get ‘picked up’, accept a one-night stand or indulge in casual sex.
Make sure you know the person fairly well – make friends with him before dating.
For that first date, arrange to meet in a neutral environment where there are people.
Introduce him to family and friends - and expect him to do the same with you.
Avoid putting yourself in compromising situations – parked cars, empty apartments or lonely parks.
Remember, if he truly cares for and respects you, he’ll be prepared to wait.....
And want you for his One and Only!!!