"Her Life Is, Statistically Speaking, Already Over": On the Topic of "Settling" for a Man

by Leigh Anderson
Originally Published: 

The comments on Lori Gottlieb’s 2008 screed “Marry Him! The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough” in The Atlantic have been lumbering along, a golem of sexist bile and lazy punctuation, for six years. As comments do, they take an early, predictable swing toward misogyny: “Just admit she’s a lesbian”; they then segue into a discussion of how annoying women are for consistently overvaluing themselves. [Comments have been lightly edited]:

Ntxmerman: “It has been my experience that many, if not most, women have unrealistic expectations of men. At the same time, women often have a higher perceived value of themselves. I offer the example of how many women describe themselves as hot or beautiful when they are really merely average or somewhat attractive.”

I mean, obviously it’s up to Ntxmerman to decide whether a woman is average or somewhat attractive! A woman has no say about her own worth!

© flickr/cogdogblog

And then there’s poor DD, unlucky in love, because the women he’s aiming for “are 7 or 8’s out of 10, not 9 or 10’s….I generally find an inverse relationship exists between looks and brains and I put a lot of value on brains and an agreeable personality.” But DD, who is 43 and looking for a Caucasian or lighter-skinned Hispanic women aged 28-40, has not found an appropriately brainy 7 or 8 mate, for reasons that are entirely the fault of the women—they have unrealistic expectations.

Regarding a recent, somewhat difficult girlfriend:

“Women have a really screwed-up sense of reality…She isn’t nearly the hot little blond she was 25 years ago and she needs to be making MORE, not less, compromise in her lifestyle if she wants to get married, i.e. she needs to make herself as “low maintenance” to any future husband as possible.”

Thereafter follows three years (!) of dating advice for DD, ranging from churches (no, churches produce panicky OCD women like his mother), to Internet dating (no, odds vastly skewed in the women’s favor, not fair), to professional events for engineers (no, women in his field are “uptight,” and “they always feel that they need to prove that they are better than me…As long as I keep a ‘professional’ (read: neutered) relationship with women like this there is no problem but God forbid I ever want to show a personal interest in them.”)

Women engineers, I am just picturing the discussions with this dude at trade shows…My sympathies.

No churches? No online dating? EyesWideOpen23 suggests “negging” as a possible tactic:

“If you really want to change your future, change you!!! I hate to say this, but you need to learn how to be a Pickup Artist. Google it!!!”

CronoT arrives. He’s single, but one thing he’s glad he’s learned is that “WOMEN ARE STUPID!” and now, since he has had that realization, things are going better, although he was just with a woman who broke up with her husband “because his tool was too small to pleasure her. Our relationship ended for much the same reason.” Bummer, CronoT.

A Sikh man, Jmsingh123, jumps in the fray, noting that he broke up with a woman because she wanted him to stop wearing his turban and cut his hair. He doesn’t get a lot of support from the other dudes—”If you really loved her, you would have sacrificed your hair and turban”—but he does get a reply from Gori Bhabi: “Can you message me I would enjoy a private conversation.” (So Jmsingh123 may be the only one coming out of this comments section not feeling filthy.)

Four years ago, Yorkriver1 writes: “My 81-year-old mother met someone on the Internet. She’s a woman who found someone at an older age—so forget about those ‘statistics’ of hopelessness. She’s willing to take chances and enjoy life.”

Three years ago, from DD: “For all intents and purposes it IS too late for your mom—her life is statistically speaking already over.”

Back to CronoT, three years ago: “Well, I’m glad to tell you that I’m no longer on the open market. I’ve met a great woman who I love & adore. God willing, we’ll be engaged or even married soon.”

[Congratulations for CronoT spanned an entire year.]

Two years ago: “Well, unfortunately, this is no longer true. She flaked on me.”

[Condolences for CronoT spanned an entire year.]

One year ago, voodoo love-spell spam started appearing in the comments: “My testimony goes to Camara love-spell temple…I was still in love with her, I try to get her back but all my effort was in vain until I reach out to the Internet for help and I saw a testimony of a spell caster.”

One year ago, a new poster: “Just curious, for those women who have settled, wasn’t sex just incredibly boring??”

10 months ago, another new poster, MrCanada976, crops up, looking for help and affirmation:

“I am 37 now and single yet again… Women expect hot steamy sex all the time and feel that you aren’t into them enough when you just want a quickie before leaving for work in the morning…. Well wake-up call, ladies!… If you are 25 percent or more heavy than we met you we are left feeling that maybe your not as hot as you were when we met you…. Us men look at women over age 30 who are unmarried quite simply: What character flaw in them kept some guy from throwing care to the wind and marrying them 5 or 10 years ago…Because every woman I know in her 30s and beyond have some annoying quirks.”

The crazy dual message of: “Women, you are fat, deceitful, quirky, selfish, and you think too highly of yourselves,” combined with, “Why don’t any women like me?” would be funny if it weren’t so hostile. It’s almost like… women are scolded no matter what they do. Have a baby on your own? Selfish. Settle for a man you don’t love? Deceitful. Decide to remain unmarried? Deluding yourself, bitter, unhappy.

From JH40, a woman, five years ago:

“I recently left someone who would have married me because I did not want to settle. I am 40 and have no other prospects, and no regrets. My life has been hampered by too many other restrictions in the past, and to settle would feel like spending the rest of my life in a room whose ceiling was lower than my own height. I am willing to go without until my dying day and have the freedom and sanity of living my own life, rather than compromise it for someone who does not share or appreciate my passions.”

From Ntxmerman, 4 years ago:

“What you are really saying is that you are superior to virtually every other person you meet. It is no wonder you are alone. What man or woman would want to be around someone who constantly looked down on others?”

Eight months ago, another voodoo spell: “All my dreams come through the help of Dr. Ikhine the powerful spell caster, contact him on, thank you very much.”

Eight months ago: “It’s nice to see some realism regarding this topic for once.”

Seven months ago: “Too many women sold their souls for the false freedom of feminism. You reap what you sow.”

Two months ago: “All I want to say is that this spell caster MADE MY DREAMS COME TRUE.”


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