On Our Question to the Straights: Why Are 100 Percent of Our Single Female Friends (and 95 Percent of Those Who Are Married) So Disenchanted with Your Men?

12Nov08

In which The Gay Recluse has a “special comment” for the straights.

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We’re obviously not the first to point this out, but it nevertheless seems incredible to us that our life in the city — as we approach our 41st year — is in some ways a tired script from a ridiculous sit-com.

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We’re talking of course, about dating! Not us, but our friends! Specifically the thousands of ladies we know — talented, smart, artistic, witty, vibrant, financially independent, good-looking (hey, as far as we can tell!) ladies — who are looking for a man, but who in all cases are repeatedly failing to find anyone even remotely plausible.

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Nor are these women we would ever describe as having particularly high standards. Take our friend J___, for example, who just wrote that she was considering a date with a 67-year-old man, even though he listed himself as 55 in his profile (she’s 36) and only disclosed his true age after a few e-mail exchanges. “At least he’s honest!” she said.

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Or our friend S____, who recently received a pleasant “blind-date” e-mail from a friend of a friend asking if she’d like to get together for a drink. She forwarded us the e-mail and we agreed: the guy sounded completely normal and kind of sweet. We were excited on her behalf! “Sure!” she wrote back, “Call me this weekend and we’ll pick a night for next week.” (Which by the way, he suggested.)

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Then he didn’t call until Tuesday of the following week, explaining that he had a friend in town and couldn’t “get away” for the two minutes it would have taken to call. Wtf! Talk about starting off on the wrong foot! How could we blame our friend when she quickly told him that she was leaving the country for the next ten years?

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Then another friend of ours recently had this guy follow her around a bar for the better part of a night, begging for her number so that he could take her to dinner. “I’m very traditional,” he claimed more than once. She gave him her number, and of course he never called.

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We do have one friend our age — actually, she’s more of a frenemy — who goes on many dates with men. But ha ha, they’re all married! (You might say she’s the “cougar” in the bad teevee show that is our life in this regard.)

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So with all of that in mind, we’d like to put the question out there to all you straights, men and women alike: what’s wrong with you? Seriously! Why can’t you treat these ladies with the respect they deserve?

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Why can’t you get your act together, pool your resources and help them find eligible mates? (Which does not usually include drug addicts or closet-cases, btw!) Forget the economy for a second, this is a major crisis!

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These women have played by the rules of society, and yet you punish them by dashing their hopes of love by setting them up with an astounding parade of freaks and flakes! Why?

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If you had your act together, we gays might be more inclined to take your advice on gay marriage a little more seriously! But when we have 10,000 of our closest female friends complaining to us every single day about the Sahara desert that is the dating landscape, you can understand why we’re more than a little skeptical about the “sanctity” of your institution.

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Face facts: you’re a mess, and tons of your own people are suffering because of it. As someone else recently pointed out to great effect: it’s time for a change.

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7 Responses to “On Our Question to the Straights: Why Are 100 Percent of Our Single Female Friends (and 95 Percent of Those Who Are Married) So Disenchanted with Your Men?”

  1. 1 c.

    Cynical, empirical observations:

    A lot of men don’t really seem to like, enjoy, or respect women. These men seem to relate to women as “necessary evils.” (The TV series “Mad Men” does a chilling and expert job of exploring this dynamic.)

    Women seem to sense this, and demand or hope for lifelong, cemented commitments from men, which doesn’t seem to help matters.

    Marriage, as it stands, seems to barely work for anyone, although it’s always looming over straight liaisons.

    A lot of straight men seem to abhor the idea of marriage and monogamy, but participate in it on the surface because it is so virulently demanded of them. Many men and women have families because they’re “supposed” to. They often don’t acknowledge or recognize their misguided choices until after their marriage has failed (if ever), by which point things have gotten quite complicated.

    This puts enormous, distracting pressure on men and women, and must make it difficult to ascertain real compatibility — that is when, on occasion, there is even that goal in common. I expect many straight men rarely have the opportunity understand their real, internal goals, and how women fit, or don’t fit, into them.

    I feel for your female friends. In fact, gay dating is not always much different from what they describe. Except, thus far, we’re excluded from the rigid and historically unequal expectations of narrow, straight culture. Wasn’t it you, GR, who noted, “it takes hundreds of years to undo what took hundreds of years to accrue”?

  2. Thanks for those observations, C. Yes, I think there’s far too much herd mentality on all sides, and I’m always amazed at how often gays seem to strive to replicate the hysteria and misery so often found in the straight world, rather than enjoying the freedom of being “off the radar screen” of “normal” society. Not to mention buying into all of the horrible Hollywood stereotypes about who is and isn’t attractive, etc. etc. This is why I think the ideal solution would be to discard “marriage” entirely from federal/state laws and have a “civil union” that would apply equally to all couples without regard to gender, orientation, age, whatever. Let the churches have marriage if they want it so bad, and let the state push society forward.

  3. 3 Kirsten

    These are helpful, if not outright heartening, realizations. And yet when I contemplate my own relationship failures I also see a string of events in which I approached situations so certain of rejection and disaster that I can now see how my own attitude brought my worst fears to come to pass. Every man I’ve been involved with for the past seven years has gone on to marry the very next person he got involved with after me, making the bromide of their not being ready kind of not really true.

    I don’t date online. I think it is a cesspool of bad behavior, behavior which I myself have participated in. Also: it seems to be that any kind of actions that any person takes before say the sixth date is going to say everything about the person and nothing about the object of pursuit. It has taken me years and years to learn to shrug off early behavior and disappearances–I have so totally pulled them myself, but when they happen to you it is hard not to feel wronged.

    Anyway, all to say, I appreciated this essay. It is true also that I have met many many men over the years who dearly wanted to find love, but because they weren’t the dominant paradigm themselves–either because of their profession, or their looks, they seemed as marginalized and ill treated as the women you’ve described above.

  4. 4 EAH

    I sense this will come out harsher than intended but you probably know why women are disenchanted with men. This question is likely best answered with the question “why is it that we all know of one male couple who has been together for 20 years and every other gay man is our lives can’t have a relationship longer than 6 months?” I think it all builds out from there. If two men have such issues building a life together how could a man and a woman? Certaily not blamig men, just think that the mating patterns of gay males give more clues that will result in an answer to your question.

  5. Thanks for the (always) thoughtful comments, Kirsten. Obv there’s more than a bit of exaggeration/satire in my post, and I don’t mean to belittle the plight of anyone who’s (legitimately, by which I mostly mean earnestly) searching for love, which means basically treating people with respect (or trying to!).

    EAH — thanks for commenting, but I’m not sure I completely understand the gist of your comment. If you’re saying that men are more promiscuous as a rule, I might agree with that, but I’m not sure it has anything (or at least everything!) to do with long-term relationships and the feasibility of finding acceptable mates. And are men more promiscuous? I’m not sure…but I’d like to know more. Any ladies out there want to offer some insight? (But all kidding aside, my guess is that it probably depends on the person — but still, are there broader and valid generalizations to be made?)

    Ultimately, the bottom line is that much of my post is built around bullshit stereotypes that may or may not apply to individual cases; the point was really to show that straight people obv have tons of problems with relationships, with the implication that gay people should have the same opportunity to have problems (ha ha — get it?). Admittedly a bit attenuated!

  6. 6 EAH

    I did realise after I posted that I should have not done so at work; which limits the ability to be clear. What I was driving at is that 99% gay men do not appear to have successful relationships so I would assume a gay man would know more than a straight women about why one becomes disenchanted with a guy. Of course this is based on my experience with friends and family members but it seems that only a few gay men ever manage to commit long term. I do not think this is because they are more promiscuous rather that they spend a good portion of their youth and into their thirties and forties being promiscuous, self absorbed, and carefree. Their perception of age always amazes me. The gay men in my office walk around at 40 genuinely thinking they’re about 25. My observation is that once they decide they want a relationship their totally entrenched in “me” mode and then try to partner with someone else in “me” mode and it all falls apart. Maybe because they are totally not interesting in sharing/building a life but rather don’t want to grow old alone or realize that a relationship doubles their income and cuts their expenses in half? It just never really seems to be based on companionship or love. How does this relate to your question? It seems most men in cities – that are attractive to urban women – are similar to gay men in the ways mentioned above. My completely generalised opinion is that, gay or straight, if a man doesn’t settle down with his partner early he is likely to become very, very difficult to partner with. It seems to me women in cities need to adjust their expectations or become like gay men and expect to have intense, short term relationships with men; long tern, non-monogamous relationships with men; or hope to win the lottery and find a faithful male who is in it for the long haul.

  7. Thanks for the added comment, EAH. I’m not sure I agree with your assessment of 99 percent of gay men — which to me sounds like 99 percent of stereotypical self-centered bitchy queens (which is not really all there is!) — but hey, this post is all about stereotypes, and I ultimately kind of agree with you about realistic expectations and the failure of many to want true love/companionship. But hey, these are tough things, are they not? In many cases, I find that people (male or female, to be honest) ultimately must learn to accept their/our own shortcomings before we can accept them in others, and this is a question that transcends age, sexual orientation and even city/suburb. (Also: I will say that your office sounds amusing, like I want to see a web cam of all those 40 y.o. gays parading around as kids!)


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