Savage Love

The One-Night Stand


I Hate Screen Names @103, wondering if you might elaborate on those "various reasons" why your five middle-aged guy friends can't find the monogamous relationships they want.

Is it easy for you to see from the outside why no one wants to get entangled with these men? For instance, do they present severe challenges as far as hygiene, or depression, jealousy, insecurities, alcoholism, etc.? Or do you think they are basically happy, functional people who would make great partners for someone?
Lava @ 98 “It always played better in the mind, fucking strangers, than it did in reality,
for me.”

RE @ 99 “That often applies to sex in general. Hot in theory -- awkward in reality.”

Not a bookie as some others in here, but wasn’t this the theme in Erica Jong’s “Fear of Flying?” I may be wrong, it’s been awhile…
In other News: Yes I know, not really funny and a guy who wasn’t right to begin with was shot…
Once I heard about the incident at the Baltimore Fox affiliated TV station the other day I first thought someone may have been inspired by Nano’s mom’s prank and took it a step further. The first suspect coming to mind was the only open Baltimorean in here, but now that the dust has been settled he has been cleared:…

@69 seandr: First, please forgive me for posting without first reading the contents of your comment. I saw that you had gotten the lucky number this week and otherwise couldn't help myself. Second: Ouch. I'm sorry you went through that. I agree that it makes no difference on the gender--an abusive predator is still an abusive predator.

Wow. After reading Registered European's link (re: @26) and ensuing comments regarding hookups and casual sex, I'm glad I don't pursue the dating game. Thank you, RE, for reaffirming what I already know, for myself, to be true--that I'm better off remaining happily single and unattached than to ever get unhappily hooked up. Heterosexual vanilla sex was rarely ever enjoyable for me, anyway.
@107 Dark Horse Rising: You offer excellent points, especially #5. I have indeed been there.
@DarkHorseRising: to engage in a thought process about why what they would construe as lucky is not considered so lucky by the recipient.

This still seems defensive to me. Maybe that's because I've got two beautiful women in my house who do feel lucky, even if the attention is sometimes a mixed bag.

P.S. I don't mean to pick on you specifically, your comment just happened to be the one to inspire mine. I'm talking to everyone, here.
CMDwannabe @111: The zipless fuck.…
@115, Surprisingly good Wikipedia article. Thank you.
EricaP @109: It is unfortunately easy for me to see why those friends cannot get a date. One is at least 100 pounds overweight, unassertive, and has codependency issues. Another has almost no libido and his life revolves around video games. Another cannot hold a job for more than two months and drinks like he's still in his early 20s. And so on. They're all good people, and some would make great partners for the right woman. (There's gotta be asexual gamer girls out there!) But none would be conventionally considered a "catch." There's a reason I never tried to set any of them up. :/

But I also have female friends that are similarly not considered "catches," and the ones who wanted to be married all got married. I wouldn't consider their husbands to be conventionally attractive either, but things worked out for them. So in my experience: straight girls who wanted to be in a monogamous relationship could find them, while straight guys may not have been as successful.
@106, Fan. I was agreeing with you. Ditto your opinion.
Forgive me Fan if I got you confused by my lazy word use.
Obviously the males on hookup sites the girl referred to sound like obnoxious creeps. It's a hookup site. Yes be polite as you engage with each other, still it's a hookup site. For females to get all precious because the sort of guys they attract on these sites have questionable social and intellectual skills, is kind of laughable.
nanoboy, I have Mom-envy...

NOPENIS, I have a good trans girlfriend, she's managed to find a good, loving, ltr with somebody who loves her very much for who she is, and it's never been an issue between them. She was also worried for years, that nobody would want her. Hang in there.
And I'm sorry, but there are lots of people out there who will do that to you, and it hurts, but don't let it put you off. No more hook-ups until you're friends at least, with the person, ok? :)

Good luck!!
Yes Fan, being linked to fb is a frightening thought. The crazies can find you there, as the girl in the article found out.
@114. You can pick on me, I don't mind. I'm picking a little bit on you ;).

I 'm not entirely sure what you consider defensive? I like your two lovely ladies, consider myself lucky. Despite a rough start, when I look at it, I've been very lucky in relationships the last ten-fifteen years. Thanks for making me think of it.

If you feel it is defensive for a woman to say that access to casual sex doesn't feel lucky to her, I suppose the answer is that it's both annoying and insulting to have a bunch of people tell a woman that either (a) she doesn't value the right thing (i.e., she ought to value access to casual sex because men do) or (b) that she doesn't know her own mind, body, and desires.

I mean, that type of argument is bound to piss anyone off. I'd wager telling one of the gentleman here who struggles in a sexless marriage that he is lucky to have a wife and who cares about the sex is bound to get a bit defensive too. It's only lucky when you want what the universe is bestowing. Sun may be good for the rose, but not for the worm on the hot sidewalk.
@Lava: I don't know about your ex-husband. But please take it on faith that I actually have Asperger's. Nobody who knows me has trouble believing this.

@Darkhorse: I agree with the things you're saying. I think that, overall, the advantages and disadvantages of men vs. women are roughly balanced. I'd personally much rather get the deal women get than the deal men get, and I personally think that you guys are lucky, but that's for reasons that are specific to my particular situation.

I don't know if I'm one of the guys who complains a lot about not being able to get casual sex, but if I do, please take it as grumbling, not as something that's intended as thought-through, serious commentary.

@EricaP 109: I'm not the guy you asked, but as a long-term single man who'd prefer to be in a good relationship (but also prefers being single to being in a bad relationship), the main reason the women I'm interested in aren't interested in me is that I'm long-term un(der)employed. If I get a good, stable, job, I suspect a long term relationship would follow sometime in the next couple of years.

About "how easy it is for a guy to get a long term relationship with someone who wants to be monogamous" - that's perception bias on women's part. The men women tend to hang out with, not coincidentally, are also the men who are most likely to get long term relationships. Like a previous poster, I know many long-term single men. We tend to hang out together. From a woman's perspective, well, we're not in that perspective.

I once looked at Census results for whether people were in relationships. The chances of a man being in a relationship, according to that particular census (it would have been Canada 1976 or 1981, so a while ago), was 80%. Didn't matter whether he was 25, 45, or 65, it was 80%. On the other hand, the chances that a woman was in a relationship was very strongly correlated with her age. The proportion of women between 25 and 35 who were in relationships was close to 100%. The proportion of 65 year old women who were in relationships was... I forget, but it was much lower than 80%. So very different patterns.
@123. I don't think I've ever heard you belly ache. Really my comments aren't directed at anyone in particular even if the discussion mainly bounced between Bi, Seandr, and myself. Bi referenced this long drawn out discussion we had about the ease of getting some casual action. Bi and I are both Bi and I've been unable to land a girlfriend in a really long time. I'm married to a one penis policy man but I have carte blanch to have a separate dating relationship with a woman. No three some, no involvement from the man, but no luck.

Anyway, I suppose this arose again because of the "dick is cheap" argument. Sometimes I ruminate over stuff on "paper" to clarify my thoughts.

It's funny. I felt I had much less complicated thoughts about sex before I started to hang out here. I said, wohoo, love sex. Married to a dude that matches my sex drive in general so... but now I struggle with the concept of competing sex drives, etc. The hegemony of our bodies, our desires and how they reflect our values. The underlying assumptions when we talk about casual sex or being lucky or unlucky etc.

It's really hard and I guess I am lucky (lol) It hasn't come to my door. I wasn't kidding when I said to seand how lucky I have been. minus some early disasters, I've always lucked out with men who want to please me, try really hard to do it, and largely succeed.

I am also well aware many a man wants a long term established relationship. I'm married to one ;) And as penis girl points out, there are ladies who want casual romps too.

What can I say Old Crow, may the odds be forever on your favor. ;)
Dark @107: Shhh! Don't jinx it. I reported the one who shall not be mentioned for abuse, and I haven't seen him since.

Sean @114: "I've got two beautiful women in my house who do feel lucky"
That's because they have something they do want, not something they don't want.
Right now a beautiful young man is reclining on my couch, in my dressing gown. I feel incredibly lucky as well. This is because I find him incredibly sexy and I know I will see him again, and again. I would not feel so lucky if he'd got up this morning, left, and never returned any of my texts.

IHSN @117: I would argue that at least some of your friends don't want to be in relationships, or at least they obviously don't want to be in relationships as badly as your straight female friends did. Otherwise they'd get stop playing video games and get out of the house, or grow up a bit and cut down on their drinking.

Old Crow @123: There's a difference between wishing you had something and resenting people who have that thing -- particularly if they don't want that thing. I might wish I had huge boobs, but the women with huge boobs have emphatically told me that the reality is not something one would actually want. Oh, and the beautiful young man I mentioned is autistic and works about 20 hours a week in a low paid job. So these are not dealbreakers for everyone.
Biden Fan
Once I'm the PM you get the Secretary of Foreign Affairs position. Needless to say, cabinet meetings will be lots of fun and we will definitely set some dress code vibes around the globe.

@125 That's a bit like telling my obese friend to just eat less and exercise more. Some people find changing some behaviors a lot more difficult than other people do. For instance, my gamer friend is compulsive. Gaming is the *least* destructive outlet he's found-- certainly better than his gambling focus when I met him. And my drinking friend is... "touched." He's not schizophrenic like his mother and sister, but he'll never be a normal guy.

Also, my female friends had /have similar behaviors that they did not need to change to get married. One friend is also a compulsive gamer, and severely overweight on top of that. (She has a high libido, and thus was not a good match for the dude gamer.) She is now happily married without changing either of those things. Another is similarly overweight and has a thing (compulsion? fetish?) where she fucks homeless guys and gets them to pay her for it. She found a husband that was OK with that too.

Bottom line is that straight women usually have a lot more dealbreakers for relationships than straight men. So there are a lot more straight men deemed "undateable" than straight women. Even the female comments above reflect this, dismissing the men they *could* attract as sad sacks. Many of those sad sacks want relationships too!

Mmmm. Now we are thoroughly into the work of anecdotal data.....

My impression does not line up with yours. Let me tell you about a brush up I had with my mom. A friend of my sister really struggles with the members of the opposite sex. He is a bit of a gamer, drinks too much, and struggles with staying employed. Bit pudgy. Nice guy though. During his last span of unemployment, my mom said "oh he just needs a good woman to help him out."

And I went six ways of ballistic. I don't know what young men hear when they grow up but this "poor man only needs the love of a good woman to save him" makes me ill. It's pushed in Hollywood. It is pushed in my life. I do know there is the white knight syndrome.

You read the fact your obese ladies have mates mean men have lower deal breakers. You haven't really talked about whom they married though. It's possible the women have much lower standards than your unmarried guys just for the pleasure of getting married.

My impression is that it is easier for men to find a woman who is willing to commit to monogamy than the reverse, but these are changing societal norms.
@129: I didn't mean to imply my friends or anyone else are entitled to a relationship, and I reject the notion that some gal should "take one for the team" and civilize them. I wouldn't date them were I female or queer, so I can't fault anyone or everyone for coming to the same conclusion.

The guys my mentioned friends married are normalish. Both short and pudgy, both slightly unattractive, but gainfully employed and decent men. So I don't think either of my friends dramatically settled, but a high-powered career woman might think otherwise.

I think Old Crow is right: undateable guys are effectively socially invisible, so much so that woman exclude them when considering "men" as a category. It is easier for a dateable man to find a woman willing to commit to monogamy than for a woman to find a dateable man willing to commit. But once you add the undateable men back, that sentence is no longer true. It is very difficult for undateable men to find women willing to even date them, let alone commit to monogamy. And it is a lot easier for women to find monogamy once they start considering undateable men, many of whom are desperate for anything. But why would anyone do that?
If you add in women over 65, you'll find plenty of them are just as invisible and undateable as the invisible and undateable men. In fact, when they get over 65, these undateable men may find their chances improve.
@54 "I know media likes to claim women want emotional guys who are willing to talk about their vulnerabilities, but this is totally untrue in the wild."

I hear people say this, and I'm sure some are in good faith, so let me make the distinction:

a) Guys who talk about their problems and expect the women in their lives to carry their emotional work.

b) Guys who talk about their problems as part of dealing with them and doing their own work.

These are both different than c) guys who aren't aware of their problems but expect women to deal with them.

B is what people are looking for over C. A is not a win. So you want to notice the difference between A and B.
@131 Fair point, which I unknowingly supported by not considering older people. None of my friends have reached the age of invisibility, but some of my relatives have. Let's just say the stereotypes about cat ladies are not entirely divorced from reality. :(
IHSN@128. You misrepresent me.
I said a woman can walk out of a bar, with one of these sad sacks. That is not to say other men in other situations that one could attrack, are sad sacks.
And those men in bars, waiting to pounce on a female, may very well want long term relationships, it's just not a place Id be looking for one, generally. At least not in any of the pubs around me.
Old Crow, its been a popular label of late, aspergers.
And as Fan points out, so?
We all weird in some way.
IHSN @130: "And it is a lot easier for women to find monogamy once they start considering undateable men, many of whom are desperate for anything. But why would anyone do that?"

Because they want children, is the first answer that pops into my mind. Or because they can't stand to be alone, or because they are tired of pressure from their families, or because they don't think they deserve better. Or because they find that someone who's been written off by society -- for instance, someone with a disability, mental health issues or long-term unemployment -- actually has some wonderful qualities when you move past the tick-boxes of a "good catch." Or is so thrilled to find someone to date him that he treats her like a queen.

I see so many couples where at least one of them seems, to my mind, undateable that there have to be a lot of possible answers to the above, maybe not so rhetorical, question.
Hunter @137: IHSN @117, Erica @131 and I @136 are talking about "undateable" men and women. I believe it was IHSN @117 who first introduced the concept.

I agree undateable is in the eye of the beholder.
Looked for some survey data so we're not limited to a handfull of instances of folks I happen to know. Found this:…

Pew seems to support what I've been saying. 23% of men have never been married, as compared to 17% of women. Women place more importance on more factors in looking for a spouse, with the most stark contrast naturally being "a steady job." However, there are not enough men-with-jobs to meet the demand of women who want men-with-jobs.
So, the takeaway is...what? That many women are mercenary?

That "I want someone stable and reliable" = "I want someone else to pay my bills"?

That the perks of patriarchy die hard?

That "It's true love!" is just self-serving, self-deceiving bullshit?

I must say, if your romantic deal-breaker is a guy's salary, there's really no polite way to spin that.
LB [40] - That "I want someone stable and reliable" = "I want someone else to pay my bills"?
Oh is that what men mean when they say it? Things are clicking into place..

My takeaway was that difficult economic times are difficult for marriage, and women are more likely to drop a burdensome man to take care of the kids than vice versa.
NOPENIS - I'm furious with myself for giving that away for what amounted to a hookup, and thoroughly sorry for myself for it being a "one-time thing," because it nearly always is ... I worry my being trans is the first problem a potential partner sees. I am a man with a twat
What did you risk? Was the sex rewarding? Can you look out for your own interest in the bedroom? Are you good with the genitals that you want to sex up regularly? Are you out there online trying to find those who are into what you have to offer? Is a twat much different than a micropenis?

FRIEND - If you are interested in getting all up in fiance's business.. a good strategy may be waiting til after the marriage.. tell him when friend is cheating.. and let nature take its course.. unless you are trying to marry him instead... still might work as his second marriage.. I'm guessing he's your fantasy match on Fetlife for you to suddenly be so interested in the upcoming nuptials..

Anonymous Fox News Critic - Yeah. I think they are almost as concerned as the marketing industry about raising blood pressure in reaction to trivialities. If it weren't for the political commentary it would just be another vice, which left you emotionally satisfied but perhaps unattractive to others.. but it seems more harmful to society from my perspective.
From the link @139:
"A new Pew Research survey finds that about half of all never-married adults (53%) say they would like to marry eventually"

Not sure how that breaks down by gender, but perhaps it's only 12% of men who want to get married but haven't been able to, and 8% of women. Also, the study admits that it calls people "single" if they're not married, even if they live with a partner.
I have a TV-B-Gone. I have used it in the following circumstances: (a) a {doctor's office/dentist's office/auto-repair waiting room/airport lounge} when I was alone or the other people there were also clearly not watching the TV; (b) a bar or restaurant where there are TVs all over (such that you can't just find a clear corner) and again, my party is the only one there, or no one is watching the TV. For instance, I would never do it in a bar where a game was on or something like that. Nocute, I'm impressed your area has lots of TV-free establishments. The area I was living had none. Every single bar or restaurant had multiple TVs.

That said, I prefer to ask the server to turn it off, and do that whenever I get a decent vibe from them. I like them to know not everyone wants TV around. I'd say it ends up 50/50, people who will turn it off (or at least mute it) and people who look at me aghast and refuse. If I haven't already ordered in the latter case, I leave.

The increasing and insidious presence of noise pollution in public spaces is something I despise.

Late @140: I never understood why men are allowed to want to date (physically) attractive women, but women aren't allowed to want to date (financially) attractive men. Both stances could be considered shallow; both could have a number of good reasons behind them, including the likelihood of the relationship being long-term and stable. And yes, "stable" includes financially. Looking for someone employed is generally a good litmus test for a number of things, including having interests, being competent, getting along with groups of people, being mature, having the potential to raise children, etc. It's not 100% about money.

Tangentially, there's almost no stereotype less attractive to me than an unemployed man who plays video games all the time. And it's not because he isn't bringing in the cash.
@LateBloomer: That many women are mercenary?

Mercenary? That's seems a bit harsh. I prefer to think of them as sex workers.
This Onion article seems on topic here.
RE, I'll read it in a bit.
First up, wtf both of you, Sean and Late. And on Labour day too.
Hey wives of these two, my heart goes out to you. Better luck next time.
Right, RE. On topic for what?
Go, join your brothers in attitude.

Of course economics comes
into any day to day relationship, doesn't matter who it's with. What's the surprise there, Late?
Does the questionaire ask these same women if they expect to be supported. Or is it they want these men to be able to support themselves.
@82 sb53: Don't worry, I'd never snicker at you. Anyway, you can't be very much older than I am, and this screwy, long-haired galoot still learning, too.
@137 Hunter: The term "undateable" could have multiple definitions. I agree with you and BiDanFan @138: Undateable as well as drop dead hot and gorgeous---are in the eye of the beholder.
Late @140: I think the takeaway is "women don't want to support a lazy man."
I've done that. It was no fun.
"Has a job" = "able to support himself," not "able to support me." And is entirely reasonable to expect in a mate, particularly one you intend to commingle your finances with.
You probably find more women have "has a job" is a dealbreaker than men because still more men than women expect their spouse to stay home with the children.
Yeah Lava. There's this "how DARE women expect men to be mature adults before committing to a lifetime of shared finances" attitude going on. No one said women expect their men to have a huge salary. Just a sense of responsibility. Gee, how unreasonable of us.
@145. That is revolting. I guess that means all men are johns.

And re: this meme in several posts about women being mercenary. Ug! won't date that fat girl? Guess you're shallow. Won't date that low sex drive girl, guess you value sex over the person. How shallow. I mean screw the studies that show most ltr relationships crash over sex or finances. All those people must be so shallow.

And that nasty little swipe about giving up the benefits of the patriarchy? Bwahahaah. Show me all these women sitting on their butts eating bonbons.

So I worked pt for several years while my kiddos were very little. I took over running the household and all the childcare duties. Yeah I guess I was sitting on my ass, right? Living off the fruits of my husband's labor. Except my salary and covering for 95 of kids and house duties enabled him to spend many years to finish up his doctorate. Women work as much as men this day and age, thank you very much. And definitely the men who considered me for ltr also considered whether I was gainfully employed or looking for a sugar daddy. And good for them to do it. Smart.

"If you wanna be happy for the rest of your life,
Never make a pretty woman your wife.
So from my personal point of view,
Get an ugly girl to marry you."

- Harry Belafonte
Oh, you'll get no argument from me that men can be daft and shallow in their choice of a mate. And I didn't say it was stupid to care about a partner's salary. I just get a kick out of the romantic rhetoric people use to ennoble the search for a money tree.

Supporting a lazy wife is just as much of a drag as supporting a lazy husband. So why, according to IHSN's survey, do so many more women than men care about their partner's "independence", to use the acceptable euphemism? There's plenty of other ways to measure a person's integrity and character. Yet seventy-eight percent of women consider a man's job "very important". I have a theory about the abiding expectations of patriarchy; BiDanFan has a theory about kids; ciods has a theory that it's not necessarily about the money, it's more about character; what do the rest of you have other than "well I never"?
@140: The takeaway point I was making in regard to NOPENIS is this: men can be socially invisible in a way that women generally aren't (until they reach a certain age). As someone new to presenting as a man, NOPENIS might not know this. As a result, he seems to be attributing his social invisibility to being a transman, but its more likely caused by being a man, full stop. NOPENIS thus might want to work on characteristics that would render him undateable before looking for that LTR.

@143: You can see the Complete Report by clicking on the link on the right. The sampled men were slightly more likely to want to be married someday, but the difference was not statistically significant.

I was using "steady job" as a proxy for "dateable" men. The two are not synonymous, but there's a heavy enough overlap that the proxy is warranted. Certainly did not want to ignite something as prosaic as the MRA-laden "women are prostitutes" nonsense. When I was dating, I too excluded people who did not have steady jobs-- no, steady careers. Because I did not want to support some Do-Nothing Bitch (as Ronda Rousey put it) whose life plans ended at "get married." Nothing wrong with having standards.
Seandr [158 last week] - If I were in the market again, my hope would be to find another career woman because it's sexy for one thing but also so I wouldn't be in a position of having to second-guess her motives. Otherwise, there'd have be a prenup agreement in order to cleanly separate business motivations from romantic ones.
Congratulations, you're a sex worker. Hope you're good at your job.
Well, the last two men I dated didn't have jobs. It didn't stop me from dating them initially. I even fell in love with one of them. But having no jobs = having no income = having no money = not being able ever to do anything or go anywhere beyond the couch. I would happily support a boyfriend if I made enough money to do so, but I don't even make enough money to support myself, so that's simply not possible. I always pay my own way unless my date insists, but since I'm too broke to pay attention, I can't actually pitch in to afford to go to that nice restaurant or the theater or the whale-watching cruise or whatever more than once in a very, very great while, and I certainly can't pick up the tab for both of us.

I'm not looking for a sugar daddy, but yeah, sitting on the couch watching netflix gets old. Am I some sort of materialistic bitch?
LateBloomer @155, taking out the pejorative "lazy," I don't think it's accurate to say that supporting a wife is just as much of a drag as supporting a husband. Certainly, many more men are willing to support a wife than the inverse. Maybe you think that's just men foolishly allowing women to take advantage?

Rather, I think that our society provides emotional validation for women who manage a household (children, errands, volunteering), so it feels like a reasonable life. A wife without a job can still make cheerful conversation about her day when her husband comes home from work.

But our society doesn't provide validation to men who manage a household while their wife works. So a joint marital decision that the man should stay home may be more likely to lead him into depression which may lead to spending most of his time playing video games, drinking, gambling, or other forms of escapism.………
I would think that different things make people undateable to different people. Different attributes are important or more important to different people.
I look around at a lot of people I see and wonder how they ever ended up partnered.

Why would a Heidi Cruz marry Ted?
EricaP @159: I agree, the society makes it easier for women to stay at home, and men to go work. I recently met a stay-at-home dad and I thought that was awesome. But I also think it takes some kinda balls that a lot of guys don't have. Their egos are completely tied up in their work (and society--women included--reinforces this).

In my last marriage I quit my job and took a different one--same career area, but definitely lower on the totem pole--so that I could move to where my husband lived. Theoretically he could have done the same thing to move to where I was, leaving me in my higher-status job, but basically there was no way in hell he was willing to do that.

The compromise was made for the relationship. I was willing to do it; I'm not complaining. But I would have been happy to be the primary bread-winner and worker if he'd been willing to take the downgrade. He wasn't. I don't think this is uncommon.

@158: I'm a little surprised that your unemployed fellas limited their social activities to sitting on the couch. It's been a while since I was a poor graduate student, but I and my friends/dates found lots of things to do that didn't cost money. Off the top of my head:
- Hiking is free.
- The beach is free.
- Camping is free/cheap if you have the gear.
- Picnics are effectively free (just wrap up whatever you were going to eat).
- Speaking of, cooking together can be a date. Cook with wine for maximum enjoyment.
- Colleges have speaking events that are free and open to the public.
- Colleges also have cheap plays and musicals.
- Most museums have a "free" day every month. Those tend to be a madhouse, but not if you go right when it opens.
- Wine tasting can be free, if you stay away from tourist areas (not available in every part of the country, obviously!)
- Most sporting activities are free, once you get or borrow gear. Basketball and soccer only require a ball.

Not saying all of these are applicable, but there's a lot you can do on a shoestring budget when you have endless time for planning. If they spent that time sitting on a couch, then your guys' unemployment may have been a symptom, not a root problem.
Bloom @ 155 “what do the rest of you have other than "well I never”?
I have been a stay home dad with an evening job for some of those years, and it certainly wasn’t easy.
Once single again I was unpleasantly surprised to find quite a few “professional daters” who have all those lists of attributes they’re looking for, and a face to face date is more like a job interview, tricky questions and all.

So after a walk on the beach- and for some reasons everyone seems to have this “I love long walks on the beach” line on their profile- the opera fan suggested we’ll continue to the pet store where she should get a bag of dog food.
Me: So, would you like to meet again?
Other person: Well, I don’t think it will work.
Me: Mmm.. why, if I may ask?
Other person: You told me earlier that you see your ex few times a week.
Me: I said one of the kids is still in school; we cooperate on transportation to and from and are still on speaking terms. What’s wrong with that?
OP: I don’t think this will work. Oh, here is the pet shop on the left.

@162: (sigh) I knew I was going to regret not writing my usual interminable essay just from the outset.

Yes, I Hate Screen Names, I know all those things are possible on a shoestring. I have even actually done most of them or do most of them routinely.

I didn't say that the fact that these men didn't have jobs/money was the reason I broke up with them (though it was one of the things that ended up on a "cons" list if was drawing such a list). Both relationships ended for different, other reasons, or for an aggregate of reasons, only one of which was the lack of job/money. But hey, the reason that one of those relationships ended--with the guy I was in love with--is that he wasn't attracted enough to me. Why? Because I'm not slender. So where was the person telling him how shallow he was? It wasn't me. Oh, no; I said, "hey, you can't be what you're not and you can't be attracted to what you're not attracted to." The heart wants what the heart wants and all that." And then I took my fat, rejected, some might say undateable ass elsewhere. Where I continue to sit, invisible.

But god forbid I have the nerve to want to date a grownup, who has a job and is responsible. Who has initiative. Who can--yes, fuck it--afford to go out to dinner once in a while. Oops--guess I'm showing my mercenary side again.
@162: For the record, these guys weren't grad students and the joblessness is a chronic, likely permanent attribute. And I knew when I met them--before beginning to date them--that they didn't have jobs. It didn't render them undateable to me.

If we all agree that people should be allowed to have preferences about all kinds of stuff, what's with the woman-bashing when a woman wants to date a man who is employed?
Thanks Amos @154 and Harry, very helpful.
I don't get this men are invisible IHSN. I see men all the time. Look, notice. And it's good looking young women who get attention. Once a woman starts pushing a pram, she seems to be not there.
Well I never, Late. What the hell are you on about. Well I never met a kind, rich, handsome, intelligent, virile man, I didn't like.
@164/165: Ah, I think you misunderstood me. I was not criticizing you for whom you dated or why you broke up with them. I was observing that while "unemployed" correlates with "sitting on one's ass," the two do not have a causal relationship (because one can still do lots of things while poor). Rather, they are both symptomatic of another attribute. I'll follow your lead and call it "lack of initiative."

I don't think many people-- man or woman, gay or straight-- want to date someone who sits on their ass all day and does nothing. Who lacks initiative. For men, not having a job is a strong (though not absolute) indicator of lacking initiative, in part due to the large social stigma of being unemployed. The two guys you mentioned provide evidence of that. There's all sorts of places they could have taken you, but they sat on their asses and watched Netflix instead. Because they are Do-Nothing Dudes. Thus women can hardly be blamed if they see an unemployed guy and thing "Oh-uh, a Do-Nothing Dude. Steer clear."

I suspect that many (most?) unemployed guys could become dateable if they could demonstrate that they were not Do-Nothing Dudes. That even though they don't have jobs, they're volunteering with underprivileged kids twice a week, and caring for an ailing parent another two days a week, and working (*really* working) on their album/manuscript/art the other three days. That even though they don't have much money, they're still going to plan picnics and free live shows and wine tasting trips for their girlfriends. That they have initiative.

In other words, I don't think it's the lack of employment that sends women running, although MRA-types like to think it is so they can call women prostitutes. It's the fact that unemployed guys tend to lack initiative. No one wants to date a lump on a couch.
@167: I DID NOT SAY THE GUYS WERE DO-NOTHING, SIT ON THEIR ASSES DUDES. For fuck's sake. I said that having no job, unless you have another income source, means having no money. And having no money means being limited in what kinds of things you can do. And I also said I don't even mind paying, but that I don't make enough money to pick up the slack. I love to cook together and to go on hikes and to go to museums (fyi, I have membership at several arts museums, so I don't even have to wait for the free days and my membership lets me bring guests). I just also want to be able to go to dinner once in a while, or go away for a romantic weekend once a year or so, (and no, not camping), or take a vacation once every couple of years. And I would like to be able to do that with my boyfriend, should I have one. And I can't afford to foot the bill for the both of us to do it.
Why is this so fucking hard to understand?
And one of those guys volunteers with the local historical society and helps his friends with their computer problems. And one spends his time doing fix-it projects for his elderly neighbors. He's also doing research (interminable research for a book he will never probably write). They do things. They are interested in things. I wouldn't have dated them had they been the losers you describe @167
Also, did you see the part where I said I didn't break jp with them because they didn't have jobs? Did you read the part where I said I fell in love with one of them? Did you see that he couldn't love me because I'm not thin? Which is why I broke up with him, because he was perfectly content to continue letting me cook for him, and take him to museums and parties and buy him dinner and go on hikes and fuck him but he just could never love me because in order to be in love you need to feel passion, and in order to feel passion he needed to be more attracted, and in order to be more attracted, I needed to be thinner.

And I just didn't think it was psychologically healthy for me to continue dating someone whom I loved who told me he would never be able to love me, and it was eating away at my self esteem. But guess what? The fact that he doesn't have a job never factored into that break up.
If you are going to respond to me, I would really appreciate it if you'd read my comments and respond to what I've actually written
If I was young and doing it all again, Philo@ 157, I'd do prenup as well. If babies were part of the plan, I'd put a clause in to cover wear and tear on my female body, thru being the child carrier.
That part can play havoc, some even die in childbirth. I'd be expecting a big pay out for all that. Also, if I was the one on birth control, again.. A clause to cover whatever damage to the body thru interfering with the body's workings;
Big, big payout for me.
Nothing at all wrong with wanting to date a guy who looks after himself financially, nocute.

@168/169: Apologies, I did not intend to join a conversation about your life. I was pulling data from your posts to further discuss my takeaway point @156. I will refrain from doing so in the future.
@Dark: That is revolting.

Oh, I was just trying cheer a brother up.

@ciods: women aren't allowed to want to date (financially) attractive men.

Wait, who's not allowing women to date financially attractive men? Let me know his name, and I'll teach him a lesson he won't soon forget.

@nocutename: what's with the woman-bashing when a woman wants to date a man who is employed?

What's with women being unable to laugh at themselves?

I'd say it's a healthy thing for women to deal with male shallowness by making fun of it. Likewise, there's nothing wrong with a little gallows humor to help heterosexual men through the life-draining, soul-sucking, sisyphean challenges they face for having not been born gay. Haven't straight men suffered enough that they should be denied even this small pleasure?
@nocutename: Am I some sort of materialistic bitch?

You're quite the opposite, as I would imagine is true of many/most of the women who hang out here.

I've never harassed a woman for rejecting me on Tinder, or even worse, sent her a message containing spelling errors. And yet such pathetic men do exist, apparently in large numbers.

I don't think we make an especially representative sample.
Yeah. born gay brings its own crosses, Sean.
What pisses me off about you white boys, with what sounds like loving families and enough financial security..
Is you whine about it.
Look around. How many women are single parents, covering the whole story.
Enjoy your time with your wife and kids while you got it. Ten years, kids will be just about gone and you might find the woman gone too.
@seandr: Yeah, well the sense of humor about being painted as a mercenary, sex-trading, materialistic harpy is just not happening at the moment.

For what it's worth, while I have been wooed with misspellings and idiocy (and on OkCupid, not Tinder, which I would never think to use), I've never been harassed or verbally abused for rejecting anyone, either. I don't think that stereotype is as representative as it's made out to be.
@Phil: Congratulations, you're a sex worker. Hope you're good at your job.

In those early years, when she was the one with a car and spending money, I suppose I was. I think she got her money's worth.

These days, she's the sex worker, sometimes explicitly, as in "I'll give you a blow job if you pick up the kids from soccer practice today."

Occasionally I blow my husband, and he says "what shiny thing do you want." But it's a game....

We have fun.

But, it's really difficult to accept hearing one called whore, prostitute or mercenary as a joke when so many many people say it seriously.

In re: the gal who conducts the interview of her date, I know they exist but I think it's in a very specific subset of population.

In re: prenuptial... we discussed of course but we didnt. Had we, I would not have worked part time and he would not have his degree. Only by agreeing to a shared future was I willing to put my own maximum self interest aside.
It often turns into a genitalia war of some sort by Monday afternoon Stranger's time.
No Savage Love Week in Review, Hunter?

Sigh. @CMD so true.

But it really doesn't need to be. Although that "dicks are cheap" wasn't awesome way to start.

No gender has the monopoly on good behavior. No gender has the monopoly on assholishness.

I think Cute had a horrible experience with that last asswipe that just couldn't love her for being too heavy. Jesus. What a dick. To carry on when he knew it didn't work. And you know, Cute. I know you fucking don't believe me, but based on your description, I think our physical condition is not that far apart.There are so many men who want what you've got. God. How do I find them if you don't.
There'd be no genitalia war CMD, if your boys didn't bring it, with their focus on pragmatic women.

In other news:
Aunt Griz and Uncle Hunter were meant for each other-one minute apart!!!

TWIR was pretty good this week.

G. Lava- It won’t help you; I have a much prettier lingerie collection than you’ll ever have.
Seandr [176] - These days, she's the sex worker
Actually, if you care about her continuing to be a career woman and pay her own way, you fit your own definition of a sex worker @145. You'd be among those who cared about a steady job (or career). Like 50% of men and 80% of women. I guess the rest are johns who are fine supporting a mate for ... whatever reasons. Too bad you're not taking your job seriously these days.

there's nothing wrong with a little gallows humor ... Haven't straight men suffered enough that they should be denied even this small pleasure?
Spoken like a true straight white dude who has never really tried on the gay lifestyle because women were good enough.. "We've been persemecuted, man! We should be able to be offensive to women sometimes!" Wtf dude.

If I had to bribe a father with sex before he'd take care of his are just such a tool this week.
Ms Erica - Interesting that you see reports of the househusband problem as being that lack of validation leads to depression, alcoholism, etc. Does that come before or after their breadwinner wives lose attraction to them, or can't one generalize?
Thank you, DarkHorse, for your support. I can't see the guy as a dick. For one thing, he's still a good friend (helped my daughter study for the SAT today/tonight). For another, how can I hate someone because of how he's wired? We like what we like. We want what we want. You can't be in love with someone just because you want to be in love with them.

I know seandr is generally speaking tongue in cheek, but there's such an undercurrent of anger and resentment toward women from some of the men that this issue brought out, and it makes me angry in return.

@183 CMDwannabe: Ha ha! I think that would scare Uncle Hunter off, actually, to consider Auntie Griz as his ultimate match. One minute apart---who knew??
A perk of Patriarchy, nocute. Anger that women think with their heads as well as their pussies.
I'm glad if the men like the women
bring their issues to work thru here. When it becomes a constant low level complaint that life just isn't the perfect story, that family life is somehow keeping them from the glories they know they should be having; and the hide of women to want an adult to engage with, as Fan pointed out..
Why the little lady doesn't love me if she done think like that.
I have to admit that I don't know a single woman my age who doesn't work damn hard. That being the case, I honestly can't account for that 78% statistic--back in the days of committing to a long-term relationship, I don't think the question "Does she have a decent job?" even entered the top ten for me. It's such a bizarre place to go. I guess I just always assumed that I would eventually be making a living and of course that's something I'd want to share with a life partner. Anyway, I found it an interesting insight into how men and women think differently. And I'm glad we could have this little chat about it.

Although I don't know any women who sit on the couch eating bonbons, I do know two kept men. One has a small law firm that his very successful wife only barely tolerates (it's sort of an annoying hobby he has that gets in the way of his helping her have a career and a family), and the other is a stay-at-home dad who trains endlessly and competes in endurance sports. They're both affable and good-looking, and the impression I got from overhearing a conversation amongst some of the school moms is that these women have a hard time respecting them. It's like they aren't being who they're supposed to be, they're not contributing enough, and it diminishes them. So smart, fit, capable men are less-than if they are not earning money, even if they do other things of value. According to my anecdote. And my local morality police.
Kisses and hugs, Late.
Until we meet again.
I hope you set those girls right Late.
Stay at home dads are everywhere. It's a great development in our social story.
Late @155: You could turn the data on its head and say, hey look! Nearly a quarter of women are so unfussy they don't even care if a man has a steady job. See how liberated women are!

Or you could look at it as, more than half of men have no problem with their wives being financially dependent on them, and conclude that this is indeed evidence of an abiding patriarchy. Less than half of men expect their wife to be an equal. Sad.
There are two different concepts here: undateable and unmarryable. The data IHSN linked to is talking about standards for marriage, which may well be different to standards for dating. Many women may be happy to temporarily spend time sitting on a couch or walking on a beach with an unemployed man, but are far too practical to set themselves up for an expensive divorce by tying the knot with one.
Sean @172: "What's with women being unable to laugh at themselves?"
Well, it's not terribly funny following on from LateBloomer's apparently 100% serious "if your romantic deal-breaker is a guy's salary, there's really no polite way to spin that." Women have absolutely no right to insist a guy can support himself? Really? Saying "I don't want to be a sugar mommy" is the same thing as being a mercenary? Saying "I'd like to not have to pay for every date that isn't free" is the same thing as viewing a man as a money tree?
Not funny. Not funny in the slightest. Jokes involve timing, and the timing on this was terrible.
CMD: Yes, you are right. This week the culprits are RE for linking that "dicks are low value" article -- which, while not sexist generally, does appear insulting if you take that statement on its own -- and LateBloomer for saying women are mercenaries for wanting to marry grownups.
I thought the discussion about the "dicks are low value" article was civilized (and interesting), actuallly.
Late @189: Are you sure it's not the other school moms who have a hard time respecting the stay-at-home dads, rather than their own wives?
I don't know. You seem to know, on one level, how damaging and unfair these suburban norms of expected behaviour are, and yet you cling to them as if they are the one true way. Ever thought of moving to a big city? You and your family might thrive once you're free from the 1950s suburban straitjackets which keep you locked in such rigid and unsatisfying gender roles.
Also: as a wise woman once said: love is a battlefield. A place where men and women meet to discuss love and sex will unavoidably have regular outbreaks of "genitalia wars".
The nice thing about the Savage Love format is that we can (more or less) start with a clean slate every week.
FWIW, when I think of "undateable" the first thing that comes to mind isn't no job, but no hygiene.
BiDanFan, I don't think I cling to suburban roles, I generally trot them out as anecdotal evidence to counter the prevailing wisdom here. It's like the world I generally experience gets wished away by posters who want the world to line up with their politics. And it's not like I live in a conservative red state or anything.

@195 -- Yup. I was totally being provocative. But we still haven't established why "wanting to marry grownups" is synonymous for women with "wanting to marry a steady job", but less so for men. Different expectations of partners? Different expectations of marriage? You state it as a self-evident practicality, I'm saying it's a cultural expectation we mostly avoid talking about. Given the tenor of the debate, you can see why.

Now that I'm called on it, I realize the reason I'm so cynical about this requirement from a future husband is that I'm assuming that the women in question aren't holding themselves to the same standard, which is not necessarily true, and if women expect the same from themselves then that's fair.

I just remembered. I do know one stay-at-home mom. She does lots of crafts and painting when the kids are at school. Super nice.
No hygiene and/or undisguised anger. I don't want to deal with someone who's angry all the time. It's just not fun.
I'm also kind of surprised no one took the position that IHSN's stat is concrete evidence how much harder the world is on women financially. The fact that fewer men are concerned about their partner's employability just shows how oblivious they are to their own expectations of a solvent future.

So calling women mercenary is basically shaming them for being at a disadvantage. Classy. I'm willing to auction off this interpretation. Any takers?
@150 Auntie
Dodge! Spin! Thrust! Parry! (See how old I am?)
We''ll probably never meet But I bet we would have fun if we did! ;-)
LateBloomer, hon,

If you personally know more kept men than kept women, why do you assume that straight women don't hold themselves to the same work standard they have for the men they might partner with? You seem to be particularly cranky these days.

The ratio of female to male median yearly earnings among full-time, year-round workers is 82% in the US, 72% in Canada. The labour force participation rate of women/men is 66%/77% in the US, 75%/82% in Canada.

Perhaps both men and women recognize the favourable status of men in the work force - more likely to be able to get work, the work is likely to be better-paid - when they assign importance to the "has a steady job" criterion.

It's also possible that some women foresee infant care as an eventuality that will raise barriers to paid work for them at some point, and would prefer to partner with someone who will be able to help ensure they don't all starve to death when there are small babies in the house.
Mr. Venn @185, my closest friend who has cut back as far as I have on his career (which is to say he still does stuff, but doesn't bring in real money), in order to raise the children -- he's gay. And his husband is still very attracted to him, as far as I can tell, and grateful that my friend does the childcare.

But I hear a lot about how isolating it is for my friend, as a dad-with-primary-responsibility-for-the-kids among so many moms. His own personality isn't the type to get angry, bitter or depressed.... Or maybe, yes, it's that his husband is still attracted to him. You could be right.

But it's definitely a fact that it is hard to be a dad-with-primary-responsibility-for-the-kids, in our society.
(Hadn't seen your post, LateBloomer. Bidding 66¢!)
I recall reading a study that found that women are less attracted to men who provide child care, independent of whether the guy is also making money. Potentially correlated with lower testosterone levels in men who care for children. (…)

Couple that with the stigma toward men who don't make money and... yeah, I can see higher depression levels.
Late @200: "It's like the world I generally experience gets wished away by posters who want the world to line up with their politics."

Speaking for myself, there's no wishing here. I speak of the realities of my world. Okay, maybe I'm discounting the fact that my world is my world because I don't live in white picket land, and I don't live in white picket land for many reasons, one of which is that I wouldn't be able to tolerate the rigid gender roles that (I'll take your word) still pervade that type of life. But when I say things can be different, it's because for a lot of us out here they are.

"I realize the reason I'm so cynical about this requirement from a future husband is that I'm assuming that the women in question aren't holding themselves to the same standard"

And that's a really sexist assumption. "I want someone who has a job so that I can count on them to pay their share of the mortgage and bills" is very different than "I want someone who has a job so that they can pay MY share of the mortgage and bills."

You're on the right track @202. Maybe men don't expect their wives to have good jobs because it's they who are stuck in old-fashioned, patriarchal expectations that a wife's job is unimportant, the man is the breadwinner, the wife will quit or at least reduce work when the kids arrive. It's pretty depressing to read that 54% of men don't want a woman whose career they can respect, because they intend to wear the trousers. (That's no less charitable an interpretation of the results than yours.)
IHSN @207, there's also data showing that men who are financially dependent on their wives are more likely to cheat.
"The influence of dependency on men’s infidelity is greater than the influence of dependency on women’s infidelity. For economically dependent persons, infidelity may be an attempt to restore relationship equity; however, for men, dependence may be particularly threatening. Infidelity may allow economically dependent men to engage in compensatory behavior while simultaneously distancing themselves from breadwinning spouses."

EricaP @209,

There's an alternate interpretation of the data in that differing reproductive strategies differ in both parental and spousal investment.

There's high-parental-investment strategy where you have a few kids with a tightly-bonded partner and look after them really really well. And the low-parental-investment strategy where you have kids at every opportunity with any co-parent you can, and some of them are bound to make it. People who use the LPI strategy don't need to make a lot of money. What they need is free time for cruising. So one might hypothesize that economically dependent men are more likely to be operating with an LPI strategy, care less about making enough money to send the kidlets to private school, and care more about hitting on the babysitter. They aren't threatened, they're doing exactly what they want.
Hitting on the babysitter, Alison.
Good points. Yes, lots of men are finding ways to be stay at home dads with flair, just like women have done.
You gotta be creative with the little devils, I mean sweethearts. Following a child's pattern as they grow, can be enjoyable.
If people dont want to go the child care route, it's because they can afford it and that's how they want to raise their kids.

BiDanFan -- "And that's a really sexist assumption." Well, only if it's not true. We're getting some corroborating evidence here that the desire for a working man is just as much cultural as practical. It's just not polite to say so. You think all the starlets chasing the Donald are motivated by his personal charm? So why would a middle-class woman chasing a bland young doctor be motivated any differently? The only question is whether we take that cynically, or affectionately, or resignedly, or cheerfully.... Flapping the hands and pretending it isn't so doesn't wash, though. Not that you're hand-flapping. I speak generally.

And clearly, much of the assembled company--you and nocute and DarkHorse amongst others--don't buy into it, and live that. Same with a lot of women I know. And yet...these are the same women who feel vaguely unattracted to good-looking stay-at-home dads. Strange.

Unlike you, BDF, I actually don't mind traditional gender roles. That's not the issue. Mrs. Bloomer and I divvied up the marital duties in a fairly traditional way, and as a feminist, I'm totally okay with that. Being the breadwinner suits my temperament, up to a point. I don't believe it entitles me to a greater share of the glory, it was just a practical solution that made good use of Mrs. B's greater patience with young children and higher tolerance for domestic stuff--not that she is able to do that for more than a few years and stay sane, which is also fine.

But I think of being breadwinner as playing a role--I put on the suit, I go to work, I act responsible. And I've noticed that the more thoroughly I embrace that role, and the more obviously I present as a salaried dude with status, the more attention I get from women. I don't know, call me naive but I find that off-putting. Like, the most attractive thing I can do is look like more money. So much for my personal charms, you know? Such as they are. So I'm opting for the cynical interpretation this week because I feel like being a contrary tit.

You know, I guess I am being kind of cranky lately. Thanks for the heads up on that, Allison. I think I better excuse myself, go sort out my shit and come back later.