August 14, 2014
GEORGE W. writes:
I am an avid reader of your blog. You have been influential in my evolving thoughts and opinions on society and its structure. Suffice it to say that I am a strong traditionalist and always have tended toward conservatism in political and life philosophy (not the degenerate “neo-con” variety that is practiced by so-called conservatives on the national level). In this, my interests have led me toward the application of judgment, based on traditionalist values, of personal human behavior. My interests are such because I have held grave self-doubts about my worth and value to society for some time now, and I would like your opinion from a traditionalist perspective on these matters, since I respect your insight greatly.
I am in my early thirties, unmarried, having had few to no relationships with women in the course of my life. I can only surmise that I lack whatever it is that women seek or desire in men. I hold a steady middle income job, have not committed any felonies, try my best to look presentable, and adhere strongly to middle class values. Last year I purchased my first house and in the last few months I lost a substantial amount of weight. My primary reason for doing these things was, quite frankly, to improve my marriageability prospects. (Cutting grass is necessary but no great fun for me.) I greatly desire the companionship of a wife in the traditional sense, and would like to have children some day. I do not seek a “quick thrill” or something similar, as I believe in waiting until marriage to initiate physical intimacy. I am seeking a traditional relationship based on mutual respect and shared interests.
However, I have always evidenced a lack of direction or purpose in life. This is my fault entirely and is something which is deeply shameful and embarrassing. After college and obtaining my first job, I never developed a sense of ambition or striving that real men must somehow create inside themselves if they are to advance as persons (not just professionally, but personally). I am largely a consumer and parasite on society with few real interests and no sense of the future.
This is not to say that I have no self-control, or that I live in the underclass. I would never stoop to that level. It is more to the level of working 40 hours per week, then feeling too drained or deadened to fill the other non-sleeping hours with some sort of productive activity. I like to read a lot during that time (including your blog) and I pretend to myself that I am learning something from it, but the best learning is by doing. I have always been shy and deeply introverted so social activities have never been my cup of tea and I ultimately find them exhausting.
This lack of goal fulfillment is most dispiriting when it comes to family formation, as I feel that if I cannot find and marry a mate within a few years that it will be too late from a practical perspective to achieve my goal of having a family. After 35 the single male is for better or worse seen as defective and a romantic discard, especially those who are shy and have had little experience in relationships. They are seen as losers and I have come to the conclusion that this is absolutely the correct way to view them. They are not up to their duties as men to procreate, provide, and protect and they have failed the game of life. This of course also means that I consider myself to be a loser. Is this the correct way to view such men? I understand that not all men want to marry or have families, that some men abstain for religious or other convictions, and that events in life sometimes lead to undesirable but uncontrollable outcomes. But I have had plenty of time to do the heavy lifting and have failed to do so, frankly out of cowardice and fear, and also because it is very difficult to find traditionally minded women out there.
What would a traditionalist perspective be on all this? I apologize for speaking largely about myself, but these are the worries I deal with daily. One of my less desirable traits is self-absorption due to these worries.
Nice to hear from you, and thank you for your appreciation.
A few points in response:
First, and I hope you won’t be offended by my marketing you a bit, if there is any woman reading this who would like to be introduced to this interesting and thoughtful man — a man who is not a parasite on society even though he insists he is a parasite on society — please write to me, giving a little information about yourself, and I will forward your correspondence to George.
Secondly, men who have not married by their mid-thirties are not necessarily losers. I just don’t think that’s true. My husband was 38 when I met him and 39 when we married. He was not a loser, at least I didn’t think he was, and I was 28 years old.
But whether men who are not married by their mid-thirties are seen as losers or not, who cares? Really, who cares? You are a reader of The Thinking Housewife. How could you possibly be a loser? Seriously, no one who thinks and reflects in a serious way is a parasite on society. Civilization depends more on philosophy and wisdom than it does on great mechanical feats. We could live without satellite towers and four-lane highways. But we couldn’t form a civilization without a sense of purpose and an inner connection with the cosmic and universal. There’s not much respect for solitary thinking and quiet reflection, it’s true. And to be fair, these are extremely un-remunerative activities. But solitary thinkers, even those who never publish or earn Ph.D.’s in philosophy, are important. They are the invisible builders. They are the lovers of wisdom, which existed before the world began. They are the seekers and the finders. So I don’t think you should knock yourself for not being the more active or gregarious type.
But, as for this shyness of yours, I think it is a problem. Shyness stems from an excessive fear of making a fool of oneself. Although shyness is often caused by innate tendencies (some people, no matter what, will never be shy), it can be a form of vanity — an over-concern with what others think and a belief that one is above making mistakes. I suggest that you play in your mind scenes of you making a fool of yourself and harden yourself to the phenomenon. Realize that even if you do make a fool of yourself, it’s not the end of the world and some people out there will still like you. Go ahead, and fumble and make a fool of yourself. Be assured, some people will love you anyway and, if they don’t, to heck with them. Who needs them? And that’s what I say with regard to all the women who have so far missed your higher qualities. Who needs them? It is their loss.
Since you have been reading this website for a while, you know that women admire decisiveness and self-confidence in a man. You already know that kind of thing, so I am not going to give you a lot of Roissy-esque advice about how you should play tough. As for your lack of ambition, it seems to me that you are doing pretty well for yourself. The work week is long and leisure is important. If you prefer to spend your free hours reading and relaxing rather than inventing a cure for cancer or building robots, that’s okay. I don’t think that makes you unworthy of a wife.
The truth is, I think you will find a wife. If you take your search seriously and pray to God and the saints in heaven, you will probably find a wife. What you really need to do now, in addition to getting out to the many places where women can be found and blowing your budget a bit on some very sharp clothes that make you look confident and distinguished, is prepare to be a husband. You already seem to possess thoughtfulness and sensitivity, so I would suggest that you prepare to be the confident and decisive head of your home.
I wish you great success.
— Comments —
That was a nice response you gave to George, but it seems he does not know who Roissy is. If he did he would not be writing a thoughtful, kind female blogger for dating advice.
It struck a chord with me because I was in George’s situation in my past. The only answer is learning Game. And then going out and doing Game. That’s it. He’s never going to meet the right girl if he’s incapable of meeting girls. He has to go to Game 101, learn how to approach. Learn how to make a conversation with a stranger. And yes, learn how to close. The manosphere is his best option. Probably his only option. With every misstep and embarrassment, he will get closer.
David J. writes:
I am in a similar situation as George, and I too struggle with the same feelings of shyness, lack of direction, and the the feelings of purposelessness. I’d like to add my thanks to George W for writing in and expressing so well what has been on my mind for a while. And I’d like to thank you as well for your response.
Beverly S. writes:
To George: I have a son your age. He married a few years ago to a traditional woman who he’d known for many years. They had lost touch at some point, but had known each other when they were younger and working at the mall together. I don’t really know the story, but I suppose they crossed each other’s paths at some point, and the relationship blossomed from there.
Since my son is in his thirties, I have been exposed to many of his male friends of similar age and found that many of them are holding out on marriage due to their careers. I’ve had talks with some of these men—-although I truly want to call them boys, because that’s what they are to me—it seems some are afraid of responsibility today, and with so many women willing to sleep around today….well, you know what I mean. It all becomes a cycle of hopelessness.
As I’ve observed, there is also the dilemma of where to meet traditional women, in a world gone mad with feminism and permissive women. I have a … woman friend who is back on the dating scene and has expressed great disappointment in meeting decent men of her age group. I’ve advised my female friend to go to the church of her choice and pursue activities; to get involved in the activities within the church group—and I will say this to you also. You are going to have to find something of interest outside your home.
My problem was never shyness, it was being a work-a-holic, and my business was in my kitchen! Being a single mom with no child support, I cloistered myself, only wishing to do one thing, and that was taking care of my child and paying the rent. As I was approaching 40 years old, a female friend talked me into getting out and meeting people, which I reluctantly did….but a few months later I had met the man of my dreams, and we were married seven months later. You see, when you’re older, most people know what they want, and it’s not like being in high school anymore. Decisions are usually made quickly.
In my early thirties, I was going through some of the same things you were going through, though I am not a shy person. I was fortunate enough to seek advice from a good Catholic priest. His advice concerning my vocation, which was to marry or not to marry: Pick one. To remain in the middle, fiddling around on the edges you will never make up your mind. You can always change your mind. Immediately I was free. Being chaste was truly my calling and I have not looked back. This may not be your calling but it certainly will relieve you of the pressure you have put on your self and give you a chance to step back and take a good look at things.
Give yourself a break. You’re doing just fine.
Virginia Catholic writes:
George, you’ve discovered that traditional values and middle class accomplishments have lower attracting power than you had expected. Also by now you know that women will not come to you simply because you have a stable job and a house. You can probably also tell that conservative morals will not magically attract a wife, either. That isn’t to detract from those good things, but you need an additional edge.
You’re are on the right track in recognizing the need for qualities like ambition and better physical health.
Now, a couple pieces of advice:
Educate yourself about female hypergamy. Realize that religious and traditional women are not exempt. Some years ago Laura wrote about Roissy and Game, and for the most part I agree with her. Nevertheless, it is my opinion that they have some truth you need to know about.
Learn how to have a conversation. Remember to cultivate a bit of mystery about yourself.
Learn what a fitness test is. Know how to pass them.
When it comes to attracting women, status is probably the most valuable trait you can possess. Know how to enter a group and appear strong and confident. Look and act like someone who is popular.
Realize that traditional women are extremely rare. Most women you meet have the feminist bug, but some can be cured of it if you have sufficient leadership qualities.
Hunt where the ducks are. Switch churches and change the venues you attend. Move if you have to.
Good luck. It wasn’t so long ago that I was in your situation.
Thank you for your thoughtful response. I also want to thank the commenters for their input.
To Albert: I am aware of Roissy and game, however the entire concept makes me uncomfortable. First, game seems to be largely geared toward “scoring” with women in the short term. Also, from reading what gamers are doing, I cannot picture myself doing the same thing from a personality perspective. However, I understand the value of game as it relates to understanding how women think with regards to selecting partners. I have made efforts to work on improving myself by incorporating this knowledge in my dealings with the opposite sex.
Matthew H. writes:
Most guys have been in George’s shoes, to one degree or another, at some point. I’ve certainly been in his shoes. Here are some suggestions that might help.
First, social skills can be LEARNED. Most people aren’t naturally gregarious – it’s a learned behavior. I was a nerd in high school, college, and grad school. I was friendly and approachable, and I liked people, but I could not make small talk, cold-call strangers, or have a conversation about a subject that I wasn’t interested in. Once I entered the working world, I realized that I had to learn how to do these things. So I practiced, using the trial and error method. I simply talked to people and eventually learned how to carry a conversation, work a room, meet people at bars, etc. Surprisingly, I learned that most of the people whose social skills were better than mine (which was almost everyone) were very supportive of my efforts. No one shot me down for making a fumbling attempt at small talk. They helped me. They understood what I was trying to do and did their best to help me succeed. They were always friendly, and they would keep the conversation going when I stumbled, and when I made a faux pas they’d overlook it. That’s because people aren’t naturally gregarious – most of the other men and women you will meet have had to learn how to talk to people, and everyone can use some practice. I used to think of social venues as minefields; now I see them as pickup basketball games, occasions when people come together to improve their skills and practice with one another. Also, parents can tell you that sociable moms and dads actually instruct their kids how to talk to people. I have a friend who is a salesman, and he is always telling his son to “look other people in the eye,” “speak slowly and firmly,” “now shake hands,” etc. Although both parents are gregarious, this doesn’t mean that their son inherited some kind of sociability gene and learned to shake hands and work a room shortly after learning to walk. Social skills are not innate, so his parents are teaching their son how to socialized with others. It’s a learned behavior.
Second, it’s OK to loosen up a little. Sometimes traditionalist guys work so hard at maintaining standards of decorum that they have a tendency to come off like Spock — they seem to be a little uptight, use stilted, overly formal language, and don’t seem to have much of a sense of humor. But it’s OK to be a sports fan, laugh at stupid jokes, and wear a baseball cap turned backwards every once in a while. You don’t need to use foul language or make off-color jokes, but it is perfectly OK to participate in mundane social activities and have mundane interests. It makes you more approachable and easier for people to relate to. Also, pursuits that sophisticates deride as “primitive” are often a lot of fun. There is nothing wrong with following a football team, reading airport thrillers, or watching a silly TV show. These things are fun. They will help you connect with other people in a small way, and there is nothing wrong with that.
Finally, the manosphere has some good advice, but they have really nihilistic attitude toward relationships and sexuality. A lot of those guys also come across as weak. The “Game” advocates are correct when they observe that women like assertive men, that dressing well is important, and you should keep approaching women even if they reject you in order to build your confidence. But beyond that it’s simply not true that all women secretly crave “bad boys,” or that all of the girls in their 20’s sleep with dozens of “Alphas” until turn 30, at which time they “settle” for a regular guy. That just isn’t true. Traditional values aren’t as prevalent as they used to be but most women in their 20’s and 30’s want to get married and have children, they aren’t living a “Sex in the City” lifestyle.
Once you start practicing your social skills it will probably only take you a year or two to catch up with everyone else. Once you’ve accomplished that, it’ll be much, much easier for you to meet someone.
Good points, except for the baseball cap. : – )
Dilys from Texas writes:
As a professional lifecoach and over-60 married woman active with all ages, who regularly reads and enjoys The Thinking Housewife, I have some thoughts about George W.’s concerns.
This would be my advice to him, in addition to the encouragement and strategies others have suggested. He need not, to justify his life in this world, do a lot more than diligent performance at his job, plus maintaining his home and offering goodwill to the rest of us. But he could experiment with a few new practices to help focus and get him moving.
1) Whatever form of regular meditation is compatible with his beliefs — Buddhist Loving Kindness meditation, Scripture-based “breath prayer,” etc. — pursued for a few minutes a day during his leisure can help strengthen and clear his mind. I firmly believe a clear and optimistic mind is the necessary receptacle for God to drop in the intuitive guidance that he needs. He could look for a weekend prayer retreat to get started.
2) Another thing that will solidify his approach to a new life is an exercise program. Congratulations to him on the weight loss, now it’s time to enjoy his new body almost daily at a gym, or race-walking/running on hills or sidewalks. If it’s not immediately inviting, start with 5 minutes at a time. He may not meet his lady-love at a gym, but the locker-room camaraderie at a respectable one can be full of encouragement and much-needed friendly stimulation. He can find out what run-of-the-mill “real men” think from listening to the conversations.
3) The work of making the exterior/interior of a house really substantial and charming may seem trivial but is effective chick-bait. He could take pictures and ask women he meets at the garden center for advice!
4) Perhaps follow a particular enjoyable line of reading. Some people like military history, an era of art, economics, any genuine interest, even literary figures like Trollope or Dickens. That gives him something to take into the shared social space when he meets anyone, man or woman.
The advice to choose a vocation — engage and commit to marriage or celibacy — is good. Either is sacrificial, and most rewarding when undertaken to give oneself to the world as it unrolls before us. If marriage is for him, there are many decent women out there longing for companionship and a fair level of reciprocal support; the more clearly George thinks about what he hopes to find, and searches his heart about what he is eager to give, the more doors will be ready to open. He needs to be picky about character and energy level, but have broad latitude in “cool” and “hotness.”
His efforts can be small at first, not overwhelming. Certain aspects of “getting out there” depend on whether he is an introvert or extrovert. Inside a year, at all events, he may have a happy story to tell. He’s made a big step by writing to you.
I see George is an extreme introvert. All measures recommended in small steps! But even shy introverts can act and accomplish with a gentle incremental routine.
Thank you for your suggestions.
However, I cannot recommend Buddhist meditation for George or for you or for anyone else. It is positively harmful. In fact, it is not “spiritual” at all. I suggest that George say the Rosary, which also has meditative effects, every day and learn the basic Catholic prayers if he does not know them already. Whether he marries or not is secondary to his orientation to God.
As for the gym, I think going to and from gyms, paying for fees and spending the time in them is draining. A person can get the same amount of exercise at home or by walking. It’s true, they can offer social opportunities, but I can’t see George finding the right kind of woman at a gym.
George needs to follow your advice.
Let me add that I have known well at least three men in George’s situation. All three are happily married to women who helped to change them dramatically. The only one that asked for advice was given the following: do not give up, you will definitely find your mate if you want. I gave this to a man when we were both in our mid-thirties. He had George’s goal. I did not, but I had experience that he did not.
He was a lousy dresser and remained so even after marriage. But she helped improve his style soon but has not been fully successful at it after twenty years. But Laura’s advice about style is sound.
If George’s job is too demanding for his goal of finding a mate, he should get another job (or ask for a transfer to a lesser job with his present employer). His mate will help him to deal with more than he ever thought he could deal with.
Posted by Laura Wood in Uncategorized