Dr. Helen

On Strike or Kicked Out?

A reader is concerned that Men on Strike are just men who are rejected by women:

I am writing to you about your “Men on Strike” idea. I don’t have any statistics or anything but I’m wondering how common my situation is and if it has any bearing on your subject.

I’m very similar to the men you talk about in your writings. I’m 46 years old, never married, no children. When people ask me about getting married I always give some glib answer about free milk and a cow or buying a house for a woman I hate. But it’s an excuse. I’m not boycotting marriage. A “boycott” is something voluntary. I will likely never get married because no woman will ever have me.

I’m not movie star handsome but I’m certainly not ugly. I work out regularly and am in pretty good shape. I have multiple college degrees. I own my own car and house. I have a full head of hair and teeth. I have no criminal record or STDs.

I think I’m decent relationship material. The women of America don’t seem to agree. It’s been almost 10 years since my last date. My lack of a romantic life isn’t for lack of trying, but no matter what I do I am rejected by women. I can’t even begin to express my frustration, confusion and loneliness to you, but that’s not why I wrote. Might there be a lot of men in my situation? I hear women complain “there are no good ones left”. I guess I’m not a “good one”. There might be a lot of decent guys that aren’t considered “good ones” by women.

I’ve thought A LOT about possible reasons for my problem. One of them is that I tend to be a quiet person. I’m just not the “Joe Cool” type. Women seem to like flashy guys and I just can’t seem to pull that off. I’m not anti-social, I’m just not a PUA. But I think the major part of my problem is height. I’m 5’7″ barefoot. Most women won’t even give me a chance, because I’m just too short. Even women that are shorter than me consider me too short to date.

Is it possible that a lot of guys “boycotting” marriage are in reality just losers (and I include myself in that) that can’t get a relationship and this talk of a boycott is sour grapes? Are women’s expectations different now than in the past, leaving a lot of previously desirable men out in the cold? It’s certainly good that women will no longer tolerate things like physical abuse, but what about other “deal breakers”? Things like baldness or shortness? Does the reluctance of women to realistically “settle” affect the number of men who are “boycotting” marriage?

Yes, I do think women’s expectations are different now. It used to be that if a man was a decent guy, he could usually find a wife if he wanted to. Part of this, I think, is that women were expected to marry, now they are not and told that they are fine alone. Add to this the media, culture and educational system that tells them they don’t need men and the standards are high, especially for highly educated women. There seem to be different groups within the “men on strike” group. Those men who feel that they can’t compete and have simply bailed out, those who can compete but don’t want to marry because of the lack of incentives to do so such as loss of freedom, high expectations, and legal aspects of marriage and even those in-between who are simply sick of the whole system and living on their own terms. I do think that men who have been rejected over and over have simply gone on strike and no longer try at times.

I wouldn’t call them losers though. I would say that the dynamics and expectations for women have changed –and given women’s tendency to hypergamy, many men now do not measure up when they did so in the past.

Any more thoughts or ideas for our reader would be welcome in the comments.