It’s curious to see how so many women complain about men’s “extended adolescence” when so many of them put off marriage and children until the very last minute. For a woman, growing up has even more to do with marriage and childrearing than it does for a man. However, as usual, the blame for women’s extended period of screwing around in school, some corporate job or whatever they chose to focus on instead of family falls on “immature men.”
A lot of these women could easily have settled down with some decent guy in their twenties and put off the graduate degree and career for long enough to have a couple kids and raise them to school age, when she can go back to work. For a typical woman in her mid-20s, she could accomplish this quite realistically by her early 30s, and then, if she wants, she could go back to work, get that higher degree, or start some small business. In fact, a lot of what people (men and women alike) do in their 20s is a wash in many cases anyway, so it would probably at least guarantee she did something productive during that period.
But there are no do-overs where age is concerned, so we find a large pool of single women in their 30s suddenly deciding that they want the family that would have been best started some ten years earlier. These women are staring the “game changer” right in the face, and finding that although they thought they could hold out for something better, it is now the men of similar age who have that option. Hence all the endless whining and complaining about men being “afraid of commitment” or “immature.”
This is the root of all these complaints — the women making them are upset about the fact that men will not commit to them, personally. Ironically, the same men would have been much more eager to do so some ten years prior, but things have changed.
So what is a potential solution for these women facing a ticking biological clock and a much more difficult mating market? Unfortunately, for many of them there probably is none. Too many guys over the age of 35 have grown cynical, know that the pickings are easy, and are far from excited about the prospect of settling down with a harried wife and chaotic children. Young men are idealists, and really clueless. I was one at one point. I loved the idea of family and children, and could only imagine happy times with kids and domestic intimacy as some kind of heaven on earth. The reality turned out to be far different, but I still wouldn’t change things — kids have a very strong pull on one’s heart.
This idealism wanes fast for men. Those who haven’t had kids by 40 are not likely to ever do so, so what is the career woman in her 30s to do?
I don’t know that I should even give women any advice on the subject, because the issue is fraught with danger for men, but the word will get out there one way or the other so might as well.
For women who have aged out of the prime mating market and are approaching the game-changing event that occurs in the mid-30s, there is still some hope, but it involves a betrayal of feminist principles as well as setting aside some of her youthful expectations.
There is one group of men out there who are more likely to look favorably on the idea of a more mature woman with a career, and possibly having a kid or two with her. Given the financial, emotional and practical realities of divorce and custody issues, divorced fathers are a relatively easy catch for a woman who is past her prime mating and marriage years.
Men in this situation have generally proven that they are willing to be parents, settle down and give it a go. Some have rejected the idea entirely, but by no means all. They are also more likely to value a woman who can support herself and will be much more hesitant about getting involved with another young, unproven woman. Most will be emotionally and financially damaged to some extent, but if they survived the divorce onslaught and managed to keep it together they’ve proven themselves fairly resilient, resourceful people.
A lot of women dislike the idea of getting involved with a man who already has children, but such a man is nowhere near the liability a single mother is. Although single mothers are almost universally made out to be victims in mainstream culture, these days the opposite is generally the truth — they have victimized some man in their life with no regard for him or even the children she had with him. Men rarely do that, and they are prevented from doing so by the law in any event, so a single father is not much of a risk in that regard.
Finally, the guy already knows how to handle kids. He won’t be starting from scratch. This makes a big difference, and if he does go along with the idea to have another kid, it’s going to be much easier than it will with a childless man of equivalent age who has already become rather set in his ways and habits.
So, for the women who are complaining about men who “won’t grow up,” the problem is that they haven’t considered that there are plenty of men who already have, and got burned for doing so. These women actually have an opportunity that is better than fair, and gives them a break they never would have had in days past.
Like so many other things today, the field is tilted in favor of women even when they’ve missed their first chance. So, next time you hear some woman whining about how men won’t commit, remember that there’s absolutely no reason to feel sorry for her. Due to the reality that divorced men face today, she still has plenty of options, and if she still can’t figure that out then, really, who’s the one who hasn’t grown up?