Unsolicited Advice On How To Find A Mate

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In one of his lesser known comedies, playwright Neil Simon depicts the irrationality of undiluted physical attraction through the love-struck yearnings of Norman. A ’60s radical, second in his class at Dartmouth, and writer for a subversive magazine called Fallout, he falls hopelessly in love with the Star-Spangled and athletic Southern girl from Hunnicut who’s moved into his San Francisco apartment building. “I’ve become an animal,” he tells his friend Andy. “I’ve developed senses no man has ever used before. I can smell the shampoo in her hair three city blocks away. I can have my radio turned up full blast and still hear her taking off her stockings!” Continue Reading »

“Knot Yet”: Marriage and Other Choices

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In the final scene of A&E’s Pride and Prejudice the camera pans a double wedding tableau: Elizabeth and Darcy and Jane and Bingley, both couples surrounded by family and community. Misunderstanding, pride, and prejudice complicated these courtships, but honesty, self-evaluation, and chastity accompanied them too. … Continue Reading »

Evangelicals vs. Mormons: Blessed Are the Peacemakers

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We refer to it in our family as “the clown episode.” Over a dozen years ago our family visited a collection of rare Bibles open to the public as part of a Sunday service sponsored by Salt Lake City’s Evangelical churches, and my kids quit complaining when they saw balloons in the children’s class. Unfortunately, things went south when the hired clown berated my little boy for mentioning the Book of Mormon in a scripture discussion… . Continue Reading »

The Unacceptable Alternative Lifestyle

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They occasionally populate New Yorker stories“characters on the peripheries of the narrator’s life, somehow only half human, almost surreal, because they’re single, celibate, and plan to stay that way until, someday, they marry. But the someday hasn’t arrived, and in the context of postmodern fictional settings, the chaste represent objects of repression, pity, and derision. Of the multitudinous lifestyles deemed acceptable and worth defending today, celibacy for singles stays off the list, almost as if its very existence threatens the well-being of the world as we know it… . Continue Reading »

Why Bigger Might Be Easier

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In the National Marriage Project’s exhaustive 2011 “State of Our Unions” report, a sidebar among the analyses and graphs draws attention to a subset social scientists tend to ignore in their ubiquitous research on marriage and parenting: big families. Noted researcher Alan Hawkins explains the dearth in blunt terms … Continue Reading »