The wisest woman I know (my mother) once taught me a very valuable lesson about love and self-respect. I’ve decided that it is just too good to keep to myself.
[DISCLAIMER: I would like to apologize in advance to any Ford Focus owners/drivers. I am using this vehicle as an example, simply to prove a point. I do not in any way look down on people who drive this car, own this car, or like this car. Hell, I don’t have the right to hate on any vehicle in my current (car-less) state, so please don’t take this the wrong way.]
I am never a proponent of the objectification of women, but for the sake of the simile, let’s examine two types of cars.
First, you have the Ford Focus.
While the Focus is a decent vehicle, and is going to ultimately get you where you want to go, it’s not very expensive. It doesn’t require much to obtain said vehicle. No one is going to look at you, pushing your Focus, and say “Oh, you fancy, huh?” As my mother would put it, anybody can get a Focus. Nobody’s going to care if you kick your Focus when you get upset, or leave it in the snow over Winter Break, or let the battery die out in a parking lot. It’s not a symbol of status, it’s a symbol of necessity. It’s not extremely popular, not extremely sought after, and gets pretty good gas mileage.
Next, let’s look at the BMW M3.
The BMW M3 is a nice ass vehicle. It’s not only going to get you where you want to go, but you’re going to get there in style. The Beemer is going to cost you a pretty penny, but you knew that when you went to buy it. And you’re willing to pay that price, because you know that when you pull up to the party, people are going to immediately recognize your swag. You’re going to turn heads in the street. Everyone who knows you will figure, you must have your stuff together if you can afford such a whip. Even if it’s not their car, people are going to make sure you don’t mistreat a BMW. Their not going to let you drive it around dirty, or hide it in the garage. The Beemer is a status symbol, a success symbol, and shows that you not only like nice things, but that you’re willing to take care of them.
How does this relate to women? (If you haven’t made the connection already.)
Ladies, don’t be the Focus; be the Beemer.
There should be an element of exclusivity to you; not everybody and anybody should be able to obtain you. Anyone who pursues you should know that you are going to cost them something; it is going to take some effort to obtain you. People aren’t even going to try to step to you unless they have their shit together, because they know you’re not accepting just any application. People are going to work on themselves to make sure they measure up to you, and you’re going to make people want to be about their business. Any guy (or girl, depending on what you’re into) who manages to occupy your interest is going to want to show you off because it will be a testament to their status, their success, their intellect, etc. And when they roll up to a party with you on their arm, people are going to automatically give them respect, because they must be doing something right, if they’ve got you. The Beemer may cost more for gas and maintenance, but if you’re a Beemer, he’s going to be willing to pay that cost because they understand that you’re worth it. Also, if you’re a Beemer, your friends (as well as his) aren’t just going to let him treat you any kind of way. They’re going to call him out when he’s acting crazy, and check him when he comes at you wrong. They’re going to remind him (if he does forget what kind of quality vehicle he has) that he can’t just treat you like any old Focus, because there are plenty of other drivers who would be willing to take much better care of you.
Put simply, Focuses are approached during booty call hours by people only interested in driving their mileage up, denting their bumper, and then leaving them, used, in the back of some vacant lot with a scribbled For Sale sign in their rearview window; Beemers are courted during business hours by people with dreams and ambitions, who are looking for a vehicle that indicates their hard work and their style. Beemers are washed, waxed, and protected; they are not dented, they are not driven by untrustworthy friends and family members, they are not parked near the shopping cart corals at Wal-Mart because their drivers are not going to risk them being even slightly damaged. They are respected, they are highly regarded, and they are kept around for the foreseeable future.
Also, I would like to note that some of us females have the ability to be Beemers, but we allow ourselves to be treated like Fords. We look like M3s on the outside, fine and shiny and sleek and sexy; but you get us behind closed doors and we act like Focuses, with no standards for our suitors. On the contrary, some women appear as if they should be taking whatever comes their way on looks alone, but they hold their heads up high and they refuse anyone who even hints of scrub tendencies. These personas are a mindset, not a physicality.
I would also like to note that, in some cases, he may be trying to gauge which category you fall into. Do not be afraid to check him when he initially fails to give you the M3 treatment; if you don’t, you will inevitably become a Focus.
I know I did not cover all of the bases (or put it nearly as wisely as my mother did); feel free to add to what I’ve written, or even disagree. But this is how I was taught. I hope that at least one person will read this and start commanding the respect they deserve.
P.s. I don’t know much about cars, so if the references I used were kind of off, forgive me.
Lately, after conversations with friends and close family members, I’ve been pondering the idea of taking a vow of celibacy. But, like any good journalist, I wanted to do some research first, before committing to something that sounded so absolute. And some of the things I found actually made me change my mind. I’ll preface this research by saying that a few months ago, I set a goal for myself. That goal basically entailed tabling the idea of casual sex. But, when I thought through my decision, I realized that my motivation was not one of religious origin, like many decisions made concerning sex often are. Thanks to personal experience, and a very convincing argument made by my Intimate Relationships textbook, I just believe that sex would be all around more satisfying and enjoyable if reserved for a loving relationship. I hate to sound like a prudent conservative, because that honestly is not my thought process at all. I’ll give an example of how I’m feeling. I’ve always wanted to do it to music. The “Baby-Making Music” playlist in my iTunes library not only has a high play count, but is frequently revised and added to. Unfortunately, when I was engaging in casual sex, I never felt like I had earned the right to make such requests as, “Do you think we could turn on some music instead of, you know, the television? I brought my iPod.” Those rights, I believed, were reserved for girlfriends and other similarly committed partners. I wanted to reserve that sometimes sacred act for a situation where I felt comfortable enough to throw on Miguel’s “Teach Me” when things began to heat up. So, for me, I wanted to take what felt like an eight experience on the scale of one-to-ten, to it’s maximum potential. I’m not promising to save myself for marriage, but at least someone who’s worth it.
That being said, the research I did returned some interesting information. First, the word “celibacy” seems to have deviated from its original meaning. Many people use the word to mean abstaining from sexual intercourse, when in actuality the word to describe that is simply “abstinence“. “Celibacy” as defined by Webster and a host of other reputable sources, actually refers to a refusal to get married. The word comes from the Latin caelebs, meaning “unmarried”. Biblically, believers were asked to take such a vow and abstain from marriage because it was believed to be a distraction from Christian service. Another saintly definition outlines that “…Celibacy excludes not only libidinous acts, but also sinful thoughts or desires of the flesh.” According to the Western Christian Church, celibacy involves abstaining from “the use of marriage” which is believed to mean to resist any sexual contact even within marriage. That definition, I believe, conflicts with the whole challenge given by God to “… be fruitful and multiply…” from Genesis. Also, I was taught that sex between a husband and a wife is not only okay, but should be celebrated. Lastly, Gabrielle Brown, author of The New Celibacy wrote, “… Abstinence is a response on the outside to what’s going on, and celibacy is a response from the inside.” The goal behind celibacy, as defined this way, even without religious motivation, is to achieve personal, psychological growth.
Whew! That was quite a bit of research to digest. But here’s more. I ventured to a website that celebrates celibacy from a presumably Christian perspective, and found a bulleted list of The benefits of living without sex. A few of these “benefits” stuck out to me, and not in a good way.
- Enjoy feelings of self worth, empowerment, and individuality.
- Know that someone loves you for who you are rather than what you can give sexually.
- Avoid the heartbreak, regret, anger and emotional turmoil that a failed sexual relationship brings. Avoid giving away something precious, only to be left feeling used and worthless.
- Learn how to love unconditionally rather than lust …
- Enjoy feeling emotionally healthy and stronger, more able to face the future. Many people use sex as an escape from the disappointments and pain in their lives, only to find that sex brings them more problems than it solves.
Now, I’m not fooled into believing that this website is more than just opinion, religion, and speculation. But I feel like it is a good indication of what many of us have been socialized to believe. There is no guarantee that those of us who indulge in pre-marital sex, or do not choose a celibate lifestyle will be heartbroken, regretful, and angry because of it. On the contrary, there is not guarantee that those who do choose celibacy will be able to completely avoid those feelings. Also, being sexually active doesn’t mean that I am unable to face the future. Once again, it would be ignorant to assume that simply because you’re not having sex with your partner, that you couldn’t still be used in another way. I know plenty of people who have been in unhealthy relationships without sex. And a non-sexual relationship does not necessarily equate to an unconditionally loving one. What I’m saying with all of this is simply, don’t drink the Kool-Aid. Your experience may be different than others. Don’t let someone convince you that sex has been the bane of your existence, when in actuality it’s only been a small part of your life. If, however, you’ve had a longing for all of these feelings and lacking in all of these things, then maybe celibacy is right for you. (I’d really like to delve deeper into the socialization piece, but I’ll do some more research before that one.)
Another issue I found with taking a vow of celibacy came into play while doing more research. The article How to Take a Vow of Celibacy lists a multitude of steps towards taking and maintaining such a serious vow, from figuring out why you really want to take one to avoiding temptation and shifting your concentration to other things. One step that very clearly helped me to make my choice.
3. Tell those around you about your vow of celibacy. While you can keep your vow of celibacy a secret, it could be more effective if you let those close to you in on your vow. Doing so can help others be supportive of your decision. As a rule of thumb, it’s rarely a good idea to hide any life changing events such as this from those who are close to you. If you are in a relationship, it is definitely important to tell your partner about your decision.
Call me antisocial, but I don’t know that it is anyone else’s business (except for the person I am involved with) whether I choose to have sex or not. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for girl talk, and the juicier the better. But I just feel like if you are so adamant about refraining from sex, it should be a personal charge and not something that your whole posse has to hold you accountable for. I’m starting to ramble, so I’ll cut to the main reason why I don’t feel like a celibacy vow is right for me. Many of the literature I read suggests that living a sex-free lifestyle opens the door for you to devote yourself to so many other fulfilling endeavors. Maybe I am different from most people, but sex just doesn’t rule my life. It doesn’t keep me from doing anything, or distract me from any opportunities for growth and success. Even my decision to reserve it for the proper occasion has not been a decision that occupied a vast majority of my mind. I guess, if I were in a committed relationship that seemed to be centered around sex, or if I felt like my sexuality was really getting me into sticky situations, or if every weekend consisted of casual sex with a different, nearly anonymous partner, celibacy might be a more reasonable choice. Or if I was grappling with my sexuality and my devotion to God, I could understand taking such a vow a little better. But none of these things are true for me. Sex has never really been that big of a deal to me, even before I got in the game. And, I don’t think the decision not to have it would be any more serious. Also, the word “vow” just sounds so permanent. I want the freedom to change my mind as I change my circumstances without feeling guilty about wanting something different. How long are these things supposed to last? Until marriage? After marriage? I don’t know, this is really just a slightly educated rant, but I can tell you that right now, the previous goal I set for myself is just fine.