They're everywhere. Until they're not.
Or so goes the premise of The Atlantic's latest cover article on singledom, marriage, and males. Here's the teaser:
"Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in men’s life prospects that have disrupted the “romantic market” in ways that narrow a marriage-minded woman’s options: increasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing)."The article, by Kate Bollick, posits that, at long last, the age of men is over. It's women's skills and women's abilities that are ascendent in our post-industrial age. Which sounds great, until you get to college and realize the cross-eyed, philosophizing dude with the fedora is pretty much all you have. According to Bollick:
"...as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. We’ve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up—and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with."At least there's cheese in this scenario.
Of course, the trouble with generalities is that they don't behave very well in the specific. When you really get them pinned down, really get them chloroformed and strapped to the table, they squirm away. For example: in 2011, all of my single female friends have finally, inexplicably, fallen in love with perfect men.
I'm suspicious. I'm always suspicious. But perfection, in particular, makes my nose twitch. No man is perfect.
But is every man a creep?
Because this is the other thesis I was handed this month, by a man, natch, with whom I was playing a gig. "All men are creeps," he asserted. I told him I knew many men who were not, in fact, creeps. "They're trying really hard," he said.
It's a profoundly discomfiting thought: that each of the various men I know, and trust, has a rotten underside, like an apple gone soft. My husband, my friends' husbands, my relatives, my colleagues. What if all of them are leering by the cheese table?
Well, there'd still be cheese.
I suspect though, that all of this -all the male gazing- is glitz. It's shinier and more sparkly then the truth, which is that men are, like, you know, people. Snore.