Sunday, August 5, 2007

Are You Dateable? That's Debatable

There is a man who calls himself Justin Lookadoo. He is a Christian book author and speaker, who does youth ministry. He writes relationship advice books for teens. He is quite possibly the scariest man I have ever seen.

I have a real interest in crappy relationship advice. Call it a hobby of mine. So, after reading a post on Pandagon about a crazy fundie youth group, I followed some links to Lookadoo land, and found Dateable- the book he co-authored about teen relationship advice. It claimed to be a bestseller, so I looked it up.

I did the Amazon Look Inside thing, and I wish I hadn't. Yikes! From what I can tell, the main thrust of the advice is: 1. Teen relationships aren't real and are bound for failure; 2. girls need to pretend to think guys are funny, "keep their mouths shut" and not dominate discussion with lots of squicky personal stuff, and stay mysterious, so the guy will "want" them; 3. under NO circumstances should a girl have sex, because she will feel "dirty and used" when the guy leaves her (which is inevitable) and starts bopping someone else.

It basically tells girls they should live their lives like a montage from an 80's teen movie (Splash in the ocean with your friends! Try new food, even if you don't think you'll like it! Go on a roller coaster riding marathon! Write poetry on the front of your notebook!). Really- do fun, spontaneous, original things-- but only so guyz will think you are a real keen free spirit cool gal! I mean, screw it if you don't LIKE roller coasters, or poetry-- that's NOT the point. You are just trying to be catnip for boys.

Oh, and girls have just GOT to stop daydreaming about that perfect, romantic, caring, sweet "Mr.Right". Why? Well, to a girl, every guy becomes Mr. Right when she falls for him, but he's really a gnarly crudball, and holding him to those high expectations isn't really fair, and the relationship will just go nowhere... because of HER unrealistic expectations. You got that? So instead, a girl should just have three criteria a boy HAS to meet- 1. He MUST be Christian; 2. he MUST NOT smoke; 3. He can't EVER try to have sex. Yep, those are the big three, according to Mr. Lookyloo and Co.

The sex is really the prime point. They REALLY want to drive home the idea that sex outside of marriage is bad. Why? It uses you up. Once you've had sex, you're damaged goods. Totally. See:

Would you buy a beat up old used car at a new car price? Think about it. Would you look at this car that is all scratched up with dents and high miles on it, pay the full sticker price and think, “Wow, what a great deal!” No way. But that’s exactly what happens when you get into sex without being married. When you keep having sex and pushing further and further what you are actually doing is turning yourself into a used car. Then you are expecting someone to come along and make a full price commitment for a ragged out, used car.
Every new sexual experience, when you are not married, puts another ding, another scratch, another scar on who you are. You keep running your car into other people, and then you wonder why no one treats you special. You can’t understand why no one wants to make a major commitment.
You are in control of this. You control what kind of condition you are in. If you treat you body like an old clunker, don’t be surprised when everyone wants to take you for a spin, and then go get a new car. You are valuable. Keep yourself new. Keep yourself unused. Then you will be the one everyone wants and they will be willing to make the long-term commitment to have you. You will be desirable and Dateable.

Now, none of the above states whether it is for girls, or boys, or both. But as you'll see, I think we can guess who gets used up by sex according to the authors. Surprise! Its the girls!:

The biggest test of a man is passed when he can say he’s not ready yet. You will show strength and wisdom in saying “I’m not ready for sex. I’m not ready for all that comes with it so I’m not ready for it.” The most powerful men in the world are the men who have control of themselves and their sex drive. If it has control of you, you lose. But take control and your power and passion for life will multiply. Sex will be great when you are ready for one woman for life.
And girls your biggest test is passed when you can control your emotions and see beyond your imagination. You show amazing grace and beauty when you won’t sell out your body for love. You become a woman of mystery when you don’t allow your emotions to lie to you about something you don’t have. The power of a woman is in her ability to manage her emotions and not let her emotions control her.
Your challenge is this, man must control his physical body and a woman you must control your emotional body, do this and you will be totally Dateable.

Well, we finally DO see some boy advice. Keep it in your pants! Sex is baddd. It will control you. Until you are married. Then its all OK.

So really, this is that rarest of things- a book about how NOT to have a relationship. Because, what all of this stuff really boils down to is to strive for as little intimacy as possible. Glancing blows, that's all. A few noncommittal sort of dates to go riding roller coasters or eat new foods, but NO physical contact, and none of that blab blab lovey-dovey emotional diarrhea girls always go in for- mysterious and cool- that's the way (Not telling the boy your name is really preferable). And probably no second date. But hey, some day you'll get married, and then ALL OF YOUR WILDEST DREAMS WILL COME TRUE! WOO HOO!

Yeah. That's so real world. That's why according to the Barna study in 99, Born-Again Christians had a slightly higher than average divorce rate, and in 2001, they were in a statistical dead-heat with non-Christians. Sure. Because marriage is this God-sanctified happyland, where the livin' is easy, and the sex is good. All you have to do is believe, I mean really BELIEVE that, and you'll... end up divorced, just like everybody else.

If you take Dateable's advice, you're just as likely to get divorced as those crummy non-Christians you were WARNED to stay away from, but you'll also not have had much fun with dating, so you'll be a REALLY sad and miserable person.

But hey, you can hold your head up high, and tell the world you aren't a used car! (Well, technically, after you divorce, you WILL be, but... um... that can be one of those little "mysterious" details you never tell about yourself.)

PS- Justin? You might want to loose the bleached spikes and the "totally rad" threads. You look like a 40 year old trying to look 20. And some folks might get the impression you need to go through the Exodus program again. That's a real cred killer in your line of work.

Think Ted Haggard.

'Nuf said.