Thursday, May 22, 2014

Is there more pressure on "men of a certain age" than women to be married?


In the wake of yesterday's post about a poor life/wife choice of one of the Bougie Brethren, I was flooded via various forms of social media and inboxes to talk about the struggle of the Professional Single Black Male over 35 to wife well, correctly and with some immediacy.

I love George Clooney. As an activist, sometimes as an actor, mostly as ageless eye candy. He looks great, probably smells great, has than killer smile and sense of humor not to mention he's rich as Croesus and an Obama supporter. Yum. But I wouldn't date him for all the waterviews in his Lake Como mansion. (Didn't say I wouldn't sleep with him, let's be honest... moving on.) The chronic commitment-phobe is not my cup of tea. When you have all the women in the world at your disposal, is it really the hotness to continue to dispose of them? Nawl. But I wondered, does he feel any pressure to get married? Are his peers, partners and public relations people hounding him constantly, "Pick one and put a ring on it!" When he runs into friends of his parents (as I did at an event last week) do they ask loudly (in front of your date), "Still not married? But you're so pretty!"

That sound you hear is my teeth gnashing...

Back on topic... Do single men over 35 take the same amount of nonsensical and judgmental backlash as their female counterparts for being unmarried? And does it intensify as they get older? Hmmm...

This threw me off a little bit. It's hard as a single woman "of a certain age" to listen to single men "of a certain age" talking about how they can't find a woman. In fact, my first thought is to double blink at them, hold out my arms to the left and the right and scream, "We're right here, why don't you see us?" And don't get me started on the biological clock we've got ticking while they have no such age restrictions. Latest stats show that for every single male, there are twelve (12!!) single women in queue for them. Twelve. Let's say four are unattractive to you, three are crazy, three are incompatible for whatever reason, that still leaves 3 in the tank. I'm at -7 for finding a dude in my specified age range and preferences. Negative 7, yo. If the one I'm dating now doesn't work out, I'm for the nunnery. For reals. Let's move on.

Any time you start talking about numbers and statistics in the dating pool, that conversation always erodes to both sides listing their requirements and pet peeves and then someone breaks out the tired old memes (Black women this, black men that, women this, men that, expand your search but raise/lower your standards, stop waiting for mr./ms. perfect and just get out there, make a sandwich/learn to cook, take more time to get yourself together as a person)... we've heard them all.

I spent a good bit of time Wednesday talking to the single, divorced dating brethren of these webnets and I have to admit, I felt some sympathy. I talked to one Executive who was told at the company sales conference that if he doesn't show up at the next function with a fiancee or wife, he's not going to get the promotion he wants. Yes he should go to HR but let's look beyond that. His professional life is taking a hit because he's not seen as a family guy. However, the hours he's required to put in are also prohibiting him from finding and keeping the kind of woman he wants. Is he lazy? No. Picky? Maybe. But between going to work and back home, golf on Saturday, family dinner on Sunday, where's he meeting Mrs. Executive? In his words, "Online or hope cousin Pam brings someone cute to brunch."

There's Bougie Bruh, Dr. Martin. Young doctor easy on the eyes, great sense of humor, sane, yet chronically single. He swears he has no time to date but finally admitted that he doesn't want to put in the effort. Yet he does want to end up with the kind of woman who doesn't care if he puts in the effort or not. So he doesn't want to be married to someone who just wants to be Mrs. Dr. Martin. But he wants to be with someone who understands what he's going through. 

I could go on. I heard story after story about how much pressure there is for men to be married over 35. I know that as a single black female, I heard that if I didn't meet the guy I was going to marry in college, it was going to be a hard uphill road. It is. But we never talk about if that also runs true for the brothers. Could it be that the struggle for Ms. Right is just as exhausting as the struggle for Mr. Right?

I don't know, maybe this is all hooey. Maybe they are just cutting a swath through the sisterhood until one day they get tired and say, "She'll do." Maybe we don't shine enough of a light on the male struggle because we're dealing with our own. I don't know. But let the record reflect that I opened up the discussion. And I know everyone has opinions. So let's hear 'em. But hey!! Keep it bougie out there... 

32 comments:

One Chele said...

While I'm sure there is pressure for men over a certain age to 'settle down already', I think the pressure is different and not to the extreme that it is for a woman, especially of a certain age. People looked at Clooney for years and said, 'well, there's a confirmed Bachelor,' and moved on with life. People look at Oprah and wonder why she hasn't married Steadman yet, because her life is incomplete without having made that step. If you hear a woman say she's never getting married, people intimate that there's something wrong with her, maybe men don't want her, maybe she's a lesbian. A man who's never getting married is 'smart' and 'ambitious' and 'knows what he wants' and 'won't be tied down.


While there is pressure-- people see a man settling down as 'growing up'-- it's entirely different from the pressure that women receive because we 'need' men to procreate and we have a small window of time, comparatively, within which to do so. Ed McMahon was in his 80's and still having children. How old is Clooney? Doesn't matter. No one is saying, 'gosh, Clooney is almost 60. Better settle down soon or he can kiss kids goodbye.'

One Chele said...

Well, even George Clooney is engaged and taking the plunge. To a woman he's dated less than a year no less. I wonder how that news went over with the eternal bachelors since they are losing their poster boy.


In any case, it's hard out there in those dating streets, but I'm hard pressed to really have any sympathy. Because as you stated...the women are at -7. At the very least, you have to put some effort in...SOME! We get that your job is your identity, but women putting in all the work, all the effort...you're setting up the scenario after your married that she has an affair with the pool boy because at least he smiles at her sometime.


But back to Clooney, he's a prime example of when a man really wants you he'll do what he wants to keep you. His fiancee was probably a woman who wasn't going to allow herself to be strung along. Kudos to them both. I'm sure the men on here will meet their match one day and follow suit...or let life pass them on by.

One Chele said...

*drops fitty in the offering plate*
Take it a step further and say that marriage doesn't necessarily make a person's life complete, male or female.
AND how I'd rather study long than pick wrong.

One Chele said...

And where is that 12 number coming from?

One Chele said...

I do wonder when I see guys getting past 35 that aren't married - what are they waiting on. Supposedly, the fields are ripe with flowers for them to choose from so what's the hold-up? When I see women still single, I completely understand the struggle. *sniffling over recent break-up*

One Chele said...

there's a level of maturity that is associated with marriage and like the one guy mentioned parts of society looks at men who desire to be on certain status level who have never been married with a big side eye (high level politics is the best example; we will probably never see a single POTUS)

I think the pressure can also be internal. I know for me even being single above thirty I felt a spiritual conflict because the single life did not always agree with what God was telling me to do. You'd be shocked the number of funny looks I got when i told women that I was shying away from physical intimacy. I can even remember one girl asking if I was gay... It was no coincidence that once I found my helpmate many other doors in my life started opening and there was a sense of peace within.

So i think if you are single and cool with playing the field and having a rotating door in your bedroom it may not be as big of a problem but for those men who recognize how time consuming and emotionally draining empty dating can be, it could be frustrating. but still not to the levels that women face (I feel for you ladies)

One Chele said...

"I wonder how that news went over with the eternal bachelors since they are losing their poster boy?"


At least they still have Derek Jeter...

One Chele said...

yeah i think DJ will be forever pimpin never slippin...

One Chele said...

Thanx for the equal time today. I will make sure you are all good with the FEC. To all the woman who never considered it from this angle I will just drop this here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPHO5Brsd3E

One Chele said...

He's engaged. I'm sure he's been engaged before. I won't believe it until there is a wedding.

One Chele said...

He's been married before. Which is why he said he'd never marry again. LOL. I guess he met his match, but we really will have to wait and see. She's kind of bad ass tho.

One Chele said...

I can understand the pressure on "men of a certain age" to be married, because if they're no, the assumption is 1) gay or 2) crazy. But it's different for women, because for us the pressure starts when we graduate. My friends and I are all mid-20s, and the one who just turned 29 told me she has to find a man this year because if not, her chances of marriage drop to 2%. A lot of the guys we hang out with are early to mid-thirties (and one in his 40s), and they're always talking about "in a few years, when the pickin's aren't so slim", and I just want to shake them. I did tell my friends if they want a black man to head to the Coliseum, because the non-athletes aren't checking for us in our particular Northern California city.

I'm loving the daily bougie, btw. :-)

One Chele said...

Yeah Umm... color me bitter but I can't feel sympathy for people choosing between ribeye and filet when others are settling for cracker crumbs. Sorry Chele, I know you were trying to all EEOC round here but no.

One Chele said...

No comment.

One Chele said...

Can you comment on yesterday's shenanigans tho?

One Chele said...

Honest moment - I tend to have sympathy for women of a certain age who are unmarried and none for the men of a certain age who are unmarried. Women generally are the ones waiting to be chosen, while the men are doing the choosing, so in my mind, a man who is 35+ and still a bachelor is either overly picky or crazy or some other negative. Something has to be keeping him from finding a woman he wants to spend his life with. Not saying he has to take the next woman who crosses his path, but if he's serious about finding a mate, he'll do more than just go to work and go home. Lack of time or a dating pool are just excuses to me - it's 2014, there's a million online dating sites, "Its Just Lunch!" is still in business, and there's nothing stopping him from going to a social event and flirting with the ladies. If it's not a priority, just say so.

One Chele said...

To answer your question, there is pressure. Not as much pressure as women face. I'm not in the "what the hell is wrong with you that you can't settle down and find no good woman" age bracket yet but right after college it started. *bruh shrug* I'll get around to it.

One Chele said...

I don't (and never have) bought into the "I don't have time to find someone" excuse. You make time for the things that are important to you. When a man decides that finding a life partner is as important as making partner at a law firm, he will do it. In the blink of an eye. So while there may be struggle for men, it's not on the same level as women face. At all.

One Chele said...

Sigh....sigh...hmmm...sigh again. I'm just going to say it. Men want easy women as evidenced by your post yesterday and by your synopsis of Dr Martin. Not all...of course. But most. If men could simply have sex and nothing more, I believe most of them would be quite content. The woman would have made it easy for them. Easy, breezy, 'relationship'. What's wrong with effort?
In my opinion, being unmarried for a man is not really frowned upon. At least for me it isn't. Men do the choosing. So you mean to tell me that you haven't found ONE woman, out of all the women you date or have dated, who you thought was wife material??

One Chele said...

Same here. I agree wholeheartedly with you. Not buying it.

One Chele said...

I can appreciate this. Thanks for sharing.

One Chele said...

I think those men are waiting on the PERFECT woman. Not perfect for them, but just overrall perfect. Stepford wife perfect.

One Chele said...

Yep...yep. Well stated.

One Chele said...

Can you live with the fact that if you study too long, your might not have nothing to pick? If so, carry on.

One Chele said...

There may be some pressure but not as much as there is for women. When you're a woman it's not just whether or not you'll be married; you get that "biological clock" mantra thrown in your face. And in my own situation my mom has dated at least two men over the age of 50 who never married and/or never had children. One of them is constantly bugging me to pop out grand kids. So shit is weird and I aint about that life.

One Chele said...

*files nails*


So, men get a teensy tiny taste of the bitter medicine women have been drinking since the dawn of time and they are bellyaching about the pressure they face? *peers over glasses* A'ight den.


Finding a person you are compatible with is hard. Finding that person by a certain stage is harder still. Add in long hours, disparate interests, preferences, etc. You get the picture. But I have seen far too many men play the field while saying they were looking for something serious, have different standards for different types of women (i.e. Kiera has to be a 10 in every category, Kikalolu just has to look good [or not] and not make him think too much), stay in relationships with women they have no intention of marrying just because it's comfortable, expect the world from women when they don't even given 1% of that, or feel the need to change/berate/tear apart a woman who doesn't line up with the ever-changing standards they have in their heads to have much sympathy for their plight.


I played violin for 10 years. I can play a symphony on this 1" stradivarius right now.

One Chele said...

I'm 43 and feel that there is an extreme amount of pressure to be married and to have had a family. I was engaged 3 times by the age of 28 and instinctually, I cancelled them. Later I found 1 to be a stalker, another to be a chronic liar, and the 3rd to be a cheat. Now that I'm older I see my friends that were married earlier all headed for separations, divorces, or affairs. Yet women get the perception that there is something wrong with us. Truly a long time double standard in all cultures and I am bi-racial.

One Chele said...

All you have left to do is throw down the mic. This whole post is pure, unadulterated truth! I co-sign every letter.

One Chele said...

I'm sorry, I can't seem to find any sympathy for men on this subject. Men (and people) make time for things that are important to them. They find the time for OT, they find the time to hang out with their boys somehow, so they can find the time to find a woman, if they REALLY wanted.

One Chele said...

My FIRST instinct was to suck my teeth because if you can't find ONE GOOD WOMAN among the many many many many many women out here, in my mind that says more about you than them.

HOWEVER, in the interest of being helpful I share this TED Talk about choice and how, when faced with too many choices people become paralyzed or if they do choose something they are less satisfied with it because, what if they might have been happier with something else? It was interesting and informative and I leave it here for you: http://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwartz_on_the_paradox_of_choice

One Chele said...

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One Chele said...

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