“Faced with today’s problems and disappointments, many people will try to escape from their responsibility. Escape in selfishness, escape in sexual pleasure, escape in drugs, escape in violence, escape in indifference and cynical attitudes. I propose to you the option of love, which is the opposite of escape.

St. John Paul II

What St. John Paul II taught me about relationships.

Today is St. John Paul II’s feast day, which we celebrate for the first time since he was canonized earlier this year. In honor of it, today’s post features what I learned from St. John Paul II about relationships.

I pulled a cardboard package out of my mailbox, carried it into the house, and tore it open. Out of it, I lifted what I had waited for, for days: A copy of the book Love and Responsibility, written by St. John Paul II before he was pope.

I had heard of the book before I ordered it. “A must-read for Catholics, married or not,” friends of mine called it. So I–single and mingling–curled up with it that night in 2009, expecting to pore over page after page, and pumped to be edified.

But what I read was over my head before I finished page one. I wanted to whisk through it like I would any other book, but this book would require commitment, and it would require time, because it would require thought. So, I shelved it. But then, I tried again.

‘I want to lose my virginity.’

Syndicated columnist Carolyn Hax responded in a recent column to the following letter, which she received from a 19-year-old woman who has never had sex before:

“I am a 19-year-old freshman in college. I have decided to lose my virginity soon, obviously in a safe way while using protection. Is it okay to not tell the guy I’m a virgin? It’s come up before and it seems to bother guys. I also hate the idea of someone knowing they were my first; I (irrationally, I know) feel like it gives them power over me. I sort of want to get this over with in a sort of one-night-stand kind of way.”

These are my thoughts on that:

The letter’s writer’s decision to lose her virginity is rooted in her resistance to divulging her virginity. She doesn’t want to be a virgin so that she won’t have to tell somebody she is. But that turns what she wrote into a catch 22. … How? Click here to read the rest of my thoughts in a post on Quiner’s Diner.

Arleen the virgin gets a book, ‘#JaneTheVirgin’ gets a show.

jane the virginFrom where I stood, the banner blocked the American flag that hung at the center of Citrus Park Mall in Tampa. It showcased ‘Jane the Virgin,’ the latest in an influx of TV shows inspired by sexual inexperience. It would premier, the banner said, on Oct. 13.

First, I asked what any virgin beneath that banner would: “WHERE’S MY BANNER?” Then, I marked my calendar.

The show, about a a virgin who — as a result of a doctor’s distraction — got artificially inseminated when she should have gotten a Pap smear, premiered as promised on Monday, and (spoilers to follow), I watched it. Here’s how I sum it up:

3 Lessons and 2 Tips from Haley Stewart

HaleyBioPic13 Lessons and 2 Tips is a series of interviews in which some of my favorite people (and probably some of yours) share three lessons they’ve learned by being married, plus two tips for single people.

This edition features Haley Stewart, a bookish, somewhat crunchy, hipster mama of three lively children. She’s a writer, speaker, blogger, and Catholic convert.

Haley is married to “Daniel of the big beard and the green thumb.” She’s also a homeschooling, bacon-eating, coffee-drinking southern girl with a flair for liturgical feasts and a penchant for bright red lipstick. I am super pumped she agreed to share three lessons and two tips with us today.