It’s February, the Month of Love. As such, it’s a good time to talk about relationships and such.
There was some speculation in the comments of this blog a few weeks ago about my relationship status. Alys and Audre were discussing whether or not they should buy garish (they didn’t use that word, but I can only assume) hats for hypothetical nuptials.
So, here I am at thirty-seven, unmarried and hanging out with my dog. Frankly, I enjoy it. I keep busy with a lot of projects and side gigs, as well as my main job, and after living on my own since I was twenty-one, I have grown accustomed to being alone (now with a chubby canine sidekick).
Of course, my fat dog and my hobbies won’t change out my catheter or perform the Heimlich when I choke on Chef Boyardee. Having someone around to wipe the creamed corn from my chin when I am old would be nice.
These days, though, I’m pessimistic about the odds. A couple of years ago, photog over at Orion’s Cold Fire addressed the issues facing conservative Christians and modern dating in a piece calling for the return of matchmakers.
Two years on, the situation has only grown bleaker, and not just for yours portly (though I do think my advanced age psychologically is disqualifying for a lot of women; “thirty-five” sounded better than “thirty–seven”; the latter smacks of being too close to forty, which I suspect is across the Rubicon for the kinds of women I like). I detailed some of the problems in a series of comments on photog’s post two years ago.
Here is what I wrote at the time:
Dating is a real wasteland, photog, as you correctly intuit. My very sweet (now ex-)girlfriend of about a year broke it off with me a couple of weeks ago—a hard blow, but necessary, and there are no hard feelings—but I was reluctant for things to end because of how awful the dating marketplace has become. Women make a virtue out of being crass, and it kills me how many women flount [sic] their “fluency” in “sarcasm” as a positive trait.
I’m thirty-five, so I can’t be overly picky, but is it so much to ask to find a good Christian girl who is kind, supportive, and traditional? Such women are, increasingly, unicorns.
The frustration I and other young(ish) men face is that we’ve done everything right, and are pretty solid on paper. I’m financially stable, a homeowner, debt-free, hard-working, reasonably competent, a hustler (in the sense that I’ve always got some lucrative side gigs going), multi-talented (musician, writer, etc.), funny, and am affable and agreeable—and, at the risk of sounding arrogant, I would say I’m reasonably handsome (and I dress well, but not ostentatiously). In a better, vanished time, I’d have several kids by now, or at least would be swimming in babes.
And before anyone says, “No one deserves a date,” that’s not what I’m saying. And, sure, I have my flaws—many of them—and can be difficult or ornery about certain things. Who isn’t?
But if a guy like me—kind, talented, not deformed, hardworking, sober, stable—struggles, what hope is there?
It’s rough. I like the matchmaking idea.
Of course, about five days after I wrote that post, I went out with my most recent ex, and proceeded to do so for nearly two years. While that didn’t work out in retrospect, the situation wasn’t completely hopeless. She was a good woman who knew how to cook and bake (and liked doing both), and was interesting in quilting, sewing, and even mild homesteading.
She was also a Branch COVIDian and a lukewarm Christian, but in this age, men—at least not in my position—don’t have the luxury of making those disqualifying qualities.
I dabbled briefly in the dating apps again, only to find them fetid pools of squalid mediocrity and lasciviousness (even the purportedly “Christian” ones!). The trend now is for girls to use apps as a funnel to their Instagram and Snapchat profiles; from there, they can increase eyeballs and get paid to endorse products as influencers (or, as I am finding to get clients—many of them are real estate agents). They also use these apps to lure men to their OnlyFans accounts, where they engage in pornographic e-prostitution.
If it’s not that, it’s a plethora of single mothers. I feel for single mothers, as many of them were taken for a ride (in more ways than one) by some unscrupulous baby daddy. By that sympathy only extends so far: asking me to raise another man’s child is a big request. I’m personally not comfortable doing that in the vast majority of cases, unless the woman were tragically widowed or the like. That’s perhaps to my detriment, but the notion that any man should be guilted into taking on the burdens of someone else’s poor decisions is absurd.
Of course, there are plenty of single mothers who fell for the modern feminist mantras about “making it on my own” and being a “strong, independent woman.” Our society lavishes single mothers with praise, acknowledging (correctly) the challenges of raising children alone while also (incorrectly) taking that as a sign of virtue. Any woman with children who has left a good man (not talking about an abuser or the like) just because she thought she had better prospects or he didn’t “treat me like a queen” is a wicked person.
These are the same women who will write that their kids are “my whole world.” Note that this same phrase is how childless women describe their pets.
Ladies, I probably don’t have the luxury to expect this, but here is a pro-tip: men do not want women who are “fluent in sarcasm” and who don’t know how to cook (sure, I can cook for myself, but it tastes better when you do it). We don’t want to date our “bro” or “one of the guys.”
You don’t have to be super hot or sexy. Just be real, humble, and supportive. Seriously, that’s all we really expect. Men are turned on by pretty much anything, so unless you have a goiter growing out of your neck or are missing limbs (and some freaks are probably into that, too), we’ll find you attractive—if you are kind and supportive. I tend to date very educated women (the last three were an attorney, a psychologist, and a chemist; my very first girlfriend ended up as an archaeologist), but, honestly, I would happily date a hairdresser or a waitress if she trusts my leadership and is kind-hearted.
After a few bad experiences (and one particularly harrowing one), I ditched the apps—which, just a few years ago, worked pretty well for getting dates with reasonable, normal women—and am just going to be content hanging with my dog and playing piano.
To that end, here I am covering Heart’s “Alone“:
I committed the cardinal sin of filming this in portrait instead of landscape, which might explain my recent lack of success with the ladies.
This post is not to be bitter or jaded; instead, I hope it is a clear-eyed (and humorous) assessment of the current state of dating and relationships in 2022.
Bring on the matchmakers.