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IN THE MAIL: A copy of Norah Vincent's Self-Made Man : One Woman's Journey into Manhood and Back. It's basically a Male Like Me book -- she disguised herself (rather convincingly) as a man named "Ned," lived that way for several months, and writes about what she learned. I opened the book at random to this passage from the section on dating:
Bisexuals know that hurt gets inflicted by both sexes in equal measure if not always by the same means. But for these women -- who had never dated other women, and thus never been romantically hurt by them -- men as a subspecies, not the particular men with whom they had been involved, were to blame for the wreck of a relationship and the psychic damage it had done to them.
It's hardly surprising, then, that in this atmosphere, as a single man dating women, I often felt attacked, judged, onthe defensive. Whereas with the men I met and befriended as Ned there was a a presumption of innocence -- that is, you're a good guy until you prove otherwise -- with women there was quite often a presumption of guilt: you're a cad like every other guy until you prove otherwise.
"Pass my test and then we'll see if you're worthy of me" was the implicit message coming across the table at me. And this from women who had demonstrably little to offer. "Be lighthearted," they said, though buoyant as lead zeppelins themselves. "Be kind," they insisted in the harshest of tones. "Don't be like the others," they implied, while having virtually condemned me as such before hand.
It was enough to make me want to read the whole thing (and to be glad I'm not single!), and I did, at one sitting, last night. I think the book's terrific, and it's going to make a huge splash. Helen's now grabbed it, and she agrees so far. We're going to try to get Vincent on for a podcast interview next week.
UPDATE: Reader E.J. Boysen emails:
As a 48-year-old never married single man still in decent shape, successful and now retired, and having weathered the "feminist" cultural storm still raging since my teens, I can tell you that even your having read Norah Vincent's book, you STILL have no idea of the anger, the hatred, the vengeance and the pain so many otherwise attractive and available women are afflicted with. It is an epidemic of conflict and self-distortion that begins and ends with an impenetrable sense of entitlement, based on a false sense of victimhood, and for which not just any man but every man must pay forever for the restoration that's never good enough. The "feminist" demand runs from fathers to brothers to sons and husbands, to their friends and acquaintances and chance encounters; it is endless. "I am woman, hear me roar" has produced a psychological wasteland that would put Sherman's march to shame and into which any man who travels does so at his peril. My assessment certainly does not apply to all women, of course, but the damage done by what I'm calling the "feminist" demand is so severe and pervasive that at my age, it just ain't worth it to go through it all again only to end up with yet another petulant woman-child unwilling or incapable of accepting responsibility for her own happiness and success in life, and who deeply resents the fact I have found my own without her, and so becomes determined to destroy it. I'm too old, I'm too tired, and the scars are too deep and too close to the bone. Stick a fork in me, I'm done. Bought a dog, gone fishin', never happier.
Of course, there are plenty of loser-guys on the dating scene, as well as loser women, but we do tend to hear more about them. However, I should stress that dating isn't a big part of the book -- just the part that caught my eye first. And Boysen's complaints aren't just his -- in fact, Helen had a post on this the other day. Her comments indicate that many men are happier. Certainly I am.
STILL MORE: Another reader writes:
I'm 52 and didn't get married till I was 35, so I know exactly the type of woman to which Mr. Boysen is referring. But I had the type figured out by the time I was 25, and although the petulant woman/child can be alluring, they are generally recognizable in less than a half hour of conversation. Quit complaining and move on!
He needs to find the woman who is serious about what she is and what she does without taking herself too seriously. There is no better place in the world to find that kind of woman than here in the US.
That's the kind of woman I married. But maybe I was lucky. Also, we were put together in the best possible way -- via an ex-girlfriend. Nobody knows you better than an ex-girlfriend. That's one reason why it's important to stay on good terms with 'em, as I generally have. Besides, if you pick your girlfriends well at the outset, you'll usually stay on good terms with them even after you break up, because they'll basically be decent people.
Mr. Snitch has much more.
posted at 09:59 AM by Glenn Reynolds instapundit
what's all this, then?
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Wednesday, January 18, 2006
Just scratch this post on our tombstone
Charles, here's your next must-read book.Instapundit gave it an unusual amount of space today, and with good reason - it's hit a nerve. It's about a woman's education in how (single) women come across to men, and what (most) women don't know about living life as a male. It's the first honest book we've ever seen on this subject (we're sure someone will know of something else along these lines, but it's a first for us). Check the Insty link, it offers as good a synopsis as we could write. But here's something unforgettable from one of Glenn's readers:
As a 48-year-old never married single man still in decent shape, successful and now retired, and having weathered the "feminist" cultural storm still raging since my teens, I can tell you that even your having read Norah Vincent's book, you STILL have no idea of the anger, the hatred, the vengeance and the pain so many otherwise attractive and available women are afflicted with. It is an epidemic of conflict and self-distortion that begins and ends with an impenetrable sense of entitlement, based on a false sense of victimhood, and for which not just any man but every man must pay forever for the restoration that's never good enough.
Yow. Say it from the mountaintop, brother! Hey, don't get us wrong - we love women, a lot (some more, and in a different way, than others, 'course). But the gender as a whole has some major issues that have been festering in the closet for a long, long time. And that's partly our (men's) fault.In the interest of self-preservation, Glenn plays down this rhetoric with "Of course, there are plenty of loser-guys on the dating scene" and links to his wife, who (he quickly reminds us) 'certainly' makes him happy. Who can blame him? He reads some of these comments, sizes up the situation, and realizes he does not want to screw up his Good Thing. We'd kiss-up, too.Now, Mrs. Pundit cites a Rutgers report: "Men are refusing to marry... Professor David Popenoe attributes his finding to 'a fear of commitment' by men and to the ease of obtaining sex outside marriage."You may recognize this for the standard (and safe) male response that it is, in which we obligingly roll over on our own gender. It's what has led us to this pretty pass, wherein both genders are pretty well disgruntled. Is there a man alive who has never heard women in a conversation of this stripe: "I can't find a decent man. As usual, they're only interested in taking the easy way out. Fear of commitment. Even a male scientist admits it - how much more proof could anyone need?" And is there a single man still alive who dared to step in and disagree?No. No, there isn't, and you know it.The damn thing is - we DO take the easy way out! But not the way Professor Benedict Arnold frames it. We eagerly embrace women's failings along with our own, because confrontation is just a lot more work than taking the rap. Let the women right, let us be wrong. What are they going to do, throw us in jail? That's why we accept any and all the male-bashing accusations which, if examined using pure scientific method, would collapse like a balloon in a porcpine farm. We don't commit because we are scum, see, not due to any failings of womankind. When did you even hear a male utter the phrase, "failings of womankind", in a public forum? That's what it's come to, friends. It's us, us, US, 24/7. We ARE the weakest link! In fact, apparently we are not even necessary. Men have always taken the cowards' way out here, readily owning that "Yes, the women are smarter". (And when studies suggest otherwise, you'll notice we don't write songs about 'em any more than we'd write a book called "Are Women Necessary?". Nope, such results are swiftly dispatched to the very same warehouse housing the Lost Ark. Top men are studying them now.) On TV, Father rarely (if ever) actually Knew Best. The show claiming that title framed the conceit with a gentle irony that has been rendered coarser year upon year. By now, let's face it - Father Knows Zip.In our enlightenment, let us from here on deny our mealymouthed fellow men the comfortable, safe haven of avoidance. This is the new, confrontational era of The Airing of Grievances. Therefore let us all now stand up, like men (all right, summon the inner Bruce Willis you fantasize having) and say, proudly, "I gotta lotta problems with you people!" After years of stifling a genre-wide desire to scream that "Women's issues" really means "Women have issues", some men are leaving the closet (not that closet). Witness this burst of outrage:
"What I'm saying is that human beings are nasty weak treacherous creatures that are for the most part totally untrustworthy. Experience is my basis for this statement, both mine and others who I know or who have written reliable histories. If you can find a woman to be your companion who is not treacherous, a deceitful little actress, a sly whore or a manipulative nag or a shrieking hag, then you are among the lucky few.""You mention the stereotype of men being afraid of commitment. Why not? Men have been culturally taught for more than a generation now that they are incapable of commitment, that they are either ravenous beasts or bumbling idiots or some combination of the two."
Struggling all our lives to hold such powerful sentiments in check, is there any wonder we die first?The guys on Doc Helen's site aren't all unhappy. Some talk about their fine marriages (warts and all). True, some of these guys may be on a short leash, but we so want to believe. When we last checked, there were 108 venting males on her site. Don't women want men expressing their feelings? Could it be that women only want their men expressing some of their feelings, if so many had to wait so long for this one lone chance to let fly?One thing's certain, though: There's damned few 50-something males searching for a Maureen Dowd, 'cause if they were that self-destructive, they'd have offed themselves years ago.Brothers!! Are you behind this???Wimps.Categories: Men+get+no+respect, Problems+with+women
posted by Mr. Snitch at 7:47 PM Trackback (0) http://www.blogger.com/post-edit.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113763735139613745&quickEdit=true
Nice point about O'Dowd. I allude to that in my comment there: no women can accept that she is anything less than perfect. Thus, if there's a problem in her life, it's a man's fault. And if she can't find a man to blame, that's men's fault.
1/18/2006 10:22:16 PM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113764093663743692wcf4440 said...
Amen! Maybe after 40 years of hearing what's wrong with men it's time we took a look at what's wrong with women! (Plenty!)
1/19/2006 12:39:08 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113764914855129266Mr. Snitch said...
Uh oh. I can already see it's going to get ugly in here. Well, go ahead guys. Vent. You got it coming.
1/19/2006 12:42:16 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113764933622221862Mart said...
When I first saw that the book was written by a woman in LA, where I live I thought "Well, duh!?" Due to LA being the town that it is. people come here with stars in their eyes and are ambitious and hard working. Unfortunately, after about 3 months in town the female contingent adapts to this competitive environment in a bad way and becomes ruthless, gold-digging, sly, two-faced and, ultimately, self-absorbed. At least men grow up with a more transparent and perhaps healthier competive ethic. Women, forced into an environment that is so competitive aren't a pretty sight, no matter how well they package the exterior facade. It's disappointing to hear that the rest of the country is like this. I was looking forward to the time I could leave town and start dating again, where the women are more well-adjusted. I just want someone nice I can have a laugh with. I don't need the issues. LA certainly makes a man jaded about women, and it is ironically refreshing to hear that a woman is writing about it with such an original piece of work.
1/19/2006 01:42:57 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113765297738636241Mr. Snitch said...
It turns out, Mart, that they CAN all be California Girls.
1/19/2006 01:55:36 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113765373668777499Bowline said...
Get married for sex? Please. Cheaper to pay for it, and you don't have to feel guilty afterward.Get married for children? Why? Between Child Services and the divorce court, you won't be allowed to raise them, instill your values, or even see them. Except maybe on alternate weekends.Get married for companionship? Are you kidding? Companionship implies an enjoyable relationship. Not the blindfolded stagger through a minefield that is the modern marriage.Its' the right thing to do? Well, if it costs your civil rights (darn shame about that protective order, but its' standard these days), a felony conviction, or bankruptcy, how right can it be?Cooking? Cleaning? Fahgeddaboudit... Not worth surrending dignity, financial security, a clean record, and the certainty of waking up with important body parts still attached.
1/19/2006 03:21:55 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113765891548857746Beth said...
no women can accept that she is anything less than perfect.Seriously, you believe that? If you ask me, a divorced woman, I think the reason for most womens' ''issues'' is a profound lack of self-worth. MoDo probably doesn't think she's perfect; she's just a stupid biatch who feels the need to toot her own horn because she can't fathom the concept of insecurity and bitterness being repellent.Really, when you tell a woman she looks great today--or whatever-- do they freak out, or accept the compliment gracefully?Anyway, as far as Reynolds' emailer goes, at his age he's pretty much talking about women who are either divorced w/kids--like me--or retards like MoDo. By all rights, I know I could be bitter and angry, but I don't blame all men for my ex being an asshole. I can see, though--actually, easily--how that happens to others. Same happens with divorced men...I've seen a couple of truly hateful blogs written by divorced men (you may even know one of them, but I'm not gonna be a rat). :-PBottom line, I have a hard time laying blame on the nebulous concept of ''feminism.'' I think easy ''no-fault'' divorce is a real factor, as well as (I hate to confess) the so-called Sexual Revolution. Like duh, when you're screwing everyone you know, you're probably NOT a ''keeper.'' ;-pGAWD, I really showed my age and parental status in that last sentence, didn't I? haha![Sorry for blogging in your comments. ::smacking forehead:: ]
1/19/2006 03:42:44 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113766016425015739Mr. Snitch said...
Beth, you can do anything you like in my comments. Go, girl!
1/19/2006 04:00:26 AM http://www.blogger.com/delete-comment.g?blogID=9947934&postID=113766122619619159
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