Imagine you’re sitting next to the man or woman who makes your heart audible through your shirt. This person sits with hands in lap, playing hopscotch with his or her gaze, directing and redirecting them from the floor to your eyes.
You speak in nervous, hushed tones, asking one another about your days and about church on Sunday. The way this person speaks with one side of the mouth, unknowingly giggles, or swallows the letter “L” are some of the favorite discoveries you’ve found in these last few meetings.
This could be it. The woman in the linen dress, with dark silk hair to her shoulders might one day be your wife. The gallant man who wrings his strong hands, but looks at you with his hazel eyes could one day be your husband.
You’re breathing in steam and the excitement builds as you reach for the hands you’ve been staring at for twenty minutes.
A dry cough erupts with intention from the far corner.
A young man’s dating style has morphed into the pattern of liking a girl, being attracted to her, asking her out (though, I think a lot of young ladies would beg to differ on this point), and taking her out somewhere — typically out of parental glancing range.
Chaperones? The idea has become laughable in our affluent society, especially when a teenager passes a driver’s test.
Teens feel entitled to this alone time and it sure feels like they’re right when one of the two American teens is probably lucky enough to have use of a car.
Who could blame them? They can have a private conversation and be goofy without extra ears around. Sitting alone at a restaurant (or in a basement) fosters an environment for flirting, inside jokes, and ample time looking at all of the loveliness of your date.
Oh and then there’s smooching. That too.
The reason I’m having a hard time finding statistics on how early teens start up mild physical relationships is because statisticians have flown past that base and are rounding third. They have created a culture for themselves with the mantra, “Date early, often, and only for fun, for now.”
Somehow Dr. Esolen has fearlessly charged the field of twenty-first century thinking and managed to pad the blow, presenting his case in an honest, tender way.
“Had they been born a century ago, Nice Fornicators would most likely have approached the altar as virgins – man and woman both. They believe in the Ten Commandments, but they have been taught that one of those commandments no longer applies in the modern world, at least not in the way it used to.”
He points out that a mindset survived a century, but followed the cultural norms. Is it the culture of the late nineteenth Century that we need to replicate to reclaim the future “Nice Fornicators?” Should every unmarried couple have a designated chaperone?
If cultural pressure and an understood short courtship is the only thing that kept many young men and women in the nineteenth century caste, what can we say for this VirtuousPla.net generation?
Rather than giving the OK to hormonal teens, so long as there is an audience, perhaps we need to raise the bar and answer more teenage questions.
Our higher standard should lead to fearless discussion of the personal benefits of a chaste lifestyle, such as personal responsibility, respect for the human body and its purpose, and anticipation of a great plan for our sexualities. A declared chaperone brigade is both unnecessary and a hot target for spiteful rebellion.
Not every couple needs a chaperone, but limiting alone time is wise. Being together a lot without anyone else around can tempt you to “play house” because it feels as intimate as a lot of marital moments.
Teens, however, need a tighter set of “rules.” Handle this procedure with care, parents, you remember how attractive rebellion looked when you smelled the sour scent of “the rules.”
Teens and young adults need to grasp that the earlier you start testing your physical boundaries with the opposite sex, the earlier you could take it farther than you wish. Rather than considering “how far” you can go, think about how close you can get to doing what’s right for both of you.
“If purity disposes man to ‘keep his own body with holiness and reverence,’ as we read in 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, piety as a gift of the Holy Spirit seems to serve purity in a particular way by making the human subject sensitive to the dignity that belongs to the human body in virtue of the mystery of creation and redemption.” -Bl. John Paul II
There’s a brain in this Temple of the Holy Spirt of ours. Rather than plucking out the rationale that will convince us to do what we want now, we should use our brains and prayer to protect the Temple of any fellow twenty-first century survivor.