Sunday, February 10, 2008

Woman Wants Unicorn, Now Almost Willing To Settle For Pony

I want to cut the author of this horror some slack, since I think there's a pressure to be entertaining and to crackle, and all that. I'd hate to conclude that I, you know, knew her after reading a single article she'd written (which may, as I said, have been engineered to fit the perceived audience rather than her own true self).

But, good Lord, I wouldn't touch a woman like that with a ten-foot pole.

The article is about "settling", specifically encouraging women to "settle" for men that don't meet all their expectations. And it's telling that she idolizes the relationship from the sitcom Will & Grace between the gay titular character and his roommate, as well. All some women seem to want is a man who won't make demands but will go shopping with them.

The money quote, to me, was this:
My long-married friend Renée offered this dating advice to me in an e-mail:
I would say even if he’s not the love of your life, make sure he’s someone you respect intellectually, makes you laugh, appreciates you … I bet there are plenty of these men in the older, overweight, and bald category (which they all eventually become anyway).

She wasn’t joking.

"She wasn't joking"? To suggest that a woman might do well to look for signs that a man loves her, rather than the state of his hairline or waist? Can you imagine what the reciprocal article in a men's magazine would be like?
Just because she's only a B-cup (and one of them is lopsided), not open to having sex with other woman, and reluctant to go ass-to-mouth, doesn't mean you shouldn't do her once or twice. A lot of less attractive women are quicker to have sex and more eager to please than their prettier counterparts.
Dude. That's hard for me to even write, and for all I know such articles have appeared in Hustler or Swank. (Not Jugs mind you, since a C-cup would be a minimum there.) I doubt it would get play in the Atlantic, though.

I guess that stage that most people go through in their adolescence--you know the one where they dress up funny, and don't bathe or get their hair dyed green and dress like a slob, so they can criticize society for being "superficial"--I guess that the author never went through that stage or did it without grasping that there is a lesson to be learned there once you get past the stridency.

The funny thing is that if you're in love, you don't feel like you're settling. The Other may annoy you, drive you downright nuts sometimes, and yet through it all, you see only beauty. You can have passion after ten, twenty, fifty years, even as the body slows down and becomes less urgent with its needs. Why? Because love really is in the mind. (As trite as that sounds.)

But you'll notice that this article is, in essence, about being effect. This woman has been waiting her whole life for someone to come along who creates a positive effect on her. But not just any positive effect: A solely positive effect greater than anything else she has experienced. Her role in this is limited to eliminating those who cast the shadow of a displeasing effect upon her blessed countenance. Her cognition is that she must be willing to accept, to some degree, an effect that might be negative--though her own role hasn't changed, just the parameters in which she performs her task of judging.

Even as she accepts that, however, she doesn't really, since she's added a "perfect father" head to the previous chimera of "perfect mate". She's merely transferred responsibility for her problem to her child. Where it used to be that she was too picky to find a mate, now it's that she's too gosh-darn responsible. (And notice that she uses the term "subpar" here, indicating that perfection is par.)

And the most damning thing? Not only does she never once refer to any personal flaws she might hypothetically have, nowhere, in four pages of writing, does she talk about what any poor sap who might find her attractive might get out of a relationship with her. There's no mention of fun or sex or laughter, cooking, holidays, shared hobbies, or even sitting on the couch watching trash TV--all the things that couples and families do that bring joy to what otherwise could become a grind.

Those who are in love, or have been in love, know that a huge part of what makes it good is being able to make the other person feel good--to make them see themselves in a better light than they've ever imagined.

Of course, if you already know you're perfect, you can't receive that.


  1. I've been in several online discussions lately where guys assume all women are just like this one. Thank you for realizing she's an idiot, not an icon. I will say her type is overrepresented, but not everyone with two X chromosomes is a self-involved twit. (But what do I know? I've been married 15 years this May and consider myself enhanced, not damaged, by the process. Not enough estrogen, I guess.)

  2. Well put Blake. But if there is not significant portion of women who do indeed think in the manner of this article, then how is it that we are seeing a rash of writing of this type? It is full of the lack of introspection and superficiality usually attributed to men by women. But, I guess then that women have achieved yet another milestone in their "liberation": a decent portion have become like immature young men in their superficial attitudes about relationships.

  3. As I said, I don't even know if I believe that this woman feels that way. But someone feels she represents a significant portion of the audience of The Atlantic, eh.

    Or maybe she's just trolling.

    I have known a few women (and men) who seemed to feel that any mate should be theirs for the asking (with gratitude for the honor).

    But most were less charming than Pepe Le Pew, who is the only other character I can think of who looks at the world that way.

  4. I think that I recall some mention that the ladies aren't perfect either but it was a really really minor point.

    But she said a lot of true stuff.

    Women my age (dare I say 43?) have been told certain things our whole lives. One of them is that it works to plan to have a child who doesn't *have* a father.

    I personally know someone who tried that arrangement with a man and discovered that not only did her son have a father, he had a whole host of possessive Peruvian relatives who felt they had a claim on the boy. Being afraid your son will disappear to a foreign country is *not* what the feminists promised!

    And then there is this lady, who was so responsible and read up on using a sperm donor only to be hit in the face by the reality of a baby in her life. Why hadn't any of the books told her that getting no sleep for three years makes you look and feel like a hag?

    Or that you can no longer simply accept a date and go?

    She approaches knowledge that she had all these wrong ideas, and since I heard them too (even if I didn't believe them) I can see where she's coming from. But she doesn't quite move on to finding the *right* ideas, and that's sort of sad.

  5. Oh, and your title is the best. ;-)

  6. Thanks, Synova.

    You got me going on another, related post.

    Lies We Tell Women.


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