A rant for a rant, if you will: The New York Times Complaint box, always a repository of the stodgy, curmudgeonly, and slightly behind-the-times, is particularly egregious today. The premise that there are just not enough guys in the city — that same old God-forsaken chestnut we keep hearing in relation to male-female NYC dating, that thing we talked about in a cover story this very week — comes up again here, and in such an under-nuanced, so simplistic as to be stupid way, it grates considerably.
In today’s complaint, Patricia Park, “a native of Douglaston, Queens,” who is spending the semester in Seoul, South Korea (and dating an American not from New York City!), tells of her “exhausting decade” of dating in New York, which took her, we are to presume, from a once hopeful, maybe even fun, single gal, to a woman looking only for a clean man who can hold a conversation. Which brings her to the situation of nearly accepting — if not for other dinner plans — a tuna sandwich from a homeless man she meets in Borders (no, that’s not offensive, at all).
Once I realized the man was hitting on me (either that, or he thought I was also homeless, which, being between apartments, I technically was), I, too, sized him up. He had a good frame under the layers of coats, and after a shave, a shower and some laundered clothes, he could pass for a handsomer Quentin Tarantino. I found myself lamenting the man’s unrealized potential as well as the rigidity of my two-item list.
Then Park goes into the stats, the same old stats — more women than men here, “it is hard for single women to hack it in this city,” and the same old tropes that we don’t have enough options, that we can’t find men because we’re competing against each other in our “sky-high stilettos,” and that there are so many of us roving around unattached even though we desperately want to be.
Really? I think we’re better — and certainly more complicated — than that.
Park recommends that single women get moving bonuses to leave the city, and for men to get rent cuts and “coupons to bars and bistros” to help them wine and dine women. And, in conclusion:
So to all the single ladies: There’s a whole world of men out there waiting to put a ring on it. They’re just not in New York (yet).
This shtick is, we’re hoping, at least partly tongue in cheek, but it’s so fucking dumb as to be offensive anyway. The idea that New York City women are so hampered by men, and competition with each other, that we can’t achieve what we want (assuming that “a ring on it” IS what we want) is just insulting.
How many jobs were there in that industry you fought tooth and nail to get into? Or spots in that college? Or apartments in that neighborhood, etc. etc.? You get what you get out of will and hard work, and, yes, sometimes a bit of luck — but you get what you want out of knowing what it is and going after it. So what if there are less men than women here?
Like I mentioned in this week’s Voice, once you know what you want, I have full confidence you can achieve it, though of course that means making certain compromises or choices, because that is what we do in all decision-making. In the meantime, have fun, and stop complaining about how there are no good men here, because it’s not only boring, it’s the surest way of making that your reality.
Then again, if you agree with Park, sure, you should move, because you’re not doing yourself, or anyone else, a favor by hanging around.