Mating, Dating, Relating, Medicating

Jan 20
2011

Spoiled for Choice: Mars, Venus, Jam, and The Rules

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Reading this recent  interview with one of the two (male) authors of a forthcoming book, “Premarital Sex in America: How Young Americans Meet, Mate and Think About Marrying”,  I thought, oh shit. Here we go again. The gist (of the interview at least) is that because women are becoming educated and succeeding at a higher rate than men, they are having to compete with one another for an ever-shrinking pool of similarly successful men.  (Apparently, there is a “boy crisis”, evidenced by the fact that women now make up 57% of undergraduate students.  Who knew?)

Hence, this new book says, women are giving up sex too early in a relationship, out of fear that if they don’t drop trou their successful, educated paramour will just  move on to one of the many other single, educated, desperate chicks competing for his sperm, and she will.  Basically, the desirable male supply is far outstripped by the desirable male demand, thus the men’s price is soaring.  The currency used to “buy” these men’s attention–pussy–is available in such quantities that it’s virtually without value.

Viva la revolucion!

Ladies, congratulations!  We are now educated and successful, and we’ve won the right to have sex before marriage without being labeled the town whore.  But the bad news is, now men don’t have to pursue sex or work for it, so they just trip along from one wiling crotch to the next, each surrounded by an ever more successful, erudite, and toned package that also has boobs.  Why buy the cow when you can have meat AND milk from a whole herd for free, amirite?

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There was a great blog post recently that laid out how men should treat women.  I loved it.  It’s a fantastic list.  But everything on it is, to me, just common sense drizzled with decency.  Call her!  Talk to her!  Listen to her like you care what she’s saying!  Pay attention to the things she says, and remember them!

This is how everyone should treat their friends and families and lovers.  Men in relationships don’t follow these guidelines because they get what they want regardless–all the trappings of a relationship (sex, companionship, a degree of intimacy) with none of the attendant sacrifices (not doing whatever and whomever they want whenever they please.)  They get it because women give it to them, in the hope that our generosity will be rewarded with…something.  Love, consideration, commitment, something.

Contrast the above list with Dave Chappelle’s quote about the four things women should do to keep their man:  Suck his dick, play with his balls, fix him a sandwich, and don’t talk so much.

Sometimes I fear it really does boil down to that.

Hi, Mars?  It’s Venus calling (in direct contravention of  The Rules, oh no!) Can we talk about what we both want from this relationship?  I mean, neither of us is getting any younger, and I love you.  When should we start thinking about moving in togeth…hello?  Hello?  Did you hang up?

Forget unicorns.  We should be so lucky to even spot one in the distance.  Setting our sights on an ass might be too ambitious at this point.

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A friend of mine recently ended a relationship with a guy she’d been seeing, quite happily, for nearly a year.  He’s a couple years shy of 40.  In the end, he said, he just doesn’t want any responsibility.  He wants to be able to do what he wants, when he wants, in the manner he wants.  He never wants kids, or even pets.  And really, why should he have to give up any of his selfish pursuits?  He has years and years yet to change his mind and settle down, unlike women his age, who are crushed up against biological deadlines that simply can’t slip.  Not deciding whether you want kids by the time you’re 40 for a woman isn’t an option; if you’re 40 and don’t have kids yet, you’re not having any.  It’s decided for you.  You can’t change your mind, marry someone younger, and start popping them out.

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Have you heard about The Jam Experiment?

Essentially, in the first of three experiments shoppers were presented with jam at the grocery store. Some shoppers saw a display that included 6 different flavors; others encountered a display that offered 30. There was little difference in the taste testing behaviors of the shoppers at either table. However, thirty percent of those individuals who visited the table that offered only six choices actually purchased jam, while a mere three percent made purchases after visiting the table that offered 24 options.

According to the researchers, “Even though consumers presumably shop at this particular store in part because of the large number of selections available, having “too much” choice seems nonetheless to have hampered their later motivation to buy.” (Hat tip)

Presented with too many choices, people won’t commit to just one of the available options. If that doesn’t sum up modern, urban, 30- and 40-something dating, I don’t know what does.

But.  These are perceived options.  I think people’s belief in their options is bigger than the reality of them.  I don’t think that anyone–men, women, or chickens–should settle.  I don’t think that betraying your core values so that you can be in a relationship is a good bargain; the potential downside–losing the relationship anyway and being caught out with nothing worth having–is too huge.  I do think that ending relationships like you’re on an episode of Seinfeld–big ears/weird hands/slightly small breasts/ugly toes–is ridiculous.  The idea that there is an infinite number of people out there with whom you could be happy, that the world of love is a magic box your dick can unlock any old time, is just false.  We don’t get that many chances at love, and we squander them at our own peril.

So, maybe guys just don’t want love and partnership, and now that there’s no stigma attached to staying single, they don’t have to pretend.  Maybe internet porn, platonic friends, and the occasional live woman willing to suck your dick and make you a sandwich with nothing required in return is enough.  Maybe we women have shot ourselves in the foot as far as love goes by not really needing men any more the way we used to when we had less equality.  Back then, social pressure forced people to couple up so the man could provide, but those days are gone.

I’m not suggesting we return to them.  I’m not suggesting that women give up their sexual agency in the hope that making sex harder to get will once again make men work harder for it.  (That ship is waaay out to sea.)  I’m not even suggesting that all of the single women out there are sad that they can’t find a man who wants to commit and make babies–I know plenty of women who are content to be their own best company, and brava to them.  I’m just saying that I am sad about it, and I have no idea what the solution could possibly be.  Maybe the price of independence is loneliness, and for me that price is too high.

Updated to add: I’m a little worried that I came off like an anti-feminist asshole in this post, but I’m really not.  Indeed, this entire diatribe could just as easily be said like this: WHY DOES NO ONE LOVE ME WHEN I TRY SO HARD TO BE LOVABLE CAN YOU NOT JUST FUCKING COMMIT ALREADY OMG PLEASE.

Ahem.

16 Responses to “Spoiled for Choice: Mars, Venus, Jam, and The Rules”

  1. magnolia says:

    i always hesitate to apply blanket norms to things like dating. i’ve found exceptions to every single “rule” in the book. the one norm i think is vitally important is this one: you have to – HAVE TO – be honest about expectations and desires, early and often.

    i don’t think there is A solution. there might be a ton of solutions, on an individual basis, for people. i’m not sure that’s anything other than cold comfort, either. sigh.

    • C_girl says:

      It’s a tough one for sure…it just drives me nuts that this book is going to be splashed all over the place, tsk tsking that women need to twist ourselves around in some new way.

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  3. Thank you for writing this. I think this is pretty much spot on. However, the one thing that I think needs emphasizing is that I honestly do not think WE (the women) are the problem.

    I think it is the dudes…for two main reasons.

    1. Men these days have been raised to think it is a-okay (and even almost encouraged) to be players. To have lots of girls on the side. To resist settling down. Modern culture (tv, music, etc) all encourages this.

    2. All of the women that are kicking ass and taking names in school, in the workplace, etc. make the majority of men feel insecure— and the only way for them to get the leg up (and regain some security) is to be players, keep us hanging on, call us crazy.

    • C_girl says:

      Thanks for commenting! I hate to blame dudes exclusively, though it is tempting. I’m with you on the cultural meme about players though. That shit makes my skin crawl. I think it’s really, literally sick.

  4. First, I have to say, it isn’t the “dudes”

    Now, that being said, I think dating is just plain fucking miserable HERE. Who’s to say it is miserable somewhere else? Not us, cause we are here.

    People come to this area driven by ambition, power, prestige, and money. No one comes to this area with the intent to meet someone, fall in love, make babies, etc.

    Now, as far as the above comment about the “dudes,” it has nothing to do with the “dudes.” I think the lack of commitment is more of a generational thing. When you grow up in a society that is more and more driven by the concept of instant gratification, the need for commitment becomes less and less. And there is no accountability. People have become spoiled. It has nothing to do with guys. It’s universal.

    • C_girl says:

      My sister says everyone thinks dating in their city is the worst, but I really think DC is extra special awful. I just don’t get how people DON’T want love and a life with someone, regardless of their career aspirations.

  5. I think this post is brilliant! And I don’t think you sound like an anti-feminist asshole at all. Just tellin’ it like it is. Not to simplify your arguments in any way, but this sums it up for me personally: at times, I am infuriated that we are finally at a point where it’s acceptable for women to admit to loving sex and be able to vocalize what we want in a man, yet still be screwed over by the dynamics of our gender roles.

  6. Toddy says:

    Another well written, genius post. If you are reading any of my posts I sound like a complete batshit crazy nutbag dating this new guy of mine but I know that its only because I want him to commit and I have no promise that he will and until he does I’ll be a wreck and even if he really likes me he may not because he doesn’t have to. There are NO good men in this city so I know a keeper when I see one. Ugh. I liked what asinglegirldoingsinglethings said about the problems with guys. And I want to add onto that- I think men have a right to do what they want. Its what they want. Its their life. HOWEVER- the problem is when they treat women like shit. By being players. And toying with our emotions. And leading us on. And banging us and never calling etc. And like you said NO ONE should treat anyone badly. Ever. not the stranger on the bus. not your friend or your sister or your mother or your roommate’s girlfriend or the girl you took home for a one night stand. Be honest and upfront. I don’t want a relationship. I don’t want marriage or kids or pets or a house plant. I want fun. Short-term fun. Long-term fun. And let the women make their own decision. Sure you might get more sex being a lying, player douchebag. But maybe slightly less sex is worth not being a waste of space shithead. Just sayin. Cheers, T.

  7. Toddy says:

    P.S. This post made me slightly depressed. So what you’re really saying is…I’m not going to get my happy ending? Fml…

  8. Aleksandra says:

    When I was single, I used to take my dog on first dates with me, just to help break the ice. Some guys he loved, others he thought were ok, and others he was totally indifferent. I never took his advice in picking who to have second dates with, and in the end, he was always right– the guys he was indifferent toward always ended up being the biggest jerks.
    I’m now fostering a second dog, who is a total guy magnet. Men just love her. Flock to her. She is irresistible.
    I’m married now, but I can’t help but think that the two dogs could be such a power dating duo– our foster to attract them, and our own dog to instantly judge their worth. Do you think I could take this show on the road?

    Aleksandra
    follow our foster: loveandaleash.wordpress.com

  9. City Girl says:

    You make a lot of valid points here, C_Girl! I think it’s important to remind women not to settle, despite what statistics or recent books like “Marry Him” indicate. I feel like the interview also makes the assumption that most women will seek men who earn more or have a better job than they do (or vice-versa). Most of my married friends chose men who earn less than they do. I don’t see that as settling ;) .

  10. You have no idea how much I enjoyed that line: “Suck his dick, play with his balls, fix him a sandwich, and don’t talk so much.” and I guess that is the best way to keep a man interested. :)

    Sorry you’re having so much trouble but let me tell you one thing. Marriage is a whole other ball game. I have a friend who has been married and I just bought him the book that the guy read in “Fireproof” so let’s see how that goes.

  11. I have just three things to say…
    1) I love this!
    2) Why have I never seen your blog before?
    3)Thanks for reading & commenting on mine.

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