Dating: Is It Time to Hang it Up?

There is much discourse going on these days about dating and what is wrong with modern dating. The blame is spread all around. Women (some women, not all) blame men for not stepping up to the plate and keeping up with them, and men (some men, not all) blame women for being everything from too independent to being too promiscuous. I’ve been involved in this debate for some years. This is especially true as I find myself single at nearly 35. I didn’t plan to be single at this stage, and I’m desperate to get out of the dating game.

The Game Has Changed

One thing is clear about the modern dating environment for Gen Z and Millennials: the game has changed. Women are more economically independent than ever and are making as much or more than men. That is a great thing. I know, from family history, it was like in the days when women were tied to men for any economic independence. This has created a situation where men are no longer necessary for women’s survival. This is a good thing. The old system was awful for both parties. That said, men are more like a luxury item for women. The problem is that many men have not caught onto this change.

As a result, rates of sex and marriage are down dramatically. Several years ago, I did a piece about how poorer women remarked that they could afford to raise children alone but couldn’t afford to deal with a man. Marriage and family seem to be on the outs. This has given certain right-wingers an excuse to accuse the left of destroying the family.

Obviously, the biggest change is online dating. Gone are the days of meeting people in bars or organic ways. Often, asking someone out the old-fashioned way is now coded as creepy by younger people. That leaves online dating as the primary way people connect, but we already know that dating apps are ineffective. Dating app data reports that tall, attractive and typical white men do very well, leaving the rest of the men in the dust while women chase them; they are bombarded by messages from many other men desperately hoping for a reply.

What is the result? More lonely people and fewer relationships. I doubt that is a good thing. I believe having a solid relationship is a big part of life and that having someone who loves and cares for you is one of the best parts of being human. Everything else pales in comparison to having at least a significant other. Some would even argue a life without children is somewhat empty. I don’t quite agree with that on children, but I think having someone love you is an important part of being human. Why is it so hard?

What Does A Woman Want?

For straight men, this seems to be an inflection point. The standards for what makes a man attractive have changed. As Scott Galloway stated recently, middle-class men are no longer seen as viable partners. It’s no longer enough to have a job and your place, but a man needs to be as successful or more successful than many women.

Besides economic considerations, I’ve seen women talk about and have observed in life that women want a man who is the complete package. A man must be masculine enough to make a woman feel safe while being emotionally intelligent and open about his feelings. Even Jordan Peterson acknowledges this dynamic. He describes brutality as “a controlled monster.”

Long story short, women are searching for partners who can do it all, like they have been doing for decades. This is quite a dynamic change, and the simple fact is that most men are left behind as things have shifted, and most men have completely failed to adjust. None of the old dating advice seems to work anymore, which has frustrated more and more men, especially young men.

Large groups of frustrated men usually cause violence and political change. One person remarked on Twitter, “Shout out to porn and video games for suppressing the male urge to destroy society.” Never a truer statement was uttered.

What Does This Mean For Us?

As someone single, this leaves me in quite a dilemma. What am I going to do about my own dating life? I often feel like, given these circumstances, it is a long pastime for me to hang it up and just be single. I don’t like cats, but a dog would be a good idea. I’m not the sort of “high status, high value” male that women today are looking to date. I’m a full-time artist who is deeply steeped in the humanities. Here in Seattle, I’m competing with the tech bros who make more money than me and live in nicer places. I never thought I would be facing this problem. I don’t know if that was just hubris, but I never had trouble getting into relationships or hooking up (with women, anyway) until my late 20s.

I will say that I did not count on college being such a halcyon time for dating. I did not take dating and relationships seriously in college and thought I would do better in the broader dating market of the greater world. I did not understand that college is when you are mostly surrounded by single people your age. Then there is the great coupling up at that time, and things become much harder for the unattached.

I made a bad miscalculation. I suppose this is the result of it. I’m torn about the situation. I want to find love before I’m too old to enjoy it. Conversely, I don’t see how I can reasonably compete in this environment. I think many guys are in the same boat. I’m not one of the elites tearing it up on the apps.

The only thing I can think of in this situation is an adage from Motown, “You can’t hurry love; you just have to wait.” I hope I don’t have to wait too long.

Cast Iron (a Novel) by Cameron Cowan

When Randy Carruth starts a new life with his sister, mother, and new husband, he never anticipates that this new life could be dangerous and even deadly. Cast Iron explores what happens to a young man lost in the prison system and lost in the world on a journey of forgiveness.

Cast Iron is the story of Randy Carruth, who discovers that his new step-father is not what he seems. He tolerates it for a time, believing that he can do nothing. One day, when he discovers his sister being attacked, he makes a fateful decision that sends him to jail. After being released, Randy enters a world of drugs and male prostitution. Will he ever find his way home? Can he find forgiveness for those that have wronged him and broken his heart?

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