Friday, September 30, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 10 - Part Four

So far, the Botkin Sisters have focused on how to bother your friends show any interest in a romantic relationship. Next, the girls explain how to become a completely social isolated loser. 

 Don't believe me? Wait until you see the advice.

How to put out a fire

However, if you're dealing with a fire someone else has started, there's still things you can do.

When other people are having a gossip festival,  just remember that the best way to put out a fire is to be a wet blanket. Don't be afraid to put a damper on things by saying, "I really don't think we should be talking about this." "Do you know this for a fact?"   "Have you consulted your parents about this?"   "Have you talked to the people involved?" (pg. 188)
  • Yes! Everyone loves a wet blanket!  Simply by following this advice you can look both immature and self-important in  a few short sentences.
  • Most adults - and teenagers, actually - can change the subject in a conversation without putting another person down.  And honestly, these ideas are borderline rude. The last three sentences imply that the speaker is either immature,  lying, or spreading gossip.
  • As an adult woman, I am certain that my parents do not want me to consult them on every conversation about a romantic interlude between two other people that I hear about.   This was true even when I was 12. 
When you see a genuinely bad situation that requires intervention - for example, if two young people are doing things their parents don't know about that - there are appropriate channels  (your parents, and maybe theirs) to go through to the address the problem. Your girlfriends are not one of these channels. But talking to parents is different from gossip and inappropriate meddling.  (pg 189)
  • is your friend in danger? Is your friend in an abusive relationship?  If she is, by all means intervene. If she is not in danger, tread carefully.
  • How certain are you that your friend's parents are sane? Are you able and ready to deal with the outcome of your friend being kicked out parents who are unduly controlling? If not, mind your own business. 
  • How certain are you that you know exactly what one of your friends' parents is comfortable with their daughter doing in terms of a romantic relationship? If you are wrong, you will manage to embarrass your friend slightly and yourself immensely.
  • How many friends do you have? How many friends do you want to have? Following this advice is an excellent way to destroy a friendship so if you have too many friends follow the advice. If not. disregard this  advice.
When you're the one being gossiped about, don't respond emotionally or immaturely. Take this is an opportunity to examine yourself and your conduct - have you been giving people a reason to talk? If you and your parents are sure you haven't, then don't stress out about it, and don't take it personally. When people talk about you, it means they're watching you - be sure that you are modeling conduct that's  irreproachable. Give them a reason to whisper excitedly about how well you've been behaving.

When we discover that people are making things up behind our backs -"I bet they're not allowed to talk to boys." " Look at who she's talking to again! " " What horrible thing do you suppose Anna Sofia did to make her father force her to be single forever?" "Between Tom, Dick, and Harry, I'm betting Elizabeth marries Harry."  "Anna Sophia and Alfred would make a great couple. I think I'll go tell her!" - we don't need to let it get to us. This is the sort of thing that can bring comedy to our lives.(pg. 189)
  • Skip the self-reflection. People will gossip. it's not worth living your life based on what will give them the most minimal amount of gossip.
  • No one is ever going to whisper excitedly about how well you've been behaving. I am speaking from years of experience; no one gives a shit about people behave well.
  • in all fairness to the gossips, when your father has spent years telling people that you and your sister has been raised specifically for the purpose of being wives and mothers, do not be surprised when people ask why you are neither a wife nor a mother when approaching 30.  And if you think it's bad now, wait until you turn 35.
  • I don't see what's so wrong about telling an adult that you think they would make a nice couple with another adult.   Not a great idea if they're both 10, but I don't think 10 year-olds should be reading this book either... 
When people are prodding and prying, give an answer for the hope that is within you. 
With nearly fifty years of life between the two of us, we have had our share of encounters with both the well-meaning and the snoops who mistook our business for their business, asking everything from "why aren't you married yet?"  "So, are you interested in boys yet?" "So, when are you going to get married?" "Why don't you have a boyfriend?"  " plans?"  "Is something going on between you and Harry?" "Is it hard not being married?" "You do know you're getting older, right?" "Why won't you consider polygamy?" "Can I give your number to a friend of mine?" "Have you met Algernon? He's really cute and good with kids!" "So, who would you like to marry?" (pg. 189)
  • So, I'm just spitballing here, but I'm willing to bet that Elizabeth and Anna Sophia have had a lot more of these conversations know that they are approaching 50 years of life between the two of them then they had when this book was written.
  • I find it interesting how the questions are a mix of outright rude, standard curiosity, and well-meaning advice.  I wonder how many of their friends suspect that one or both of the sisters are lesbians and are asking the question about interest in boys to open a difficult conversation topic.
  • I would recommend that if a friend offered to give your number to a guy they know  - take them up on it. Likewise, if they know a guy they are willing to introduce you to who is cute and good with kids, say "Yes, I would love that."
Instead of dreading these questions, we should embrace the opportunity to tell them why we do have hope and not despair; why were not boy-crazy; why we trust the Lord with the future; how we guard our hearts and minds; how much fruit God is bringing from are single years; and how all the ways we are trying to serve the Lord now. These are the god-given opportunity is to show people a glimmer of hope, a bigger vision, giving them a reason to trust in God too.  (pg 189)
  • These are some of the worst conversation topics I've ever heard of.I can't believe it actually think someone who asked the question quote do you have a boyfriend? Quote is interested in a discussion about how big are their hearts and Minds.
  • presumably the Botkin Sisters have been sharing this conversation topics with their friends since the book was written. I also Imagine for most of the people who their friends with these topics of conversation has become stale. it's one thing to have a conversation with your friend  who is 23 about how trust the Lord with their future and another thing to have the same conversation when their friend is now 30.
  • Expecting your personal story to give people a glimmer of hope for a reason to trust in God can blow up in your face.  After all,  the Botkin Sisters have been telling these stories to their friends and conference attendees for the better part of ten years now. 
That's the end of this chapter. Now that the Botkin Sisters have passed on to their readers ways to scare off both men and women we can move on to the Botkin Sisters' interpretation of how a bunch of other young women have screwed up relationships. Sounds like fun!  


  1. Okay, either these girls have a massively over-inflated sense of how important their lives are to everyone else, or their world is (and I'm repeating myself here) way too small.
    Also.... to be honest, I'm not sure what these ladies really want.
    They complain that people think they'd be a good match with someone. They complain that someone has a great friend they want to connect them with.
    They complain that people ask them about being single when they've made their single lives a whole huge thing (what do you expect when you put yourself out there like that?)
    Do they actually want to get married? They seem to insinuate they do (or should) but at the same time insist on cutting off every possible option for meeting someone marry-able.

    1. That's because they have to. They don't get the option to meet with a random someone a friend thinks would be a good match; girls in their situation would normally have to run it by daddy and, with a particularly stringent father, a big screening process would take place. But in the case of Daddy Botkin? I'm guessing it'd be like trying to squeeze a man through Fort Knox. Plus, they've been trained to be more wary of mates than either most girls or their own brothers, I'm positive. A friend of mine who's known many of these people and how think for years (esp Geoff) says she doesn't think he'll ever let them marry, and if that's true, I doubt the girls know it. Which makes me very sad and very angry for them.

  2. I feel sorry for the beautiful Botkin Sisters. I think they sincerely want to get married. All their exclamations pertaining to 'meeting someone' are just roundabout ways of saying this. But the reality is that any man coming to 'court' one of them must first get Daddy Botkin's approval.

    Its likely that there is no Christian or non-Christian single man of any age who fancies the thought of becoming a sort of satellite orbiting Geoff Botkin like Jim-Bob's sons-in-law do; or playing second fiddle to him if they marry one of his daughters. Besides, there are legions of Christian and non-Christian single women out there whose lives have less hassle.

  3. This reminds of the joke about the guy who was surrounded by rising floodwaters and someone came by in a suitable vehicle offering a ride and the guy said "No thanks, God will save me". A little later he's moved up to the upstairs and is leaning out the window when a boat comes by and the crew offer him a ride but he rejects it with the same statement. Then, when he has retreated to the roof, a helicopter comes by but he again rejects rescue. When he drowns and goes to Heaven, he asks God why he didn't rescue him and God responds "I sent an amphibious vehicle, a boat and a helicopter. What more did you want?"

    1. I love that joke - and tell it to people pointedly all the time :-)

    2. In their world, "God" means "Daddy".

  4. Miss Manners (not noted for advocating immodest behavior) pointed out that one of the advantages of being kind and helping all these older friends and relatives was it got you introductions to suitable prospects ahead of all the people selfishly ignoring social obligations in order to chase boys. This is the networking they should be taking advantage of.

    1. Right? The Botkin Sisters often seem weirdly oblivious to the fact that social customs that benefit people tend to be passed on to the next generation. Being known as a good hard-working person in a community, being genuinely pleasant to be around and being visible to others who are looking for matches tends to lead to good matches. Being solitary and stand-offish doesn't work as well.

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  6. I highly doubt the girls talk about the greatness of their minds every time someone asks. It's reasonable to explain why they're not concerned and happy as single women, which is healthy. But I'm hoping once they explain this, the same friends won't keep pressing, esp if they know them fairly well. Anyone who knows the fam well enough knows how Geoff Botkin is, which is an answer and a reason for their singleness all by itself. What's shocking to me is how rude some of the questions are, which makes me wonder how many were friends or supposedly well-bred QF folk, or people who'd heard about them and wanted to know more.