I showed this note to my husband, who thinks about these sorts of relationship things a lot, because he’s interested in evolving social culture. His comments, my paraphrase:
Why Do Men Put So Little Effort Into Serious Dating?
Per Mr. M: In general, because so few women provide an upgrade over their own mothers. If you have a mother than will do anything for you, then all a date does is offer sex. Which is pretty much given away for even a cheap, non-serious date these days.
And indeed they do. Apparently, more men want kids than women do nowadays. Something like 80% of men say they want kids vs 70% of women. So like, those are good odds for me, right?
Per Mr. M: Men want children in the right context. They’re not going to enter into anything less than an advantageous relationship to get them. They can always borrow their sister’s kids.
I’ll go on dates with guys, who are like “Yeah, I’d like my wife to take my last name, cook for me, and iron my underpants, but I’d never date someone who just wanted to be a stay at home wife. Financially that just doesn’t make sense.”
Mr. M: Good point being made here by the nameless guy. He wants all the benefits of the stay at home wife, but he knows that he can’t have one unless he cuts back on the things he likes to do. That’s a nonstarter for him.
Which is why it’s so weird that the men I date are totally checked out on this front. I mean, ok I know men don’t have as sharp a biological clock as women do, but a) they do have one,
Mr. M: Yes, but that runway is generally to avoid becoming a “dirty old man” in their 60's. They have a much longer runway than women do.
and b) if you can’t get a hot 20 year old babe in your 20s or 30s, why do you think it’ll be easier in your 50s?
Mr. M: Because they expect to have more money by then, and with money, they know they can have any age group they want.
As far as I can tell, I have 2 options. Option 1 is “trapping” some guy into having kids with me because he lacks the self awareness to plan for it himself. This would also involve taking his last name, doing most of the housework while contributing 50% to the earnings, and faking my orgasms so he doesn’t have to feel emasculated by his lack of sexual prowess. Option 2 is having kids by myself.
Mr. M did not consider either of these options particularly wise, although he would suggest you seriously consider #1.
(My comment on this is that one must keep in mind that Mr. M is from a traditional culture where marriages, although not arranged per se…..are heavily guided by parents. In these cultures, it is expected that you’ll marry somebody you don’t love, and the love part will work itself out over time. So, although you ASSUME you’d be unhappy in a “trapped” marriage, those from the very old and ancient cultures on this planet would not make that assumption. If the man is decent, respectful, and responsible……you may end up pleasantly surprised by yourself. And worst case, you end up with Option 2 anyway. )
It would involve some sacrifices, like probably not living in San Francisco. However, every time I go on a date with some man-child, I become more and more convinced that those sacrifices are probably the less bad option.
Mr. M, who hates traffic and congestion, sees leaving S.F. as an opportunity, not a sacrifice. (He was just there last week on business, and came back cursing in Arabic.)
On the other hand, men make it so hard because they act like they have negotiating power they don’t have. For most men I date, they’re not actually competing with other men, they’re competing with how much I enjoy being single. So many men act like a girlfriend is just something they deserve, but have no concept of how they might improve the life of the women they’re with.
Well, Mr. M points out that men probably enjoy being single even more than women do, and they’re enabled by their mothers, in many cases. Add that to all the little tarts there are in the world who will put out for a cheeseburger.
(Me talking now): I don’t think you have as much negotiating power as you think.
When I date people, I devote a lot of effort to making their lives better….When I date people with physical limitations, I massage their shit (weird Emma past: I went to massage school.)
Mr. M thinks, unless these were all relationships of many months duration that you’re describing, than you get a little too involved too quickly. He points out that men don’t always read all that “effort” as loving, they can read it as creepy and stalky.
But, especially with men, this energy feels so unidirectional. Women are frequently more reciprocative, but men often seem completely uninterested in helping me improve my life in any way. They often care about impressing me, by having nice shit, or looking good, or pulling in bank. But, they almost never take a look at my life and ask themselves “what is Emma missing, and how could I fill that role?”
Mr. M says that men simply assume that they are making your life better by being responsible and a good provider. If you need something else, you need to tell them what you need. However, he adds a caution: being told that you need things from him that fall into the category of “emotional needs” men find confusing.
(Me talking here): Men are problem solvers. If you tell them you have a need, but don’t let them solve it, they get frustrated. They don’t like to be used as “sounding boards”.
And, I dunno, maybe it’s like, co-dependent of me or something, but when I don’t do it my relationships don’t work. Which is why I’m single now.
Mr. M. nodded knowingly.
But mostly, STOP BEING CHECKED OUT OF YOUR OWN HAPPINESS. Omg. Most of my frustrations around dating men center on their shear passivity. Like, I know I said some bleak shit about men ever getting to have kids, but I also feel like if you devote any conscious effort in this direction whatsoever, you’ll be ahead of 90% of men. Just don’t take the black pill.
Mr. M points out that any man who has guy friends and football is not totally unhappy. Especially if they live close to their mothers. That’s part of the problem.
Still, I’m pretty happy. That’s got to count for something.
It’’s everything, actually. The problem is that biological clock. Once the decision to not have a child of your own body is made…..and a few years pass, the decision is made. Can’t go back.