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This Modern Love

A wonderful girlfriend shot me an e-mail today. She’s a late-20s marketing guru for a tech start-up, a serious audiophile, and makes the best gingersnaps on the planet. And she happens to be single. And a “friend” of hers (who happens to be male and happens to have dated her once-upon-a-time) sent her a link to this article. This left my friend sad, though she couldn’t quite figure out why, and wanted a second opinion.

I read the piece. I thought it almost the follow up to this other piece published in the same magazine last summer. And kind of like this other piece that I’d been discussing with a group of college girlfriends two weeks back.

If you have the time and inclination to read these articles I highly recommend it; these authors have put a tremendous amount of time and research into their work, and what they have to say feels validating and shocking at the same time. But for purposes of this note, I’ll summarize: today, women are passing men in educational, economical, and social spheres. The problem, of course, is that as women have risen steadily to learn more, work more, and wield more influence, the learning, working and wielding influences of men have declined. And it could be, perhaps, that the current socioeconomic environment favors women’s natural abilities over men’s. Or it could be that men feel displaced, as women have figured out we can provide and protect our own damn selves, thankyouverymuch, and in fact, we can do their job, and still do our job, just fine.

So I, and my urban 20-and-30-something female cohorts, find ourselves often lamenting the fact that the streets in most major American cities are overrun with mid-30s manchildren sporting striped shirts and $300 jeans and Justin Bieber haircuts, who think an 8 p.m. what r u up to? text counts as planning a date, who walk on the inside of the sidewalk and stay firmly planted in their bus seats while you wobble on your heels in front of them, who let their mothers do their laundry and Whole Foods do their cooking, who Etrade like its a video game, won’t buy you dinner but are first in line for the next iProduct, and who repeatedly and consistently fail to show up and be men.

And the response I’ve heard bandied about, in that kind-of-joking-but-maybe-not-really way: “Maybe because we don’t need them.”

Which brings me back to my dear friend, struggling to come to terms with a world that seems to be telling her that the reason she can’t find a decent man is because, well, she doesn’t need one. Maybe she’s better off without one.

And maybe that’s true. But does that mean she shouldn’t want one?

Yes, we may be in the midst of the glorious rise of women, a wave she and I and every single one of our girlfriends are riding to the top, and yes, we may be seeing a corresponding decline in the number of “marriagable” men, and yes, we may very well be living in a time when the “traditional” marriage and family model isn’t really all that necessary…but that doesn’t mean we can’t want it. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t, as capable and independent, financially and emotionally stable women, want it. That doesn’t mean we can’t look at these statistics and these studies in the face and say yeah, but we know damn well, that love – intimate, equal, romantic, ass-kicking love  exists. I’m as sure of that as I am of the four out of five sets of my best friends’ parents who are still married, all 40-something years later. I’m as sure of that as I am of the fact that this April I’ll walk down the aisle as a bridesmaid for the sixth time. And I’m sure that even as an evolved, competent, professional woman, who may not need a man it’s ok if I still believe in love.

You can read more from Cortney McDevitt on her blog or follow her on Twitter.

feature image via deviantart

  • Lisa Abernathy Kirk

    I was just explaining this same thing to a friend, but from another perspective, slightly. Now, bear with me as I know before I was a Christian I would not ever have valued this info. However, I think its fun and informative, so I am going to share from the right (non judgy) heart:) Say for the sake of arguement that God created us and knows us and loves us. A cool lady told me once all the directions of life are in the bible. (BTW I tested this and found it to be true, and fun!!haha). Ok conceeding to those, for the sake of me making this point, the bible says women are Super Heros. There is a scripture that talks about husband and wife. The man works enough to support the family which can include very extended sisters, aunts, any widowed family members. Meanwhile, the Wife gets up before everyone else, cooks all the food, cleans, keeps the home homey, tends to the fields (holy cow), and works!! It says she makes clothes and other items for sale for the merchants passing through. She speaks well of her husband, and he speaks very highly of her.

    I think God knows we can do it alone at times. He just does not want us to have to do it alone. I think its time we socially remind men how important they are and force them to live up to thier potential. Then, we can sort the good ones and distribute accordingly!!! hehehe:)

  • Lisa Jean Saldanha

    You know, I have been feeling this way of late. I believe in being an independent and strong-willed woman, and I don’t want a man to do things for me, but I do want a man to be there for me. But where are the men?? They do seem to be too busy being boys sometimes, and it does seem that women are so willing to step up for themselves, that the men feel no inclination to do so.
    I do also agree with the comment above though! Different perspectives are nice to hear.
    There are so many great things about being a woman, but a great thing about being a woman is also being able to have a guy. At least I think it should be.

  • Hetty Chang

    Exactly. I got sent these articles in a “yay singleton!” sentiment and while I am more yay than boo-hoo about being single, I don’t think single is better than paired. To quote Piglet- “It’s always nicer with two.” And if I don’t need a man to support me or protect me, maybe a man-child could make an acceptable partner. Maybe. I’ve not tested that hypothesis enough to make a definitive conclusion.

  • Alycia Lourim

    I read some of the first article and as much as it may be true, that is a biological evolutionary thing where men don’t feel the need to get an education and “take care of us” because “we don’t need it” I’m sorry I am just not going to completely buy into it. What about the men who are successful right out of college and have great jobs but they would rather sleep around then be with the woman who actually wants a man to take care of her? Did anyone ever think about it in that aspect. I am not asking for a perfect man, like I told my friend the other day its better to be with the starving artist who loves you then the doctor who can shower you with gifts. Love is not about how much is in a mans wallet or what is education level is. I understand many women want that, I too want a DRIVEN man but if he is driven in the field of cars and that is what sets his passion alive and he can thoroughly understand why I love film so much then we will find a way to make ends meat. Trust me someone texting me to set up a date, Oh Hell no I will not allow that, sure it happens but its not flattering but we also have to look at how lazy technology has made human beings today, how easily it has cut off the form of communication with people. People used to write love letters to each other when across seas, but how its an “Imu and Ily. ttyl” like what is that? So when going into love everyone needs to communicate about what they want but also remember every person makes a choice to be who they are, so yes much of the research is accurate but it also needs to be looked at very carefully. When Elizabeth Gilbert wrote her book “Committed” she found that the reason the divorce was so high was due to many people getting married so young before they had discovered who they were which later on caused problems in the marriage and led to divorce. And the people out there who don’t want to marry because divorce rates are so high, what’s the point. Look at who is doing the divorcing. You have to look at a person you have to get to know them. Eveyone is so scared to open up these days that they then instead have a friends with benefits to “protect” themselves, but if everyone took off their shield there might be a chance. that is probably why match. com and all those other websites work well, because people are seeking the same as them and aren’t afraid to show who they are. trust me, I want to find someone out in public but most of the time they just want a hookup and that is much of media’s fault, but the only fault really at the end of the day is people choosing who they decide to be. remember that next time. no one has to follow certain guidelines otherwise the universe will combusts, thats now how it works!

  • Lauren Nespoli

    This was really interesting to read! I agree with a lot of it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Anna Schatte

    In other words, where have all the cowboys gone? Ugh, so annoying but so on point w/the man child talk. It’s disturbing and only moderately cute/acceptable for like the first two weeks of crushing…when you are 18.

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