Like many women of the Internet, I read this week’s feminist pot stirrer on The Cut called, The Real Reason Women Freeze Their Eggs. I enjoyed it, and thought it raised some interesting fodder for a conversation that needs to happen.
“I suspected that, for many, careers were a socially acceptable excuse; if you froze your eggs because you simply hadn’t found a partner to have kids with, well, that was embarrassing.
But that was the truth of the matter. I continued to date, sipping listlessly at glasses of wine in bars chosen because I didn’t frequent them. Many of my closest female friends were doing the same. That they were excellent company to be in — smart, compelling, beautiful — did not change the fact that our collective situation was a drag. The people and situations were different but the broad outlines were all too often the same: The dude was cagey. He acted erratically, pursuing and then retreating. He was evasive when confronted with our wants and needs, or agitated, or defensive. Sometimes he simply disappeared. Of course, not all of the men we met and dated were commitment-phobes. But the numbers were significant enough to present a serious problem for those of us who wanted a partnership and children.”
For a while, we were all screaming at single girls that the only reason they were still single is that they were choosing the wrong men. Look inward, we said. Are you choosing the right guys? Are you only looking for unavailable men? It’s probably something YOU are doing to yourself.
What girl in her right mind looks for an unavailable man? It just happens. The real problem is, it happens way too often. How can we tell women that the solution to their problem is to just not choose unavailable men, when it seems like that’s their only choice.
Its not us. It’s them. They’re ALL emotionally unavailable/scared of settling down/stunted/selfish/fucking around.
Ok, that’s a broad, sweeping generalization. Clearly not all late Gen-X/Millennial men are like this. I know, because my own boyfriend of three years is very aware and vocal of his desire to have a family. But despite his ability to commit to me and articulate future life goals, even he gets clammy when the subject of marriage, kids, or forever comes up.
Hey, not to say that I don’t either, but as I round the corner to 30, I’m starting to understand the realities of biology. At my last gynecologist visit a couple weeks ago, my doctor told me that fertility begins to decline at 27. Ok, I get it. Meanwhile dudes can make babies for like, ever.
It’s no newsflash that the schism in the biology of the sexes has been a major factor in relationship dynamics, but mix in the arrested Millennial development into a functioning adult, and every way imaginable to half communicate, and it gets even harder to mind the gap.
Millennial men and women alike are singing the whole summer of their twenties, “We can put off big decisions until later. Let’s sleep with a bunch of people and be weird until that nebulous future comes.” But at some point, women start to understand that if a family is what they want, then they have to start at least THINKING about what that means, and what would need to happen in a time frame. Around the same time, men are like wait, I have more self-confidence and money…being single has NEVER BEEN BETTER. Settling down is the last thing they want to do. Just say no to time frames.
And thus, the desperate woman trope is born.
Yes, those women exist. All types of women exist, including the ones who know they want a family but aren’t looking to get married tomorrow. They just want someone to admit that they want to work towards the same goals together. Someone to commit to the next few months, and see where the year goes. But, unfortunately, all those women seem to get lumped into the first category. At least by all the articles, charts, graphs, and studies I read.
But what about the men? Why are they all so freaked out by that anyway? Not so long ago, success used to be measured by having a home, a family, and a stable career. Of course things have changed, but why are so many men becoming more and more fearful of that life? Why are so many men SO unavailable? I’m asking because I honestly do not know.
Can we possibly turn the conversation around on them? Let’s stop asking women why they keep choosing the wrong men, and start asking the men why they are so unavailable.
The fertility doctor the author saw in the previously mention article put it best:
“It isn’t you,” he said. “All day long, I see patients like you. You’re smart, beautiful, accomplished, nice. It makes no sense. I go home to my wife and I say, ‘There’s something wrong with the men in this generation. They won’t grow up.’”
Every relationship hungry, baby crazy woman on this planet will tell you that, no matter how hard you try, it takes two people to make a relationship work.
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Heather is a contributing editor at the-dah. She is a Los Angeles based writer, improviser, snacker, social media mistress, and aspiring adult. Read more of her food-stained stories about growing up weird at Terrible-Twenties.com, or follow her digital alter ego @MissHezah on Twitter.
datingandhookup.com is a website that explores modern romance in the Millennial era – which, let’s be honest, looks nothing like we were taught to expect. We feature essays, advice and social commentary with humor, compassion and brains, and we vow never, ever to publish a piece called “The 10 Best Ways to Satisfy Your Man in Bed”. Do click to submit your work to us. We love you.
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