Sunday, April 3, 2011

The precipice of spinsterhood

Megan K. and I put chocolate chips in our pancakes Saturday morning. It was fattening, delicious, and the only thing in our lives that has made any sense lately.

You see, Megs and I -- as well as a plethora of our other fabulous female friends -- find ourselves in a precarious and perplexing position: We're cute. We're smart. We're articulate, well-traveled (she more so than I), energetic, fun and down to explore. And yet, at 29 and 28, respectively, we are still single -- standing on 30's lonely doorstep -- with ZERO reasonable prospects.

In the past, we would have resorted to self-flagellation -- "What is wrong with me?" we may have asked through tears and a bottle of pinot. "Why aren't there any guys who want to stick around?"

But over Saturday's chocolate chip pancakes, Megan K. and I flipped the script:

It's not us. It's them.

You read the second paragraph I wrote. There's nothing wrong with us! Sure, we've got myriad flaws just like any other person on this planet, but there's nothing so major there as would send anyone running for the hills to return with torches and pitchforks.

It is NOT us. It's you people -- you men and your wayward penises. Megs and I have spent enough time with you all to come to the depressingly stark conclusion that at our ages, there are simply no acceptable men to date.

It's a strange phenomenon that slowly builds as you enter your late 20s/early 30s as a woman. We are watching the window of opportunity inch toward closed because from our vantage point, there is literally something entirely undateable about every single man we meet.

Reasonably speaking, that window I referred to is men ages 21-38 -- 21 at the low end, because while it is perfectly legal for us to date 18-year-olds, A) that's kind of creepy and B) there's pretty much no way we'd date someone who couldn't legally drink with us. And the upper limit is set at 38 because it's 10 years older, beyond which is also creepy (but on their end this time).

But within that window, NONE of them are acceptable -- something I've illustrated in the following helpful chart:

You should be able to click on that to blow it up and see it in its full glory, but let me break it down for you in sections.

First, the Younger Man:

I get the allure. Particularly for the uber-young ones -- the ones I've dubbed "fetuses." You think, "Hey, hot body, lots of energy. I'll be their Mrs. Robinson."

Then I realize they were in high school at the same time as my little brother, and that makes me feel like the second coming of Mary Kay Letourneau. And heaven forbid I ever see their apartments -- you can't take a single step without colliding with a roommate, as these men are just getting out of college and struggling to pay the bills with their first jobs.

It's admirable, no doubt, and we've all been there. But at 28, I am simply too goddamn old to contort my body into the yoga-like position it requires for two people to share a twin mattress. Additionally, I no longer believe "futon" is a synonym for "sofa," nor are curtain liners stand-alone objects (you need a fucking shower curtain, too, you heathens).

Furthermore (and speaking of going all Letourneau on it), I've dated a man in his early 20s before. But I was younger then, too. As a woman in my late 20s, I don't have the patience nor the wherewithal to be a female-anatomy instructor for yet another man. Some other girl can train you youngin's on how to handle our precious parts... I don't have the time!

(That said, I've got a date with a 23-year-old scheduled for this Wednesday, and he seems bound and determined to convince me that there's more than meets the eye to younger men. I'm skeptical.)

When it comes to younger, you've also got the Danger Zone to contend with -- guys who are in their mid-20s, who've been out of school for a little while, who've gotten a chance to mature. Maybe they've finished an advanced degree. They're more amenable to the idea of having a girlfriend, and have learned a little more about how to treat a lady.

It seems that they've been broken in, like a favorite pair of sneakers you simply cannot do without. But beware: These are the guys that will date you for two years, then suddenly realize they're 26, have been monogamous for two years, and then they let the overwhelming desire to sow their wild oats take over. Then you find yourself single and starting over again, but now you're older and even more desirous of companionship and settling down. It's a totally sucky situation.

So, younger doesn't work. But what about similarly aged men?

You'd think this would  be perfect. But it isn't. Oh, no no no, it isn't.

The Venn Diagram says it all. Men in our range are either normal, but not single; single, but not normal; or, worst of all, single and normal, but somehow COMPLETELY FLAWED. They either live with their mothers, or they're not over their ex-girlfriends, or they're workaholics, or they've got horns and a goddamn tail.

The bottom line is they're enticing, but totally fucked up.

And finally, the older ones. These men have been my personal bread-and-butter, actually -- if you graduated from high school in the early-to-mid-'90s, I probably have gone on a date with you at some point. Call it the "Acceptably Naughty" factor -- there is nothing in practicality wrong with dating a 35-year-old when you're 28. But for some reason, I think about you being a collegiate 20-year-old when I was an angsty 13-year-old listening to the Toadies on my Walkman in my bedroom and thinking about how my parents just didn't get me, and the whole thing just feels forbidden and awesome.

More than that, men in their mid-to-late-30s represent stability -- these guys have been out of school for over a decade. They have carved their path in the world. They know how to handle their own business and are assertive and independent, and those are seriously sexy qualities.

But then you get to know them.

These motherfuckers do not have their shit together any more than the goddamn 22-year-olds. They're still single because they have no idea what they want, and they're too ADHD to sit down long enough to figure it out.

These men are the real life versions of Peter Pan, flat-out REFUSING to grow up and act their age. And even worse, these are the guys that will string you along the most.

The point is, Megan K. and I are on the brink. The precipice of spinsterhood. A No-Man's Land (literally). We want to find The One, settle down and get married (and, for me at least, have babies). But all we're finding is guys who are simply wasting our time.

We get it. We see the value of companionship, of going through life with a teammate, with someone who knows you better than anybody else, someone whom you can always count on, someone with whom you can build a life and a family.

There's value in all of that, and we see it.

So why don't you?

*Editor's note: As I write this note, it's April 2014. I composed this post in April 2011 as a tongue-in-cheek way to bemoan a temporary lack of prospects. If you're still reading/linking to this as proof positive of some bullshit alpha-male rules, you need rethink your life's priorities (and you should probably click the banner to be redirected to the front page so you can get current). Point is, this is a silly blog post with silly pictures of Peter Pan. I didn't take it seriously, and neither should you.

That said, I did see one valid criticism: I had written one sentence where I used "me" instead of "I" and "her" instead of "she." I've fixed it now, and I heartily apologize for my obvious illiteracy. If I could take myself out back and beat myself, you can rest assured I would.


  1. I loved the charts. You're getting better at them.

    As a guy who just turned 30, I couldn't agree more - except from my perspective, there's no more women to date!

    All of the women I've met at bars and through kickball and dodgeball, aren't looking to date a nice-guy with a house and a career. They're just looking for that quick hook-up, and I'm not about that.

    All of the women I meet through swing dancing won't date me because I don't go to their church.

    All of the women I meet elsewhere in grad-classes, at friends parties, and the like are either married or engaged.

    My dating life in non-existant because I a.) have run out of single friends of friends to be introduced to, b.) live out in the 'burbs because I'm ready to grow up and have a house, and lastly c.) online dating just is set up for failure.

    Really - I need to go to your next happy hour and meet all of your single friends and readers of this blog.

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  2. the chart = priceless. i'm actually laughing.

  3. Let me break this down for you:

    We're cute - that depends on who you're talking to. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and it's completely arbitrary.

    We're smart - That's nice, but are you willing to listen to the opinions of others? Do you refuse to date anyone without a college degree? You may be needlessly limiting your pool of potential suitors.

    We're articulate - But do you speak the language of love? Do you sound presumptuous? Can you talk to all kinds of people on their level?

    Well-traveled - This is a big red flag. To me it says "grew up rich enough to be able to go to Europe." Big deal. There is nothing more irritating than hearing people blather on about their vacations, especially in this economy.

    Energetic, fun and down to explore - Great, you're willing to go places and do things, but what do you offer? Do you come up with ideas for places to go and things to do?

    Yes, guys can be real dicks, but there are some good ones out there. All we are give Ben a chance...

  4. I agree with you for the most part, but at the same time you also have account for the people who fall into your range. What I mean is that there are plenty of single, perfectly normal people out there, but they either aren't attractive enough for you to want to date them, or they are too attractive for you, so that also vastly thins the dating pool. Sure we all like to think that looks don't matter, but we would be lying. I think one of the important things you can do as you start getting to the stage you (and I) are at is widening the range of people you would consider dating based on their appearance.

  5. I'm in the Peter Pan age bracket, but I don't think I particularly fit any of your descriptors there. I've had exclusive long-term girlfriends in the past and I imagine I will again in the future. At the moment, I've decided just to see what dating experiences are available to me as I've gotten burnt out on dead end traditional couplings.

    If I find a woman who'd like to be in a long-term monogamous relationship with me and I feel the same in turn, I'll be happy to pursue that. I wonder if some other fellows feel the same?

    But let's say you're right and all the men suck for a woman in your situation. Then what? Just giving in to spinsterhood?

  6. I read an article awhile back (I'll give you the link at the end) that explained that the problem with men today is women. Stick with me on this... Because women are so independent and self-sufficient these days (and, as the trend indicates, better educated), men no longer need to be, well, men. They can remain "boys" longer because there's no need for them to become responsible, providing adults until much later. An interesting theory, but I imagine, for all you single ladies out there, not really any consolation. (Sorry)


  7. Dating at our age is completely frustrating. I'm sorry, but if we've been on several dates and have taken our physical relationship into sexy town over the course of one and a half months, it is plain and simply disrespectful of men to refuse to label me as their girlfriend. "I'm not looking for anything serious." We all know that means "I think I can do better and am not willing to settle for you right now." And if it really does mean "I'm not looking for anything serious," at our age, jackasses, it makes you sound like a wanna-be frat boy of 20 years old.

    I'm sorry, I have had a massive spell of men who tell me they are on the same page as I am when it comes to finding someone, but when I finally bring up the exclusivity issue, they get all freaked out and bail.

    GTFU (grow the fuck up)

  8. Andy, where are the guys like you! I seem to only meet guys interested in quick hook-ups or want some brainless idiot.

    Wanna go on a date? ;)

  9. Don't give up on Peter Pans yet. Maybe my Peter Pan boyfriend and I work well together because I have enough going on in my life already, but there is something to be said about being in a pressure free relationship.

    And as a girl who is also well traveled: I have to take offense and dissagree with the "grew up rich enough to be able to go to Europe" commentor. Sometimes well traveled means 'I scrape and save to get the most out of life and the world' and that *is* sexy!

    ....but even if it does mean you're Daddy's little rich girl- Fetus to Peter Pan- ain't no man going to turn down a set of wealthy inlaws!

  10. "The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars,
    But in ourselves, that we are underlings."

    Aside from your alleged cuteness (note: DC party girl picture on your front page is not "cute"), none of your other self-described positive features are what men really care about. Many women think that what *they* consider a positive attribute is what men should also value. It does not work that way.

    Anyway, this is all pissing in the wind, so good luck with your dating.

  11. Love this post! And great diagram. I have to warn you that it only gets worse. Being 30 something and single REALLY blows. That normal/single overlap is TOTALLY non-existent.

  12. Great post and so true. I often lament the lack of grown up men looking for grown up relationships. I'm a few years older and the chart/age ranges just move up as the years pass by.

    @Andy: So where do we find good guys like you?

  13. Aggy hits the nail on the head. Agree 100%.

  14. I'm close to your age, and I agree that it is definitely frustrating when it comes to dating. Most of the guys I've dated have been in their twenties; I've found that the men in their thirties often want to date younger women. I've been doing the online dating thing again and more than one thirtysomething will list the age range for his ideal match as being 18-24. I mean, seriously?

  15. You should read the book marry him by gottlieb who is also a flawed individual but has some good points

  16. What Andy said.

    What Satirical said.

    What Mike said.

    And I will add, it's probably more because you are trying too hard.

    So no, it isn't us. It IS you.

  17. This kind of blog post infuriates me. If you're really looking for the guy who'll give you monogamy, stability, maturity, and so forth, then (pardon me for saying so), I think you need to adjust your expectations a little bit. After following your blog for a few months, I've concluded that you're looking for some sort of total package -- the spontaneous alpha male who's exciting, good-looking and sexy, but also mature, stable, grounded, etc., etc.

    A quick tip for you: That total package doesn't exist. Or if he does exist, he's married because another girl recognized him and snapped him up. So instead of the "total package," why don't you sit down and come up with the flaws you would find acceptable in a guy? If you're looking for perfection, you'll still be looking when you hit 50.

  18. I gotta say, this all could be because you live in Washington, DC. This area has extremely high levels of douche-baggery.

  19. Despite the assholish comment of "divorced guy" it is the divorced guy that is the overlooked commodity. We are in the acceptable age range and are single but not because we couldn't be (something was wrong with us) but because we and our ex fucked up the relationship but good. This leaves us wiser, more introspective, already understanding of others' foibles and appreciative of a relationship that doesn't suck the life out of us. So long as we got out with more than half, give us a try!

  20. Great post! I loved the graphs. As a single late-twenty-something, I am in the same boat and have come across the same problematic guys.

    @Andy - where are guys like you hiding?

  21. I'm not opposed to dating divorced guys. I'm not opposed to dating anybody, really, as long as they're funny and interesting. Funny is the one thing I won't compromise on -- everything else varies.

    And I keep getting hammered on dating for looks, or whatever, but trust me -- if you knew what my last two boyfriends looked like, you wouldn't say that. If you knew what half these guys I've gone out with since I started writing this blog looked like, you wouldn't say that. There are a few notable exceptions, sure -- the entrepreneur being the most recent (his torso is shaped like a V -- I needn't say more). I write about it because I mean, hell -- if someone really attractive wanted to go out with you, wouldn't you be excited about that?

    Additionally, when you like someone, they become more attractive to you. When you don't, they become less attractive to you. Beauty IS in the eye of the beholder, as someone pointed out -- so why wouldn't it follow that when I blog about someone I like, maybe they're only hot to me, because I liked them?

    No one ever thinks about that.

  22. Also, any girls interested in Andy: I've actually met him, and, first of all, he's an EXCELLENT dancer. He's also a great guy (though, he lives in the Maryland suburbs, which, my dear Andy, is your flaw as far as I'm concerned -- you are what they call "geographically undesirable" for anyone who lives in Virginia or doesn't own a car).

    And any girls interested in Mike K.: He also strikes me as a great guy (thoughtful, considerate, in-tune with women), and he's TALL, which is a major check in the plus column. He lives in Virginia and is getting a dog soon.

    I could probably scrounge up contact info for both of them. Go get 'em, ladies!

  23. Hah loved the diagram!

    Also can't wait to hear about your charity date! :)

  24. I have to laugh at all the "OMG Andy, where do we find guys like you" comments...because guys like him are all over the place! The problem...they are your friends who you wouldn't consider giving another look. They are the nice guys who you don't find yourself attracted to because they treat you too well. Andy represents a segment of guys that most women completely ignore and take for granted. You women always say you want a nice guy, where are they all? Look in your social circles. Look at the guy holding the door for you. Don't look for the guy out at Clarendon Ballroom slamming jager bombs and has more hair product than you do. Don't look for the guy who is trying to take you home that night.

    So the next time I hear a woman say "Oh where are all the nice guys like you!" I will just slap you in the face, then maybe you'd go out with me.

  25. @Mike -- I totally hear you on the "we want a nice guy" thing and then we go after the asshole. I am a CLASSIC case of doing just this. I <3 assholes.

    But if you want my (unsolicited) advice, it is actually to stop being so nice! "Nice guys" a lot of the time give off the doormat vibe, and nobody wants somebody they can walk all over.

    (And if they DO want somebody they can walk all over, do you really want them?!)

    So buy her a drink, open her door, walk curb-side when you're walking together, but also tease her, disagree with her, set plans for the evening yourself instead of leaving it up to her to decide what you guys are going to do. (Later, when you're actually in a relationship, get her opinion and all that, but at the beginning use a strong hand and we'll respect you for it.)

    And never, ever stammer. Speak confidently and we'll want to hear what you have to say.

  26. Katie-

    I'd agree wholeheartedly with all of what you said, and that is something I personally have gotten much better at. As bad as it sounds, I feel like I've gotten to be nearly an expert at the first date, I do everything I'm supposed to do and know what to do/not do to secure that second date. You're right though, there are a lot of guys who are doormats, who don't have experience dating, so they are intimidated.

    I equate it to interviewing for a job, you get better the more interviews you do, you become more confident, and it comes across. Now I go into any interview (and first date) knowing that I will do everything I'm supposed to do and come away with the "job" so to speak.

  27. Why do there have to be games in the first place? Why can't people just assess each others' strengths, weaknesses, and mutual compatability, and make a decision from there?

    So much of dating -- complete with various "rules" and whatnot -- seems so incredibly pointless.

  28. Mike - I understand but what about not wanting to ruin a good friendship? All of my good male friends are quality and I would date in a heartbeat, but I am worried about losing them as a friend if the relationship went sour. I know they care for me and I care for them - is it worth the risk?

    I understand and know that I won't meet the type of man I would have a relationship at a bar or club, etc. Do guys like being approached in coffee shops or bookstores? I would have no problem with that but I don't want to come across as overbearing.

    That being said, what are you doing this weekend? ;)

  29. @ST - The best relationships have a strong foundation of friendship. It is silly to fear making a friendship into something even better. Yes, there's the off chance that something could go horribly wrong and you could end the friendship, but under what possible scenarios is that really the case? If one of you cheated on the other? If that happened, he's not worth having as a friend anyways. There is just so much more upside than downside IMO.

    And I say this just not to you, but all women...stop being afriad to approach a man! If you find someone attractive, ASK HIM OUT! The only guys that would have a problem with that are the ones who have gender issues to begin with, and aren't worth it. I would love nothing more than to have some woman I didn't know liked me to approach me! Guys are just as chickenshit as you are, we hate rejection just as much, but we are the ones always expected to make the first move.

    And I'm free this weekend ;)

  30. Oh, love connections in my comments! You both should e-mail me and I'll facilitate the information exchange.

    (p.s., Mike, don't wait until the weekend -- keep the momentum going and ask her out for midweek drinks!)

  31. Someone once commented on my blog that I would only have a 'fresh face' for a few more years. And I laughed it off.

    But now I am sort of like "it's true". I am mid-to-late twenties and your blog post scared the hell out of me.

  32. Do you think if you made your tweets and blog private that that would help?

  33. I totally agree with this post. I'm in my early 30s and have a hard time meeting a guy my age who is actually single (no gf, no fiancee, no wife). In my grad program all the guys are younger than me, and in my alumni group the ones who are my age and older are generally taken. I also agree with your comment about nice guys being doormats. I've always dated the "nice guys"-they were wonderful and treated me so well, but were doormats. It got so boring and I hated it. There's got to be such a thing as a nice guy who is assertive, self-confident, and their own person in a relationship. They can't possibly be mutually exclusive, can they?

  34. That is the ideal, but people keep telling me my expectations are wildly inappropriate for finding that. So apparently, yes, they are mutually exclusive.

  35. @SatiricalAlexandria -- I traveled to Beijing, Jinan and Seoul on my own dime while making less than $30,000 in the DC metro area. In this economy, after having been unemployed for three months, I toured Guatemala. My being well-traveled has very little to do with wealth and a whole lot to do with budgeting. My car has a tape deck, I brown bag my lunch, I live in a group house and I haven’t gotten highlights in years. I’ve made international travel a priority, but I will never drive a new car.

    I spent holidays in Europe and Africa on my parents' middle-class dime when I was a child. Obviously having a dad stationed with the military overseas helped, but it was still a matter of prioritizing.

    I’m looking for someone to go volcano surfing with me in Nicaragua with Quetzaltrekkers. Who's in?

  36. @MeganK, THAT LOOKS AWESOME!!!

  37. Megan K - That sounds amazing. Please take me with you.

  38. Mike's answer summed it all up for. We're around. We're looking just like you're looking.

    I was thinking yesterday afternoon that if the single women think Katie's model is accurate, and the single men thing the inverse of Katie's model is accurate (no more single women), then how do the 2 models overlap? They don't It's entirely possible the last single women and the last single men are all searching for each other in the wrong places.

    And yes Katie, I'm aware that I might be geographically undesirable (by choice - have you seen the real estate prices in the District? ;-) ).. But I'm only 15 minutes from the Metro, and I have a car, and no qualms about driving anywhere in the DC or Baltimore metro areas.

  39. EXACTLY Megan. Well traveled is not a money-exclusive trait, and is definitely something my guy finds sexy about me.

    I teach Special Ed. I think that is a clear statement of my economic status.

    Sadly, I stay the hell away from all volcano related activities...up for a self planned "Dr. Who" themed UK trek?

  40. @Katie, geographically undesirable is where I am at (Delaware) and my dating life is proof. As a late-twenty something female, I definitely feel like my dating life is the black abyss.

    The male friends I have are either gay or incompatible with me one way or another (and vice versa). So yes, I am going to say it...there are no nice, funny, adventurous, single guys in my dating area....and I have looked. I have definitely realized that the total package is no longer out there (I think he was grabbed up in elementary school), but damn can I get 3/4 of the total package? Or is that asking for too much?

  41. Thank you, Atiyana, for bringing up something important: Yes, we all want the "total package." Who wouldn't? But on that same note, we are all willing to take moderately less than the total package in the name of companionship, commitment, etc.

  42. You're dead on with the Peter Pan Syndrome. I can sadly attest to that one. Repeatedly. Boo.

    I envy you being in your late 20s. I vaguely remember those days ......

    Oh, and never settle .......

  43. There are some very valid points made in the comments above on both sides of the debate. I am not sure what I have to add to the debate, other than I agree with Andy and Mike. There are guys out there that you are looking for.

    I was one of them a few years ago. I was almost 30, educated, traveled, cute, and one "nice" guys. However, I was not a doormat. I had several fairly long term g/f's but none of them were really the one. I joined to see what my options were. After about 7 months, I finally met a girl who was right. Now 3 years later, we are getting married in Aug.

    I am not sure what my rambling is meant to be, other than to say, keep your eyes open, "we" are out there!

  44. There's no pressure on men to settle down. It's patently unfair. This is what you are running up against.

  45. I'm not saying that travel means you're rich. I'm not wealthy and yet I also make it a priority, especially for my child, who has traveled extensively and is still in high school. The point I was trying to make is that if you think travel makes you more interesting to anyone but yourself, you're mistaken.

  46. Hard-core disagree with you, SatiricalAlexandria -- knowledge of other cultures and ways of life makes someone damned more interesting to me. Ex-BF v. 2.0 had just come back from two months in South Korea when I met him, and sharing with me foods he ate and tidbits he learned about life there were things that were extremely attractive to me.

    In an upwardly mobile and worldly wise city such as Washington, D.C., I think most people would agree with my opinion on this one.

  47. On the topic of travel...I hate when I come across an online profile that is nothing but a listing of all the exotic places a woman has traveled and all the pictures of her in those places. I agree with Satirical, the stereotype is that those women, especially if they are under 30, did all that traveling on their parents dime.

    I also don't think knowledge of other cultures necessarily makes someone more attractive, at least to me. Because that person spend 6 months in Africa doesn't mean that we are going to last any longer in a relationship. Those things are nice, but ultimately don't matter.

  48. While you might find travel and knowledge of other cultures appealing, most men don't care about that sort of thing. The ones that do are going to be looking for a very specific type of woman. They're not going to be hitting up the happy hours at local DC bars or interested in talking about Twitter and blogging or that time you live tweeted your date. They're going to be at lectures and charity or political functions. Those men want a woman who is dynamic. If you want a man like that, other wise known as men in high demand, then you're going to have to step up your game.

  49. I have never agreed more with a post. I'm back from Afghanistan girl and guess what...I'm in a relationship! with a guy that I have dated through ALL OF THESE CATEGORIES. He is finally getting through Peter Pan Zone and is finally in the Comfort Zone. And I'm there too. Wait for the blog.

  50. Mike K, why do you assume that?? I'm a dude who spent a big chunk of 20s traveling all on MY dime. I worked my ass off, saved diligently, then blew it all on extended travel. There are many of us out there.

    And it definitely matters to some of us if another person is well-traveled or not. Travel has been a big component of my life and I plan for it to remain that way. It would be very difficult to have a partner who didn't share my interest in traveling.

    That being said, what I think SatiricalAlexandria was trying to say is being well-traveled doesn't automatically make one interesting. There are certainly a lot of people out there who are complete bores even though they've seen the entire world.

  51. First, I agree that being well-traveled makes a person more interesting (The Dude is far more well-traveled than I), so long as they aren't snooty or obnoxious about it (I respect it much more if you scrimp and save to make it a priority, as Megan pointed out).

    Second (and you know I love you girl), maybe part of finding the men out there who do "see that" is getting over insecurities like a fear of spinsterhood. Most men I know hear that as "my eggs are dying" or "I'm desperate" and that's never attractive. Getting a little older is fucking awesome, and you simply have to own it! Nice guys, who are also assertive and independent, are NOT mutually exclusive qualities, in my experience, but I think if we spend too much time worrying that all the good ones are gone at our age, we become unattractive to the good ones who are out there trying to find US.

  52. I wholeheartedly respect that comment. Good point.

  53. I'll bite on this one and tell the truth from my perspective.

    I have pretty much always had a girlfriend, usually date someone for around 6 months or until things stop being fun, just turned 30, and you could say I have a little bit of the peter pan syndrome.

    I don't understand why this is confusing for women. I like your blog, think you are an entertaining writer, but to do this post justice, change every instance of "grow up" with "get boring".

    The reason men got married/settled down in the past, is because of the social stigma to do so, and the loneliness associated with being single during that time period.

    Lots of guys in my position have seen their parents/friends/others marriages fall apart and end horribly. They have seen their friends with kids turn into bores.

    Why choose either of those when you have enough disposable income, friends and fun/adventure to make your life complete. I own a house and a serious job and live in the district, why do I want any more responsibility than that, when there is so much left to do that doesn't involve serious/boring commitment.

    The obvious solution to this (from your perspective) is to be enough fun to be around or hot enough that a guy is afraid to loose you, so he caves to the pressure and puts a ring on the finger. But most guys that are enough fun to be around/smart enough/successful enough realize that there are other women out there and aren't going to cave to that pressure (which is why you can't find what doesn't exist).

    The non-obvious solution to this is to be enough fun to be around or hot enough, but not exert any pressure to commit and he will naturally stay with you, but without the commitment that he won't make regardless (but this will be nerve wracking from your perspective and fraught with social stigma - that is hopefully dying out anyways).

    Anyways, just my $.02 - stay classy san diego

  54. I can't allow this to go unanswered...

    Travel is stupid. Travel is actually kind of hate-able. (Megan and Katie know I feel this way I think?)

    Travel is spending an outrageous amount of money to go stare at things that look the same on the Internet. In its best incarnation, you get to taste food that tastes different in some way than the same food delivered to you elsewhere. Big deal.

    To accomplish this goal, we get dehumanized by state-authorized peeping toms/molesting creepers in the form of airport screeners, then further dehumanized by paying airlines, which are indefensibly incompetent and repulsive organizations that rip us off for tickets while sucking up government bailouts.

    All so we can get a damn meal that tastes different than the same meal at home, and gather information that we can Google. No, something has to be profoundly wrong with us, that we travel.

    And the takeaway of all of this inconvenience, indignity and expense? "I've been to _______." Well, lah de freakin' dah. I've been to Yankee Stadium, but I still can't pitch there.

  55. @Anon 2:22

    Sharing an interest in traveling and being well-traveled are two different things. Of course someone who likes to travel would gravitate toward a partner who also shares the same desire, but being "well-traveled" does not make you any more dateable, likeable, or fuckable than someone who is not. My wife was more "well-traveled" than I was simply because her job made it that way. The only difference it made is that moving costs us 10+ extra boxes from all her "well-traveled" crap. I'm glad she saw the world, glad we can see it and enjoy it together now, but certainly did not marry her because she was cute and well-traveled. I married her (during my Peter Pan stage, I suppose you would say), because she was the greatest person I'd ever met and I couldn't imagine a day in my life without her. So leave the scrapbook talk at home. It's not important.

  56. @Adam- Very well said and I definitely agree to an extent. I never understood people who would throw $2-3 thousand on a trip to Europe, its just an outrageous amount of money for a 2 week experience.

    I still disagree with many of the pro-travel group here. I don't see how someone visiting China for 2 weeks makes them any more interesting. Would I love to see China? Sure! But it's not going to transform me into a better person. Because you climbed up to Machu Picchu and took a picture doesn't mean you suddenly have a new perspective on life and know any more than you did before.

    To me, you can get a similar experience to anywhere in the world right here in the US for half the cost. And to those who didn't use their parents money to travel, good for you, but you still aren't any more interesting to me, and you certainly aren't doing yourself any favors by demanding that you date someone who's also taken their picture in front of the Eiffel Tower.

  57. I'm going to have to rein in the travel debate now, since we're just going around in circles.

    Some see value in travel. Others do not. I think the only thing this proves is that people from those two camps aren't ever going to date each other.

    AKA, sorry Mike K. and Megan K., but you guys clearly aren't soul mates. ;)

  58. Hey don't get me wrong, I absolutely want to travel internationally, but I felt I had to wait until I can reasonably afford it without impacting my quality of life.

    But I am disappointed, I've seen Megan K and she's extremely cute :( I would totally do that volcano surfing thing!

    In closing, my ultimate point is that you shouldn't further restrict your dating pool to people who are well traveled. There are those of us who haven't traveled internationally but certainly want to, yet still know enough about international cultures and cuisines that we might surprise you, so you should consider us too.

  59. Well, I think that's actually the thing that people are misinterpreting -- I originally mentioned the well-traveled thing because I find it to be an attractive quality, but I'm certainly not going to NOT date someone just because they don't have a passport. There are a variety of things I consider, and I definitely do not have any hard-and-fast rules (except for one: they have to make me laugh).

  60. Not to beat a dead horse into the ground or anything but:

    Many of us who love to travel don't do it to see some silly monuments, we do it for the experiences we cannot replicate in the USA (such as Megan's planned volcano ride). Unfortunately I cannot hear the call to prayer here in the USA. I cannot duplicate the craziness that is crossing the street in Saigon. As much as I'd love to walk through a city with cows all over the place, I don't think I can find that here. Anyway, you get the idea.

    And international travel doesn't have to be expensive. A trip to Latin America can be easier on your pocket book than a trip to California . Last fall a friend of mine flew to Colombia for 300 bucks. While in Guatemala , I met a woman from DC who got there on a 85 dollar ticket! Of course I think the airline that got her there is now defunct (hmm, I wonder why) but there are still reasonably priced tickets to Central America. And once you get there? You can get by on 30 bucks a day or less (much less in the case of Nicaragua).

    Anyway, rant over. Excuse the total diversion from dating and the like.

  61. Wow, I never knew people had such intense opinions about travel. I think everyone can agree that travel does not = more awesome person, but I disagree with a lot of what people are saying here (especially Adam). I can google a picture of an ice cream cone and read all about it, but that isn't 1/100 as awesome as eating one. I want to experience a lot of things in my life, whether they are in Zimbabwe or a few miles away from where I live, and the attitude of "I can just learn about it on the internet" does not do it for me.

  62. Who else thinks Katie should set up shop as a matchmaker?

  63. My experience has been that women care more about travel than men.

    And I think "travel means interesting" actually is more of a way of people trying to say a sense of adventure, open-mindness and an attitude of being a lifelong learner are desirable qualities. Just my 2 cents.

    I moved to Egypt shortly after Sept 11 and went to grad school in Scotland. I wouldn't change those life experiences for anything, but it's certainly never helped me land a date.

  64. I love the chart and the comments, especially those from Mike and Andy. I think there are guys and girls who aren't their authentic selves when they date others. If people were more comfortable being honest about what they're looking for, it would make dating much easier!

  65. "There's got to be such a thing as a nice guy who is assertive, self-confident, and their own person in a relationship. They can't possibly be mutually exclusive, can they?"

    Most of those guys:
    A) aren't single anymore because a woman has kept them around
    B) have other "flaws"
    C) are serial dating instead of being in a relationship and being "nice" about it.

    Seriously. I think part of the problem is DC. I lived in other big cities and I find that so many of the single late 20's women here are of the ambitious & wordly type that they often are overambitious in what they seek in men. There are so many uber-cool interesting men to date around here that these women wind up setting their bar higher. I have known women who are cool when they move out here, but then get too full of themselves and develop really high expectations for whom they date. They start to be embarrassed to date a guy with a decent job that would be respected in any other city. It's like their self-esteem/competitiveness cannot handle dating a guy with a regular professional job when they all have at least a couple friends with a boyfriend who fits some "ideal" of foreignness, important job, wealthy family, etc. Almost all women find status sexy. Almost everybody gets self esteem based on the quality of their mate. In other cities I see far higher quality girls happily marry regular guys than the girls here who are ignoring or leaving such guys.

  66. In terms of giving "regular guys" a chance, I think my blog speaks for itself. Re-read entries on the pie maker, the pastry chef, the unemployee, the grad student, the Starving Bachelor, the George Mason student, etc., to see that fiscal worth/status is not my top priority.

  67. Anon from April 9 here...
    To be honest, I wasn't specifically talking about you Katie and just going on what I've seen among friends and coworkers and responding to the comments.

    I'm also thinking that I didn't explain things fully enough. There are levels and degrees to everything. I am not saying that most girls aren't willing to go out with "regular guys", I just think that they find themselves less impressed with them because their expectations get raised. They're aspiring to more, remember being spoiled by some perpetually single dream guy. I hear them go on dates with regular guys that they're into and then I hear reflected disappointment in comparisons to X, whereas X is some Don Juanish ex-not-ever-quite-boyfriend. Then they stop seeing that guy or do so halfheartedly. It's not about settling, it is about being realistic about what really matters. Of course, this certainly isn't everybody's problem, it is just one of the myriad of ones people can have.

  68. 1. I find the problem to be that no men in this godforsaken town are willing to ask a girl out!! When did that become so damn difficult?

    2. Men say they don't want just a "hook up", so if you spend the night and I don't want to fuck you THAT night, it doesn't mean that I won't ever want to fuck you. I'd just like to get to know you a little better before I let you stick your dick inside me. I mean really.

    3. The most annoying thing about the guys who fall in the single not normal/not normal but single turf is that they will spend all night chatting, flirting, appearing interested, but then, when it comes time to say good night.... that's it! No phone number, no nothing! What a waste of time! Were you just getting your rocks off while your GF was out of town? WTF?

  69. If a woman thinks she is fabulous but is still single, there are two possible cases:
    1) She is not actually fabulous, she just tells herself that a lot.
    2)She IS fabulous, but is way too picky (see "Marry Him" by Lori Gottlieb)

    Women have been lied to. They assumed that all the attention they got in their 20s was because they were so 'fabulous'. No, it is because men that age are horny, and girls that age are much hotter then they are 10-20 years later.

    Give a guy 10-15 years to watch girls dally around waiting for Mr. Perfect, and the average successful guy begins to figure the score quickly.

    A funny thing happens as we age. Mens' sex drive lowers. And so does womens' sexual desirability. Isn't it ironic, dontcha think?

    Sexual desirability is like an inheritance with an expiration date. Too many women spent their most attractive years playing with dating like a sort of game, rather than investing their time and attractiveness in a solid relationship.

    Now, bitter and jaded, they want some 'fabulous' guy to pick up the emotional tab for their reckless years.

    Not so much.

    The Peter-Pan manchildren are an exact mirror to the narcissistic, ex-party girl who has a 400-point list of demands even though she is wrinkling a bit and gaining weight. It's a match made in hell, and they are both welcome to it.

    Meanwhile, there is no end of single females to date, and I will keep sole control over my money and time. Besides, "empowered" women can clean their own gutters, dispose of insects, mow their own lawn and deal with plumbing issues on their own. Independent living is very sexy, yes?

    Butbutbutbut - my female friends will say: "what about compaaaanionship"? I always say "I'm getting that right now, aren't I"?

    If a girl wanted me to be content waking up next to her 40+ year old body without makeup, she should have been letting me wake up with it when it was 23. Male loyalty works that way. Give me your beauty when you are young, and I will give you my loyalty when you are old. A time-tested formula.

    But women thought they could cheat the system by squandering their most precious asset, only to sell the leftovers 10 years later.

    Sweet, fun, and young. Be that. Be as much of it as you can be. Offends your empowered feminist sensibilities? Fine, go get yourself a nice simpering tubby guy who will take feminism classes just for chance to see you naked.

    If you can't sweet/fun/young, you can always try the substitute: sweet/agreeable/workoutfourtimesaweek.

    Here's to singleness, and the grand joke that life has played on us all. Cheers!

  70. Ah, there's nothing like the irrationality of feminism. We're bastards when we want to marry a woman, and we're bastards when we ignore them. Misandry is such a multipurpose form of hate.

  71. Shelby,

    The RULE is if the woman says 'no' then it's final. If she changes her mind, she will say so. Asking twice is harassment and perhaps even stalking.

    In fact, that's not just the RULE - it is, as the deputy explained to me, the law.

    I am certain you want disagree, saying that you aren't that way and neither is anyone you know. It doesn't matter. Because any heroic officer of the law and any District Attorney who wants to get reelected can make it the law, if only one woman in, oh, fifty is that way then it's the RULE.

    Next you might say that just a few crazies are ruining it for everybody. Yes. They have. It's now ruined. Either you will adapt or find yourself saying 'I didn't know ...' too often for your friends to ignore.

    Good luck.

  72. Quote: "I also agree with your comment about nice guys being doormats. I've always dated the "nice guys"-they were wonderful and treated me so well, but were doormats. It got so boring and I hated it."

    Thanks for the reminder.
    Portal 2 is brilliant.

    Remind me again why I should spend the next 40 years living up to your contrary expectations.

    Oooh look, beer.

  73. Most guys are not gonna want to travel with a chick because she would get in the way of visiting all the local brothels and meeting interesting foreign gals.

  74. By the way, it is still possible to see the precipice by looking up after you have already gone over the brink.

    The key element to observe is whether you hear the wind whistling in your ears.

  75. Believe me, men have the same complaints about women. I am 35 years old, professionally successful (lawyer), and am pretty fit for my age. However, I don't meet that many women. I don't really have a crew of single friends who want to go out so I am left to try to meet women on my own, which is not that easy.

    The women I have met at bars tend to be either extremely self-centered or come across as promiscuous, neither of which are attractive. Also, a good segment of the female population is fat and I cannot bring myself to settle for a fat woman who is less attractive than me.

    One advantage, however, that men have versus women is that we can afford to wait this out until we find the rare "marriage material" woman.

    If you are having trouble meeting decent men, you probably aren't going to the right places or you just don't come across as friendly or approachable. I may have to meet my wife at my health club, because that's the place where I am around the most women.

    On-line dating is not for me, because I tried it and only seemed to meet women who were either bitter or damaged in some way. Women probably have similar online dating complaints.

  76. I just have to say that all this stuff about women being more attractive in their early 20s as opposed to their late 20s or early 30s doesn't apply to me because I lost 90 pounds at age 24-25 and am fitter, younger-looking and healthier now than I ever was then. So suck on that, anonymous male commenters.

  77. A Foreigners PerspectiveApril 28, 2011 at 12:53 AM


    It appears that "well-travelled" in a man is something that women would find attractive, whereas "well-travelled" in a woman is neither here nor there for men. Everyone on this blog saying "well-travelled" makes someone more attractive is a woman, and everyone commenter saying "well-travelled" doesn't mattter is a man.

    I think its safe to assume that while there are some traits that overlap in what men and women consider attractive in the other, there are also some things that we as women just have to take mens' word for with regards to what they do or do not find attractive in us. To a man, good looks are probably more important than "well-travelled" in a mate. I'm willing to bet my life on it.

    Notice how quick you were to tell Mike that he and Megan would not work out based simply on her finding "well-travelled" attractive and him finding it neutral!

    And what was Mike's response? "I've seen Megan and SHE'S CUTE. I hope to still have a chance with her."

    Again - CUTE.

    Yep, men care more about "cute" than they do about travel.

    Cute > Well-travelled. All day. Everyday.

    Something we women are just going to have to learn to deal with.

    Ladies, men are not obliged to find the same traits we find attractive in them, attractive in us.

    Wanna know what a man finds attractive?

    ASK HIM.

    The answer might not make you feel good about yourself, and it might not be what you find attractive in him, but ... men and women are different.

    Don't try to superimpose what you think he SHOULD find attractive about you onto him.

    That's just plain unattractive!

    One more thing, the use of the word "soulmate" wrt Mike and Megan not possibly becoming because of the travel issue.

    How about "soulmates don't exist"? How about marriages have been arranged for most of the world's history and still are in most parts of the world?

    How do those people manage? Surely they have no expectation of "total package" or "soul mate" but they manage to marry, reproduce, stay together and yes, even fall in love and bond deeply with each other.

    Now, I'm not suggesting post-modern America turn back the clock or emulate the cultures of countries that you love to travel to (hee hee), but perhaps something can be learned from not having overblown romantic notions about marriage (or an LTR) and approaching them in a more pragmatic sense.

    There's a famous qoute: Love is a CHOICE.

    (And Mike and Megan - choose to have a great date!)

  78. Nobody comes ready made as a perfect package. Through my mid-to-late 20's, I couldn't get a date with a decent girl because I was working my way up in the world. Hookups, sure, but relationships were out of the question. Nobody really wanted to be serious. Eventually, through a weird twist of fate, I managed to luck out and date a really nice girl who seemed really solid - she was cute and had her act together, more than me. We got married not long after. Looking back, I was probably pretty immature at the time, stupid in a lot of respects, and didn't have two nickels to rub together. She stuck with me, I built up my career and we built up our life together, and now things are pretty good. I'm in my early 40's now, have a reasonably high powered career going on, we've got a nice kid, plenty of money, a nice house, and we're happy together. Could I have found a physically prettier woman in a prestige job if I'd held out? Probably. But then I'd have had to settle for being 35 or 40 and marrying a neurotic bitch who wouldn't have given me the time of day when I was 26 or 27, but who would be happy to marry my adjusted gross income, car and nice house at age 40. Instead I've got a great life with a good woman who has my back, I've got her back, and I'm not interested in the cute and desperate 30-somethings in my office who hit on me.

    Consider the possibility that it's hard to find a good man because most women making this lament don't know (1) what a man with potential looks like; and, (2) that it's their job to use a combination of respect, love and encouragement to challenge a man to live up to his potential.

  79. Nobody's waiting for perfection. We all know that doesn't exist. I think Atiyana summed up what we're all feeling in her comment: I have definitely realized that the total package is no longer out there (I think he was grabbed up in elementary school), but damn can I get 3/4 of the total package?

  80. @Anon 1:09, is your advice, then, to marry someone whom you hope will grow into the person you want to be with by giving him your very best even if he isn't capable or willing to give you his at the time?

    I hope we all strive to be better people for our partners, but I also try to operate under the safe assumption that no matter what I do, I can't change someone else.

  81. Women hate nice guys but love jerks!

  82. 3/4 of the package? Depends on what you want in the package. But for most part, no. You'll be lucky to get half.

  83. Trust me, my standards are not that high. All I want is someone taller than me who makes me laugh.

  84. OK, that sounds reasonable at first. Sure, every woman wants a man taller than her. But he doesn't have to be 7 inches taller. Two inches will suffice. As far as funny-that's reasonable too. Most guys are funny-to a point. Very few men can be Jon Stewart.

    I doubt those are the only 2 things you want. You also want a man who makes good money (whatever you consider "good"); a guy who dresses decently; someone who is not fat; someone who wants kids; someone who is not an alcoholic or drug user. Someone who shares your values (that's what you should want, anyway).

    See? Now you have to realize that 99% of women (your competition) want this. You can't blame not finding anyone totally on the men. I mean, you must have at least a few friends who are married or engaged, right?

  85. The universe is 16.4billion years old. What was the universe doing when it was 30yrs old?

  86. @Anonymous 8:30: Read this blog for more than two seconds and you'll learn that I don't discriminate because my theory is you never know whom you'll have chemistry with. I've gone out with guys who are unemployed and guys who are making millions. I've gone out with all races. I've gone out with all shapes and sizes. In fact, the guy who it took me the longest to get over when it didn't work out was an overweight smoker. And that was because he made me laugh harder than anyone I've ever met (even to this day, actually).

    Sometimes, that really is all that matters.

  87. How about you just enjoy the time you spend with these guys and then cut out on your own.I don't think ANYONE in this day and age is suitable for the granpappy and granmammy 60 year w/ 3 kids marriage relationship because our society isn't built on Understanding oneself it's about fulfilling a checklist(The "American Dream") someone made and the masses ate it up.

    Our society isn't made to pump out "Normal" people have you seen our kids?Have you seen our Government?Have you seen the poor schools?Have you seen the lies that's being shoved in our brains by the media?Have you seen what's put in our food to dumb us down?Have you seen the divorce rate?Have you seen the parents?The nation we live in generates problems not happy loving caring out going confident Independent self sufficient people.In the best situation it creates a soldier a mindless puppet, a carpet.

    Most of us are slaves and don't even know it most of us want to be slaves and don't even know it.If we aren't slaves to Religion, Work, Parents GF/BF/Wife/Husband/kids or school we're slaves to social standards because we haven't taken the time to stop and think about what we REALLY want to do and find out who we really are then we can enjoy a relationship where both people can really enjoy each other and not hold any power over each other.

    Just look at relationships in general(Intimate,Platonic,Workplace) it looks like a power struggle some people like to control, others like to make people over, some like to crack the whip over people like a slave driver.Do you REALLY want to waste time on anyone?Enjoy your time with them, fuck them ,enjoy more time and then see them when it's convenient.The problems that people come with aren't worth the trouble not that you can't give advice or "Be there" but don't be a mommy or daddy because that just spoils them and they'll A)Never solve their problems or B)ALWAYS come to you with their problems.

    So....yeah we're all fucked up no one is worth being with in a long term relationship.Great fuck buddies and interesting people buuuuuuut interesting people are that way for a reason...VERY FUN buuuuuut solving problems not so much.Too bad you found this out @28 I found out at 18.Think of relationships this way 9 out of 10 pit bulls WILL bite you 1 won't is it really worth the time and effort to find the one that won't?Is it really worth it?What if you don't like the one that you think you want and the other nine were cooler?Sure they bit you but maybe you like being bit?This is what happens to a lot of couples in a "Marriage".....but wait kids are involved!And the cycle of not "normal" Grown ups continue!~~~~~~~~

  88. I never got stressed with the idea of finding a man. I was never really interested in dating men because I always try to do more interesting things instead! (or nothing special, but at least I wasn't looking for finding the perfect man) But the weird thing was that that fact actually helped me to find good guys over there. I didn't have a lot of bfs, but had a lot of 'admirers', but just didn't wanna date out with the first one who appeared. I had a relationship that lasted 4 years, but I didn't consider it as a 'waste of time', you can't think that way. Now I have a relationship of 3 years, and we're engaged. I mean, I can't be 100% sure if we're gonna get marry in the future (and I'm almost 29 now), but I don't care at all. You just have to enjoy your time with the person. You'll have plenty of time to get marry/have kids in the future. Just don't overthink about it.. The problems aren't about men, (there surely are a lot of assh#les, try to recognize them from the start to avoid them lol) but about our own perspectives and that feeling that we want to have our lives planned with in all the details. I don't care about the "social timeline", so try to relax and eventually you'll find someone. Another thing I strongly believe it's that you're not gonna find someone worthwhile at a disco lol! And, the more desperate you are, the less you're gonna find someone and if you do, you have to think twice before you take a step.. Just sayin'..

  89. Great for a laugh. perhaps you could be one of the very few american females to have some sense of introspection....and look yourself...your expectations...your choices...instead of...blaming it all on men??? Just a thought.

  90. I think I've been inspired to blog about my relationship. Cause what people say about men and women in these comments is so totally off it's maddening.

    It doesn't have to be this way.

  91. @Anonymous: Read the rest of this blog before you make that comment based on one entry.

    And @Libby: You should see the comments I'm not posting. Those are the truly maddening ones.

  92. Even my grandmother guessed what my problem was before she passed. They are fat. The problem is even worse because I assumed that they will get fat since its now the norm. So any women to me was just fat potential. She would certainly have fat friends. If men are anything like I was, they just figure you will let yourselves go and then bankrupt them in divorce. 50 years ago neither of these things were a problem. Why marry? Its no longer a good deal. Something is wrong with us for certain but it is not without cause.

  93. Somewhere in your post, you mentioned how guys in their mid-twenties will date you for a few years, then will want to "sow their wild oats" and decide not to commit.

    I have 2 friends who were dating their bfs for a couple of years and thought they would be getting married. Both guys told my friends they weren't ready to commit, they couldn't see getting married, it's not you, it's me, etc.

    You know where I'm going, right? After the breakups, both guys got engaged to another girl within a few years. The moral: when a guy says he doesn't want to get married, what he means is: I don't want to get married to YOU.

    If a guys is into you, he will commit. Read "The Rules". It's totally true!

  94. You sound like a cheep whore to me but not as cheep as the filthy rape slut kelly ann collins

  95. verdict is that american women are good for sportfucking but make terrible wives

    You are pure fuck n chuck material

  96. Hello lady, my name is sunil pradeep and i wish to offer you my sperm. You will have luxurious orange skinned children like kelly ann collins

  97. Have you considered offering yourself to the

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  99. Interesting article. As an older divorced guy (late 50s) I see lots of things young women are looking for in a potential husband, but nothing about what you the woman, brings to the table that will make a man want to marry you. Hint: what you think you bring to the table is not what most men are looking for. Sorry, but they don't care about your career or how well travelled you are. They are looking for kindness, loyalty, affection, levelheadedness, and of course non-grudging sex. Those attributes are in very short supply.

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