Monday, October 31, 2011

Raising children.

Our culture has a serious timing problem.

It is designed so that the best time to start having children is in our 40s.   By then we have a home, know what we want to do with our life, have some money saved up and in general are ready to have children.  Mentally, we are prepared for anything.

This did not used to be the case.  There is a reason why Alexander the Great left Aristotle at the age of 16 and went to work.  Even a hundred years ago, we could start our working career at the age of 16.    Now, we need High School, College, and often Graduate School.  Twenty four is the new sixteen, it takes us 50% longer to get anywhere.  Most of us want to be 'established' before we try to raise children.  That used to be the age of about Twenty six.  Using the 50% longer method, that becomes 39.

Too bad our bodies are way past the prime by the time we hit 39.   Honestly, we evolved to raise a family in our late teens/twenties.   Men and women are most fertile - with the healthiest sperm and eggs back then.   During that time, we have more physical strength and better health.  Twenty years later, when our minds and bank accounts may be ready, but we have lost our physical edge.

Grandparents can only help so much - with both cash and advice.  What we really need is solid health extension, as opposed to life extension.    A good way to offer people in their 40s the solid health and vitality of their age.   Failing that, we fall back on an old strategy.

This is one of the main reasons why men marry younger woman.   If you want children, it makes a lot of sense.  She provides the health and physical stamina, he provide the money, wisdom, and basic security obtained when you are established.  No, it's not just old goats trying to screw pretty women.

I myself am grappling with the fact that I may be just too short and not wealthy enough to attract a woman still in her prime child bearing years.  I may have to give up on the idea of having children myself.   This is a hard decision.  Unlike many men, I have always wanted a child - or two.   I still want to get married, even if I won't have children, but a daughter or son is one of my biggest regrets.

I know, I have given other people the advice of adoption before.   It is illogical, but part of me is egotistical.  I routinely test in the top 1% for most intellectual tests.  I think I am superior to most people and  I want a child of my own genes.

The worst part is I know that any mental advantages I have are countered by clear physical disadvantages.   Even aside from height, I know my body is not the best in the world.  

This next part is very hard for me to admit.  In addition to mere ego, I have some  selfish reasons to have a child of my own genes.  There is a 50/50 chance that in 20 years, I will need a kidney transplant.   I am OK now - I am not on dialysis or anything like that.   I just take some blood pressure medication.   But I may very well be in need of a kidney in the future.  I have family members  - with children - that have said they will offer me a kidney.  But you can't predict the future and things happen.  Part of me thinks it is a good idea to raise a kid myself to increase my odds that someone will be compatible with my genes.

And the rest of me is horrified by the very idea.  To raise a kid to harvest his kidney for your own use?  What kind of person does that. I sound like a monster.  

Before you think I am a monster, keep in mind that I probably could just go find a woman looking for a man to father a child and pay her child support.   There are people out there like that.  I have refused to do it, I think all in all, I have better reasons for wanting a child and will only father one if I think his mother and I can do a good job raising him/her together.

Being a good person does not mean never having evil desires - it means having them and overcoming them.   Nor does being a good person mean never benefiting from your choices.   You are allowed to enjoy life, and accept biological gifts.    It does mean that your choices are based on something more than just your personal needs.  

It's OK to spend your money on nice things as opposed to just giving it all to charity. Similarly, it is OK to prefer fathering a child of my own genes because someday - if I raise them right - they might want to offer me a kidney - assuming we can't grow our own in a petri dish by then.  (Yes, that fanciful daydream is part of why I am taking a Synthetic Biology class - not that I have high expectations of actually doing this).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Why I am still single in 2011

There is no single reason why I am single.  If there was, I could fix that problem and move on.   Instead there are a multiple of things that are holding me back.  Most likely, that is the case with other people.

In no particular order, they are:

  • I am picky.  I like smart, thinner women, and that limits my pool of potential dates.   I have rejected women for both weight and intelligence, some of whom I probably could have had good relationships with.    I can accept smart, moderately overweight woman, or average intelligence, thin women, but even they are relatively rare. 
  • I still want children.  This means I focus on younger woman.  I don't exclude woman older than me, but I take it into consideration.
  • I don't drink.   This is a big one, it interferes with the major activity used as a back ground for dating, and means I come off as more inhibited than the people drinking alcohol.  In addition, other may think I am boring, or worse, the reason why they aren't having fun if they don't drink.
  • I am assertive and short.  Women that like assertive men tend to want taller men.  Some women like short men, many women like assertive men, but few want both assertive AND short. 
  • I am not thin.  I wish I was in better shape, but I am not.  I could lose 10 pounds and look better.  I do go to the gym 4x a week, but as of yet I have just turned some fat into muscle, and increased my stamina without losing weight.   
  • Thick feet and neck.  Not tot he point of disfigured, but enough to make clothing difficult.  Doctor have tested me for thyroid problems, (no I don't have any.)  This means that if I button a dress shirt, it is uncomfortably tight.  So no ties.  Thick feet means I have similar problems with dress shoes - they hurt my feet.  More so than wearing high heels hurts most women.  Net result suiting up makes me very uncomfortable.
  • Nerdy.  I like weird, sciency stuff, and dislike sports.  Some women find this a turn off.   Never quite understood why.   But that's kind of the definition of a nerd, isn't it ?  (What a nerdy thing to say!) 
  • I have a reasonable good job.  But in Manhattan, the standards are higher.   Here, the smart, pretty woman are looking for a man to support them with at least $150k/year, preferably over $200k. 
  • I am allergic to cats.  Way too many single women have multiple cats.  Studies show 15-30% of people are allergic to them.  There is a reason why the stereotype of people with multiple cats is of an old maid.

So, how do I plan on fixing this.   I won't start drinking.  I can't change height, feet, or neck.  I won't change my personality (assertive/nerdy).  While a vaccine for cat allergies is in the works, it is not yet available.

That leaves:

  • Forget about having children.
  • Be less picky
  • Lose weight
  • Get a raise/better job.
Less picky is the easiest thing to do.  If I lower my standards, I can probably get myself an overweight, smart girlfriend.  Particularly if I forget about being a father and go after older woman.

I am working hard at losing weight.  I try to go to the gym three-four hours a week, plus tango dancing.

Getting a better job is more difficult.  I am at the high end of the salary range for my current position, I would need to shift jobs to do significantly better.  Right now, I am not actively looking, but it may come to that.  Honestly, if I do meet someone that wants me only if I make over $150k/year, I am not sure I want them.

Which is in fact the real question - how much am I willing to compromise on the things I want? 

No, that is NOT lowering your standards.  It is about a reasonable amount of personal growth.  I am trying to be less shallow about what I want, but I also have to be willing to attract someone that is a bit more shallow than I would wish.

Reasonable amounts of personal growth are also needed to maintain a relationship.   Relationships are not about finding someone that will love all of your idiosyncrasies, anymore than it is about removing all of them.  It is about making the hard choices about which ones you will fix for your lover and which ones your lover will forgive.   Both of you have to do this - accept some idiosyncrasies and fix others.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

The Friend Zone

The Friend Zone is a horrible place where singles get tortured.  For whatever reason, one of you likes the other, but doesn't want a relationship.   I used to think that no man has ever created a "Friend Zone".   If we like you, are attracted to you and both of us are single, we want to make love to you.   Men don't say "I like you, but only as a friend."  If we like you, we like you.  

But I realized that while we would always want a fling with someone we like, we don't always want to marry you.  The guy version of the "Friend Zone" is called "The Friends With Benefits Zone".  In this zone,  a guy likes a woman, enjoys sex with her, but has zero desire to move beyond it.   I suspect that just as many women get caught in the "Friends With Benefits Zone", as men get caught in the "The Friend Zone".

Sometimes they are mistresses waiting for their lover to leave his wife (if he hasn't filed legal papers, he never will.  Trust me, no guy has ever mad a woman wait more than a month to start the divorce).  Sometimes the women are dating Mr. Wrong and think he is Mr. Right.  Usually because he has a bunch of shallow advantages, which blind them to his lack of depth.

But whether you are a nice, wimpy guy caught in the Friend Zone, or a nice, gullible woman caught in the Friends With Benefits Zone, the trap is always due to immaturity on the part of the "Friend-er". 

The male "Friends With Benefits Zone" is the dream of a teenage boy who wants what he thinks is the fun stuff without the responsibility.  By locking that in, he forgoes all the benefits that come with that responsibility: the immense amount of support (emotional, financial, chore sharing) and best of all - a child that grows up with that support.   Maybe he doesn't think he needs that kind of stuff.  Maybe he gets it from his family and guy friends.  If he makes enough money, while his career is going strong, he doesn't need the extra financial support and can even pay an assistant for the chore sharing.  But as he ages he may miss the absence of a legacy.  A kid to carry on and someone to look out for him as he ages. 
In the female "Friend Zone" she is looking for the classic "head over heals" love.   She wants to feel that sense of awe, - the mystery of the unknown with the potential for a movie-like 'swept off her feet' life moment.  Once you knows you won't give her that, she loses interest.  Like a love-obsessed teenager, she forgets that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy, not a love story.  In her search for a awe-inspiring love story for the ages, she ignores the real life love staring her in her face, simply because it doesn't look the way she thinks a love story looks.   The truth is, she pays too much attention to the movies, and not enough attention to old married couples.   Real love is about support, not hormones.

If you are a man, trust me, you won't stay young and rich forever.   The younger you look for a wife, the higher quality you will find.   If you area  woman, trust me, marry a friend, not a fantasy.   The fantasy never, ever lasts.  Happily ever after always ends in death, at least for mortals.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Mean Kids

First, let me state that most people are not mean.   In fact quite a few of the 'mean kids' from high school eventually mature into nice people.  I bet that less than 5% of the population is mean.  Of course, the problem is figuring out who they are.

Every teenage girl knows who the mean girls are in High School.   Every teenage boy knows who the bullies are in High School.   They disappear after High School for one reason:  We are no longer forced to hang out with them in a state mandated class schedule.

Some of them mature before college.  Quite a few of the mean kids don't get into college.  Those that do, tend to go to larger schools, where it is easier to avoid them.    But even if you end up in a small school with still-mean kids, they no longer get the tactic support from adults they need to maintain their mean-ness.  College kids pick their own classes and where they sit, and what non-scholarly activities they do.  This lets people avoid the mean kids. 

But the mean kids don't go away entirely.  Some people never mature.  Worse they are unhappy with the lack of opportunities to be mean.

Until they figure out dating.

In High School, most mean kids pick on kids their own gender.  If a boy physically hits a girl, she is allowed to cry without being laughed at.  Other adults rush to her defense.  Similarly, boys don't care as much about the tactics mean girls use - nasty rumors and insults.   If a girl tries to be too mean to a boy, he might very well hit her.  Sure, he will get in trouble, but she doesn't want to get hit.  It's easier and safer to stick with your own gender.  Net net, mean girls pick on other girls and mean boys pick on other boys -  in high school.

But after High School, it is much harder to be mean to people of your own gender and dating lets you be very mean to people of the other gender. 

Pretty mean girl (and they usually are) still get picked up by men.  They don't know she is mean until after they get to know her - and in our society people are encouraged to date people you don't know rather than those you do know (Yeah, I know, when I say it like that it sounds stupid but no one wants to mess up a friendship/work relationship/etc.)

So every one of those mean girls you remember from High School, is out there making unsuspecting men miserable.  It's actually better when they reject us with a cruel, carefully crafted insult.  At least then we bought them dinner and courted them before they reveal their true colors

We all know what happens to the mean boys - they abuse women - physically, emotionally, and sexually.   They spend their time in bars, deceiving women, and in general acting like they are on a reality TV show.

But women, let me ask you a simple question:   Think back to how the mean girls treated you in high school.  Do you think you got off easy as compared to the boys?  That is, did the boys get bullied more than you did?

I bet you will say no. 

Those same girls that were so horrible to you are the ones that are horrible to us men in the dating world.  I assure you that for every guy that abuses you physically, emotionally, or sexually, there are mean girls that abuse us emotionally, financially and sexually.

We are taking all the crap you used to take - and more.  The worst part is we get told to stop complaining and take it like a man.  Being a guy trying to pick up women is not easy.  For every guy out that doing bad things to women, there are women out there doing bad things to men.  It hurts just as much, but we don't have a legal system to help us out after the pain.

I'm not saying we have it worse than you.  Just saying that you don't know we have it just as bad as you do.  

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Stereotypes and You.

Every once in a while, someone makes a list of stereotypical girlfriend/boyfriends. I did so myself.  But this is not about the stereotypes, but about you.

You see, when you think someone is athletic, you really mean more athletic than you are.  Chances are pretty good that they know people more athletic than themselves and they think they are just 'normal'.   Worse, that person usually knows someone more athletic than they are.  This keeps going till you hit professional sports.

So when someone makes  a list of stereotypes, what we are actually saying are things we are not.

The list I looked at most recently had:
  • athletic date
  • dumb date
  • party date
  • geeky date
  • conservative with a secret kinky side date
  • superior date (who will dump you)

This says more about what the average single person thinks about themselves than about the people we date.  In general, we think we are less athletic, fairly smart, not a party animal, not geeky, less kinky and less outwardly conservative, and finally has a bit of an inferiority complex.

More importantly, we are ourselves sometimes get those stereotypes.  I have had women think I am the athletic date (trapeze), the party date (tango dancing every night), the geeky date, and even the conservative guy with a secret kinky side.  I don't think anyone has ever thought me the dumb guy or the 'better than you date

But that's not the whole story.  Consider the reverse stereotypes:

  • couch potato
  • genius
  • workaholic
  • anti-geek  (we really need a word meaning the opposite of geek) 
  • liberal with a secret conservative side
  • inferior date.

But note how hard it was for me to come up with appropriate words for many of these categories.  I don't really mean couch potato - or lazy for example.  Instead I mean someone that does not like to do sports but does do normal amounts of work.   The anti-geek is the worst one.   There are people out there that are very anti-geek and we need a word for them.  You know the type - the girl that won't date a guy because he is a professional magic the gathering player   (source)

The words I used, with the exception of superior/inferior and dumb/genius are not really opposites.  Because we think of the qualities I am attempting to describe as 'normal', and therefore not worth giving a different label.

I think that is a problem.  Normal is not what most of us wants.  If it were, we could find it.    We want exceptional.   We want extraordinary.  We want more than just normal.  Often what we want more of is not the classic stereotype.  Those tend to be things we laugh at/dislike- that is how they became stereotypes. 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Matches that Work

Not all relationships have to end in eternal love with a side of lovely children.   There are a lot of good matches that work really well without children.  Here are a few.  Note, these are good relationships - even if from the outside they look dysfunctional, the people are getting what they want and enjoying life.

But they do have hidden weaknesses that can kill the relationship.   If the participants 'mature' and no longer want the life they original desired, that will always kill the relationship.  In particular, as people get older, sometimes they decided they really do want children, which can kill a relationship based on no children.

  1. Young woman that likes the good life + older, wealthy man.  He wants her beauty, she wants his money.   Warning: If she loses here looks, or if he loses his cash, it will kill the relationship.     
  2. Ambitious man + ambitious woman.   When they aren't working, they are spending cash like crazy.  They are both willing to put up with each others late hours and business trips.    They don't have time to look for a better mate, they do enjoy the massive amounts of spending cash the double income provides.  Warning:  if either of them decided to stop working so hard, it will kill the relationship.
  3. Young, pretty woman that likes the good life and doesn't care if her husband cheats + young, wealthy, fit, sexually active man.   This is a bit of intentional blindness here.  You both are shallow and don't care.  Neither is looking for a 'deeper' relationship, neither wants to improve their own character.  Warning:  If she doesn't know he cheats and finds out, relationship ends.
  4. Smart, desirable woman + not-as-smart- desirable man.   This works because he never realizes how she is using him.  She runs his life and he thinks he is lucky to have her, not realizing how desirable he is.  Perhaps he has a good job and is trustworthy, or is simply tall.   For whatever reason, he is very much in demand but does not know it.  Warning:  If she takes him for granted too much, or if he another woman clues him in to how desirable he is, he will leave her.
  5.  Any two kinky folk with matching perfectly perversions.  Exhibitionist + voyeur, dominant + submissive, sadist + masochist (yes D/s is not the same as S/M), two foot fetishists, etc. etc.  Warning:  Some people like the fantasy more than the reality.  If they live out all their fantasies, the kink can fade.

Now, I am not making value judgments here.  Some might use words like workaholic, gold digger, cradle robber, player, pervert etc. -  but those are just ways to insult people for doing what they enjoy.   Complaining about that is like complaining that men like pretty women.  It's natural and as long as both parties know what is going on, there's nothing wrong with that.

Where problems occur, is if people don't recognize what they are doing.   Particularly if, as most people are, you are less introspective but very critical of potential mates.  The classic is the young, shallow woman, dating a man for his money, who gets upset when she finds out he is cheating on her.  She realizes he is a player, but never realizes she is a gold digger.  The traditional end if of the story has her dumping him for another rich man that also cheats on her.

But there are MANY many women that know what they are, know what they want, and overlook the cheating.  It is not a sign of weakness - it is in fact a sign of strength.  She is not ignorant, she knows what is goign on, and has decided she likes her life enough to put up with the downsides.  Money makes life a lot easier and all lives have downsides.  Just ask Princess Di's children.  

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Not the Destination

I recently heard some one say that every relationship ends and that the absolute best you can hope for is death.

My response is "Do you ask for your money back when you realize that the Carnival cruise you went on brings you back to the same place you started with?"  No.    It's the journey, not the destination.

Which is why "I'll change/teach/fix/help/cure him/her" is such a bad idea.   Even if you succeed,  chances are pretty high that some one else will get the benefit - you fix them but they leave you for someone else because instead of having fun in the relationship, you turned it into school.   You need to enter a relationship that is good at the beginning.  Often relationships get worse, not better because many people are addicted to the hormonal rush of a new relationship.  That feels wonderful, but it fades away.  If you are one of those people, you may suddenly find yourself in a slow race to death.

The trick is to find someone that can deepen the relationship after the fun, but distracting hormonal rush is over.  Someone that as you get to know them, you can trust, depend on, and enjoy spending time with.  It doesn't have to be 100% of your time - but you need to miss them when you are away.

A large part of trusting them is that you can not feel they are the enemy - or the parent you must hide stuff from.   You need to want to make them feel better - not be looking for their mistakes.  And they need to know that.  If they are hiding things from you - even if it is just the fact that they like cartoons.   Because there happiness will directly affect yours.  

This works best if both people are using the same technique.  If both are focused on their partner's happiness, then both see results quickly.  But it works even if you are dating someone that doesn't make your happiness their focus.

You see everyone has faults.  It is NOT your job to fix your mate.  If you can't live with them that way, tell them and get them to work on fixing it.  Or leave them if you can't stand it.  Or insist on some kind of fix - such as hiring a maid if they are too messy for you and you won't clean up after them.   But do not expect them to become the maid.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Crazy dates

Anyone with experience in the dating world has at some point dated a crazy person.  There are a lot of them out there.   In fact, according to psychiatrists, there are about 7 billion crazy people out there.

That's the favorite joke of a psychiatrist friend of mine.  At heart, doctors think everyone's just a little bit crazy.   We all have issues.  Maybe you were picked on as a child.  Maybe you had an obsessive parent.  Maybe you were raped.  The point is as we live our lives, bad things happen.  Even if nothing bad ever happened to you - that would definitely make your crazy - you would never understand how other people could be affected by bad things.

The point is that every one has their issues.   Finding out that someone has an issue should not be a deal-breaker.  Even if you find it early.  Finding out about an issue early may simply mean you are dealing with an honest person - someone that puts themselves out there, truthfully.

But that doesn't mean you should go out dating crazy people.  Instead, when you discover an issue that someone has you have to think about that particular issue.  Is it going to bother you when they clean everything obsessively - and yell at your for not doing the same?  Is it going to bother you if they are jealous?  If they call all the time?  If they don't respond to calls in a reasonable amount of time? 

Keep in mind that you ALSO have your own issues.   Figure them out.   Look for people that won't be bothered by or interact badly with your issues.  I have a thing about fairness and authority.  There are lots of people that won't work well with me.