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!  

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

It's Not That Complicated: Chapter 10 - Part 3

This is the section where the Botkin Sisters decide to act as the arbitrators of how girls should interact with each other.  You might expect that they would have some personal experience in this area.  After reading this chunk, I don't think they have much more experience with female friends than they do with male friends.

Contributing to the delinquency of another  

They're not supposed to be head hunting... so don't ask them, “Who do you think is cute?” or “Who do you want to marry?” They don't need help thinking the wrong kinds of thoughts towards young men, or trying to pick out specific ones as if it were their place to do the choosing (pg 186).

Thursday, September 22, 2016

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

I've started blogging again after a several month break.  I'm pregnant and my body responded to the change in hormones by having my digestive system go berserk and my hips widened by two inches from relaxing soft tissue which lead to lots of hip and back pain.  So, yeah, I spent most of the summer curled into a ball.

Good news is between a doctor-recommended mix of Unisom and B6 that caused me to stop vomiting and start eating again and lots of stretching, I'm back to my usual sardonic self.

Added bonus: when I restarted my grad school program, I found a free voice-based transcription software package online to help me transcribe the interviews I am collecting for my thesis.  This package lets me prepare selected quotes from the Botkin Sisters book in a quarter of the time it took me to type myself from the book.  Plus, reading this book aloud is a simple pleasure.  It reads a bit like a 1950's etiquette manual written by a grandmother rather than a 21st century book written by two women in their early twenties.

Let's dive back in:

Overarching Theme: Being involved in starting a romance is horrifyingly wrong! 

Trying to start things
Not that it's wrong to introduce people or say nice things about person A to person B and if one's interests are known to be bigger than love and marriage- if one of the general relationship broker and not just a romance broker - people will likely take such things in the healthy spirit in which it was meant. But then there's a kind of matchmaker that a friend of ours described as "much to be feared". Like the kind that sets up introductions and tete-a-tetes as though they were directing their own personal soap opera, and stand off to the side to watch and giggle. Or like the man who once called out loudly during a large dinner, "so X wants to marry one of the Y girls, and can't decide which one!" leaving X sitting at that very moment across from the Y girls to choke on his soup and turn purple. Not only did no marriage is come of it but the friendship possibilities were largely spoiled as well (not to mention the appetites). Or like the matchmaker that has a dreadful taste and keeps trying to set us up with her the lonely, strange friends. (pg. 181-182)

  • So now the only people allowed to act as matchmakers are the parents of the teenagers? I've never liked playing matchmaker but some people are quite good at it. if I were the Botkin Sisters, I would NOT hesitate to turn my nose up at a good date or courtship or whatever.
  • Yes, standing off to the side and watching two people you've introduced meet each other and giggling is immature. Like Junior High-level of immaturity . That's why we don't let junior high students be matchmakers. However, real adults generally do not behave like this. if you are a real adult and your friends behave like this, you need to find new friends.
  • Be honest now. How many married couples do you know that never had an awkward moment while dating due to an odd family member making an offhand reference? X may marry one of the Y girls someday and this would be a hilarious story to pass on in the family.
  • The Botkin sisters think that their friends keep setting them up with lonely, strange dates. Pot, meet kettle.
  • I am amazed at how bitchy the Botkin Sisters are towards their “friends”. Yeah, they lob some half-hearted criticisms at nameless feminists, but they save most of their venom for people they actually know. That's quite disturbing.

  • Trying to stop things
    Often this is because the meddler actually wants to start something else. We've seen good conversations hijacked by jealous third parties. We've seen people try to sabotage other people's relationships (sometimes throwing themselves in the way or interposing other people). We've seen girls complain about guys talking to and befriending other girls which would normally be the kind of thing that they would promote, were not their own interests in the way) and raising motions to get these things stopped. (pg. 182)
    • I really think the Botkin Sisters need new friends. This behavior is age appropriate between 12 and 14 years of age and should be completely gone by age 20.
    • When they use the word "interposing" this is actually a long set up for a footnote that invokes the Doctrine of Interposition as a joke. Look, I love academic jokes as much as the next person but your audience has to know the doctrine for the joke to make any sense. Based on my Google search, very few people study or use the Doctrine of Interposition on a regular basis.
    • Man, talk about cutting off your own nose to spite your face. Trying to get boy-girl talk banned will come back to bite you when you meet the next cute guy. Of course, most of us learn that lesson in - surprise, surprise! - Junior High.
    Looking out for number one
    Rather than looking out for everyone else is good, sometimes we're actually just looking out for our own good. Maybe we're not trying to set and match someone else's game. Maybe our own love life is the soap opera that we're trying to write and direct. Maybe we're manipulating circumstances and engineering stale mates among our friends because we want something or someone for ourselves. We interpose, hijack, flatter, slander, stalk and show two faces so that we can win this game. (pg. 185)
    • Welcome to reality. Most adults are in control of their own love life. They choose to take an active role in it. This is not new nor should it be condemned.
    • Ahh. Another example of "one thing is not like the other" from the Botkin Sisters. Flattery can be a part of romantic relationship. Hijacking, slandering, stalking and being two-faced is likely to end badly in the long run – and stalking is illegal. (Well, so is hijacking, but they are using a different use of the word....)
    • Looking back over various relationships and people who try to sabotage other people's relationships, I can't think of many examples where the relationship actually ended because of the sabotuer's actions. I mean, the couple isn't stupid; you can tell when someone is messing with you. Plus, I can't think of any time that the sabotuer ended up in a long-term relationship with the person whose relationship they ended.
    Well, the Botkin Sisters are really scraping the bottom of the barrel now for stories. Next up, lots of really helpful lists – especially if you want to get rid of any female friends you currently have.