Our Fates Are Bound—And Some Good News

I’ve been reading with interest Scott/Elspeth‘s joint post “June Cleaver might be unmarriageable right now,” as well as the comments.  It’s worth a read.  But until then, the gist:

Manosphere conventional wisdom: Any half-way decent looking woman, in her late teens/early twenties who is marriage minded can easily snag a good, hard-working provider to have babies with if she would distinguish herself by being sweet, and signaling a willingness to be a quiet, deferential, submissive, peaceful help-meet.

Alternative Hypothesis: When accounting for variables such as race, geography, church size, etc., the marriage market for such a woman is more complex and difficult to navigate than this.

I generally agree with this, while also agreeing with the ‘sphere’s trope of Joe Churchgoer being undervalued.

I had a lot of thoughts on the topic, and read some old stuff, and thought some more.  Some of that thought will surface in future posts.

For now, though, I wanted to focus on one particular insight that jumped out at me:

If there’s a gender war, both sides have already lost.

Concept 1:  Marriage requires pre-marital cooperation, and therefore intersexual societal trust

Good grooms and brides do not simply appear from the ether.  Eligibility requires work and self-denial from both sexes, for many years before marriage.

Much of the motivation for this work and self-denial comes from the carrot of marriage.  But for this to work, young people must believe that somewhere in the world, their opposite number is doing the same thing.

My mother used to teach middle-school/high-school-aged girls as part of her service in the church.  A few years ago she had a lesson on modesty coming up and asked me:

Mom: So, there were girls in our church that you went to high school with.  Did their modesty or lack thereof affect you?

Dropit:  Well, let’s be real.  99% of the girls I went to high school with weren’t in the church.  So if it was an issue of protecting my innocent eyes, that just wasn’t going to happen regardless of what they did.  It would be more…like, what the hell?  It would be nice to have some moral support, you know?

What I was groping for, but didn’t quite grasp, was the importance of young people trusting that the opposite sex is also preparing for marriage.

(As a sidenote: as far as I can remember (not well) the girls in my ward when I was in high school were actually pretty modest.  This was more of a hypothetical.)

Concept 2: The Weakened Signal, or: Dalrock’s Revenge

Dalrock has written extensively on this topic at a macro level.  To summarize it:

Men in their early 20’s are observing that marriage and girlfriends aren’t in the cards, and this reduces their incentive to work hard to demonstrate provider status.

To put it another way: young men have generally ceased to believe what Concept 1 says it is very important that they believe: that they stand a reasonable chance of marrying well.  In response, they work less hard to be eligible husbands.

The standard conservative response has been: No problem, we’ll just lie to them.  Or yell at them.  And that actually worked for a surprisingly long time, but as Dalrock details, that train is running out of steam.

Concept 3: A man shortage means more sluttiness, not less

Romanceless men eagerly anticipating a future Great Wail from women, where the man shortage means men will have more market power, are in for an unpleasant surprise.  Men will be in more demand…by women who generally lacked faith that marriageable men would be available, and thus saw no point in preparing themselves for marriage.  Just as porn and the Xbox are better than the girl who doesn’t show up, Netflix and Chad are better than the man who won’t show up. Ladies can enjoy the decline too.

When you think about it, this shouldn’t be much of a surprise.  It is merely the gender-flipped version of the “Weakened Signal” phenomenon above.

The situation will be less like a shortage that some men may be anticipating, and more analogous to an economic depression, where no one works because they doubt anyone can afford their products.

In simpler terms:

“Why prepare for marriage? Guys will always be available”

leads to

“Why prepare for marriage?  There are no girls available”

leads to

“Why prepare for marriage?  There are no guys available.”

Revenge fantasies may imagine a transition from arrogance to penitence, but there likely is and will be a large cohort that instead moves to despair.  This can create a vicious cycle that I really do not enjoy contemplating.

Be of Good Cheer—Or Else

What we are hitting upon here is the importance of morale.  We could aptly describe current failures in the marriage market as a cyclical “Morale Crisis.”  We should start talking about this!

Salt, Leaven, Light…

Realizing that a major part of this problem is perception kind of flipped a switch in my brain.  Christ’s analogies to salt, leaven, and light all held one factor in common: a very small thing having a wildly disproportionate impact on its surroundings.

There is a sense in which working to make oneself more visibly eligible for marriage — through appearance, career, chastity, and pretty much anything you can think of — is an act of service, in that it reassures the opposite sex about the ROI of whatever sacrifices they are making.  What’s great is that the worse your surroundings, the more impact it has.  This is the stuff I exult over; I see in it God’s ability to transform tragedy to triumph with a flick of the wrist.  It is exactly the kind of thing I imagine the Adversary would rage at as  “unfair.”

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11 comments on “Our Fates Are Bound—And Some Good News

  1. donalgraeme says:

    Looks like you’ve been reading my mind. My next post on this topic was going to touch on these issues.

  2. thedeti says:

    I’ve not commented here frequently, or perhaps at all.

    The question I have, and I might ask it at Donalgraeme’s, is:

    Traditionalists want men and women to leave the sexual marketplace. My question is: And then go where? And then do what? What do you have for them? What can you teach them that will help them, since you’ve said “it’s not my job to help you; and it’s not the church’s job to find you mates”?

    What, if anything, do traditionalists propose to do about this?

    • The word “traditionalist” is tricky. All Christians are nutty cult members if the 1st-century Sanhedrin is to be believed. It feels to me like a word politicians invented as a dogwhistle for Christians, without actually saying so.

      Where, then, to turn to for divine truth? That question is beyond the scope of this post, and probably even this blog. It’s pretty hard to go wrong with sincere prayer and a humble, contrite spirit, though.

      To answer your question, though:

      >Traditionalists want men and women to leave the sexual marketplace.

      Yes. Sometimes they will miss out on marriage because of it.

      This post is not so concerned about the sexual fortunes of any particular Christian. There’s a lot of “Christian dating advice” out there, for those looking. If anyone is stumbling upon this post out of context, Dalrock, Donal, Stingray, and Haley are probably good places to start. May the odds be ever in your favor, etc.

      It is more concerned with meaning, especially for those on the margins. Churches face a dilemma: stress the importance of marriage and risk the singles feeling left out, or ease back on marriage and become Universalist Unitarian.

      The correct choice is the first one. Marriage is too important to throw by the wayside. But this is really hard for singles, and hardest on devout singles, who are basically told, “We’re glad that you agree that marriage and family are very important and give life meaning! Oh, you poor thing…well, you can always go serve at a soup kitchen helping strangers. Have a good fifty years!”

      Chastity I can deal with. What I can’t deal with is being an object relevant only for pity, stuck in limbo. I have a pretty big stack of video games, you know; if there’s no way to win respect without a chick*, and she’s not on the horizon, why shouldn’t I catch up on them? Can I contribute or not? If I can: where are my groupies? If I can’t: can I go home now?

      Much of the manosphere hostility to Christianity stems from a suspicion that they are being set up as beta chumps. And candidly: to the extent that Churchianity rules the pulpit, they are. The choice they seem to face is between

      a) Participate in the SMP, and rationalize it, with all the suckiness that implies
      b) Don’t participate in the SMP, and despise yourself as either a supplicating nancyboy, or a useless hedonist.

      This post is basically, “b) is not so bad; there is something you can do that a)doesn’t defang you as a sexual threat, and b)has meaning.”

      *There are other worthy pursuits, of course. Science. Widows and fatherless. Etc. The problem with these is that making them your life’s work is basically self-castration, becoming a beta orbiter to society at large. No thanks.

      • thedeti says:

        Serious;

        That’s a good reply. I’m going to try to respond more substantively later if I can.

        Because:

        “b) Don’t participate in the SMP, and despise yourself as either a supplicating nancyboy, or a useless hedonist.

        “This post is basically, “b) is not so bad; there is something you can do that a)doesn’t defang you as a sexual threat, and b)has meaning.””

        is what I want to explore in more detail. I’m not sure how to go about that, though, or what that looks like.

      • thedeti says:

        Most men and women are going to participate in the SMP and rationalize/embrace the suck. They’ll do so for the very human reason that they don’t want to be celibate, they don’t want to be alone, and (some) want families. So a lot of devout men and women will marry “reformed sluts” and “reformed players”, and otherwise nondevout men and women.

        A few devout men and women will marry each other, but most won’t, because the devout aren’t sexually attractive to each other. And a substantial number will get burned. They’ll roll the dice, and take their chances, and some will get really lucky and some will lose everything.

        Those who take your advice probably will miss out on marriage. Thing is, most won’t take your advice.

        I really think that more and more men won’t marry or reproduce because they aren’t attractive enough. So what for them will “have meaning”? Work, hobbies, and leisure pursuits. They aren’t sinful and they’re productive. Avoiding marriage to a nondevout person, and pursuing these nonmarital, nonrelationship things, are probably the best outcome for them.

        That’s pretty much all that’s left for the devout who won’t participate in the SMP (for the specific purpose of finding marital partners).

        • >Work, hobbies, and leisure pursuits.

          Yes. But these are what you make of them.

          There’s work you do because you want to, and work you do because you have to. There are hobbies you do as anesthetic, and there are hobbies you do because they’re awesome. There’s leisure where you enjoy the fruits of your labors, and there’s leisure you do to avoid labor.

          The first commandment was to “Be fruitful and multiply,” and we (rightly) talk about that a lot. But immediately after that: “Subdue [the earth] and have dominion over…every living thing.”

          In other words: do what you want, or get to a point where you can.

          My next post is probably going to be titled something like “Thou Shalt Go Waterskiing.”

          >Work, hobbies, and leisure pursuits.
          What are men really seeking? What are women really seeking?

          What I think men want, even more than sex, is respect. That’s why duty sex is so hated: it’s disrespectful. An insult. Part of the reason men have affairs with their secretaries is because the men are more attractive due to their position; but the secretaries are also more attractive because they’re giving the men what they want: respect. Yes, they’re younger and hotter—but the first thing many men will say when “caught” is “It’s not what you think, I’m not some randy dude.” And they’re telling the truth—it wasn’t the sex alone, but the respect that drew them in. Typing this out makes me really sad, because the obvious advice for women is “Respect your husbands,” but if there is one sentence the manosphere has determined is heresy to the public at large, it is that one.

          But respect doesn’t really come from women. And men know this. Women would probably fuck Bieber; all men want to punch him in the face. Respect comes from oneself, and other men. And this is really good news, because it means we don’t need to depend on women. We just need to do what we think is right. Hey: God put us in charge. What higher authority do we want?

          Where I think we screw up is we fail to respect ourselves and do what we want. Much has been made of: we want to fuck. But we also like camping, traveling, sports, sleeping, and—oddly—working, under the right circumstances. And because we’re not four, we even like doing stuff we don’t like, if respect (self- or otherwise) is at the end of it.

          Later I’ll write more about women really seeking love, but I can’t right now.

  3. elspeth says:

    I appreciate the linkage, sir.

    You offer some insightful questions and prognostications..

  4. Scott says:

    Not bad brother. I like your analysis.

    I’ll come by more often. Take care.

  5. […] over, it appears that Seriously Please Drop It was on the same wavelength as me. His recent post, Our Fates Are Bound- And Some Good News covered much of what I intended to discuss. So I will quote a great deal from his post. I will […]

  6. […] Seriouslypleasedropit sounds calculated yet hopeful notes in the economics of the marriage market Our Fates Are Bound — And Some Good News. […]

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