Yesterday, the news of Robsten’s implosion rocked some areas of the web. I commented that the cause of the implosion, Kristen Stewart’s infidelity, was not the result of anything wrong in her and Robert Pattinson’s relationship, but fueled by cultural dictates proclaiming that our early 20s are too soon to settle down. In short, our modern norms create the very immaturity that culture uses as evidence of immaturity. Yesterday, I discussed how that that happens for women. Today, I want to look at what this dynamic does to men.
It turns them into the hardened misogynists we are trying to eradicate.
Every man who does not start out as the sex-seeking, alpha male jerk has a girl in his past who did the “I’m not ready for a commitment,” also known as the “it’s not you, it’s me,” breakup. Well, every man might be an exaggeration, but not by much. These young men loved their girlfriends, offered them their strength, support, and protection — all things that many women claim to want in a husband and father in about 10-15 years. In short, these young men make themselves vulnerable to women, but the women aren’t ready yet, often because we tell them they aren’t ready yet. Whether these young and naive women unceremoniously dump their dedicated beau or humiliate him through cuckoldry, he walks away devastated. He trusted and was betrayed.
Typically, two things happen simultaneously, one internal and one cultural. Internally, the young men retreat into themselves. Having made themselves so vulnerable, they vow to not make that mistake again. Culturally, we often tell a man to get over a girl by sleeping with every willing girl he can find. To see how fun that might be, go watch Forgetting Sarah Marshall, specifically the post breakup sex montage, including such passionate moments as “Are you crying?” “Hi,” and “I think I have an STD.”
Notice, that this is the only point that what we tell young women and what we tell young men, syncs. First the men are ready for commitment but the women aren’t. Later, when the women are ready, the men aren’t. In the middle, we tell the young women to get experience, that is sleep around, and tell young men to drown their heartache in lots of sex. This is why 20somethings spend so much time rutting about. They don’t have out of control libidos so much as we tell them to sleep around–and here is the best part. We tell them this so they can make better choices when the time is right. It doesn’t work out that way.
In that decade of debauchery, those betrayed and hardened men have their sexual behavior reinforced by the slew of willing women who tolerate being used as sex toys and then discarded. (That’s the sexual experience we women typically get. We are supposed to like it.) If a woman naively assumed the relationship was exclusive then this time he does the betraying — and depending on his logic skills, he might see a bit of justice in it. From his perspective, he can stay “safe” in his shell, get laid whenever he wants, and not have to deal with the emotional scars a woman has after being betrayed and repeatedly used as a sex toy. Why would he bother with a relationship? As Whiskey commented in my last post, “a run-to-fat, many partners woman in her thirties is less attractive than an online porn collection, to be brutally honest.” It is that.
So young men become cold and hard sex seeking missiles.
Then, around her late 20s, the independent modern woman starts to realize that she wants a husband and family. She wonders, “Where did all the good men go?” Since modern culture is often beholden to what they think women want, since the women are ready, we expect the men to be ready. Since the typical 30-year-old is no catch, we tend to blame the men, which probably reinforces both the cold and the hard. To be clear here, I do not contend that individual women are to blame for cold and hard men. I contend that the things we teach women about life result in cold and hard men. In this case, the young and naive Stewart is less culpable than the the women who advocated for and created modern cultural norms that so mislead young women. The Steinems and Friedans, et al. have much to answer for.
For illustration, take the wronged Mr. Pattinson. By most accounts, at 26 he is the wonderful guy who would make a great husband and father — and he’s hot and rich to boot. He will be alright because women will throw themselves at him, right? That is not the way to bet.
Like the typical wronged man, he will retreat into a shell. He will be loath to trust again. His buddies, if they haven’t already, will get him stinking drunk. They will encourage him to sleep with any willing gal, and since this is Rob Pattinson we are talking about, women of all ages will line up to be at his service. It won’t help. First, those women were available before the betrayal, before he even started dating Stewart.
If he wanted a life of casual sex, he, more than Joe Smith, could have claimed it at anytime. So he will be thrust into a life he didn’t want. At this point, things get worse for him than the typical guy. Among all those willing women, how many will try to make money off a sex tape? That would add a whole new level to his trust issues. If he is wisely wary, then the modern cure for heartache is ironically lost to him. I’d say that that would save him in the long run, but his fame is still a burden. Already loath to trust, loneliness might plague him. How will he ever know if a girl loves him or is merely intoxicated by his money or the idea of Robert Pattinson? These complications, if he sees them, might cause him to give her a second chance. I’d think that was highly likely if she had a fling with a single guy. But her disregard for him as well as for children and a wife who she knew… Pattinson has no good options.
After this, what kind of man is he likely to be at 35? A George Clooney who beds a different, younger, and hotter woman each month after making her sign a detailed non-disclosure statement? Sounds lovely, no? Is that not just the kind of man a young girl dreams of marrying? His saving grace might be his reportedly close and happy family who can help him claw his way back from this and save the good man he seemed to be last week. I wish them Godspeed.
Eventually, some men do learn to trust again. The details vary depending on the betrayal. I had to convince my own husband that I was not merely looking to experience dating an older guy only to leave him for someone younger. Usually, however, women and men manage only to reach a denouement. They get married, but the shells and the scars are still there. If we bitterly cling to anything these days, it is those, not guns and religion. Modern marriages are often made in the shadow of mistrust and resentment. (That’s a post for another day.)
The advice we give to young people that is supposed to lead them to wiser decisions about marriage, instead drives a wedge between men and women. Culture creates the mistrust and resentment, which it then uses as evidence of the weakness of marriage. Notice a pattern yet?
More on marriage, family and relationships from Leslie at PJ Lifestyle: