Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

You don’t HAVE a menu.

January 26th, 2011, Promulgated by Ink

I am utterly sick and tired of the complete and blatant lack of respect for marriage or for the family in today’s society.  How many times have I heard, from people I respect, the phrase, “Well, just because you’re on a diet doesn’t mean you can’t look at the menu.”  You don’t HAVE a menu.  You’re married–be it to your husband or wife or to God or the Church.  Even if you’re not married but just dating someone, think about it first.  Wouldn’t you want to be respected and loved, just as you are?  As my art teacher told me, “Criticism is the result of comparison.”  If your spouse or significant other begins to compare you to someone–maybe someone who is thinner, or who has blonde hair instead of brown, or is taller, or is shorter, or has a smaller nose, or maybe bigger eyes, or different-coloured eyes… do you see where I’m going with this?  Because someone else is different, and probably more attractive because of that, it makes you lesser.  Not as good.  Not good enough.

Now go back and look at that sentence. “Just because I’m on a diet doesn’t mean I can’t look at the menu.”  So you’re telling me, in short, that you are dissatisfied with what you have.  As a result of that, you’re “shopping around” and just ogling everything else, everything which seems “better.”

If you, dear reader, are guilty of doing this, I’m afraid I have to tell you that this is not a very good mentality.  It’s actually a sin.  “…He designates as an adulterer not only the man who violates the marriage of another by intercourse, but that man, also, who contaminates it by a lustful look.  Accordingly, it is quite dangerous for the mind to represent to itself something which is prohibited, just as it is rash, through an act of the will, to effect it in deed” (Tertullian, On Penitence).

To ogle someone else while you are committed in a relationship is what is commonly referred to as “cheating,” just not as blatantly obvious as actual physical “cheating.”  It objectifies the opposite sex, turning them into simple toys, of sorts, for the one doing the ogling.  Ogling someone outside of your relationship, like kissing someone else’s girlfriend or boyfriend while you’re both drunk out of your minds, is unfaithful and irresponsible.

I’d like to conclude by saying that you’re not just on a diet, you don’t even have an a menu.  Besides, what more do you need?  Married men and women are married forever (one would hope, but we’ve covered that in other posts), and priests and religious are promised to the Church and to God.  So who could ask for anything more?

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13 Responses to “You don’t HAVE a menu.”

  1. LarryD says:

    Good article, Ink. I would add that even someone wasn’t in a committed relationship, that doesn’t give them the excuse to ogle. I know you’re focusing on the married person here, but the admonition to not ogle others applies to everyone.

  2. Ink says:

    Thanks, Larry. You don’t know who you’re ogling–maybe s/he’s married! (Then you’ll have to watch out for jealous spouses, and that’s just a hassle.)

  3. Ben Anderson says:

    from The Studentbaker Corporation (p 12)

    The waitress at Uncle John’s saved the corner table for us every Wednesday Noon. We liked her a lot. We gave her big tips. We even bought her Christmas and Valentines’s Day presents. She liked us, too, guessing from the number of unnecessary trips she made to check on our coffee. Seminarians in those days were supposed to have “custody of the eyes” and now show any interest in women. Dating was not an option. However, Charlie always made us feel better by reminding us, “Even though we’re on a diet, it doesn’t mean we can’t look at the menu!”

  4. Eliza10 says:

    LarryD wrote: “…even if someone wasn’t in a committed relationship, that doesn’t give them the excuse to ogle…”

    I agree completely. Furthermore, one should not allow oneself to be oogled at. Oogling should be ignored, in order to discourage it by showing the oogler that that kind of attention doesn’t even register with you. And woman oogling at men – that’s just ugly.

    I watched “The Social Network” recently which convinced me even more that Facebook is not for me. Personally, that is. I know people can use it for good, to communicate with family and friends – I am not criticizing those of you who enjoy and find good use for this! However, I see in the movie that the original intention of Facebook was guys wanting to find out which girls were available – so if they spied a cute girl in class they didn’t have to bother to get to know her in order to find out if she was available or not. This is so wrong to me.

    I opened a Facebook page after much urging to get with the program but can’t bring myself to use it. It just seems like an “advertisement” of myself – a little Narcissistic. But I am not judging others – this is my personal reaction. I have a good friend who is very active on it and she is very balanced and down-to-earth. But it can be a tool for silly self-promotion, and unfortunately, looking at the pages of some of my teen’s friends, some of the girls really do use the format to be oogled at. I feel sorry for them; they don’t fully know what thy are doing; no one is telling them, and society is urging them to be that way. We Catholics need to model healthy purity and chastity for them, and woman, modesty, and men need to show them loving Christlike respect.

  5. Abaccio says:

    But Eliza, that means we can’t be friends! Everybody knows that your truest friends are your facebook friends, and relationships aren’t official until they’re facebook-official!

  6. Dominic says:

    I remember hearing a good homily once about how it is the height of hubris to think that we can face temptation head-on. The Deacon concluded that unlike Christ, who was able to resist the Devil’s snares for 40 days, we mortals are far better off avoiding temptation in the first place.

  7. anonymous says:

    @Dominic. I don’t find my self tempted at all by head-on.

  8. Ink says:

    Eliza, I understand the Facebook conundrum completely! I don’t use my real name, since people like to tag me in their pictures–instead, I just have a screenname and a small network of really well-connected friends, who can keep me updated about what’s out there about me. Plus, I keep in touch with the TLM guys that way too. =P

    In defense of “The Social Network,” some of my more-Facebook-history-savvy friends have informed me that it’s pretty much entirely historically inaccurate, and just a good movie for the sake of being a movie. Your point is, nonetheless, entirely valid.

  9. Christopher says:

    Pope warns of alienation risk in social networks:

  10. Gen says:

    Preach it, sister!

  11. Agreed says:

    I didn’t read your entire article, but glanced through it and liked what I saw. I’m a priest who is tired of hearing married people say that. When you’re married, your spouse should be the one and only for you. Bravo (or Brava as the case may be) to the author of this article. I don’t know if you addressed priests saying this, but let me make this point clear in light of the recent scandals. Archbishop Sheen used to comment if he met an attractive woman, but it was in the context of what he was going to emphasize in his talk. For a priest to be saying constantly, “Wow! She’s attractive!”, and follow it up with that “looking at the menu phrase is totally wrong. A priest can comment on a woman’s physical beauty in the right context, but other than that, if he sees a beautiful woman, let him comment silently to Jesus lest he sin because Christ will give him the grace not to go farther than the comment.
    Thanks for writing that article, it was SORELY needed.

  12. Ink says:

    Agreed: Exactly, it’s one thing to tell a lady (or gentleman) that s/he looks nice today (be it in that spiffy new outfit or with the hair pulled back away from that charming face)–it’s another to specify the word “attractive,” which has completely different connotations.

  13. Nerina says:

    I must admit that I, thankfully, don’t know of anyone in my immediate circle of friends or family who uses that phrase.

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