This is article 3 in the series, “Celebrating Singleness”:
I was recently sent two articles: “Marry Him! (The case for settling for Mr. Good Enough)” and “Child Man in the Promised Land“. Both are extremely long treatises (which actually kind of stall about 1/3 of the way through, so don’t feel bad when you stop reading at that point), so if you’re not up for that much reading on a Monday (I understand), here is the summary:
#1 Single adult women should stop searching for Mr. Perfect (a.k.a. Prince Charming) and “settle” (not a pretty word) for the best thing they can get to commit. The article alleges that women live in a fantasy world where their ideal man is mature, responsible, great looking, romantic, rich, and who is free from all disgusting habits.
#2 Single adult men are often stuck in a state of adult adolescence. They are unable to commit to women, or anything in life (a job, a roommate, a sexual orientation). The premise of the article is based on a number of comparisons to 1960’s adults and points out that today’s adults are not taking on the responsibilities of marriage, property ownership, and career as early as those adults do.
I will not be able to respond to everything in both of these articles (you’d fall asleep in your chair), so I will point out a few things that get my goat, and then allow you to point out what you think in comments.
Response to Article #1
I have very little to say to this article, as I am not a woman and cannot validate or contradict their conclusions. However, I will invoke one of my favorite previous posts entitled “A Fixer Upper” to reiterate the fact that every guy I know, including myself, has some ‘fixer upper’ qualities. There is no such thing as a Bisquick marriage (just add man), and if you’re waiting for Prince Charming to come sweep you off your feet, then get comfortable cause you’re going to be 80 by the time a man has evolved to that level.
To paraphrase one of my favorite quotes from Gordon Hinckley: “Men, the woman you marry will take a great chance on you.” Women, that means you have to actually take that chance.
Response to Article #2
I get to take more issue with article #2 since I am a guy.
I like to consider myself a guy who is pretty well-adjusted. I know many other guys who are as well. I also know yet other men (sheesh, I know a lot of people) who are total wrecks. When I say “wreck”, what I mean is these are those who go home, cook up their Totinos Pizza, and plug in to the Xbox or Playstation 3 every night. They are the epitome of this article.
Yes, they do exist.
It’s not really fair, though, to compare us to the post-war optimism of the 50’s… because of that whole pot-smoking, woodstock attending, bra burning, 60’s thing – you know our parents and counterparts who INVENTED the concept of “finding yourself” in your 20’s. (monkey see, monkey do?)
Sidenote: Why does ‘finding yourself’ always get associated with self-destructive behavior?
News flash. Things have changed in the last 58 years. 20 year olds in the 50’s didn’t have nearly the bills and the consumerism that we have today. No cell phones, no $3.75 gasoline, no expensive cars (they were just coming on). Also, the concept of a ‘career’ in the 1950’s was that you’d get a job in a good trade and work there your whole life and then the company would take care of your pension when you retired.
Obviously, the world today is much different. Our job market is super-fluid, especially for those under 30. Most people have cell phones, cable bills, rent bills, car payments, student loans, and credit card debt. And then, of course, with all the advances in transportation, communication, and health care (mostly in the mental health department – and the importance of finding a chemically balanced spouse) – there is far less simplicity by limitation. People rarely fall in love with and marry their high school sweetheart anymore.
I’m not saying these are things that should keep men from wanting to get married and committing, I’m just saying things have changed.
Even the excuses.
So what’s my excuse? I’m still working on one.
In the meantime, I keep celebrating this wonderful, limitless phase of my life.
12 thoughts on “Celebrating Singleness: Two Contrasting Articles”
Here’s my latest theory on adult life along with the story that taught it. We believe that once a person reaches 19 (or 21) Or whatever you consider adulthood that now that person is equivalent with a 60 year old in many respects. Here’s my story. There is a wonderful woman I work with in the church. She is about 60 years old. She has is amazing in every way, outgoing, confident, happy, everyone loves her, she has perfect pitch, plays about 6 insturments perfectly, picking up any piece of music and playing it flawlessly as sight. She is wonderful. However, this same woman, on NUMEROUS occasions has said to me “when I grow up I want to be exactly like you.” We get a good laugh out of it because I am 1/2 her age. However, A couple Sunday’s ago I was expected on the fly to take her place in a last minute panic accompaning a choir. I just about fell apart. (sight reading 5 flats was interesting) anyway, she showed up last minute for the real thing and all was saved. however I felt stupid and frustrated that I wasn’t a great as she is. Then I realized. That I was 1/2 her age. She has practiced music for 30 more years than I have. PLUS it’s her career, she is a music teacher at the school! She does it every day ALL day long! I shouldn’t expect myself to be as great as she is if we are so much different spots in life. In 30 more years I COULD be as great as she is now. I have to practice and work to be like her. Just becasue we are both adults, doesn’t mean that we are equivalents. She is so much my superior and much more refined and perfected than I am.
I think it’s the same as expectations in marriage.
Many young singles think (probably just subconsciously) that they want someone “just like my dad” or “just like president hinckley” or “just like my old bishop” or whatever. Why are we expecting so much? Why do we expect a 20 or even 30 year old to have accomplished and achieved and refined themselves as much as people we put on a pedestal like presdient hinckley? Why can’t we just marry potential and BECOME THAT TOGETHER? Why can’t we marry someone that is “good on the inside” and together through love and helping each other reach that perfection togehter? is’tn that the “plan” anyway? I tell that to my kids and my husband all the time. What’s important is that they are “good on the inside”. I mean they want good, they want to choose the right, they have a genuine heart. No one’s perfect and no one’s going to live perfect..
If I had to tell a single adult what MY secret is to finding the greatest husband ever this what I’d say. (I know no one’s asking, so I will just say it for effect…) Look for someone that loves you completely and that is “good on the inside”. The rest all comes.
As for the men that want to be kids forever, I have no apologies or responses for you. Grow up. Contribute to society. Quit being a waste of Oxygen. I know you are lost because life isn’t they way it was in the 50s or 60s and there is so much difference between being married to your h.s. sweetheart and getting that manager job at Safeway, adn that acutally supporting a family for your whole life, then drawing pension. I know it’s nothing like that today. But c’mon. Excuses are like armpits, everyone has 2 of them and they both stink.
P.S. I am not knocking men like W.E. that haven’t found someone to marry yet, I am knocking men that are perpetual children. Not able to hold a job, play video games for 8 hours a day, can’t budget a dime, never can live up to any promise, appointment, or commitment, and eat mcdonalds or at mommy’s house for every meal.
Thanks TLS… you found my excuse for me… I just “haven’t found someone to marry yet.” I like that one.
A. The reason self-destruction is related to finding yourself, is because many people only learn that they had things to find out about themselves through hitting rock bottom (I keep waiting for my brother to hit rock bottom). I’m not saying to go on a coke binge over the weekend to figure out who you are, but unfortunately, coming out of a self-destructive mode usually allows people to see how bad their choices were before, and become better people.
B. Women should not expect Prince Charming to come galloping in anytime soon (most of us already know he doesn’t exist–hello! I’m 27! Of course I know this by now!), however, “settling” is just sad. Sorry, but I’m not spending that much of my life with someone who is just “good enough” because I don’t want to be alone. Excuse me, but I’m not selling my soul just so I have someone to co-habitate with me. (Yes, I consider marrying someone I don’t love as selling my soul, and if other people do not consider that selling their soul, WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?) I’d rather be alone, thankyouverymuch.
C. The parents grew up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, were high school sweethearts, and were products of the whole “post-war” era. They are from back-woods East Texas and were as poor as dirt. Both of my parents scrapped what they could together, figured out how to get college degrees, graduated, got married, had a honeymoon over a weekend, and then started work on the following Monday. They had four children within about a six year period of time, were constantly trying to make ends meet, and then I showed up seven years later (which stressed Dad out big time—He was just starting to figure out how he was going to send my oldest sister to college). No, they did not have cell phone bills, cable bills, or any of the other stressors that we have, but to say that it was easier to do certain things back then, is something I do not agree with. Just like in the scriptures–it’s all the same stuff that trips us up today, just in a different form from yesterday. I’m not saying you’re a “Child Man,” I’m just saying the reasoning behind your argument doesn’t fly with me.
Ok, I’m done.
Your C argument is super-valid. I wasn’t saying it was easier/harder in the 50’s, I’m just pointing out that times are different now, so it’s not an apples to apples comparison.
Alison: Your B argument is exactly how I feel. Any of us could be married to any old guy right now and be miserable. If I had married 95% of the guys I’ve dated over the years I’d be bored as can be, and would have totally “settled.”
Still, no one is perfect. We just have to figure out which “bad traits” are deal-breakers and which aren’t.
What does the person we are dating do that bugs us?
If it’s something that we can live with, or can be changed without changing WHO that person is, or without making them uncomfortable (like, I don’t know, we hate th way he dresses), then okay. It can work.
If it’s something that can’t change, or we can’t live with (like, say, perpetual lying), then it’s settling. Big time.
Settling is for the birds. But so is not giving it a chance because of petty things. (Unfortunately, I think I do that a lot.) And, yeah, I think Prince Charming would actually get annoying after a while (if he existed, which he doesn’t). Who wants to be around someone that is that perfect? I’d probably end up punching him in the strait, white teeth. Plus, I don’t like anyone who is too charming, anyway. Charm is a big red flag. It’s like a curtain dropped over something that is very, very wrong.
I asked President Hinckley when I was 23 and single if I was going to straight to hell. He told me no, I was taking a detour.
I’ve found that chicks dig dumb guys. That’s why me and Myron Felgewater are married and WhiteEyebrows is not.*
*Myron and I are married, but not to each other. Thank goodness.
I will save my response to this subject for another time.
What I really enjoy is the picture of nerdy men playing video games. Hook a sista up!
A perfect image for the blog.
Someone once old me you don’t have to find the “perfect someone,” just someone perfect for you. I think that’s lots more likely.
My stepmom once told me something that really disturbed me at the time. She said “You don’t always have to be ‘in love’ with the person you marry but you should marry someone that you will always love.”
At the time I was a teenager and I felt so sad for my Dad and upset at her for not always being ‘in love’ with him.
Now that I’m married I understand. You have to find someone that is a good compliment to yourself but don’t expect that you will always agree with them and like everything they do.
Ok, I’m gonna sound like a complete cliche here, but then it’s your fault for letting people comment…
My hubby drives me nuts quite a lot, but the thought of being with anyone else is too depressing and ultimately, just not as much fun. So there!
P.S. I’m hopped up on antibiotics and inhalers, so I’m not making much sense…sorry. Let me try again:
As nuts as he makes me, I wouldn’t want anyone else to make me nuts. He has some bad habits (as I do) he has his faults (as I do) but I don’t feel like I’ve settled. I picked the guy I loved completely who loved me completely with all my faults and bad habits.
Prince Charming totally exists. Prince Perfect does not.