The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Atlantic Crossing

Posted on | March 16, 2011 | 5 Comments

Trans-Atlantic cosmopolitan Hadley Freeman, who apparently hops back and forth between Manhattan and Ye Merry Olde, offers what she describes as an ironic contrast:

The British approach to dating could easily be described as “chaotic” to the point of non-existent. I, however, see it as a decidedly just, nay, DEMOCRATIC state of affairs: you go to a party, you get drunk, you go home with someone, and the next day you either move in with them or you never speak to them again. It’s such a free-for-all kind of approach; one that would have made the founding fathers proud.
In New York City, the alleged hub of dating, the whole dating farrago is freighted with so many rules that Jane Austen would bang her head against the parsonage wall and snap her little bit of ivory in half.

(Hat-tip: Roger Ebert, of all people.) Freeman goes on to describe the too-timid-for-her-tastes ritual of the men she’s recently met in Manhattan. As to her notion that the Founding Fathers would have been proud of the “free-for-all kind of approach,” I’m rather dubious.

Her description of British dating habits, however, reminds me of something Rod Stewart once said when he was dating an international supermodel. (Of course, Rod’s always dating an international supermodel, but I digress …) The singer was asked if he contemplated marriage with the long-legged lady and replied (in effect), “If she gets pregnant, we’ll get married.”

Which is a sort of old-fashioned working-class attitude toward such things, and that which is old-fashioned is always in some sense conservative.

Of course, the association of marriage and parenthood is conservative. We may disapprove of Rod Stewart’s multiple divorces, but his try-try-again approach could be seen as representing a veneration of the conjugal institution. And he certainly has shown an enthusiasm for fatherhood. Last month, Stewart and wife No. 3 welcomed a baby son, Aiden, his second son by her, and his eighth child in total, including 47-year-old Sarah Streeter. At age 66, however, Stewart admits the experience of fatherhood leaves him “bloody exhausted.”

Social conservatives aren’t likely to adopt Rod Stewart as a family-values role model, but the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous do offer an opportunity to discuss the “sexual scripts” that are the subject of Rebecca Hagelin’s latest Townhall column:

A new book, Premarital Sex in America, by Mark Regnerus and Jeremy Uecker . . . offers compelling research on the influences and decisions that lead to premarital sex—or virginity—among older adolescents and young adults. . . .
“[S]exual scripts” within a person’s social community strongly influence his or her expectations about sex.
What are “sexual scripts”? They are the unwritten “rules” of a social community, the norms about “what…to do next” or how, when, and why to have sex. Peers, friends, and the media pass these scripts along, often implicitly, teaching through the power of stories, images, and anecdotes. The popular scripts shape adolescents’ perceptions of what’s “normal,” while competing “scripts,” proposed by parents and religious beliefs, may fade from the adolescents’ day-to-day life and become lost. . . .
[T]he sexual scripts proposed by our permissive culture and the media rest on lies–lies about relationships, the meaning of sex, and the path towards happiness.

Go read the rest of Hagelin’s column. Her mention of Premarital Sex in America might inspire another one of those head-exploding outbursts from Echidne of the Snakes. Something about fish and bicycles, perhaps?

 But I will resist the temptation to return to the Feminism Wars.

The Siege of Stalingrad was less epic.


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