“we’re becoming the men we wanted to marry.”
as soon as i read her take on “the decline of men”, i emailed it to every single girl i know.
kate’s article went viral and she has spent her time since it was published making the rounds on the talk show circuit, defending, discussing, and debating this topic that seems to come as a surprise to “newspeople”.
it’s not at all surprising to me. she, i, and every other single woman are living this common experience together.
last night, a single friend of mine and her mother, who was visiting from out of town, discussed this current state of affairs.
simply boiled down; the majority of men are holding onto their boyhood as long as possible these days. they have roommates, they play video games, they don’t do their laundry, they avoid adult responsibilities as much as they can. they’ve extended a college-like lifestyle into their thirties, and sometimes their forties.
a rare “real man”: a mature, financially secure, professionally successful, well-rounded dude who comes with a variety of interests, a great group of friends, and clean underwear, is surrounded by hordes of available women to choose from, and therefore is in no rush to choose just one.
frankly, why should he?
he is an endangered species. the world is his oyster.
when my father married my mother in their early twenties, there wasn’t any discussion that he would be the provider for their family. that’s what men did: they went to war, they chose a wife, bought a home, made a family, and took a job that paid the bills.
back to current times. i went out to dinner last week with a man from ok cupid who asked me out. i enjoy being asked out for dinner as opposed to drinks. it leaves me with an impression that he’s not afraid to commit to two whole hours up front – in today’s climate, kind of a big deal.
the dinner was fine. he looked like his pictures, which is a good start. there weren’t fireworks, but we had a pleasant enough conversation and he didn’t pull any of the freaky shit that i’ve experienced before (crying at the table, “remembering” to tell me he has three kids, etc).
then the bill came.
look. i’m a career woman. i’ve had a job since i was sixteen years old. my salary was three times the size of my ex-husband’s. i have always been the breadwinner.
i don’t need anyone to buy me dinner.
but this is representative of a much larger, big-picture scenario.
and there is a principle involved.
one, he was the one who asked me out.
two, i believe in, and wholeheartedly want to participate in, a courtship where traditional gender roles are adhered to. i want someone to bring me flowers, hold the door open for me, order us a great bottle of wine, and pick up the check. i’ve never had a relationship like that. i want to give it a shot this time. i’m tired of being the alpha. i want a man to be a man and i want to be treated like a woman.
i always offer my credit card and let him decide how to play it. if he wants to split the check, so be it.
but i want him to say, “put your card away, i wouldn’t dream of it. my treat”.
this dude took my card, put it in the check folder, and handed it to the waitress.
i sat, quite stunned that he had given only my card for the meal, but continued to carry on a conversation about the homemade marshmallows in our hot chocolate.
when the waitress returned with my card, as i signed for the tip on the $85 meal, he said, “here,” and handed me a twenty-dollar bill.
i asked my mom the next day if she would have ever found herself in a position to pay for her own dinner on a date. she laughed and said that notion simply did not exist in her dating years.
i asked my friend’s mom last night what she would suggest i do in that situation. she said that i should never offer my credit card, that i should simply say when the check arrives, “thank you for inviting me to dinner, that was lovely.”
i have all kinds of hang ups with that.
i don’t want to be viewed as a gold digger, because i am quite literally the opposite. i stand on my own two feet.
but if i know that i’m not, shouldn’t i be confident enough to hold my ground during the check presentation?
my friend’s mom said that in her day, after a man took you out and paid for a few meals, if you liked him, the proper next step was to invite him over and cook him dinner. i love the quaintness of that picture.
i’m concerned about what the future holds for females in the generations after me.
hell, i’m concerned about what the future holds for me.
kate’s article suggests a trend towards all-female communities, where women rely on other women to help raise their children, collect their mail when they’re out of town, make conversation with each other over tea.
i don’t want men to be obsolete in my life, but i do want them to start acting like men.
i want no part in our society’s emasculation of men, and i have no interest in 35 year old men who act like motherless little boys.
i don’t need to be taken care of, i want to feel taken care of, that’s the difference.
i’m beginning to doubt that men know how to provide that feeling anymore.