The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Or Maybe It’s You

Posted on | February 2, 2015 | 87 Comments

Jillian Dunham was 37 when she made a desperate choice:

When David Keefe made egg freezing a part of his clinical practice a decade ago, he imagined that single women looking to delay childbearing would be a small percentage of his patients. Before then, few women froze their eggs, and those in his clinic who did so were usually about to undergo cancer treatment. But when I met him in 2012, the year the American Society of Reproductive Medicine declared the procedure no longer experimental, he told me that close to half of his freeze patients were single women like me. Today, 80 percent of his patients are women electing to delay childbearing. . . .
I cringed every time I saw a reference to single women in their 30s and 40s “searching for Mr. Right,” which means that I cringed a lot. Dating was cast as “a desperate series of co-parent interviews.” . . .
Before he was a fertility specialist, Dr. Keefe was a psychiatrist. He speaks in scientific details but also in parables. He told me the story of a woman who did one freeze cycle and later had a child, and another who did multiple cycles but was unable to conceive. He told me the story of a woman who broke up with a man who had strung her along for years, only to learn that she had almost no eggs left. . . .
“I wasted a lot of time in my last relationship,” I admitted. “I want to make sure that I take care of myself.”
He leaned forward and paused. “There’s something wrong with the men in your generation,” he said. I was stunned. Here was a doctor who had just been talking about the importance of considering statistical significance, and now he was chalking my dating problems up to the broadest of generalizations. But he was articulating two forms of truth: the mathematical and the personal.
“It isn’t you,” he said. “All day long, I see patients like you. You’re smart, beautiful, accomplished, nice. It makes no sense. I go home to my wife and I say, ‘There’s something wrong with the men in this generation. They won’t grow up.’” . . .

You can read the whole thing, and I don’t want to argue directly against Dr. Keefe’s analysis. However, there is countervailing evidence: Women no less smart, beautiful, accomplished and nice than Jillian Dunham do get married and do have babies long before they turn 37.

Nevertheless, when I worked in D.C. every day for a decade, I routinely encountered women who were in her situation or, if younger than her, were clearly at risk of someday being in her situation. They kept wasting time in “relationships” with men who refused to close the deal. These romantic involvements would last anywhere from a few months to several years, and it was always — always — the guy’s aversion to a permanent commitment that prevented these relationships from becoming marriages. The real problem, it seems to me, is not merely the widespread phenomenon of “Peter Pan Syndrome,” but that (a) young women unwittingly enable such male immaturity because (b) they miscalculate the economics of love, and therefore (c) they waste one of a woman’s most valuable resources, her youth.

The smart, beautiful, nice girl is popular in high school. She has no trouble getting a boyfriend in college. As a 20-something in the singles scene, she gets plenty of attention. To such a young woman, the idea of being in a hurry to find a husband may seem absurd. Yet in the immortal words of Teen Talk Barbie, “Math is hard.”

If you graduate college at 22, you have eight years before you turn 30. Those are very valuable years. However smart, beautiful and nice she may be, a woman is more attractive to the average male when she’s 22 than when she’s 30. You can complain that this double standard that places a premium on female youthfulness is unfair, but you can’t avoid the fact that it is nevertheless real. A woman who is very attractive may think she can defy the odds and that it will be no problem for her to find Mister Right when she’s 30, but what if she’s wrong? She fritters away her 20s in a series of pointless relationships — six months with this guy, two years with that guy, etc. — and before she even notices the pattern, the clock is ticking down: She’s 27, 28, 29 . . .

Bad habits are hard to break. The girl whose first “serious relationship” ends in heartbreak after a few months may not recognize that she has developed bad romantic habits. After the second or third breakup, she’s like a poker player on a losing streak and tells herself she’s a victim of bad luck. An attractive woman in her mid-20s still has a large stack of poker chips in front her, so to speak, and she can keep playing with the same bad strategy a while before the odds shift decisively against her. She’s 30, 31, 32 . . .

Jillian Dunham, predictably, turns her failure into a feminist lesson:

Freezing my eggs did not change my dating life. What it did do was expose me, again and directly, to the ways we treat women when there is a decision to be made about their bodies: We judge, pressure, and publicly debate a woman’s ability to direct her own life. We fret about women’s susceptibility to “false hope,” about their being manipulated by the egg-freezing industrial complex, rather than believing women to be capable of assessing information and understanding risk. We judge women who pay thousands of dollars to freeze their eggs, rather than spending that energy advocating for those who can’t. We criticize women for not being able to control variables that are necessarily out of their control, something that is insulting to everyone involved.

You may notice that rationalizing failure seems to be the point of many feminist narratives. The whole point of feminism is convincing women they are never responsible for their own failures. Feminists will call you a misogynist if you ask a woman to consider the possibility that maybe men are not to blame for all her problems.

Still, not all women have the same problem, do they? Maybe it’s bad luck or maybe it’s bad judgment, but maybe your problem is you.



87 Responses to “Or Maybe It’s You”

  1. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 6:45 am

    Lucy sneaked out another window.

  2. Adobe_Walls
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 6:50 am

    Somewhat off topic but then again.

    If one heard this in woods behind ones house the proper response would be to set traps.

  3. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 6:53 am

    A guy I know whom I’ll call Sean is now in his mid 40s, and never married. He let me know, when I first met him, that he had f’ed a lot of girls, “and I mean a lot of girls,” and I thought, OK, and what did it get you.

    Now, ten years later, he’s still single, and has yet another girlfriend — he is a pretty good-looking guy, who knows how to play the game — and re recently got his car license plates suspended for three months because he didn’t pay his car insurance bill because he didn’t have any money, even though he has pretty much the same job I have; he squanders every penny on booze and bars and trying to pick up women for a night or three.

  4. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 6:59 am

    OK, I’m going to be an [insert slang term for the rectum here] and ask why this is the case. What told him that particular women weren’t worth marriage?

    The obvious questions include: where was he looking for women, and what criteria was he using?

  5. Zohydro
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 7:10 am

    I see cats in her future… Many, many cats!

  6. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 7:49 am

    So, for young women today, who is “Mr Right?” It’s pretty obvious that:

    He has to be tall;
    He has to be good-looking;
    He has to be muscular;
    He has to be great in bed;
    He has to have a good, white-collar job with real prospects for advancement;
    He has to have blue-collar skills; and, basically
    He has to come straight from a Hallmark Channel romance movie.

    Now, just how many of those guys are there, really? A couple of them are contradictory, and the last is mostly a fantasy, but when women say that they aren’t going to “settle,” they are concomitantly saying that they are pursuing a fairly restricted population, and the competition is fierce. Then, to stay in the competition, they wind up behaving like just the kind of women the great guys don’t want!

  7. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 7:50 am

    Elliot Rodger could not be reached for comment.

  8. Quartermaster
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 7:55 am

    He met them at Church. One dumped him without saying out right she was dumping him. She then started stalking him. The other started blowing up at things he would do and the final straw was the time she went off on him when they were at Walmart and you could hear her through half the store.
    You might recall that I mentioned a certain spirit about a woman that makes it a pleasure to be around her? I met the second one, and she didn’t have it. Those two were the only eligible women at the church he attended and his professional life makes it hard to meet outside of church and work.
    Another factor is that he will not marry a girl like married dear old dad. He’s seen how his mother treats me, and he wants nothing to do with it.
    If I had not gotten married before I went to Engineering School, I might not have gotten married myself. There are certain professions in which it is hard to have a social life and Engineering is one of them. Law is another.
    I know a lady who is an Attorney. She is not a feminist and would like to get married. She has a spirit that makes it a pleasure to be around her. But she has not been able to find a person she can give herself to who isn’t already married.
    There are people out there the narrative of neither side fits. I’m not saying that what RSM and Adobe are saying is not true in general, because it is. But there are people who don’t the narrative doesn’t fit and we need to be careful of mouthing generalities around people they don’t fit.

  9. Quartermaster
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 7:59 am

    A woman doesn’t have to be “hard to get.” She does need to be a moral, decent woman with standards. A decent man worth marrying will have the same sort of standards and in finding such a woman he knows he’s found a treasure.

    Such women aren’t “hard to get.” They are, however, hard to find. Even in Church.

  10. Gunga
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 8:19 am

    Proverbs 31:10&11
    An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels. The heart of her husband trusts in her, And he will have no lack of gain.

  11. Daniel Freeman
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 8:22 am

    I will grant that it is possibly true of me, and a challenge that I will face should I change my state, but it is not true of every forty-ish single guy. Many of the men that she could choose from are divorced — but of course, while they may have a proven track record of domesticity, they have other challenges.

  12. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 9:56 am

    I’ll throw out another caveat here: between the ages of 45 and 55, any man who looks like he can handle himself in the bedroom — and yes, women do judge that by the way we look — will have plenty of opportunities to hook up. That’s the age at which a whole lot of women have either gotten rid of husbands, or have husbands who have quit taking care of business in he bedroom, and those women are just plain horny.

    But that doesn’t mean that you want to marry them.

  13. RS
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 9:56 am

    My wife’s favorite Proverb. She quotes it a lot.

    : )

  14. RS
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 10:00 am

    Reading the list, I was reminded of something Bob Uecker once said about the Milwaukee Brewers during Spring Training:

    “Well, we need a couple of power hitters, a good lead off man, defensive improvement in the middle infield, some left and right handed pitching, a decent bull-pen set-up guy and a closer.

    Other than that, we’re set.”

  15. Zohydro
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 10:23 am

    You think that’d be sufficient? I’d go with claymores, bouncing betty’s, and automated sentry guns—just to be sure…

  16. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 10:32 am

    Yeah, well he was down in the front row!

  17. Zohydro
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 10:34 am

    Rubbish! There are tonnes of older, single males out there who are good-looking, well mannered, and take care of themselves, have good jobs, and know how to treat a lady…

    Regrettably, most of them already have boyfriends!

  18. Dana
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 10:43 am

    I’ll bet that he does obey traffic laws: I’ll bet that he drives on the right side of the road, and I’ll bet that he stops at red lights and I’ll bet that he stops — or maybe California rolls — at stop signs, and I’ll bet that he yields on left turns, all to keep from getting his car smashed. Basically, he obeys those traffic laws that he needs to obey to conform with safety, and probably flouts the speed limits. Point that out to him; anarchists’ actions tend to be a lot more conformist than their words.

  19. Adobe_Walls
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 11:39 am

    I was more reminded of coyotes than feminists.

  20. Adobe_Walls
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 11:49 am

    If you click the YouTube button there are quite a few more from this duo, I recommend ”College Try” though it mightn’t be everyone’s cup o’ tea.

  21. Gunga
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 12:19 pm

    It goes on every Valentine I give my wife and I’ve rarely meant any sentiment more.

  22. K-Bob
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 1:05 pm

    Why buy the cow when the GBLT buttsecks, p?0n, and sexual aids are supplied by the schools for free mandatory?

    Dang, we can’t even keep our aphorisms straight anymore.

  23. In Which a Grumpy Lesbian Offers Her Feminist Understanding of Men : The Other McCain
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 2:42 pm

    […] why all of Lizard Princess’s relationships have been such hopeless bummers? No. As I said of Jillian Dunham, maybe it’s just bad luck or maybe it’s bad […]

  24. Quartermaster
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 3:49 pm

    Things are a bit confusing these days.

  25. Quartermaster
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 3:52 pm

    You may have underestimated the number.

  26. Durasim
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 5:14 pm

    I do not doubt that there are droves of Peter Pan/Man-children infesting society. However, despite what Jillian Dunham demands, we should not view this trend of men shirking or failing relationships simply as anomic immaturity or male degeneracy. A lot of these trends are a rational response to changing incentives.

    One Christian manosphere blogger tried to describe matrimony and mating’s current situation by using a restaurant analogy:

    The analogy I’ll offer isn’t perfect but hopefully gets the basic idea across. Those of us who are happily married are sitting in a fine restaurant, enjoying our meals. Outside are a crowd of would be patrons, but the restaurant is full and they won’t be seated. However, the crowd outside decides to make the best of it. They set up a grill and hold an impromptu cookout. Some number of them comment that they wouldn’t trade sitting in our boring stuffy restaurant for the experience of cooking and eating in the outdoors with the company of the rest of the crowd. While I think the restaurant is better, I’m not going to call out to them, to try to convince them that they really should regret that they didn’t get a table. Instead I’m going to focus what influence I have on making that option available to more diners. I’ll try to get the restaurant down the street to start following the health codes so they don’t poison people. But to do that first I have to take on the corrupt health inspector (the church), etc. Besides, who am I to tell the people making the best of the cookout that they don’t really enjoy being there more than they would enjoy being in the restaurant? Not all of us have the same tastes. Given the lack of options, I truly hope that the cookout is what makes them happy. If someone wants to know how they can get a table I’ll offer the best advice I have on finding one, including advice on avoiding restaurants like the one down the street.

    The lack of open tables at the restaurant is visible in the data I’ve shown here, both in delayed marriage trends by women and in the kicking of fathers out of the home. Not everyone gets this “food poisoning”, but those who do can suffer immensely.

    Of course, another reader extended the analogy in an excellent and accurate way:

    …although your analogy is interesting, it is incomplete. You need to include the whole picture. And that is, some number of couples in the restaurant suddenly leave; the woman stands up, shrieks to the management that her escort is simply beastly, and a couple of pug-ugly bouncers come, rough him up, take his wallet, beat the snot out of him, and throw him out the back door into the alley. She stays for a while, paying for the meal out of his wallet, and then slowly walks out the front door, to cruise around the barbeque grills for a while.. And everyone pretends nothing just happened, although some murmur of “what did HE do?” floats ’round the room. For some odd reason, there are more and more empty tables in this restaurant. Fewer customers are coming in the front door. Business is down. The restaurant manager worries out loud that his business isn’t going well. But his bouncers continue to beat, rob, and eject men any time a woman demands it.

    Those men at the barbeque grills? More than a few of them used to eat in the restaurant. But after getting beaten up, robbed, beaten up some more and thrown away in to the alley, they don’t much care for restaurant food any more. They regard it as too expensive, one way or another.

    There is another group circulating around the barbeque grills, and out into the street. These are women who alternate between snacking at the barbeque grills, and importuning men to take them into the restaurant. They insist they only want good restaurant food, as they wipe the grease from barbeque off of theirfingers.Some of these women used to eat in the restaurant, but decided to have their escorts beaten and robbed. For some reason they find it a bit more difficult to get an escort back into the restaurant than previously was the case.

    There’s also a shadowy crowd out beyond the barbeque grills that most diners in the restaurant can’t see. This crowd is almost entirely men. Many of them are young, but some are middle aged or even old. No way they get into the restaurant. Although some of them used to eat there, before they got beaten up, robbed, and thrown into the alley. And nobody wants them too close to the barbeque grills, either. The women who eat at the grills and want into the restaurant scorn them. These men exist in the shadows, chewing on a dried out piece of jerky.

    Every once in a while, some fat guy from the restaurant management strolls outside, and hollers at all the men in the street:

    “HEY ! Why don’t you Man UP and find a nice lady to escort into this restaurant? The food is great! And if you get beaten, robbed and thrown in the alley it’s all your fault! C’mon in! Be a man!”

    Most of the women stand with him, and echo his “Man UP!” call, ululating in chorus. The barbeque crowd jeers at him. The men in the shadows gnaw on their dried out jerky and stare at him in utter silence. He goes back into the failing restaurant and tells everyone inside how great the service is. As he speaks, another male patron is beaten, robbed, and as he’s being ejected out the back door he grabs a knife in the kitchen, then stabs himself in the heart and dies in the alley.

    No in the restaurant one says a word, everyone looks away and pretends nothing just happened.

    I believe this fills out the scenario a bit. How one views the restaurant depends on where one stands. Sitting in a cozy booth in the back, with family all around, the restaurant is a great place. Standing outside by the barbeque grills, the restaurant may look too expensive, the dress code too stuffy. From across the street in the shadows the restaurant looks good, but seeing man after man being beaten, robbed, and thrown away into a dumpster-strewn alley leads to a different perspective on the restaurant than one might get in the cosy back booth. The view from the backside of the restaurant, the alley? Standing outside, with empty pockets, black eyes, and a broken nose & fingers, the restaurant is a crooked deal, run by thieves, cheats and liars.

    Perspective makes a difference.

  27. #ThisIsNotIslam Sets a Bonfire | Regular Right Guy
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 6:17 pm

    […] Or Maybe It’s You […]

  28. Loch Lomond Farms
    February 3rd, 2015 @ 7:16 pm

    I know that I am late joining this conversation, however, there is a way of looking at this issue that often gets overlooked. If evolution is true, then men and women co-evolved characteristics and traits that made them attractive to each other. In other words, women evolved to be most attractive to men during their peak reproductive years. Therefore, women who wait are fighting their own evolutionary history and drives. It has little to do with being “unfair.” However, it is a lot more self-gratifying to blame others than take responsibility for one’s own failures.

  29. Replicating Failure : The Other McCain
    February 4th, 2015 @ 9:45 pm

    […] The other day, we encountered Jillian Dunham, the 37-year-old who had her eggs frozen because she can’t find a husband. […]

  30. Daniel Freeman
    February 5th, 2015 @ 4:18 am

    A lot of their earlier songs are less “musical” and more “comedy,” but they’ve been getting steadily more polished and better produced, so I can’t really make a recommendation on their songs; I don’t know what might be better now. However, you have to check out their comedy segment, IIRC “Kanye or Hitler?”

  31. Daniel Freeman
    February 5th, 2015 @ 4:55 am

    Good point, the latter is a subset of an apex predator — can’t afford to underestimate them — and a canid trickster is not in the same league.

  32. paul_abarge_at_email_dot_com
    February 5th, 2015 @ 1:16 pm
  33. Daniel Freeman
    February 5th, 2015 @ 2:13 pm

    If evolution is true, then men and women co-evolved characteristics and traits that made them attractive to each other. In other words, women evolved to be most attractive to men during their peak reproductive years.

    I would say instead that men evolved to be most attracted to women who are in their peak reproductive years, since natural selection can’t work in the vacuum of infertility. (As you say, it was a co-evolution, and the corollary is that women evolved to be most attracted to men who would meet their own reproductive needs.)

  34. Guest
    February 5th, 2015 @ 2:20 pm


  35. Squid Hunt
    February 6th, 2015 @ 11:32 pm

    Actually, from what I’ve observed, Mr. Right is unemployed, dressed like a homeless twelve year old, unintelligible, obsessed with video games, atleast two kids he doesn’t pay for, and twenty pairs of shoed.

  36. Daniel Freeman
    February 7th, 2015 @ 4:39 am

    That’s who’ve you seen get married?

  37. Squid Hunt
    February 8th, 2015 @ 7:26 am

    Marriage? That’s just a tool of the patriarchy. Happy women are women that control their own lives. Ain’t no one got time for marriage.