Dissecting the Modern American Male

The Conclusive Theory of Why Guys Suck – Part 1

Ever since I started writing this series, I have heard the same question from various readers:  Why do guys suck so much?

Now, I don’t think all guys suck, but I will agree that many (maybe most?) guys suck.  And after spending many sleepless nights mulling over this question, I finally have a conclusive theory to present to you.  In Part 1, I will dissect the theory and hopefully with your help, we can figure out how to deal with this issue in Part 2.

To begin, let’s talk about some recent trends that have been emerging over the past 15 years and how they have affected society as a whole.  I think that young adults today, both men and women (25 to 40, for sake of argument) are more selfish, flighty and privileged than any previous generation.  Never before has there been so much opportunity and mobility.  We can change jobs/apartments/friends every six months if we want.  Have a nasty breakup?  Just get on the next JetBlue flight to the other coast and start anew.  There are few ties and a minimal sense of responsibility.

This generation has unprecedented freedom to do whatever they want whenever they want, and on top of that, everyone thinks they deserve it, as well.  There is no impetus to settle or commit to anything because around the corner could be a better job with a better salary in a better location, and you deserve it.  All of this creates a cycle of unprecedented selfishness.  Both men and women refuse to commit to anything because it stands in the way of their selfish pursuits of constant upgrading.  Our whole thought process focuses on what we will have in the future instead of what we have in our hands right now.  For those who are into history, I would say the vibe in Western Europe during the Belle Epoque is the best approximation.

But then biology starts to kick in, and we start to notice a differentiation between men and women.  Whether you like it or not, and whether or not you want to deny its relevance, there is a sociological stigma on “women of a certain age” that comes from the biological constraints of fertility.  Even in our allegedly liberal day and age, there have been countless recent articles about how society still puts immense pressure on women to get hitched and pop out babies (example, example, example).  My guess is that it happens a little later in the urban coastal areas, say 35 in Manhattan or SF, but it is still there.  (For those who don’t follow this series, I have a special interest in how biology and evolution affect our lives.)

And here is where we can start talking about The Modern American Male, and why guys suck specifically.  The reality is that guys don’t receive this societal pressure to partner up.  When a woman, for whatever reason – be it external pressure or internal desire – starts to want some stability and commitment in her life, guys are still running full speed in their selfish pursuits.  I would say this is probably most pronounced when men/women reach their early 30s.  This creates a noticeable rift in the mindset between men and women, where 36-year-old guys are still effectively thinking about their lives and the world around them like they are 23-year-olds.

In summary, guys suck because they simply aren’t thinking of stability and commitment ’til their late thirties.  More than that, they have no reason to think about stability and commitment.  American society today even rewards and reinforces their selfish pursuits and flighty attitudes.  And unfortunately, women mature and move past this infantile stage earlier, which creates a rift in the mindset of the two sexes somewhere around age 30.

I want to add a special important note to all the “pre-adults” ladies reading this, meaning those aged 18-25.  Sadly, I think guys who are currently in this age bracket are going to be infinitely more “sucky” when they hit their 30s.  In addition to the issue I outlined above, these younger guys have the added problem of Helicopter Parenting.  As countless articles have pointed out in recent months (example, example, example, example), overzealous parenting has created a batch of kids who are so coddled and self-inflated that they are unable to handle any hardship on their own.  Worse than that, they expect other people to solve their problems for them.  Their parents have shielded them from anything remotely challenging to the point where these guys will barely be able to function as independent adults.  This is only going to exacerbate the existing issues.

So what the hell is a single woman to do with this disturbing situation??  I want to open up this discussion to everybody, to hear your ideas on how best to approach this.  I have my own thoughts on the matter, but first I would love to get your comments so we can come up with a good hypothesis together.  In the coming weeks I will post up Part 2!


Image via weheartit.com

  • http://www.facebook.com/webevie Evie Totty

    Nothing other than you are dead on it seems to me. I’m 43 and single. So what is worse is that men my age want women 20 years younger than me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1597964440 Libby Smith

    As sucky as guys are alot of girls aren’t helping the situation. I can’t tell you how many girls will “put out” for a guy they hardly know. Why would a guy want a relationship when theres a girl who will do him with no strings attatched?

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.montero52 Anthony Montero


  • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.montero52 Anthony Montero

    Men have been feminized and women have been masculinized. The traditional gender roles have come too close together due to feminist movements and liberal societal pressures, making both men and women go against their biological impulses which in turn has wreaked all kinds oh havoc.

    • http://www.facebook.com/anthony.montero52 Anthony Montero


  • http://www.facebook.com/dtregant Daniel Tregant

    It’s also hard on gay men…we formed this idea of selfish flightiness and the chance to “upgrade” back in the 70’s (one that makes me embarrassed to be gay frankly) and it’s seeped in everywhere, once men, of all types, realised that they could make it work for them…then the Ladies realised it too. Sometimes there aren’t more fish on the sea…sometimes what you’ve got…is all that you’ll have and you NEED to work at it to make it work. First off though, kill the delusion that your better than everyone else…because all you are is different and just as likely to lose everything as the next being…

  • http://www.facebook.com/setbro72 Seth Brown

    I think you hit the nail on the head with selfishness being the bottom line. Also due to helicopter parenting we’re being raised to be selfish by well-meaning parents. This creates “need, need, gimmie, gimmie,” expectations for relationships to match the people that have known us and loved us more than anything since the day we were born. That is impossible. Also the constant upgrading “and that we deserve it”! As soon as we meet someone we THINK is better, we want to leave for greener pastures. Even if they are better, what happened to commitment? What happens when we meet the one who’s better in every way than THEM?

    • http://www.facebook.com/taylorspear Taylor Spear

      Exactly! Relationships take a lot of work and you can’t just give up when things are rough..at least in a marriage sense.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=31710121 Autumn Snō

    First of all, I’d like to say you’re genius. Spot on in so many ways… However- I’ve heard so much about selfishness and entitlement as of late- I’d actually like to argue the other side of things. I believe in interconnectedness and multiple lifetimes… I tend to over think life choices as much as the next late-twenty-something but these beliefs actually create much self-hope and a daunting sense of eventual self-actualization. Or, selfishness and entitlement, to many others who are blind to my motives. Had I not thought about myself and what I’m capable of, I would still be stuck in my horrid home town, most likely a single mother, with an Octo-mom sized family. Why in the world would I not put myself first? Not social trends or a need to further our already enormous population, this lifetime is all about me. Now, what I believe separates me from the ego-driven Richie Riches who are attempting to rule our country quite soon, is that I had hippy parents who happened to be (shocker) not rich at all. I’ve worked since I was fourteen. I’ve bought my own clothing since then. I’ve been through crap (watching my mother die from a crazy-rare terminal disease while I was in college) and yet I still made Dean’s list often in college. I’ve seen struggle and I have held on to my Pre-K teaching job for the past five years because I know that change is not always as easy as they made it look on Friends and that if I screw around, not only will I lose my studio apartment, I will never be able to save up for that foosball table I’ve always wanted (thanks a lot Joey and Chandler). Yet, when things feel right, they feel right. I dropped it all five years ago to move to California. For me, no one else. I’m a single woman who, in this day and age, is able to. Tell that to Betty Draper and see the shock on her face… I’m nearing 30 and don’t want children or a husband. I’d like to devote my time entirely to the art community (that story, soon). As for marriage, I don’t necessarily think that settling down is in every man’s DNA. And speaking of selfish…how is it that we can empathize with people who spend thousands on having their own child if they are unable to…yet there are thousands more children who need adoption or foster care. If we are all interconnected, why let our own dwindle away just to further our own bloodline? It’s mind-boggling. So, I am a highly motivated and highly unattached woman, with a respectable job who is actually now considering switching it all up yet again to find a job in the art world. Because I can. Well, maybe I can… it’s all a bit scary but in this time and age- I just may be able to pull it off. I’m sure I’ve had families in other lifetimes, maybe even been enslaved or fought in a war. I’d like to think I’ve worked hard enough that I alone (selfishness) deserve whatever I am able to deserve (entitled). I’d like to create art that moves the masses or makes one person at a time question their current take on life. To me, that is a noble fight worth spending a lifetime on. Now as for men? I think we’re all a bit screwed on that one. Once they achieve ‘some’ sort of maturity, late 30’s, they most likely are capable to further their seed or have already done that and either want a younger lady to frolic with or want to run away to an island and change identities. Just one scenario of many… I like interconnectedness because it’s changed my perception of time and the connections we have along the way. I don’t know that most men are capable of having an honest connection for ‘the rest of their lives’ but why should we be searching for that in the first place? Be happy with an honest connection that lasts one year, people passing thorough your life, as opposed to a strained and limiting connection that could last for several years. Hasn’t anyone seen Before Sunrise and Before Sunset?!?! Heartbreaking as it may be, moments like those may be seen as fleeting and wasteful to others, but how can you see the look on Jesse and Celine’s faces at the very end and not think that that is exactly how a real, meaningful connection actually looks. <3

  • http://www.facebook.com/rachel.lam.yw Rachel Lam

    Oh dear.. I fall within this bracket of ‘pre-adult’ ladies. Doesn’t bode well for me at all! :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=578186495 Kari Ross

    I am also 43 and trying to date again after a divorce and yes Evie, most men want someone 20 years younger; but imagine my surprise – after finding and dating a ‘nice’ man who was close to my age for more than a month – that I fell for this line: “I’ll call you and we’ll get together on the weekend” I felt like an idiot for freeing up my weekend, cleaning up and making sure I had food in the house. Come on people, we’re adults now, not in high school anymore – if you’re no longer interested, or your old girlfriend came back, or your life ‘got too complicated’ or whatever – have the decency to tell me, I can take it and I will respect you for it.

  • http://www.facebook.com/jennymparker Jenny Parker

    I just recently moved from the south to the west coast, thinking people would be different. Less mama’s boys, and maybe more go-getters. It’s worse on the coast! Too many man-children who want to live like Kanye, but still have their parents pay for their apartments and car insurance. Too many privileged 2o somethings that think it’s ok to live like your 19 until your 4o. The average age of marriage in Seattle is 39. I’m not saying marriage is an identifier of maturity, but it does say something. And if someone does desire a mature adult life that includes stability, real interactions, and planning a future- you’re instead seen as the oddity and even less intellectual. All of this is cyclical- if we wait so long to grow up, we’re going to act out our regrets on our children and become those helicopter parents, thus creating another generation of emotionally stunted “sucky” men and women.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12721111 Lindsay McCullough

    Augh. This is an interesting concept, but I think it has to do with culture?
    I am from South Carolina, and EVERYONE gets married by the age of 25. If you had a boyfriend when you were a senior in college, you were getting the ring in September, and hitched by May. When I moved to Maryland after college it just seemed normal to me that one would want to get married in their twenties. It didn’t take long for me to find out that just mentioning the word “marriage” was a major turn off. A relationship (that I still morn) ended because the boy (not man) was too pressured by the fact he knew I wanted to eventually get married and my friends were getting engaged left and right. So he broke up with me in a text message.
    All of my friends who stayed down South are almost guaranteed a trip down the aisle, while I suffered the frigid dating waters of the North. I think a lot of it has to do with religion, and some part is just the engrained idea that the next logical step after college is marriage? But now there are so many excuses of wanting to establish a career, having a career in your twenties, and the ever popular “well no one up here gets married when they’re 25.”
    I am leaving the states to move to la belle France… we’ll see what happens with relationships euro-style I guess.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=12721111 Lindsay McCullough

      Edit: I meant to say “having fun in your twenties”

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=593155484 Doug Harrison

    Yet another “journalist” pandering sexism to an entitled female audience with great success. We have heard this from Feminists from decades”Men suck!” “It is all the fault of men!”

    You want men to follow your plan on settling down and getting married, ladies? Get off your gilded pedestal and offer men something to make it worthwhile. Plenty of good women find good men; the rest of the harpies seem to hang out in places like this to moan about why being an entitle bitch doesn’t seem to attract a partner.

  • http://www.facebook.com/benton.harris Benton Harris

    Here’s an idea. Maybe it’s getting harder to convince men to get married and settle down when they’ve seen fathers, uncles, friends, brothers etc get screwed over and over in family courts, lose custody of their children and 40% of their income. Maybe guys realize that it’s a no-win situation, so why bother playing? Also, maybe women should stop reinforcing the “be a douche, get laid” stereotype. Maybe women should realize that not every guy is going to be a Mr Universe, top 1% CEO who has a private island and a yacht for every day of the week.

    • Nishi

      I think men who make these comments should stop going after women who are looking for 1%ers. If your problem is that all women want rich hunks, it’s because you’re only looking for models and perfect 10’s or rich career women.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100700624 Cletis Cabbil Jr.

    I agree with this post. I love having the freedom to do what I want (meaning not being stuck in the city I went to high school) & to not be stuck with the same people I went to said high school with. With that said, there’s a place for men to tell men how they’re acting & are perceived by the opposite sex, & it isn’t Hello Giggles. You’re pandering to an audience that’s already relatively biased on this topic, so why not take this article to GQ where men would read it & take it more seriously? Your reasoning is sound, but I can’t help but see this as an online version of you going behind one of your boys backs & gossiping to some girls about what he did instead going to him, man-to-man.

    • http://www.facebook.com/yoav.fisher.94 Yoav Fisher

      Cletis – You bring up a really interesting point. With your permission I would love to include part of it in the follow up post.
      Also – unfortunately I am not connected enough to get an article in GQ, but if you got a contact, I’m all ears.

  • http://www.facebook.com/daniel.hase1 Daniel Hase

    Not to get all religious, but in my humble opinion, without a doubt, all people’s “natural tendency” is to be prideful and selfish until we are taught and trained otherwise. Some folks have an easier time resisting the instincts we were born with, but pride/selfishness is an instinct that is so ingrained into our core, that even when we try and act otherwise, underneath it is often for the purpose of glorifying ourselves.

    If girls want to find men who are trained to fight the instinct of selfishness and self interest, or as you say, the instincts of “men who suck”, you might consider looking at church. Please do not confuse my words, people who go to church still face the same monster of pride that anyone else does and are still bound to act selfishly (it does not go away when you become a Christian and mere church attendance is not what makes a person a Christian anyways), but church is voluntary and the Bible teaches love and humility, so the chances you will find a guy at church who is in pursuit of those things is quite a bit more likely than at a late night bar, which is where “guys who suck” tend to congregate.

    I’m from Chicago and can say first hand that I have local friends that are “guys who don’t suck “, so they do exist in urban areas, but it is no coincidence that young marriages are a greater commonplace in parts of the country that are more heavily churched. The two are almost directly related.

    I really enjoyed your article; good mix of truth and comedy.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=28600478 Kristen Hicks

    I wonder how the difficult job market and likelihood that many people in the age range you describe will be spending some of the years ahead struggling financially fits into your ideas and predictions about the selfishness of this generation?

    Also, I only slightly relate to the descriptions of men and women in this article and many of the comments. So much depends on the particulars of individuals and the cultures they come from.

    I’ve seen and met as many men with an interest in marriage or otherwise settling down in their late 20’s and 30’s as I know women who have no interest in such (myself included).

    Further, I take serious issue with the sentiment in the comments that women “putting out” is causing societal problems (although men who do are no issue?) and that the shifting of gender norms is somehow wreaking havoc on society. There should be no difference in how someone views the morality of the way a woman has sex and the way a man does. When sexual decisions are made consensually and in a way that doesn’t hurt other people, anyone looking in from outside making criticisms about the impact on society a) should not be concerned about someone else’s sex life and b) is choosing not to acknowledge how bad for women many of the sexual/marriage norms of history were.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christen.parker.73 Christen Parker

    Falling into the “Pre-Adult Ladies” spot makes me fear for my future dating life. This was a very enjoyable article. Having seen the whole “Helicopter Parenting” thing first-hand I want to applaud you for giving it a name.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brokenpoetry Astrid Estrada Diaz

    I find this article statement on pre-adult ladies to be spot on. I can’t tell you the countless times I’ve dated a man whose parents still are supporting them (nothing wrong with that) BUT they tend to just be okay and content being babied by their mommy and daddy..meanwhile I am working 2 jobs and putting myself through college. I feel like everything is so reversed! I’ve tried dating older and at least by age going on to 28.. they seem more aware (the men) of what they want..but STILL haven’t got a clue about what they want in a relationship :\ It’s very strange…

  • henry sawya

    They SUCK because they become bored taking it up the butt!

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