I've written a couple of facetious posts about how dating has brought about the end of civilization, and my friend Megan has pointed me to an article that classifies women into three categories -- Party-Girls, Girlfriends, and Romantics -- and explains how they fit into the modern sexual paradigm. The gist of it: men are pigs and women are stupid. How so? Men have no motivation to control their sexual impulses when women are too stupid to realize they're being manipulated.
There have always been Party-Girls and Romantics, but what's new is the rise of the Girlfriend class.
Most young women are incapable of brazen sexual abandonment. They long for stability and permanence and love in their lives. But they begin receiving the attentions of young males at an early age, long before they intend to marry. So they enter into a half-way covenant between marriage, the longed-for ultimate source of stability and love, and the worrisome condition of the unattached female. To be unattached and female in our society is a difficult undertaking, psychologically, socially, and, at times, physically. Psychologically, the unattached woman often wonders whether she can get a man. Her self-confidence is not helped by her friends reassuring her that she will get a man "some day" or that she will "have lots of men." Unattached males, on the other hand, are always assumed to be playing the field. Women by their very nature have more difficulty being alone or unnoticed. They want to be loved, or at least complimented. The best male compliment to a female that we currently have in this society is the invitation to a date or to a kind of ongoing date.The article goes on to explain how the Girlfriend relationship is really a huge fraud perpetrated by men on vulnerable women, and I completely agree with the assessment.
Socially, women and men both have a hard time being unattached because the world is set up for couples. High school formals, for example, come with great regularity. These events practically mandate teenage pairing-off. Who wants to show up at a formal occasion alone, have his own picture taken, and have no one with whom to dance? To the unattached adolescent, a high school formal appears like the coming of The Deluge. To board the Ark two-by-two one must find another unattached person. The collective attempt to find that other person constitutes the great emotional drama of the high school years. Nowadays it is also becoming physically necessary to "be with someone." Because the barbarians leer and jeer at women walking alone, women often attach themselves to men just to feel safe when going out. To keep the gorillas off, as young author Wendy Shalit has observed, you have to find your own gorilla. These various pressures practically force young women to attach themselves to someone. To whom is less important than the fact of being attached.
This attachment is called a relationship. The woman who enters into a relationship takes on the status of girlfriend.
To be sure, relationships end up imitating marriages. Boyfriends and girlfriends talk of "anniversaries" and of belonging to each other, and they engage in sex and often live together. When not involved in a relationship, they call themselves "single." Yet every girlfriend secretly knows that a "break-up" could occur at any moment. Indeed, couples even talk about "taking time off" for an indefinite period when things do not seem to be going well. Married people don't have the luxury of taking time off. There's no sabbatical for the seven-year itch. Marriage, at least according to its vows, settles for nothing less than always and forever.The end of the article summarizes what I've tried to do to make myself attractive to the Romantic girls that are left (in theory?).
The prevailing culture of relationships, however, tends to undermine marriage. Most perennial girlfriends will have had several serious relationships before getting married and therefore several serious break-ups. These break-ups take an enormous toll on the happiness of young women. Especially when sex is involved, young women can feel these failed attempts at love as "losing pieces of yourself." They no longer feel whole. Erotic encounters, like any repeated activity, are habit-forming. If you have broken up several times before, what will stop you from doing the same thing once you are married? Relationship gurus assert that dating helps you find the right mate and that living with someone teaches you how to live with someone. It is more statistically accurate to say that the cycle of dating and breaking-up is good practice for divorce. In our society, with all the emphasis placed upon youth and individuality and fun, marriages more often imitate relationships than relationships prefigure marriage.
In previous ages, the system of courtship and marriage required on the part of young people both sexual restraint and a strong sense of the future. Young men had to "clean up their act" before they could become truly eligible bachelors. In order to gain a young lady's approval and ultimately her hand, a man had to do several things. He had to master his sex drive. He had to prove his devotion to her, usually over a long period of time. He had to pass inspection before her discerning parents. He had to become financially stable so that he could support his wife and the children they would have. In short, he had to become a man of means, a man of parts, and a man of character. The exacting demands of courtship discouraged males from becoming wimps or barbarians.As has been exhaustively pointed out elsewhere, the real effect of the Sexual Revolution has, ironically, been to subject women to the very worst behavior of men and tell them they should like it and act the same way.
Once while teaching the topic of chivalry in a Western Civilization class in college, I put the question to a "barbarian" student: If women refused to be around you if you cursed in front of them, stared at their chests, and in general acted in a lewd and drunken manner at parties, would you clean up your act? His answer was straightforward. "Yeah, of course. Who wouldn't?" Should romantic women across the nation make their preferences known by their great power of refusal, and should increasing numbers of perennial girlfriends come over into the camp of the romantics, young women would regain their natural capacity of commanding men. As surely as day follows night, young men would have to reform their character in short order.For more of my thoughts, read "Finding the One" and general essays on love and marriage.