Finding a Voice

Friday, May 25, 2007

cars, dating, and money: Lauren Winner

Tonight I listened to (watched) half of an interview with Lauren Winner on the subject of dating. It's part of a series from Calvin College:

At one point Lauren and her interviewer, Karen, discuss the role of automobiles and money in the dating game. Here's the excerpt:
KAREN: Let's back up to that for just a minute. As you outline briefly in your essay, dating is a fairly recent occurence that comes about partly because the automobile makes it possible to leave the house. My grandmother tells stories that she was forbidden to date men with automobiles -- she found one with an airplane, but that was just to frustrate her parents, I think. But prior to that, and I thought this was really interesting, a woman really had an awful lot of power in a relationship in that it was up to her to invite or permit a young man to come court her, to come visit her, that was within her control. Dating reverses that.

LAUREN: And that's a very interesting point in terms of the way that some evangelical writers, back to the gender roles issue, say that women should not initiate in a dating relationship. Well, in the, say, late 19th century and there was no dating yet, and people "called on" young women, as you say, it was really up to the young woman and her parents to receive or not receive someone who was coming to call on her. And the woman really actually did have a lot more authority than she had in, say, 1930. So what had happened by 1930 was, as you say, the automobile made it possible for people not to just sit on the front porch, but to actually go out on a date. And what happened when people began going out was that dating became associated with spending money. So you knew you were going on a date when money was being spent at a restaurant, at a movie theatre, at a public park or something. And because women didn't have access to much of their own money it became the man who was spending money on the woman, etc. and that really is a 20th century phenomenon.

KAREN: Well, and it has seemed to me, even fairly recently, I talk with some friends about there are times when you're not sure whether you're on a date or you're just having dinner together, and one of the indicators is what night of the week is it, and one of the indicators is who pays.

LAUREN: And that is an interesting question as well, because, of course, many women do now have access to their own money, and so, you know, I can remember in the 80s and 90s there being this sort of debate about, as a woman should you or should you not  offer to pay, insist on paying, go dutch.  As soon as women did start having their own incomes the old rules didn't fit quite as well.
Interestingly, an MSN article, posted just today, confirms Winner's hypothesis that dating has become linked to spending money, and the feeling of both Karen and Lauren that it's hard to tell what's serious and what's not these days.

Here's the relevant excerpt from the MSN article:

How to Know If He Is Serious About A Relationship

Two Tickets to the Drive-In

Ladies, where is he taking you? Dinner and a movie? What a genius. A true sign of interest rests in the male that transcends cliché. There is nothing wrong with eating and entertainment, but Male A will try to outdo any other possible dates you might have been on. His dating habits will reflect more than five minutes of planning.

If your man takes you to the opera, the art gallery, or for a midnight walk-on-the-beach, chances are he's not looking for a mini-series, rather a romance that goes beyond the end of the season. In other words, he's Male A.

If he's borderline Male B on the other hand, most of your dates will peculiarly allow for and promote fornication (after or during the movie).

The Birthday/Holiday Scenario

Money talks. The ratio of income to output megaphones his interest. This means cherish him if he's blue collar and still buys you those diamond earings he saw you try on at the mall. If he's white collar and can only muster a pair of shoes that clashes with everything he's seen you wear, take a step away and back into the dating game.

If the first three months of your relationship evades any major gift-giving scenario, Male A will nonetheless invent reasons for flowers, candy, and surprise gifts. If his interest parallels his words, he will do everything possible to encourage that sweet smile you surrender when he surprises you with a box of Laura Secord.

The other three "signs" include "Meeting The Parents" (is he willing and interested in doing this?), "A Shift in Focus" (from his buddies to you), and "Libido" (aka sex drive -- a guy who's serious will wait). The author also suggests testing Mr. Potential: "Put Him to the Test ... say you stop calling and start inventing all sorts of appointments, what will happen? Try it. Male A will wait – Male B will move on." Hmmm -- that last bit sounds manipulative to me.

Lauren and Karen also make observations relevant to meeting the parents and libido.

The world of dating changed exponentially over the 20th century and has left us without bearings in the 21st century. There are a lot of people -- religious and secular -- trying to describe the terrain, but who can provide us with navigational tools? Lauren is helpful: "there is no biblical approach to dating, because dating didn't exist until the early 20th century, really. But there are biblical principles about how to have relationships with other people that I think apply and that we can translate into the dating situation." What does it look like to love another person as a brother or sister in Christ? This is the key question as we approach romantic relationships. In the beginning, in the middle, in the end, we are siblings in Christ.

NOTE: Unfortunately, only half of Lauren's interview would load on my computer. I'm going to try a different computer tomorrow. See if you have better success at accessing the whole thing.
posted by Colleen McCubbin at 1:44 AM 1 comments

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

fortunes from a Vietnamese restaurant last week

Click on the picture for larger viewing ...

posted by Colleen McCubbin at 3:25 PM 2 comments

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

new template, new post

Thanks for the nudge, Rachel. I have been pondering this post for a couple of weeks now, wondering how to summarize recent experiences, opportunities, and musings ...

Lethbridge: Conference

The Research in Religious Studies conference was enlightening. It was one of the most inter-faith experiences I have had. The first paper was a critique of gender and sexuality in the Left Behind series. The second paper was an explanation of how yoga tantric sex is used to achieve enlightenment. And the conference progressed from there!

It started Thursday morning and by Thursday afternoon I had written in my notebook: "What's the 'real' value of a conference such as this? Is it just SCR?"

Thursday evening we had a banquet, with speaker Dr. David Goa of The Chester Ronning Centre at Augustana University College in Camrose, AB. It was like he had read my notebook. He challenged us that students of religious studies have a public vocation, that our work is important because we are learning to listen to people of other faiths and cultures, we are learning to understand difference and not merely dismiss it.

Though his voice is gentle and his cadences poetic, he does not speak in the vaguaries that often accompany multicultural tolerance: he challenged us to make and keep commitments, beautifully setting his work in the ground of his own Orthodox faith.

"The best conversations come out of commitment on both sides.
So for me the ‘other’ was never somebody to be afraid of. They were always somebody whose face invited me to a great mystery."

My cousin Amy & I were tremendously heartened by Dr. Goa and approached him after the banquet. He asked what we were presenting. When I told him "oral histories of women from the early days of Briercrest" he said, "Oh, we're very interested in that sort of thing. Send me your paper. Maybe we can work together." Amy & I walked away stunned by the possibilities. So I sent him my paper and we ended up setting a lunch date for the end of my Alberta tour.

Calgary: Family

After the Lethbridge conference I went to Calgary until my next conference. I stayed with my brother Tom, his wife Lori, and their kids Jackson, Mackenzie and Emma. They're so easy to be with and it's so refreshing for me to be with my nephews and neice: to take some turns driving the kids to and from school, to have quirky conversations with them, to play board games and card games. (I don't know anything about Star Wars, but who needs information to provide a suitable foil in Star Wars trivia?)

I also got to watch all of season six of Gilmore Girls and the first DVD from season one! (I rarely watch TV and movies at home.)

I was able to connect with other family members, too: Aunt Sherry (who lives in Estevan and Regina) was in town visiting her daughter Brandi. I was able to spend a few hours with each of them. Uncle Bob & Aunt Lorrie were visiting Canada from Australia. I had already seen them for a couple of days in Spiritwood, but we were able to do lunch at the Kensington Pub with Tom, Aunt Sherry, Brandi, and U. Bob's daughter Kelly.

Note: the Kensignton Pub is across the street from Tom's shoe store, Stride ("Because you can't be comfortable in ugly shoes"). Now I've got my eye on a pair of John Fluevogs from the Operetta line.

My favourite thing about Operettas is the quotation on the bottom:

Hey Minstrel
Your Love Makes Me Sing!
Arise! Come! My Darling,
My Beautiful One, Come With Me.

A beautiful pairing of a lyric from "I Could Sing of Your Love Forever" with a verse from "Song of Solomon" -- and perfect for a musician.

Someday ...

In the meantime, I need to make a bit of money!


During that week I did a lot of prep for the CACSD conference.

I also held my first house concert at the home of Pete and Audrey Winter in Red Deer. There were about 15 people, including Audrey's brother Gene Zacharias and his family. Gene is a long-lost college friend. We used to sit in the cafeteria and laugh our heads off together. We did laugh that evening, but we also had poignant fellowship. Gene and Sonja joining me to sing the last song together:

I have a Maker
He formed my heart
Before even time began
My life was in his hands
He knows my name
He knows my every thought
He sees each tear that falls
And hears me when I call.

After the concert, the Zacharias family wrote in my notebook. Gene & Sonja's son, Seth, is a very good artist, so I asked him to draw something. "Okay," he agreed. "I'll draw what came into my head."

What came into Seth's head was astoundingly prophetic. My middle name is Faye, which means fairy, and this year more than ever it has been meaningful to me. Wings are another meaningful theme, so the butterfly is significant. (The dragonfly and bee were added by Seth's sister Claire, along with the two fairies and the flower on the bottom right.) The peace lily is a symbol from a dream I had in April 2006, comforting me to be contented about not having children (... yet ...).

Seth is about 12. There is no way he could have known these things, but on the evening of my very first house concert, these images were like Noah's rainbow: symbols of promise, affirmations that I'm on the right path.

Claire's other illuminations:

This bird reminded me of "Mother Bird" from a lovely book my friend Lamb gave me for my birthday this year: Fairy Dust and the Quest for the Golden Egg.

Funny -- I have these hand drawings, but I don't have any photos from the house concert!

We put about 15 CDs and a "tips teapot" on a low, round table in the middle of the living room. Instead of actually "selling" the CDs, people could just take one and put a donation in the teapot.
The amount in the teapot was approximately equal to the amount I would have collected if I had actually sold the discs. Again, a confirmation that the Lord will provide as I continue on this path.

On Wednesday afternoon I had my first phone interview with Incubator Records. Very encouraging.

Calgary: Open Mic Night

In order to have time together, my cousin Brandi & her husband Alex generously let me tag along on their "date night." I was planning to sing during open mic at The House Coffee Sanctuary, so we rendez-vous'd there. The wait for my call was going to be long
so we went for a walk through Prince's Island. Brandi & Alex left before 10 to pick up Aunt Sherry at the airport. I went back to The House, sang my two songs to a warm crowd, and ended up having a long and delightful conversation with a girl named Beka who had lived at Caronport for a few years after doing the Kaleo program. I left a CD and came away with a tentative booking for July 7th!

Calgary: CACSD Conference

The CACSD Executive started arriving on Sunday afternoon. We gathered that evening at Calgary's downtown Sandman for last minute planning. The conference started Monday afternoon and ended Wednesday evening. Using open space technology to organize the conference, I was the main facilitor. Open space is a great way to discover what's really important to a group, and one things we discovered is that excursions are important to CACSD members! We worked hard in discussion sessions on Monday afternoon & Tuesday morning. Tuesday afternoon was also open for sessions, but instead of posting topics, we ended up with invitations for sight-seeing and shopping!

Tuesday afternoon my friend Lamb arrived in Calgary and stayed at Tom & Lori's. (He drove from Ontario and has some business in Alberta this week.) Arriving about half an hour before me, he was entertained by Emma, who told him all about Charlotte's Web after learning that he had neither watched the book nor seen the movie.

Unfortunately, after supper I became quite sick and was completely wiped out through the next day. Missing Wednesday morning of my conference didn't really buy more time with Lamb since, both exhausted (him from driving and me from illness), we went to bed early and slept until 11:00 a.m. Even so, it was nice to spend some time with him. There's a good chance that he'll stop in Spiritwood next week on the return drive to Ontario.

I went back to the conference on Wednesday for a couple of afternoon meetings and the banquet and to help the Executive clean up. Job well done. Next year at Redeemer University College in Ontario.

Edmonton: Lunch with Dr. Goa

Had a lovely lunch with Dr. David Goa at the Mill Creek Cafe. We discussed my research on women from the early days of Briercrest and how to continue it, possibly with the Chester Ronning Centre. He gave me some very useful tips re. a Ph.D.

Ater lunch introduced me to The Bookseller, a used book store underneath the Mill Creek Cafe.
Lovely shop, well worth visiting again. Didn't buy any books, though!

Post-trip pondering

I came straight home to Spiritwood on Friday evening. Waiting for me was the first package from Incubator Records with 4 hours of workshop on cassette tapes introducing prospects to Incubator's approach to ministry. I like what they're saying so far but ... lately I've been wondering if I should find a day job. The idea of a steady income is appealing. The entrepreneurial life of a musician and researcher can be risky. But what am I "called" to? Incubator President, Nathan L. Sakany, says that a calling is "something that just keeps calling to you." Even if I took a day job for just a year or two, the music and research would "just keep calling to me." And the Lord keeps reminding me that he'll take care of the money.
So why not now? I need to stay centred and reread my own words from last summer: a new season.

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posted by Colleen McCubbin at 2:35 PM 2 comments