Is it that women just really love to hate men?
To put it another way, why is it that assholes have no trouble finding women, and why is it that I am a “loser” because apparently I’m not enough of an asshole to find a woman? Tracy Clark-Flory rejects an article blaming feminism for men becoming assholes but acknowledges that that both genders have some adapting to do in a 21st century paradigm of male-female relationships.
She doesn’t offer a solution. “Nothing in the seduction community,” she writes, “seems to prepare a guy to find himself, grow genuine and warranted confidence, or start a real, emotionally rewarding and lasting relationship.” So all this is about male self-esteem?
Certainly, I’ve found it difficult to live up to cultural expectations of how people are to conduct their lives. I just don’t have the heart for a “law of the jungle” economic system. I’ve retreated to academia (currently finishing a master’s degree in communication and expecting to continue on towards a PhD) and I’m not pulling in much money at all. So, yes, I guess you could say I’m a “loser.”
I can’t help but feel that all this is a red herring. Kay Hymowitz, whose article Clark-Flory rejects, writes “that the dating and mating scene is in chaos. SYMs [single young men] of the postfeminist era are moving around in a Babel of miscues, cross-purposes, and half-conscious, contradictory female expectations that are alternately proudly egalitarian and coyly traditional.”
Ignoring the ageism in Hymowitz’s thesis, what that means is that I am still supposed to take the lead in seeking a relationship but that I am a male chauvinist pig if I do so. It also means that women will claim that they should be free to pursue relationships, but that they still feel they are being “forward” if they do so. Finally, it means that I’m still, despite the sheer cruelty and manifest absurdity of this economic system that I have endured my entire adult life, expected to be “financially secure.”
But I’m not even meeting women who are both available and interesting. I just hear about women who have given up on relationships because they feel they’re only attracted to men who will abuse them, people who are into polyamory, and people who apparently have had enough “vanilla” sex that they need some “kink” to “spice it up.”
On the rare occasions I find a woman whom I might just have enough in common with to get together with, she just wants to be “friends.” Which of course means that my problems finding a relationship are not her problems. After all, she’s already found somebody else, and her problem is solved.
Clark-Flory ignores entirely the problem of “nice guys.” Hymowitz writes:
[T]he female preference for jerks and “assholes,” as they’re also widely known, lies behind women’s age-old lament, “What happened to all the nice guys?” [From Craigslist, “Recovering Nice Guy’s”] answer: “You did. You ignored the nice guy. You used him for emotional intimacy without reciprocating, in kind, with physical intimacy.” Women, he says, are actually not attracted to men who hold doors for them, give them hinted-for Christmas gifts, or listen to their sorrows. Such a man, our Recovering Nice Guy continues, probably “came to realize that, if he wanted a woman like you, he’d have to act more like the boyfriend that you had. He probably cleaned up his look, started making some money, and generally acted like more of an asshole than he ever wanted to be.”
Clark-Flory wants men and women not to “make this a war between the sexes.” But if we can understand that human beings have relationship needs (they’re right there on Maslow’s triangle just above physiological and safety needs), then an emotional violence is being done here. To me.
And it is a violence that Salon.com’s Broadsheet denies. The writers there uniformly insist that women want “nice guys.”
I’m still waiting.
Just as food is necessary to sustain a body, love is necessary to sustain a soul. I have suffered alone long enough. If women truly want nice guys, and they’re truly into equality, then it’s well past time for one to reach out to me.