Sunday, January 25, 2009

"We're Not About To Start Getting Dumber"

I was watching Dr. Phil the other day at the gym, and it was a show about dating and age. They were talking about the old "double-standard": if an older guy dates a young woman it's OK; if an older woman dates a young guy it's not.

There are a lot of interesting things you could say about this topic but as far as I could tell, Dr. Phil himself wasn't saying any of them. He had on clips of young girls saying, "I can't imagine why a young guy would ever want to date an older woman"; he had on a dating expert who set up picky people with other picky people; and finally, he had on a guy comic who admitted yes, he's dating a much younger woman.

Dr. Phil asked the comic why he was dating a younger woman. And a big part of his answer seemed to have to do with the self-sufficiency and non-neediness of women his age. He described going online to look at ads, and corresponding with women he met there, and having them all say right away, "I'm a lawyer," or "I own my own business," or whatever. He found that a major turn-off. As he put it, he's thinking, "Well, she's got all that going on, where do I fit in? What does she need from me?"

So instead he's with some aspiring-something-in-LA., I don't remember the story, but you can imagine the scene. He teaches her stuff. Tells her what music to listen to. Since he's, you know, famous, and she's basically starting out, there's no questions about what she needs from him. He feels needed. He likes it.

This isn't an uncommon reaction to female independence. Some guys just like it better when women are dependent on them.

There are a lot of interesting things to say about this, too. But I think one of the best things to say comes to us via the most under-appreciated novel in the world, and one of my all time favorites: Amazons: An Intimate Memoir by the First Woman Ever to Play in the National Hockey League.

Here's our hero, Cleo -- first woman in the NHL! -- talking with Sanders Meade, Ranger's general manager in, well, in an intimate moment.

Sanders: "It's so hard being a man."

Cleo: "I know, I know."

Sanders: "Is it hard being a woman?"

Cleo: "It's a bitch."

Sanders: "Women know so much."

Cleo: "Does that make it harder to be a man?"

Sanders: "God, yes, terribly."

Cleo: "Well, there's not much I can say except we're not about to start getting dumber."
For me this about sums it up. You can say what you want about wanting women who are less accomplished or less self-sufficient. You can say what you want about the appeal of being needed. But it doesn't really matter, because overall, we are not about to start getting dumber.

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