xxx! love, xy

12/13/07

It’s been a long time since I was in the dating pool, and perhaps the unique Doppler shift of memories allows for some pretty massive generalizations, but… why do modern, single guys suck so bad? Before you write emails bursting with righteous inignation, I speak as someone who, prior to the year 2000, was an egregious offender of everything I’m about to describe. Simply put, men in today’s subset of “single, heterosexual, available, educated, and socially viable guys” are, by and large, emotionally retarded, lazy, non-committal, morally fungible, irredeemably flaky BUFFOONS.

I’m not saying anything that hasn’t been said plenty of times before, especially by girls trying to comfort their friends in a locked bathroom, but the perpetual adolescence of our culture (while super fun – guilty as charged) seems to be raising a cohort of guys aged 22-44 who desperately need their ass kicked.

All the ironic T-shirts and skater shoes in the world can’t arrest the flow of time, but these guys are managing to have the romantic attention span of a 12-year-old while inhabiting a 33-year-old’s body. They start off each relationship firing on all pistons, and may actually believe they’re in love, before the cold silences creep in, the weekends without a call, ending with the mea culpa that either begins or ends with “I think I’m emotionally damaged” (with the unspoken rejoinder “…and thus can date you no further.”)

Or it ends even weirder, for no apparent reason and no audible explanation, leading women to look back on the calendar and wonder when the fuck it happened. Either way, he’s on to new hunting grounds, plying his would-be mistresses with the same indie bands or vaguely-rehashed dialogue that has worked so well for the last decade. Any confrontation with these men fill them with self-loathing and guilt, for sure – in many ways, they are emotionally damaged – but hell, they never promised you anything. It’s a big, bad world out there, and you’re supposed to grow some skin.

The worst offenders are those who used to be dorks – and I mean actual dorks, not the vaguely popular kids who felt the occasional pangs of “nobody understands me” when they were 13. True dorks are the ones who lived lives of silent futility, keeping to themselves and their passions until they got to college, where they blossomed like a tropical fern. Not having had the usual clandestine smooch at summer camp, they discover dating only after high school and start emotional puberty at 21 (and continue thusly for fifteen years).

Here’s the thing, men: if you don’t want to have kids, that’s cool. Having kids is hard and occasionally you have to get up really early. But for the rest of you, having a child (or several) is easiest within the construct of a good relationship with another person, presumably the mother, and that takes time. And here’s the other secret: scientists are curing baldness and developing bionic knees, but when it comes to women’s fertility, there is a definite “last call” that isn’t getting substantially later.

You know that 36-year-old chick you were dating for 18 months because she was quite pretty, but then you started thinking someone else was really hot, and then you got really bogged down at work, and then there was that trip you took, and then you kinda sorta broke up? You just wasted a year and a half of her eggs, dude.

Yes, I know. We all have to experiment with all kinds of people in order to know who will truly make us happy. And we all need to get our ya-yas out and go nutzo for a while. And nobody likes to feel hemmed in, or stuck, and being with the wrong person – and marrying them – is a lifelong jail for two. But at some point, guys, we have become ridiculous.

And you women? Stop fucking egging them on! They’re able to get away with this behavior because you were so goddamn easy to seduce, first emotionally, then physically. You are so attracted to people who are attracted to you, but in doing so you abdicate your entire personality. Oh, and if the guy gives you a disclaimer, something along the lines of “I’m not really capable of a relationship”, I would go ahead and believe him. Just because a man is being refreshingly honest, doesn’t mean he’s willing to change. He’ll use that line against you a year later.

Not to be all The Rules™, but if I were a woman, this is what I’d do:

1) CURATE. Spurn all advances from guys, even if you hadn’t dated in months and months. SELECTIVELY choose one or two. Or boldly go after someone who seems interesting and funny, even if they haven’t made the first move. If they refuse, that’s their loss.

2) CALM. When you first start dating the guy, no sex. Seriously. Don’t even talk about it, just send him packing. Continue to do the things that make you awesome – don’t cancel trips, don’t arrange special time for him. Make him understand that you have your own life and can certainly be happy without him, which is true. Make yourself the train – he’s just a passenger. This is essential! Guys are so fucking stupid that they need to be fooled into perceiving the value you possess anyway. Plus, these dudes have had so many women crying on the phone to them – for the love of god, don’t EVER play into that dynamic.

3) COOL. If it’s the right guy, you will find yourself longing for him, and you will feel this subtle game of avoidance has become largely intellectual and stupid. Too bad. The point is to have enough shared history – a few months at least – to lift this guy over most of his early-relationship potholes, and guess what? He may actually be developing a genuine respect for you. After getting what he wants from women for so long, he needs to be cured; neurological pathways have to be changed, habits discarded.

4) COITUS. The first act of sex should be random and unannounced, like the best pop quiz in history.

5) COUNTER. At some point in the first six months, the creeping domesticity of your relationship will cause a full-scale freakout in your man. He will talk about wanting an “open relationship” or how he still feels damaged, or how he should really be spending more time at his place, or how he wants to be with his guy friends, or worse, he’ll do some stupid thing one night with another woman just to prove to himself he can still pull. Yes, he is made of such weak-ass Jello that he actually feels these things and isn’t kidding. Let him talk, let him spew forth.

At the end of his episode, counter with “Wow, you are really boring” and go see a movie. Don’t think about him for a few hours. A few days later, when he starts to talk about more caveman longings that you don’t understand, I would suggest actually yawning, followed with “wait, I missed that last part, I was drifting off.”

If he continues on this tack, it might be time for a weekend trip with some of your girlfriends. Either way, keep being the awesome person you were before you met. He will come around, and in doing so, actually mature before your eyes.

6) COLLUDE. Keep it organic. Ask for what you want, no apologies. Be who you were, and who you wanted to be. You are both the ride the other wants to take.

You might read all this and think “that was never me” or “my relationship happened totally different than that” or “what a stupid parlor trick.” Sure, sure. You were lucky. It was all so much easier, perhaps. But here’s the thing: guys must learn adult love, they do not come by it naturally. Everything in modern culture is engineered to delay that lesson as long as possible. They are made of flimsy material, and often, need to be tricked, coaxed or prodded into being a real person.

Man, we could sure spear a running bison from two hundred yards, though.

0 thoughts on “xxx! love, xy

  1. Ian's Muslim Friend(tm)

    As I’ve often said, I’m really lucky that men are graded on a curve.
    As I’ve also often said, there’s an easy rejoinder to the idea that sexual orientation is a choice. If women really could choose to be lesbians, who wouldn’t? The lamest woman is more sensitive and caring than the coolest man.
    (And, btw, isn’t it weird that homophobes think sexual attraction is a choice? I don’t know about the other hets out there, but I’ve never had to choose to be attracted to women, so I don’t think I’m any more moral. Makes you wonder about just how many Ted Haggarts there are out there.)
    But what’s made me post is this–I’m the father of two sons (just 5 and 2), and I, for one, am going to do the ass-kicking for them, if necessary. I hear where you’re coming from, but we, as men, need to stand up against all the stupid shit that other men do.
    Yes, this meant I got called a pussy a lot at the Lodge (as you well remember), but I didn’t care, and, if I raise them right, my boys won’t care either. (Besides–feminist guys get the only women worth getting.)
    I agree that women should be who they are, but parents of Lucy’s future dates (I’m playing the sexual orientation odds here) should deal, and men in particular can help their male friends grow up. I know I got lucky in that I met my wife when I had finally grown up. But a lot of that meant being who I was, in addition to meeting someone who insisted on being who she was.
    IMF(tm)

    Reply
  2. Isis

    Hi Ian, This is a really good post, with lots to think about in it–and it makes me happy not to be wrestling with the dating scene anymore.
    I agree with what you say about how women should not undo their own lives for some guy, and particularly not when he is having one of those immature spells, but I wonder: why do we (and by “we” here I mean really our entire culture, not just your post) expect women to be the ones to be “cool” about sex? I see your points in the numbered part of the post, but I have long wondered about why we let men’s desire run rampant and expect women to put on the brakes.

    Reply
  3. Anne

    Ian, you have just lifted a window shade onto a world I don’t recognize. Probably this is because I am decades removed now from the dating scene and 30-something Peter Pans. Praise the Lord.
    Do you honestly think the scenario you’ve described is widespread? Maybe we’re rubes here in my little state, but I do see what appears to be a majority of young men settling down (even in their early and mid 20s), committing, having children, and generally buying into the marriage and/or longterm partnership model. There are a few who don’t (that whole “Yo!” club scene), but most of them are, pardon the expression, Losers. I mean, who would want them and their delusions and their egos in the first place?
    Disclaimer: I met my future husband when I was 21 and married him at 23. Now I’m 56 with grown and teen kids, and a granddaughter. Anything I’ve just written is necessarily suspect!

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  4. cluverc

    As one of your readers who is still (and might I add unhappily) swimming in the dating pool, let me congratulate you on that astute assessment. Over the past few weeks – in part with the help of my girlfriends (hi Jif!), I have pretty much come to the same conclusions – and not just the ones that essentially spell “boys suck”, but have also come up with many of the points you advise us girls to take to heart.
    I love how you so rightly describe the point at which the woman starts to wonder where it all went wrong, but the problem starts after that. Too often we buy right into the logic of making excuses for him (he must busy at work, emotionally scarred, etc.). OR at worst the “What did I do, say, etc. to drive him away?” Women are too quick to assign blame to themselves – glad you cleared that up for us!
    So, boys, get your act cleaned up and then let’s talk..

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  5. Fat Mack

    Boy do I hate skater shoes on grown ups.
    It is not only the single guys that are pathetic. I work with far too many 25 to 40 years old married men who talk about nothing but their big ass TVs and video games. It is really depressing that they have cashed in their chips this early and refuse to grow up.
    Could a member of the opposite sex please write the same plea for the ladies? Ian, ya did good and I do feel sorry that the women have to deal with these knuckleheads but some of you act like the ‘crazy girl’ from any of the Real World episodes.
    Also, some advice to any single girl in NYC that is looking to settle down. Move away from that damn city and marry some nerd or pudgy ex-frat guy accountant type that will love you with all his might and be thankful someone likes him.

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  6. jason savage

    A whole lot of people are morons in their 20s and 30s.
    And there are shitheads in both genders.
    Just as it is absurd to stereotype women as weak, it is off-the-mark to write-off men as categorically insensitive.

    Reply
  7. DFB's&T's

    The other night, as I watched Girls Gone Wild on Spring Break, I similarly concluded that all guys are emotionally immature and the women in their 20’s are so much more centered.

    Reply
  8. bridget

    great post ian. i wonder what it is that makes those who do mature, of both genders, to realize that they are, in fact, grown up. to follow up on anne’s comment, i think societal cues really help. in new york city and brooklyn in particular, it is perfectly acceptable and entirely “cool” for men in their 30’s to dress and act like they’re still in their first year out of college. the hoodies and the sneakers and the ironic t-shirts and the studied, nurtured self-indulgent gaze. i love brooklyn, but sometimes, it’s really just too much. the girl equivalent doesn’t last long into her 30’s it seems. all the ironic posturing and emotional drama loses some of it’s appeal by mid-30s.
    in other places though, it’s the norm for men and women to begin to think about settling down sometime around 26 or 27. all their friends are married. that’s just “what you do.” it’s acceptable.
    i guess i think we socialize each other and most follow the norms of where they live.

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  9. Sturdivant

    Ian-
    Sing it brother!
    As a 33 year old single woman living in Atlanta- the metropolis touted for its large, professional single crowd – I’ve watched this up close…and too personally on many occasion. The men I’ve run across who are incapable of forming “adult relationships” all seem to suffer from a shocking sense of entitlement…thank you on behalf of all 30-something single women who look forward to having children!
    To my fellow singletons…don’t give up…the good ones are still out there…sometimes hiding in strange places like Jasper, GA.

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  10. craighill

    “Besides–feminist guys get the only women worth getting”
    that is the funniest joke i’ve heard in a long time. please keep ’em coming.

    Reply
  11. Ehren

    I have this theory about the crisis of western malehood. The short version is that labor was divided up between the sexes before the 20th century, more or less. Over the last hundred years or so, women campaigned for the right to do men’s work, because it was more interesting, better paid, and more valued by society. Men, on the other hand felt no need to be allowed to do women’s work, for all the reasons above. So women still had to do the women’s work, meaning that they feel twice as responsible and totally frazzled. Men, on the other hand, don’t feel necessary anymore and get to stay adolescent for as long as they want, and sort of resent any notion of responsibility.
    Also, I take issue with your rules, because they seem to imply that girls don’t want to have sex as much as men do, and have to use it like a doggie treat to get men to obey them. I think that’s not a very good way to view the problem. I think that instead, women should be less tolerant of slacker dudes. Fuck the responsible guys silly, but stay away from the slacker guy who claims he’s a cinematographer between jobs.

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  12. gadfly

    Seems to me that many professional women could be considered just as buffoonish in today’s culture. The “I can’t boil water and I’m proud of it” attitude says plenty. So we’re going to go out every night and/or i’m going to be your personal chef? Um, no thanks.

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  13. CM

    Gadfly and others: Sure, there are women who are superficial, materialistic, obnoxious, etc., but that’s another post, and there are plenty who are nice and kind but get overlooked. So…
    The question here is, how can we get the GOOD women out there to meet GOOD men? Or how can we encourage more good men?
    Unfortunately, while women can walk around on the street displaying big boobs or a nice body and get tons of male attention, they can’t wear a sign that says “I’m kind, smart, I volunteer to read to the poor, and I want to know how your day was at work.” And it probably wouldn’t turn heads like the boobs do.
    Of course, a woman can write that in her internet profile, but it’s still not going to get a guy’s attention before her photo will. That’s where one difference comes in. Guys really want both – good looks and good personality, but women, I think, are more willing to jettison a looks requirement in favor of a nice, funny guy. Studies have shown that guys put looks on top of their lists of requirements most often.
    For those who are older and don’t recognize the scene Ian describes: Yes, it exists. Consider this: What is the incentive for any man to settle down or get into a committed relationship before he’s like 30, these days? There really isn’t much, unless he’s either a) madly, madly in love or b) is very commitment or family minded. Choice “b)” is not as imminent today as it was 30 years ago for young men. In some areas of the country, yes, but not in our area. There just isn’t the societal pressure there was. So we’re left with choice “a,” which means meet a guy, and somehow be able to get to know him long enough that he cares for you deeply. Without close communities, you don’t get as many chances to do this as you might have in school. So this is where all those sometimes-ridiculous “rules” come in. To get someone to love you enough to eschew all other dating and potential loves, women have to try to date without scaring a guy off, show their best side without putting on a performance, not seem too overeager nor too standoffish…it gets confusing. So there are more specific rules like: don’t sleep with someone until the relationship builds, etc. Unfortunately, both men and women can get so addled by these supposed rules that they take them to extremes or put too much meaning on them rather than adapting them to a particular situation or person.
    Sure, women should be themselves, but some of us really have to learn where to compromise. I had to learn long ago that telling a bunch of jokes on a date isn’t going to make me seem more attractive, but having a sense of humor in general is a good thing. There is middle ground, and both genders have to find it.
    Men have to learn not to judge so quickly on the things they first see – nice bod, a woman’s initial nervousness and shyness, or conversely, her overeagerness. They’ve got to look beyond, but I think they are a little spoiled and sometimes don’t bother. I’ve read blog entries from plenty of men who get spoiled and think they all “deserve” a perfect body and a perfect coolness with all their antics, especially the ones who go around whining about what a “nice guy” they are and thus this means Cindy Crawford should fall in love with them. (Normal girls aren’t as much of a prize.)
    Anyway, this is going on too long. So, two words for both genders: Patience/compromise, and circumspection. Keep your eyes open. Ian, you once wrote that you realized after a point that you probably already had met your future wife…turned out to be your long-time friend, Tessa. People we had once written off as ungettable or uninterested, or their friends, or someone in our circle, might be the one for us and we never really thought enough about it.
    Anyway, dating sucks after a while – like a series of job interviews. I don’t miss it at all, and I’m mighty glad I actually managed to meet a wonderful, kind, smart guy and somehow not mess it up.

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  14. GFWD

    DFB’s & T’s, can I borrow your GGW DVD so I can watch it between games on my new Wii? I enjoy a good documentary about centered women.
    Sturdivant, get back to the city. Ain’t a whole lot going on in Jasper, GA. Come with me to a Tar Heel game viewing party in the ATL. Before halftime I’ll introduce you to the people I know . . . which is to say, you’ll know everyone.
    If you like dook, I can’t help you.
    There are knuckleheads on both sides of the dating aisle. I want to smack my guy friends who are in long term relationships but are loathe to pull the trigger on marriage. These are the chumps who are sitting on a gold mine of a gal but keep wanting to shoot for the Playboy model. I’ll look at these guy friends of mine: 5’7″ (in shoes), balding and pudgy and wonder why they think they’re ever going to do better than the wonderful woman already by their side. Moreover, since they’ve seen me remain the same guy I was before marriage and kids, I wonder what scary metamorphosis they think happens when they put on the ring. The only ring to affect someone like they fear was the one Gollum snagged. And last I saw, Frodo got rid of it.
    Then there are the women who repeat the same cycle in their dating. They look to a guy’s clothes, job title or car and ignore the guys who are smart, caring, possibly bald and pudgy and likely to make wonderful husbands and dads.
    Guys: find a woman you believe is beautiful on the inside and who believes in you. In my humble opinion, I got one who is beautiful on the outside, too, but she stood by my side and never lost faith in me even when I got fired one week after returning from our honeymoon. A lesser woman might have freaked and/or bailed. Mine did not and she’s surpassed all my hopes and expectations as a spouse and mother of our kid(s)–#2 is still cooking.
    Women: find a funny guy who treats his parents with respect, is nice to the little people around him (whether they’re kids or waiters), is comfortable in his own skin and thinks you at least had a hand in hanging the moon. And don’t try to change him cold turkey. If he’s 33 and still wearing skater shoes, he’ll be wearing them at 40. About the best you can hope for is that he’ll one day consider complementing his skater shoes with a nice shirt you pick out for him. Don’t sweat the shoes–especially if he’s by your side helping in the kitchen, changing diapers and holding your hand when watching The Notebook on the sofa while you dab your eyes with tissues.
    Don’t pet the sweaty stuff, er um, SWEAT the petty stuff.
    Of course, sometimes petting the sweaty stuff is pretty fun.

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  15. Piglet

    Thanks for making me feel like a woman, Ian. Reverse all the genders in your screed, and you pretty much nailed my experiences from around age 25 to 37 at the hands of slacker girls who played around with me and then left because it didn’t feel romantic much any more and they just had to spread their wings and be freespirited, empowered modern women who needed men like fish need bicycles. To this day, no matter how stable my marrieage is, there’s this bit in the back of my brain that keeps asking me, what if today’s the day I come home to find the house empty and a not telling me, “I’ve gone to LA to find myself; here’s the lawyer’s address for you to send the child support”.
    But yeah, men are so lame, and we’re all playas. Especially us dorks. Women should roll their eyes about us and send us to bed with no nookie.

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  16. Sean M

    Coming from a ‘mo in the age range you discuss, nothing you’ve said is specific to the hetero male. Great post though — I’m printing it now.

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  17. Ian's Muslim Friend (tm)

    Craighill–
    I can only assume that you’re not married. I’ve been married 9 years. My wife is incredibly accomplished, incredibly well-educated, and fuckin’ hot, and there’s no way in hell she’d have ended up with me if I thought women were inherently inferior.
    Find me a woman worth having who thinks women are inferior, or who thinks it’s OK for her potential mate to think women are inferior. How can you respect a woman without respecting women? And, more importantly, why should I respect a man who writes off half the population?
    BTW, just to burst any potential bubbles, I love football, the heels, and listened to classic rock in high school. Being a feminist doesn’t mean being humorless or without charm, it just means that you wind up with real women, not fembots.
    IMF(tm)

    Reply
  18. AJ

    Wow…
    Reading this blog makes me feel like you’ve walked a mile in my shoes. Did you happen to stumble upon my latest blog by accident? I was just thinking that I needed to write about something else because I was beginning to tire of writing about all the arse-hats I was encountering out in the dating pool.
    You’re absolutely 100% without-a-doubt correct. I think women give too many chances because we keep thinking in the back of our heads that perhaps we were too quick to judge or that we’re not giving things a fair chance… when in truth, the broken record is played out. I’ve reached the saturation point and have already begun working the steps of your plan. I just hadn’t thought of them that way before. ;)

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  19. Ehren

    I don’t want to presume, but I’m guessing Craighill is confusing “feminist guy” with “spineless pushover”. I think you can believe that women are equal to men and still have a spine. Indeed, you can believe that women are equal to men and be a completely selfish prick, only ever concerned about your own pleasure or well-being.
    Similarly, you can be tough, have a lot of swagger, be assertive about what you want, etc, etc, and still want an equal romantic partnership.
    E

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  20. CM

    Hmmm, Ian, maybe this one will be forwarded a million times and result in two more book deal offers… ;)
    AJ writes: “I think women give too many chances because we keep thinking in the back of our heads that perhaps we were too quick to judge or that we’re not giving things a fair chance…”
    Unfortunately, we have to keep on thinking that. When we give up or lose our naivete, we lose our ability to fall crashing into love. Of course, there is a big difference between being hopeful and giving in to total jerks. It’s important to learn the difference between suspending judgment on someone who might turn out to be a hidden gem, and chasing someone who really has demonstrated clear cruelty or a lack of concern.

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  21. michelle

    Ian,
    Well. I rather thought this post was written for me, your little sister, who has been dating for, um, well, well over two decades, and who has yet to find a wonderful, smart, loving, single man with whom to share a relationship. I’ve certainly screwed up and made terrible choices many a time, but I feel like I’ve been super present and smart the last few years, and he still won’t appear. Fat Mack, I would adore that pudgy ex-frat type guy, if only he was really smart and kind and funny and liked having lots of sex. But I can’t even find him.
    I don’t know what the answer is. I’ve lived in major cities and rural towns and no matter where I go, I can’t find him. And I’m 35, so I don’t have the time or inclination to just fill the void and bide my time. I would be a wonderful wife, and I hope, a really decent mother, but I may not get the chance and that is infuriating.
    I have so much more to say about this… but I’ll just feel like a broken record. I still have hope, but a lifetime of evidence to the contrary is hard to battle.

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  22. emma

    Michelle – I am a Pollyanna believer that there is a wonderful person out there for everyone and that there is a reason that you have not met your soulmate yet. That reason will become crystal clear when you look back upon these years ten years from now.
    As to the twentysomething asshole men who are out there, I think the twentysomething women enable them somewhat. They are not as culpable as the jerks, but they are partially culpable. If you stood a nice guy beside a cool looking arrogant jerk in a bar – most young girls who aren’t ready for commitment are going to pick the jerk over the nice guy in a heart beat. But in due time, the jerk will help the older and wiser girl appreciate the nice guy who treats her with respect.

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  23. ken

    Your points are well-made and hold water but I think there’s one factor that those still in the dating pool really need to heed and that’s the marital status of their parents and their potential mate’s parents.
    It may sound dimestore psychology-ish but I support this notion with a metric ass-load of anectdotal evidence. Children of divorced families tend to fare better with mates of the same background and vice versa. Are there people whose parents are still together married to people whose parents split up? Absolutely and the reverse is also true. However in a my experience, an overwhelming majority of my friends, colleagues and acquaintences have partnered with a mate whose parents share the same marital background.
    Don’t take that to mean that people from divorced homes are ‘damaged goods’ or those whose parents are still together are ‘perfect’, it’s simply that from my overwhelming personal experience, I’ve found this scenario to play out a great deal of the time.
    Just my .02, feel free to pick that theory apart.

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  24. SWF

    I wish I could sit down and talk further with Ian about this blog entry because, though I find it difficult to embrace the idea of subjugating men, as his 6-point plan suggests, or to accept that level of stupidity in any human being, wonder if my unwillingness to embrace his descriptions and approach to this typical behaviour, is part of the problem why, and the reason that, I am writing this as a single woman at 40.
    The least I can say for myself is that I decided about a year ago to forget about dating and focus on my own life and work. It’s noble and practical and probably the wisest thing to do – but man, sometimes doing the right thing is lonely.

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  25. dpdir

    jeeze as a single 45 year old male i would KILL to have dates and all those problems.
    so.. someone nab me.. going, going… gone?

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  26. CM

    So DPDIR, what are you waiting for? Ask SWF out!!
    (Yes, yes, I know, the fact that you’re both single doesn’t in any way mean you’ll hit it off. Yet, it’s sad that there are good people out there with no way to meet each other. Maybe one day our red-headed hero will finally throw a gathering for readers and you two will look at each other from across the room…)

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  27. craighill

    to ian’s muslim friend – sorry so late in responding but i’ve been on vacation with my smokin hot banker wife and just read this. i decided to read the whole thing to her and let her decide how to respond.
    she said you sounded like a girl. i almost fell out of my chair laughing.
    – ian’s christian friend

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  28. Bekah

    100% true. It is widespread, with of course a few exceptions. Not only does every guy I date exactly match your description, I as well am at fault for egging it on! I am an awesome person, but tend to rearrange my life for them. Nice sum up and gave me a lot to think about … thanks :)

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  29. katie

    What?
    Wow!
    If I really have to play all of these 1950’s meets the new millennium mindgames in order to date (keep your legs closed! yawn! feign disinterest! don’t cry! always be you no matter what!- who the fuck can do all of that and still have time to date without passing out from the exhaustion of remembering all of the things you’re supposed to do/not be doing in order to keep a man interested? I’m getting more confused by the minute) then I’d prefer to sit in the bathtub, read, pet my cats and never touch a man again.
    Your post was obnoxiously and high horsed-ly (yea, not a word) written from such a very-married-scary-ass-perspective (even with the self inclusive “I used to be an ass, too,” chuckle), it made me feel like locking myself in the closet, and coming back out queer.
    I hope I’ve unfurled myself from this fetal position and nervous repetition of, “there is no hope, there is no hope,” when it’s time to pick up the guitar-hero playing 33-year old I’m dating from the airport on Friday (yes, I play it with him).
    It’s entirely gross of you to put so much responsibility on the women in the relationship. You may have directed your rant at the offending males, but you’ve put the burden on the women, with your perpetuate the stereotype “ladies, put the morons in check” advice.

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  30. Ian

    “written from such a very-married-scary-ass-perspective”?
    Really? I thought it was the most unmarryingest viewpoint possible! And I’m sorry it puts so much responsibility on the woman, but that’s what happens when men aren’t capable of seeing the point of being responsible well into their fourth decade.

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  31. katie

    Perhaps you were capable of all of that “men are shits” insightfulness pre-marriage, but it seems by the tone of your post that it is much easier for you to see/judge the light, now that you’re married.
    That’s great, but you’re married, so even if you’re trying to have an unmarried perspective, you can only go so far with (non-fiction) point-of-view (and I can argue this point until we both die from exhaustion- I’ve taken WAY too many writing workshops- I know where I stand- even if I’m “wrong”).
    But I, and I hope other women out there, either find happiness with the nice guys who are out there (like the ones I’ve met and dated who just weren’t for me and vice versa), or can find contentment doing their own thing sans dating, as opposed to playing a bunch of mind fuck games that include keeping their legs closed until their sure they’ve nabbed him (that bit REALLY bugs me- should I move into a boarding home?), and kayaking with their BFF whenever their caveman boyfriends express their commitment phobe feelings (why not talk about those feelings? I have them, too. I fully admit to the capability of self-absorption and the need for large quantities of alone time).
    I absolutely believe your post came from a place of good intention, but it frightens me when I hear anyone talking about women doing all of this “mold the man” work. I’ve seen a lot of these men. Some of my friends are married to them. They aren’t happy. Do the training sessions end at the point of “I do?” Or do women have to play Mommy their entire lives?
    I read your post, and I read the commets, and perhaps it’s just your readership, but to see so many women shouting, “amen! that’s just like me!” scared the crap out of me, and actually made me cry through my anger… If the men I meet in my thirties (33 here) aren’t grown-up enough for me, then they can take a hike. I’ll either meet someone who is flawed and lovely, or I’ll find peace without a man. I don’t want a husband/life partner who says in regard to me, “she made me the man I am today,” unless I helped him win a Nobel prize.
    I apologize for sounding rude. I’m just very much against toilet training men, but on re-reading your words I wonder if the post was largely intended for women dying to get married and have babies (and that is a perfectly legitimate and extraordinarily brave thing to want, it just isn’t for me).
    I don’t want children, in a happy to be an aunt, nannied my way through college, seen the life, don’t want it way, so there isn’t a loud clock ticking in the background of every date I go on, unless of course, I’m bored, and want to go home.
    I’ve ranted enough. I didn’t know I had this in me anymore. I don’t know if I should thank-you or clear my cookies (a friend suggested I read your blog… little did they know…)

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