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David Wygant and the Worst Advice I’ve Ever Heard

It’s well known among sociologists and psychologists that young men are delaying maturation. I’ve written about it before here and here. There’s a whole host of reasons this seems to be happening, the most commonly cited ones being:

  • The Women’s Movement, and the resulting confusion over male roles
  • Hypermasculine but immature ideal in popular culture requires constant proving of oneself to peers
  • The declining value of a college degree

None of this is very good news for young women today, who are looking for a few good men and finding a lot of teenage knuckleheads boys. Many women are fed up with all the bro shenanigans, and are rather impatiently waiting for guys to grow up.

Imagine my alarm when I came across an article written by David Wygant encouraging guys to waste their 20s on Good Times. He urges them to enjoy their adult adolescence, which basically means expecting very little of yourself while enjoying life to the fullest.

Adult adolescence? WHAT? Is that not an oxymoron?

First he sets up plenty of sympathy about how hard guys have it nowadays:

“No matter who you were in college — whether you were great with women, a great athlete, or the smartest person in your class — you go into the real world you realize that you are at the bottom of the totem pole all over again. It’s like starting from scratch. You quickly figure out that you have a lot to learn in your 20s. You get your ass kicked throughout your 20s. You really do.”

Next he promises great rewards with zero effort:

“This time in your 20s is really a time to learn. It is a time to get introspective. Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t be hard on yourself. Understand that you’re going to be fine. You’re going to have an amazing, kick ass, unbelievable life.”

While setting the bar rather low:

“Your adult adolescence in your 20s is far greater than your teenage adolescence because you are not living with your parents anymore and you’ve got a little money in your pocket. I remember how good that $2.00 beer tasted with those eight quarters I brought with me. I remember truly appreciating happy hours — and seeking out all the best food options (wings one happy hour and Mexican food the next).”

And finally, he pushes reponsibility onto others:

“Here is something I want everyone to do: Help the people who are in their 20s right now. I know when I look back on my 20s, that was an amazing and fun time of my life. It was carefree. So, really, enjoy your adult adolescence because that time is magical. I have videos of myself when I was in my 20s, and I remember how much fun I was having.”

AAARRRRGGGGHHHHHH. You may be wondering–is this a joke? Did I find this at The Onion?

Who is this slacker and why is he trying to breed new slackers? He is directly contributing to the infantilization of men!

David Wygant is a self-proclaimed dating and relationship expert. He’s mostly known on seduction and pickup artist sites, but he’s had lots of media exposure as well. He purports to offer excellent advice to both men and women.

DOUBT IT.

Here’s what some of his commenters had to say:

  • Matrix: This is a great post David. Your 20’s are just like starting all over again.
  • Andrew: Great post David, as a college senior this is very useful.
  • Greg: In business, relationships, etc, I have much to learn. I tasted independence when I lived on my own for a few years in Toronto. While I learned alot, I had illusions of grandeur and did not have a realistic plan. Because I failed to manage my finances well, I’ve been humbled to living with my parents. That said, I realize this is just a phase.
  • Collin: Well I’m about to turn 21, so trust me David. I’m gonna enjoy this adult adolescence quite a bit.

Enabling, enabling, enabling. Undoubtedly, he’s winning over young men at a rapid clip, seeing as how he’s letting them completely off the hook.

Dr. Gary Cross, a professor of Modern History at Penn State, has written a book called Men to Boys: The Making of Modern Immaturity. He believes that American males are suffering from a bad case of arrested development. He was interviewed recently by Brett McKay at The Art of Manliness, and he described how he became interested in the issue when he noticed something about the students in his classes:

  • Very attractive women weren’t dating.
  • The guys talked a lot about video games, and seemed to spend a great deal of time playing them together.

“Today’s men are not the first to question how much fun can be found in adulthood. Maturing means giving up pleasures, taking on responsibilities, and actively thinking about others. Peter Pan was actually written for an adult audience.”

Cross believes the shift has occurred over the last three generations:

The Greatest Generation

  • Many of these young men went to WWII and Korea.
  • They married at an average age of 21.
  • By their early 20s, most men were prepared to hold down regular employment, own a car, and even make a down payment on a house.

The Baby Boomers

  • These young men rejected early responsibility, perhaps best demonstrated by Dustin Hoffman as Benjamin in The Graduate.
  • They displayed an unwillingness to settle down quickly.
  • Many demonstrated against the establishment.

The Sons of Generation X

  • The trend of delaying responsibility has accelerated.
  • Men now marry at an average age of 28.
  • Popular culture emphasizes play and the indulging of personal pleasure. The focus in on remaining “cool teenage boys.”
  • There is a specific rejection of skill development, or even personal development.

Cross goes on to identify three factors driving immaturity today:

1. Marriage, family and establishing careers are all occurring much later than they used to.

It takes a lot longer for a man to establish himself. Many young men will turn 30 before they secure a job as good as the one their father had in his early 20s.

2. There has been a huge cultural shift in the last 30 years.

Male character used to rely heavily on demonstrations of honor, courage, and heroism. This theme has all but disappeared from popular culture.

3. The economy provides fewer early opportunities to young men.

Buying a house is out of the question for most men in their 20s, but there is more than enough disposable income to purchase a wide variety of entertainments. This serves to extend teenage values. We honor and celebrate the fashionable, the stylish, those with a strong sense of self, rather than a strong sense of society as a whole.

Cross has three primary suggestions for solving the problem:

1. There is no getting around personal responsibility.

Every man needs to make the personal decision to become an adult.

2. Find new symbols of maturity.

Rather than going back to the old-fashioned ways of being a man, today’s men need to create new ways of demonstrating manliness. He suggests that young men begin by serving as role models to a younger generation. This may range from spending time with a nephew to getting formally involved with a youth group.

3. Young men should embark on a program of personal development.

Developing oneself includes pursuing interests and hobbies that will bring them new skills and make them interesting to be around. Cross notes that in the 1950s Playboy magazine featured many articles geared toward personal development. They wrote about fine wines, stereo equipment, and interviewed respected intellectuals like Hemingway. Today, Maxim offers none of those things, but appeals only to the baser human appetites.

This is an intractable problem, and there are no easy fixes. Women will have to manage the fallout as best they can, keeping an eye out for those men who have their act together.

I’d like to hear your thoughts, both XXs and XYs. Does this resonate? How do you want to spend your 20s?

2 Pingbacks/Trackbacks

  • http://gameforomegas.wordpress.com/ Omega Man

    This reflects the economy and not any great desire to live like a college student. The accoutrements of middle class suburban life are expensive and fewer men can afford them. See Steve Sailer on “affordable family formation.” I don't know if marriage was easier then but the deal was certainly clearer; roles were well-defined. Now getting married means aquiring responsibility without privileges. Do you avoid chores and get nagged or cook and be derided as a “kitchen bitch”?

    You mention the military service of earlier generations. Post Korean War military service is regarded as something strange and rather suspect by a large portion of the population. Military virtues are respected, they are suspected. In a hedonistic society why take on responsibility?

    I am now working with an older guy, pushing 70. He asked me if I had ever been married, I said no. He said I wasn't missing much. He said wives are demanding and children are ungrateful.

    Things are getting worse rather than better for men and don't look like they will improve any time soon. If you want men to marry, make it a safe and desirable option.

  • Ray

    I agree with Omega Man.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/more-men-get-an-economic_n_427863.html VJ

    Yes we live in a different age. (While waiting for the quixotic MA race results we might comment upon it).

    Much of this is driven by economics. (See enclosed link:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/more-m… ).

    Korea? 55 years ago. A very long time away. Homes & cheap higher ed? Brought to you by the GI Bill & VA mortgages. Very useful & helped to create the post war middle class as we knew it. As in past tense. What happened? Well in the past 10 years, things have stalled. For everyone.
    Even PhD's as Felix Salmon reminds us here:

    http://blogs.reuters.com/felix-salmon/2010/01/0

    But for essential family formation in your 20's? You not only need good favorable economics, (which actually eliminates about 70% of those under the age of 26 say), but some interest in the prospect. For many men & women? They're not all that interested. Neither are they all that interested in maturity, intellect, or even academic 'accomplishments' much. And folks? At 20 something? That's all you've got for the most part. Other than daddies money or mommas good looks. And Maturity? Never sold much anywhere, other than fine wine & bourbon. And the culture? See Chris Hedges & his new masterful book: “Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle” on that score.

    http://www.alternet.org/module/printversion/145152

    Young men have 'embarked on a program of personal development'. That's what the PUAs & Game's all about. Learning how to play right as an 'adult'. Or more properly an 'unmarried adult'. (Well much of the time). Symbols of manliness? Built into the vids too. The rest of all that 'knowledge stuff'? Much less impressive as was Cliff Claven down at the end of the mythical Cheers bar with the advent of the Net & Wikipedia.

    Yes, there are fewer real economic opportunities for young folks today. It's more & more a 'winner take all' society, and political economics of the last 35 years have been crafted to promote this inequality and then cemented this in place. Hence the vicious circle we can now observe. It takes some money in the bank & secure job & some good prospects of advancement to be able to even think seriously about starting a family or indeed of even getting married. That's true of most western societies the world over. So naturally we see this happening later & later in life. Which is about what we'd expect too. So we're here. It's queered, and everyone's getting used to it. Eventually. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

  • tweell

    First: This is inevitable with the destruction of marriage as a Western institution. Getting married, settling down, having a family – wonderful if you can do it, but the chances are not good. Instead, a lot of the guys who do the 'right thing' get the shaft, as their brides lose interest in playing house and divorce them (but they must keep working hard, have to pay alimony and child support, else be thrown in debter's prison). The upside isn't so up anymore, and the downside is really down.
    Next: Most of the young women in their 20's are interested in bad boys or wealthy gentlemen, which leaves most young fellows out. Why not have fun? More and more, video games and porn are substituting for relationships. Hollow fun? Yes, but much less dangerous.
    Last: Even a hookup can result in an 18-22 year commitment, so guys are becoming more wary of relationships in general. There are more and more 'cougars' with their biological clocks ringing, but the men they snubbed aren't interested any more.

  • susanawalsh

    Omega Man, I agree that the economy is a big factor. Especially since in the current recession, most of the lost jobs have targeted men. However, recent research shows that men actually profit more (financially speaking) from marriage than women do:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/19/us/19marriage

    I regularly assume that women want to marry. It is in our nature. We are biologically programmed to reproduce with a partner. But this data skewers that belief. If women are financially independent, do they prefer to have children on their own? I don't, but some do, as I've been writing about recently.

    I agree that military service is no longer regarded as the noble calling it once was. It's obviously correlated to the loss in stature of values such as honor, bravery and courage, but it's hard to say which came first. An understanding of cause and effect is often elusive. I believe that the Vietnam War was a turning point here – those vets were treated abominably by the American protesters when they returned.

    Re marriage and wives and children: Sometimes I'm ungrateful, out of selfish ignorance or laziness, but mostly I'm very grateful to have found a partner to sit in life's rowboat with. Children? Yes, I would have to say they are ungrateful and spoiled! But perhaps that is my fault as a parent. I trust that in time, they will acquire wisdom and perspective.

  • Matthew

    Ask the old man if he regrets it and see what he says. I highly doubt he would've responded the same way if you had told him you were married.

    “If you want men to marry, make it a safe and desirable option.”

    What exactly do you mean by that. Safe. What are you so afraid of exactly? Having to actually mature, and care about someone other than yourself. Having to do your “chores” without getting “rewarded”?

  • susanawalsh

    This week's NYX's Sunday Styles had an article about now miserable law grads are:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/17/fashion/17law

    For today's young people (more women than men, perhaps) going to grad school is a given, but it always makes sense to rethink the cost/benefit. The lives of young Law associates sound pretty damned grim.

    Thanks for the Chris Hedges recommendation. Will definitely check out his book!

    I agree that Game counts as personal development. In fact, it's some of the best info out there, and can make a real difference pretty quickly. Beta + Game = Perfect Mate. That's the Susan Walsh formula for happiness! However, Game is only about securing the sexual attraction of the female. If a man wins a women with Game, and has an empty head with little to say for himself, his victory will be short-lived.

    VJ, I agree that it's a tougher road for young folks today. Still, men have lost ground, there's no question. Somehow we need to find a way to understand and address that –it's bad for society.

  • susanawalsh

    Hi, tweell, welcome, and thanks for commenting.

    First: Yes, you speak the truth here, unfortunately. Marriage rates are indeed declining, and with 60% of college grads female, they will continue to decline if women are not prepared to marry men less educated than themselves.

    Next: I'm well aware of the proclivity of young women to choose the bad boys. It's something I discuss frequently here. However, the betas, or good guys, have a role to play too. They need to step up their game if they are to succeed in the reproduction sweepstakes. Video games and porn are OK as short-term substitutes for real relationships, but I'm sure you would agree that society as a whole is not served well by this development. We need to find a way to promote cross-gender interaction. 80% of men are not getting laid on a regular basis. That needs to be remedied.

    Last: Yes, women looking for a baby daddy are a menace, and I've written about them recently. One commenter called them “psycho sperm hunters.” They are indeed often women who have wasted their youth and beauty on asshats, and all I can say is that men need to wrap it up to prevent being taken for a ride. However, there are MANY good women out there who want love and family, and who are not looking to profit unfairly in any way.

  • susanawalsh

    verie44, you raise some very good questions. First, in the interest of full disclosure, I am half Lithuanian, and very sentimental about my bobute, haha.

    Personally, I think you have to evaluate a person in the context of their own culture. If a man has been raised in a very chauvinistic culture, but makes an effort to conform to the culture in which he is living, I do think we need to cut him some slack. Any man who is drawn to you is obviously looking for something different than a woman who stays in the kitchen or spends all of her time in front of the mirror. He is attracted to you, a highly educated woman of mixed ethnicity. So I would keep an open mind. I think the key questions are: Is his mind open? Does he want to understand your way of viewing the world? Is he willing to change or revise his opinions?

    When I met my husband he was a liberal Democrat and I was rather conservative. Over the years, we've learned from each other and met in the middle. Today we agree on most issues. People are malleable, but some more than others.

  • susanawalsh

    I just want to say that while the arguments pertaining to Men's Rights wrt to marriage, divorce, etc. are important, they don't explain the postponement of taking on adult responsibilities. 80% of college men say they want to marry by their early 30s. Clearly, prolonging adolescence well into their 20s does not prepare them for marriage — especially if they are avoiding relationships.

    How can we address the problem of men staying boys? What is their responsibility? What can women do? Men delaying adulthood into their 30s is a problem because of the deadline on women's fertility. The sexes seem to be at cross purposes. This has long-term implications for relationships, family, the birth rate, and the economy, for starters.

  • Lisette

    I think the pressure to achieve in high school and college might have something to do with this extended adolescence – for both genders. A professor's wife, who was already married when she went to law school, once remarked to me that she thought guys in law school just go crazy (drinking, hooking up, etc) because they'd worked so hard to get here in the first place, and they hadn't had much of a chance to sow their wild oats. I think it applies to a lot of girls, too. Law school is a high-stress environment, so that probably contributes to some of the behavior, but I think a lot of people regard the first few years after college as kind of a “break” and a good time to have fun before settling into a career/settling down. I do kind of wonder if ever stops, though.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/more-men-get-an-economic_n_427863.html VJ

    Well yeah, but really? This 'postponing' biz is a 2 way street. The reason we've got an infertility crisis among the highly educated? Yep, they postponed everything to get their very expensive now economically dubious credentials. And the women refuse to believe that you're actually on the outer edge of fertility @ age 36+. So the delusions and lack of preparation go both ways. I can't tell you the number of blogs out there by women who woke up one day and deeply desired a child of their own, managed to create one, and then spend the rest of their 30's dealing with the fallout and negative consequences of never really learning how to manage a real adult, intimate relationship.

    So yeah cluelessness abounds. About science, fertility, how much time anyone has 'left' for X, Y & z, and all sorts of natural 'logistics'. We once had our parents or 'elders' to guide us, now we're mostly on our own. With more factual information at our finger tips than ever before in human history, but still pretty clueless evidently!

    Other random thoughts here:

    Susan said: “Video games and porn are OK as short-term substitutes for real relationships, but I'm sure you would agree that society as a whole is not served well by this development.”

    But they're not really substitutes, and most guys well recognize this fact. It's just a different sort of entertainment to preoccupy their time. It's how they budget their leisure time that's the issue here. And of course porn for many guys will be a lifelong and not so tragic preoccupation. (OK so 70%+ of the population can't be all wrong, right?) But still no excuse for not having a relationship. Some of the neediest guys seeking it are already in relationships!

    Susan also said “If a man wins a woman with Game, and has an empty head with little to say for himself, his victory will be short-lived.”

    Perhaps. But consider the lowly over educated nerds too. They already know lots of things about mostly useless virtual reality games or SF movies or literature. Is that valuable to know? Well only if you're going with a fellow SF geek. Is this impressive to a wide range of females? Perhaps not. How about someone almost as well educated as Indy Jones was well in Archaeology? Is that impressive? Well no, not really. Not unless you've got the charisma, stature & rugged good looks of Harrsion Ford. It's a package actually. So females tastes are quite fickle, especially when in their 20's & they're still searching for that ever so perfect Mr. Right who makes Everything 'tingle & click for them'.

    Me? I'm just an old duffer who sometimes hangs around in antique halls and almost always knows more about some of the 'artifacts' that are being exhibited there than their owners & would be sellers do. And that's been true for yes, decades. I can't tell you how unimpressive that skill seems to many. Even the wife. So culture? I got it. History? I know it better than many profs. Good looks? Sure. Maybe. Stature? Cut off at the knees during the Crimea War it often seems. So I was pretty much invisible to many of my contemporaries. Ergo, if you've not got the 'look' that many of the ladies are looking for In Addition to a Good Game? You're in the remainder pile. No matter how well educated, accomplished or impressive.

    I was a lowly grad student way back when I got married. And I'm always glad of that & that I did not 'wait'. The wife's said on many occasions that she'd have done it sooner if she could go back in time. I still have got the 'culture' bug. And it still gets me into trouble in most of the museums I visit as I correct the docents on this or that fact, (yes, even w/o resorting to looking it up). I was in old Blighty once during the 50th anniversary of the end or WW11. We were in a huge manor house museum, and the lord of the manor had out the ship he had commanded in the war. I looked at it and immediately knew where & when it had been sunk. So I naturally asked, 'What was his next posting/ship, as this one was sunk by 1944?' The museum docents were clueless. No one had ever asked that. The wife? Was only annoyed. (Once again I had embarrassed her with my errant silly questions…) Yeah. Attractive. To fellow old duffers & geeks of a certain type. For the ladies? Take up dancing and learn the art of seduction. That you'll mostly be rewarded for. The ROI on knowing history & culture well? Perhaps a drink with Robert S. F. Hughes, or an argument over some esoterica with same. A mention from Simon Schama in a footnote someplace, if you're lucky. It's just all a different sort of (now mostly) historic game for the guys mostly. For the women? Still with the sure thing: the seduction. You can impress them later with the more tender parts of your personality. She'll likely be as clueless as you too!

    Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

  • AT

    I had a different experience in law school–we didn't have a lot of hard partying/hooking up/drinking going on back then, simply because we could NOT afford to be hung over the next day during classes, and weekends found us all cramming to get up to speed with all the load professors dumped on us on Fridays. I don't think it's any different now because my nephew is in his second year of law school in the same place I went to, and I have yet to hear of him going on a drinking spree or hooking up–all of them are just too busy cramming. But perhaps culture has something to do with it. (from Manila here)

    That said, what I noticed though was that the men we female students wouldn't even give the time of day to while we were still studying would, after passing the bar and establishing their practice, manage to get trophy wives much younger than themselves, while our fellow female classmates who were still single when they became full-fledged lawyers found it harder to find a life partner. And it seemed more acceptable for the men to marry “down,” but there was an unspoken criticism of women who married beneath their status. I wonder if American law students/lawyers have the same experience?

  • ExNewYorker

    The job instability was already there in the mid 90's when I hit the work force for the first time, so while that may be affecting the extended adolescence, it's still only a partial cause.

    While in college and grad school, there were several women who I was interested in who I could have imagined marrying at some point. But they were interested in their studies, or alphas, so betas didn't need to apply. To a large degree, they wanted it all, the best jobs, the biggest alphas, all as soon as possible, and no compromising possible. I think most of us betas at that time didn't have that sense of heightened self-importance…we just wanted the cute and nice intelligent girl, not the cheerleader. We would have been happy starting a life together even at that early stage. But it didn't happen.

    So, it's not surprising that the guys are refusing to grow up. Once one is out of school, it's a different dating dynamic. The 20's then become a time to enjoy with freedom away from parents, but no need to commit to any one person. If one winds up in a peer group of similar minded guys, bachelorhood becomes self re-enforcing. Heck, I did that for nearly a decade, and it was fun, backpacking through Europe, seeing the Pyramids and the Parthenon, weekend skiing trips to Tahoe. And through those times, learning from alpha friends and relatives to pay attention to what women actually do, not what they say.

    I don't know what the answer is for the problem of men staying boys. Even though I married eventually, my advice would be for guys to wait to get married, and to do so only on their own terms with a woman who makes you their priority. It would help if women gave the betas a chance much earlier, but that isn't going to happen anytime soon. Once a beta gets a taste of how effective and fun being a cad is, most of the time there's no going back.

  • ExNewYorker

    Susan,

    One small problem:

    Beta + Game = Potential Alpha

    And a large percentage of the time, the Potential Alpha truly likes being an Alpha, and is no longer a Perfect Mate.

    I think it's more like:

    Beta + Woman who grabs him and encourages him to be the best he can be = Perfect Mate.

    Problem is, a majority of women don't like the pure Beta…or the effort to make him the best he can be.

  • Rick

    Susan-

    I know you're probably going to hate me for what I'm about to post, but I have to be me…

    But first, all your comments about men are true. What is missing is the other side of the equation:

    The Greatest Generation

    * Many of these young women didn't ditch their husbands later in life due to boredom and feminism-inspired “dissatisfaction”.
    * They married at an average age of 21. Because they desired a marriage, not a wedding.
    * Men could afford these things because there was no banking-induced credit bubble in everythingfrom houses to education. Also, women were THRIFTY, not the modern spendthrifts we see now. Trying to tell a modern women to rein in costs is likely to be met with accusations that one is a “bad provider”.

    The Baby Boomers

    * These young women enncouraged men to reject responsibility by spreading their legs for irresponsible men. What gets rewarded gets repeated.
    * The women displayed an unwillingness to preserve some semblence of virtue or chaste behavior.
    * Many demonstrated against the establishment.

    The Sons of Generation X
    * The trend of whoring around has accelerated.
    * Women now have slept with too many men to be marriageable.
    * Popular culture emphasizes play and the indulging of personal pleasure. The focus in on banging “cool bad boys.”
    * There is a total lack of awareness of the concept of skill development, or even personal development.

    “However, the betas, or good guys, have a role to play too. They need to step up their game if they are to succeed in the reproduction sweepstakes. Video games and porn are OK as short-term substitutes for real relationships, but I'm sure you would agree that society as a whole is not served well by this development.”

    The first sentence assumes we still care. Modern women are essentially impossible to please.
    We no longer want to try. They will, of course, employ the standard shaming language at us
    about how this proves we are worthless, but we will no longer dance to that tune.

    We've learned that the price of their attention is very high, and the value of that attention is not worth it.

    With respect to porn: It is very thin gruel compared to a good relationship. The reality, though, is that most of these women are not capable of supplying anything like a good relationship. They are expert at demanding things from men, and using sex as a weapon to extract from men what they want.

    We have learned that the affection from these women is not given out of love, but is
    dispensed in a stingy fashion, and only as needed to control mens' behavior. Sorry, not interested.

    Like all things, women thought that they could just keep on insulting men while demanding
    compliance. Nope.

    Perhaps you've seen this:
    http://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/safe-sex?…

    All of the women in this article are permanently unmarriageable for men like me.

    I would not want my young son or daughter to be kissed by their mother using a mouth that was once clamped around some frat-boy's junk at a drunken hook-up in college.

    Call me old-fashioned.

    And you can yell at me now…

  • Lisette

    It might be a cultural difference, it might be where I go to school (although I've heard similar stories from friends elsewhere, so I doubt it's just us), it might have been the economy, which promised better job prospects when we started (see the NY Times article Susan posted, above). And I didn't mean to give the impression that everyone – or even the majority of people in law school – is a wild child, because that isn't true at all. There just seem to be a certain percentage of people who embraced the “work hard, play hard” mentality, and that's probably true anywhere you go.

  • inversed

    If women pursue a short-term mating strategy, men will adapt and pursue a short-term mating strategy, lest they be bred into extinction. If women pursue a long-term mating strategy, men will adapt and pursue a long-term mating strategy, lest they be bred into extinction.
    The twist is, for both men and women, pursuing one type of mating strategy precludes the pursuit of the other. The reason for this is the pursuit of one strategy directly undermines the advantages of pursuing the other.
    If you wish men to change their mating strategy, (aka behaviour), first get women to change theirs, and then men will adapt to it. The reason being, it is women that are the choosers or the “gatekeepers” in sexual selection. Women decide what mating strategy (behaviour) will be rewarded with reproduction (sex), all men can do is adapt, lest they be bred into extinction.

  • susanawalsh

    OK, I understand this point very well. However, I've been talking to young men about Game – not the naturals, more the guys who'd like to step it up a bit. And they are excited about improving their interactions with women. However, they also find it somewhat burdensome – acting like a cad for an indefinite period of time requires focus and determination if it's not your true nature. And it can leave guys feeling pretty crappy as well, if they've got a conscience. Overall, I would say that a Beta who uses Game to enhance his natural persona is probably the perfect mate. The guy who uses Game to target women's self-esteem and act like a jerk to maximize the number of times he gets laid is worse than Alpha – he's Alpha with a chip on his shoulder.

    If women are looking for more than a hookup, they need to keep their legs closed until they are confident about a man's character.

  • susanawalsh

    Lisette, I agree that there is something to this. Honestly, many of my classmates and I treated business school the same way. We were there to study and leap ahead into high potential corporate jobs, but during that two years we maximized our good times. MBA Happy Hour every Thursday usually went to the early hours and ended with a hookup. Fridays were spent nursing hangovers and going out to brunch. In a real sense, that was delaying adulthood, it's just that we had something to show for it at the end.

  • susanawalsh

    Haha, it would be such an honor to be a footnote in a Simon Schama book. Reminds me of an Elvis Costello lyric:

    “When your dreamboat turns out to be a footnote…”

    Yes, several of the men here have noted the importance of a woman's sexual appetite and skill. If she rocks your world in bed, that's enough. For now.

  • bsg

    the advice is not bad at all, it is making the best out of a bleak reality

    make the best of what little you have.

    - bad job prospects
    - overburdensome student loans that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy
    - overinflated housing costs
    - crap shoot health insurance
    - a culture where cheaters and insiders often win and are rarely punished

    all this without getting into the messy gender wars. why play a game you are destined to lose? i wasnt athletic in high school, so i didnt try out for the football team. if a mans financial prospects are dim and the basics are out of reach, why try to start a family? rather than moping about what couldve been, see the glass as 1/4 full and take advantage of your freedom. like dishwasher pete (who did get married)

    http://www.dishwasherpete.com/

  • Kate

    I was very disappointed in the summarily dismissive review of the David Wygant article as “the worst advice you've ever heard.” I read the article to see what this unbelievably horrible advice was, and quickly saw that (1) it is clearly written with a light-hearted and comical tone and (2) is not at all about what you imply it is. I also decided to read more of his blogs to try to get a better sense of what this guy is all about. After doing so, I find your review to be wholly unfair and, frankly, misleading about what this guy talks about. The first 5 blogs I read he talked about teaching men to be self-improving, confident and self-reflective individuals who should get rid of excuses and work on themselves. I actually subscribed to his blog after reading those.

  • susanawalsh

    AT, I don't think what you describe is in any way unique to law school. Men have always been able to date younger and marry trophy wives. Since the gene for intelligence is thought to be carried on the X chromosome from the mother, this may not be the best reproductive strategy – men who want smart sons should marry smart women. Still, cougars notwithstanding, it's biological reality that women have a defined period of fertility, which limits the time they will appear sexually attractive. If a woman wants to marry and have children, she should cannot afford to squander her 20s being so choosy that she prices herself out of the market.

  • Rebekah

    No yelling here Rick. I am a woman and I agree with you.

  • susanawalsh

    Haha, Rick! Nah, I think that's actually a pretty good retort. Some specific thoughts:

    1. It is very true that the Women's Movement provided women with a lot more options. Indeed, we are finding that increasing numbers of women are choosing to go it alone rather than marry. Some of that is involuntary, but not all. At this point, women are earning more college degrees than men, and they are increasingly financially independent. It's not surprising that this has led to higher divorce rates. Women divorce because they can leave a marriage and support themselves if necessary.

    2. “Women were THRIFTY, not the modern spendthrifts we see now.”
    What do you base this on? I think our culture is definitely more consumerist, but do you have evidence that women are guiltier of this than men?

    3. Irresponsible behavior during the Sexual Revolution was likewise not limited to one gender. I agree that it was one of many factors that ushered in the hookup era, but really, both were possible because of the availability of the Pill. Those boomers who went wild were maximizing short-term pleasure, and couldn't have foreseen all of the unintended consequences of that shift in sexual mores.

    However, I do agree that women greatly reduced the price of sex, effectively. They stood up and shouted that they could have sex like a man! But the couldn't and they don't. We're entirely hormonally different, and today's generation of women would gladly rewrite some of those rules, for the most part. Irresponsible men were rewarded then, and they are now. At some point, women will have to stop acting against their own best interests. Perhaps seeing a generation of miserable women in their 30s and 40s will do the trick.

    4. I agree that popular culture encourages women to bang cool bad boys. The allure of the bad boy has always been with us, e.g. James Dean, Rhett Butler, etc. What's new is that he gets many girls, not just the bad girl or two in town who go the “slut” route to get attention from men.

    The rest of your comment obviously reflects your personal experience, but as you know, I don't believe you can generalize about a whole gender in this way. That Women's Health article is alarming, and I can't blame anyone, male or female, who doesn't want to wind up with someone who has had many sexual partners. However, as the article points out, women can and will lie about this, because they know that men prefer a mate with less experience. How will you know if a woman went down on a frat boy in college, especially if she doesn't remember herself?

  • tweell

    Thank you for your thoughts, Mrs. Walsh.
    I agree that society and our children are not served by these trends, but many guys are unable to learn game or unwilling to change themselves to the extent necessary. My son fits into both categories. He is autistic to the point of requiring a lot of tutoring in order to communicate and be somewhat functional in society. (Genetic, most of the males in my family show this to a greater or lesser extent. I'm good at compensating, but must work to think in words, and social interaction is difficult.) He simply can't be anyone other than himself, dissembling is impossible for him. Flirting and such is incomprehensible, he takes everything at face value. That being said, he's good looking, intelligent, honest, loyal and hard-working. He's studying to be a video game designer, and has minimal interest in the opposite sex. His big sisters and I will hopefully manage to do the maneuvering that he cannot if and/or when he's ready for marriage. Like me, he's not interested in hookups and transient relationships, it's all or nothing. I was fortunate in having only a couple miscues (thanks to my big sisters).
    I agree that there are many women of good heart around and available. But… there are enough 'sperm hunters' interspersed to be dangerous, and they have the law on their side. The consequences of choosing wrong are high enough that many guys are choosing to not get involved. As a widower, I am not looking for love. I was lucky once, and that is enough. For my children, though… this is not good for any of them.

  • susanawalsh

    Yup, I agree with everything you are saying here re evo psych. Many human beings alternate these strategies based on timing, personal circumstances, etc. Both men and women in this generation are essentially nomads until their mid-20s. With an expiration date looming on almost all relationships, short-term mating becomes the default. The trick is for men and women to find each other when they're both in the same mindset.

    However, your point is well taken. Often, when women decide they would to like pursue a long-term strategy, they can't find any takers. Too many other women are still in short-term mode. In this scenario there is a shortage of males. The problem, of course, is the difference between behavior in the individual vs. the aggregate.

    Back to the post, though–it's impossible for a woman to pursue a long-term strategy , acting as a gatekeeper, when the pool of males is immature. Immature men want short-term liaisons, not long-term relationships with obligations and responsibility. So again, a shortage of males, now compounded.

  • susanawalsh

    Hi, bsg, thanks for weighing in. Are you dishwasher pete? That's a pretty cool site, I want to check it out when I have more time.

    The problem with what you are saying is that it's just giving up. There's no fight in it. All of the factors above correlate to the decline of the American male. Men are struggling in many ways in our society. For their sakes, and for the sake of the women who would otherwise like to mate with them, it's in our interest to address the root problems.

    David Wygant's approach of saying “It's all good!” is just misleading. It is most certainly not all good, and it's going to get worse if you give yourself a whole extra decade to be self-indulgent and irresponsible.

  • susanawalsh

    Hi Kate, thanks for leaving a comment. I disagree. There is nothing comical about the advice Mr. Wygant is doling out. I believe he is writing in a light-hearted manner, in support of young men. He's saying, “Don't worry, be happy.” This is terrible advice. He's a generation older than the men he is talking to, and just because he found his way into a lucrative career after not making it as an actor, doesn't mean a thing for anyone else. Rather than mentoring, he's enabling and encouraging guys to have as much fun as possible while not taking life too seriously. Men who follow this advice will have a hard time catching up later with their more focused and ambitious peers.

    I'm glad my review led you to a new blog that you enjoy. While I don't share your enthusiasm, I hope you find David Wygant's dating advice useful.

  • susanawalsh

    Tweell, thank you for sharing your story. I can imagine how hard it is for an autistic young man to make sense of cross-sex communication, when all of us struggle to figure it out on a daily basis. However, considering all of his qualities, including not being capable of dissembling and taking everything at face value, I would think he could be a fine mate. He has qualities that are in short supply in this generation. I don't mean to make light of your circumstances, but I hope a lucky woman will value him and love him for who he is. He is fortunate to have family looking out for him, and hopefully he will trust your judgment when the time comes so as to avoid a woman of poor character.

  • bsg

    im not dishwasher pete, i just read his book a couple of years ago and thought of it as a generation x 'on the road'

    the biggest obstacle is getting the country to even admit there is a problem.

    but as for the advice, there is recognizing a bad situation and dealing with it in the best way possible, which David Wygant is proposing (coincidentally, it is the idea behind hooking up smart), and the macro problem which cannot be fixed at an individual level, which is what you are discussing. for a man graduating (or dropping out) of college this summer, its a little late for any macro solutions to have any impact on him.

  • bsg

    one signal of spendthrifiness was the housing boom, while equal numbers of single men and women bought houses in 1981, in 2005 the number of single women buying houses double the number of single men.

    http://www.usatoday.com/money/2006-02-14-women-

    then there is this article

    http://www.aarpmagazine.org/lifestyle/single_wo

    Myth #4 Unlike their female counterparts who were born before the women's movement, baby-boomer career women have it made financially.

    Reality: Many single women—particularly those under age 60—carry dangerously high levels of debt.

    i doubt the numbers improved with the daughters of baby boomers, excessive consumer debt is the anchor weighing our economy down. anecdotally, i know more women with debt problems than men, but it is difficult to find more specific numbers to support this.

  • Pingback: David Wygant and the Worst Advice I've Ever Heard | Hooking Up Smart | Men's Health Wisdom

  • Passer_By

    ::in 2005 the number of single women buying houses double the number of single men.

    You really have to torture the facts to characterize a single woman investing in a home as being a spendthrift. It may have been an unwise investment, in retrospect, but it's hardly evidence of irresponsible spendthrift behavior.

    A better example might be married women forcing their provider husbands to purchase homes that were out of their comfortable price range, on the assumption that all prices would keep going up. We saw that in the late 80s and it repeated itself earlier this decade. That commercial for the realtor that was floating the around the net was priceless (the one where the female realtor and the wife browbeat the poor husband into buying the more expensive house against his better judgment). I don't recall where i saw it.

    I do agree that, more often then men, single women carry dangerously high levels of debt. They tend to have impulse control issues, and seem to operate on the hope that it will all be wiped out someday by prince charming. Of course, some guys live that way too, and any PC article or tv show addressing the issue will undoubtedly highlight those guy to the relative exclusion of women.

  • Passer_By

    “Women divorce because they can leave a marriage and support themselves if necessary”

    Eh. From what I've seen, more of them divorce because they know they can force the man to continue to support them, whether or not necessary.

  • Rick

    **Bitter-male alert!!!**Don't Read**

    Susan-

    To put a finer point on it, MANY women are using short-term STRATEGY to try and obtain a long-term RESULT.

    The willingness of women to pour their virtue and youth down the sewer drain of an alpha male's sexual use of them is not something that the good guys are going to forgive.

    The women in that article are going to hit the wall HARD someday. And they will find an unforgiving ear from any beta male with a shred of self-respect. I'll live alone and spend my comfortable income on myself and leave the rest to my younger siblings when I die. Too bad my loyalty, work ethic, and strength of character were not sexy enough for them. Rest assured, their rapidly widening butts and sagging chests are now becoming equally unsexy. I wonder how many of these used-up women will begin crying themselves to sleep by the late 40s?

    You are correct that a younger generation of women may see these women when they become decrepit cougars and take heed of the lesson. But some things cannot be undone, and the sluttification of many modern American women is just such a phenomenon. Those future women will benefit greatly from watching the self-destruction of the current generation.

    To answer your question about knowing how many previous men a girl has been with, let's just say that there are several subtle ways of getting them to admit it. If the number is not in the single digits, it's see-ya-later time.

  • Rick

    To the handful of good women who remain – do not let the decline and fall of this other group pull you down with them

  • Decoybetty

    I totally do not like this idea of adult adolescence. One of the reasons I hated college so much was that I hated college kids. I hated the party atmosphere and the “let's get drunk all the time” and the hook ups and the general lack of maturity. I was so relieved to get out of there … I can't imagine trying to date guys who continually wanted to remain in that stage of their lives.

    I've found that in Australia, there is still a lot of drinking (some stereotypes are true!) and partying, but young people tend to live with their parents during university (and sometimes a few years after) and thus have to take responsibility for their actions in front of their parents. Yes, there is obviously drinking to excess and all that still, but I feel like there is a much more mature stance about getting job and growing up.

    As for getting married older, I find this kind of a dilemma. And not because of the “getting married part” but the “having kids part.” My parents had kids really young, and my brothers (who are 11 and 8 years older than me) got to enjoy growing up with my grandparents and great parents when the grandparents were still young and hip too. My parents had me in their mid-late thirties and I never got to see that young and hip side of my grandparents. Now, I don't really want kids – but if I were to have them, I'd want to have them like now so that they could grow up knowing how awesome and fun my parents are.

  • bsg

    <object width=”425″ height=”344″><param name=”movie” value=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Ubsd-tWYmZw&hl=en_US&fs=1&”></param><param name=”allowFullScreen” value=”true”></param><param name=”allowscriptaccess” value=”always”></param><embed src=”http://www.youtube.com/v/Ubsd-tWYmZw&hl=en_US&fs=1&” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” allowscriptaccess=”always” allowfullscreen=”true” width=”425″ height=”344″></embed></object>

  • bsg

    ah crud… the video wont embed

    here is a link

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ubsd-tWYmZw

    can the previous post be removed?

  • http://danbrodribb.blogspot.com/ dan_brodribb

    I don't know. To me, good judgement is a big part of maturity. And the fastest way to learn good judgement is to make a few mistakes along the way.

    I'm also reminded of a saying a pro-wrestling friend of mine told me: “Partying builds character.” There's some truth to that. You learn what you like. you learn when to stand up for yourself and when to back down (if you're lucky) and you learn that what you do has consequences. It's the people who choose not to learn that I worry about.

    I don't think WHAT life choices someone makes are as important as what they choose to learn from them and whether or not they use them as a foundation for growth.

  • susanawalsh

    I'll agree with Passer By here. Buying a home is the American dream, and I don't fault anyone for attempting it, especially since they were being granted financing.

    I don't know if women pressure their provider husbands to spend more on a house. I think in many families where the woman doesn't work outside the home, knowledge about the family's finances is mostly with the man. That's a setup for a woman asking for things, and the sole provider saying whether they're affordable. In families where both parties work, I would think the decision would have to be more equitable. In my own experience, I have had to persuade my husband to purchase homes three times, and they have been, by far, the best investments we have ever made.

    Also, risk tolerance/aversion is directly related to testosterone levels, so it really depends on the individuals involved.

    Re the AARP article stating that single women over 45 are leading happy and fulfilled lives, fine. I do detect a whiff of rationalization going on there, though. I'd like to see how the questionnaire was written. Is it better to be single than married? Is it better to be single than dead? You get the picture.

  • susanawalsh

    Haha, bsg, your point is well taken. However, as I said above, who's to say that's not going to be a far better investment for that couple than what's in their pension plan? Obviously, timing is everything, but a few years ago, your whole argument could be inside out. Men could be saying, “Thanks to the wife, we can sell our house, downsize, and retire 5 years early!”

  • susanawalsh

    How is David Wygant proposing dealing with a bad situation? Does he say study hard? Does he say get off your butt and work? Does he say you should not be living with your mom and dad when you're 25? No, he gives men permission to be flaky. One look at the comments tells you that. We have a college senior saying “Cool! The pressure's off! Back to the Beirut table!” and another guy fessing up to total slackerhood who's happy to learn it's “just a phase.” Colleges are having trouble getting guys to show up. That's what we should be addressing, not encouraging them to check out, IMO.

    You're right tho, that HUS is about confronting some pretty discouraging market conditions, and trying to make strategies that can maximize one's success in the sociosexual marketplace. That's an individual approach too. The macro level correction is still a ways away. Hopefully, in time for the next generation.

  • verie44

    I agree with you, Rick. But I have to say, being out there in the trenches, it is really hard to find a guy under 30 (I am 24) who will agree to a serious relationship before sleeping with you. And I'm not an alpha chaser by any means — those guys turn me off.

    I guess it's a product of the environment, but when your unslutty behavior doesn't get rewarded with a great boyfriend, it is easy to start to go with the flow instead. Not saying I am going to change my views, but I can see why women do — as Susan said, it's more common & easier to start with the hookup and turn it into the relationship than demand the relationship first, especially when the guy can go elsewhere for sex.

  • chance5

    Novaseeker here.

    I would say, Susan, that if I were in my 20s again I would probably proceed as follows:

    1. Have fun and forget about relationships for a while;
    2. Focus on building career and personal wealth;
    3. Focus on learning personal skills and development.

    Relationships for men in the 20s suck. The main reason is that almost all men between 21 and, say, 28-9 are going to be at the bottom of the totem pole in terms of SMV. Just don't bring enough to the table, not yet at least. So, yeah, I would spend some quality time with the bros and the PS3, traveling, learning stuff, advancing my job and so on and pretty much ignoring relationships until my late 20s or around 30, when my SMV tends to increase quite a bit in the eyes of attractive women. Just the way it is — women are not interested in most of their peers until they age a bit today.

    And I think this explains the phenomenon you're describing here. There isn't enough “there” there for guys in the 20s. Trying to get dates with attractive women is a PITA. It's combat dating. Women are banging alpha male bad boys and deploying sex in a mostly vain attempt to secure commitment from them, leaving most guys in the shadows. And living in the shadows isn't fun. Spending time with the bros and x-bos is much more fun than watching the attractive girls get banged by the bad boys. I think it really is as simple as that.

    As for the broader issue — yes, men are falling behind women. Not the right tail bell curve men, mind you, at the top — they're doing as well as they always have and likely as they always will do. But the also-ran men are falling behind the also-ran women. I think there are many reasons for this, running from education policy to fatherlessness to simply no need for men in families and society any longer (to be distinguished from “wanting” men there — men are not *needed* there like women are). This creates an ennui which leads to drift. And, to be honest, as a man I do not see this as a terrible tragedy for men. It may suck for women, because there are fewer “eligible men”, but men seem to be happier unburdened by responsibilities and free to pursue whatever they wish.

    I honestly think that the bicycles decided, one day, that since they weren't needed any longer they would just go for a ride by themselves. And many of the bicycles are having a grand old time doing that. Kind of reflects the law of unintended consequences, I think.

  • susanawalsh

    Rick, I don't know, you got really funny somewhere along the line. You're bitter, but you're willing to laugh at yourself, and self-deprecation is always utterly charming.

    Mea culpa. Yes, you hit the nail on the head. Women are using a short-term strategy in hopes of achieving a long-term relationship. In fairness, though, I should say that hooking up is today the primary pathway to relationships. On college campuses, few relationships get established without a hooking up period. Physical intimacy precedes emotional intimacy, and even the women who are not comfortable with the idea of casual sex have their backs against the wall.

    I have no sympathy for the women in the article you linked to. Women who are juggling six sexual partners at a time? It will be a miracle if they escape STDs and pregnancy. Gross. And yes, I suspect many of them will be miserable as they age, but will not have the introspection to understand where they went wrong. I agree that we're watching a generation of women self-destruct.

    Re the number a woman has ratcheted up, I have had several college girls tell me their number is north of 25. That is a whole lot of casual sex. None of them seem regretful at this time, but it's hard to know what the future holds. By the same token, I have had women tell me their number is 1 or 2, and they are afraid of being found out. They didn't tell Guy #1 they were virgins, and now they don't want anyone else to know they have so little experience. So they fudge their number upward when asked. Talk about things being turned upside down!

  • susanawalsh

    Ah, I appreciate this. Here you are talking to my readers. It's interesting, blogs are generally not read by the 18-25 crowd. I have had to introduce the concept to my young readers, so I view them as hard won, and they are loyal. However, they tend not to comment. I'm much more likely to hear from the younguns offline. They are there, though. And I'm glad you addressed them.

  • susanawalsh

    D, yes, you have always struck me as extremely grounded and mature for the ripe old age of 24. I'm not surprised that college shenanigans held no appeal for you. You are much more turned on by humor, intellectual pursuits, and the utter ridiculousness of life!

    I don't know much about Australian culture, though I get a fair amount of traffic from there. I do suspect that Americans are the worst at most of the things I write about. The problem is, American culture gets exported worldwide through films, TV and other media. It's unavoidable. However, the fact that college dorms don't exist in other countries in the same way means that hookup culture will not be able to take root in precisely the same way as it has in the U.S.

    Re having kids, you touch on something really important. As we marry later and later, we do in fact have little kids when we're older. My mother had me when she was 22, but I started at 30. I know many women who started trying at 35+, and had fertility issues. Some of them became moms at 40 or 41. Grandparents are one thing, but how old does one want to be at a college graduation?

    My best friend is 60, and her daughter is 20. Recently, her daughter confided that she feels very sad about their age difference. She said, “I don't plan to marry young, or have children right away. That means that you'll probably be dead by the time I have a baby.”

    Ouch.

  • susanawalsh

    Hey, Dan! Well, I would agree that mistakes are a very important and efficient way to learn. The law of natural consequences and all that.

    As for “partying builds character?” Hmmm, that's a stretch. There are other ways to learn life lessons that I would think are more effective. Like an internship, or a job. Like living on your own instead of with your parents. I don't see any reason why alcohol would be useful in learning about life, though I don't object to it as a way to let loose and have fun. But that's an entirely different goal.

    I do agree that there is the potential to learn from all of life's experiences, whether we've used good judgment or bad. Those who learn fastest from their mistakes are those who assume responsibility and take risks. Experience is a harsh but effective teacher.

  • susanawalsh

    Hi Novaseeker!

    “I would say, Susan, that if I were in my 20s again I would probably proceed as follows:

    1. Have fun and forget about relationships for a while;
    2. Focus on building career and personal wealth;
    3. Focus on learning personal skills and development.”

    OK, honestly, you know I'd rather you didn't forego the relationships, but I can totally get behind 2 and 3!

    Ugh, would you believe me if I told you that alpha male bad boys are keeping me awake at night? I'd like to spray for them the way my town sprays for mosquitoes. But we both know that's not the answer. The answer is women getting honest with themselves about the cost/benefit ratio there. Because it sucks. However, I have to say–I just heard from a young woman. She is crushing on a guy in college who is clearly beta. Nice boy, outgoing, never hooks up as far as she knows. She had a guy friend wing for her and plant the seed. This boy's response was to exclaim that she is way out of his league. He was reassured that she does like him. She's seen him a couple of times since then, and he has been an awkward combination of eager and noncommital. He has no Game! I'm sure he wonders why him, even though it's a good thing. She is determined, and plans on making a move when she has the chance, but honestly, how she maintains her sexual attraction for this idiot is beyond me! The last words of her email were “This is why the alphas get all the girls.”

    Re men feeling happier without the burden of responsibilities — OK, but honestly, aren't we programmed to want responsibilities? Men who have checked out aren't having sex, presumably. Isn't that really, really, important for men? A high priority? Research shows that married men rate their lives as much happier than single men do. It's one thing to be single at 25, even 35. But do men really want to be alone at 50? 70? Without children? Idk, it seems to me that men choosing to “sit down” in the reproductive race are settling for something far from ideal.

  • chance5

    “Re men feeling happier without the burden of responsibilities — OK, but honestly, aren't we programmed to want responsibilities? Research shows that married men rate their lives as much happier than single men do. It's one thing to be single at 25, even 35. But do men really want to be alone at 50? 70? Without children? Idk, it seems to me that men choosing to “sit down” in the reproductive race are settling for something far from ideal.”

    Well, I can actually say that as a man in my now middle 40s, and having done my reproduction dance thing, and having some responsibilities relating to that, that, no, I do not see my responsibilities as making me happy, per se. They're there, I fulfill them, and I love my son for certain. But although my son brings happiness, the responsibilities, in and of themselves, do not — and I know his mother feels exactly the same way.

    I have no issues with growing old outside of a romantic relationship, personally. I am in one right now, and it may end up working out. But, as a realist, I also know it may not, and I am cool with that, which I find healthy. And if it doesn't work out, it isn't the end of the world, and I don't feel the need to pursue others for a relationship. I'm comfortable either way, really.

    I hope to have my son available to me as I grow older, fate permitting. It is nicer than being completely alone. But is it worth putting up with the nonsense of the dating/mating regime, the expectations upon men in marriages that are shifting as predictably as tectonic plates, and the heinous family law system? I can't say that it is or was, and I can't in good conscience advise younger men otherwise.

    Sometimes a rose is just a rose, you know, and sometimes it's better to avoid trouble.

  • susanawalsh

    Sigh. OK, I get it. Still, like most women I'm a hopeless sucker for a happy ending. You are a deep one, Novaseeker, and a woman would do well to grab onto you and hang on. Such thoughtful men are not commonly found. I appreciate you sharing your personal story – I agree that your outlook seems healthy, and also hopeful.

  • susanawalsh

    Posting here for Obsidian, who had trouble with the interface between my site and his phone. You can find his awesome blog at: http://www.theobsidianfiles.wordpress.com/

    “I know we've talked about this before, but I bears repeating-your concerns about guys dropping out, remaining in Peter Pan mode and all the rest of it are heartfelt and much appreciated, but as you told me a little while back (and I actually liked it, think I'll adopt that as one of my credos, LOL), you're basically an Army Of One-and when you consider your private parts, more like a Benedict Arnold.

    At least that's how you'll be seen and viewed by the Feminist Lobby, of which there are Legion, and there ain't no joke. And which explains why, in my personal view, we're highly unlikely to see ANY steps being taken to address what you've said about the very serious problems wrt Men anytime soon-my guess is that nothing at all will happen this decade, because its a politically radioactive issue. NOW and other Feminist outfits see this along ideological lines, and not pragmatic ones, as you do.

    As for trying to get young people together, I'd say that its a no-go as well. Look, the bottomline is, for the middle class, for the most part, college is the defacto way guys and gals meet, and hookup. Period. Now if we had any sense we'd take the existing system and bend it toward a more efficient system, but again, matchmaking is something that we're skittish about as Americans-especially the female ones. They really don't wanna be paired up with dorky Jeremy from over at the CompSci department, no matter how high his IQ is. Or how good natured he is. Or even how nice, smart, educated and well off his peeps are. Simply put, young Women at that age aren't down for the Jeremys of the world, and we'd basically have to rollback all of the fundamental ideals of our democracy in order to make them do so.

    So, we can forget about that.

    Then, there's the Peter Pan Question: why are so many guys not growing up? Simple answer? Because they can. Again: we have the freedom to be, or NOT to be-and for many guys, it's simply not worth the hassle to go through all the trouble for a life and a wife that's of questionable worth or durability. Its easier, cheaper and much lower risk, to simply zone out. And there's precious little that can be done to convice guys otherwise.

    Let me tell you something, Susan. I know what its like to hangout with drug dealers. Back when I was about 18 or so, one of my classmates, a 19 year old Puerto Rican named Ed, counted out more than $150K US on his dining room table. Remember those money counting machines in Scarface? He had one. Actually, he had two. I sat there and watched him count out more than 150K in $1, $5, $10 and $20 bills. That's a lot of cash.

    I know people who run chunks of the US economy, others who've raised money in the millions of dollars, who've never seen 150K-plus in hard currency, on a table before in their lives. People who make far and away more than me. Yet, I have. And let me tell you something Susan, it ain't no joke. Congressmen, Senators, Mayors and the like, have gone to jail and ruined their careers, for less.

    And that was just for one week's worth of work. Another day at the office.

    Now…

    How in the Hell do you propose to talk some sense into somebody like Ed-a guy who, at the age of 19, has his own house, two cars (a Lincoln Continental and a Porsche), two bikes, both Ninjas, one of the first people I ever saw with a 50″ tv set, etc, et al?

    So, I say all that to simply say, that barring a major change in market conditions, there's precious little that can be done to make the boys “Man Up”. All the shaming language in the world won't put a dent in it.

    Freedom! Gotta love it.

    So, as I've said so many times before, we'll simply have to manage the fallout. Some Women will become part of defacto harems, either out of a misguided sense than they can get the Alpha to settle down with her, or whatever. Other Women will hookup with a guy to get the needed DNA to have a baby of their own-recall the book Promises I Can Keep-and note that lately you've been covering stories about this that involve Women in your class so to speak, not the poor. And then they'll be those who have little recourse but to go it alone, because they're either too old or too homely or to difficult. But they'll be relatively few Women in their 20s and 30s who'll be in the kinds of relationships you sometimes take for granted. To say nothing of married.

    Bleak and morbid I know, but I'm just sayin. We've taken all the stops off the Sexual Marketplace, and now Women have some chips and think they can strike it rich. Too bad nobody told em that few if any can win against the house.

    Holla back”

  • AT

    Isn't this such a conundrum? The main problem is that women in their 20s who DO put their foot down and demand respect is now viewed as high maintenance because so many other women settle for boorish behavior from men at this point. By the time men do mature enough to want to settle down in their 30s or 40s, they usually pick from the pool of younger women to start a family with. Which leaves the women of that age at a losing end.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/more-men-get-an-economic_n_427863.html VJ

    I still say plenty of this is directly & indirectly tied to the massive influence of the media in our everyday lives. And it's really a larger cultural phenomenon too, certainly. People, real people, don't know how to simply 'live' or 'live well' anymore without thinking that they need all the accouterments of our wasteful & costly consumerist culture. This goes especially for relationships of all types, be they simply friendships or gf/bf & more.

    We're always left in this state of wanting & desiring more, due to the miasma of needs promoted by the media. The simple steady bloke in front of you, the loyal, honest steady worker, the 'plain Jane' smart & loving as they may be is found wanting. We seem to always deeply desire more flash, more this & that. No one looks at their situation and sits back and says, 'Yep, this is enough'. Kids as well as married folks are always on the prowl for a 'better deal'. The next Trumpesque trophy spouse. The diligent but tall & earnestly goofy good looking 'nice little earner' who'll keep you in furs & Ferraris. (Hi, I'm Scott Brown…) Ed (in OM's story above) probably did not make the critical but essential economic decision to bank all his 'ready' cash & then plan on getting out of his 'biz' ASAP or when he hit a decent number of dead prez in the bank. There's got to be a point when more of us have the good sense to say, 'Enough'! But truly? It just rarely happens.

    So I say it's got a lot to do with the development of a moral sense for service to & for things greater than self and beyond your immediate self gratification. Not only does that take some time to learn & relearn evidently, it's still something that's lost on vast stretches of the population. Because w/o that? You're really going to suck at parenting, (and much of real adulthood actually), which is all about sacrifice for the sake of the future. And it's an outlook evidently neglected in most educations & childhoods today.

    So delayed development? Don't just blame the youngin's. Bank Presidents evidently have issues with same. Robbing the present to revel in faux riches while beggaring the future & all common sense. (See NINJA Loans!) Ditto for corporate chieftains of all types, throwing bacchanals & debauched orgies of excess with client and even tax payer dollars. Maturity? Bah Humbug! We seemingly don't even have a mature political economic system! You can not name more than a handful of truly mature political types, and those that truly are seem to be the butt of jokes & object of pity or scorn, and are being constantly ridiculed for their thoughtfulness, rectitude & forbearance.

    No the mating dance is just part of this culture in excess. If one sex partner is fine, well 6 on call would be like, divine! And with NSA/FWB it's all possible with simple texts etc. You can order it out or up like take out evidently. Adult responsibility? Again, Listen to the heads of the US banking system! Responsibility is for suckers! They got theirs and then got out, and now refuse to try and 'fess up' or even correct the problems they created! And it's still causing the unemployment & underemployment that young men & women suffer from today! No one has ever made more 'bank' with Less responsibility than they have! In the history of finance. And don't they look just swell doing it. I'm betting they all have happy harems too. Grownups? It's all about the dressage & attitude. If they can rob you with a smile & a suit? They're judged as 'responsible' and 'creditable' enough. The kids? watch this and learn from it all. As should we. Cheers & Good Luck! 'VJ'

  • Nasser_J

    i completely agree with the second and third reason on lack of immaturity but not just with men but with women too. the capitalist ideology has driven our youth in to most extreme state of consumerism, thus they are are driven to the most numbing state of existence where video games, fashion and celebrity twitter feeds are becoming subjects that people discuss seriously on college campuses. although it should be noted that this scenario exists predominantly on suburban campuses rather than urban ones such as Berkley or university of Chicago or columbia. and not as much in universities outside the US, where students are active in national and international affairs. furthermore, popular culture, as mentioned in your entry, fuels that lack of maturity and the end result is that students graduate into real life with out having a clear vision on what their purpose should be on the role they want to play. many student claim that want to be in this profession or that, basing their entire decision on a salary or what they expect is financially rewarding, and later fall into this new phenomenon of the “quarter life crisis” students need ideology. radical changes in society has been always forced by college students. revolutions, anti war movements, civil rights movements etc… it is disappointing that these socio-economical causes don't play much role in the life of the average college student today. its actually more than disappointing, it is also disgusting.

  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/19/more-men-get-an-economic_n_427863.html VJ

    Presenting our new very serious Sen. from MA Scott Brown! Who tells us proudly that his comely daughters are available too…

    Yeah you just can't make this stuff up:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/01/20/scott-

    Cheers, 'VJ'

  • susanawalsh

    Yes, you're right. For me the takeaway lesson there is: When a woman is in her 20s, look to the men in their 30s, who are ready to settle down. Don't waste time with men your own age. Be part of that younger pool that's making life harder for the older women!

  • susanawalsh

    It is very true that as a society and individually, we never seem satisfied with what we have. The current generation of young people is striving away, and perhaps it's not surprising that some would just step off the fast track. I'm not sure why it would be men more than women – perhaps b/c they are naturally less mature than women in their early 20s.

    There's something else – it's related but not exactly the same thing. Today's youth is very perfectionistic. They not only want to acquire more in the future, they are miserable if life is not ALL GOOD RIGHT NOW. I think they also feel responsible if they can't make everything work, they feel like failures.

    How have we gotten to this extreme state re both consumerism and achievement? It's a natural progression of the American dream. The kid whose grandfather was the first generation to go to college is now crushed when he doesn't get into the college of his choice (and you can be sure his choice is Top 25 according to US News and World Report). We want more, more, more. More prestige, more money, more power. If you're a guy on the margins for whatever reason, perhaps World of Warcraft is the best escape.

    Re the banking crisis, I have never been so disgusted, and I have to say, even tho it's off topic, that the administration has handled this extremely poorly. As a MA resident, you can imagine how many conversations I've had about the special election. Personally, I don't think people voted against health care reform, mostly because they don't understand it well enough to judge it. I know I don't! I think people are really, really pissed off by the treatment of fat cats on Wall St. That's got to be one of the biggest PR debacles in recent memory.

  • susanawalsh

    Hey Nasser, you make some excellent points here. I agree that political passion is sorely lacking on college campuses. Even something like Haiti relief efforts right now will get little attention if Tucker Max is coming to campus.

    I also agree that kids are graduating from college without a clear idea of what they want to do, that's typical, and perhaps not always a bad thing. Worse is the problem of students arriving at college determined to major in Econ and work on Wall St. I know one young man who went off to college determined to major in Econ and Mandarin, figuring he was positioning himself brilliantly for the 21st c. Problem was, he didn't really enjoy either subject. He happily focused on liberal arts, but what will be his “trade?” There aren't many real jobs for Renaissance men or Classics majors.

  • susanawalsh

    OMG! That photo is beyond creepy.

    When he pimped out his daughters during his acceptance speech, I nearly fell out of my chair. Both his wife and Ayla seemed mortified. Then he qualified it by saying, nah, Arianna's taken, but Ayla is definitely available! Good Lord, this woman is probably going to be fending off the weirdos for months. What on earth was he thinking? What father would do such a thing? On the other hand, she clearly loves the limelight…

  • Obsidian

    Hi Ms. Walsh, Obsidian here.

    Very, very interesting discussion!-and I'd just like your readers to know that we've been discussing the same topic over at my place, The Obsidian Files, found on WordPress.com. I invite your readers to come and check us out for another point of view.

    My only cirticism of the this discussion and indeed so many discussions that takes place accross the blogosphere, is the myopic focus on the college set. All of us don't go on to college for any number of reasons, and I think we really do ourselves a serious disservice when we don't consider this fact. In so many ways, guys like me – Black, Blue Collar, inner city born and bred – are invisible, except to be discussed in “what's wrong with them?” ways. It's almost as if we don't fall in love, or get horny or something. What is up with that?

    But yea, great discussion otherwise. Let's keep the convo going!

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    Obsidian, it's true what you say about blogs focusing on the college set (and older, but still largely an educated population). I think there are a number of reasons for this. Speaking for myself, hooking up pretty much took hold first on college campuses, and they are still the place where one sees it in action to the exclusivity of dating. It's moved downward into high school trends, and upward into the 20s. In fact, it's part of prolonging adolescence, as discussed here. Because of this, many of my regular readers have found me after facing a dilemma in a college setting. I get a lot of emails offline, and I'd say about 75% of them are from students of one sort or another.

    Another reason is that many more college educated people write and read blogs. I know you realize what a rare man you are, in that you have diligently educated yourself without being handed a single thing. You're a voracious reader. Your voice is extremely welcome and necessary, but it's not surprising that we bloggers hear a lot more from people with more formal education. Perhaps part of this is that they have more leisure time (or are playing hooky at work).

    Obviously, issues around relationships are not confined to the educated or white. Indeed, white educated folks are the least likely to get divorced. I'd love nothing more than to diversify the demographics of my own readership, but reaching a wide audience is challenging!

    I also suspect that some of the things I talk about break down across economic lines. For example, an educated woman is the most likely to go to a sperm bank at 40, because she has the resources to do so, and to raise a child by herself. On the other hand, a woman with fewer resources at her disposal may be more likely to seek validation from men by acting overtly sexual, because she is trying to maximize her mating value while she is at her most attractive and is looking specifically for a provider. I'm not sure about this – it's just my sense. More research is needed!

  • chance5

    I think that the reason for the lack of political passion is the rather pronounced distaste most people, including the young, have for the extreme display of political passion we see in our present political class. Our political discourse has become vile, because, for the most part, we seem to be electing voices that represent the shrill elements in each of our political ideologies rather than the moderate ones. There are numerous reasons for that, most of them being OT for this blog. But I think the end result is a tuning out from politics in general, and a skepticism about “passion” in politics.

  • susanawalsh

    Hmmm, that may be right. Also, part of the job of being young is rebelling against one's parents' generation. My generation is very guilty of displaying extreme political passion, often vile, as you say. Living in MA, I can tell you that a sympathetic muttering about a conservative viewpoint can end a dinner party. I know, because I've done it simply by disagreeing with the majority opinion. We can't debate respectfully anymore – no wonder kids want no part of that!

    Haha, I agree re law school. I know several law school grads who have said, “Uh oh, I don't enjoy law.” Wow, expensive mistake.

  • Obsidian

    Hi Ms. Walsh,
    Replies below:

    SW: Another reason is that many more college educated people write and read blogs. I know you realize what a rare man you are, in that you have diligently educated yourself without being handed a single thing. You're a voracious reader. Your voice is extremely welcome and necessary, but it's not surprising that we bloggers hear a lot more from people with more formal education. Perhaps part of this is that they have more leisure time (or are playing hooky at work).

    OBS: Thank you. But, I must say, that I don't think I'm all that special, really. Afterall, nothing I've done can't be done by anyone else with the basic desire to do so. I wanted to know about things, so I found out. Bought books, read for free, and talked to people who know me than I do – and a heck of alot of trial and error, LOL. I didn't let outer circumstances dictate the trajectory of my life.

    SW: Obviously, issues around relationships are not confined to the educated or white. Indeed, white educated folks are the least likely to get divorced. I'd love nothing more than to diversify the demographics of my own readership, but reaching a wide audience is challenging!

    OBS: Oh, I dont know, Ms. Walsh – Black folks read all kinds of stuff, and although there's been much made of the socalled “digital divide” from all I've see in the hood says something different. You're just as likely to see wide flatscreen tv's, iPhones and Xboxes there as you are out in the boonies, LOL. Black folks love tech. And they love the Internet. You'd be surprised who reads your site.

    I also suspect that some of the things I talk about break down across economic lines. For example, an educated woman is the most likely to go to a sperm bank at 40, because she has the resources to do so, and to raise a child by herself. On the other hand, a woman with fewer resources at her disposal may be more likely to seek validation from men by acting overtly sexual, because she is trying to maximize her mating value while she is at her most attractive and is looking specifically for a provider. I'm not sure about this – it's just my sense. More research is needed!

    OBS: I think the motivation is the same or at least very similar, between the two groups of Women; both have a strong desire to have babies. Its just they achieve this through differing means. The poorer Women select a Man they think will best give them the kind of baby tghey want; their “betters” simply looks up the local fertility clinic and chooses the characteristics and traits from among the sperm donors they deem the most desirable for their baby. It's pretty straightforward. That book, Promises I Can Keep is a powerful, powerful read that bursts a lot of bubbles.

    As for the idea that simply because a single Woman has the financial means, she can therefore raise kids on her own – not so fast. I know, for a fact, that this is not true, especially when it comes to boys. Moreover, there have been studies on this, that even when one controls for income, singlemoms of Male children pretty much still have to face what their more financially modest sisters deal with in this regard.

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    No, Obs, you did not let circumstances dictate the trajectory of your own life. And you are by no means alone, but I think you know that you are an unusual presence in the blogging community. It's part of what sets you apart – the way you talk about your own background, upbringing, etc. That is powerful stuff.

    But yes, I hear you. By no means would I ever want to exclude a reader on any basis! This community has grown to include people from a bunch of countries, ages 18-60 or so, and plenty of guys. I love it! Different experiences make the conversations far more interesting overall. I hope you are right about who reads – as you know, as bloggers we have a notion of our community based on our regular commenters. But only a tiny fraction of my daily readership comments. I'd love to know each and every one of them!

    Re single moms, I've written about that a bit recently, as you know, and I'm not about to suggest it as a good strategy. My own son has been more than a handful at times, and those times when my husband was traveling on business? That was hard. Raising a child is such hard work, and so emotionally draining, that I can't imagine doing it solo, without love and support from another person. However, I do think that many women who choose that route do so without really having any idea what they're getting into. Ignorance is bliss, and then reality intrudes.

  • inversed

    “The trick is for men and women to find each other when they're both in the same mindset.

    However, your point is well taken. Often, when women decide they would to like pursue a long-term strategy, they can't find any takers.”

    They can't find any takers because generally they have been pursuing cads via hook-up's. Put in evolutionary terms, they have been pursuing a short-term mating strategy before trying to switch to a long-term strategy, effectively cuckolding any man unwise enough to engage in a long-term mating strategy with them.

    What we are currently seeing, is women thinking they can do this when they are young, that is pursue the highest status men in their current social setting, which is generally football captains, gang members, thugs, and the most extremely good-looking of men, (remember we're talking about women aged 18-24), all the while ignoring the other 80% of men who aren't at the pinnacle of status for that social setting.

    What then happens is that the other 80% of men strive to get their turn at the top of the status hierarchy by accruing power through various means, i.e. becoming wealthy, educated or even just more violent and badass then the current crop of highest status men. When this happens, they then enjoy the benefits of their increased sexual market value by mating with all the females just as the males in their position before them had done.

    What I have just described above is the system that emerges when a short-term mating strategy is effectuated by women on men.

    What about men who pursue a long-term mating strategy though? Surely can't the women who are pursuing cads when they are young but then suddenly “mature” when they are nearing the end of their useful lives as mates, pursue a long-term relationship with those men?

    The answer is no. First, a lot of those men will see no reason to become worthwhile long-term mates (aka, go to college, work hard, be industrious and responsible, precisely the issue you have been lamenting about in regards to David Wygant’s piece) as they will simply be getting the left-overs of those cads who couldn't/wouldn't do those things themselves. The saying, “Why pay full-price for second hand?”, springs to mind here. Furthermore by doing so, they would effectively be making cuckolds of themselves which is genetic suicide. Now you might say, “but with the advent of contraception these men won’t actually be cuckolding themselves if they engage in a long-term mating strategy with these women.” Well the fact is, emotions aren’t beholden to reason, and our emotions evolved over hundreds of thousands of years in an environment where contraception did not exist. Therefore to expect men to take contraception into consideration when they are subconsciously assessing the long-term value of a prospective mate (aka falling in love), is naive.
    Secondly, those men who do pursue a long-term mating strategy and aim to turn themselves into good, responsible and industrious providers by attending college and getting good careers and high incomes, will look around and see that women are pursuing a short-term mating strategy and are “banging” all the cads, players and badboys. Thus, they will most likely attempt to become one of those cads, players and badboys themselves because, as I implied in the paragraph above, why would they work hard for the left over’s of the guys who don’t. Or, in economic terms, why pay a higher price then something is worth?

    Put in simplest terms, men no longer wish to become good/successful “provid-ers” as women are no longer good/successful “provid-ees”. Instead men will aspire to become good/successful cads because women are good/successful tramps.
    Or in evolutionary biological/psychological terms; men no longer wish to become good long-term mates as women are no longer good long-term mates. Instead men will aspire to become good short-term mates because women are now good short-term mates.

    Now I write all of this as a 21 year old Maths/Law student in a western English-speaking country who would like to pursue a long-term mating strategy however, if I cannot find a chaste and faithful women between the ages of 18-24 when I have finished university and have a good career either in law or banking (probably my mid-twenties to late twenties), then I will become a cad myself and capitalise on my increased social status as a lawyer or banker by sleeping with as many women as possible, just as the jocks, drug dealers and thugs did/are doing while I was/am studying in my late teens/early twenties.

    However, if by,
    “The trick is for men and women to find each other when they're both in the same mindset.

    However, your point is well taken. Often, when women decide they would to like pursue a long-term strategy, they can't find any takers.”
    , you mean that there should be a social setting where men and women who both want to pursue a long-term mating strategy and are good long-term prospects themselves, (taking into consideration everything which makes the opposite sex a good long-term prospect from the perspective of each gender.), can meet and socialize together and subsequently find mates, then yes I agree with you. The bar, night club and college scenes are woefully abysmal in this respect.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    The word, immaturity, has a specific meaning. All these examples of “immaturity” don't meet the dictionary definition of the word. They would be better described as making sensible decisions.

    Getting into the post:

    Very attractive women weren’t dating.

    OH NO!!!! Whatever shall we do? Attractive women aren't dating. Doesn't anybody know that this is the most important problem in the world???

    The guys talked a lot about video games, and seemed to spend a great deal of time playing them together.

    What is immature about playing video games? I will tell you the answer, absolutely nothing. This sounds like women are just complaining men found an activity they enjoy and enjoy doing with other guys. What's wrong with that? Again, absolutely nothing. This sounds like a variant of the harpy who won't let her husband or boyfriend ever see his friends.

    It takes a lot longer for a man to establish himself. Many young men will turn 30 before they secure a job as good as the one their father had in his early 20s.

    This is not an example of immaturity. It's now very difficult to get a decent job with nothing but a high school diploma. Manufacturing (which provided those jobs) moved overseas and is now even in the process of being automated which means there is no such thing as bringing those jobs back. Outside of structural changes to primary and secondary education (good luck with that), that means going to college which means more time for schooling. This has nothing to do with immaturity.

    Male character used to rely heavily on demonstrations of honor, courage, and heroism. This theme has all but disappeared from popular culture.

    This was caused by feminism. It is not an example of men being immature.

    Buying a house is out of the question for most men in their 20s, but there is more than enough disposable income to purchase a wide variety of entertainments.

    There was this massive housing bubble you may have missed. Buying a house was a stupid idea financially (unless you already owned a house before the beginning of the bubble). This isn't an example of immaturity but making a very sensible decision. As someone who avoided buying a house during the bubble, I had plenty of people think I was immature. I knew better and laughed all the way to the bank, literally.

    Young men should embark on a program of personal development.

    What exactly is “personal development” here? Personal development should involve objective goals and gains which are defined independently of women. I don't see that here. What this really seems to be about is using increasing amounts of shaming language to get men to be mules for women. Men are increasingly not buying it which means more shaming language as we see here.

    What is the problem with what these supposedly “immature” guys are doing? They aren't leeching off the government. They aren't having kids and forcing other people to take care of them. They aren't causing trouble. They have jobs that pay enough for what they want to do. It's clear to me that the real problem isn't that these guys are “immature”, but that they are going their own way which women can't stand. I say good for these guys.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    I like the lack of political “passion” among the youth. Historically, political “passion” is mostly about finding new ways to take away people's freedom. Lacking political “passion” is a good thing.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    Research shows that married men rate their lives as much happier than single men do.

    That's because there are only two categories married and not married. The not married category includes divorced guys which brings down the happiness average for the not married guys. Marriage doesn't make guys happy. Divorce make guys unhappy (usually). That's what is really going on.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    You really have to torture the facts to characterize a single woman investing in a home as being a spendthrift.

    No. you don't. With the housing bubble near its peak in 2005, that meant house prices were hugely out of whack with incomes. To buy a house (unless you already were a homeowner which most of these single women weren't) that meant taking out some type of dangerous exotic mortgage (an interest only mortgage, etc.) If you need to get an exotic mortgage to buy a house that means you won't be able to afford it once the interest only (or whatever teaser) period is done. Buying a house until recently can very easily be evidence of being a spendthrift.

  • susanawalsh

    “What then happens is that the other 80% of men strive to get their turn at the top of the status hierarchy by accruing power through various means”

    Some men do this, it's true. But in reality, it's only a small subset of that 80%. These are the Bill Gates of the world. Smart, nerdy, successful, they will have their pick of females. Peter Orszag is just the most recent example.

    FWIW, I think this notion of women getting used up by Alpha cads is overblown. This is a favorite theme on Game/MRA sites, but I've never seen it referenced anywhere else. Yes, some women waste their youth and beauty on cads, and they wind up alone as a result. Many other women learn the harsh lessons early – by the age of 21 if they're lucky. One bad experience with a douchebag is all it takes for many women to see what's what.

    You're awfully cynical for a 21 year old. I suggest getting off Game blogs and going out there and pulling a girl!

  • susanawalsh

    PMAFT, hmmm, I have a major bone to pick with you. You have said some very unkind things about me on your own blog. Let's put that aside, tho, and address your concerns. First of all, several of your responses here are unnecessarily defensive. For example, I don't blame men for not being able to afford a mortgage – in fact, I acknowledge that today's economy makes it very difficult for men to assume responsibility, because they can't afford to get in the game.

    How has feminism destroyed the male ideals of honor, courage and heroism? Feminism is perhaps responsible for many changes in society, but how can you explain the death of these traditionally male character traits?

    If immature guys want to go their own way, and opt out of reproduction, fine. That's an individual, personal decision. But if they want to fulfill their biological imperative to reproduce, then wasting a whole decade being self-indulgent and unproductive might not be good strategy. They display traits that women choose to avoid.

  • susanawalsh

    What? OK, I don't even know where to begin. Let's start with Rosa Parks and MLK Jr. Other passionate fights? The French Revolution, Vietnam War protests. How did any of this diminish freedom?

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    Except for the Vietnam War protests none of that had to do with YOUTH.

  • AT

    Maybe not for the United States, but here in the Philippines, as a college student back in the days of the EDSA People Power Revolution in the 80's, we were, across the nation, fired up enough to overthrow a dictatorship. I remember all of us gathering in rallies and marching to Malacanang Palace and being tear-gassed. In the 70s, it was the college students that spearheaded the First Quarter Storm which challenged Marcos.

    Our passion was to reclaim the freedom that had been taken away from us.

  • Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    Your duel with PMAFT aside, I have to say that he's got a very good point – actually, quite a few. Whether Women like it or not, Men have rights too. And among them is the right to do what they deem is good for themselves. Just because Women may be ready to settle down and the rest of it, doesn't mean that Men have to be, too. A lot of Women wanted to focus on their careers and educations, and that's all well and good. But a lot of guys are now beginning to see that there's more to life than that. Moreover, for many Men, these are goals that have at best, questionable worth to them in the ways their dads may have recognized. PMAFT is right – there is nothing necessarily “bad” about what these guys are doing; they're not breaking the law, nor are they leeching off the government, and in fact, a very strong argument could be made that most of today's jobs Women hold are in deed a form of “leeching” off the gov't. That's because most Women's careers aren't in the private sector, but instead in some form of gov't.

    Simply put, Women will have to adjust their sights if they want companionship. Or, they can choose any one of several alternatives – none of which, if all the many articles, blogs and Nightline specials are any indication, appears to make Women any happier.

    More in a sec…

    The Obsidian

  • Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    You asked PMAFT:
    “How has feminism destroyed the male ideals of honor, courage and heroism? Feminism is perhaps responsible for many changes in society, but how can you explain the death of these traditionally male character traits?”

    OBS: Oh, come on. You can't be serious when you ask this question, Ms. Walsh. But since you might be playing coy, I'll spell it out for you:

    Feminism has made it possible for Women not to be shamed or in any other way limited in their choices, accross the board, and especially when it comes to sex and relationships. Being a single mom no longer carries any stigma, among a whole host of other things. When it comes to what you're asking, guys like Tucker Max, John Edwards or Chris Brown would hardly be considered to have the kinds of traits above that you mentioned – and that's the point. Women, despite all the sound and fury, CHOOSE THESE MEN TO HAVE SEX WITH AND MORE, over the kinds of guys who exemplify the traits you spoke to. Guys see this, and ask, why bother?

    Feminism played a strong role in all of that, Ms. Walsh. Not singularly. But it did play a role.

    More in a sec…

    The Obsidian

  • Obsidian

    In keeping with the topic, I posted the following comment on my blog in reply to one of my commenters about the notion of Women finding their “Todd Palin”
    http://althouse.blogspot.com/2010/01/i-coin-phr

    “Meep,
    As much as I would like to remain optimistic about things, I fear that things will get worse before they get better on this front. Simply put, we are now entering a generational phase where Women are outearning Men almost across the board-and this WILL have real consequences in the dating realms. What you’re talking about is also age sensitive-I’d say Women post-30-but even there, for “Todd Palin Men”-Blue Collar types-there have been articles that have appeared in the NYT that clearly shows such Men aren’t as likely to marry, nor are there any Women presenting themselves to them much.

    And then there’s the things both Nova and Deery mentioned, and we can put that together with your recent linking to that NYT article that featured all those ostensibly high-powered Women:

    -Nova mentioned the book The Big Sort, which speaks to how we’re increasingly becoming a segregated country along many lines and on many fronts, by our own volition and to our great detriment-this speaks particularly to assortative mating, and as we all know, Women drive the sexual marketplace; what they do, Men follow, for the most part.

    -Deery noted that few Women will travel and/or move explicitly for the purposes of love, romance or even sex, although the latter can and does happen wrt vacation cruises and the like, which Women go on more than do Men, perhaps in part because they can afford to do so (although, money or not, I’ve never been interested in paying lots of money to basically get something that I could get at home-I always wanted to go to really different places: Cambodia, India, parts of Africa and the Middle East, other spots in Southeast Asia-and I’ve found that not too many Women are particularly crazy about that, LOL).

    -And Meep’s linking to that NYT piece really brings all this home-it never occurs to the Women featured in the article that there’s a world outside of NYC-whats the chances of *ever* running into a “Todd Palin” there? And even among the “Todd Palins” in and around NYC, these ladies’ attitudes completely shoots their own feet off. Why do I say that? Because again-in the mating dance, Women, like all Females, sets the tone, whether they like it or not. Never once did any of those Women consider their own role to play in things, and automatically assumed that they guys they were with “couldn’t handle their success/wealth/smarts/etc. Well, I’m here to just point out a few things:

    1. When it comes to the current day economy, NO ONE’S SAFE. People who are on top today, could very well be a footnote tomorrow. We’ve all seen this happen in ways big and small over the course of the past decade, so don’t even front. There’s no such thing as company loyalty, no gold watch, sometimes you don’t even get a going away party-you just get escorted to the door by the goons, box of stuff in hands if your a cubicle dweller, and that’s about it. One reason why more and more Men are “disappearing” from the work world is because they know the game is rigged, and want no part of it. They know, firsthand, what a lot of Women-those same high-powered types-are about to experience over the course of this decade-that you can and will be replaced, when such time comes that you’re either too expensive to keep around or are in some other way perceived as dead wood and the higherups need a scapegoat and plausible deniability as a cover for their own incompetence. And girlfriend’s body will still be warm while they unceremoniously remove her name off the door, cleanout whatever’s left of her grand office, the band will play on, and she’ll be forgotten inside a month. If that long.

    2. Therefore, a lot of Women are headed for a seriously rude awakening in the next decade-many of them will enter their 30s, 40s and beyond, and despite their probable financial success, will in truth have little to show for it. Not only will they get chewed up in the corporate grinder, but they will have wasted their best years doing so, while at the same time trying to chasedown guys who were never going to commit to them in the first place. Sure, some will have kids along the way, and others will find solace in their pet causes-but there’s really no substitute for a companion and life mate. Which brings me to the next point…

    3. A lot of these Women have got it all wrong, gotten Life itself all wrong. Which reall isn’t surprising since Women are more likely to buy into the Matrix moreso than Men (Men tend to be outside the box thinkers-go back to the school thing. One big reason why Women excel in school moreso than Men is because they’re more likely to go along to get along), and only when theyr backs are against the wall do they finally start to get a clue. Of course by that time, the guys they wanted are gone, having used them up, and the guys that they didn’t want, *don’t want them now*. They could easily find other gals who aren’t as much of a hassle, or simply enjoy life ala Todd Palin-style-hunting, fishing and the like half the year, working in the great outdoors the other half, in quiet, slower paced surroundings. Lots of guys are starting to figure out what Todd Palin knew years ago-that true happiness comes from living the kind of life you want, and that doesn’t always mean being a corporate bigshot. In fact, for many, many Men, it won’t mean that at all.

    In truth, who earns a bigger paycheck, or who went to this school or that, or what your “friends” and “colleagues” think of who you spend your time and dime on and with, all of that is Bullshit-because in the end, and trust me on this, I’ve seen enough death and misery to last two lifetimes, none of that’s gonna matter. What matters is having someone to share your life with, who’s your companion, mate and lover, who you can enjoy quiet time with, and so on. What matters is having someone who gives a damn about for more than a pump and dump, who respects and treats you with human decency, and who is a witness to your life.

    Personally, I rather welcome the “turn” of events, because, like the old saying goes: tough times don’t build character; they reveal it. With more and more Men not being the breadwinners they used to be, and with more Women getting higher educations and salaries, we will soon see what people on both sides of the aisle are truly made of. Sure, there are a lot of loser guys, but that’s nothing new, nor is it the sole preserve of the poor-as many of these Women soon find out, having money and lots of degrees has little to no bearing whatsoever on one’s character.

    And with Women now fully in the driver’s seat-like that which are featured in the NYT piece Meep linked to earlier-they’ll have no one to blame but themselves if things go south. Afterall, according to the rules they bought into hook, line and sinker, they’re in control, or at least a large part of it. If that’s so, why blame the guys solely? No one made these Women live in NYC-one of thee roughest dating environments on the planet. No one made them chase down guys they knew from the get go, were problematic. And no one made them go on and on about their success, as if that somehow makes a difference between the sheets. It’s all a crock.

    The Obsidian

    Meep,
    As much as I would like to remain optimistic about things, I fear that things will get worse before they get better on this front. Simply put, we are now entering a generational phase where Women are outearning Men almost across the board-and this WILL have real consequences in the dating realms. What you're talking about is also age sensitive-I'd say Women post-30-but even there, for “Todd Palin Men”-Blue Collar types-there have been articles that have appeared in the NYT that clearly shows such Men aren't as likely to marry, nor are there any Women presenting themselves to them much.

    And then there's the things both Nova and Deery mentioned, and we can put that together with your recent linking to that NYT article that featured all those ostensibly high-powered Women:

    -Nova mentioned the book The Big Sort, which speaks to how we're increasingly becoming a segregated country along many lines and on many fronts, by our own volition and to our great detriment-this speaks particularly to assortative mating, and as we all know, Women drive the sexual marketplace; what they do, Men follow, for the most part.

    -Deery noted that few Women will travel and/or move explicitly for the purposes of love, romance or even sex, although the latter can and does happen wrt vacation cruises and the like, which Women go on more than do Men, perhaps in part because they can afford to do so (although, money or not, I've never been interested in paying lots of money to basically get something that I could get at home-I always wanted to go to really different places: Cambodia, India, parts of Africa and the Middle East, other spots in Southeast Asia-and I've found that not too many Women are particularly crazy about that, LOL).

    -And Meep's linking to that NYT piece really brings all this home-it never occurs to the Women featured in the article that there's a world outside of NYC-whats the chances of *ever* running into a “Todd Palin” there? And even among the “Todd Palins” in and around NYC, these ladies' attitudes completely shoots their own feet off. Why do I say that? Because again-in the mating dance, Women, like all Females, sets the tone, whether they like it or not. Never once did any of those Women consider their own role to play in things, and automatically assumed that they guys they were with “couldn't handle their success/wealth/smarts/etc. Well, I'm here to just point out a few things:

    1. When it comes to the current day economy, NO ONE'S SAFE. People who are on top today, could very well be a footnote tomorrow. We've all seen this happen in ways big and small over the course of the past decade, so don't even front. There's no such thing as company loyalty, no gold watch, sometimes you don't even get a going away party-you just get escorted to the door by the goons, box of stuff in hands if your a cubicle dweller, and that's about it. One reason why more and more Men are “disappearing” from the work world is because they know the game is rigged, and want no part of it. They know, firsthand, what a lot of Women-those same high-powered types-are about to experience over the course of this decade-that you can and will be replaced, when such time comes that you're either too expensive to keep around or are in some other way perceived as dead wood and the higherups need a scapegoat and plausible deniability as a cover for their own incompetence. And girlfriend's body will still be warm while they unceremoniously remove her name off the door, cleanout whatever's left of her grand office, the band will play on, and she'll be forgotten inside a month. If that long.

    2. Therefore, a lot of Women are headed for a seriously rude awakening in the next decade-many of them will enter their 30s, 40s and beyond, and despite their probable financial success, will in truth have little to show for it. Not only will they get chewed up in the corporate grinder, but they will have wasted their best years doing so, while at the same time trying to chasedown guys who were never going to commit to them in the first place. Sure, some will have kids along the way, and others will find solace in their pet causes-but there's really no substitute for a companion and life mate. Which brings me to the next point…

    3. A lot of these Women have got it all wrong, gotten Life itself all wrong. Which reall isn't surprising since Women are more likely to buy into the Matrix moreso than Men (Men tend to be outside the box thinkers-go back to the school thing. One big reason why Women excel in school moreso than Men is because they're more likely to go along to get along), and only when theyr backs are against the wall do they finally start to get a clue. Of course by that time, the guys they wanted are gone, having used them up, and the guys that they didn't want, *don't want them now*. They could easily find other gals who aren't as much of a hassle, or simply enjoy life ala Todd Palin-style-hunting, fishing and the like half the year, working in the great outdoors the other half, in quiet, slower paced surroundings. Lots of guys are starting to figure out what Todd Palin knew years ago-that true happiness comes from living the kind of life you want, and that doesn't always mean being a corporate bigshot. In fact, for many, many Men, it won't mean that at all.

    In truth, who earns a bigger paycheck, or who went to this school or that, or what your “friends” and “colleagues” think of who you spend your time and dime on and with, all of that is Bullshit-because in the end, and trust me on this, I've seen enough death and misery to last two lifetimes, none of that's gonna matter. What matters is having someone to share your life with, who's your companion, mate and lover, who you can enjoy quiet time with, and so on. What matters is having someone who gives a damn about for more than a pump and dump, who respects and treats you with human decency, and who is a witness to your life.

    Personally, I rather welcome the “turn” of events, because, like the old saying goes: tough times don't build character; they reveal it. With more and more Men not being the breadwinners they used to be, and with more Women getting higher educations and salaries, we will soon see what people on both sides of the aisle are truly made of. Sure, there are a lot of loser guys, but that's nothing new, nor is it the sole preserve of the poor-as many of these Women soon find out, having money and lots of degrees has little to no bearing whatsoever on one's character.

    And with Women now fully in the driver's seat-like that which are featured in the NYT piece Meep linked to earlier-they'll have no one to blame but themselves if things go south. Afterall, according to the rules they bought into hook, line and sinker, they're in control, or at least a large part of it. If that's so, why blame the guys solely? No one made these Women live in NYC-one of thee roughest dating environments on the planet. No one made them chase down guys they knew from the get go, were problematic. And no one made them go on and on about their success, as if that somehow makes a difference between the sheets. It's all a crock.

    The Obsidian”

  • susanawalsh

    I was responding to your statement that political passion is about finding new ways to take away freedoms, and that it's a good thing. Those two statements were not tied into YOUTH.

  • susanawalsh

    Obs, I'm well aware that men can and do make choices. That's why I wrote this post to criticize the advice David Wygant was giving, not the young men seeking it. Some men know just what they want (or don't want), and will opt out of mating for their own reasons. But lots of young men are online, and I don't thing they are well served by an older, financially successful man who tells them it's all good, just enjoy, you're going to have a kickass life. We all know that the only way to have a kickass life is to make one. And it's not about money, it's not about the economy, it's not about being born into a post-feminist era. At the end of the day, every man has to decide what to do with his life, and how he spends his 20s is going to have a major impact on his 30s.

    I am not blaming men here. If anything, I'm urging them to abandon the victim mentality and live their lives fully. If a man ultimately decides that a Wii is his best companion, that's his choice, though I'm sorry for him. Then again, Japanese men seem quite happy with their body pillows.

  • susanawalsh

    Not sure I buy this at all. Yes, feminism did make it possible for women to have sex without shame (though not necessarily without regret). It also ushered in an era of financial independence for many women.

    However, cads are nothing new. One could make the argument that pre-feminist cads include JFK, RFK, Hugh Hefner. For that matter, Casanova. Women have always chosen cads to have sex with, starting in caves. In the past, though, a man could be a cad to women and still display the traits of courage and heroism, for example. One doesn't see that today – the men you mentioned all display weak character through and through.

    Men should define their personal development goals independent of women if they don't seek relationships with women. No problem there. But truthfully? Very, very few men really want a long life without sex, perhaps even companionship. It's their choice, their business, but it's always a waste. And that's what I'm talking about here.

  • Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    Well, in fairness, and with all due respect, if cads are nothing new, then neither are guys in their “wandering years”. Most of the guys we revere today, like Abe Lincoln or Ernest Hemingway, took years off to “find themselves”. In fact, that's a common theme for Men and Boys, and most of the stories and tales geared for them have this as an essential theme.

    True, while Women in the past may have chosen the cads, the social consequences for doing so kind of acted as its own check on things. Today, that's not the case, and even you noted that most Men in our time don't get sex on a regular basis – that's not entirely due to their own actions or the lack thereof. Women still get to decide who has sex and who doesn't. And by and large, the disreputable Tucker Max's, John Edwards' and Chris Browns' of the world, get sex, while the guys who were brought up on the ideals of service, sacrifice, honor and the like, get the hand. Theirs.

    Now hey, I think most guys could stomach that, if Women were just blunt about this. But they're not. THAT'S what pisses guys enmasse off more than anything else. Whether it be due to not having a clue and simply not being able to be introspective, or due to being incredibly disingenuous, the fact remains that Women don't seem able to be objective about what turns them on, who they go for and why. And when guys see this stuff, in an ever-increasingly difficult age to hide your dirt, it really, truly, pisses them off – and they vote with their feet.

    And game consoles.

    With all due respect Ms. Walsh – and I understand that it's your party and you can do what you wanna – but I think your leaning on Dave Wygant is really only killing the messenger instead of dealing with the message. Kay Hymowitz was talking about this very same thing at least two years ago; Lionel Tiger and Andrew Hacker respectively, wrote entire chapters of books on it nearly a decade ago.

    What has changed? If anything, the “problem” has only gotten worse.

    This may come as a shock to many of the Women reading this, but they do NOT have the right to a relationship, to say nothing of one with the Men they want and think they deserve. Men have the right to pursue the lives they want, and they too do not have the right to a relationship. Since this discussion is really about the “next move” Women will make, they need to understand that they can't “have it all” – that with choices, come inevitable consequences. And that they have no one to blame, but themselves.

    I'm just sayin'.

    Holla back

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    That's an excellent point about men wandering in search of themselves. Thoreau comes to mind as well. However, in these cases finding themselves was an arduous intellectual task. Hemingway might have been living the high life in Paris, but he was doing some important work too. It's also true that many stories and tales geared for boys include this journey of self-discovery. Again, though, there is moral purpose and integrity to this process – there are no classic tales of guys sitting around the house drinking beer and sleeping all day.

    OBS: Women don't seem able to be objective about what turns them on, who they go for and why. And when guys see this stuff, in an ever-increasingly difficult age to hide your dirt, it really, truly, pisses them off – and they vote with their feet.

    SW: This is something you say often, but I don't think it's at all surprising. Sexual attraction is a complicated mix of psychology, hormones, and circumstance. We may have a general sense of our “type,” but I think most women can go for a wide variety of men. Which is, of course, why Game is effective. Perhaps it is not so surprising that women are not introspective about what turns them on – we know it when we feel it, and that's pretty much all the information we need for short-term decision making.

    Yes, women go for bad boys, and there are many reasons for this, mostly having to do with evolution, testosterone, and our attempt to sniff out good genes. That's just the way it is. Don't blame women, don't blame anyone. It's really natural selection. However, and I've said this many times, we are not bonobos. Human beings have second-order thinking, we have the ability to reason and judge. We can and do learn from experience. Just as a child learns not to stick her hand in a flame, a woman burned by a cad has all the information she needs to avoid being burned again. Will she be wise? Maybe not. Many will not be. But many will avoid that Cad, and be on the lookout for caddish behavior in other men. Cads proceed through women serially – they generally don't let women hang around long. So the woman incapable of learning from experience will spend her entire youth on short encounters with a large number of cads. Some women do this, but it is not as ubiquitous as many Game sites would have you believe. There are examples, to be sure, and I've written about some of them, but these are high-profile stories precisely because they are atypical.

    It's true that David Wygant is the whipping boy here. That's because he happens to have just weighed in on the topic with his recent post. It's a question of timing. But I do think it's fair to say that he is in a strong position to guide and mentor young men. IMO, he fails them here, pretty spectacularly. Young men need support and guidance – they are up against some pretty big obstacles in American society right now, as Tiger and Hacker have written. They need help finding their way to productive lives in the world we live in, not help in finding the nearest Happy Hour after a day of not working.

    I don't think women believe they have the RIGHT to a relationship. But they certainly have to right to pursue one. They have the right to say NO to a cad who won't offer one. That leaves the nice guys – but if they're not showing up? Not in school, not in the workplace, if they're going their own way and dropping out? It's lose/lose for everyone.

  • Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    I know you don't want to hear this, but the simple fact that so many Men from so many walks of life are all reporting the same or similar things out there on the dating and social scene, I know it's something we don't like, but at some point we simply have to accept the possibility that 50K Frenchmen can't be wrong.

    What do Elizabeth Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Rihanna all have in common (just to name a few)? Yup, you guessed it, they ALL remained with their rakish mates. Now – what are the young Men of America, to make of that – not to mention of so many girls in his highschool or college or if he's like me, just sees out and about on the weekends? Who basically do the very same things? The “good girls”, the ones who have options, the really pretty/smart ones? I gotta tell ya Ms. Walsh, it's like what I said about my drug dealing 19 year old buddy back in the day. What do i say to that?

    Guys are learning what the real deal is, Ms. Walsh – and no amount of “pep talks” is gonna change what they see all around them, day and night. Unlike Women, who can skate a good long time on a cloud, boys and Men get chin-checked by reality early and often – and many know they have almost no chance to ever get even the average gals. So, they drop out. Again, this trend has been happening for awhile now, and in the coming decade will really pickup apace. And there's not really nothing we can do about it, because at the end of the day, Men have rights, too – we can't make them “Man Up” so to speak. So long as they're not breaking the law, they have the right to “go on strike” by voting with their feet.

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    Again, I agree that men have every right to drop out. And then it sucks to be them. More than relationships suck in your 20s, that's for sure.

    Also, Obs, you give pep talks to young men on a regular basis, despite what they see happening around them. You don't want these young men checking out, stewing in their resentment. You suggest that Game is the answer, and it's certainly a viable alternative. I don't see you reviewing the newest videogames.

    I think we both want the same thing for young men. They're far more likely to listen to you than me. But they're listening to David Wygant, and you can't tell me you think that's a good idea, when you have written pretty much the same message I'm espousing in your most recent post:

    http://theobsidianfiles.wordpress.com/2010/01/2

    It's not about blame, or who has rights. It's about what's important in life, and how each of us can find a piece of happiness while we're here.

  • ExNewYorker

    Susan,

    If that article that VJ posted from Women's Health Magazine is any indication, the cads really are feasting. I mean, who are those women hooking up with? It's not the betas, for sure.

    Near the end of my most beta days, the wife of a good friend of mine told me that women began to wise up after their 28th birthday. When I went through my alpha cad phase, that figure seemed to me to have moved near 30. From what I see now, it seems to be now in the early 30's, and moving up.

    And for many of us reformed betas, a decade of being on the cad train is a dealbreaker for a LTR. Heck, they're not even worth hookups anymore (STD's, self-esteem issues, etc).

  • susanawalsh

    ENY, I agree it's a field day for cads. I'd go further though – I'd say those women are cads. They're lying, which is first and foremost what we hate about cads – they often use deceit to get into a woman's pants.

    A woman who spends her 20s on the cad train is a fool, and I don't really have sympathy for her. You'd have to say she knew what she was getting into every time after the first. She's making the same mistakes again and again. A 30 year-old woman downing tequila shots? Not attractive. If I were a guy I wouldn't touch that either. They're dirty, in the literal sense of the word.

    BTW, this warning from men? It's very helpful. It's a real 'heads up' to women readers.

  • Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    as you may recall, I've said on more than one occasion that I don't ever think Game will truly go mainstream, because of varying factors. Therefore, I know going in, that the effect and impact I'll have in that regard, will be modest at best. The Fifth Horseman, owner of the website The Futurist and frequent commenter on my site, says often that some 80% of ALL Men will NEVER even grasp Game conceptually, let alone master it to any measureable degree. That leaves some 20% of Men who even understand it. At best. Not a very encourarging sign for the ladies, to be sure.

    Whether it's about blame or not, the bottomline is that these guys are seeing not only the dating scene, but the economic one too, as an increasingly stacked deck – one that's stacked against them, and one of the responses these guys will take, is to simply pack up their ball and go home. May be silly, may be stupid, etc, but it IS an option – and one which, by your own admission, is starting to become a very real problem for the reasons that you and others have mentioned.

    And so long as Men have the right to opt out, there will be at least some, who will take it. If what TFH and others in the Manosphere says is true, the number could be a lot bigger than that.

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    Yeah, I know. This is the part where I sigh deeply and shuffle away from my computer for a while. It's too, too depressing.

  • Obsidian

    Ms. Walsh,
    I am truly sorry to be the bearer of bad news. But I gots to keep it real. We are dealing with the fruit of a multi-generational thing here. At least two generations of Men and Boys are in a very real sense, “lost” – not in total, and to varying degrees, but the verdict is in – Pew, Shriver, the Mancession, college enrollment and graduation rates, Tiger, Hacker, etc et al – the evidence is overwhelming at this point, and only the deeply naive or deeply disingenuous would even attempt to spin it otherwise.

    This means, that because of the utter lack of political will to forthrightly address the Male side of the equation, that the action, such as it is, will come largely from the Women. And that action will be very interesting to see, indeed.

    In sum, barring those in the upper 20% of the American population that is highly educated and surrounded by folks Male and Female alike of like mind, this is what I predict for the rest of the American Female population of mating age (18-40):

    1. Signing up to be in defacto harems with the relatively few Alpha Males in dense urban environments

    2. Having kids out of wedlock, usually by said Males and usually as a result of relatively short term and loose knit arrangements

    3. Getting divorced, after roughly 5-10 years of marriage; nine times out of ten kids will be involved

    4. More Women going the Lesbian Route

    5. And a cohort of Women who will just Go It Alone. They may or may not be a rise in fertility clinic-assisted births as a result of this cohort.

    What we aren't likely to see are many Women going after the Todd Palins of the world. You have to remember, part of the ire Sarah Palin got on the part of alot of the Feminist Lobby was that her hubbie was a Prole and not of any social status. Moreover, the chances of ever even meeting a Todd Palin falls sharply if it doesn't happen in highschool or shortly thereafter. A Woman in her upper 20s to early 30s? Forget about it, and take it from me, I know of what I speak.

    Meanwhile, most guys will simply disappear from the scene, at least during their 20s and a good chunk of their 30s too, depending on the economic conditions on the ground. This leaves the field for Alphas, be they naturals or Game-assisted. And as one trained in the ways of the markets, you don't need me to tell you what is likely to happen when a scarce resource is in high demand…

    I'm just sayin'. We'll just have to manage the fallout as best as we can. And it won't be pretty.

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    It's true. All five predictions have the ring of truth, I'm afraid. I tend to focus on things I think I can do a little something about, and all this talk of the coming apocalypse can be quite draining, frankly. I think I just need to do what I can to counsel women that trust me, in hopes that they'll be strategic enough to make out OK. It'll be like a game of Musical Chairs, but some people will succeed. As you say, a scarce resource in high demand. Intra-sexual competition is going to be brutal.

    Richard Whitmire had a good piece in the WSJ today about this problem, esp. the education gap. I think I need to write a piece about finding those hunky male guys who are good with their hands, so if you've got any ideas, shoot em over.

  • AT

    This saddens me, because from what I understand Obsidian is saying is that basically, men are opting out simply because they feel that majority of the women out there aren't worth it anymore. Did I get that right? Again, it's not something I see in my culture, but it seems to be par for the course in the Western world.

  • susanawalsh

    AT, Obsidian blogs about numerous things, including issues that are important to men in the U.S. The truth is, there has been a decline of men here, and there are numerous academics and others trying to get a better understanding of it. We are nearing a 60/40 split in college enrollments, and you saw in this post that many young men are postponing adulthood well into their 20s. Many men are very angry and bitter – Obsidian is not, he's a very rational voice, but he is not optimistic, as you see. He and others believe that divorce, child support and custody laws in the U.S. are grossly unfair to men, and I have to say, the more I learn, the more I agree with this. An unsuspecting man can easily become someone's ATM for 18 years. Recently, the NYX's ran an article highlighting men who have provided child support, only to learn after all that time that they were not the bio father. I'm sure you would agree that there is something very wrong with that scenario.

    This is an intractable problem, which is why Obs says that we'll just have to manage the fallout as best we can. Eligible, marriageable men are becoming a scarce resource in the U.S., relative to the number of women. I expect intra-sexual competition to intensify among women.

    As for women not being worth it, there is a sense among many men, the Beta males, if you will, that women are spending their youth with cads in a sexually promiscuous fashion, and then turning to more steadfast and reliable men in their 30s. Understandably, these “nice guys” want no part of being the “last resort” for women who have already had many sexual partners. Can't say I blame them, frankly.

  • Obsidian

    AT, Ms. Walsh,
    What I'm saying is that more and more regular guys are seeing those who are the worst of what Humanity has to offer, not only get over like a fat rat, but are actually REWARDED for being a-holes, like the guys I mentioned earlier.

    What are guys to make of the fact that Women like Elizabeth Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Rihanna, go back, keep going back and don't leave their lowdown Men? What are guys to make of the fact that Wall Street Banskters are getting away with murder?

    Well, alot of guys simply say, “why bother?” and call it a day, at least for the foreseeable future. And the evidence of the systemic rot – and in the case of Women's true hindbrain instincts and desires – is undenial at this point. And more and more, guys are voting with their feet. Which will have implications far beyond the dating scene. The implications will be politcal, economic, even a national security concern, if it goes on long enough.

    I do what I do because I believe, that I can reach one, maybe two guys and help make a change for the better. But I hold out no delusions of granduer here – there's no way I'm gonna tell a guy that what he's seeing with his lying eyes is BS. It is, what it is, and what I offer is NOT the quick and easy path, nor is it the one on which a guy may “win”. Often, he can and will lose. But I do it because I think it's the right thing to do.

    Which is becoming quite rare, these days.

    The Obsidian

  • susanawalsh

    Obsidian, you raise a question here that has puzzled me for some time. The a-holes, or cads, are mostly naturals, but obviously may also include men with tight Game. Women fall for them in large part because they are programmed to do so through 10,000 years of evolution, we agree on that. When a man studies and uses Game to attract a woman, he is capitalizing on that knowledge of female psychology. So how can he blame her for becoming sexually attracted? How can a man using Game hold a woman accountable for succumbing to it?

    I know you don't behave like a cad, and you've formally distanced yourself from proponents of Game that do so. However, it's a real dilemma — if men feel contempt for a woman who sleeps with a-holes, it seems to me they are holding women responsible for resisting the very approach they feel is infallible in seducing women. Basically, it means that they're targeting women they'll hold in contempt if they're successful. I see this as a real conundrum.

    WRT wives of lowdown men, it's true that some don't leave. Some do. Mrs. Mark Sanford did, Elin Woods did (even if she did beat him first). I have no idea what Rihanna was thinking, and I don't know how long Chris Brown abused her before she got out. Elizabeth Edwards and Hillary Clinton, though? Does anyone really believe those marriages involve any romantic love or feelings? I see those relationships more as power matches than love matches. The women stay because it benefits them to do so, in some way that they find valuable. I imagine this is often the case with women. I also think it's tricky to try and generalize. These men are lowdown in different ways. Cheating is different than physical abuse. Their wives stick around for different reasons.

    I'm not sure how the Wall St. bonuses are gender-related. Certainly, the voters of MA, both male and female have spoken out in protest of that. I think women have every reason to resent that as much as men do.

    I agree with you about the grim prognosis. Richard Whitmire had an article in the WSJ yesterday, saying more of the same about the upcoming men shortage. Now that it's really hit the mainstream media, perhaps people with power to effect change will take notice. Carol Gilligan et al will be unable to eek out more sympathy for girls at this point – and I think we'll see more commentary from people like Whitmire, Dan Kindlon and Christina Hoff Sommers. They'll raise hell at Jezebel, but it won't be enough. I agree that a reckoning is coming.

    “I do what I do because I believe, that I can reach one, maybe two guys and help make a change for the better.”

    You know that I am motivated exactly the same way. I don't deceive myself about changing society – I'm looking to make a positive impact for women AND men on the margins. I think it starts with men and women talking to each other, not just shouting in the echo chamber of like-minded people, as you've said.

    We're a funny blogging pair, Obsidian. A surprising alliance, haha. Who would have thunk it?

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    Obsidian has already covered how feminism has contributed to the destruction of male ideals.

    For example, I don't blame men for not being able to afford a mortgage – in fact, I acknowledge that today's economy makes it very difficult for men to assume responsibility, because they can't afford to get in the game.

    If you do, then stop calling these guys immature. It is very mature to make sound financial decisions like these men are doing.

    If immature guys want to go their own way, and opt out of reproduction, fine.

    Again you use the word immature to describe responsible decision making.

    But if they want to fulfill their biological imperative to reproduce, then wasting a whole decade being self-indulgent and unproductive might not be good strategy. They display traits that women choose to avoid.

    If they're in the 80% that isn't getting any (or hardly any) from women, then it doesn't really matter. They might as well act exactly how they want.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    As for women not being worth it, there is a sense among many men, the Beta males, if you will, that women are spending their youth with cads in a sexually promiscuous fashion, and then turning to more steadfast and reliable men in their 30s. Understandably, these “nice guys” want no part of being the “last resort” for women who have already had many sexual partners. Can't say I blame them, frankly.

    Since you obviously believe what you wrote here, why are you calling guys who don't want anything to do with being a woman's “last resort” immature? These men have a right to live their lives as free men and not as mules for women.

  • susanawalsh

    I cite the economy as one reason men are prolonging adolescence. I acknowledge that it's more challenging for men to achieve financial independence than in previous generations. However, a man's still has some choice in the way he chooses to respond. He can develop himself and work hard in order to well, and perhaps buy that house in his 30s, or he can check out. It's his choice. The only one I'm blaming here is David Wygant, for encouraging young men to check out. Because a guy who fritters away his 20s in front of his parents' TV is making no progress toward eventual financial independence, with or without a partner.

    With regard to the use of the word immaturity – that's not me editorializing. This is a problem written about extensively, using this terminology, by male academics. It addresses the trend of young men shunning responsibility.

    This post is not about blaming young men. I acknowledge they're up against it in numerous ways. In the end, though, we've all got to chart our own course, and I believe DW is absolving them of living productive lives. The big losers will be the men who take his advice.

  • susanawalsh

    I did not say it was immature for men to reject women who have spent their 20s with cads. That particular point is OT for the post, in fact, but was raised by Obsidian.

    My post responds to considerable evidence that by all traditional means of measuring maturity, men are prolonging adolescence into their late 20s. This has enormous implications for marriage, the birth rate, the economy and other things. It's a problem we face in society. It's not about blaming men, it's about addressing what is going on for the benefit of men individually and in aggregate.

    Nowhere in this post do I even talk about what men should be doing for women, much less being their mules. Embracing adulthood is something men should do for themselves, period.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    Susan, the problem is that the word “immature” is being used as an attack. Okay, not by you, but there is a reason why calling men “immature” is code green on the list of anti-male shaming tactics. Calling guys who aren't following the standard life script, “immature” is just hiding the real economic and social issues of what is going on.

    Let's look at buying a house. I could have bought a house several years ago, but I didn't because I recognized there was a bubble in housing and wanted to do the responsible thing which was not do the equivalent of setting thousands of dollars on fire. I got called “immature” and had other shaming language thrown at me. The fact is I did the financially responsible thing.

    What this means is that we know have a case where these traditional means of measuring “maturity” all come into conflict with making reasonable decisions for men. Thus when someone starts talking about how (adult) men are immature, it almost always means they have an agenda. Typically, it's about making men mules of women, the church, and/or the state. This is especially true since responsible decision making is missing from the list of traditional measures of maturity.

    Men have no reason to meet the traditional markers of maturity. Buying a house is pointless in a housing bubble even if you make 6 figures like I do and the economy is good. Getting married for men is bad idea given the high probability of women wanting divorce soon afterwards. Relationships suck for men in their 20s so they provide nothing of value outside of getting laid. All of this is based on responsible decision making (and self respect). Any definition of maturity that doesn't recognize that men are making responsible decisions given the circumstances is by definition suspect.

    This weekend I watched that “Pregnancy Pact” movie on Lifetime. The perspective that was truly missing was that from the boys. Plenty of the girls were doing the very immature thing of intentionally having babies as teenagers. Were the girls called on their immaturity? Of course not. In fact while there were pointless arguments about birth control (pointless because the girls wanted to get pregnant), there were a lot of people saying we can't judge what these girls did. (But it's okay to judge men who realize following the standard life script is just being a mule for a woman and/or the state.) Instead they were given free daycare and the like. Look at it from the boys perspective. The twenty percent getting laid aren't going to want to do anything but the bare minimum since any money they make will be sucked up by a girl that tricked them into having a baby. The 80% of guys not getting laid will look at the 20% and say at least they got laid for all their trouble. The 80% not getting laid will still pay for what the girls did through taxes and the like and don't even get any sex (or anything else) out of the deal. Why should these boys just say “forget this”, go their own way, and only work the minimum they need to support themselves?

  • Dilithium

    “Nice boy, outgoing, never hooks up as far as she knows.”

    “This boy's response was to exclaim that she is way out of his league.”

    “honestly, how she maintains her sexual attraction for this idiot is beyond me!”

    On behalf of this “idiot” and others like him, I squarely resent this remark. You should consider the possibility, the perspective, that he's just being appropriately and justifiably cautious. The story is plainly enough written just in these sentences. If he's not much of a hook-up artist so far, and doesn't have much Game going on, then he's probably aware of those facts. He's probably also aware that an attractive girl, whom he would normally think of as out of his league, is so exactly because she will expect/demand responses and behaviors from men that he doesn't have the reflexes or trained habits to provide. Odds are good that she will soon demand what he cannot supply, after which she will ruthlessly move on; so it only makes sense that he should be non-committal.

    One example of this kind of demand is what is known, IIRC, in PUA circles as the “shit-test.” This is where a woman makes an apparently sincere but manifestly unreasonable request; not because it's for something she actually wants, but just as a tactical “test” to make sure that he can and will turn her down. It's a stupid but common behavior among attractive women, to select high-status men who aren't afraid to put a woman aside, and to filter out men who might be needy. The unreconstructed beta “nice guy” will typically fail the “shit test”, because he reflexively takes a woman at her word and tries to be chivalrous and generous. He's not enough of a mind-reader (or signals-reader) to know when a woman actually wants the opposite of what she's asking for. It seems entirely possible/likely to me that the young man in this example has had some experience along these lines, and senses when he's in over his head with an attractive woman and it is not likely to end well for him. (Yes, the implication here is that attractive women have choice, and most women with choice will use it to select for status through these kinds of tactics.)

    You state, correctly I think, that the young man would stand a better chance of some kind of success if he got his Game on better, and the young woman would also then be happier. As has been pointed out here, though, Game habits do not come naturally to a large majority of basically honest men, and it's a long row to hoe (no pun intended). However, the main point is that this shouldn't be necessary! As your friend Obsidian has pointed out elsewhere in this thread, a basic “problem” is that women aren't honest about what they want — the “shit test” being just the most blatant example. Yes, the a lot of young men and women alike might be better off if the men were better Gamers; but you should realize and admit a different possibility: that young men (decent ones, at least) and women would also be better off if women were just more honest and forthcoming about what they want, instead of insisting that men always be expert mind(/signal)-readers.

    So, slow down before you call this fellow an “idiot”. It may well be the case that he's the smartest and sanest among us all.

  • susanawalsh

    Dilithium, first of all, welcome back, and secondly, wow, this is really a good comment. In fact, I'm going to send it to this young woman, because she is so discouraged right now! She has seen him a few times and he is friendly, but not especially seeking her out. She learned a few days ago that he is interested in pursuing it, but needs to think about it. He is a second semester senior, and doesn't want to just dive in without considering it. His friend told her this, and didn't think it was necessarily bad news, but she took it as full rejection. And from where I stand, I'd have to agree. As she put it, “A guy is obviously not that into you if he hears that you like him and stays on the other side of the room.”

    But maybe the answer is more complicated than that. My point was that she is genuinely interested – they took a class together and sometimes studied together – they have a history of friendship. Perhaps he finds the idea of trying to hang onto her intimidating – or perhaps he suspects that she will be very high maintenance. I don't know. Still, all this fretting and wringing of hands on both sides is a waste of time because THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO EACH OTHER! And I hate to see them miss an opportunity for a real connection and happiness.

    The thing is, she has been honest and forthcoming about what she wants. She indicated her interest by flirting with him, paying him special attention, etc. When that failed to elicit a response from him, she asked his friend to intervene. She is obviously aware that there was a reasonable chance he'd say he finds her attractive, but she felt very nervous about laying it on the line. When he said he didn't think he had a shot, his friend said, “I know for a fact that you do.” How much more encouragement should she be expected to provide? She told me that this is the first time she's ever made a move on a guy. It does seem reasonable that he might be cautious – I told her that, I said he may be wary.

    Here's the thing. This young woman specifically took my advice. She found a dad instead of a cad. She tried to flirt with him, but he didn't really respond. Short of grabbing his face and kissing him, she was at a loss. So she told his friend. She basically, said, here I am, he can come get me. And he isn't, for whatever reason. So where does that leave her? It leaves her as prey for cads, that's where. And it makes a liar out of me! There's got to be a meeting halfway. He may be smart and sane, but if he want to use that penis, he is going to have to figure out a way to step up. That's the bottom line.

  • susanawalsh

    PMAFT, this is the nicest thing you've ever said to me! This is also a pretty helpful comment, in terms of understanding where guys are coming from.

    I do understand why certain phrases and words are red flags for men. I often see men refer to “shaming language” but I've never really had a clear idea what it encompasses, so I found the definitions useful. You need to understand, though, that most of those phrases have the distinct overtone of defensiveness.

    In my own experience, I felt accused right out of the gate by you guys, and some of the accusations thrown around impugned my character, my motives and my gender. It made me feel incredibly defensive and threatened. I don't think that's surprising.

    I think we will get a lot more accomplished if we work hard to remain civil. When a woman exclaims about bitterness or anger, she may in fact be responding to a level of anger that she was unprepared for and doesn't understand. You need to remember that wrt Men's Rights, the vast majority of women, especially young women, are not clued in. It has taken me weeks to begin to grasp all the things that are really eating at men.

    I do not think a guy is immature if he chooses not to buy a house. In fact, many college graduates live with their parents, which just reflects economic reality, as you point out. Responsible decision-making is mature, obviously. Nor do I think a guy is immature if he enjoys video games in his spare time. Or wants to meet numerous women in his 20s and not settle down too early.

    However, there is something else going on in American society. Young men are stepping off the track in large numbers. There is a general malaise, a lack of motivation. There is avoidance of responsible decision-making in some cases. I understand some, but not all of the causes for this. I do think it's an important area for research; we need to figure out how we as a society are failing young men, starting with the education system. But. In the meantime, many young men are languishing. They are not preparing themselves well for life in their 30s. And I maintain that the last thing they need is a middle-aged man telling them it is all going to be fine, a kickass life will be delivered to them on a platter. They will fail if they do not work hard. Advocating hedonism has never really been a good strategy for societies.

    Wrt men marrying, it is very important for a man to have full confidence in a woman's character before marrying. However, research shows that married men describe themselves as considerably happier than unmarried men. By quite a lot, in fact. So I hate to see men give up on marriage, because I believe many of them theoretically prefer it, if they can find a good mate.

    I've written about the pregnancy thing before. I haven't seen that movie, but here in MA, there was the incident in Gloucester that this may have been based on. These immature girls (yes, it cuts both ways) are ignorant and naive enough to think that having a child will be a fun adventure. Obviously, you're right, they're not going to be using birth control. So the guys have to wrap it up. Why on earth would a young man today have sex without a condom? This is insanity! Again, there is an issue of character here – whether through manipulation or ignorance, some girls will take full advantage. A man should be careful about where he spills his seed, even when it is just one night.

    You have every right to go your own way. If you don't want to marry and have a family, you can do whatever you like, without having to answer to anyone. It's your choice.

    That's not what this post addressed, though. The majority of men (75%) David Wygant is addressing do want those things. But his advice isn't going to help get them there.

  • Dilithium

    Hi Susan — Thanks, I'm glad you found the comment useful. If I hadn't made it clear before, let me say that I don't find anything objectionable in the behavior of this particular young woman in the story, assuming she's as sincere as you describe her to be. My point is more that, she may be suffering the fallout caused by less sincere women/girls who came before her in the young man's life. Remember, it's perfectly possible that there is actually one member of the Nigerian civil service who actually does want to transfer millions to your bank account — but you'll never hear the sound of one sincere person when it has to come through the din of a thousand charlatans.

    My point also concerns the farther future. Yes, let's grant that she's perfectly honest and forthcoming right now, so far, in signaling her attraction to this guy. But, what will she be like in the future? Once they got together, will she start acting like all the other beautiful, “out of my league” girls that he's ever seen, and start making impossible demands? Will she expect him to be able to read her secret codes? to discern when what she says is what she really wants, and when it's the opposite of what she wants? Will she say she wants to be respected by the gentle Ashley Wilkes when she really wants to be ravished by a forceful, not-to-be denied Rhett Butler? In short, she says she likes the guy now, but is she going to start dealing shit in the future?
    I don't know this young man's actual history, of course; but I had certainly concluded when I was that age, that highly attractive were a bad bet, basically never worth the effort even to try for, even if you have a positive signal to start with.

    Two lines from your reply here strike me particularly. FIrst,

    “When he said he didn't think he had a shot, his friend said, “I know for a fact that you do.””

    Well, why should he believe that? Yes, the friend may be reporting what the girl said accurately. But that doesn't mean he truly does have a shot. If she, like so many, many other women in America, really wants a mind-reading ravisher, and he knows that he can't really be one (at least, at present), then he really doesn't have a shot, whatever her initial attraction may be. Sad to say, but it may be perfectly rational for a man in his position simply to put aside ALL extremely beautiful women, and concentrate instead on finding someone less likely to be demanding of what he can't provide. Does this make sense?

    This is all a completely wild guess on my part, of course. But it does point the way to action for the young lady — since you asked what more she might do. If something like this wild guess is correct, then she can improve her chances by doing something — I don't know what, exactly, but something — to convincingly demonstrate that she's not like all the other high-maintenance beautiful girls who wind up making impossible demands. If this is in fact true, then it shouldn't be so hard to demonstrate, should it?

    Or, maybe she thinks that that's just too much work, which leads me to your other statement that caught my ear:

    “So where does that leave her? It leaves her as prey for cads, that's where.”

    The logic here seems to be, that if the nice beta boy, and others like him, won't “step up” and take the risk of asking her out (remember, even if he knows she'll say Yes at at first, there's a lot more long-term risk in it for him than for her), then she'll be “forced” to settle for the cads. Now remember, cads have no trouble risking rejection, because (1) they can always get more elsewhere; and (2) they're fundamentally misogynist: a woman turning them down doesn't bother a cad because he doesn't care what any woman thinks or feels. Some company! that she's been driven back to.

    What needs to be pointed out, though, is that she's suffering this fate exactly because of her complete (and unreasonable, IMHO) insistence that the man take all the emotional risk. And this, again, points the way forward: the young woman in question can probably greatly increase her chances with the young man if she can find some way — again, I'm not sure exactly how, but I can't do everything for you here :) — to show that she's taking an equal share of the risk at the start of a relationship. It may be tricky, but if she can do it, then I would bet the young man will feel much more comfortable and confident starting the affair with relatively even scales. What do you think?

  • susanawalsh

    Hmmm, yeah, I like that. I mean we're both swinging in the dark here, but your perspective is interesting, because, and correct me if I'm wrong here, I get the sense that you identify with this nice guy Beta, you have stood in his shoes. And this is a group of guys I want to understand better, because they're the best alternative to misogynist cads.

    This young woman is not going to return to being vulnerable to players, I don't think. She's been burned a couple of times. What she fears is becoming a total wallflower–she jokes that she has voluntarily climbed onto the celibacy bandwagon. I know that's no joke for a lot of young people who are not voluntarily celibate, and she's not exactly looking forward to it either.

    In theory, it makes sense that if she could find a way to reassure this guy, if in fact he is thinking in the way you describe, that might level the risk. The only way I can think for her to do that is to return to being a good friend. He's not going to forget that she made her interest clear before, and perhaps he will start to feel out what getting a bit closer might look like. I have told her she's going to have to be patient with this boy – I think I said she's dealing with a tortoise, and she's used to hares.

    I disagree that she is insisting he take all the emotional risk. She feels way, way out there on a limb. His friends are clued in, asking her how it's going, assuring her that she's not in the friend zone, and that he needs time to “see where his head is at.” Now maybe that's not bad, but for a woman who has laid her pride on the line and said, “Please choose me,” his apparent dithering is not exactly validating! This is why she said, “This is why Alphas get all the girls!” I think she understands that this is partially a confidence issue. I know this young woman quite well–she's a good kid, but she is def a SHB and naturally she knows it, based on the attention (often unwelcome) that she gets from guys. We shall see how it plays out, but obviously, she's not going to hang around forever mooning over him without any positive reinforcement. The irony is that the qualities she is drawn to in this boy, e.g. no random hookups, are the same qualities that explain his behavior now.

    It's funny, now that we've talked about it this way, I realize it's not unlike my getting together with my beta husband in the 80s. I made my interest clear, he was taken aback and said “Um, er, I don't think so.” (OUCH) and then came around very slowly over the next couple of months. I do recall thinking that if I wanted him there was no room for pride on my part. I would have to accept his interest unconditionally even though it was slow in coming. We didn't actually become a couple for a full five months after that initial conversation.

  • Dilithium

    Susan — I don't have a lot more to add here, so I'll try to be brief.

    Looking back on this exchange I see that all I've given you, really, is another variation on a theme from the original post that you've already heard here several times, ranging from your ally Obsidian to your antagonist PMAFT: the reason young men opt out, of the adult world, or the sexual marketplace, is because they judge that the world doesn't have much to offer them and isn't worth the effort to try.

    The specific instance I suggested was, for a large number of young men (maybe even a majority) the romantic and sexual world shaped by young women's choices is way, way stacked against them; so much so that there's basically no point in even trying. Before asking what might be done to improve this situation, you (and your readers) might first want to step back and ask how things got this way. After all, you find the story you told here quite surprising: a young man is told that an attractive young woman is interested in him, that he is practically guaranteed a good reception; and yet, he won't take the opportunity. It _is_ surprising, which should prompt you to ask: what past experience might he have had which causes him to act this way? Try to answer that exact question, and you may be surprised at what you come up with.

  • susanawalsh

    Thanks, Dilthium, for all the back and forth. I'm trying to learn as much as I can, and talking with men, especially when we can dial down the tension, has been quite informative and helpful. I'll continue to welcome the dialogue in hopes of understanding things better. It's all so complicated, so hard to imagine a way forward. Perhaps you're right, perhaps it needs to start with looking back.

  • Esau

    Susan, I'd really have thought that you would have learned better by now. After all the many posts and comments that you've written and read, here and elsewhere, I'm amazed that you can still write a sentence like this:

    “Women will have to manage the fallout as best they can, keeping an eye out for those men who have their act together.”

    and keep a straight face. The short form is, women aren't “managing” this fallout, they _caused_ this fallout in the first place.

    Here's the nub of the matter. You yourself have admitted, in other exchanges that, in granting their favor to men, young women follow a value system that we might term “tingle uber alles”: if he makes her tingle, then he's made, no matter what his other qualities or drawbacks; if he doesn't make her tingle, then he's got no chance, no matter what his other qualities or advantages. Agreed?

    So, what is the relationship between a man “having his act together,” however you want to define it, and making women tingle? I think it should be undeniably clear to anyone with even one eye open, that these two are at best unrelated, and often outright opposed. Once you are willing to admit this obvious truth, then the world will start to make a great deal more sense (though it won't be any less depressing).

    I'm not sure exactly what you mean by “having their act together,” but for any reasonable definition the rest is undeniable. Working hard, studying, having a good job and a good career do not induce tingle. Deferring gratification does not induce tingle. Being honest, intelligent and respectful does not induce tingle. Being emotionally mature does not induce tingle. Instead, it's frequently the _opposite_ of all of these that is more likely to induce tingle: hedonism, poor impulse control, excessive drama, thuggishness, arrogance and selfishness.

    Women have spoken clearly: all the habits of maturity will _lower_ a young man's chances of getting laid. Given that, can it possibly surprise anyone that young men should put maturity aside?

    If you're even tempted to argue this point further, try first to answer these simple questions:

    * At the end of high school, who is more likely to make a girl tingle: the earnest valedictorian on his way to a good college? or the slacker thug who'd beat you up just for looking at him? Of the boys who are neither, which one do you expect them to try and emulate?

    * Edward Cullen makes women tingle; do you think he's emotionally mature? Roissy makes women tingle; do you think he has his act together?

    So, no: I'm calling you out on this one. The essence of your statement I quoted is simply wrong, inverted from reality. To the extent that women might think “delayed maturity,” or whatever you want to call it, is a bad thing, they are not “managing” the result of some natural disaster in which they had no hand. Instead, women's role is _central_ in having _caused_ the disaster. Once you can admit this truth to yourself and to your readers, and can see the world straight, then you'll be in a much better position to actually help people as you want to do.

  • susanawalsh

    Esau, my thoughts:

    I'll say here things that I have said many, many other times, here and elsewhere.

    1. Sexual attraction is indeed a prerequisite for a relationship, whether short- or long-term.

    2. The traits of dominance, aggression, social status and financial resources all contribute to manufacture the tingle.

    3. Dominance and aggression are generally displayed by men with high testosterone levels, aka Alpha males. Women are especially aroused by these men during the 3 or 4 days prior to ovulation, when their estrogen surges.

    4. Social status and financial resources are also important to women, for both short- and long-term relationships. Men who “have their act together” wrt maturity are the ONLY ones who will meet these criteria.

    4. Once the tingle is present, a man will usually be evaluated for his relationship potential. Important factors here include his drive, ambition, perseverance, determination, creativity, honesty, the ability to sustain a collaborative alliance, and the willingness to openly demonstrate love and commitment. Many of these qualities are what we think of as the traditional “Beta” characteristics. An immature man does not possess, and is therefore unable to demonstrate these traits.

    Re Twilight and Edward Cullen, there is great misunderstanding among men on this point. Below is a comment from Whiskey on another post, followed by my response:

    “Twilight is nothing more than a PUA how-to (no surprise it's cited often in PUA blogs), complete with the girls disdain and disgust with the boyish male peers around her and the longing for the older, more powerful, dangerous, and disdainful guy.”

    Your assessment of the Twilight phenom is superficial, IMO. In some ways it strikes me as the antithesis of PUA tactics.

    A. Bella is attracted to Edward Cullen from the first moment she sees him. At that point, she perceives him as exhibiting strong Alpha traits, including high testosterone features: heavy brows, strong jaw, strong wide nose. He is extraordinarily handsome.

    B. Edward is also BROODING. Brooders can be emotionally unavailable, but they can also be emotionally intense and needy. Women want to nurture them, crack the code, open them up. That's what women are programmed to do, and complicated men capture our interest, whether they're alpha or beta. Moodiness is intriguing, but it's different from dominance or aggression. Though it is true that moody men often turn out to behave like assholes.

    C. Bella's other male classmates are portrayed in the story as total doofuses. They are so goofy, it's surprising that any girls go for them. Their behavior is appropriate to 14 or 15 year-old boys. They're also described, and cast, with physically plain males.

    D. Edward quickly surrenders to Bella, and declares himself hers unconditionally. He proves himself safe rather than dangerous, her ultimate protector. He refuses her sexual advances, so as not to endanger her with his vampire passion. He refuses to let her become vampire, instead pledging his undying love forever, with him a perpetual 17, and her growing old. There is no demonstration of value, no negging, no push-pull, no time constraint. He does not employ one single PUA tactic in 2,000 pages. He begs her to marry him when she is 18. Edward is the ultimate fairy-tale prince, and if his nature is dominant and aggressive, he keeps it solidly in check.

    EDWARD CULLEN IS THE PERFECT BETA MALE, THOUGH HE HAS TO WORK HARD TO ACQUIRE BETA LACK OF GAME. HE IS THE CONSUMMATE OPPOSITE OF A PUA.

    Re Roissy, here we have an example of exemplary Game, if his field reports can be believed (and I am not at all sure that they can be). Assuming for the moment that he has picked up a woman in the last 5 years, it is because he has successfully learned to mimic the traits of aggression and dominance. It's a good pickup strategy. Since he purposefully cheats on and lies to all women he has sex with, he's living proof that he does not demonstrate the qualities women want in a long-term mate.

    The handsome valedictorian quarterback with unassailable confidence makes the high school girls tingle. The bad boy thug gets laid often enough, but it's pump and dump all the way. He makes a fool out of any girl who falls for him, a powerful disincentive for “good girls” watching on the sidelines.

    I get it. This is a lot to ask of men. Many men are not even interested in trying to measure up anymore. That is the problem. Having your act together from an evolutionary standpoint means knowing how to produce the tingle (either naturally or with Game), and displaying the traits women seek for long-term mating, as much as possible. Those men are the fittest, and their genes will continue to be selected.

  • Esau

    Susan — Thanks for your measured and thoughtful reply. I'll try to be constructive here, and start by saying that I think I'm foundering on some of your definitions, which don't make sense to me. At the start, I'm basically with you on points 1 — 3 (though the bit about women's preferences changing with menstruation, while an interesting tidbit, seems like an aside to me), but can't agree with 4.

    We agree that the behaviors of dominance and aggression are more likely to be tingle-inducing. My point is that maturity, at least to me, is the opposite of dominance and aggression. To me, maturity means things like self-control, focus, patience, along with compassion, empathy and concern for others; and these are completely opposed to the kinds of high-T, alpha-male behavior that turns young women on.

    As for your point 4, that “Men who “have their act together” wrt maturity are the ONLY ones who will meet these criteria” of ” Social status and financial resources”, I think this may be somewhat true for people in their late 20's or older. But for the college-age cohort that you write for, it doesn't make any sense to me at all. The only college-aged people who have significant financial resources are those who come from wealthy families, ie they are, truly, “gifted”. This may make them more attractive, but that has nothing to do with maturity (depending on your experience with prep schools, you might argue that coming from a wealthy family correlates with less maturity). As for “social status” I'm not quite sure what you have in mind here, beyond just the usual wealth and physical beauty (including athletic fitness). When it's not tied to actual traits, status is sort of ephemeral, like popularity: if you have some, then you're likely to get more; if you have less, then you'll get less. So to the extent that college-aged men have social status other than from looks or money, I would venture that it comes from their success at dominance and aggression; and, as I said above, to me these are the antithesis of maturity.

    So, on the whole, no, I'm still not buying. What young women seem to find sexy is not maturity, it's the opposite of maturity.

    Last thoughts:

    * Regarding the brooding thing, this is only true if the boy is handsome (like EC). No girl gives a damn about a brooding boy who's only ordinary-looking. (Do you disagree?)

    * Regarding the valedictorian versus the thug, you're dodging the question by imagining a handsome quarterback. The important question is, given the choice between the earnest, smart, hardworking but non-threatening valedictorian, and the thug, which do girls and young women prefer? The thug, clearly; and that is the source of all this trouble in the world.

    * The high-school thug and the Roissy examples make my point exactly: they are both bad long-term material, just as you say, but they both are also what make girls and women tingle. For young women, tingle has very little to do with long-term fitness, and is typically excited by its opposite. In some sense, your entire blog is a response to this very fact.

  • http://www.antifeministtech.info/ Pro-Male/Anti-Feminist Tech

    the reason young men opt out, of the adult world, or the sexual marketplace, is because they judge that the world doesn't have much to offer them and isn't worth the effort to try.

    This sums it up. For many young men and not so young men, the sexual marketplace and (supposed) maturity is nothing but a lose-lose proposition. No matter what you do, outside of doing nothing, you will lose. Why should a man try with women if he will be ignored throughout high school, college, most of his 20s? And after that getting interest starting at 30 because women want kids, but several years after getting married and having kids she divorces you for someone more exciting. And then you're paying for kids you never see, assuming that they are even yours since paternity fraud is a huge problem. And this is one of the better scenarios. Maybe at 30 she comes with kids already since she went after guys that gave her the gina tingle. And let's not forget the huge debt she's probably amassed that you will be paying for. That XBox is starting to look a lot better.

    I liken this to buying a house in 2005-2006, the height of the housing bubble. I was moving during that time and looked at buying a house. Despite being able to afford it, I came to the conclusion that buying then would mean that I lost (money in this case) no matter what. It didn't matter how much money I made. I didn't matter how much my life was together and moving forward. Buying a house back then was a losing proposition no matter what (unless you already owned a house).

    More and more for young men, the sexual marketplace is a place where they will lose in one form or another. With no upside in the future, why should young men bother? There is no reason they should because they will never derive benefit from it.

  • susanawalsh

    To understand women's preference shifts re Beta and Alpha during their cycle:

    http://www.hookingupsmart.com/2009/10/22/hookin

    Re #4: In discussing the phenomenon of “adult adolescence,” I do not include college men. I refer to the 20s, but I don't expect any man to behave like a responsible adult prior to college graduation – I agree that's unfair.

    What women want to see in a college graduate is a man who applies himself to improve his life and prepare for the future. This is well documented. The traits that women seek when mating are not really in dispute (see David Buss, Symons and Barash).

    Assume we have two equally good-looking men. One is living with 3 other guys in a pretty run-down apartment, working hard at his job. He is really only available to hang out on the weekends. He is pumped about his recent promotion to Sr. Associate. He doesn't have much time to date, but he makes a point of seeing his friends on the weekend, and is part of a loose, large social circle and likes to meet as many new people as he can. Networking is important, and it would be nice to meet a great girl.

    The other guy is adorable too. He's 24. He has a degree from an excellent university. The job market sucks, so he'll probably have to work as a barista, but he's going to hang in a while longer and see what happens. He lives with his parents, and they're pretty cool about it. He has good friends from college in the area, and lots of them are in the same boat. Lately they've been playing Beatles Rock Band, and it's awesome! Now and then they head out to bars, but chicks are a pain in the ass with all their shit tests.

    Re brooding boys who are ordinary looking? Well, obvs, girls will prefer a handsome brooder over a plain one. But the emotional complexity implied by brooding is itself sexy. Ugly, successful brooders include Elvis Costello, Bob Dylan, uh oh I'm showing my age here! You get the picture though. An ugly guy with attitude? Sexy.

    I guess I did dodge the question about the valedictorian. I was suffering from Tom Brady syndrome. Earnest smart guy vs. thug? Yeah, I agree, the thug wins every time. Earnest smart guy needs to get some Game.

    Look, I acknowledge here and everywhere else that bad boys make women tingle. Indeed, I blog in part to urge women to think with their heads instead of their vaginas. Because being burned by a douche feels terrible – it's publicly humiliating and shameful to boot. But, women do look for other qualities in men. Not all women will fall for the thug. Thankfully, there are really not that many thugs to go around!

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  • Nat

    One thing that the women who have been left on the shelf have noted (i.e. me and other gamma girls) is that the culture is about material success and proving worth to peers through ticking all the boxes – looks, money, job, kids and later, successful kids.

    Marriage has been reduced to competition and economics – just another certificate to collect for validation.

    There is a subset of people out here which is interested in emotional connection and support rather than financial economics. I want to marry someone I connect with, who understands me and provides me with both joy and comfort – I don't want to marry someone because he's a doctor with an expensive SUV – it doesn't make him a good person.

    Men seem to be taking Strauss and David DeAngelo at their word and saying that all women want Alpha Males – so they collect the markers of alphamaledom as a substitute for being a good person, a fully developed person or a nice person. Then, when you go out with them, they have nothing to talk about but themselves because they have been too busy collecting these things to build themselves up – rather than looking outwards and connecting with other people.

    People are so self-interested these days – that is what is sad.

    I also find OmegaMan's comment that helping with the chores or cooking makes you “a kitchen bitch”. No – it makes you considerate, it makes you an equal partner.

    Women have changed over the past 30 years in their expectations for marriage but men have not changed at all.

    Women do it too.

  • susanawalsh

    Hi Nat, good to see you! I agree with you about marriage becoming another competition and economics. And I think your own goals for marriage are lovely – seeking joy and comfort in a person is certainly bound to make you happier than any SUV will.

    Men who mimic Alpha traits can greatly improve their sex lives, but it's true what you say – character is a different issue entirely. A guy studying Game can get so caught up in Demonstrating Higher Value that he forgets to learn anything about you. And so the date becomes a weird exercise in narcissism. We get so worried about what we're going to get that we forget to give anything.

    I also agree about the kitchen bitch thing. I think that is a reference to Sandra Tsing Oh, who made fun of her husband for helping around the kitchen and then left him. I think men are saying that when you allow a woman to control you, then you surrender your dignity and get shafted in the process. There's some truth to this – surely there is a middle ground between narcissism and total submission!

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Susan, I think it’s a mark of your growth as a bloggress that I could not imagine you writing this one-sided, obligation-masculinity, guilt-presuming polemic today:
    .
    “None of this is very good news for young women today, who are looking for a few good men and finding a lot of teenage knuckleheads boys. Many women are fed up with all the bro shenanigans, and are rather impatiently waiting for guys to grow up.”
    .
    It’s gratifying to see that your old worldview of “why are men failing in their duty to take these great women who have no problems?!?” has been dispatched. I don’t know exactly when it was, but somewhere in the first half of 2010 the light went on.
    .
    I also think you’ve come to realize that desire for a “relationship” =/= “maturity” (the traditional metric by which men are judged as maturing “later than women”). There are plenty of young women seeking the imprimatur of a “I have a boyfriend” who don’t have any real plan or ability to make it a fully functional “relationship.”
    .
    Case in point on maturity – rampant female exhibitionism, sluttitude and lack of empathy for the opposite sex are as much symptoms of adolescence as men wanting to play video games or read Maxim.
    .
    Matthew sez:”“If you want men to marry, make it a safe and desirable option.”
    What exactly do you mean by that. Safe. What are you so afraid of exactly? Having to actually mature, and care about someone other than yourself. Having to do your “chores” without getting “rewarded”?”
    .
    Boy, you can always count on a few whiteknighting bootlickers to shame men in any context. One of the great things about Athol and Dalrock is that they are “winners” in the roulette game of marriage and they have great empathy for men who are not, they don’t lecture them that they must have done it wrong if it didn’t work out for them.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Badger
      Wow, you’re making me realize I should go through my archives (400+ posts, yikes!) and lose the ones that no longer reflect my world view. I’ve often said that I came into blogging all about saving the women, and I remain surprised that academics still hold this view for the most part.

      I still think David Wygant’s advice is terrible. We can encourage men to be responsible without shaming them. This is just the guy version of “girls just wanna have fun.”

  • http://badgerhut.wordpress.com Badger

    Ah, so that’s where you got the photo you used in the Casey thread!
    .
    I understand that in the context of HUS Wygant’s advice seems counterproductive. However, I understand exactly where he is coming from. I have a post brewing that pretty much says the same thing – in your young 20′s as a man you will be relatively poor, life will be very dynamic, your SMP value will be low but you will never have the energy and freedom again. Use it to expand your mind. You can try out the high-risk career and if it burns restart by age 25. (That doesn’t mean you should spend every night drunk at the bar or gambling away your credit rating.)
    .
    I don’t see where he’s telling men to not pay their bills or pump and dump women (dating is not synonymous with P+D). I used to lament that my early 20′s were a time of abject failure with women. But I realize now that all the time to myself, and all the time spent going hard at education and experience that would later get my career on the fast track,
    .
    I’m guessing if he hadn’t explicitly called it “adult adolescence” it wouldn’t have made your hair stand up.
    .
    The alternative may not be desireable – the major unintended consequence of telling young men to “grow up and get into a relationship” is going to be lots of men supplicating to women to get the social stamp of approval of having one, and because young women have higher SMV than young men most of the couples won’t be that happy. (It’s clear from the article’s comments that dating woes are a big part of his young male readers’ lives.)

  • Mark

    The same argument philanders all around the web, in which women are “smarter” because the outnumber men in universities; the ignorance has finally reached the boiling point for me. You’re basing your entire argument on ONE statistic–there’s many more to consider.

    There’s no easy way to measure intelligence, and there certainly isn’t a huge correlation between education and intelligence, by which I mean a university degree. In today’s society (not thirty years ago), capitalism is reaching its climax: lessening the importance of education & encouraging entrepreneurship. My point is that a degree today (with a few exceptions) doesn’t secure you a career in anything. So are you calling the entrepreneur who spent his year perfecting a business plan stupid, just because he decided not to attend university?

    Next. Have you considered the type of degrees women pursue today? Every female that I know has some type of degree–more often than not useless–in cosmetics, acting, or fashion. The slightly more intelligible ones go for nursing, but even so, you’re not making triple-figures in these careers (I kind of want to call them “jobs”).

    And what about the men who go after apprenticeships? Have you considered that into the equation? Even if you have, it would be quite ignorant to simply a tradesmen “stupid.” If they’re so “stupid” why don’t you fix your own car, or build your own house?

    Although this is definitely not a sound assumption, but there’s a stronger correlation between intelligence and salary, in my opinion. Your work, and therefore your intelligence used in your work, is what brings in the money. Who’s going to pay you, whether it be a boss, a customer, or whoever, if you lack intelligence? Oh, and it looks like men have women there, by which their salaries are significantly higher. However, I’m sure this can be justified as “inequality”–just ask any feminist!

    These are just my own thoughts. My point being: you need to bring more to an argument than one statistic; there’s a lot more to consider.

    Mark.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Mark
      Thanks for your comment, I don’t disagree with most of what you say. I do disagree about the degrees women are pursuing though – I don’t know a single woman working in cosmetics, acting or fashion. And I never said that tradesmen are stupid. I have a lot of respect for a man who makes his living responsibly and with integrity, no matter what his profession.

  • Zach

    @Susan

    There’s a lot to comment on in your post.  Firstly, this is absolutely true, but I think there are two sides to it.  I don’t think the “delayed maturity” is a one-sided trend.  There are upsides and downsides.  Many times when I talk to my father (who is 72, and falls a bit between the “greatest generation” and the baby boomers; he came of age in the 40s and 50s), he comments on how wonderful he thinks the trend of delayed marriage and kids is for my generation vs. his.  In his time, you were married by 22 or so (he was married at 21), and had kids by 24.  Having this responsibility so early in life cuts off an enormous number of opportunities.  Many people he knows were forced into jobs that they hated, and had to turn down exciting opportunities in other locations (west coast vs. east coast, even abroad), because they were tied down to their wives/kids at such a young age.  This “early maturity”, as you might call it, cuts off a lot of successful and rewarding opportunities that might arise for a young man.  To this day he claims the biggest mistake he ever made was getting married so young (he has 3 kids from that marriage who he loves very much, but the marriage as a whole was a disaster; he’s been married twice since, including the current 27 years and going strong to my mother).  On another note, my mother’s parents (who are part of the “greatest generation”) were married in college, and my mother often laments that they were far too young and immature to have children when they did, and she says it definitely negatively impacted her childhood.

    Coming back to the present day, responsibility and delayed maturity are not mutually exclusive.  I graduated two years ago from UPenn, and to this day my roommates (also UPenn graduates) and I spend a lot of time playing video games, getting drunk, watching football, and playing crude practical jokes on each other.  We also pick up girls at bars, have ONS, and date.  However, all three of us have high-paid jobs that we take quite seriously at the same time.  Both my roommates work for bulge-bracket investment banks.  One is getting his CFA, and the other is up for promotion.  I’m currently on track to take the GMAT and get my MBA.  So in other words, we still behave in some ways as if we were in college, but we also take our careers, our finances, and our responsibilities quite seriously.

    Another point to bring up is that despite the womens’ rights movement, and the nascent gender equality (or inequality if you’re an educated, unmarried young woman), there are still quite divergent pressures and expectations for young men vs. young women.  Coming from my school, I saw many brilliant young women go into fashion or PR, two traditionally feminine fields which are neither high-powered nor particularly well compensated.  This is viewed as perfectly acceptable for them, and that eventually they will marry a man who will become the primary provider for their family.  However, any men I know who go into fields besides management, consulting, or finance are often viewed as “wasting” their education or degree and almost as a failure.  I think this pressure is part of what is driving more men these days to delayed adolescence.

    • http://www.hookingupsmart.com Susan Walsh

      @Zach
      Thanks for that helpful input. I haven’t looked at this post in ages, and it clearly needs some updating, or maybe even to be taken down. I’ve learned a ton about what’s going on with young males since I wrote it. It’s obviously a lot more complicated that “manning up” and I don’t want to trivialize that. You’ve made some excellent points – I agree about differing expectations for men and women.

      Good luck with the GMAT. Having already been at Penn you may not be thinking of Wharton. HBS perhaps?

  • Pat

    Nothing by David Wygant in his article was too extreme. He was just saying enjoy your 20′s and learn from it. He doesn’t say avoid work or personal development.