The other side of hypergamy: fantasy of the forced choice.

I’ve written previously about choice addiction, and how this is a very common theme in entertainment targeted to women.  This fits fairly closely with the game concept of hypergamy;  women have a primal fear that by committing to one man they will lose the potential of finding a better man.

But in looking at recent movies targeted towards women and thinking about how this relates to topics of discussion on this blog, I’m convinced that there is a counterpart to the fear that drives choice addiction;  the primal fear women have of losing the opportunity to choose and ending up alone.

I think Haley hit on this basic fear when explaining why women enjoy reading widow/remarriage stories:

“Widow falls in love again” stories are appealing to women because women want to be assured that they are still attractive and that they will be able to find someone to love and care for them if the worst happened to them. That life isn’t over if their husband dies and that they aren’t sentenced to loneliness for the next 20 years.

This fear is the reason (or part of the reason) why:

From a biological programming perspective all of this makes sense.  You need a counterbalancing force over hypergamy otherwise women would always sleep around and never create a stable environment to provide for and protect her children.  Something stops most women from becoming either partially or fully addicted to choice.  I think these two primal fears are designed to work together and counterbalance each other.  The primal equivalent of fearing you forgot to pack something vs fearing you will be late to the airport.

As I discussed in The whispers, feminism has modified our culture to greatly amplify the fear of not being choosy enough.  At the same time, it has done everything it can to mute the counterbalancing fear of spinsterhood.  The very idea that women need investment from men is downright offensive to feminists.  They have been successful to a degree, and have been able to change the decisions many women make on the margins either to marry later or divorce frivolously.  But they can’t make it go away entirely, which is why just in the last year or so we have seen multiple movies with the fantasy of the forced choice:

The Proposal

Life as we know it

The Switch

Yin yang image source information

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61 Responses to The other side of hypergamy: fantasy of the forced choice.

  1. Thag Jones says:

    I wouldn’t see any of those movies if you paid me.

  2. Gorbachev says:

    Dal,

    Your general writing themes concord with my state of mind more or less perfectly. You elucidate ideas that matter to me and formalize thought about them. And you’re always insightful. This is now my favorite blog. I always read it.

    Just a comment. Not trying to butter you up. Don’t let it go to your head or get full of yourself. It’s just a blog. But it’s nice to have around.

  3. Hope says:

    Agree with Gorbachev about the insightfulnes! I think there’s another component to the “forced choice” fantasy. Women generally loathe choosing and the responsibility that comes with it. We want someone else to make the decision for us, or for the decision to be made “by chance.” This might come from a natural feminine desire to please and be socially agreeable, because I sense this tendency in myself.

    It is manly for a guy to make the first move, but for a variety of factors men often do not. Society also tells women that having “power” is a good thing, yet women prefer the man to have the power and choose her. These forced choice fantasies are basically acceptable, though, because it’s not the man having “all” the power. He is just as locked into the situation as she is, so she still doesn’t have to make the decision.

  4. Penguin says:

    Dalrock wrote, “they will loose the potential of finding a better man.

    You misspelled “lose.” “Loose” is a different word with different meaning and pronunciation. It’s jarring to hit that in the middle of your normally well-written articles.

    ‘loos’ – To let loose, release.
    ‘looz’ – to not win

    Dalrock wrote, “primal fear women have of loosing the opportunity to choose and ending up alone.

    Same problem there.

    [D: Fixed. Thanks!]

  5. J says:

    I am proud to say that I have not seen a single one of those films. I have no idea how people can sit through that crap, but I am a general hater of romance literature.

    D, you said I’d either love or hate this post, but really I’m somwhere in between. It’s good to see that someone in the manosphere sees women as being driven by something more than hypergamy. I’m no so sure thought that postulating a single opposing counter-drive is necessarily the answer to that problem.

    First, I just don’t agree that hypergamy is a huge driving force that pushes women relentlessly from one man to the next until they are stopped by some combination of patriarchal society, slut shaming, fear of being alone, or aging out of the SMP. I will agree that a female drive exists to find the best mate possible. (And I say it probably exists in men as well as in women since polygamy is not only male reproductive strategy and only a small percentage of the male population has ever been polygamous.) I don’t believe however that it’s only drive at play; for example, the drive to find a mate can’t exist without a drive to actually mate, settle down and raise offspring. Without that drive, none of us would be here. So we can add a nesting instinct, a mothering instinct and probably a whole slew of others to the highly touted instinct of hypergamy. It’s more complex than hypergamy vs. fear of not reproducing. There are positive pushes in that direction as well, not just a counter-balancing fear.

    OTOH, while I acknowledge that people are animals with drives, I do think we’ve evolved into beings that are less dependent on drives and instincts than is the rest of the animal world. A major social problem, IMHO, is that in the last 100 years or so we’ve come to the conclusion that the pursuit of happiness means following instincts as opposed to living up to values or using our heads. Materialism, promiscuity, gluttony, greed, etc. are all the result of that.

    I’m also not so sure about the relationship of this to the fantasies women have regarding a second chance at love in widowhood/after a gray divorce. Yes, there is the common tie of still having options, but those options are no longer reproductive. A widow is generally not looking for the best possible breeding partner; most are too old to have children. A widow is generally looking for love, devotion and companionship. In fact, she may be looking for it from a man who is very different from her first husband–less of a stud/provider, more of a companion. More beta even? I’m not sure that hypergamy is much of a factor for older women.

  6. dream puppy says:

    Movies still are fantasies….in all 3 examples, the guy is younger and/or better looking than the girl. Isn’t there also a message in there that women SHOULDN’T make a choice until the VERY last minute, when they are almost out of the game, but not quite.

    [D: Yes. Don’t worry that all of your choices are wrong. The universe will fix it for you and you won’t have to admit your mistake.]

    Also, a personal question about Jennifer Aniston. Amazing body, but that face. Dios mio! I don’t get it. Is she pretty, D? I find her quite unattractive.

    [She’s an ugly sizzler alright.]

  7. J says:

    Women generally loathe choosing and the responsibility that comes with it. We want someone else to make the decision for us, or for the decision to be made “by chance.”

    I’m not sure this is universally true, Hope. Many woman hate people making decisions for them. Surrendering one’s autonomy is someting that even children naturally chafe at.

  8. J says:

    @Dream Puppy

    She’s part Greek; she has a fairly typical Mediterrean face as opposed to an All-American girl face. Why do you say, “Dios mio!”?

  9. Hope says:

    “Also, a personal question about Jennifer Aniston. Amazing body, but that face. Dios mio! I don’t get it. Is she pretty, D? I find her quite unattractive.”

    I actually knew a girl in college who looked like a 20-year-old version of Jennifer Aniston — a dead ringer in looks. She was very pretty and dressed fashionably, and she turned heads everywhere she went. Girls like that don’t photograph well sometimes, but in person, the long blond hair and striking blue eyes along with a slim body, it’s hard not to think “Wow, she’s gorgeous.”

    Right now at 40-something, she doesn’t have the fresh-faced glow of a 20-year-old, but I am sure when Jennifer Aniston was younger, she was similarly head-turning as the college girl I met.

  10. Hope says:

    “I’m not sure this is universally true, Hope. Many woman hate people making decisions for them. Surrendering one’s autonomy is someting that even children naturally chafe at.”

    I wasn’t talking about easy decisions for which there is no dispute (like deciding not to step into dog poop or slam your head into the ground), but more emotional and ambiguous decisions that contain a lot of variables and complexities. I went along with a bad situation for years because I was using my emotions rather than raw logic, and I let someone else “decide” for me.

    Women who want to take control, be the leader/decider, and remain in control all the time, are few. Also, I recall that you are one of the rarest personality types for a female (INTJ?). Most girls are “girly” and more emotional, while INTJ females are far more logical and masculine.

  11. J says:

    I went along with a bad situation for years because I was using my emotions rather than raw logic, and I let someone else “decide” for me.

    Rght, that’s what I’m saying is infantilizing, not foregoing small decisions.

    Also, I recall that you are one of the rarest personality types for a female (INTJ?).

    I’m an INTP. I think Name or maybe Dana might have said she was an INTJ. I also said that my DH is an INTJ.

    In terms of my own decison-making, it’s not the I’m emotional. I’m actually a deep feeler. I just hate to lead with my emotions or trust them completely. I try to run things throught my head first.

  12. J says:

    Girls like that don’t photograph well sometimes,

    It’s the strong facial bones; they cast too many shadows.

    OTOH, strong facial bones tend to hold the face up better as women age. That sort of face doesn’t get mushy or jowly the way a softer face does. Compare JA with her friend Courtney Cox. JA looks better and like she has had less work.

  13. J says:

    That should have read, “In terms of my own decision-making, it’s not the I’m UNemotional.”

  14. dalrock says:

    @J
    I’m also not so sure about the relationship of this to the fantasies women have regarding a second chance at love in widowhood/after a gray divorce. Yes, there is the common tie of still having options, but those options are no longer reproductive. A widow is generally not looking for the best possible breeding partner; most are too old to have children. A widow is generally looking for love, devotion and companionship. In fact, she may be looking for it from a man who is very different from her first husband–less of a stud/provider, more of a companion. More beta even? I’m not sure that hypergamy is much of a factor for older women.

    I don’t think we are saying different things. I’m saying she wants to have a worthy man who is invested in her. Many (including at times you🙂 ) have claimed that after divorce women are “done with men”. This doesn’t ring true to me. I think it is extremely important to women to have what I have been calling male investment. Feminist (and whoever) can stamp their feet all they want, but there is too much sign that this is true.

    I’m no so sure thought that postulating a single opposing counter-drive is necessarily the answer to that problem.

    I never asserted such a thing. I’m not trying to boil the ocean, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other forces at play. Either way, I think the fear of losing the option to choose is both primal and powerful for women.

  15. dalrock says:

    @Hope
    Agree with Gorbachev about the insightfulnes! I think there’s another component to the “forced choice” fantasy. Women generally loathe choosing and the responsibility that comes with it. We want someone else to make the decision for us, or for the decision to be made “by chance.”

    Thanks Hope!

    What you are saying fits with a sense I have that at some point addiction to choosing often turns into choice fatigue. It becomes painful even though still powerfully alluring.

    Society also tells women that having “power” is a good thing, yet women prefer the man to have the power and choose her. These forced choice fantasies are basically acceptable, though, because it’s not the man having “all” the power. He is just as locked into the situation as she is, so she still doesn’t have to make the decision.

    Yes, I think you are right here as well. I think part of the allure is the ability to have her cake and eat it too. The fear/fatigue of the choice is removed, while responsibility for the choice is still absolved. I couldn’t sleep the other night and noticed another in this genre on Lifetime when flipping through the channels (Marriage of Convenience). I didn’t watch it but from the description and 2 min of viewing my take is an aging career woman is first forced into being a mother (adopts her deceased sister’s infant) and then forced into marrying a dashing multimillionaire whom all of the other women are chasing.

  16. dalrock says:

    Thanks Gorbachev for your kind words. I think you know the feeling is mutual. I always enjoy your writing, even your rants. I think you should take the story of your divorce and recovery and make a book and/or movie about it. It is far more interesting than anything Hollywood could ever create. If you want, I will zap your comment in the other thread to help you keep better control of your story.

    If you decide not to go for a book/movie, have you considered setting up a blog of your own? It would be very helpful for men like NYDude’s brother.

    But I hope you don’t take my advice on a selfish level, because then I would have to wait to read/see more of it.

  17. Lily says:

    @dalrock

    I do think that there are women who get either divorced or widowed who don’t want to get remarried, they just want time to themselves and not have to look after anyone else, especially an older (like they are) man who is perceived to be set in his ways. However, I think they would like to think they had the option if they wanted it. Nobody, male or female, likes to think they don’t have options.

    My boy’s mother is a good example of this (divorced when she was in her early 60s) and I think my paternal grandmother would have been like this if she had been widowed or had got divorced then (though not my mother or her late mother, perhaps one of my mother’s sisters).

    Lol at Marriage of Convenience. I just googled it. Sounds like the plotline of a mills and boon type novel from when I was 10-13 (we used to look at this surreptiously at the library, we didn’t have sex ed…they have a lot to answer for lol).

  18. dalrock says:

    @Lily
    My boy’s mother is a good example of this (divorced when she was in her early 60s)

    I always assumed you were much younger than this!

    I do think that there are women who get either divorced or widowed who don’t want to get remarried, they just want time to themselves and not have to look after anyone else, especially an older (like they are) man who is perceived to be set in his ways. However, I think they would like to think they had the option if they wanted it. Nobody, male or female, likes to think they don’t have options.

    I think the options each sex craves are somewhat different. Older men are probably much better off with a less formal relationship than older women, especially if there isn’t a history of sharing a life together. What I think we would agree on is these women aren’t interested in the actual options available to them. But this is a very different thing than saying they don’t feel like something very important is missing. In this sense they are like the passed over betas not interested in a girlfriend or marriage. It isn’t that World of Warcraft is their life’s goal, but it beats their actual options.

  19. MNL says:

    I’ve only read the abstract, but there’s some academic research out that seems to support Dalrock on this. The research is kind of amusing in a this-is-so-darn-obvious-why-even-research-it kind of way. But then again, it’s also very interesting as it no doubt grates against the academic gender police. I quote from the abstract:

    Indecisiveness can pose a threat to normal daily functioning. In addition, it has been associated with obsessive–compulsive disorder. …It was found that women are more indecisive than men. Furthermore, indecisiveness correlated positively with several obsessive–compulsive complaints… but negatively with life satisfaction. …Finding suggests that indecisive individuals not only need more time to reach a decision, but that they also actually fail to reach decisions.

    Rassina, Eric and Peter Murisa (2005) “To be or not to be … indecisive: Gender differences, correlations with obsessive–compulsive complaints, and behavioural manifestation “, Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 38, Issue 5, April 2005, Pages 1175-1181 .

  20. Lavazza says:

    It seems that the idea behind the movies is having a woman who have been making the wrong choices or who has not thought about her choices being “forced” to a compromise that is often better than the compromise she would actually have been able to find, if she would have had a change of mind by her own accord and would actually have persued a man who would be a good enough compromise, given the relations of power for a woman in her situation in the SMP. A very nice fantasy, indeed.

  21. Lily says:

    @dalrock
    We’re both 33/34.

    I think his mother would have good options, relatively speaking of course compared to the rest of her life, but definitely compared to her peer group of she were in the market. She’s goodlooking, slim, fun. But she’s not interested in that sort of thing, she just wants to spend time on her hobbies.
    Women are just different, my mother would want a male companion, my boys mother wouldn’t.

  22. Bronckin' Buckeye says:

    I liked the Katherine Heigl baby movie the first time I saw it, when it was called “Knocked Up.” Didn’t feel the need to see the re-release with a more attractive male lead.

  23. Lily says:

    I must say though for every woman like our mothers (good natured, strong, easygoing), there’s a pernickety one, though age doesn’t seem to have anything to do with it.

  24. Badger Nation says:

    Sounds to me like the “forced choice” is a bone thrown to regular people, as a way of telling them “people on the silver screen can be happy even if their lives aren’t perfect!” Thus the viewers can rationalize their own suboptimal life (the life they have “settled” for) can still turn out HEA (happily ever after).

    [D: I hadn’t caught this. Good catch. But it doesn’t seem to be a standard movie theme outside of the forced choice, does it? At least not any more. It also doesn’t seem to be a theme specifically targeted at men, but it is towards women in this context. I wonder why.]

    On the note of women making decisions – this particular fantasy seems to play into the desire of most people to be led more than to lead. As I have noted here and over at HUS, for all the talk of passing men in education and the job market, generally speaking young women still have extremely poor social “agility” – asking, almost begging to be led and have decisions made by somebody else. Climbing over each other (and dressing under each other) to get into frat parties where they are degraded and targeted for hookups is a prime contemporary example; see Susan’s recent post about this. Desperately melting for the first player who runs a decent routine. Trying to get into the queen bee’s society no matter how much of a bitch she is. Social dominance is very important to attract young women, and I think it’s because we’ve done an awful job teaching girls to actually stand up for themselves in a measured, confident way. Instead we’ve given them crude misandric feminisn, rape/DV hysteria and a bunch of handholding social programs. We haven’t taught them to fish, we’ve just told them who to talk to to go get the fish – Gloria Allred, Nancy Hopkins and all her ilk down the line.

    True social independence is a rare quality among young people, ESPECIALLY women under 25. I almost NEVER see young women leading anything like “independent” lives. It’s always a gaggle of girls, or hooked under the arm of a man.
    Nothing wrong at all with spending time with friends – I’m not advocating hermitage. But one can see how spending every weekend socializing and making decisions as a group (“Where do we want to go out THIS weekend? Oooohh you look SOOO CUTE!!! Should we dance on the bar? That guy is CREEPY! Are you going to buy me a drink?”) can lead to a eye-opening moment five or six years later, where you find you’ve spent most of your best years in the same posse doing basically nothing, and bypassed opportunities to really grow, change and move life forward. Not to mention probably bypassed good boyfriend candidates due to intra-group social pressures.

    The only place I see that social independence is women who go to church alone.

    choice fatigue

    Since Dalrock’s coined it, I’ll repeat what I said earlier this week…overactive “choice,” lining up guys against their checklists, washes out a woman’s match detector and so she can’t use it for the basic compatibility test for which it was designed.

    As in the case of the Ask Amy letter-writer…her man was everything she wanted on paper, which combined with the illusion of lots of choice (“I see my friends dating all these other people!”) blinded her to whether or not he was a good guy who was truly a mismatch. D and I disagreed – we both felt the “wondering” was a normal female thing, but I felt this was the right time for her to act on such anxiety, and D felt she was letting anxiety run away with her.

    [D: Good insight.]

  25. dalrock says:

    @Lily
    We’re both 33/34.

    Perhaps this is a difference between UK and US English. In the US, boy means a male who is still a child. When a woman here refers to her boy, she means her son. How will you distinguish between your son and his father, if your child is male?

  26. J says:

    In the UK and in some circles here, “boy” with a possessive pronoun in front of it, means “boyfriend.” A few years ago, my sons were boys, but my older son might be called his gf’s “boy.” If I was feeling playful in London, I might call my husband my “boy.” His former schoolmates might call him “old boy.” If we lived in the ‘hood, he night refer to his friends as his “boyz.” Also, graduates of British prep schools (That’s public school to Lily.) are “old boys;” incoming and current students are “new boys.”

  27. J says:

    Many (including at times you ) have claimed that after divorce women are “done with men”. This doesn’t ring true to me.

    Ah, in previous threads, you seem to thnk that I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth on this one. My point is that some are, and some aren’t. I think that women who want a new relationship can generally find one. I also think that some wome do just quit. I’ve seen women do both IRL. Men too. There are men who say, “Never again” and men who can’t stand to be alone.

    I never asserted such a thing. … Either way, I think the fear of losing the option to choose is both primal and powerful for women.

    I’m OK with that. I just don’t see it in the same over-arching and deterministic way that many in the manosphere see things.

  28. Zammo says:

    The women’s emotional pornography industrial complex is a terrible thing, indeed.

  29. J says:

    Many (including at times you ) have claimed that after divorce women are “done with men”. This doesn’t ring true to me.

    Ah, in previous threads, you seem to think that I’m talking out of both sides of my mouth on this one. My point is that some are, and some aren’t. I think that women who want a new relationship can generally find one. I also think that some wome do just quit. I’ve seen women do both IRL. Men too. There are men who say, “Never again” and men who can’t stand to be alone.

    I never asserted such a thing. … Either way, I think the fear of losing the option to choose is both primal and powerful for women.

    I’m OK with that. I just don’t see it in the same over-arching and deterministic way that many in the manosphere see things.

  30. dalrock says:

    @J
    In the UK and in some circles here, “boy” with a possessive pronoun in front of it, means “boyfriend.”

    Given what we know of the psychology of attraction, it seems an efficient way to turn him into an ex. It might also explain the concern some women have about “becoming his mother” in a relationship.

  31. J says:

    In some contexts, infantilizing a grown man definitely could. Here I think it’s just UK slang. Yet, I admit, some people do have issues with that sort of thing–like black men’s sensitivity to “boy” and feminists’ sensitivity to “girl.”

    [D: I’m not talking about him deciding not to put up with it. I’m guessing it doesn’t bother him, or at least not enough to speak up/take action. I’m talking about her losing her attraction for him after demoting him in her mind via her language.]

    It’s like seeing your 1955 joe as a rape joke as someone commented feminists would take it. I laughed. It was a clever play on words or possibly a joke where the woman falls for a trick at worst. Not IMHO a rape joke.

    [D: I do worry a great deal that I might one day offend a feminist.]

  32. J says:

    Hey D,

    Something’s wonky here. Somehow, I have a duplicate post, but my response to Badger Nation got lost.

    [D: Not sure what happened. I don’t have anything in moderation, and I didn’t delete it.]

  33. Lily says:

    It is partly slang (and J is right, my grandpa is certainly an ‘old boy’ and ‘old girl’ is also used not just in terms of schools!) but partly personal, he called me girl and part of our relationship dynamic is we both feel young together. I would usually refer to someone as my boyfriend or husband and a child as son.

    If one or both my chicklets are boys, I think they’ll all be my boys but he’ll still be my main boy🙂 As well as my man.

  34. Lily says:

    Obviously they are *our* chicklets, but only I comment on here🙂

  35. dalrock says:

    Lily, are you having twins?

  36. Lily says:

    Yes, he may be my boy.. but he is an Alpha Boy.

    Lol. Twins run in my family. But i still like to think it’s him.

    If it all works out… still a long way to go.

  37. dalrock says:

    Good luck and congratulations Lily.

  38. nothingbutthetruth says:

    Agree with Gorbachev about the insightfulnes! I think there’s another component to the “forced choice” fantasy. Women generally loathe choosing and the responsibility that comes with it. We want someone else to make the decision for us, or for the decision to be made “by chance.”

    I think you nailed it. This is why women are so passive (sometimes) and passive-aggressive (other times). I had a girlfriend who never wanted to decide what we were going to do. It was me who had to decide and it was her who had to bitch and bitch about any decision I took.

    In addition, this is the reason why women’s worldview and life attitude relies so much in fate, in magical thinking, destiny, a magical understanding of God. Many dating books targeted to women tell that their Prince will eventually come without them doing anything. The destiny will get them together. It is like thinking you can get a degree without studying and even without making exams. Ridiculous, but this magical thinking is so pervasive between women.

    When a woman finds herself in a bad situation, she accepts it as a something that “was supposed to be”. This calms her spirit but keeps her from learning from the experience and taking responsibility from her own choices. Because, if there is something that women loathe more than choice, it is responsibility.

    This psychological mechanisms are what convinced me about women being children. I think this is the awful truth: most women are not able to function as grown-ups. The beautiful lie that we are equal is the base of the decline of Western civilization. No civilization can be based on such a fundamental lie.

  39. Lavazza says:

    NBTT: Very eloquently put. The responsibility thing is really interesting. It is rare to find a woman admitting responsibility of what she has done or not done, or even holding another woman accountable in any other situation than in the relation with the woman speaking.

  40. Twins are great, once you get through the first 5 months of near constant sleeplessness, LOL. Did I read that you’re having twins?

    You’re gonna love it, Lily. Congratulations! What a blessing!

  41. dream puppy says:

    @J said: “She’s part Greek; she has a fairly typical Mediterrean face as opposed to an All-American girl face. Why do you say, “Dios mio!”?”

    I say Dios Mio, because that face is not attractive to me. She seems somewhat of an anachronism, with her amazing body, and perfect hair…and then that mug. I’m just not a fan of that look, I guess. I am Med too, but not similar to her.

    Do you think her marrying Brad Pitt was a recipe for disaster? To marry such a desirable man? Would she have had a more successful marriage to someone a little less good looking? I especially want to ask the man, do you think it was external or internal influences that eventually broke them up?

    Lily congrats!! Wow twins! That is super cool.

  42. Lily says:

    Thank you so much dalrock, terry and dream puppy!

    There’s a high % in my family but it still came as a surprise. Now I just need some chickens and the family will be complete😉 (yes dp, twins hence the bed rest thingie I mentioned on sd’s blog, not yet though!).

    The doctors weren’t sure both would make it to a safeish stage but they have though it’s still a worry. I count myself very fortunate though as I have family ‘in the trade’. And my granny is loving it. She comes to my appointments when she can because things have changed since she retired, she finds it fascinating. She’s over 90, gets the train on her own etc, she’s a game old girl lol.

  43. Lily says:

    Re Jennifer Aniston, if women are hypergamous literally as some say, then she’s frankly a bit..well…

    Who can measure up after Brad Pitt? Nobody in his peer group anyway.
    I think her best bet is a young very fit guy, maybe a model. Or she has to go the other way and go for someone very very rich but not as good looking as Brad.

    I always thought they were an odd couple as she was like the girl next door and he was..well..Brad Pitt. I was surprised when they got married (& a bit disappointed if he wasn’t going to marry me couldn’t he marry someone super) & unsurprised he left her for Angelina Jolie. But I read recently in an article in some girly mag at the doctors (I spend a lot of time there these days lol) that women liked her because ‘she was one of us’ and if someone like her could get Brad Pitt, it meant that they could too.
    *shrugs*

  44. Mister_Y says:

    At the risk of taking this thread off into some tangent, after reading the posting and the comments I find myself wondering if the whole notion of “forced choice” isn’t rooted to some extent in pregnancy. Most women don’t plan the exact day of conception, although I suppose some Natural Family Planning activists might achieve that. It “just happens”, and how many times has a mother heard that from a wayward teenaged daughter, than her pregnancy “just happened”? Isn’t this a kind of forced choice? And isn’t the desire for that forced choice something that virtually all women are bound to want at some point?

    Now consider the mental changes that accompany pregnancy. We are still learning the effects of that huge increase in estrogen on the brain, but certainly can we all agree that women change to noticeable degree in terms of personality during and after pregnancy? Isn’t possible, therefore, that given the effects of that experience, on top of known hypergamy (the “marry the best father” kind, not what some go on about), the relative plasticity of women’s sexuality vs. men’s, that there isn’t a bias within the female psyche in favor of being forced into choice? But only choice that a woman would want, of course.

    Echoing someone else up the thread, I truly believe that the entire “girl power” ethos along with the “self esteem” movement has done young women and young men a huge disservice. By stressing the right of women to choose pretty much anything, while not mentioning the responsibility that goes with those choices, a lot of bad choices have surely resulted.

  45. Lily says:

    My granny is staying with me tonight after an appointment today and age differences came in conversation. She and my grandpa are the same age. She said:
    1. older men tend to adore their wives in a way that same age don’t
    (i know what she means, older men do tend to spoil you in a way similar ages don’t, hence the old saying ‘old man’s darling, young man’s slave’)
    2. she is very worried about my grandpa as it was likely she would die sooner and she thinks women are better with coping on their own than men are
    (though I think my grandpa would be fine).

    I asked her about widows/widowers. (I think about this a bit as my other granny had a long widowhood).

    Seems she knows quite a few widowers. I asked don’t they got lots of interest from females. She knows a few widows but more women who’ve never been married (effect of the war, presumably). She said not that she was aware of. I said why not. She said, well the widowed ones are ok financially and the unmarried ones worked so have their own pensions. I said er, I didn’t mean for money, what about companionship. She seemed quite surprised. She said if you’ve you’ve been married to one man for 40+ years, or never married, the last thing most of those women want at that age is having some man ‘telling you what to do’.

  46. Lavazza says:

    Lily: So what you are saying is that once women have gotten what they want from men (money and babies?) there is nothing else they appreciate in men as companions? I thought that the idea of female financial independence was to be able to choose men for other reasons than financial support, not to do away with men on the whole. That is more or less saying that women are incapable of loving men in any scenario (that I can imagine). A disturbing thought, but it might be true.

  47. filrabat says:

    J said

    OTOH, while I acknowledge that people are animals with drives, I do think we’ve evolved into beings that are less dependent on drives and instincts than is the rest of the animal world. A major social problem, IMHO, is that in the last 100 years or so we’ve come to the conclusion that the pursuit of happiness means following instincts as opposed to living up to values or using our heads. Materialism, promiscuity, gluttony, greed, etc. are all the result of that.

    I Disagree we’ve evolved into being less dependent. Civilization as we know it has only been around for about 6000 years. That’s around 300 generations, which isn’t even an eyeblink in evolutionary terms. I DO agree, however, with our last sentence — they are leftovers from our pre-agricultural mode of living. In fact, much of the world’s problems come from the fact that our biological-psychological-sexual-social evolution is FAR outpaced by our technological development. The further forward in time we go, the more true this becomes. This explains (imo) most of why we – especially youth – are naturally attracted to traits that have little to no survival/success value in a 21st century world while we eschew potential partners who may function perfectly well in this century, yet fall well short when it comes to “animal attraction” traits.

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  49. J says:

    D: I do worry a great deal that I might one day offend a feminist.

    J: Thanks, D. I just squirted soda out ol my nose laughing at the above. Now I have to wash my face and clean my keyboard.

  50. J says:

    Twins?!

    Yeah, Lily, you go girl!!! (D, is that an acceptable use of the phrase?)

    [D: I’ll dispense an exception in this one case.]

    Take good care of yourself.

    Are you sure about the sex? I wanted a girl in the worst way and had no idea about how I was going to mother a boy. (I’m an only child.) I have to say that boys are a heck of a lot of fun and, unlike girls, they’ll still love you when they are teenagers. They’ll drive their dad nuts though.😉

  51. J says:

    Do you think her marrying Brad Pitt was a recipe for disaster? To marry such a desirable man? Would she have had a more successful marriage to someone a little less good looking? I especially want to ask the man, do you think it was external or internal influences that eventually broke them up?

    The media said they broke up because he wanted kids and she didn’t. I assume that if they’d have had kids, they’d still be together.

    FWIW, I think he jumped from the frying pan into the fire. For all they say about Angelina Jolie’s beauty, I think she’s insane. I also think that the more she diets and messes with her looks, the uglier she gets.

    I also think that Brad is not aging well. Baby faced men hit the wall before men with more rugged features.

  52. J says:

    @Lavazza
    So what you are saying is that once women have gotten what they want from men (money and babies?) there is nothing else they appreciate in men as companions? …That is more or less saying that women are incapable of loving men in any scenario (that I can imagine). A disturbing thought, but it might be true.

    Nah, the idea that old women who don’t want to remarry means that women are incapable of loving men in any scenario is untrue. It’s not even accurate that all old women are done with men. I see a lot of older people in quasi-marriages–LTRs that allow for sex, love, companionship, etc, but without the compromises and financial responsibilities of marriage.

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  55. phil white says:

    I expect that the Gold Standard for a young beta male is a young widow. There are a very few, whose husband wrapped his motor cycle around a telephone pole as an example.
    In you juvenile society where few have learned to not always put their own needs first, a young widow is a person who has proved that she has the emotional maturity to get married. It also shows, at least to the extent that the marriage lasted, that she has some interpersonal skill to maintain a marriage.

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  60. Martian Bachelor says:

    Didnt read every comment, but in case no one mentioned it, the topic of *arranged* marriages frequently comes up at single-heavy forums, and usually it’s a woman bringing it up – somewhat wistfully, one suspects.

    There are many instances in the anthropological literature of tribes raiding neighboring tribes for slave wives. It always sounded as if they accepted their fate, and it didn’t take all that much to keep them from wandering off. Most men can’t imagine being so placid and resigned to miserableness.

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