Monday, February 22, 2016

My Deal-breakers and Goddamn Millennials

This is not a post about what I find to be turn-offs. Rather, this is a post on what turns women off about me.

Right off the bat, cheery topic.

I’m single, and staring down the barrel of turning 30 in 2016. So, facing this sort of a conundrum, it’s natural to ask yourself what you can do make yourself more marketable. What are the big issues you’ve not tackled that you need to finally conquer?

Fortunately, I don’t really have any obvious ones.

Obvious deal-breakers don’t apply. I don’t weigh 386 pounds. I don’t steal money to buy drugs. I’m not disrespectful towards my partners or women generally. I’m not emotionally, physically, or verbally abusive. I don’t cheat. I’ve no crippling addictions. The category of ‘clear red flags’ is pleasantly absent. I’m pretty swell, after all.

But deal-breakers have I. I have been told this by nice ladies on the internet. Here are the big four:

1)  I want to have kids. This is the most commonly cited explicit deal-breaker. A high number of women say you sound nice, but kids? No way.

2) I don’t drink. This one is inevitable. Even when I talk and meet up with women who also are sober, it always must be explained. Usually it’s a curious inquiry, but not always.

3) I am an atheist. The people this is a deal-breaker for probably wouldn’t be great matches with me anyway, but statistically I think they’re the next largest group.

and finally

4) I am way too snobbish in my tastes. If they’re willing to look past the teetotaling, and my desire to settle down and have a family, and don’t care much about God, War and Peace may prove too much. Or watching black and white Soviet films. Or spending Saturdays in art museums instead of lounging on the beach.

These are the things that have been a problem whether during the initial online forays or in actual relationships. The key – the most worrisome part – is that I don’t want to change any of them.

At some level it comes down to principle. Looking back on a life of drinking beer and watching football on the couch has no appeal to me. Going to church each Sunday to mumble about something I don’t believe strikes me as cowardly. Trading a rich family life for ‘adventures’ into my 40s sounds very particularly millennial and, honestly, increasingly pathetic. (If I go camping with my spouse in King’s Canyon it won’t be any more memorable than doing so with my spouse and our kids.) Having kids is second childhood – you get to experience their inquisitive wonder of the world all over again as they experience and see things for the first time and piece the world together.

So what to do? I can’t just go to the gym, join a support group, see a therapist, or start meditating. My ‘problems’ to me are some of my best attributes – a character defined by my principles and a life, to my mind, well-lived.

Grumpy, old-man Ross can’t help but think that were this a different decade I’d not have the same complications. On OKCupid I put that I was only interested in women who ‘might be interested’ or were ‘interested’ in having kids. I had about 20 matches above a 75%. Then I took the kids filter off, and kept all the rest the same – the atheism, the lack of drinking, etc. I now had 20 matches over 90% alone.

Millennials aren’t marrying. They aren’t settling in. I totally get why we didn’t after the recession – we were royally screwed by a shitshow of an economy. But, for those of us who have been working on paying off those student loans and credit cards all these years, the next few years are going to be big. All of a sudden our disposable income is going to shift. We’ll hopefully have been professionals long enough to be somewhat comfortable. Sure – retiring is still too scary to even contemplate. Finally, though, now that we’re hitting the end of this bad spell called our twenties, home-ownership, marriage, and families are possible, economically, so we don’t have to live like scared rats wondering where our next meal will come from.

An argument that we can’t afford it is going to slip away, starting, you know, right around now. Our generation hasn’t yet married – only 26% of us have tied the knot. Gen Xers, by this age, were at 36%. 48% of Boomers. 65% of the Silent Generation.

Consequentially children will be an issue. Just thinking biologically the healthiest babies are born when the mother is between 26 and 32, more or less. According to women polled, 29-34 were the best years to have a child, based on their own experiences. 35, though, is basically the cutoff. After that it’s medically worse for all involved – mother and child.

That means if Millennials are going to, you know, pass on their genes, they better get cracking. It’s kind of sad, really – if you want a family you’ll actually only have a few years of partnership before embarking on a lifelong redefinition as parents. Oh well – no use crying over spilled milk. Our twenties are over, or ending, and we can’t go back and meet a nice boy or girl at 22 anymore. The only option now is making the best of what we’ve got left.

As a young, smart, trim, and devilishly handsome man, I find it odd that I’m the only one thinking about this. I grow scruff as well as the best of ‘em. I can rock skinny jeans (if I owned any). I can wear flannel or suits, or my corduroy jacket with the distinguished leather elbow patches. And I’m tired of enviously looking at the guys my age who look like me pushing strollers.

Best end this post before I start sounding like Wesley Snipes. But in conclusion: harrumph.

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