19 and Counting is this show I see sometimes while I'm at the gym about a religious family with a thousand kids. In the five minutes I could stomach yesterday, the parents were playing mini golf with their daughter and her boyfriend. They had this ongoing discussion about how the guy was a terrible mini golfer, like he couldn't get the ball in the hole, and then, at the same time, they were talking about how the girl wouldn't even allow him to hold her hand. Two teens explained how they were going to wait until they got married to do any of that stuff, let alone kiss on the mouth. The parents were laughing and joking around about how terrible the boy's stroke was and no one acknowledged the parallel. The girl just said how she's fine with not holding hands or doing any of that icky sinful stuff because she's not a touchy feel-y person. Or maybe she's not into him, which is a distinct possibility. I mean, what if she's gay? Would that be okay? They would pray about it. They would pray for strength in fighting off the devil behind those thoughts.
And the parents were just encouraging their naive, completely inexperienced daughter to marry this similarly clueless kid who requires eight strokes to sink a ball. It's depressing, because you think how far women have come and then you recall that there's still a huge pay gap and you look around at the people in power and they remain uniformly men and then you see shows like this where the girl is being groomed for disappointment and they're laughing about it. The guy is groomed for it too, but she will suffer more because she will be bound to these other rules they have like no birth control and she will be pregnant right away and always after three seconds of foreplay. If that. Maybe they should make a law that stats that you can't get married until you've slept with one another. Or until you're thirty, whichever comes first. Of course, maybe that's what's attractive about the show--it feels completely out of step with this time period. It's like watching Little House on the Prairie as a reality show except in this version, Ma Ingalls has never learned to push Pa off of her and uses a curling iron daily.