We’ve had record heat in the Seattle area for the last few days, so I’ve been getting out a bit – especially in the evening when it’s pleasant – and catching up with old friends. On Saturday evening, I went to a little get together just north of town, and spent the evening with a friend I’ve known since I was in junior high. He’s working-class guy who grew up with a single mother and spent most of his youth in a dissolute manner, sleeping with scores of women, getting high and just working enough to keep a roof over his head and food on his table.
I guess he could be described as “alpha,” because he has had pretty phenomenal success as far as getting laid is concerned, but while we were catching up he told me he wasn’t proud of how he’d lived life as a youth. Now in his mid 30s, he’s settled down with a woman who absolutely adores him, and as far as I know he’s totally faithful to her. He’s a good-looking man, a “tall, dark and handsome” type with strong features, an impressive physique, dark hair and blue eyes. I’m sure he’d have little trouble picking up a woman at a bar, but apparently those days are over. My friend, who I’ll call “D,” actually expressed some regret about his promiscuity. He said he felt as though it deprived him of some of his value as a partner in a long-term relationship, and had introduced an element of cynicism to sex itself.
As we were musing on the follies and tragedies of our youths, which were fairly epic and in some cases very funny and therefore made for good conversation, I noticed something a bit odd. The women, who were generally younger than the men (although the men at the house ranged in age from about 20 to 40), were very polite and deferential. They fetched us beer, cooked and generally looked after their boyfriends. As I spoke with my friend and the other men, they did not butt in and remained silent and respectful. I thought that might have been because they were a bit younger than us, but on second thought I’ve noticed that age didn’t stop women from blabbing when I was in my 20s, and even the younger men were deferred to.
Maybe it was because I had travelled a few miles out of town that the women were behaving differently, but then again, I think there’s a generational component to it. Women around my age (mid 30s) give or take some years, are amongst the most heavily indoctrinated feminists on the planet. Not only do they expect to be deferred to, they also expect to socially dominate wherever they are, be it work, home, school or out on the town. It seems to me that women who are somewhat younger are not all that committed to this kind of behavior, and younger men, as I found out that evening, are all too aware of what men face in society.
Somehow, while D and I were talking, some of the other men started to bring up issues of unfairness in domestic violence cases, family law and so forth. None of them knew about The Spearhead, and D, not being much of a reader, doesn’t even know what it’s about, so they didn’t bring these matters up because of me. It was one of those topics that just comes up because it’s on a lot of people’s minds. Because I don’t really like to mix work and friendship, I didn’t say anything about The Spearhead, but was happy to give them some background on VAWA, family law procedures, and other technical matters pertaining to marriage 2.0. While doing so, I noticed that they were very interested in these things, and cared a great deal. About half of the men had children, some of them were in relationships, and at least one had been married, but whether or not they’d been put through the wringer they all had a basic understanding that as it stands today men are screwed. One of them even said marriage is a sham, and should be avoided at all costs. They didn’t even care that there were young women sitting silently and listening to them.
I have to admit that this was a real eye-opener for me. Because I spend most of my free time with my children or alone, and most of my productive time alone, I don’t have the opportunity to take the pulse of the common man all that often, so to see first hand that there’s been a real growth in consciousness about these issues both surprised and pleased me. That ordinary guys, after the football game is over, get together and discuss the problems of contemporary family law is a huge change from ten years or so ago. Sure, there have long been groups of men who tried to warn us and organized themselves to change the law, but now it’s gone mainstream. To me, seeing it happen so suddenly is like visiting a family some years after they had a child, and seeing not a baby, but a lanky adolescent. The change can be quite striking.
So I think we ought to take heart, and use this progress as motivation to keep it up. I don’t think I’d be taking too much credit in saying that The Spearhead has played a part in this, so I do feel vindicated for putting as much time into it as I have. If this growing awareness continues to expand, we may see some real changes from the status quo within the decade.