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Did heteropessimism kill the rom-com? If men are trash, how can they be love interests?

Men are trash. Credit: Notting Hill /via IMDB


April 6, 2023   6 mins

Men are trash. Or at least, this is the consensus in places where single, educated, liberal, youngish women gather to lament the heterosexual state of affairs. Actually wanting to be loved by a man now represents an embarrassing shortcoming, and dating them an exercise in futility, like choosing the least-bad option from a menu on which everything is a little bit suspect. And this sentiment often takes the form of public griping about the relentless undeserving-ness of the men we can’t help but want.

Into this swamp of heteropessimism wades Curtis Sittenfeld, with the new novel, Romantic Comedy. Her protagonist, Sally, a writer for a late-night comedy show, invents the “Danny Horst Rule” — to describe the propensity of her male colleagues to date out of their league. (The character after which it is named is a thinly-veiled avatar for Pete Davidson; Night Owls, the comedy show, for Saturday Night Live.) Women in the industry, Sally notes, never manage to do the same.

“Enter Noah Brewster, a pop music sensation with a reputation for dating models,” reads the blurb. He and Sally hit it off “instantly, and as they collaborate on one sketch after another, she begins to wonder if there might actually be sparks flying. But this isn’t a romantic comedy — it’s real life. And in real life, someone like him would never date someone like her
 right?”

“… right?”, as they say, is doing a lot of work here. The entire plot of Romantic Comedy hinges on Sally’s supposedly unshakeable belief in her own unworthiness, which makes it very now; the insecure, self-sabotaging heroine is to the 2023 romance what the adorably clumsy girl was to the rom-coms of the Nineties. But what’s more remarkable about the novel is how it straddles two different worlds, and worldviews, when it comes to love: here we have the age-old yearning for a happy ending, right alongside the current vogue for being ashamed of wanting one. Sittenfeld somehow captures not just the current state of the romantic comedy, but of heterosexual romance more broadly — and in doing so, reveals that there is nothing funny about it.

It has been a quarter of a century since a girl stood in front of a boy and asked for him to love her, and 35 years since Harry met Sally. Now, we have Sittenfeld’s Sally, glumly deciding not to break off her tepid occasional relationship with a guy she met online, because “doing so would result in my needing to find another sexual outlet, meaning I’d have to resubscribe to a hookup app and meet enough strangers at enough bars to determine which one probably wouldn’t kill me if we went back to my apartment”.

Sally inhabits the same world, and worldview, as Sittenfeld’s professional, liberal, millennial target reader; their anxieties and preoccupations are also hers, as is their unifying conviction that men will inevitably disappoint you. It is only a matter of when and how. The outing of bad men has come to function as a sort of single woman’s spectator sport, as if the inevitable unmasking of a boyfriend as a liar, a cheater, a serial killer, or (worst of all) a Republican is not just fun in its own right but actually the whole point.

It’s not difficult to tease out the contributing factors that led us here. The highly individualised notion that relationships should be first and foremost about self-fulfilment. The devaluation of loyalty and companionship. A therapised culture that treats the process of falling in love and establishing intimacy as something sinister and pathological. And of course, the pervasive (and not incorrect) sense that someone new is only ever a Tinder swipe away. It’s not a coincidence, in this cynical moment, that our most viral relationship stories are not about falling in love, but breaking up, giving rise to a genre of personal essay that is ostensibly about female empowerment but works much more like something akin to revenge porn.

To air your ex’s dirty laundry in the pages of a national publication is increasingly presented as a radical act of self-care, sisterhood, even social justice. As one refreshingly critical response put it: “Do this and you will be met with a huge wave of sympathy from strangers on the internet. They will applaud you as a brave truth teller, commendably taking a strike for women everywhere, against the common enemy.”

The ex-boyfriends in these essays are liars, cheaters, hypocrites. They are threatened and resentful when a woman succeeds. They are sexually entitled and emotionally withholding. But most of all, they are ordinary. It is understood that what they did to their long-suffering girlfriends is simply what men do to women — or, more to the point, what they make women do to themselves. “The ability to bend an inch at a time while seeming to stand up straight is a useful and gendered skill. Most women I know do it regularly,” wrote one such author in the Guardian. “They bend until they’re pretzeled and then blame themselves for the body aches.”

Sally’s failed starter marriage (already over by the time the book begins) could be ripped from one of the aforementioned viral essays: when she flies to New York for her Night Owls interview and gets offered the gig on the spot, her husband, a lawyer, not only assumes she’ll decline, but confesses that he only indulged her repeatedly auditioning for the job because he assumed she’d never get it. Sally, of course, cites this as evidence that her ex “didn’t think I was funny or talented” — as opposed to, say, an awareness of the statistical likelihood of a non-industry professional becoming a literal overnight success in the most elite comedy writers’ room in the country. This penchant for taking things personally rears its head in her new relationship, too: “If I were a hot twenty-five-year-old actress, would you have dropped my hand like that?” she snipes at Noah, after the two are ambushed by paparazzi.

Sittenfeld, surely, could not have imagined how perfectly this book would slot into our current cultural obsession with the shortcomings of heterosexual men. A dim view of romance, of men, and of the women who want them, is ubiquitous enough that it permeates the New York Times review of Romantic Comedy, in which writer Scaachi Koul scathingly describes Sally’s pop star suitor as “a manic pixie dream boy for straight white women of a certain age”. (As opposed to the manic pixie dream girl who populated the turn-of-the-century rom-com.) These men, it’s understood, do not exist in real life.

And yet, a recent, much-discussed break-up piece by poet Maggie Smith gave rise to the fascinating spectacle of, well, straight white men of a certain age, violently competing for the role of real life manic pixie dream boy. “Can you imagine being partnered with a writer as successful as Maggie Smith — MAGGIE SMITH — and you’re pissed off that she’s not doing the dishes enough or isn’t folding the laundry or running the vacuum or doing bath time as much as you are sometimes,” read one representative thread — from a man whose Bumble profile almost certainly includes a photograph of himself in a This Is What a Feminist Looks Like T-shirt. “[Come] on man your partner is living the dream, and even if she toiled in obscurity, fuck, support her with your every effort.”

What are we to make of the notion that even in this hypothetical paradise of gender equity, a woman is not respected for her status as an equal contributor to the household, but rather indulged, on the basis of her sex, in a way that we categorically do not associate with adults?

We can only look back with chagrin, much like the protagonist of one of those Nineties movies. But the sad-verging-on-nonexistent state of the rom-com in 2023 surely stems, at least in part, from the conflicted relationship we have with the love stories we tell inside the confines of our own heads. A book like Romantic Comedy is the product of a world full of generalised complaints about the glut of exceptional women for whom no man can possibly be good enough: these are not stories about men, but about women, and how we wish to see ourselves in the narrative of our own lives. If the novel is a mirror for young women’s anxieties, it’s not an ordinary one, but more like one of those fairy-tale looking glasses that is more likely to tell you flattering lies than the truth.

Of course, we already have love stories about people (men, usually) whose desire for someone (not always a woman) is inextricably intertwined with shame and contempt: Pretty Woman, Brokeback Mountain, Ever After. The idea that the shame and contempt is valid, though, or that the person who feels it can be the hero without ever confronting her hubris: that’s new. When we start out ashamed of who and what we want — and what we want is an entire category of person pre-labelled as “trash” — what kind of stories do we tell to justify wanting it anyway? To get it without loosening our grip on our sense of superiority?

The answer, at least sometimes, seems to be that we retreat into helplessness. Women relinquish their agency in favour of vague mumblings about how we can hardly be blamed for our poor romantic outcomes. As in Romantic Comedy, this defeatism sometimes masks itself as vulnerability. It’s not, though. Sally doesn’t believe she’s unworthy of love. It’s more cynical than that. She just doesn’t really believe in love, full stop. What with all this male power, privilege, and patriarchy swirling like a miasma over our lives, there’s no hope of it. And if the old avatar for romantic regret was Joan Jett snarling, “I hate myself for loving you,” our new one looks more like Taylor Swift moaning, “Look what you made me do” — as she carefully, deliberately shreds the reputation of every man who broke her heart.


Kat Rosenfield is an UnHerd columnist and co-host of the Feminine Chaos podcast. Her latest novel is You Must Remember This.

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Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago

As a 55 yr old guy with an ex wife, a 23 yr old daughter and a 48 yr old fiance I will say this…

Yes, there are some shitty guys out there, but there are also a bunch of shitty women and the rest of us pay for it.

Women make themselves crazy and take men along for the ride. They set wild expectations of themselves, kill themselves trying to meet them, and then blame the men in their lives for the fact that they are stressed and miserable. When you point this out to them, they blame you for the culture that forces them to try and meet insane expectations when all they have to do is simply not give a damn what other people think. I think too often women define “happiness” and “fulfillment” as meeting all of these external expectations that they have accepted and then receiving recognition for it.

Every person in the world is responsible for their own happiness. If you think that it is a partners duty to make you happy then you are setting them and yourself up for failure. They can support you in your path to happiness but they cannot make you happy. We all own that.

I have noticed in the millenials and the GenZ’s of the world, that the women are particularly miserable. I chalk this up to a few things. First, they have the wrong goals and the wrong expectations of themselves and of the men in their lives. I see this in my daughter. She is super high achieving and at 23 is about to graduate law school 3rd in her class, is editor of the law review, a trial team and moot court champion and is about to walk into a job paying $145k a year. YET…she calls me upset because she did not win class president. She is excited to earn that kind of money and start her career but she seems to have no idea what the point of it is. I’ve told her repeatedly but it does not seem to have sunk in, “You are building a LIFE, and a career is just PART of that.”. I tell her that I killed myself in my career so that I could provide for her and her brother, and, at one time, their mother, but that my job was never what made me happy. What made me happy was the time I spent with them in the pool or at soccer practice or eating nachos and watching football together. What made me happy was teaching her to do an oil change on a lawn mower.

There is a tension between the expectations that young women feel, what they put on themselves, and their innate desires and biology and I think they hate that and hate men for it. I think that the social pressure is to perform academically and professionally while the biological pressures include men and children, both of which interfere with the career. Men distract and are an additional obligation of time they do not want to give, the same with children but children come with the additional cost of pregnancy and the associated impact to their bodies and time and you cannot just divorce your kids.

Now add to that the dating culture of today. There is just so much wrong with it. 90% of women are chasing 10% of men. Do the math. That just aint gonna cut it. Women, unlike men, will not generally date or marry a man that is either less educated or makes less money than they do. Men have no instinct or drive or social pressure to find a mate that will provide resources. Though I think this might be changing as well. Well, 55% of college graduates are female. Do the math. A male surgeon will date and marry the receptionist at the car dealership if she is pretty and warm. A female surgeon is gonna turn her nose up and look for an investment banker. Whole lot more receptionists than investment bankers.

Now toss in the consequences of hook up culture. That 10% of men that women are chasing has absolutely NO reason to settle into a long term, committed, monogamous relationship. They have women beating down their doors. My daughter tells me of guys like that at her law school. They get chased constantly and even when the women know that he is a dog they still go after him. These guys are good looking, confident and likely to make a lot of money. They can play the field into their 30s or even 40s and settle down then if they want kids. They have no pressure at all. The other 90% have been sidelined.

Ultimately, life is about relationships and family. That is where you find happiness. And, as someone who is older, I can tell you that a career is very rarely fulfilling, it is something we do to pay the bills, take care of our families and pay for our hobbies. If careers were not work they would not pay us to do them. There is a REASON that almost every person you meet in their 40’s and 50’s is talking about what they will do when they retire. I promise you that when I die the regrets I will have are about the time I lost with my children that I spent working, not that I did not land one more deal or make my Power Point presentations that much prettier.

SO…(never intended to write an essay) let me leave this advice for young people and young women in particular.

Stop listening to everyone else and stop paying attention to social media or all the BS being thrown at you. I know, easier said than done. Social pressure is a b***h. Be comfortable in who and how you are, with all your flaws. Seeking perfection in yourself and your partners is unattainable and you will drive yourself and everyone around you mad trying to.Work to live. Under no circumstance is living to work a good choice. Imagine how you want your life to look when you are 45 and then plan backwards. Do not expect your partner to be the source of all your happiness or to be responsible for it. Particularly if you do not want to be held to that standard.Setting reasonable expectations is not lowering your standards. Setting unreasonable expectations is a path to misery. I promise you that no matter how smart, how funny, how attractive you are, you are not perfect and never will be, and you have annoying traits. All of us do and you are no exception. How would you like to be measured and treated? Now give the same respect to those you might date or marry.There is a reason we call our spouses our partners. Life is hard and full of random and unexpected pitfalls. Unless you are very lucky, it takes a team to work your way through them.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Bravo!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I usually don’t read comments that are longer than the original essay, but yours was the exception. Well said.

Bonnie Matheson
Bonnie Matheson
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Absolutely brilliant! Thank you.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Deserves to be published by Unherd as an article in its own right.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

“career is very rarely fulfilling” – You have to arrive at that via success and then retrospective. The odd ability of the corporate world to convince women that they should become as men has worked to benefit the corporate world, not the women involved. Nominally we humans actually do better as paired male-female getting the best of two thought patterns. Women can never be as aggressive as men, nor men as aware of others. (Obviously, all generalizations are wrong). But the combination has created the world we live in today. And if the social incentives relate to power or money we may never be satisfied.

Anne Neville
Anne Neville
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Well stated!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Exceptional.
The point about high earning women refusing to “marry down” and consequences for their ability to find a partner, settle into a marriage are clear, obvious, and yet those supposedly intelligent women can’t do the maths.

But the underlying mindset is even more problematic – because they don’t see their career as a way of fulfilling responsibility towards their family.
Hence:
” I killed myself in my career so that I could provide for her and her brother, and, at one time, their mother”
Does not apply to those women, who would never adopt the “man’s role”: marry a low earning man and become the provider.

What these women don’t get is that going out and doing a job is not a privilege but a chore, and it’s by being a provider, and the satisfaction that it brings, that the job becomes enjoyable.

And apart from the unhappiness in their personal lives and relationships, these women would also eventually be extremely unhappy in their high status, high earning jobs because ultimately it’s only for themselves, and therefore joyless and a chore.

Jon Morrow
Jon Morrow
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Up vote for use of the word “maths”

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Not all jobs are chores, some are, but some are vocations and deeply satisfying, and many are tedious as we all know. Moderation and variety are useful in living contentedly.

Jon Morrow
Jon Morrow
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Up vote for use of the word “maths”

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Samir Iker

Not all jobs are chores, some are, but some are vocations and deeply satisfying, and many are tedious as we all know. Moderation and variety are useful in living contentedly.

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I have lived as you describe with my husband and have raised two daughters. We all enjoy our lives and one another, the son in law is ok and the granddaughter delightful.
I always worked and really enjoyed my work, I still work a bit as a volunteer, because exercising my skills gives me pleasure, I also make things and grow things and still make new friends, many of whom are men , because they are good interesting people. I do not worry much and I find that my life is a generous gift that keeps on giving.

Rachel Elliott
Rachel Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Bravo II!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I liked your comment more than the essay – and I like the essay. Excellent exposition.

Andrew D
Andrew D
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Bravo!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I usually don’t read comments that are longer than the original essay, but yours was the exception. Well said.

Bonnie Matheson
Bonnie Matheson
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Absolutely brilliant! Thank you.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Deserves to be published by Unherd as an article in its own right.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

“career is very rarely fulfilling” – You have to arrive at that via success and then retrospective. The odd ability of the corporate world to convince women that they should become as men has worked to benefit the corporate world, not the women involved. Nominally we humans actually do better as paired male-female getting the best of two thought patterns. Women can never be as aggressive as men, nor men as aware of others. (Obviously, all generalizations are wrong). But the combination has created the world we live in today. And if the social incentives relate to power or money we may never be satisfied.

Anne Neville
Anne Neville
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Well stated!

Samir Iker
Samir Iker
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Exceptional.
The point about high earning women refusing to “marry down” and consequences for their ability to find a partner, settle into a marriage are clear, obvious, and yet those supposedly intelligent women can’t do the maths.

But the underlying mindset is even more problematic – because they don’t see their career as a way of fulfilling responsibility towards their family.
Hence:
” I killed myself in my career so that I could provide for her and her brother, and, at one time, their mother”
Does not apply to those women, who would never adopt the “man’s role”: marry a low earning man and become the provider.

What these women don’t get is that going out and doing a job is not a privilege but a chore, and it’s by being a provider, and the satisfaction that it brings, that the job becomes enjoyable.

And apart from the unhappiness in their personal lives and relationships, these women would also eventually be extremely unhappy in their high status, high earning jobs because ultimately it’s only for themselves, and therefore joyless and a chore.

Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I have lived as you describe with my husband and have raised two daughters. We all enjoy our lives and one another, the son in law is ok and the granddaughter delightful.
I always worked and really enjoyed my work, I still work a bit as a volunteer, because exercising my skills gives me pleasure, I also make things and grow things and still make new friends, many of whom are men , because they are good interesting people. I do not worry much and I find that my life is a generous gift that keeps on giving.

Rachel Elliott
Rachel Elliott
1 year ago
Reply to  Daniel P

Bravo II!

Jeff Cunningham
Jeff Cunningham
11 months ago
Reply to  Daniel P

I liked your comment more than the essay – and I like the essay. Excellent exposition.

Daniel P
Daniel P
1 year ago

As a 55 yr old guy with an ex wife, a 23 yr old daughter and a 48 yr old fiance I will say this…

Yes, there are some shitty guys out there, but there are also a bunch of shitty women and the rest of us pay for it.

Women make themselves crazy and take men along for the ride. They set wild expectations of themselves, kill themselves trying to meet them, and then blame the men in their lives for the fact that they are stressed and miserable. When you point this out to them, they blame you for the culture that forces them to try and meet insane expectations when all they have to do is simply not give a damn what other people think. I think too often women define “happiness” and “fulfillment” as meeting all of these external expectations that they have accepted and then receiving recognition for it.

Every person in the world is responsible for their own happiness. If you think that it is a partners duty to make you happy then you are setting them and yourself up for failure. They can support you in your path to happiness but they cannot make you happy. We all own that.

I have noticed in the millenials and the GenZ’s of the world, that the women are particularly miserable. I chalk this up to a few things. First, they have the wrong goals and the wrong expectations of themselves and of the men in their lives. I see this in my daughter. She is super high achieving and at 23 is about to graduate law school 3rd in her class, is editor of the law review, a trial team and moot court champion and is about to walk into a job paying $145k a year. YET…she calls me upset because she did not win class president. She is excited to earn that kind of money and start her career but she seems to have no idea what the point of it is. I’ve told her repeatedly but it does not seem to have sunk in, “You are building a LIFE, and a career is just PART of that.”. I tell her that I killed myself in my career so that I could provide for her and her brother, and, at one time, their mother, but that my job was never what made me happy. What made me happy was the time I spent with them in the pool or at soccer practice or eating nachos and watching football together. What made me happy was teaching her to do an oil change on a lawn mower.

There is a tension between the expectations that young women feel, what they put on themselves, and their innate desires and biology and I think they hate that and hate men for it. I think that the social pressure is to perform academically and professionally while the biological pressures include men and children, both of which interfere with the career. Men distract and are an additional obligation of time they do not want to give, the same with children but children come with the additional cost of pregnancy and the associated impact to their bodies and time and you cannot just divorce your kids.

Now add to that the dating culture of today. There is just so much wrong with it. 90% of women are chasing 10% of men. Do the math. That just aint gonna cut it. Women, unlike men, will not generally date or marry a man that is either less educated or makes less money than they do. Men have no instinct or drive or social pressure to find a mate that will provide resources. Though I think this might be changing as well. Well, 55% of college graduates are female. Do the math. A male surgeon will date and marry the receptionist at the car dealership if she is pretty and warm. A female surgeon is gonna turn her nose up and look for an investment banker. Whole lot more receptionists than investment bankers.

Now toss in the consequences of hook up culture. That 10% of men that women are chasing has absolutely NO reason to settle into a long term, committed, monogamous relationship. They have women beating down their doors. My daughter tells me of guys like that at her law school. They get chased constantly and even when the women know that he is a dog they still go after him. These guys are good looking, confident and likely to make a lot of money. They can play the field into their 30s or even 40s and settle down then if they want kids. They have no pressure at all. The other 90% have been sidelined.

Ultimately, life is about relationships and family. That is where you find happiness. And, as someone who is older, I can tell you that a career is very rarely fulfilling, it is something we do to pay the bills, take care of our families and pay for our hobbies. If careers were not work they would not pay us to do them. There is a REASON that almost every person you meet in their 40’s and 50’s is talking about what they will do when they retire. I promise you that when I die the regrets I will have are about the time I lost with my children that I spent working, not that I did not land one more deal or make my Power Point presentations that much prettier.

SO…(never intended to write an essay) let me leave this advice for young people and young women in particular.

Stop listening to everyone else and stop paying attention to social media or all the BS being thrown at you. I know, easier said than done. Social pressure is a b***h. Be comfortable in who and how you are, with all your flaws. Seeking perfection in yourself and your partners is unattainable and you will drive yourself and everyone around you mad trying to.Work to live. Under no circumstance is living to work a good choice. Imagine how you want your life to look when you are 45 and then plan backwards. Do not expect your partner to be the source of all your happiness or to be responsible for it. Particularly if you do not want to be held to that standard.Setting reasonable expectations is not lowering your standards. Setting unreasonable expectations is a path to misery. I promise you that no matter how smart, how funny, how attractive you are, you are not perfect and never will be, and you have annoying traits. All of us do and you are no exception. How would you like to be measured and treated? Now give the same respect to those you might date or marry.There is a reason we call our spouses our partners. Life is hard and full of random and unexpected pitfalls. Unless you are very lucky, it takes a team to work your way through them.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

The women who think all men are trash will always lose in the end, because the men who indulge their ridiculous nonsense aren’t worth a dime anyway while the men who might have been available as worthwhile partners will simply ignore them and find women who are more fun to be with and less high maintenance.
No one wants to date a green haired monster who thinks your very existence is a patriarchal offence to everyone in possession of a pair of t*ts.

Jeff Butcher
Jeff Butcher
1 year ago

The women who think all men are trash will always lose in the end, because the men who indulge their ridiculous nonsense aren’t worth a dime anyway while the men who might have been available as worthwhile partners will simply ignore them and find women who are more fun to be with and less high maintenance.
No one wants to date a green haired monster who thinks your very existence is a patriarchal offence to everyone in possession of a pair of t*ts.

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

I have no idea what that article was about, but it seemed like women have all become some new kind of thing, and the Million Years of human past is thrown out the window – from the bits I could glean from it. Also that maybe what they have become may not really be working for them – but I do not know about that.

I am an older Alpha Male. Always have been a hard man in conventional masculine tradition. I was married several decades – now widowed. No one in my extended family has divorced – it is not how we are. Till death do us part is our law, a handshake in agreement must never be broken. Honour, honesty, courage, loyalty, charity, are the paramount codes of my family.

So I have done the dating thing since my wife died because I will never be happy single. Being single just does not work for me – I guess I am more in touch with my genetic imperatives than modern people, and I believe we are designed for life time monogamy. Women just seem to not be the same – they are mostly divorced and shopping for some guy as an diversion, or as someone to fill in some kind of lack they feel sometimes, but no hurry – there is someone better if they wait. The widowed ones have some of what I do emotionally, but women do handle being widowed much better than men do – I have always noticed this. Widowed men tend to die off, widowed women live on and on….

Although, I do hear from women that most of the men dating are creeps… so maybe they are as messed up now days as the women.

I looked for a wife, the women I met dating are not after that desire to have a lifetime man if it means having to change their life to fit him in – more like that would be nice, if a Prince did show up, but till then single is better than putting up with the hassle …..

I really worry about the future of Man – I think the family is just melting away…..

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

One of your best posts.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Much better without exclamation marks.

Dana Chenzira
Dana Chenzira
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

It seems like you have some concerns about the current state of relationships and the family structure.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

I’ve been a critic of the vast majority of your output in Unherd Comments, so allow me to congratulate you on a well-argued and incisive post using language that doesn’t immediately disrupt attempts to decipher your intent.
I disagree with your claim that “we are designed for lifetime monogamy” – either males or females. It’s a simple and constantly observed principle in the vast majority of species (including primates) that having an established life partner does not prevent both sexes from seeking to produce offspring elsewhere. Indeed, the number of children being raised by males as part of an established relationship where they think those children are their own is known to be considerably less than 100% whilst the obvious propensity of males to establish alternative breeding partners outside an established relationship hardly needs to be pointed out.
I attach no moral imperative here, but rather a biological imperative – the desire to propagate our genes as widely as possible. Much of human society evolves (and continues to do so) around the customs and strictures involved in that imperative, including of course the well-being of its children. I consider that all that’s changed is the biological and financial ability of women to be able to control their reproduction, and (many) men don’t seem to like it one bit.
I respect your opinion, however, when put forward in a way that allows for meaningful debate.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

How very sad.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Much as I loath the ghastly American expression ” dating”, I have to say that in the last 7 years since divorce, the 48- 58 year old women that I have ” dated” have been the most gorgeous, fun, lovely, loving, kind , sexy, alluring , elegant, fun and divine females I have ever had the pleasure of being with, way more so than my pre marriage 20s and 30s:

Dermot O'Sullivan
Dermot O'Sullivan
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

One of your best posts.

Chris Wheatley
Chris Wheatley
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Much better without exclamation marks.

Dana Chenzira
Dana Chenzira
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

It seems like you have some concerns about the current state of relationships and the family structure.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

I’ve been a critic of the vast majority of your output in Unherd Comments, so allow me to congratulate you on a well-argued and incisive post using language that doesn’t immediately disrupt attempts to decipher your intent.
I disagree with your claim that “we are designed for lifetime monogamy” – either males or females. It’s a simple and constantly observed principle in the vast majority of species (including primates) that having an established life partner does not prevent both sexes from seeking to produce offspring elsewhere. Indeed, the number of children being raised by males as part of an established relationship where they think those children are their own is known to be considerably less than 100% whilst the obvious propensity of males to establish alternative breeding partners outside an established relationship hardly needs to be pointed out.
I attach no moral imperative here, but rather a biological imperative – the desire to propagate our genes as widely as possible. Much of human society evolves (and continues to do so) around the customs and strictures involved in that imperative, including of course the well-being of its children. I consider that all that’s changed is the biological and financial ability of women to be able to control their reproduction, and (many) men don’t seem to like it one bit.
I respect your opinion, however, when put forward in a way that allows for meaningful debate.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Murray
Alison Tyler
Alison Tyler
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

How very sad.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Elliott Bjorn

Much as I loath the ghastly American expression ” dating”, I have to say that in the last 7 years since divorce, the 48- 58 year old women that I have ” dated” have been the most gorgeous, fun, lovely, loving, kind , sexy, alluring , elegant, fun and divine females I have ever had the pleasure of being with, way more so than my pre marriage 20s and 30s:

Elliott Bjorn
Elliott Bjorn
1 year ago

I have no idea what that article was about, but it seemed like women have all become some new kind of thing, and the Million Years of human past is thrown out the window – from the bits I could glean from it. Also that maybe what they have become may not really be working for them – but I do not know about that.

I am an older Alpha Male. Always have been a hard man in conventional masculine tradition. I was married several decades – now widowed. No one in my extended family has divorced – it is not how we are. Till death do us part is our law, a handshake in agreement must never be broken. Honour, honesty, courage, loyalty, charity, are the paramount codes of my family.

So I have done the dating thing since my wife died because I will never be happy single. Being single just does not work for me – I guess I am more in touch with my genetic imperatives than modern people, and I believe we are designed for life time monogamy. Women just seem to not be the same – they are mostly divorced and shopping for some guy as an diversion, or as someone to fill in some kind of lack they feel sometimes, but no hurry – there is someone better if they wait. The widowed ones have some of what I do emotionally, but women do handle being widowed much better than men do – I have always noticed this. Widowed men tend to die off, widowed women live on and on….

Although, I do hear from women that most of the men dating are creeps… so maybe they are as messed up now days as the women.

I looked for a wife, the women I met dating are not after that desire to have a lifetime man if it means having to change their life to fit him in – more like that would be nice, if a Prince did show up, but till then single is better than putting up with the hassle …..

I really worry about the future of Man – I think the family is just melting away…..

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

“Men are trash. Or at least, this is the consensus in places where single, educated, liberal, youngish women gather to lament the heterosexual state of affairs.”

I imagine a lot of men have similar opinions towards these women.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

It is not that they are trash it is just that they for whatever reason many women these days seem toxic.
I see it at work with my female colleagues talking about their partners or to them on the phone. Nothing is ever good enough, their partner invariably disappoints, they could have done better. What point is there on being on a hiding to nothing

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

I don’t think this is new. The idea of the wife as a nag is an earlier version of this trope. The reality is that most heterosexual relationships involve the woman trying to civilize men. As any married man knows this often involves a long stream of instructions of things to do that aren’t ever really done well enough – or in my case at all. Obviously this dynamic was adaptive up until very recently. I once saw an interview with an elderly fisherman about a fishery that involved going away for the summer. When asked why they did it he summed it up by saying – “
 the truth is we did it to get away from the women.” Despite very different lives that gave a real feeling of brotherhood with him.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I think it is now different. Now I hear them speaking to their partners as though they are something unpleasant that is stuck to their shoe.

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Peter Johnson

I think it is now different. Now I hear them speaking to their partners as though they are something unpleasant that is stuck to their shoe.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

In fairness all the boys on site moan about their missus, some half joking others more serious. I don’t think that’s something confined to females, merely a way of blowing off steam about some traits that annoy the opposite sex

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

I don’t think this is new. The idea of the wife as a nag is an earlier version of this trope. The reality is that most heterosexual relationships involve the woman trying to civilize men. As any married man knows this often involves a long stream of instructions of things to do that aren’t ever really done well enough – or in my case at all. Obviously this dynamic was adaptive up until very recently. I once saw an interview with an elderly fisherman about a fishery that involved going away for the summer. When asked why they did it he summed it up by saying – “
 the truth is we did it to get away from the women.” Despite very different lives that gave a real feeling of brotherhood with him.

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago

In fairness all the boys on site moan about their missus, some half joking others more serious. I don’t think that’s something confined to females, merely a way of blowing off steam about some traits that annoy the opposite sex

Ethniciodo Rodenydo
Ethniciodo Rodenydo
1 year ago
Reply to  Derek Smith

It is not that they are trash it is just that they for whatever reason many women these days seem toxic.
I see it at work with my female colleagues talking about their partners or to them on the phone. Nothing is ever good enough, their partner invariably disappoints, they could have done better. What point is there on being on a hiding to nothing

Derek Smith
Derek Smith
1 year ago

“Men are trash. Or at least, this is the consensus in places where single, educated, liberal, youngish women gather to lament the heterosexual state of affairs.”

I imagine a lot of men have similar opinions towards these women.

Last edited 1 year ago by Derek Smith
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Essays like this make me almost grateful I was never very successful on the dating scene. Given the overall state of male-female relations at present, it seems like I’d be more likely to hit the lottery than end up with a successful, healthy relationship. Really though, given the messaging that comes from media and academia, what with marriage portrayed as a way men kept women in household slavery, popular shows portraying men as bumbling imbeciles like Homer Simpson, the constant barrage of news about the latest sexual harassment scandal, is it really any wonder that young women brought up with these influences have a low opinion of men and are skeptical of heterosexual relationships. I’m pretty sure I would be if I were a woman, and even as a guy, I kind of still am. There’s a line from a show where the idiot loser guy asks his competent female co-worker for a date and she replies deadpan “You’re a man, I’m a woman. We’re just too different.” It was meant as a joke, but I’m thinking the joke’s on us, because that seems to be where our entire society is headed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
Steve Jolly
1 year ago

Essays like this make me almost grateful I was never very successful on the dating scene. Given the overall state of male-female relations at present, it seems like I’d be more likely to hit the lottery than end up with a successful, healthy relationship. Really though, given the messaging that comes from media and academia, what with marriage portrayed as a way men kept women in household slavery, popular shows portraying men as bumbling imbeciles like Homer Simpson, the constant barrage of news about the latest sexual harassment scandal, is it really any wonder that young women brought up with these influences have a low opinion of men and are skeptical of heterosexual relationships. I’m pretty sure I would be if I were a woman, and even as a guy, I kind of still am. There’s a line from a show where the idiot loser guy asks his competent female co-worker for a date and she replies deadpan “You’re a man, I’m a woman. We’re just too different.” It was meant as a joke, but I’m thinking the joke’s on us, because that seems to be where our entire society is headed.

Last edited 1 year ago by Steve Jolly
Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

If it weren’t for men to complain about, what would women novelists write?

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

They used to write a lot about men in romantic terms. As did men. I’ve been listening to a lot of mid 20th century music recently, and I’ve been struck by how it is so often about love, romance (often dark, self-deprecating as well as romantic). This petered out towards the end of the century, to be replaced with songs of self-love – narcissitic paeans of the grandiose (Yay me!) or vulnerable type. (Poor me).

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Good observation.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Very, very true. Love is all there is (to coin a phrase!). And it occupies a massive presence in mid-century music…a massive presence in popular music, period. Back to Sinatra, back to the first World War, and beyond. And all the way up to the ‘bubblegum’ of of Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve got love in my tummy…and I feel like lovin’ you.”… and beyond. Turn on the radio in 1968 and love songs were pretty much it.
Nor did it really stop… Jefferson Airplane’s “Coming Back to Me” still brings tears. Fleetwood Mac’s “Destiny Rules”…”Flesh & Blood”, Solomon Burke… Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp.
Love poetry (lyrics) is still out there, of course. But not nearly the center of the lyrical universe that it used to be (save perhaps in country in which almost every song is love lost/love gained/and the misery in-between).
No one writes about careers.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  B Davis

What IS being written about…far too frequently and far too obscenely….is simply sex in a world in which love is irrelevant. See the lyrics for WAP (according to NPR, the #1 song of the year in 2020) as performed by Cardi B. & Megan Thee Stallion. Impossible to repeat them here without violating any number of common decency standards, but here’s a small sample: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah … Yeah, you f****** with some wet a** p***y …. Bring a bucket and a mop for this wet a** p***y … Give me everything you got for this wet a** p***y”
NPR describes this as “Raunchy, fun and infinitely quotable” filled with “a perfect storm of irresistible qualities.”
Quite a stretch from: “A kiss is just a kiss…A sigh is just a sigh”

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  B Davis

What IS being written about…far too frequently and far too obscenely….is simply sex in a world in which love is irrelevant. See the lyrics for WAP (according to NPR, the #1 song of the year in 2020) as performed by Cardi B. & Megan Thee Stallion. Impossible to repeat them here without violating any number of common decency standards, but here’s a small sample: “Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah … Yeah, you f****** with some wet a** p***y …. Bring a bucket and a mop for this wet a** p***y … Give me everything you got for this wet a** p***y”
NPR describes this as “Raunchy, fun and infinitely quotable” filled with “a perfect storm of irresistible qualities.”
Quite a stretch from: “A kiss is just a kiss…A sigh is just a sigh”

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Good observation.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago
Reply to  Dominic A

Very, very true. Love is all there is (to coin a phrase!). And it occupies a massive presence in mid-century music…a massive presence in popular music, period. Back to Sinatra, back to the first World War, and beyond. And all the way up to the ‘bubblegum’ of of Yummy Yummy Yummy I’ve got love in my tummy…and I feel like lovin’ you.”… and beyond. Turn on the radio in 1968 and love songs were pretty much it.
Nor did it really stop… Jefferson Airplane’s “Coming Back to Me” still brings tears. Fleetwood Mac’s “Destiny Rules”…”Flesh & Blood”, Solomon Burke… Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp.
Love poetry (lyrics) is still out there, of course. But not nearly the center of the lyrical universe that it used to be (save perhaps in country in which almost every song is love lost/love gained/and the misery in-between).
No one writes about careers.

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

They used to write a lot about men in romantic terms. As did men. I’ve been listening to a lot of mid 20th century music recently, and I’ve been struck by how it is so often about love, romance (often dark, self-deprecating as well as romantic). This petered out towards the end of the century, to be replaced with songs of self-love – narcissitic paeans of the grandiose (Yay me!) or vulnerable type. (Poor me).

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

If it weren’t for men to complain about, what would women novelists write?

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago

Before contraception, our sexual urges got the better of us. Child rearing is a lot easier with a partner. So society valued close human relationships, and our evolved human behavioral development adapted to suit this despite underlying biology urging more promiscuous behaviours.

Since the widespread availability of contraception, sex and relationships could be – and have been – divorced. Much like the ubiquitous availability of sugar, our biological urges are no longer constrained and the result is us practicing behaviours that can be quite damaging to ourselves and others.

Yet we remain biological beings so our genes and memes remain subject to natural selection. Social behaviours that result in no children naturally give way to social behaviours that do produce children. We see this on every street we walk down. Western culture simply doesn’t rear enough children to sustain itself. It must borrow the children of cultures that do. And in other still confident cultures, less likely to use contraception and more likely to raise families, survival birth rates (babies that reach adulthood) are at record highs even as our Western culture heads into steep demographic decline. Each new arrival makes the West less Western, is that not the point of multiculturalism? If one culture does not reproduce it simply disappears.

So the behaviours and ideals represented in this article may be common now, but I doubt they will remain common. Replaced by more traditional, reproducing, ideals and behaviours.

The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a society that cannot reproduce. Technically, that’s no different to a society that refuses to reproduce. The result is the same: decrepit, aging, dying.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nell Clover
Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

That decline is ongoing. The long term consequences might be a lack of future innovations.

Hardee Hodges
Hardee Hodges
1 year ago
Reply to  Nell Clover

That decline is ongoing. The long term consequences might be a lack of future innovations.

Nell Clover
Nell Clover
1 year ago

Before contraception, our sexual urges got the better of us. Child rearing is a lot easier with a partner. So society valued close human relationships, and our evolved human behavioral development adapted to suit this despite underlying biology urging more promiscuous behaviours.

Since the widespread availability of contraception, sex and relationships could be – and have been – divorced. Much like the ubiquitous availability of sugar, our biological urges are no longer constrained and the result is us practicing behaviours that can be quite damaging to ourselves and others.

Yet we remain biological beings so our genes and memes remain subject to natural selection. Social behaviours that result in no children naturally give way to social behaviours that do produce children. We see this on every street we walk down. Western culture simply doesn’t rear enough children to sustain itself. It must borrow the children of cultures that do. And in other still confident cultures, less likely to use contraception and more likely to raise families, survival birth rates (babies that reach adulthood) are at record highs even as our Western culture heads into steep demographic decline. Each new arrival makes the West less Western, is that not the point of multiculturalism? If one culture does not reproduce it simply disappears.

So the behaviours and ideals represented in this article may be common now, but I doubt they will remain common. Replaced by more traditional, reproducing, ideals and behaviours.

The Handmaid’s Tale is set in a society that cannot reproduce. Technically, that’s no different to a society that refuses to reproduce. The result is the same: decrepit, aging, dying.

Last edited 1 year ago by Nell Clover
Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

Well women’s practice of hypergamy means that as women out compete men in education and the workplace there are a lot less ‘eligible’ men around. About 25% of men are checking out of society – essentially not participating in their roles of husbands and not seeking meaningful employment. Reading this you can hardly blame them.

Peter Johnson
Peter Johnson
1 year ago

Well women’s practice of hypergamy means that as women out compete men in education and the workplace there are a lot less ‘eligible’ men around. About 25% of men are checking out of society – essentially not participating in their roles of husbands and not seeking meaningful employment. Reading this you can hardly blame them.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

We now live in the world that the radfems have created and, as always, they are not happy. Having destroyed genuine masculinity, they are not happy with men. Themselves pampered, privileged, spoiled children, they are not happy with themselves. Having reduced all relationships to instant self-gratification, they now find relationships shallow and meaningless — which they are. Having spent 60 years trying to turn women into men, and having failed, they now seek to at least turn their daughters into medical/surgical parodies of men. They keep trying to destroy their way to fulfillment. The ancient Greeks were right after all: women are chaos — keep them happy by all means, but never let them control things.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

On a more optimistic note, radical feminism has produced some significant benefits for men.  They are no longer expected to be the family breadwinner, they have been freed from the expectation of marriage, and one night stands without obligation are easy to obtain.  Porn, video games, cable TV, sports, and fast food provide most of their needs. There’s plenty of entertainment available that appeals to young men and doesn’t involve women.  Nothing is more expensive than a girlfriend or wife and kids. Why take on responsibility when society continually tells you you are trash and toxic.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago
Reply to  Ray Andrews

On a more optimistic note, radical feminism has produced some significant benefits for men.  They are no longer expected to be the family breadwinner, they have been freed from the expectation of marriage, and one night stands without obligation are easy to obtain.  Porn, video games, cable TV, sports, and fast food provide most of their needs. There’s plenty of entertainment available that appeals to young men and doesn’t involve women.  Nothing is more expensive than a girlfriend or wife and kids. Why take on responsibility when society continually tells you you are trash and toxic.

Ray Andrews
Ray Andrews
1 year ago

We now live in the world that the radfems have created and, as always, they are not happy. Having destroyed genuine masculinity, they are not happy with men. Themselves pampered, privileged, spoiled children, they are not happy with themselves. Having reduced all relationships to instant self-gratification, they now find relationships shallow and meaningless — which they are. Having spent 60 years trying to turn women into men, and having failed, they now seek to at least turn their daughters into medical/surgical parodies of men. They keep trying to destroy their way to fulfillment. The ancient Greeks were right after all: women are chaos — keep them happy by all means, but never let them control things.

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

“…the current vogue for being ashamed of wanting one.” 
It’s not a good sign for humanity when the one thing women feel shame about is wanting what they were biologically created for. Yet, those who lust for anything other than that are proud and even have a flag to display their pride. Talk about being upside down!

Warren Trees
Warren Trees
1 year ago

“…the current vogue for being ashamed of wanting one.” 
It’s not a good sign for humanity when the one thing women feel shame about is wanting what they were biologically created for. Yet, those who lust for anything other than that are proud and even have a flag to display their pride. Talk about being upside down!

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

That Twitter thread. I shouldn’t have looked. The sheer amount of cringey white-knighting.

Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago

That Twitter thread. I shouldn’t have looked. The sheer amount of cringey white-knighting.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

There’s a single word to describe such women – misandrists.

Julian Pellatt
Julian Pellatt
1 year ago

There’s a single word to describe such women – misandrists.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Women who think all men are trash are entitled to their opinion. They are free to buy a cat (or dog if they prefer) and die alone. Nobody cares.

William Shaw
William Shaw
1 year ago

Women who think all men are trash are entitled to their opinion. They are free to buy a cat (or dog if they prefer) and die alone. Nobody cares.

Anthony Michaels
Anthony Michaels
1 year ago

”Educated” millennial women hate men, especially white men. The only open question is why. My theory is that, above all, they resent modern men for being weak and surrendering the patriarchy. Now women lack the protection of a patriarchy, yet are expected to support themselves economically. Feminists got virtually everything they wanted – women no longer need men. Yet they are dissatisfied as ever.

Anthony Michaels
Anthony Michaels
1 year ago

”Educated” millennial women hate men, especially white men. The only open question is why. My theory is that, above all, they resent modern men for being weak and surrendering the patriarchy. Now women lack the protection of a patriarchy, yet are expected to support themselves economically. Feminists got virtually everything they wanted – women no longer need men. Yet they are dissatisfied as ever.

michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

It is understood that what they did to their long-suffering girlfriends is simply what men do to women — or, more to the point, what they make women do to themselves.
More to the point that they are members of a sex class and their negative behaviour is fallaciously extrapolated to every member of that class as in is simply what men do to women.
… these are not stories about men, but about women, and how we wish to see ourselves in the narrative of our own lives. If the novel is a mirror for young women’s anxieties, …
It seems to me this is an exercise in describing the nature of the Big 5 Trait of Neuroticism and some of its Aspects, when it is exposed to the harsh contours of reality that women now have to navigate in the real world.

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
michael stanwick
michael stanwick
1 year ago

It is understood that what they did to their long-suffering girlfriends is simply what men do to women — or, more to the point, what they make women do to themselves.
More to the point that they are members of a sex class and their negative behaviour is fallaciously extrapolated to every member of that class as in is simply what men do to women.
… these are not stories about men, but about women, and how we wish to see ourselves in the narrative of our own lives. If the novel is a mirror for young women’s anxieties, …
It seems to me this is an exercise in describing the nature of the Big 5 Trait of Neuroticism and some of its Aspects, when it is exposed to the harsh contours of reality that women now have to navigate in the real world.

Last edited 1 year ago by michael stanwick
Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

You cannot consistently date out of your league. You can get lucky once or twice. But always? No. If a man is dating attractive women consistently, then what he is offering is what attractive women want. Sometimes that is money and sometimes it is well-paid or high status jobs.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
1 year ago

You cannot consistently date out of your league. You can get lucky once or twice. But always? No. If a man is dating attractive women consistently, then what he is offering is what attractive women want. Sometimes that is money and sometimes it is well-paid or high status jobs.

Cynthia W.
Cynthia W.
1 year ago

“The character after which it is named is a thinly-veiled avatar for Pete Davidson …”
Who is Eeeeeeew. Blech.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Cynthia W.

I was a bit shocked when I looked him up. He looks like a tattooed frog. Hardly Cary Grant.

Matt M
Matt M
1 year ago
Reply to  Cynthia W.

I was a bit shocked when I looked him up. He looks like a tattooed frog. Hardly Cary Grant.

Cynthia W.
Cynthia W.
1 year ago

“The character after which it is named is a thinly-veiled avatar for Pete Davidson …”
Who is Eeeeeeew. Blech.

B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago

In order for a Rom-Com to work, there must be Romance, and if there is to be Romance, there must be Love.
Given Love, or at least the promise of love, a love emergent from a bone-deep sexual attraction (man to woman / woman to man) & ongoing discovery (with it’s guaranteed missteps, confusions, emotional tangles, and revelations)….then we can build the possibility of comedy.
But all that can exist only upon the foundation provided by the mutually shared understanding that, indeed, a transcendent love is not only possible but absolutely a life purpose, a life meaning: non-quantifiable, indescribable…”the force that through the green fuse drives the flower… Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees”.
Without that, there’s nothing.
A middling entertainment, a flat joke, a passing breeze…a collapsed ripple in a stagnant puddle of smelly mud.
Welcome to the Post-Modern Progressive Paradise. There ain’t no RomComs here.
“Why, it seemed to me I had lost the most of myself; and there was left only a brain which played with ideas, and a body that went delicately down pleasant ways. And I could not believe as my fellows believed, nor could I love them, nor could I detect anything in aught they said or did save their exceeding folly: for I had lost their cordial common faith in the importance of what use they made of half-hours and months and years; and because a jill-flirt had opened my eyes so that they saw too much, I had lost faith in the importance of my own actions, too. There was a little time of which the passing might be made endurable; beyond gaped unpredictable darkness: and that was all there was of certainty anywhere.”
Hard to imagine Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, et al. crafting rom-coms from such bleaknesss wouldn’t we say?
Harder still to find anything of transcendence in our 21st century’s existential despair….our endless idolatry of self…our desert of moral relativism…the emptiness of our passing pleasures, by this hand or that — it hardly matters.
***
So what is this, that Love would transcend… that in the here & now we seem to have lost?
“He knew very well that love could be like the most beautiful singing, that it could make death inconsequential, that it existed in forms so pure and strong that it was capable of reordering the universe. He knew this, and that he lacked it..”
We ask what Love transcends? We know it already; Time. Death. Loss.
Love is Life.
If that Truth is not recognized, even implicitly, by each as we ‘act’ our parts in our own little rom-com dramas….if there is no sense of love which transcends the pratfalls, and funny looks, and bizarre misunderstandings which is our mortal wont…if there’s only Jurgen’s ‘little time of which the passing might be made endurable”…. If that’s all there is, my friends (this hollow sense of absence and faded laughter), “then let’s keep dancing…let’s break out the booze, and have … a ball”
Either that or we Believe.
““As long as you have life and breath, believe. Believe for those who cannot. Believe even if you have stopped believing. Believe for the sake of the dead, for love, to keep your heart beating, believe. Never give up, never despair, let no mystery confound you into the conclusion that mystery cannot be yours.” Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War
Given love there is romance; given romance, there is laughter. Without it…

Last edited 1 year ago by B Davis
B Davis
B Davis
1 year ago

In order for a Rom-Com to work, there must be Romance, and if there is to be Romance, there must be Love.
Given Love, or at least the promise of love, a love emergent from a bone-deep sexual attraction (man to woman / woman to man) & ongoing discovery (with it’s guaranteed missteps, confusions, emotional tangles, and revelations)….then we can build the possibility of comedy.
But all that can exist only upon the foundation provided by the mutually shared understanding that, indeed, a transcendent love is not only possible but absolutely a life purpose, a life meaning: non-quantifiable, indescribable…”the force that through the green fuse drives the flower… Drives my green age; that blasts the roots of trees”.
Without that, there’s nothing.
A middling entertainment, a flat joke, a passing breeze…a collapsed ripple in a stagnant puddle of smelly mud.
Welcome to the Post-Modern Progressive Paradise. There ain’t no RomComs here.
“Why, it seemed to me I had lost the most of myself; and there was left only a brain which played with ideas, and a body that went delicately down pleasant ways. And I could not believe as my fellows believed, nor could I love them, nor could I detect anything in aught they said or did save their exceeding folly: for I had lost their cordial common faith in the importance of what use they made of half-hours and months and years; and because a jill-flirt had opened my eyes so that they saw too much, I had lost faith in the importance of my own actions, too. There was a little time of which the passing might be made endurable; beyond gaped unpredictable darkness: and that was all there was of certainty anywhere.”
Hard to imagine Cary Grant, Irene Dunne, Katherine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, et al. crafting rom-coms from such bleaknesss wouldn’t we say?
Harder still to find anything of transcendence in our 21st century’s existential despair….our endless idolatry of self…our desert of moral relativism…the emptiness of our passing pleasures, by this hand or that — it hardly matters.
***
So what is this, that Love would transcend… that in the here & now we seem to have lost?
“He knew very well that love could be like the most beautiful singing, that it could make death inconsequential, that it existed in forms so pure and strong that it was capable of reordering the universe. He knew this, and that he lacked it..”
We ask what Love transcends? We know it already; Time. Death. Loss.
Love is Life.
If that Truth is not recognized, even implicitly, by each as we ‘act’ our parts in our own little rom-com dramas….if there is no sense of love which transcends the pratfalls, and funny looks, and bizarre misunderstandings which is our mortal wont…if there’s only Jurgen’s ‘little time of which the passing might be made endurable”…. If that’s all there is, my friends (this hollow sense of absence and faded laughter), “then let’s keep dancing…let’s break out the booze, and have … a ball”
Either that or we Believe.
““As long as you have life and breath, believe. Believe for those who cannot. Believe even if you have stopped believing. Believe for the sake of the dead, for love, to keep your heart beating, believe. Never give up, never despair, let no mystery confound you into the conclusion that mystery cannot be yours.” Helprin, A Soldier of the Great War
Given love there is romance; given romance, there is laughter. Without it…

Last edited 1 year ago by B Davis
Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago

Women seem to want a man to be Kind, loving, compassionate, sensitive, responsible, supportive until she finds him then before too long wants something else.

All too often women have gravitated away from talking with men to talking at men. It is mainly unfair and unjust.

Regardless of man or woman, you will find good and bad on both sides. Neither should be looked upon in the best or worst light. Sadly in today’s world, men are judged in the worst light and future generations might pay dearly for it.

Peter D
Peter D
1 year ago

Women seem to want a man to be Kind, loving, compassionate, sensitive, responsible, supportive until she finds him then before too long wants something else.

All too often women have gravitated away from talking with men to talking at men. It is mainly unfair and unjust.

Regardless of man or woman, you will find good and bad on both sides. Neither should be looked upon in the best or worst light. Sadly in today’s world, men are judged in the worst light and future generations might pay dearly for it.

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Part of the problem is that, nowadays, too many people, both men and women, put too much emphasis on their silly feelings. Feelings / hormones etc are occasionally to be enjoyed, but largely to be endured, and they’re never a basis for making a sensible decision (either in love or in business or in politics). What matters in a marriage is commitment, and doing one’s duty daily, and always putting one’s spouse and children first.  Anyone trying to reconcile self-fulfilment with marriage (or a committed relationship of any sort) is a bore and a poltroon who will fail, fail, and fail again. And then go into the public eye yapping on about their ‘journey’ lol. To much applause, when in reality it’s a hard slap they need.      

Frank McCusker
Frank McCusker
1 year ago

Part of the problem is that, nowadays, too many people, both men and women, put too much emphasis on their silly feelings. Feelings / hormones etc are occasionally to be enjoyed, but largely to be endured, and they’re never a basis for making a sensible decision (either in love or in business or in politics). What matters in a marriage is commitment, and doing one’s duty daily, and always putting one’s spouse and children first.  Anyone trying to reconcile self-fulfilment with marriage (or a committed relationship of any sort) is a bore and a poltroon who will fail, fail, and fail again. And then go into the public eye yapping on about their ‘journey’ lol. To much applause, when in reality it’s a hard slap they need.      

Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Behind every successful man there stands a woman.
Behind every unsuccessful woman, there stands a man.
What are little boys made of?
  Snips, snails
  And puppy-dogs’ tails
That’s what little boys are made of
What are little girls made of?
  Sugar and spice
  And all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
Dominic A
Dominic A
1 year ago

Behind every successful man there stands a woman.
Behind every unsuccessful woman, there stands a man.
What are little boys made of?
  Snips, snails
  And puppy-dogs’ tails
That’s what little boys are made of
What are little girls made of?
  Sugar and spice
  And all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of

Last edited 1 year ago by Dominic A
jon leventhal
jon leventhal
1 year ago

Well said Daniel. This is excellent.

jon leventhal
jon leventhal
1 year ago

Well said Daniel. This is excellent.

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago

I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. What a load of over-the-top drivel in celebration of the patriarchy. As for the comments, surprise, surprise. Poor men trashed and “ignored” ( the original sin!) by those women who have taken their lives into their own hands, who make their own decisions (sometimes not to have a “mate”, ouch, sometimes not to have children, ouch ouch), and are doing so successfully. Why is that such a THREAT, I wonder?

Danielle Treille
Danielle Treille
1 year ago

I couldn’t get past the first paragraph. What a load of over-the-top drivel in celebration of the patriarchy. As for the comments, surprise, surprise. Poor men trashed and “ignored” ( the original sin!) by those women who have taken their lives into their own hands, who make their own decisions (sometimes not to have a “mate”, ouch, sometimes not to have children, ouch ouch), and are doing so successfully. Why is that such a THREAT, I wonder?