Does that title grab ya? Good… it should… it’s a nice setup for an entertainingly funny piece put up at Pathos by Max Lindenman:
Here’s one little-observed fact about nice Catholic girls–by which I mean girls who are Catholic, who have sunny dispositions, and who use Humanae Vitae as a dating guide: they absolutely love to cuddle.
Granted, I’ve dated exactly two specimens as of this writing, so there’s every chance my study suffers from sampling error. Still, it’s striking that these two women, who had little in common save approximate age, niceness, Catholicism, and a predilection for the author, were both so stunningly tactile. Did they like to hold hands? Please. Walking down the street with either meant entwining your arm with hers in a way that would seem impossible for anyone with actual bones.
Lying on the couch watching Song of Bernadette on DVD, you’d find yourself wearing a head on your chest or shoulder, and fragrant tendrils of hair in your nose, before Jennifer Jones goes into her first trance. By the time she leaves Lourdes for the convent, you’d be absorbed in the type of footsie match that surely inspired Anne Sexton to write: “And I’ll be your barefoot wench/For a whole week.”
And because they were nice and Catholic, it would go no further.
In an essay for Slate, Tom Perrotta posits an archetype that he dubs the Sexy Puritan. This is a woman both socially conservative and attractive–ostentatiously so. He recalls attending a Silver Ring Thing event and meeting “a slender young blond woman in tight jeans and a form-fitting T-shirt” who “bragged about all the college boys who’d tried and failed to talk her into their beds.” In other words, the Sexy Puritan is a god-fearing, godawful tease. Come the revolution, I assure you, Sexy Puritans will be hunted from helicopters.
Thank God she seems to be a mainly a non-Catholic type. I’m betting her kind first evolved in Dixie–where coquetry defines the culture as much as ancestor worship or red velvet cake–and migrated north with the emergence of the glitzy megachurch. My nice Catholic girls were completely different animals. Straightforward and unaffected, they sent no mixed signals, crowned their bedposts with no negative notches. In their orgies of chaste snuggle-wuggles I see evidence for a startling truth: where sexuality decreases, tenderness and sensuality increase.
Too facile? Bear with me here. I’m still trying to figure all this out.
Read the whole thing and you’ll eventually stumble across the quoted title.
It’s worth it. Especially if you’re an unattached male.