A few weeks ago, we ran a story titled “Dear Single Women of NYC: It’s Not Them, It’s You.” [Full disclosure: I wrote it.] It was about taking responsibility for what you want in a relationship (or owning that you may not know what you want a relationship, which is fine, too), but in the meantime, to stop blaming men for all the love troubles that befall you, because it’s not just them — it’s also about you. After all, how long have women toiled for the freedom to be able to make our own “mistakes” in relationships, and not only that, to own them? This is a good thing. But in the weeks that have followed that story, it seems like everyone can’t stop talking, yet again, about how men suck.
How do men suck? Let us count the ways…
• Men are twentysomething losers who only want to play video games and smoke pot and, most importantly, not get married, which is the one thing women really want them to do, having dreamed of our voluminous white doily-dresses and delicate, mincing walks down an aisle surrounded by gardenias since we were but fetuses.
• Men are growing more and more depressed, because they’re learning it’s okay to have feelings, even as they struggle with masculo-feminized “identities.” That’s why there’s cry-camp.
• Men are obsessed with porn, and don’t even want to have sex with live human ladies when the computer screen is so much easier…and more satisfying!
Let’s add to this list, because we can:
• Men sometimes smell bad.
• Men sometimes forget to put down the toilet seat, and we forget to look, and fall in, and that’s embarrassing, and makes us mad.
• Sometimes men like us but we don’t like them, and that makes us uncomfortable.
• Men don’t always like us, and that makes us uncomfortable.
• Men change their minds about how they feel.
• Men work too much, or not enough, and call us or their moms too much, or not enough, or like us too much, or not enough, and have had too many, or too few, sexual conquests/girlfriends/place settings/whatever else happens to bug us at this particular time.
• Men spell their name without a “wo,” which is alienating.
• Men have horrible taste in drapes.
We could go on and on!
And yet, despite all of the above, which you’d think would be enough to make us give up on men for good, men also “have the upper hand in sex” with women who, sometimes, don’t even require “dates,” much less the putting of a ring on it. For shame!
At the same time, women are being touted as better educated, better paid (sometimes), and often far more together than men — we even pay for dinner sometimes! — but we’re still positively desperate to land said awful men as hubbies, because it’s the only way in which our successful womanhood can be gauged. Huh?
Something is off here. How can men be so slovenly and horrible and wanting easy sex but not even caring about sex, and women so wonderful and wise and laser-beam-focused on marriage and children while also okay with a roll in the hay — but hopelessly inept at relationships, incapable of finding those remaining human men who will make honest women of us? More worrisomely: Why are women to blame for making men into such deplorable creatures?
For the record, getting married and having kids does not make you “good,” nor, necessarily, a “man” or a “woman” — particularly if you haven’t thought much about it either before or after the fact…which begs the question: Should we really be getting married in our early 20s anyway? Isn’t it natural that as we live longer, we take more time in each of the stages of our lives, and do them the right way, the way we want to? Isn’t that…a luxury?
Kay Hymowitz, who wrote the “Where Have the Good Men Gone” piece in the Wall Street Journal and the upcoming book Manning Up, is the same person who has called men woman-haters. Interestingly, if anyone hates women, we’d say it’s Hymowitz herself, with her message that men simply won’t be men until women stop doing their own thing and actually “need them” again. This situation, then, is the fault of feminism. Ah.
Hymowitz also writes in her Journal piece that the “undomesticated” slacker guys she’s talking about are “pre-adults,” who “differ in one major respect from adolescents. They write their own biographies, and they do it from scratch.”
That’s an interesting definition of a slacker.
Clearly, the way in which we live and have relationships is changing. Marriage is no longer the only option; in fact, it isn’t an option for some people, and many of those who can and do choose it divorce, which means we should all think long and hard about what it means to each of us, preferably before we go there. Beyond marriage, the rules of romance, sexuality, and coupling are in a state of evolution.
But when we’re truly free to write our biographies from scratch, we won’t be judged as slackers or “pre-adults.” We’ll be adults making the right decisions for ourselves about love, marriage, children, and whatever else…regardless of what “society” said once upon a time, a long, long time ago.
Instead of playing the blame game and bemoaning what is no longer, let’s think about what will be and what should be…and move toward that.