The only reason that I ask is because a young fellow cancelled a date with me barely a minute after he found out that I did Catholic journalism.
I was a casualty of a fix-up.
A much older friend of mine had a handsome, dashing, extremely successful, and affluent young man in mind for me. It is a bit of a hobby of some thoughtful older people in London. They like to ‘fix-up’ / shamelessly throw together two young people of similar interests, perhaps by inviting them to the same dinner party or having them round for drinks.
The whole episode happened in a matter of minutes. My friend introduced me to the young man, because he thought, ‘you two will really hit it off’. And at the start, me and the young Brit got on like a house on fire. We found out that we read the same stuff, laughed at the same things and were both from middle-class Catholic backgrounds. He was lapsed, and seemed to have no faith at all, but he didn’t hold it against someone if they were (through no fault of their own) from a Catholic background. He asked if I’d go out with him, and I agreed.
Then he asked what sort of newspapers I scribble for. I told him that I write for the Catholic press. In the blink of an eye, the young man went from being jovial and flirty - to cold and flinty. It was like someone poured a barrel of ice-cold water on a blaze. He frostily cancelled the date with me.
But, what does he hold against the Catholic media world, you might ask? It’s not because he’s bitter towards the Church or holds the lapsed Catholic’s grudge against Catholic publications of an evangelising nature. This isn’t a personal vendetta against the Church, a sort of drop-a-Catholic-girl-because-I-hate-Catholicism.
No, this was because he feared that I would be a hazard, that having me next to him would scar his professional reputation, such was the danger of the disapproval of his colleagues. A type of, ‘he’s seeing that girl who has published her views, he must not be one of us.’
He gauged that he would be made to suffer because his colleagues would think the less of him for dating a Catholic writer, and that there would be an immediate punishment in the form of not being thought of as ‘cool’ and ‘with it’.
He’s not so fearful of Catholic media, but the people, the Catholics who make the media. It’s not so much the ink of Catholic tracts, but the beating hearts of Catholics who profess beliefs and write about them.
I have seen the young man once since he called off our evening out, and he could barely look me in the eye. His facial expression was that of a sullen child who had just been stung by a bee. I never said anything about our aborted date, but of his own volition, he piped up and made an excuse as to why he couldn’t date me.
Afterwards, I explained the train of events to my great friend Sonia and she said, “why aren’t you upset?”
“Why would I be upset?” I said nonchalantly, “I find the whole thing interesting as opposed to upsetting. When he cancelled our date, I felt like I do when I meet a cocker spaniel on the street who scampers away before I can pat his head.”
In retrospect, I’m a little relieved that the young man dropped me early on. The heart: less dated, soonest mended.
|I am...the danger|
He probably thought that I was more likely to write for Marie Claire or Cosmopolitan. The irony is that I could probably get a commission from Cosmo if I were to write an excruciatingly emotional account of how my love life and professional life has been negatively impacted because I’ve been rejected – on the grounds – that I am outspoken about piety and pro-life matters, and gay marriage.
I’d like to be clear that I’ve not had spats or been excluded by gay people who dislike my views on gay marriage. After the interview that I did with +Cordileone in January 2013, my face and my writing became more identifiable in public. I became very easily-recognisable to gay people, and when I’ve been stopped by gay people when out-and-about in London, they have been polite, interested in my work and not afraid to be seen chatting with a Catholic journo.
In my experience, it is more social-climbing, go-getting people who fear being seen with me because they think that they will be coloured by my stick-in-the-mud ideas.
You’ll notice that in the above names and personal details have been omitted because I don’t want the people involved to be identified. But I do feel called (oh, how out-of-date and vocational I seem, with my use of, ‘called’) to publish this ‘diary’ of sorts.
Modern day bloggers like me have a lot in common with obsessive Victorian diary-keepers. Blogs, like the diaries of old, put our society in perspective and are the 'primary sources' that will tell future historians about our age.
This post may reflect badly on me as the pro-life pariah who can’t get a date. But I’ve never judged myself in accordance with the romantic company that I keep.
All is not lost! This may be entertaining to include, but I’ve never had a (much) younger man rebuff me because of my Catholic witterings. In fact, when I was on holiday last summer in Miami Beach, I had a very earnest 19 year old American college student ask me out.
|Miami, Summer 2013, the land of sun, sea, and naive nineteen year-olds.|
In December 2013, at a post-filming party, a comedy-hero of mine, Chevy Chase asked me, “are you sure it’s ok for me to have my picture taken with you? Will some hot-shot guy come up and say, ‘hey, what are you doing with my wife’?”
Chevy, you are sweet, but with every pro-life post and in-depth interview with a bishop, I get further and further from a so-called, ‘hot-shot guy’.
|Trying not to laugh while Chevy cracks jokes|