Why is the marriage deck stacked against women?

Haley revisits the issue of settling in her thoughtful post titled Charlotte Lucas did right. She walks us through the plot of Pride and Prejudice to describe how a pragmatic woman might want to view her marriage options:

When Elizabeth vehemently rejects a proposal from her cousin Mr. Collins, a clueless, pompous clergyman, Charlotte swoops in and snags him.  Elizabeth is shocked upon finding out and can’t believe Charlotte would give the doofus the time of day, but Charlotte calmly reminds Elizabeth that she is not a romantic and that given Mr. Collins’s material assets and social standing, she figures her chance at happiness is as good as anyone else’s who marries for love.

Shortly after Charlotte’s marriage to Mr. Collins, Elizabeth visits her friend for a few weeks, and through her eyes Austen reveals that Charlotte deals with her marriage by intrepidly avoiding her obnoxious husband whenever possible and politely not seeing his faults otherwise.  She is depicted as a tolerant and intelligent wife, if one who openly settled for a man she didn’t love.

I have already shared my view that women shouldn’t settle, and should only marry if she and the man are head over heels in love.  While I agree with Haley that falling out of love isn’t justifiable reason for divorce, I wouldn’t advise a man or a woman to enter into marriage where love and chemistry wasn’t at least present in the beginning.  Haley has a different take on this, and explains how she thinks a woman might reasonably chart a different path:

Charlotte, old by the standard of the time and not pretty, had two options:  either remain a spinster and continue to live at home with virtually zero hope of ever marrying, or marry an obnoxious lunk and get to be mistress of her own house.  I think she made the right choice.  Collins is not depicted as type who would notice that his wife had very little affection for him; in fact, he comes off as kind of asexual.  The world is not everyone’s oyster, and given the circumstances, I think both characters made out about as best they could.  It would have been very difficult for Mr. Collins to find a wife who would have fallen in love with him, and nobody was beating a path to Charlotte’s door otherwise.

Haley acknowledges the moral ramifications of a woman marrying a man she doesn’t love;  in her zeal to avoid having no choice at all, she is potentially doing him great harm by depriving him of the option of marrying a woman who does in fact love him:

Would I encourage a modern-day Charlotte Lucas to make the same choice?  Maybe.  If marriage is what she really wants and she understands its obligations and is prepared to fulfill them, then I don’t see the harm in accepting the non-ideal but only offer on the table.  The success of a marriage is due largely to the actions of both parties after the vows.  If the actions are good, I think both people will be better off than if they had remained single.

This is a complex issue, and I think Haley has navigated it with skill. However, as I mentioned earlier I disagree with her final assessment. While in theory it might be possible for a woman to avoid harming a man she (selfishly) chose to marry by acting the part of a loving wife, in practice the likelihood of her being able to follow through with this intent strikes me as unacceptably small.

As we discussed this in the comments section Haley made the following point:

I don’t want to speculate on Mr. Collins’s sex drive (EWW), but I’m sure Charlotte was mentally prepared to grin and bear it for the 15 total minutes per week she had to.

The novel also doesn’t seem to indicate that Mr. Collins doesn’t like Charlotte. He is depicted as a “love the one you’re with” type.

This is the very heart of the issue.  Neither one was the cream of the crop, but both still have the right to at least have a chance at being loved.  Mr. Collins doesn’t play a script in his mind saying I was forced to settle.  He loves her as a husband is commanded to love his wife.  Charlotte on the other hand does not appear to do this.  She tolerates the man she married, acting as if she did him some profound favor by pretending she loved him.  When I pointed out that She wasn’t settling. She was marrying an equal, Haley replied:

Please tell me you haven’t read the book. Mr. Collins would be a punishment to any woman above a 1.

Haley is right that I haven’t read the book.  No man worth his mancard would read such a thing without the greatest of coercion, which I thankfully have escaped.  I have no choice but to take Haley’s learned word here.  Clearly the marriage deck is stacked against women. This would explain why we so often hear about women being forced to settle, but rarely if ever hear this about men. For some reason men are always able to marry someone they actually love, but women don’t have this option. I’m generally a skeptic of feminist theory, but this is obviously a case where the patriarchy has stacked the deck against women.  This also might explain why women are far more likely to be the ones to initiate divorce.  These poor women are forced to marry men who are beneath them.  While I have to give the patriarchal conspirators their due for this diabolical plan, I think it is time we called them on it.  This injustice must not stand.

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62 Responses to Why is the marriage deck stacked against women?

  1. JD says:

    “No man worth his mancard would read such a thing without the greatest of coercion, which I thankfully have escaped.”

    Hey now! Actually Jane Austen’s books were a lot more than just girly romances – some fine wordsmithing and an oft-times satirical look at the world in which she lived. You might even enjoy Pride & Prejudice! And for those times, yes, getting married to someone you didn’t actually love might have just been practical good sense. After all, the average lifespan was far shorter and most people just didn’t expect much more than duty from their spouse. A man of Mr. Collins’ rank in life was just expected to be married; love was not a requirement.

    I completely agree with you on only marrying if you are “head over heels” – if you don’t even start out with that foundation, it’s going to be easier to give up. We’ve had tough times in our marriage – almost went the divorce route at one time, but the happy memories and that spark of “head over heels” was always there and it was enough to get us both working on the problems and save the marriage.

  2. Hahahahahaha

    You’re a man?

    I never would have guessed.

  3. L'economy says:

    Perhaps the reason why women are more likely than men to settle is because they have higher expectations prior to searching for a mate. If you have a laundry list that has a million items that must be met before you give a man the time of day, your choices are, naturally enough, going to be a) settling or b) singlehood. Given that women are more valuable then men, at least in terms of procreation, it makes sense that they would command a higher market value. The rub, it appears, is that women have a greater tendency to overestimate their market value, which generally makes for a difficult wake-up call.

    The other possibility is that men have lower standards in general. Both my sister and I are currently single, and I have noticed that she is far pickier about men than I am about women. Her checklist is a thousand items long; mine is: 1) is she attractive and 2) would she be a good mother to any potential children we may have? (There are other concerns, but any woman who meets the first two requirements is a woman I will at least ask out). Frankly, it doesn’t take much to make guys happy. The same cannot generally be said for women, in my experience.

    A final thing that may influence this discrepancy is that men tend to be more romantic than women. This is evidenced, first and foremost, by most men’s general willingness to “white-knight” on behalf of women. Another that has been true, at least in my experience, is that men are more likely to like the ideal of marriage, whereas women are more likely to like the ideal of a wedding. This indicates that men are more attuned to the long-term while women are more focused on the short term. The general behavior of American women in this era certainly supports the second proposition.

  4. terry@breathinggrace says:

    I don’t think the marriage deck is stacked against women. And while I don’t believe in the idea of a soul mate, per se, I do agree with you that a couple should be in love when they marry. JD is correct when he says that the spark of chemistry does wonders for a marriage when challenges arise. You need to like the person you married or you’ll bail. This is not the smae era in which Jane Austen wrote. Women have “choices.”

    I have read P&P, and am actually reading it again after watching the feature film recently. The film (starring Kiera Knightley as Elizabeth Bennett), does a good job of making Mr. Collins line up with Austen’s description of him. And as bad as he is painted, I have a difficult time believing that any person is beyond finding someone to love him (or her).

    But as usual I digress. I was saying that I don’t think the deck is stacked against women, but rather that women stack the decks against themselves. Unlike Charlotte Lucas, most women today are still single a t 28 because they had “better”, more important things to do than get married: Finish college, start their career, enjoy the company of men that aren’t marriage material, travel, etc.

    Then they look around at 30 when the sound of their biological clock is keeping them awake at night and lament that they had to “settle” so they didn’t end up alone. I have heard from many women my age or a bit younger that I was “lucky.” That I can’t relate to the dilemma. I don’t think I was lucky, or even that much smarter than other women. I just didn’t wait.

    I was fortunate to meet a guy with whom I shared a great deal of chemistry, who was husband material, and amazingly, wanted to be a husband at the ripe old age of 20. We took the leap. Who knows when or if the stars would align that way again any time soon?

    I also think women underestimate the value of our youth and the fact that youthful beauty (and the fertility it advertises) is a commodity when it comes to marriage. A commodity with a definite shelf life.

  5. Fourmyle says:

    Women more often need to “settle” because their standards are subjective, rather than objective. Advances in nutrition and cosmetic surgery could render every woman attractive, but no future technology could possibly make every man a leader.

    That’s why polygamy is naturally attractive to women. They do have to share, but they don’t have to settle.

  6. The problem is that these days female 5s think they should marry a male 7 or even 8. When they marry a male 5 they think they got cheated.

    It’s all their perception of reality.

    It’s specially the ones that screwed around in college with 8+ males in hook ups that especially tolerate their 5 husbands.

  7. JackAmok says:

    The deck is only stacked against women who remain under the sway of the dynamic duo of hypergamy and polygamy.

    The distribution of men and women across the 1-10 scale is pretty much the same. For every man who’s a 1, there’s a woman who’s a 1. The problem is, a hypergamous 1 marrying another 1 is not marrying up, so she feels like she’s settling. On top of that, women do overestimate their rank (I forget who put it this way, but women tend to evaluate their own rank based on the highest-ranking man who ever showed them any attention, even if that was just because she was the best diversion available at the moment).

    All of this is compounded when you add Polygamy into the mix, where evidence seems to suggest that uncivlized women are happier being the 2nd or 3rd wife of a high ranking man than being the sole wife of an equal.

    Also, though I haven’t read any Jane Austen novels either, it’s pretty clear from the excerpts above that this Collins fellow is not a 1 – he has material assets and social standing. A “1” is an out-of-work ex-con, physically and mentally debilitated, with no social connections of value. He had something to offer Charlotte, and she took it.

  8. Julie says:

    I am XX!

  9. J says:

    I think that when it comes to marriage, people generally get the partner they deserve/match up with. Most of the married couple I know match up fairly evenly on looks, IQ, personality traits,etc. If this true: “It’s specially the ones that screwed around in college with 8+ males in hook ups that especially tolerate their 5 husbands.” it’s pathetic. To judge your attractiveness on the “status” of men who will take advantage of you as opposed to men who will love and commit to you is crazy.

  10. dalrock says:

    It does seem that there is some consensus in the manosphere that marrying young is a good thing. This seems to counter the conventional wisdom and at least some divorce studies. I know it worked very well for my wife and I, and Athol Kay seems quite happy with his results too. There really is something to having built a life together.

    I’m not sure the difficulty some women have in falling in love with any man who would want to marry them is strictly due to waiting too long though. I can see where some women might get hung up on the fact that the options they have today aren’t as good as the ones they turned down 5 years ago. But I think the problematic way of thinking impacts many less serious women who marry young. The author of EPL now claims the reason she couldn’t be happy with her first husband was that she married too young. The evil patriarchal conspiracy was at work again no doubt! I think in the end it comes down more to if someone is able to be clear enough about life to get on with enjoying it.

  11. dalrock says:

    I think the only way I could possibly stomach it is if I had the version with zombies. Even then I’m not sure what would possess me to read it though. I’m grateful to Haley for sharing enough detail about the story so I can discuss the example without having to read the book.

    I’m probably more averse to this kind of thing than most though. Fortunately for me Mrs. Dalrock is of the same mind on chick flicks and musicals. If it were in my power all plays would post snipers in the rafters to guard against the risk that an actor might feel a sudden urge to break into song.

  12. JD says:

    “the version with zombies” – Jane Austen would twirl in her grave!

  13. dalrock says:

    I see they are making a movie out of the zombie version. That might be worth going to the theaters for.

  14. I’m not so sure the issue is age of marriage, as it is finding the right girl. Younger guys tend to miss the boat on that when marrying younger. If you find the right one though, it can be wonderful.

  15. grerp says:

    Mr. Collins was a clergyman and, I presume, had a “living” granted to him which meant he enjoyed a middle class status and way of life. He also stood to inherit the Bennet fortune, such as it was, because it was entailed and could not be left to Mr. Bennet’s children who were all female. Underlying Pride and Prejudice is the knowledge that Mr. Bennet while alive can provide for his daughters, but if he dies, they would all be at the mercy of his heir. So they must marry well and to connected men who can introduce the younger daughters to other men. The main obstacle to accomplishing this is that his wife and younger daughters are loud, uncultured, foolish, and attention seeking.

    On paper Mr. Collins looks pretty good. He has some money now and will have more later, and he has solid job prospects and a respectable career. His lineage is good. Personality-wise, however, he’s awful – a total brown-nosing suck up and a bit puffed up as well by his connection to Lady Catherine de Bourgh (the elderly object of his sycophantic affection). I would agree that he comes off as asexual. Also: totally self-absorbed. He needed a wife to match his position and so proposed a union with Elizabeth who was repulsed by him and refused. Very shortly after this he proposes to Charlotte who does the math on her own situation and decides this is a better deal than spinsterhood. While I can sympathize with your idea, Dalrock, that a man deserves to be loved by the woman he marries, no one was going to love Mr. Collins. At least no one he would consider a decent match for himself.

    Seriously, he is a major turn off. Charlotte was a sensible girl, but I wonder what became of her marriage after she had to live with him for 10, 20, 30 years. The sex would be the least of her problems. The fact that she was married to a arrogant, obsequious moron and cannot possible hide his condition is the main one.

  16. JD says:

    She probably had several kids (no birth control then) so could keep occupied with them, and there would have been far more household duties, even with a servant or two. No doubt she also became very skilled at the art of “selective hearing.”

  17. Pingback: Word Around the Campfire – the Foolproof Cure edition « Hidden Leaves

  18. Deansdale says:

    “women are more likely than men to settle”
    WTF?!
    Men are infinitely more likely to settle than women. It’s women who are hypergamous, not men. They will always look for men whose status is higher than their own and settling for any less is actually painful to women. This whole “where have all the good men gone?” craze blooms exactly because these women don’t want to settle.
    Most men are willing to marry practically anyone.

  19. dalrock says:

    Women are more likely to tell themselves they settled. I think what this discussion illustrates is that the old saw that women used to be forced into bad marriages is probably highly exaggerated. Now that women have every avenue open to them, including being single and childless and a single mother we still don’t stop hearing about all of these women who were forced to marry a man who was beneath them. The cabal of evil patriarchs knows no limits, even in the land of girl power.

    Not all women of course. I would say that the vast majority don’t fall into this mental “poor me” trap when forced to seek out an equal instead of some ideal from a romance novel or the real life man they might be able to attract if they themselves were more attractive. But those who decide to go on with the business of leading a happy life are much less vocal and visible than those who aren’t able to allow themselves to be happy.

  20. nothingbutthetruth says:

    Well, I am an MRA who has read all Jane Austen’s works. They are entertaining and show you the real nature of women. Before learning Game, the books that taught me how women are were Jane Austen’s novels. In our age, the reality of female human nature is concealed and disguise. But in Jane Austen, everything is in the open.

    For example, I could never forget when Elizabeth Bennet (heroine of “Pride and Prejudice”), after rejecting and despising Mr. Darcy, visits Mr. Darcy’s estate at Pemberley while she is in a tour. She sees how wealthy Mr. Darcy is and she daydreams “I would have been mistress of all these things”. Hypergamy in action. After seeing this, her attitude towards Mr. Darcy (who he considered obnoxious and a prick) changes radically (she considers him a good-hearted gentleman) and ends ups marrying him. Moral: A lot of money can turn any disinterested woman into a loving bride. Women’s love is in sale.

    In Jane Austen’s novels, when a male character is introduced, his financial situation is described with detail: if he has land or a monetary rent, if he is heir of a fortune and so on and so forth. Most heroines are poor but they feel entitled to land a wealthy man (even if they have no dowry, which was a huge problem at the time). It’s everything in the open, although modern women will deny once and again that they are very aware and interested in the economical situation of their suitors. They say: “I love him for his personality” (read, “wallet”).

    Dalrock, I recommend you to read Jane Austen. You will have a lot of fun reading how Game was in the late eighteenth century and the early nineteenth century.

  21. terry@breathinggrace says:

    Taking into account Athol Kay’s hypothesis about female purity or lack thereof when marrying, I would think marrying young is one way to hedge that bet. Chastity, in case you haven’t noticed, isn’t big these days so the older the bride, the greater chance she’s had more partners.

    (I tend to agree with Hidden Leave’s response to that post by the way even though I married young and was raised by a dad that all the boys in the neighborhood were afarid of, lol.)

    That said, I do agree that marrying young comes with a bit of risk sometimes and I don’t think my marriage is the rule by any stretch.

  22. nothingbutthetruth says:

    Moreover, I want to comment on the topic.

    It’s true that women are less likely to settle, more likely to THINK they have settled and more likely to be unhappy because they think they have settled.

    The reasons are several. On the one hand, women are biologically programmed to be more picky when it comes to mating because the cost of sex is higher for them. On the other hand, this trend is exaggerated by modern culture, which increases dramatically women’s expectations (even a prostitute can land a millionaire in “Pretty Woman”) and women’s assessment of their mate value (Female 5 think they are 8 because they have been told to be a special snowflake by the media and because they have been banged by male 8).

    Athol Kay tells it like it is when he says that “The problem is that these days female 5s think they should marry a male 7 or even 8. When they marry a male 5 they think they got cheated.”

    But there is a third reason and nobody has mentioned it. It is that women are more interested in marriage than men. The same way women have the upper hand when having casual sex (because young men are more interested in casual sex with them than they are interested in casual sex with men). So for the law of supply and demand, women can extract a higher price for casual sex: they can have casual sex with guys who are 8 even if they are 5, they can be wined and dined to have casual sex.

    The opposite thing happens in marriage. Thirty-something women are more interested in marriage than their male counterparts. In general, women want marriage more than men. So, for the law of supply and demand, men can extract more price from the marriage: a male 5 can marry a female 7, who is desperated to get married because her biological clock is ticking. Of course, she will divorce him in a few years, but this is another story.

    A man would never marry a woman who despises, à la Charlotte Lucas, only to be married. But when women hear their biological clock, they get desperated, they see their chances to have marriage and kids to slip aways and they can end up marrying guys that they don’t really like. This is another reason why women think they have settled more than men.

  23. nothingbutthetruth says:

    I only want to add that Charlotte Lucas is an example. Yes, Mr. Collins is the bottom of the barrel in men. But Charlotte Lucas also has a very low market value (this is why she accepts Mr. Collins proposal). They are on the same level. But Charlotte can help feeling superior to Mr. Collins and can help despising the man who supports her economically. She thinks she has settled and she deserved more, when, in reality, Mr. Collins is at the same level than her.

    Another lesson from Jane Austen

  24. terry@breathinggrace says:

    You provide yet another advantage to marrying young, nothing but the truth. My husband, like most 20-yr-old men, was broke. Smart, hard working, and full ofpotential, yes, but broke. I was too enamored for it to matter one little bit. He hadn’t even been to college. I didn’t care. I was devoted.

    He lived up to his potential and then some to be sure, so he wouldn’t have ended up alone either way. But he had the advantgae of marrying someone who married him for who he was and not what he had to offer.

  25. dalrock says:

    Excellent point. I’m surprised this isn’t brought up more often.

  26. David Foster says:

    Money and love…there was a Frenchman who visited the U.S. in the 1830s (no, not Toqueville–different dude named Michael Chevalier) who observed that Americans were the most money-obsessed people he ever met **but** they were much less mercenary in matters of the heart than were his own countrymen:

    “I ought to do the Americans justice on another point. I have said that with them everything was an affair of money; yet there is one thing which among us, a people of lively affections, prone to love and generous by nature, takes the mercantile character very decidedly and which among them has nothing of this character; I mean marriage. We buy a woman with our fortune or we sell ourselves to her for her dowry. The American chooses her, or rather offers himself to her, for her beauty, her intelligence, or her amiable qualities and asks no other portion. Thus, while we make a traffic of what is most sacred, these shopkeepers exhibit a delicacy and loftiness of feeling which would have done honor to the most perfect models of chivalry.”

    The picture he draws of U.S. love & marriage offers a strong contrast to that drawn by Jane Austin in England….of course, Chevalier’s conversations while here had probably been mainly with men.

  27. Badger Nation says:

    I think you are missing something. Going back to your older post, I agree with your conclusion to not “settle,” but not with your premise…I haven’t seen the manosphere tell women to marry men they do not love. Nobody claims this is a winning strategy. Roissy routinely mocks beta men married to resentful wives who “settled” as impending victims of a hamster marathon or a hypergamous blow-up.

    What everyone in the manosphere IS saying is to have reasonable expectations. That means assessing your own market value properly, being serious about what marriage entails, and giving up the “I’m the boss” princess mentality syndrome.

    Whenever I hear about “settling,” it’s almost always a woman who had unreasonable expectations and instead of revising them, simply talked herself into ignoring them only to fall back on them later when she felt “unhaaaaappy.”

    “For some reason men are always able to marry someone they actually love, but women don’t have this option.”

    It has been alleged that women do not love in the forgiving, abiding manner in which men love. This may be why men tolerate all manner of rude crap from wives – sex deprivation, financial demands, weight gain, outbursts. I think of the Scarlet Pimpernel after he discovered his lover had supposedly (falsely, it turned out) snitched out his friend: “the shame is that I always will love her.” Women will do the same, but only if there are gina tingles.

    I can’t tell if your last paragraph is trying to be sarcastic. The deck is “stacked” against women because women are the ones who want to get married, and in many cases want to get married outside the bounds of realism. As Althol Kay noted in his how to choose a wife post, men who want to get married can afford to be choosy. The continuing encroachment of evil divorce lawyers (at the behest of their clients, of course) and derelict judges further alienates men from the institution, ironically thus giving men who do want to marry even more supply-demand advantage on the marriage market. So their own demands have made the market more unbalanced.

    I don’t have any sympathy, because quite honestly, any woman who REALLY wants a well-mannered, properly educated, family-oriented guy can have one – if she commits herself to the effort instead of daydreaming about how to manipulate a cad into a dad and slutting it up in the meantime.

  28. Badger Nation says:

    “While I can sympathize with your idea, Dalrock, that a man deserves to be loved by the woman he marries”

    This came up in at least two calls to Dr Laura over the years. Each time was almost identical, a woman called and asked if she should marry a man who was a good catch but she didn’t really love. Dr Laura asked “well how would you feel if a man married you who didn’t really love you?” The woman was dumbstruck but understood the point. It was like she had never considered if being loved was something anyone else deserved. I was surprised she had to call into a nationally-syndicated radio show to examine the shoe being on the other foot.

    My question was how foolish the guy had to be to propose to a woman who didn’t really love him. Is it that hard to figure out? Was it a sex insurance plane? Was he desperate/a beta/trying to buy a wife with his status instead of having the proper personality? These were never answered but Dr L’s response was the right one.

    Last time I heard this kind of call, it was immediately followed by a woman who asked how she could get her boyfriend to want to marry her. Dr L simply said “you can’t change him.”

  29. Badger Nation says:

    Haley just turned me on to a fundamental impasse in feminism. If you believe as most MRAs and PUAs do that women want to love a man who is higher status than them, then Haley shows why feminist women will be constitutionally unhappy:

    “Believing a man to be higher value than her probably would have offended her feminist principles. “

  30. dalrock says:

    I think you are missing something. Going back to your older post, I agree with your conclusion to not “settle,” but not with your premise…I haven’t seen the manosphere tell women to marry men they do not love. Nobody claims this is a winning strategy. Roissy routinely mocks beta men married to resentful wives who “settled” as impending victims of a hamster marathon or a hypergamous blow-up.

    What everyone in the manosphere IS saying is to have reasonable expectations. That means assessing your own market value properly

    I don’t think we are in disagreement. I was having some fun with that older post you referenced. The title boldly told women they didn’t need to settle, and the flow chart more subtly detailed how they should consider only their real options, and adjust their expectations to meet reality.

    I think the point on that post and this one is really the same. Men tell women to settle, and what they mean is to be realistic. The problem is that the same women men are telling women to settle are often prewired to see themselves as somehow swindled into marrying beneath themselves. Not only will they make themselves unhappy, but they are also not acting morally; if he’s such a poor catch in their eyes, leave him be and let a woman who will appreciate him marry him. I’m calling them out on this, and trying to point out the irony at the same time.

    I can’t tell if your last paragraph is trying to be sarcastic.

    I prefer the term smartass.

    As Althol Kay noted in his how to choose a wife post, men who want to get married can afford to be choosy.

    His post on that is excellent. In my own post on the topic I also advise men to be choosy.

  31. Badger Nation says:

    We are in agreement then. I choose not to even use the term “settling” without scare quotes, since it engages such a wretched hive of false premises.

    In fact, I make it a habit to not engage women with unreasonable expectations in real life either – I’m not interested in the Sisyphean task of arguing with them. Or women who socialize with them, as they will indubitably pick up some of those views. Trouble is that cuts ~50-75% of young women out of my pool at the outset.

    Some people _are_ selling settling…Lori Gottlieb for instance. But men are not among them, least of all MRAs who understand how the family law system caters to the unpredictable whims of deluded wives. Among males, only insufferable beta males are begging for marriage.

  32. J says:

    I think the only way I could possibly stomach it is if I had the version with zombies.

    LOL> I feel the same. I confess to having earned a degree in English literature without ever making it all the way through a Jan Austen novel.

    Fortunately for me Mrs. Dalrock is of the same mind on chick flicks and musicals.

    Yet another taste she and I have in common!

    If it were in my power all plays would post snipers in the rafters to guard against the risk that an actor might feel a sudden urge to break into song.

    Nah, they’d allow you to bring your own rifle.

  33. J says:

    The truth is though that the stats really are against young marriages. I’m not sure that youth itself is the issue; I think it’s more about how immature most Americans are even as young adults. If you look at subcultures like the Amish or Hasidic Jews, you’ll see young 20-somethings in stable marriages with a couple of kids already and doing fine. But I suspect that having relatively rigid roles and high expectations for the behavior of both spouses, plus some supervision from the couple’s parents, is what makes these marriages work.

  34. J says:

    But those who decide to go on with the business of leading a happy life are much less vocal and visible than those who aren’t able to allow themselves to be happy.

    True dat. Frankly, I hardly ever hear IRL the sorts of stories I read on the net. Unfortunately, stories about den mothers just aren’t as sexy as SATC type stories so they don’t make Lemondrop, Jezebel or The Friskey.

    BTW, I just read the comments on the article from Haley’s blog. Thanks for the compliment. Being lumped in with grerp and Susan Walsh and considered gameworthy….high compliment!

  35. J says:

    any woman who REALLY wants a well-mannered, properly educated, family-oriented guy can have one – if she commits herself to the effort instead of daydreaming about how to manipulate a cad into a dad and slutting it up in the meantime.

    Sadly, no as easy as you’d like to think. I spent an hour this afternoon listening to the 23 year old daughter of a friend, who feels like she is “sometimes just waiting for her life to begin,” worry over ever finding a good man who wants settle down. Not a rich man, not a hansome man, not a flashy man–just a good man. The guys she mets aren’t ready and are not that good morally.

    I wish I knew how to succeed in hooking good kids up with one another. I know she’d make a good wife and mom.

  36. J says:

    You know, there’s a difference between a high value or quality man and higher value man. It’s possible to find a great guy–good values, smart, funny, nice looking etc.–without doing all this DHV stuff. I consider my husband to be of higher value than a large chunk of the men I dated before him or that I meet in everyday life. But I also think we are of relatively equal status, which is tpically of partners in long-terms marriages, BTW.

  37. dalrock says:

    Nah, they’d allow you to bring your own rifle.

    In that case I think I might just develop a taste for musicals.

  38. Badger Nation says:

    “You know, there’s a difference between a high value or quality man and higher value man. ”

    True although I don’t know if Haley was observing these semantics when she wrote the post. Feminism (not equal opportunity for women, but feminism) is a philosophy where women are presumed better than men. Thus it is philosophically impossible for a woman to be a true feminist and also look up to her man, setting up major cognitive dissonance where instinct will at least hold its ground if not dominate the rational.

    “But I also think we are of relatively equal status, which is tpically of partners in long-terms marriages, BTW.”

    Excellent…most good couples are about equal overall. (Roissy recommends that marriages be composed of a woman slightly above the man’s physical status and the man slightly above the woman’s work/resource status, creating a reinforcing feedback loop of mutual appreciation.)

    I think the real problem with all of this “settling” nonsense is that Americans today of both genders don’t understand that by and large happiness is a choice. They expect happiness to come from something else – their money, or their spouse or car or whatever. The key to avoiding this “settling” mindset is to (a) really assess what kind of partner you’ll be able to catch and (b) arrange your mind so you can be happy with what you’ll be able to get.

    Our consumer society preaches disposability and continuous upgradingm, which is easily transferred in the mind to personal relationships. Then Bernanke created the fiat money masters and feminism, and…well I’m getting off topic now. 😉

  39. Badger Nation says:

    “Sadly, no as easy as you’d like to think. I spent an hour this afternoon listening to the 23 year old daughter of a friend, who feels like she is “sometimes just waiting for her life to begin,” worry over ever finding a good man who wants settle down. Not a rich man, not a hansome man, not a flashy man–just a good man. The guys she mets aren’t ready and are not that good morally.”

    I said she can have one, I did not say easy ;). I will not presume to give detailed advice, but I’ll respond to the overall predicament. I feel great sympathy, as I spent much of my young 20’s in such a search for a like-minded woman. (It was trying to make sense of this process that turned me on to game and the MRA community.)

    As men who want to marry should avoid carousel girls, so should she avoid cad guys and their environs – bars, clubs, frat parties, corporate middle management, you get the idea. Since she doesn’t sound materially obsessed this is probably not a problem. She must find a marriage-oriented guy; there are fewer of those than marriage-minded women – BUT there are a lot of low-quality goods on the wife shelves, so to speak (lots of unqualified women want their ring and party), so she’s in competition with a smaller pool than it appears. And finally you must catch the marriage-minded man before he gets burned and jaded as has happened with countless good men on the wrong side of today’s have-it-both-ways scene.

    As for “waiting for her life to begin,” with all due respect to her she has to ditch this mindset. Marriage is the joining of lives, not the beginning of them, and she must live a life someone will want to merge with his – if only to show the man she won’t hold him responsible for her entertainment and emotional state.

    “I wish I knew how to succeed in hooking good kids up with one another.”

    This is a broad social structure problem. Young-20’s women will not find a lot of marriage-ready men their age, even if they are men who hold marriage as a serious life goal. However, because of movement and urban anonymity, dating men older than them is normally a crapshoot because they don’t have the family and village vetting process to set them up. In your early 20’s, friends can rarely be trusted as advisors (this is especially true for young women because of many social instincts like projection we’ve discussed here ad nauseum). She would do well to rid her life of friends who do not share her outlook or worse yet actively undermine it. They are not friends. Good thing she has someone like you to give her good advice!

  40. J says:

    Feminism (not equal opportunity for women, but feminism) is a philosophy where women are presumed better than men.

    I’m not sure that’s the case. I was a bit of a college feminist in the equal rights for women sense. I don’t recall anyone but a few lesbians who felt women were superior. Woman w/o a fish, etc. I’ve always genuinely liked men, so that didn’t do much for me.

    IRL, it seems to me that feminism today is sort of dead issue. I’d call most of the battles I was fighting won already. The only people I’m aware of who still care only inhabit certain dark corners of ther internet.

    (Roissy recommends that marriages be composed of a woman slightly above the man’s physical status and the man slightly above the woman’s work/resource status, creating a reinforcing feedback loop of mutual appreciation.)

    Of course, he puts it a bit less delicately. 😉 Status IMO is also flexible. When DH and I met, I’d say we were equally attractive. We made about the same salary. Now, I’m aging better. I’m also now minimally employed–kids, recession, etc. He has more than picked up the slack.

    I think the real problem with all of this “settling” nonsense is that Americans today of both genders don’t understand that by and large happiness is a choice.

    100% agreed. I’d add that love is also a choice–and a behavior, not a feeling.

  41. Thats_Nice says:

    A woman says to one person:
    “Happiness is a choice.”

    Later in the day, she says to another person:
    “I’m sorry you were forced to settle.”

    GUESS which statement was said to a man, and guess which was said to a woman!

    Oh, and men are trained, tortured, and punished until they learn not to criticize women OR ELSE THEY ARE FIRED. So why would a woman have an accurate estimation of herself?

    And there are plenty of men that wish they had never married their wives/ex-wives. I mean REALLY PEOPLE! Are we mistaking intimidation for agreement here?

  42. jack says:

    “Female 5 think they are 8 because they have been told to be a special snowflake by the media and because they have been banged by male 8).”

    Haha – so true.

    Wish I could find a virgin or very low-notch woman, but that ship has sailed. Hope they enjoyed giving it up for men who cared nothing for them at all.

    Two market values on women: Pump’n’dump and marriage.

    Can’t used the first to measure the second.

  43. Badger Nation says:

    “‘Feminism (not equal opportunity for women, but feminism) is a philosophy where women are presumed better than men.’

    I’m not sure that’s the case. I was a bit of a college feminist in the equal rights for women sense. I don’t recall anyone but a few lesbians who felt women were superior. Woman w/o a fish, etc. I’ve always genuinely liked men, so that didn’t do much for me.

    IRL, it seems to me that feminism today is sort of dead issue. I’d call most of the battles I was fighting won already. The only people I’m aware of who still care only inhabit certain dark corners of ther internet. ”

    That’s why I distinguish between equal opportunity and feminism. Feminism as a philosophy is MacKinnon/Dworkin type of stuff – “women have options and men have obligations.” It’s a gendered form of Marxism, where the side that deserves everything somehow can’t produce what they need and so need to take it from the other side.

    Unfortunately, feminism has won the battle of popular culture, and girls have been bombarded since birth with messages about how much better they are than boys, how much they deserve a perfect man, guys are oafish layabouts, they deserve special privileges, they should have it both ways and guys should just deal with it, etc. You may not know any real-deal ‘feminists,’ but I bet you can count with more than two hands how many friends of yours through your adult life carry deep resentments about men programmed into them by the clucksters or popular culture. (A recent survey found one in three women walks around with constant, daily male resentment.)

    That’s what we are fighting.

  44. J says:

    BUT there are a lot of low-quality goods on the wife shelves, so to speak (lots of unqualified women want their ring and party), so she’s in competition with a smaller pool than it appears.

    That’s a great point.–one I really did not think of, myself. We discussed most of the rest of what you mention with an emphasis on bars and living your own life.

    She was seriously dating the son of another friend of mine. He is a PHD candidate, almost 30–another great kid. For reasons that no one quite understands, there was a mutual break up that greatly upset them both (and both sets of parents who are going WTF. Everyone expected an engagement). Both seem to have maintained respect for one another though. He is now actively looking for a wife, but not this girl.

    Good thing she has someone like you to give her good advice!

    Thanks!

  45. J says:

    I understand your distinction. I just don’t see that radical feminism has ever been an option for straight women.

    You may not know any real-deal ‘feminists,’ but I bet you can count with more than two hands how many friends of yours through your adult life carry deep resentments about men programmed into them by the clucksters or popular culture. (A recent survey found one in three women walks around with constant, daily male resentment.)

    Actually, I know few women who walk around with constant, daily resentment against men in general, but several who resent their husbands personally. I also know many men who resent their wives. For some reasons, both men and women like to share that with me. I must look sweet. 😉 But I do feel free to tell anyone who bends my ear when they are full of shit.

    Frankly, it’s easy to accumulate spousal resentment; married people can’t help but hurt each other sometimes, even inadvertently. The harder thing is forgiveness and intentionally putting the resentment, even when justified, behind you. A lot of times, if you want the relationship to last, you just have to accept your partner’s BS for the greater good. (However, when I do that, I do let my husband know that he is the recipient of that act of grace because he needs to understand what is forgiveness and what is acquiesence.)

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  48. Lovekraft says:

    Lets try and expose this whole “settling” issue and put it to bed once and for all.

    ALL MEN ARE ASKING is that our women be what they are meant to be. We ask them to basically fulfill basic obligations in a relationship, and drop the feminist mantras that pollute and confuse. With this obtained, there wouldn’t be the notion of settling, because both parties are valued and respected and the focus is on that instead of ‘self-fulfillment’ and other such psychobabble.

    So, for a man to settle today means he has to live with a feminist, which as the MRA sites can testify, are a loser’s game.

  49. Lovekraft says:

    from J: “IRL, it seems to me that feminism today is sort of dead issue. I’d call most of the battles I was fighting won already. The only people I’m aware of who still care only inhabit certain dark corners of ther internet.”

    It isn’t that easy, to just say “I wasn’t directly involved, so let’s go back to talking about me.”

    No, the institutionalized misandry – promoting single motherhood being one of the biggest slaps in the face – needs to be buried.

    I am not saying there are no skeletons we men have to deal with, but we are saying ‘give us a fair shake.’

  50. Chuck says:

    I have already shared my view that women shouldn’t settle, and should only marry if she and the man are head over heels in love.

    What is marriage if not a vehicle with which to raise children and utilize the competitive advantages of the partner? If the relationship is founded on “true love” – a very noble idea – then it doesn’t really require a certificate to sustain. The certificate exists in order to bind unions together in which the partners aren’t necessarily in it for love – or in it for their own pleasure – but rather, it exists to bind those together who have agreed in principle to certain terms. Much like a contract.

    Men and women should *only* marry when they are ready to settle which implies that they aren’t marrying exclusively for love. Although I do understand the desire to commemorate a romantic love with pomp and circumstance. I had an uncle who recently passed who said that he didn’t love the woman he married, but he married her because he knew she would be a good mother and a good wife.

  51. dalrock says:

    I think you have misinterpreted me. I’m being practical. Note that in the sentence immediately following the one you quote I state that falling out of love isn’t a valid reason for divorce. I also include a link in the second sentence to my advice to men considering marriage. In that post I make it very clear that marriage is more than just love. But this doesn’t mean love isn’t an essential part of the equation.

  52. mjay says:

    Lobby hard for family law reform.

    Have your friend’s daughter do the same.

    Then, maybe in 20-30 years, men will see marriage as a risk-benefit proposition that is worth going ahead with.

    That’s when the situation will change.

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  59. Paul Murray says:

    “Haley is right that I haven’t read the book. No man worth his mancard would read such a thing without the greatest of coercion, which I thankfully have escaped.”

    You have misunderstood Jane Austen. She *hated* people. Despised them. “Pride and Prejudice” is a *satire*. Elisabeth likes to think that she is all 100% “you should only marry for love”, but at the end of the day she marries for money and *pretends to herself* that she loves Mr Darcy. Her father knows better, and Jesus isn’t he so disappointed to find that his favourite daughter is justr like her mother after all.

    I should blog about it. It’s not what you think.

  60. dulin says:

    Jane Austen wrote lovely satire. People keep on interpreting her works as romance, but I claim they’re comedy.

    Anyway, I’ll defend loveless marriage a bit. My parents have one. They knew what they were getting into, but they wanted a family. My dad thought my mom would be a good mother, and my mom thought that my dad has good genes. I’m not even kidding. Neither of them is at all romantic. It’s not at all a sexless marriage though. Anyway, they’ve been married for around 30 years, without any cheating or similar problems. They’ve considered divorce (not because they aren’t in love, but just because they think they aren’t very good roommates), but decided not to. I think it’s quite far from the ideal marriage, but it’s honestly doing better than a whole lot of marriages that started with love.

  61. Gwen says:

    I respect, or at least understand, that many people settle. I don’t, however, think its a female phenomenon. The term settle may be used more in female context, but the sense of dissatisfaction is common to both genders. Men joking about how their ball and chain are just as unhappy as women who ‘settled’. I think in both cases the partners came into the marriage either with unrealistic expectations, or un-communicated expectations.

    I couldn’t imagine ever ‘settling’ though – but perhaps that’s because my list of traits in a partner has been well matched. I’m incredibly uncertain why women would ever include pecuniary measures in their relationship requirements in the first place. Work ethics, yes (who wants to marry someone who is at a different work level? It leads to resentment) but money?

    All that said, plenty of men over-value themselves too. You know the ones – think they’re ‘hot stuff’ and can never figure out why they’re still single? Perhaps we could hook up the matching set and see them grumble to divorce.

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