On Accusations, Excuses and Truth

15 March, 2011

A Never-Ending Play in Three Acts. Eat your heart out, Tom Stoppard.

Cast of Characters

MacMillan – a thrice-married woman, 45 year-old single mom, a premium cable television writer living in New York.

Ravitz – a once-engaged, never-married 41 year-old writer/blogger living in Atlanta.

Me – a never-engaged, never-married, 30 year-old woman living in Brooklyn, who cannot tell how many relationships she’s had because there’s no easy way to define “relationship.” She thinks it might be two, but on a good day could be as high as five.

Act I: MacMillan, who is equally as misguided as her single friends, tires of hearing those single friends complain about their singledom. She embraces her unwarranted High & Mightiness and writes a fairly offensive piece on the Huffington Post about how singledom is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Single ladies, she argues, want marriage, they want it more than anything they are willing to admit to. But we—she’s thrown Ravitz and Me into the mix, though she does not know us—are self-destructive creatures, we are petrified of our own happiness. And we’ll stoop to grievous lows (bitchiness, shallowness, sluttiness, dishonesty, selfishness and low self-esteem are MacMillan’s Six Self-Sabotaging Sins of Single Sisters) to ensure our safety within that realm of ceaseless singlehood.

Needless to say, Me and my friends—between us we can boast a history of every type of relationship imaginable—erupt in a collective cry of disagreement. As a 5’10” friend pointed out, the article assumes a huge double-standard, in that it chides women as being shallow for having physical preferences (such as, I hope I get a guy who’s taller than me, but if my soulmate is 5’7″, I’ll happily deal), when a guy having loads of physical ‘standards’ is just seen as par for the course. No one’s writing blogs telling those dudes to give it up. The same tall, astute friend also took issue because “the implication in the article is that to find a husband you must be sweet and never angry.  I know plenty of super angry bitches who have husbands.” It seems that’s MacMillan MO—why is she disproving her own point? Does she want to keep all the guys who are willing to be with angry women to herself?

Another friend commented that MacMillan “doesn’t deserve a pat on the back for marrying 3 times, (like she’s some kind of expert man-catcher), she deserves a dunce cap for not being smart enough to run away from what obviously turned out to be bad ideas.” She warned of MacMillan’s safety in her Glass House…

Act II: Ravitz, a better-intentioned writer/blogger at CNN is one of the thousands for whom MacMillan’s pointed diatribe pinched a very tender nerve. She offers a publicized counter-argument, in which she claims that it is not for our own self-hatred that we are unmarried. It is not lack of opportunity—but lack of the right opportunity (a swipe at MacMillan’s perhaps too-easy approach to wedded bliss). Ravitz tells of her own romantic history, one littered with oases and boulders, love and disappointment, self-admitted commitment issues, too much truthfulness and bad timing. Ravitz argues that sometimes, life wants you to be single, and it “just works out that way.”

Me and my friends are glad for the clever rebuttal, one in which we single ladies are not lambasted for the choices we have made. However, there is still a sense among us of something unfinished, of a still as-yet untold point of view.

Act III: In steps Me and My big, unmarried mouth.

I do not believe in, and cannot subscribe to, boiling down relationships to singular factors–whether you’re in them, or trying to find out why you’re not in them. If some TV writer were to finally define that one reason why relationships don’t work (the point MacMillan’s subtext was attempting to make), then no one would ever bother with relationships at all—hello, Children of Men-esque future. There’s a reason romantic partners are not interchangeable, and why we can’t just pick anyone and happily spend the rest of our lives with them (so long as we follow the rules). Firstly, that would be tediously boring. Secondly, and more importantly, people and relationships are nothing if not nuanced—which is a Very Good Thing. We cannot be reduced to 6 defining misdeeds, nor should we count our virtues and bemoan a plot by the universe to keep us loveless (even though I am often guilty of that myself). A million infinitesimal, incomprehensible factors are responsible for everything in our lives, from where we live to what television shows we watch, from what we eat to who we choose or reject to spend the rest of our lives with.

At the heart of both women’s arguments is that the key factor in relationship-finding is opportunity. Angry Slut Lady (guess who) says JUMP, don’t hop, at opportunity, at any opportunity, no matter how bleak it may seem, because at the heart of it, you’re rather unlikeable, and good opportunities don’t come along often, if ever, especially for the likes of you. She clearly believes that it’s better to be once, twice, three times a bride, than never married at all. Personal Drama Lady (Ravitz, naturally) says it’s not lack of opportunity, it’s lack of accepting the opportunities because you’re able to recognize that they’re not right for you… so calm your hormones, Angry Slut Bitch.

Yes, these are two points of view… and one of them might even be valid. But Grounded Romantic Lady (that would be Me) has to say what, seemingly, no one else has:

Any single woman knows that on certain bad days, we look inside ourselves (or into the mirror) and see all the reasons why we’re single. And on other days, sometimes good days, we know that our inside is stupendous, and we look outside ourselves to see that it’s not our problem that we’re single—it’s everyone else’s because they’re not with us. But unless you’re obsessed/crazy/desperate (like Angry Slut Lady thinks you should be), no one spends 100% of their time dwelling on either eventuality. We can’t. Because on most days, we know that there’s something else to it—something that’s not about our inside or outside, but about chance, and about how it can create a connection to someone else’s inside and outside. Some of my friends call it the X-Factor, others call it “clicking,” I call it Chemistry. Most importantly, we know what’s right when we see it—it’s not availability, it’s not looking good on paper, it’s feeling good from the tops of our heads to the soles of our feet, feeling good not only about the person, but about the situation. It’s thinking about someone who gives you butterflies in your toes, makes your whole body tingle with not only the sense of “This Is Right,” but also: “This is Right, for Me, Right Now.”

The beauty of this thing, this chemistry (my blog, my term), is that it is a giant heap of je ne sais quoi. It is undefinable, unquantifiable, and inarticulatable. Which means it doesn’t fit into the six designations of what you’re doing wrong, it can’t be counted like opportunities missed, canceled or aborted for any reason. I think of it like salt. It’s certainly not imperative in every dish. But most dishes—from brownies to curries to salads to margaritas—benefit from having some of it. You don’t need this to have a lasting relationship. But it often tastes better with it. For some people, just a hint is enough. For others, the more the better. (If you’re concerned about high-sodium risk in the metaphor—CC, I’m talking to you, too—we can just as easily substitute ‘spices’ in for salt. But I was afraid to complicate things with that one.) Everyone’s tastes are different, and yes, there are those bland people out there (Angry Slut Lady) who stay away entirely, claiming that just having food in front of you is good enough, you’re being greedy if you want it to taste good, too. I live in Brooklyn—I simply cannot submit to that philosophy (or metaphor).

There are some other crucial points that MacMillan needs to be reminded of in the search for why, why, why.

One: For many single people, being unmarried does not mean you are incomplete. Marriage need not to be an end goal, or a goal at all. The fact is, we are all real people by ourselves. Partners may enhance us, but they do not define us, at least not at the outset. I’ve met people (Angry Slut Lady, looking at you) who believe otherwise; they seem clingy, their urgent sense of finding someone—anyone—blurring all other priorities. They find vulnerable partners and wear them down until they get that ultimately dissatisfying ring on it. I know loads of people who have eschewed a balls-out search for a mate in favor of the rest of our lives, and have happily lived to tell about it. While we’re almost always open to the idea of meeting someone, and hope to do so sooner rather than later, we’re proud of who we are otherwise. We’re not just waiting on a wing and a prayer, but we’re living. So many friends caught on to Ravitz’s acute observation: “Maybe you’re a searcher with a healthy dose of wanderlust, someone who needed time to commit to furniture, let alone a man, because there was so much you needed to see, do and become.”

I honestly can’t think of anything better than to be a woman in her 30s with healthy wanderlust, single or partnered. Life would be terribly boring otherwise!

Two: Being single is not the same as being desperate. Angry Slut Lady certainly can’t grasp this one—she’s too busy being petrified that no one will ever love her. The few patronizing married friends I have can’t quite understand it either. But ask most any man or woman who’s spent a significant portion of their 20s or 30s single, and you’ll find that they know themselves well, well enough to be confident in the things they want and the things that they don’t. And why wait this long only to compromise when you’re 30? 35? 40? Wanting the affection, company, love of a relationship is not the same as being desperate for one. It’s something on the To-Do list, and we all go about checking that box off in our own unique ways. But the moment you give in to desperation, the moment you believe any of the BS that Angry Slut Lady is feeding you, that’s when you’ve got a big, big problem. In fact, my initial response to these blogs was:

Nope, no one’s ever asked me to marry them, no one’s ever fallen in love with me (that I know of), but that doesn’t mean I’m going to fucking slum it just because I consider myself desperate. Because the catch is that I *don’t* consider myself desperate, much to Angry Slut Lady’s dismay (and disagreement).

Epilogue

All that said, here is what I believe:

It’s not about men being crazy or women being crazy. Everybody is crazy. And if you’re lucky, you end up with someone who complements and supports your kind of crazy.

Where to go from here? One friend suggested, upon reading MacMillan’s piece, “introducing a new question on OK Cupid: ‘Is Kim Kardashian your ideal woman?'”

Would love to add that MacMillian, who wrote the Huffington Post piece, is a television writer for Mad Men and The United States of Tara. Fascinating to note that the woman who has had three marriages writes for a show that boasts misogynistic lotharios and one wherein the female protagonist has a dissociative identity disorder—a less severe version of which, you could argue, could lead to three distinct and doomed-to-fail marriages. Just sayin’…

x

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25 Responses to “On Accusations, Excuses and Truth”

  1. Dave said

    Good retort and may the gods continue to bless you all and those who feel as you do with continued happiness, really. If I ever have a daughter I pray that she is as strong in her beliefs and convictions.

    But Tracy’s article was brilliant though. Provocative but brilliant and for those who are HUNGRY for marriage. I don’t think she is encouraging women to be desperate. I think she was encouraging women for whom marriage is the ultimate relationship goal to be something some women have a hard time doing (because we men are always wrong): being self-reflective in regards to who they are in courting/relationships….it is not all about the man.

    These women are not the same as you ladies and the ladies who feel like you do. You are right where you want to be or at least where you think you should be as single progressive women. That is admirable but that is not who I and many progressive men out here (who are in the same place you are and actually prefer it stay that way) are dating. We are catching the ones who are not being honest about their long-term relationship goals.

    If you are single and happy why even get upset with this article? Im 35, never married, educated, a small business owner, good looking, charming, attract alpha females, have no children and think folks who get married in 2011 are foolish (there are too many wonderful women, like yourselves I guess, who dont need marriage. Thank goodness this is not 1951 I say!).

    But there are hundreds of articles written by “progressive” women saying I am a slacker trapped in some adult-adolesent stage because marriage is not my ultimate relationship goal (in an often hostile workplace and world, peace and happiness are).

    In many cases the authors (often women) are suggesting that men “man up.” Hmmm. A woman telling me to “Man Up” huh? Not very progressive, I think.
    But I’ve read them….take what I can and laugh at what I can not. But I do not feel the need to comment because I feel they are off base. Why spend so much time addressing Tracy if you are living well? Just continue to live well and enjoy where you are at. Give the examples of how wonderful your life is. Share so we can all aspire to you heights. No need for name calling.

    I picked up her memoir off the strength of it. She knows she is flawed….imperfect….and she owns it. That is another reason she is brilliant and despite my fear and loathing of the institute of marriage (I agree with Gloria Steinem….fish on bicycle….right on, home girl….sounds about right) I would love to date a woman who seems to be where she is at. Sound like a woman to get old with….neither of us would always be right, feel me?

    Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work,
    Dave

    • viaairmail said

      Dave – thanks for your reply, and for your words of encouragement. It’s nice to have proof that there are guys out there who respect a woman with strong beliefs.
      One point I’d like to touch on though is your question of why get upset over MacMillan’s article in the first place. Yes, my friends and I may be resilient to her barbs, but many women are not, and I’d hate to see them fall into believing her low self-esteem trap. Her piece cannot be seen as a guide for marriage-minded women, and the reason why is simply her choice of language. Re-read her article, and see if you can find even one sentence that is not disparaging to its reader. As Newzgrrl pointed out (below), her negative language, her entirely offensive name-calling and her general abrasiveness can only lead to reducing a woman’s self-esteem. She’s saying “you have to change because you’re not good enough.” Yes, maybe some women need to work through their own issues before they’re ready for marriage, but falling prey to MacMillan’s cattiness (doesn’t seem to be a better word for it) is the worst thing that any single woman, no matter how weak or strong, could do.

      I appreciate you writing and leaving a comment. I’m glad to share this point of view with you. Thanks again for reading.

    • viaairmail said

      PS: Thought you might find this interesting, Dave. http://www.wnyc.org/shows/bl/2011/mar/15/wont-grow/
      While I don’t disagree with Hymowitz entirely, just like with MacMillan (and Lori Gottleib’s book) I think it’s awfully dangerous to try to apply just one designation to a whole population of people. Sure, some single 30-something guys act like 12 year olds. But hopefully, the people out there who are resilient to MacMillan’s diatribe will be smart enough to recognize all of the ones who aren’t. Just wanted to share; it seemed so relevant. Maybe that’ll be the next blog…

  2. newzgrrl said

    I stumbled across your response, and find it mirrors my own situation. Particularly good is your insight in the middle section.

    All three posts have given me a lot to think about, as has Dave’s response here. Why am I single? Certainly not because I’m a horrible person who is somehow supposed to love myself and consider myself worthy despite my self-loathing behavior. And maybe life got in the way.

    Some days I cannot fathom why anyone would not be magnetically attracted to me and my amazing self. Other days, I hide at home and go along without a tweet or facebook update because I feel so low and I don’t want the world to know it.

    Yes, the bit about the wanderlust hit home. So did the bit about loving someone despite their earning it.

    To Dave’s question of “why get upset,” it’s so offensive to assume that every single woman is single because she fits in one or more of six convenient categories, all with reprehensible names like Selfish, Liar, Slut. What I find most disturbing is the writer’s assessment that we are such awful people, and that the top reason we’re single is that we believe we’re unworthy. How does she reconcile those two opposing stances? You’re a slut, but your real problem is that you hate yourself. How am I supposed to see myself as lovable and worthy if I’m a slut?

    By the way, I don’t understand the whole “Man Up” thing.

    I posted the other blogs on my facebook page and so also linked to yours. Will have to check out the rest of your posts soon!

  3. devon said

    this is a retort? more like a rant. what exactly are you defending? can you also clarify your point? it seems to have gotten lost somewhere between an attempt to attack and disprove a perfectly sound article written by the legendary Tracy McMillan. It seems you wrote a lot without saying much.

    • viaairmail said

      “Legendary Tracy MacMillan”? According to who’s legend? I don’t know a soul who’d heard of her prior to this article.
      This is a response. I am defending the point that MacMillan has missed the boat by assuming that all single women possess these same six flaws as a reason for why we’re not married, and that marriage is all we women want. She clings to the black and white of an issue that’s awfully gray, and it is the vast gray-ness that I am bringing to light.
      Seems like you are the only one who had trouble understanding it. Perhaps next time, I’ll just make a 6-point list. I think you’d like that.

      • viaairmail!!! you rock!!! I totally enjoyed your post and loved this portion:

        It’s not about men being crazy or women being crazy. Everybody is crazy. And if you’re lucky, you end up with someone who complements and supports your kind of crazy.

        I am a single who has enjoyed many men; and continue to. hahaha! does that make me a slut? I honestly don’t give a ‘hoot’ what it makes me. I hope to get married one day to the man of my dreams who will come along at just the right time; and if he doesn’t well, i’m still enjoying every aspect of my romantic life. I have learned to be happy with or without a romantic partner. My friends and family do the worrying for me and wonder where I get my energy from. I don’t know. I think happy, therefore I am happy. My current lover visited my apartment one night and asked me: aren’t you ever lonely? For some reason the question threw me off guard and it was in that moment that I realised that I haven’t been lonely since 2007! I have had long periods of singlehood broken by series of romantic relationships with amazing men. And I have realised with the years rolling by that I am happiest when alone, although I love being with partners and look forward to something in the long term, relationships come with stress that I’d quite honestly do without unless the men were absolutely worth it. I do want to get married and maybe have a baby or 2 just for the experience; but with what i’ve seen with most marriages i am certainly not going to blindly jump into it with just anyone. And if i get into it and it doesn’t work, i am so gonna get out! And continue with my happy life. It sure is refreshing to read this today. Tracy’s article led me here. She had a few good points but overall she must be a really unhappy and desperate woman to think that giving men what they want is going to make them value you. Most men I’ve known value women who were themselves, warts and all; and I’ve seen the worst kinds of woman having the best kinds of men; and most married men don’t stop hunting. So really, there are no guarantees with any choice. That’s why finding your own happiness is key in life and this will attract what you want to you. Ok, gotta go salsa dancing now. Cheers y’all!!

  4. Kingpleasure said

    Who cares about marriage in the first place. Women have been socialized to believe from birth that they have to get married and have a bunch of babies. Why? What for? Marriage ain’t all it’s cracked up to be especially for the woman. Nobody discusses marriage after the I Do’s. Even the writer herself Tracy has been married and divorced 3X’s. What her self esteem is so low that she needs a man in her life to get by and she kept picking losers and marrying them only to go through the pain of divorce later? Why what’s the point, just so she can say she’s been married. So what? Anybody can get married, just like anybody can go get laid. But it’s the quality of the marriage that’s important not the marriage in and of itself.

    I personally advocate for women to stay single and live their lives! A woman who is successful in her career and has her finances together and is happy and doesn’t have to answer to anyone, with friends why would she bother getting herself tied down to the same old dude for the rest of her life. Women get better as they age, men go downhill (hence the use of viagra). A woman can be happily single and have love affairs for as long as she wants nothing wrong with that.
    I love this article
    Cons of Marriage – Why Women Should Not Get Married
    http://sur­vivingdati­ng.com/?p=­1182

  5. Kevin said

    Much like Lori Gottlieb’s controversial book “Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” became a hot-button point based on one word -“settling” – McMillian’s piece is mistakenly viewed through the prism of her three “failed” marriages. (Marriages that end in divorce shouldn’t be labeled as “failures.” They simply didn’t last a lifetime. I think “till death do us part” is the problem with marriage today. But that’s another issue.)

    McMillian wrote a brilliant, thought-provoking piece that was meant to move the focus off the men and back on the women for whom no man is ever good enough. Trust me, if you were dating all your close girlfriends, you’d see how impossible they are to satisfy emotionally. Sensitive men are perceived as weak, available men are seen as losers, and the men who care about them are dismissed as desperate or physically inadequate. (Yes, height plays too big a role. Sorry, but it’s not the same as weight or breast size. Those are things that can be changed. Being <5'7" for a man automatically removes him from the dating pool regardless of his other great qualities and attributes.)

    Believe me, if you dated you, you'd have quite a different take on the validity of McMillian's article.

    • viaairmail said

      Some bold statements there, Kevin. Can’t help but wonder what your standards are, if we’re going to go down that road.
      A few comments:
      1) I’ve written a response to Gottlieb’s book as well, as my blood boils just as much thinking about her perhaps well-intentioned but misguided advice to women. Your defensiveness tells me you won’t be in to it, but I’m pleased to share: http://bit.ly/f8ycNE
      2) As a very self-aware woman, the misdeed I need to own up to is being low-maintenance to a fault. My reluctance to rock the boat, or appear needy, or even too emotional has cost me relationships. I’ve let men and women walk over me because I once made up my mind to never be one of those women who are never satisfied. Further, I resent your implication of hypocrisy. If I saw even a smidgen of true myself reflected in MacMillan’s article, I’d never have bothered to write a response in the first place. But there is so, so, so much more to it. Some women are single because they hold themselves to high standards. In this case, the pot and the kettle are two very distinctly different colors.
      3) I have trouble understanding why MacMillan’s piece was “brilliant.” Thought- and discussion-provoking, absolutely. But brilliant? It’s disparaging, and, as I pointed out in my original post, it is not revelatory. She doesn’t present anything new. She’s brought to the surface worries that most any person (not just women, as we can see from your comment) has battled. But she’s advocating giving into our fears, and changing because of them. Yes, many of us need a mirror held up to us to get a better sense of who we are. But MacMillan’s mirror is so distorted it might as well be in a Fun House. She sees single women as flawed—this is clear from her obstinate and rigid Six-Point List. Sure, her article is clever, and it got attention, got us talking about an important issue. But it seems only men find it “brilliant,” and that is awfully telling.
      4) Not all women are “impossible to satisfy emotionally.” Women are complex. That’s a given. But most of us don’t want to be impossible. We just don’t want to have to compromise who we are at our core just to have someone by our side. And many of us have had proof enough of the fact that we simply don’t have to do that (as Ravitz’s response makes clear). For us, it’s worth it to wait.
      I don’t know what your situation is, but it seems like it may improve once you get over your anger at women who know what they want.

      • Kevin said

        I took your advice and read your blog, which is very well-written, and posted a reply. As for your comments here, also well put, I only take exception with your description of me as “defensive.” But I guess that’s in the eye of the beholder. Walk a mile in my shoes and you might just be a little more open to my viewpoint. I know lots of great, caring, charming men – just as you do women – and can assure you we are navigating a very challenging minefield. You are clearly a bright and articulate person and I’d look forward to any replies you may have.

      • Enlightened one said

        The reason why you can’t see her piece as brilliant is because she’s NOT SPEAKING TO YOU. Note that there are many people in the world who do want relationships with the opposite sex and yes many may even harbor traditional death do us part views on marriage.

        The problem is with the self-absorbed nature of modern culture and the downright narcissm of thinking whatever feelings your nervous system and mammalian brain coughs up are truth.

        It takes wisdom to recognize the body lies what makes you feel good and what is good for you is two different things. The difference between eating food that isn’t good for you and eating healthy.

        The real issue is that people themselves don’t see themselves as relationship junkfood (i.e. they need to work on themselves) Most people are so spoiled and self-obsessed they don’t need relationships because they aren’t even mature enough for one.

        That is her main point which is lost on a generation of navel gazers who pine for utopia or bust whether they admit it to themselves or not.

  6. TheParson said

    Stay FABULOUS and visualize your IDEAL MAN – he will MATERIALIZE!

    Stop with the WOMAN-BASHING, MSM, and maybe more of our fine WarriorWomen would then find the appropriate mates that they deserve.

    Until then – LOSERS NEED NOT APPLY.

    Stay strong,fabulous and brilliant, Brooklyn Girl, and remain TRUE TO YOURSELF.

    Don’t change just for some LoserMan!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Kevin said

    Again, the dismissal of human, imperfect single men as “losers” and human, imperfect single women as “warrior” heroes deserving of better.

    • viaairmail said

      Not every man is a loser, just as not every woman is a prize. But some men are true losers, and those are worth keeping away from. Just as we hope that every guy out there that is a catch, in whatever way, doesn’t waste his time with someone he doesn’t deserve. We all need a little strength. Let’s not detract from people who are trying to share it.

  8. Jessica said

    Just brilliant. I read McMillan’s. article with the “ugly face”. Thank you for explaining that us single gals aren’t always seeking marriage, but maybe our lives really are just fine without a man in them. And, while we all would enjoy a relationship, it’s not something we wake up and strive to achieve everyday.

  9. Antonio said

    First off – McMillan states at the beginning of her post that it was directed at women who WANT to get married. She probably should’ve added “This post is not for everybody.” for your dumb a$$. Second, you attack her history, “she’s been married 3 times, all failures, so what does she know?” Going by that same logic, you and your friends with their large variety of failure histories have just as much credit as her. None. BUT, the one thing you girls did wrong is that McMillan is giving advice based on hindsight. Some others may call it a different word; wisdom. You then continue to talk about McMillan just being some rude, crude old crazy bat who is just attacking women because of her own failures. You don’t feel a reality check is necessary for such a hot topic as marriage?!? (Maybe you’re the one who is crazy?) What McMillan did was; “Alright, in a non-subjective, non-BS manner, this is what actually happens in the real world, not the fantasy world most girls live in regarding this topic.” She continued by saying “Look, I’ve been there, done that. I’ve done all the stuff you want to avoid. You wanna know how to avoid it. Do this, this, this. Oh and make sure you do this. This one’s important.” This constructive and honest criticism was never meant to offend but to help. Why can’t women see that?! Maybe because they’re girls, rather than women (huge difference)? Or maybe they just don’t want to change, to adapt? Well there’s good news and bad news. The good news is you don’t have to. You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to in this society. Isn’t that great? Choice. The bad news is, that means you also choose to not get married. Or at least not successfully. You’ll probably end up divorced within 3 years. Like most marriages. That’s reinforcing at least? It’s not only you in that boat. It’s everyone. No one is excluded.

    A lot of the responses by women, not just here, but also on McMillan’s post all at one point mentioned how hurt they were because McMillan was attacking women. At no point did they prove what she said wrong, they just said stuff along the lines of “I don’t want to hear that. That’s a mean thing to say.” As if that makes it wrong. Now I haven’t done everything in this lifetime, but I know, when a woman attacks you for not what you did, but how you did it. 99.99% of the time, it means she is wrong, and she has nothing. “It’s not how you said it, it’s that you used an angry tone to say it.” Stuff along those lines imply she has nothing to go on, and she’s just hoping you make the first mistake so she has something to use.

    In one of your posts you mention; “I am defending the point that McMillan has missed the boat by assuming that all single women possess these same six flaws as a reason for why we’re not married, and that marriage is all we women want.”
    Here I think you misinterpret quite a bit about McMillan’s original point. Definition is key in a debate, so I’ll go over it. She never said all single women possess these 6 flaws. You did. You made that assumption. Hastily I might add. The way I saw it, and that I see it in the real world when I interact with women, it’s usually one or more of those things listed. Not necessarily all. She also never said that marriage is all that women want. I read the post over and over again, I couldn’t find that part. The part that I saw however, was her stating that society DEMANDS marriage of us. If we’re age 35 or above and no married, every single co-worker, family member and friend you know will start asking you questions like “when are you going to get married??” You don’t demand marriage, but rather it is demanded of you. That applies for both men and women.

    Next point. Your solution is never going to work. The whole “you’re beautiful just the way you are” rhetoric never gets you anywhere. You know that. I know that. Deep down, everyone knows that. Or at least, they should. This is not a real solution, merely a delusion. And that’s fine, if you want to believe in something that is total BS, go ahead, believe in it all you want. It doesn’t make it true. It’s kinda like religion. Ultimately, you can do whatever it is you wanna do (gotta love choice) but when it comes down to it, only the people who believe in and do the right thing will be truly happy in the end.

    In another one of your comments you claimed; “I have trouble understanding why MacMillan’s piece was ‘brilliant.’ … But it seems only men find it ‘brilliant’.” Hmm. Maybe that’s because men understand these ‘problems’ already and thought; “Yes! Yes! Tracy managed to write exactly how I felt using words I couldn’t express.” Her post is considered brilliant by men, because (just like me) they all thought after reading that. “Wow, she’s 100% right. If I met a women who covered those 6 criteria points I would marry her in a heart-beat.” It says something doesn’t it? What Tracy said was spot on. What she said is desirable.

  10. Nancy Smith said

    What about women who have married and lost a spouse due to death? I am still in the process of raising kids and realized marriage takes quite a lot of work. I am not sure if I will ever get married again but I am not one of those women desperate to be with someone. I like your blog and that it states there needs to be a certain something for the chemistry to be there. And this point, I am quite happy to be by myself. I see many of my friends in those supposedly happy marriages and realize I want something quite different. I am happy to be doing my own thing and if it comes along great if not that is fine also.

  11. Zellie said

    I got married at 50, coming up on my 2 year anniversary. I married a kind man and a man of character. We did not have the chemistry that you write of, that I am aware of…but we have another type of attraction…desire for companionship, fun, mutual enduring rewards of choosing to be with each other…we have the caring of love and the desire to be together and commit to one another. I wish I had met him when I was 20. I would have preferred to be married and in a committed relationship in my 20’s, I would have preferred to have children with a man such as this man….but alas it is not meant to be. Instead, at this late stage, I am very very comforted, pleased, enamored with this mighty male that has joined his life with mine…who wanted very much to be married to me, and who treasures me AND after 7 years of being together still tells me how happy he is turning into the driveway to come “home.” He navigates through my large family, has helped me care for my elderly father driving 400 miles round trip for 7 years, has played with my nephews/nieces, grown with me, supported me, cared for me, and climbed mountains with me and traveled far and wide. He is what most women would not take a 2nd look at, he is a mechanic, his hands are stained from the grease of 27 years of working on cars, but he is the most kindest, generous, tenderest, loving man I have ever had the blessings to know. From the first minute I saw him and the first conversation, I just KNEW he was goodness personified and he is…and did I mention WISE…wise beyond anything, and yet just tonight, he told me that I am the mature one….He always makes me laugh and catches me off guard with his compliments…since he is the one who raised 3 children in his marriage before ours I would have thought that made him mature…:)….so, I can’t really put into words what I am trying to convey about marriage, men, me and choices, but I guess I will end with this. IF you know as a woman, that you really want a FAMILY, then marriage is the right choice for you AND the way you will know the right man, is he will be a man of character who will always live up to his own high values/ standards and that means he will not trample you…so go find that special man, he is there…mine walked by me one night in a restaurant/bar and I, even though shy, knew enough to step up and say something and the rest, as they say, is history….a real gem. Those great men, that a lot of women wouldn’t look twice at are out there and they are looking for YOU….they have so much love in their hearts to share and they want a home, and a family (even if that is YOU and the dog), and they want the stability, and the security and the knowing that someone on this earth loves them and puts them first like they put you first. I feel like I made a great choice, and I am so looking forward to each and every day with him…..I have to say, I realize even more since I have been married how precious every moment of my newly married life is now that I have committed to such a worthy man to share it with. And if you wonder why I bothered to get married for the first time at 50….it was a choice and it meant very much and it really is a blessing…That’s what a good marriage is with the right person, a blessing….

  12. md3443 said

    Marriage is not prudent or responsible for a successful, educated male.

    50% Failure rate of Marriage
    70% Female initiated Divorce
    84% Primary custody awarded to Female.
    90% Child support paid From Men to Women ($35 Billion a yr)
    100% Monies paid receive no audit or review process to determine if used for child.

    Until Divorce laws change, young successful males will avoid the bad investment of marriage, thereby creating the bottleneck of biological-clock-ticking 30 something females.

  13. K.c. said

    I, like some others, also got here via reading McMillan’s article. I got to McMillan’s article by typing these words into a search engine: “Reason’s why you might not be married”. I point this out because I actively sought to find a little more insight as to some things I might be missing in the self-eval arena. The first line of the article is “You want to be married”, and to me, it didn’t seem like she was telling me I should get married because I’m a lonely wreck of a woman, she was re-emphasizing my own desire, and providing me with some things I might want to look at in order to be a complete and whole person, happy just as I am. Ending the article with “You are enough right this minute” reiterates the point I believe she is making.
    Part of my investigating potential reasons I may not be married is because I feel that I am so awesome, just so gosh darn amazing, sociable, yada yada yada, that I’m having a hard time figuring out why it is I’m still single, let alone married. Hence, she is speaking to single women who want to be married, and my initial thought after reading some of the “You’re wrong” commentary from single people post article was, “If you’re single and happy about it, then the article isn’t directed at you, right?” There may have been something I missed, admittedly, as we all have our biases and filters. After reading her article I found that, while I am substantially challenged with two things from the list (with respect to gaining committed relationships in general – and not just based on her analysis or standards), her tone wasn’t so much accusatory as it was “perhaps you should do some soul searching and figure you out, entirely, first. I feel like it’s a rather drawn out and imperfect reminder to love yourself first.

  14. Lady Thalia said

    Rationalization Hamsters gone wild. If you’re all so freaking FABULOUS, then why do you even think you might need or want a partner to share anything with? You think you’re GODDESSES and WARRIOR WOMEN, why would you stoop so low as to think you might need or want a lowly man to share things with?

    McMillan (why you keep mis-spelling her name makes me wonder about your reading comprehension) wrote a brilliant article that has provoked much discussion. I will be sharing it with all the young women I know of who are acting the way she describes, and they way you seem to support; That they are so freakin fabulous, and wonderful goddess-like, (30lbs over weight but no matter) and that any man should feel LUCKY to be in their shadow… L-O-L.

    Enjoy being single, for it is surely a state that you deserve. And to the commenter above (happysingleakua29goingon30) who stated that she wanted to have a baby or 2 ‘just for the experience’….OMFG are you kidding me? She is more like 29 going on 12. Having a ‘baby or 2’ isn’t something you do just for the ‘experience’ (presumably to add to her sense of FABULOUSNESS) but instead, it’s a LIFELONG commitment of your time, energy, body and soul.

    Womyn of your ilk do not deserve to be mothers, and it would please many of us if you remained single and FABULOUS, instead of foisting your ridiculous and dangerous selfishness on an innocent child or man.

  15. samuellsamson said

    Your characterisation of Ms.McMillan as “Angry Slut Lady” was unnecessary, but your characterisation of her article is mostly on point.

    I’d have liked to see you take her to task for some of her other assumptions about marriages, though. For example “Once the initial high wears off, you’ll just be you, except with twice as much laundry” is pretty appalling in its assumption that women must fulfill the role of domestic goddess while men are overgrown 13-year-old boys. She implies elsewhere that those man-boys just want “macaroni and cheese, a video game, and Kim Kardashian”. And Oxford commas, apparently. Maybe that’s how she has scored three husbands.

    The main insight her piece gave me was a better understanding of why I dislike “Mad Men” so much. As a sane man, I wouldn’t go near anyone espousing Ms. McMillan’s patronising and outdated worldview.

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