Ever since I coined the term, I’ve been on the lookout for others who might be using the term post marital spinsterhood or any variants. It strikes me as a very powerful term which names the previously unnameable, so it wouldn’t surprise me if it caught on over time. Yesterday I found another blogger Big Little Wolf outside the manosphere who used the term. In the comments section to her own post Send me no flowers, the discussion turns to online dating and how it hasn’t worked for her:
And for those of us for whom it doesn’t work or isn’t “us?” Are we the new millennial post-marital spinsters?
She seems like a very nice person, and off the bat I’m impressed by her perceptiveness in this case. I’m not sure if she coined the term separately after I did (there were no instances on google when I originally used it back in September), or if she was exposed to it somewhere. The EPL video has had nearly 900 views so she may have seen it there. Either way the term may be catching on. I’ve found links to my recent posts on the topic on several mainstream web pages, obviously shared by readers of this blog (Thanks!)
But perhaps more interesting is the topic of her blog post and the discussion which follows. She and the women in the comments section are disturbed by the lack of romantic gestures they receive from men:
Once upon a time, I had a life as a woman. You know. Dates. Romance. Sex. And there were tokens of affection – little notes and cards, love letters, and even flowers. Signs of wooing, and eventually, love.
She provides as an example the man she dated before she met the man she divorced:
In fact, the man I was seeing before I married was incredibly romantic. Money wasn’t an issue and that helped – for a year, extravagant floral arrangements arrived at my office every other week or so. Each time, something different. Each time, with a card he always took the time to personally pen.I felt adored.
She continues, now describing the present:
But we also seem to have bought into the New Order of Millennial Commodity Dating – size ‘em up fast, toss ‘em aside, buck up for the next (there will always be another)
She wraps up with a call for men to offer women more romance:
Any Real Men out there? Hello? Might there be a romantic bone in your body? No, not that one. I said romantic.
Because if there is, I’m here to tell you there are wonderful women waiting for small gestures, as simple and powerful as the one in that film last night.
The blogger and the commenters are generally baffled by what has caused this change. Many think the busy schedules of modern life are to blame. Carol very nearly gets it and then shies away at the last minute:
Haven’t been there for several years now, but I have a distinct impression that these days it’s more about “hooking up” and less about relationships. The women’s movement the culprit? I don’t think so. I think it’s the current trend for “instant gratification” and moving on if you choose to.
NoNameRequired thinks from her dating experience that men are suffering from the misconception that all divorcees and widows (she doesn’t say which she is) want is sex, which she refers to euphemistically as riding the bicycle and exercises:
…the three approaches that went like this: one date and then on to exercises, was the immediate and expressed intent….NO ROMANCE AT ALL. Just an assumption that I want that ride.
I suppose I should be grateful for the bold winking offer to get right to bicycling, without even a two or three date threshold? Honesty! But again, an assumption.
Those of us who need (sometimes prefer) solitude and celibacy within which to work hard and parent are sometimes thought odd or prematurely spinsterish.
Some of the women also offer hope that romance isn’t completely dead. Kristen describes her husband:
I should hasten to add that he is far more adept at the bagels and coffee in bed sort of gestures you mention (and the whole taking care of the baby and toddler while I’m on bedrest for two months sort).
As much as I appreciate those gestures, I dp wonder if contemporary men got a memo some years ago saying that women don’t want flowers. An inadvertent byproduct of the women’s movement?
Susan describes how romantic a great guy she met online was before she ended her 2.5 year relationship with him:
We matched well and in particular matched in the area of romance and “old timey” thoughtfulness. I received flowers at work, he received hand written cards in the mailbox outside of his house – not the email inbox. I even sent HIM and bought HIM flowers on more than one occasion and he was incredibly touched. I printed out all our courtship emails and bound them in a book for a Christmas present so there would be a paper trail of “us”.
Michelle Zive describes the little gestures by her husband which she finds romantic:
David will bring home my favorite bottle of red wine, he’ll call from the road and ask if I want a Diet Coke, and just now he gave me a shot of Emergen-C because I’m getting sick. So who said romance is dead? In my case, you just have to look harder.
So what has changed? Why did the blogger and many of the others commenting go from being so treasured by men to just another woman in a long list, valued only or mostly for sex? Roissy would undoubtedly say that her SMV has gone down as she has aged. This seems likely, but I don’t think it is the whole story. Romance is a form of male investment. It can probably be best described as male emotional investment. As the cliché says, it shows he cares.
But why should a guy care about a woman who isn’t committed to him or shows a history of not keeping past commitments? As a man this seems so painfully obvious that I struggle to understand why women don’t recognize that they can have sexual freedom or men who care about them; they are highly unlikely to have both, especially from a man with options. So many women seem totally oblivious to this simple point. I created a crude chart back in August to help illustrate the tradeoffs women can make when deciding the kinds of relationships they want to have with men:
Key to understanding the chart is knowing that as a woman moves to the right of marriage 1.0, her opportunity to move back to the left and receive greater male investment is very limited. Male investment can come in many forms, including Emotional/Romantic, Financial, Monogomy, and Willingess to Marry.
Women are craving the investment men are withdrawing as the women themselves opt for greater sexual choice. Roissy talks about how women crave the feeling and status provided by male investment in his post The Duke Rejection List:
this chick was rejected by each and every one of these high status men she banged.
“But how can that be?”, some of the duller among you will ask. “None of the men turned her down for sex.”
Don’t you know it’s different for women? Failing to get laid is not how women are rejected; they are rejected when they don’t receive romance, love, and long term commitment from the men who f*ck them.
Susan Walsh posted last month on the disappointment many women had with the same lack of investment in the hookup scene in her post The Orgasm Chasm in Casual Sex. Susan quoted an interview with a man from hookup scene in a formal study on sex:
Definitely oral is really important [for her to orgasm], but with a casual hookup, I don’t give a shit.
Another man in the study actually used the term investment in explaining how he feels about different kinds of women/relationships:
Now that I’m in a relationship, I think [her orgasm is] actually pretty important. More important than [in a] hookup. Because you have more invested in that person…When it’s a hookup you feel less investment.
We see the same scenario at work in the extreme with online accounts of men deliberately farting immediately after casual sex. Obviously these guys are expressing their extreme lack of investment in the women they just had sex with by doing this. In Roissy’s post on the woman who bragged about having no strings sex with Tucker Max, the same woman complained:
The next day, he woke me up for sex, as promised. It was worse, because he was panting this time, and when he was putting his clothes on, he farted loudly, multiple times. I called a cab, and he gave me 20 bucks for the cab which I gladly took. (Hey, I’m in college.) He hugged me and said, “I’d totally hook up with you again. Call me if you’re ever in L.A.”
We are HUMAN beings, with feelings. We do not like being taken advantage of by slobs who fart and roll over after they come and do nothing to make sure us women are satisfied in bed and in a relationship.
The word RELATIONSHIP is a 4 sylable word that a lot of dumb guys just don’t understand. It is more than calling a women when you want to get your rocks off. It is more than coming over, grabbing our boobs and saying you are horny and pulling your pants down. We do not find this sexy or attractive. We want men who treat us right, buy us things and take us to go skiing.
Isn’t sexual freedom liberating!