....and for the fact that they raised me with moral principles backed up by the teachings of the Bible and the Book of Mormon, and taught and reinforced by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
If you want to read a sad commentary on what it's like for a young woman to go out into the big wide world expecting to be treated well by men and to have wonderful sexual experiences full of love and mutual regard, you can read this article by Caitlin Moran: "How to Tell the Bad Men from the Good Men," with the subtitle, "Itt wasn’t so simple at age 18."
Or, if you don't want to read yet another sad and horrifying article about the completely messed-up world of contemporary "dating," you can read this summary, written by me:
Ms. Moran went out into the world knowing nothing about men. She adds, "In this, of course, I was scarcely alone. There are no guidebooks about men: figuring out which are the nice ones, and which are the dangerous ones. What is acceptable behavior, and what is not."
And that's still true for most young women, isn't it? We know nothing about men except for the romantic movies and 19th-century novels we were raised on, nothing but cute boy-groups singing songs about love, oblivious to the fact that the word "love" in those songs just means "sex" to them.
So, what's a young woman to do? Enter my parents, and parents like them, who realize that our ignorance can ruin our lives temporarily and permanently, but also that we simply won't believe their warnings, and so they give us the rules ahead of time.
Alas, Ms. Moran never comes right out and tells her readers "how to tell the bad men from the good men." She herself learned by experience, by dealing with sexist bosses in sexist offices, by having bad sex with cruel and heartless men, by hearing insults hurled at her by men who thought she "owed" them something, and so on.
In contrast, here are the rules my parents raised me with:
1. Don't have sex with anyone until you're married.
(But what if the person I marry turns out to be a horrible person, like those horrible men Ms. Moran learned how to deal with outside of marriage? Well, there are ways to deal with that, too. More on that, in a subsequent blog post.)
2. Don't date anyone who doesn't have the same principles you do, such as the ideals of treating each other with care and respect, saving sexual intimacy for marriage, and all the rest of those "old-fashioned" values.
3. When you date, follow rules like not sitting in a car "necking" and not agreeing to or submitting to any kind of sexual acts.
4. Do regard sex as the powerful procreative power that God gave us, to be used with care, in order to bring His spiritual children into the world with physical bodies so they can continue to grow and progress in becoming like Him and returning to His presence.
5. Don't drink alcohol. Alcohol consumption is associated with the lowering of physical, mental, and emotional barriers, resulting in behavior that a person would not ordinarily engage in, for example, having sex.
6. Go to church, spend time reading the Holy Scriptures every day, and pray at least every morning and every night for God's help in directing your life.
In summary, then, there ARE guidelines. The list I just wrote contains some of those guidelines. The idea that there are no guidelines, or that they're prudish and old fashioned, is another of many ways that the dirty old men of the world maintain power and influence, while keeping women and people of color from attaining their full potential.
(Yeah, I know, "dirty old men," what a term to use, but, come on, you know it's an accurate one, don't you? Just look at Harvey W et al.)
That's all for now, except to state that I'm NOT recommending you not read Caitlin Moran's essay or anything written by her. She's a brilliant writer and astute observer of human behavior. She's worth reading. But she just didn't get the wonderful upbringing my parents gave me and my siblings.
(Here's Caitlin Moran's Amazon page.)