Get It Together, Gents

I ran across an image on Pinterest several months ago that has been plaguing my consciousness for quite some time.  I’m not clear of the origin of this image or who its maker is, but this is it:

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“Disney?  She’s upset about Disney?”  Now before anyone goes kung-fu on me assuming that I’m bashing your childhood memories or insulting the Mouse, I’m not.  I grew up watching Disney movies just like everyone, and I still consider many of them to be of the highest caliber of entertainment (and not just for the wee ones).  No, the part that concerns me about this (in my opinion) very accurate cross section of princess evolution is the sociological change in message that has taken place for young girls and women. Now, I realize there’s no way to broach this subject without digging myself into an awesome ditch of controversy, but allow me a small disclaimer:  I am in no way a femiNazi.  I do not wish for the kind of gender equality that involves everyone shaving their heads and wearing androgynous jumpsuits.  I think courtesy and modern chivalry are important.  With the same level of belief, I am not a parasol carrying, nose powdering, demands-a-jacket-over-every-puddle kind of woman.  I believe self-confidence and a willingness to work hard and be comfortable on your own is vital.  Now that I’ve covered my ass, let’s continue.

My Theory: The significant shift in the female mentality is due to men becoming more and more untrustworthy and irresponsible with women. You’ve got to be tougher and way more self-reliant, Ladies.  Why?  Because the boys aren’t going to care for you anymore.  As a 26 year-old woman, I’m stuck in the middle between dating a Man-Child who still has a vendetta against vegetables, and the dudes in their early-mid 30’s who are probably still unmarried for a good reason (tempers, emotional unrest, demeaning sarcasm, control issues, etc.). Men of this generation offer a shocking level of ignorance in the realms of respect, consideration of others, emotional stability and even normal problem solving abilities.  Instances of manipulation, denial, condescension, anger and self-entitlement are rampant in the male population that I have encountered.  Women are forced to become harder, stronger and meaner in an effort to protect themselves and remain afloat in today’s dating society, and any legitimate example of kindness is now seen with extreme skepticism in case it may be a manipulation of our emotions for male selfish gain.  Of course I have no statistical or peer-reviewed evidence for this, solely my own experiences and perceptions.    I allow you a glimpse into the dating life of a 26-year old, well-educated and well-cultured woman, and from this vicarious view, you can decide whether or not my theory holds water.

+ In the past 2 years, I have had 4 men break down into full emotional meltdowns.  2 of these men had multiple episodes; 1 of these men had over 10 crying fits in the span of one month.

+ In the past two years, I have had to break up with 3 men multiple times.  Meaning, they refused to comprehend the fact that I did not want to date them anymore, so they continued on as though nothing had happened.

+ One guy showed up at my house with a suit and roses 3 weeks AFTER we had broken up, AFTER I had explicitly told him that I refused to have any conversation about getting back together.  He had a sobbing fit in the public parking lot of my apartment complex.

+ One guy had a rice cooker in his apartment that was broken.  Each time he used it, it would overflow.  There were layers upon layers of hardened rice starch covering his countertops and floor.  For weeks.

+One guy called me a “prudish snob” for refusing to discuss masturbation with him.

+ In the past 2 years, 3 men have invited themselves over to MY house for a nightcap, and all 3 were completely dismayed when I would not allow it.

+ One guy was 45 minutes late to a first date, and brought me a single rose that he had bought at a gas station (complete with price sticker).  He claimed that he was late because he had stopped to buy that rose.

+ On a blind date set up by a friend, one guy reached across the table and pulled my hair, and then asked me if I liked it.

+ I had a date with a guy who had picked me up from my house.  After a mediocre date and an explicit request to take me home, he drove us both to HIS house, started blaring Tupac in his living room and began a dance party with himself.  I left and called a cab, and I’m fairly sure he never noticed my exit.

+ I had a guy who made a grand speech at dinner about how honesty was one of his foremost priorities…and then proceeded to lie to his mother on the phone less than 15 minutes later.

+ In the past 2 years, 6 men have asked me on a first date which required me to drive over an hour (2 hours, in one case) to meet in their respective cities.

+ One guy drank his way into flunking out of my alma mater.  He was also personally offended that the weed-out classes for the medical program were so difficult.  He was convinced the teachers all hated him and made the classes difficult because of that reason alone.

+ I had one very pleasant date with someone I liked quite a bit.  He dropped me off at home, gave me a kiss, and then told me he was pretty sure he was gay.

+ I briefly dated one guy who contradicted himself with such frequency, that at one point he tried to convince me that he just had a different definition for certain words than everyone else, and I would just have to learn to understand what he meant and “speak his language.”

+ I met a guy at work once, who within 4 hours of knowing me, asked me to marry him so he could get his green card.

+ I once had an 11am coffee date with someone.  He showed up still half-drunk and delirious from the night before, and was unable to hold a conversation.

+ I dated one guy who played Call of Duty for the entirety of the time I came to visit him.  I timed it once, and he played for 7 straight hours while I sat on his couch and we missed our dinner reservation.

Still not convinced?  The above examples are real-life incidents that have happened in my dating experience.  The following are encounters I’ve had in digital dating world, online.

+ In the past year, I’ve had 22 men message me online who were over 40.  I am 26.

+ In the past year, I have received 18 hate messages.

+ In the past year, I have received 114 messages.  Approximately 80% of these contained less than 6 syllables of content.

+ Of that 80%, 20% have contained nothing more than a phone number.

+ Of all 114 messages, only 17 were without a single typo.

Please enjoy the following real profile excerpts from men that have online dating profiles.  All are American, native speakers of English.  All spelling and punctuation are written verbatim from what is presented online.  I could not make this shit up.

– ” I am tall but like meetioger tall ness.  I enjoy playing pool, tennis and pley golf alot.  I enjoy funny movies and fun times with good memmories.  I enjoy all sports, baseball the most I like to travel and see the world with things i haven’t seen.  I enjoy meeting new people who like to have fun and ejnoy finding new tings that would interest them!!”

– “to date girl have fun with her be good for me i to hang out watch tv play game see her to play game with good what r for me is good ok i have take girl on date i to dinner movie is it good i to hang out her go out come home have good time me you ok be good for me be mr mrs ivey have good fun good time have kid good be for you her have i go me her go deer hunting have good time cold winter”

– “Four mini-vignettes that make me, well, me: Smelling the crisp December air that’s part of the backcountry of Colorado. It’s a mix of fluffy snow mingled with pine needles. I look up the slope at a darkening sky and head down to the lift below. Hearing the soft ripple of the current as I float lazily down the river. Leaves fall in the water as I realize that this is the last run of the season. I dip my paddle beside me and turn towards my dad. His grizzled beard parts in a smile as we head towards a set of gurgling rapids below. Basking in the neon glow of Hachiko crossing. Surrounding me, a mass of humanity. Just barely above the murmur of the crowd, I hear the thrum of blades above me. I look up just in time to see a grey object with a flash of red on the tail. I smile knowingly and turn from the station, now back on my way. Walking down the newly paved street of one of America’s symbols of power in a city far from home. In the distance i hear the muezzin calling out his adhan but i’m not a member of his flock. I close my eyes for a moment, letting his call fill my ears. But its meaning escapes me. Who I’m looking for: A girl who can be my best friend, lover, and partner in crime.”

– “love fun love fun happinest love alot of love trips love swiming love I’m shy at first but once you get to know me you’ll see I’m just a nice person who enjoys the little things in life. I love music and will listen to anything. I like someone who dI’m a nice person who knows how to have a good time. I like staying in and watching a movie every now and again. Fun people who like going on new and exciting adventures are who I’m looking forigs music, I’m a nice person who knows how to have a good time. I like staying in and watching a movie every now and again. Fun people who like going on new and exciting adventures are who I’m looking forI’m friendly with a big heart. I like open-minded people who aren’t quick to judge others. A person who’s laid back, compassionate, and has a great sense of humor is right up my alley”

– “am a fun muscular man, I’m slender and want a woman who has big breasts and is slender like me and who wants to have kids through sex and is the most beautiful woman and that has no peircings.” (I should note, this guy looks about 12 years old in his picture)

AHEM.  I REST MY CASE.

With winners like these running amok, it’s no wonder women have had to learn to be tough, and I find it rather sad that the message of “you’re on your own, kid” is the new motto of our next generation of women.  We’re now getting movies that involve the direct message of, “don’t get married, boys aren’t worth it” from movies like Brave.  If you haven’t seen Brave, a central theme of the plot is that a young princess is vehemently against marriage, and all her suitors are dumbasses in one way or another.  The flip side of this coin, is that the primary male characters in these movies are portrayed as oblivious or ignorant (Eric from The Little Mermaid, and John Smith from Pocahontas), or feckless mongrels who gain the affection of a woman despite their behavior (whatsisface from Mulan, and hellooooo, the Beast?  Stockholm Syndrome, anyone?).  Am I trying to wage a war on Disney movies?  Of course not, I really do think they’re great.  But I do aim to point out the mirrored effects of an expanding acceptance of poor behavior on the part of our menfolk.

Of course, there are exceptions, and I’m well aware that there are great, respectful, wonderful men out there.  But the proportion is way off kilter, and it’s developing a widespread attitude of distrust that is based on very real issues.  These issues include selfishness, manipulation for personal gain, objectification of women, and extreme denial.  The worst kind of asshole is the one who’s convinced he’s a saint.

And yes, before you all ride me out on a rail, I’m aware that there are plenty of women who suck too, and who are moral, emotional hot messes in their own right.  However, I will note that a large percentage of those women did not have proper father figures in their lives…just saying.

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8 thoughts on “Get It Together, Gents

  1. I met my kind, loving, well adjusted husband at Church. I’m not sure about your views on religion but many men of high caliber congregate at ‘churches’.

    • Janette, I grew up in the church and while I don’t disagree, I’ve not found anyone that would be a good match for me yet. A few of the gentlemen I’ve written about above were avid church-goers as well.

  2. Kaylynn,

    I feel like the above meme from Pinterest, particularly the last part, describes you quite well. I mean this as a compliment: you are “gutsy and have strong convictions.” Admittedly, “stubborn” has a negative connotation and being “the heroes of our own story” may also encourage to the pervasive opinion that men need not strive to be an adequate and meaningful companion for women. One thing that scares me is the idea that women actually respond to the atrocious messages and/or behavior that you describe in the above post!

    As a man, another show I can’t stand is Sex and the City. On the one hand, I feel like it might be presumptuous of me to critique a show that to a certain extent shows women acting out their desires (at least presumably). On the other hand, the one episode of the show I saw featured extended scenes of women sleeping with men who, although attractive, seemed to offer little in intelligence or meaningful communication. Although television and films always portray women as meaningless holes for men to fill, I always find it strange and rather disturbing that some have concluded that we should simple reverse the traditional roles.

    But I digress. . .

    The main point I am trying to get across is that while the Pinterest image served as a catalyst for your thoughts, I am not sure that requesting independent women is a far fetched goal — with this caveat. “Independent” does not mean that men shouldn’t have to care, go through certain meaningful social rituals, or, to be blunt, not immediately turn into a pussy who demands that HE be the one requiring unacceptable care and attention; rather, it means that men and women should pursue their own ambitions and goals and that a relationship (or even a friendship for that matter!) should help support and encourage the desires and goals of the individuals as well as the collective partnership.

    IMHO.

    Sincerely,

    Jake

    • Jake, the last sentence of your comment would be idyllic, but hardly realistic. I agree wholeheartedly that life would be much easier if everyone just got their lives scraped together and lived one happy, respectful, and emotionally well-balanced way. But I’m fairly sure we both know that’s a irrationally far-fetched goal.

      As for the situation of Sex and the City, I have some disappointing news. While I’ve only ever seen the show a handful of times, the male characters you’re referring to are a precise representation of how men are today. I saw very little exaggeration in attitude or action from real life. Sex and the City is a remarkably popular show for one reason alone: it’s painfully accurate, and seriously close to reality. It’s one of those things that’s, “funny cause it’s true.”

      Also, in regards to your statement of “One thing that scares me is the idea that women actually respond to the atrocious messages and/or behavior that you describe in the above post!” I was just telling a friend last night that I *knew* someone would come around and say it’s at least partially the woman’s fault for feeding into such ridiculous behavior. Here’s the reason why we do: these traits do not appear or even come close to visible until about the 2 weeks-1 month mark. Men are masters at hiding their true colors until such a time that they either cannot lie anymore, or they feel they have successfully “caught” the woman and thus do not have to be normal human beings any longer. Ask any woman, and I’m sure she will tell you that there’s a waiting period to find out whether or not a guy is worth your time.

      Additionally, there’s a kind of leveling/settling effect happening. If a woman has had 3 encounters with men who lie, cheat and degrade her, then an encounter with a guy who just cries all the time seems manageable in comparison. Does that mean being an emotional train wreck and using tears as an attention-seeking method is acceptable behavior? Hell no, but it’s sure a step up from the last few times. As I mentioned, the proportion of high quality men:low quality men is horribly askew, and I’m fairly certain that at this point, nothing short of divine intervention will change that.

      • I’ll grant you that my last sentence is definitely “idyllic,” but it doesn’t hurt to aim for that ideal even if reality is completely disappointing. It’s probably completely unrealistic to aim for that on a few dates, but I feel like I’ve seen examples of supportive, long term relationships that try and base their relationships on that ideal even if they never reach some sort of endless utopia.

        Thanks for clarifying why Sex and the City’s representations are not so far fetched, even though it gives me even less hope for my gender.

        I did not mean for my comment about women’s responses to men to indicate that it’s really women’s fault and I’m sorry if it came off like that. Although I question my own abilities, I agree that men are masters of deception, hiding their true selves until they are sure they have “caught” a woman. In that sentence, I was referring to “profile excerpts” that you posted. I think I misread your post initially to say that these were messages that you received so I assumed that if men sent these kinds of atrociously written solicitations, they must be working on some level. I hope for the sake of our abilities to communicate as human beings ALL women run as far away as possible from those profiles.

        Finally, in regard to your final paragraph, you make a great point that emotional train wrecks probably seem better than cheating or abusive assholes.

        Thanks for the well argued, respectful reply.

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  4. Unfortunately, it’s not better for older women either. I’m married now, but I dealt with all the same issues you do. If you’re well-read, articulate & can spell, you certainly intimidate a large portion of the male population.

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