Southern Man

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Day After

So Valentine's Day has come and gone and as previously posted Southern Man had good times without the company of the fairer sex. But this begs the question: what about next V-Day? Should Southern Man be shopping around for his next LTR?

This article by author Kay Hymowitz contributes a bit of truth about Single Young Men:
But this history suggests an uncomfortable fact about the new SYM: he’s immature because he can be. We can argue endlessly about whether “masculinity” is natural or constructed—whether men are innately promiscuous, restless, and slobby, or socialized to be that way—but there’s no denying the lesson of today’s media marketplace: give young men a choice between serious drama on the one hand, and Victoria’s Secret models, battling cyborgs, exploding toilets, and the NFL on the other, and it’s the models, cyborgs, toilets, and football by a mile. For whatever reason, adolescence appears to be the young man’s default state, proving what anthropologists have discovered in cultures everywhere: it is marriage and children that turn boys into men. Now that the SYM can put off family into the hazily distant future, he can—and will—try to stay a child-man. Yesterday’s paterfamilias or Levittown dad may have sought to escape the duties of manhood through fantasies of adventures at sea, pinups, or sublimated war on the football field, but there was considerable social pressure for him to be a mensch. Not only is no one asking that today’s twenty- or thirtysomething become a responsible husband and father—that is, grow up—but a freewheeling marketplace gives him everything that he needs to settle down in pig’s heaven indefinitely.
Hymowitz is correct: it is marriage and children that traditionally have transformed boys into men, which explains her whining at the end of the article that adults are made, not born. But what is it that men require in a marriage? Southern Man proposes the following, in order of importance:
Men crave unconditional respect from their woman
Men must be needed by their woman
Men should be loved by their woman
But in today's anti-male society women have forgotten the wisdom of the Apostle Paul and respect is off the table. I doubt that one woman in twenty really understands that a man's need for unconditional respect from her is every bit as important as her need for unconditional love from him. And needed? The Nanny State takes care of women from birth to death; a strong man is no longer necessary; a throwback, an anachronism, a curiosity, even something to avoid. And just love is not enough. Sex is hardly worthy of mention; all men know of the sex-drive-killing properties of wedding cake.

Dr. Helen responds to Hymowitz with this:
Nowadays, for many men, the negatives of marriage for men often outweigh the positives. Therefore, they engage in it less often. Not because they are bad, not because they are perpetual adolescents, but because they have weighed the pros and cons of marriage in a rational manner and found the institution to be lacking for them. It’s a sensible choice for some and the video games, magazines, and humor websites that Hymowitz disses are a way to fill one’s time with fun activities that don’t tell you that you suck, are an “unfinished person,” emotionally detached or on your way to jail for fake domestic violence charges. People used to treat men better than this.
Not to mention financial devastation and the loss of your children when she leaves you for no other reason than "I'm bored" or "I just don't love you anymore" - as has been the case of so many of Southern Man's acquaintances. Good men, all of them; hard workers and faithful husbands and loving fathers who worked their fingers to the bone to give their wives and children everything they wanted - only to be dumped on the side of the road in favor of whatever "bad boy" caught her wandering eye, betrayed by a court system fully oriented to her needs and fully accepting of her lies, with no money (and likely as not a mountain of her debt), no property, the oldest of the family cars, and the privilege of surrendering much of their remaining income to alimony and child support. But you'll get to see your progeny every other weekend, if you're lucky, while she lives a life of relative leisure on her income, plus a big chunk of yours, plus that of whatever sucker she weds next. There were many years when Southern Man was paying the equivalent of his ex's rent, utilities, and car expenses; he was working two and three jobs at a time and subsisting on beans and cornbread so that he could maintain a home worth visiting while she and the kids ate out every day.

Men are forged by their experiences, and Southern Man's marriages (yes, plural) are part of the fire that made him, for what it's worth, into the man he is today. And he wouldn't trade his three children for anything. Not anything at all. But he learned a lot of these lessons much too late in life.

Southern Man does occasionally dabble on the dating sites, just to see what' s out there. It's women who divorced perfectly good men, had a few flings, and are now lonely and desperate to remarry before all hope fades. Their profiles are filled with requirements: height, weight, income, personal habits. Southern Man amuses himself by asking them "what do you have to offer me?" Most of them have no idea. Most of them are so accustomed to their pedestals that they are offended that the question was even asked. Where are all the good men, they lament. Well, we've all been burned too many times and are no longer interested in yet another soul-sucking drama-filled relationship. And we finally understand that marriage is an institution that gives the woman much of what she wants, but takes away much of the life he desires. As MLK famously said (in another context): Thank God Almighty, free at last! Free to live our own lives, not theirs. Free to fully partake of the fruits of our labor. Free to return to the liberation and fun of our younger years. Free to be Peter Pan once again, and this time never grow up. For what does "grow up" mean, other than conforming to what some woman wants? I've done what women wanted for my entire adult life. It's time to do what I want for a change!

Southern Man will do his best to communicate to his son the hard truth: unless you really, really want children, do not marry. And if you do, start preparing for the inevitable wife-initiated divorce from the very beginning. What he will tell his daughters will be left for another post.


At Saturday, February 26, 2011, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great post Southernman.

I saw your comment on Roissy's "life trajectory" post and I've added you to my blogroll.

At Thursday, March 31, 2011, Anonymous HR Lincoln said...

Well done, SM. I'll be sure to come back for more.


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