This was prompted by an article in the New York Times, about why men can’t stand to be alone.
I’ll admit the article is a little confusing to me. First the writer said men feel they need help when they’re down and out whereas women get on with things. She also says men are hard-wired to feel danger, but women aren’t. I can’t get on board with that. Most of the personal safety tips you see and hear on the news and elsewhere are directed at women (don’t walk alone at night, have a friend walk you to your car, park in a well-lighted area, be aware of your surroundings, carry pepper-spray, take self-defense classes, etc.). I strongly disagree that women “do not walk around alert for danger.” If you as a woman don’t, you should. Women, she says, are ‘hard-wired to read the signals that keep us from danger”, yet a sentence above that says women don’t walk around alert to danger. Either we’re alert to it and reading the signals, or we’re not.
Men I’ve talked to about this issue have NEVER incorporated those things into their existences. It is a foreign idea to them that they should ever feel threatened when out in public. They are men. They are strong. They can handle whatever comes their way. They’re not even aware of the safety precautions I mentioned above. It’s never occurred to them. The article makes it sound as if men walk around frightened all the time if they’re alone (i.e., single).
But I agree that men can’t stand to be alone. This may seem counterintuitive, since women in their younger years are the ones looking to get married and settle down, not men. The switch comes after people have been in a long-term relationship. I’ve seen it, and experienced it, first-hand. Most women do not remarry after divorce (yours truly is a case in point. My ex had hooked up with someone before our divorce. He’s since moved on to someone else. I’m still single). Men, however, can’t seem to remarry fast enough. They want someone to take care of them, do the child-rearing, the cooking, the baking, the cleaning, the shopping. I watched one manager where I work get involved with someone before he divorced his first wife. The new Mrs. Manager now does all those things for him (although she still works as well).
A second co-worker whose marriage had a spectacular melt-down, was terrified of being alone with his kids. As we were chatting about his situation one day he pointed out how Mr. Manager had his then-amour to help him out, and he didn’t know how he could manage on his own. He also hooked up with someone not long after his divorce was final (if not before, still not clear). They are now married.
Yet a third co-worker who had been divorced for a brief period confided to me one day that he wanted to find someone and remarry because who was going to take care of him when he was old? Women outlive men most of the time, and he was probably going to need someone to nurse him in his old age. Hand to god, I am not making this up. This is why men marry. Not for love, or even the sex. They want a nurse-maid. It’s not out of a sense of fear for their personal safety, they want to know who’s going to wipe the drool off their chin when they’re old and incapacitated, should they live that long. I believe that guy is still single, but he’s in another part of the country now so I can’t be sure.
I was on a first date with someone years ago, and one of the first questions he asked as we sat chatting over dinner was was I a good cook. “Are you looking to hire a cook?” I asked. Needless to say, I did not see him again.
Marriage used to be a social construct, two people banding together to survive. One did the nesting, the other did the hunting. It’s hard for one person to do it all. These days it’s more about… well, I’m not really sure. Read an article the other day defending the idea of dating after marriage. Umm… so why get married? So you always have someone to fall back on if you can’t find a date for Friday night? What if the other person does? I’ll never understand that one.
Would I ever get married again? :::grimace::: Not sure.