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Wasting the gift…

March 22nd, 2010

When Elizabeth Wurtzel was young and beautiful, she had her pick of men.  And, it seems, from her article in Elle Magazine (analyzed here by Stuart Schneiderman) she made some poor choices as to what to do with that gift of beauty.  Rather than settle down with “Gregg,” whom she found boring, she pursued drama and excitement with a line of men unsuitable for her and unsuitable for marriage.

Schneiderman writes:

Beauty has been her friend, but she did not have to do very much to have and to hold it. Beauty has given her value in the sexual marketplace, and she has exploited it mercilessly.

But, beauty is also a perishable commodity, one that needs to be deployed judiciously if one is going to use it to make a life. It seems that Wurtzel had to go to law school and to work as an attorney to discover the meaning of: judicious.

Even before the term entered the lexicon Wurtzel was a queen of the hook-up culture. She used her beauty to collect men. It has not been a happy experience. In her words: “Men have piled up in my past, have fallen trenchantly through my life, like an avalanche that doesn’t mean to kill, but that is going to bury me alive just the same.”

Clearly, there were a number of one-night-stands, but more often Wurtzel was trying and failing to sustain a relationship. The relationships failed because there was more drama than affection, more chaos than order, more trauma than routines.

It seems that young women have a bit of a dilemma.  Perhaps finding a decent man and settling down is not exciting.  But, if you take Wurtzel’s experience as your guide, it may be the best way to achieve long term happiness.

Reading Wurtzel’s story, I could not help but think of those lyrics to that old song “Heat of the Moment”:

“And when your looks are gone and you’re alone

How many nights you sit beside the phone.

What were the things you wanted for yourself.

Teenage ambitions you remember well.”

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  1. nerdygirl
    March 23rd, 2010 at 08:12 | #1

    Because women are no longer marriage material after their 20′s? Men only want to marry women when they’re young and pretty? There is a difference between not learning how to form relationships and not settling down. And there is a HUGE difference between settling down and settling. Settling for a marriage is no healthier then being unable to form lasting relationships. I would hope a blog devoted to preserving marriage would know the difference.

  2. Arlemagne1
    March 27th, 2010 at 23:50 | #2

    @nerdygirl
    I find your comment puzzling.

    First of all, I didn’t say that women are no longer marriage material after their twenties. However, you have reality to deal with. Large portions of men are more interested in young women in their twenties than older women, especially if that older woman has a large number of hookups in her past. It may not be nice, it may not be fair, but it is reality.

    That being said, the best advice I could give to a younger woman is to make the most of her youth and beauty. Find a good man and get married.

    Ah, but what if she doesn’t find a good enough man? Should she settle? Well, that question is only answerable if you first define the term “good enough.” For those women who consider “good enough” to be “not a serial killer” then she, obviously should not settle as her standards are extremely low. However, for a woman whose definition of “good enough” is “perfection” she will have to learn to settle, as no man is perfect. For definitions of “good enough” somewhere in the middle of those two extremes, wisdom is needed. But remember, that wisdom must take into account the fact that female beauty does lessen with time. Your assertion that settling is unhealthy needs a bit of refinement.

    So, I ask you this question: when, in her life cycle, is a woman most apt to find a man of the highest quality? When she’s young and has the attributes many men are looking for or when she’s older (and perhaps a bit wiser) but no longer attracts the quality of men she once did?

    It may not be a happy thought to contemplate, but it does represent reality.

  3. nerdygirl
    March 28th, 2010 at 17:23 | #3

    Wow. Let me put it this way, the man who won’t marry me at thirty-five isn’t the kind of man I want to marry at twenty-five. It’s important to have physical attraction in order to make a relationship work, because sex is important in relationships. If a person takes care of themselves physically, they can still be very attractive in their thirties, beauty doesn’t just disappear after 29. It’s weird that only female beauty is important in relationships. There are hardly any articles or debates telling men to date within their own age range, or reminding them that beer-bellies are harder to keep away after 30. Why isn’t there this pressure on men to marry quicker, before their looks fade and their bodies turn to jell-o? Why aren’t there articles telling men that they need to learn to settle too? Because let me tell you, I have seen some men let themselves go, beer belly and all, and still expect to get that hot 25 year old blonde with perky boobs. It goes both ways.

    You mention men not being interested in women with large numbers of hook-ups, why is that? Especially if presumably men of an older age would also have a high number of hook-ups. Why back when I used to read Pick-up Artists blogs, they asserted that vagina’s stretch with use, which I soon learned was medically bunk, so that couldn’t be it. Some people insist on their being some form of chemical bonding that occurs in females and not males, which is also medically bunk in most circles. So really, what logical reasoning could men have for that preference?

    I suppose it really comes down to one’s definition of “quality”. My definition of quality includes men that are interested in me for who I am, not just how awesome my rack is.

  4. Arlemagne1
    March 28th, 2010 at 19:25 | #4

    Nerdygirl:
    I saw your comment posted at 5:23.

    I’m not trying to make this personal. I don’t know you and what you have to offer men. If you are single and looking to get married you need to understand that my comments are aimed at the general case. You are a specific case. Some, all or none of what I said may apply to you personally.

    I did not design the male brain. I did not cause the male brain to be more visually stimulated than the female brain. But that does not change the essential fact of the case.

    You are right that beauty does not just disappear at 29. But the essential fact that beauty does fade must be accounted for in the life plans of most people. There are many beautiful women in their thirties and forties and even fifties. But that does not change the general case.

    Why are men given advice as to their appearance vis-a-vis attracting women less than women are vis-a-vis attracting men? Because women are less visually stimulated. Furthermore, women are more attracted to confidence, leadership, and other qualities that make a male human being a “man among men.” Looks are less important. They just are.

    Some men do need to learn to settle. Men want sexual variety, generally speaking. By settling on one woman, they’re settling right there. They also sometimes need to realize that they’re not necessarily going to find a Baywatch model (am I dating myself?)

    As far as the desirability of women with lots of hookups, maybe you haven’t spent time in “locker room” type conversations. I’ve heard women described as mattresses, mattress backs, or “used” on more than one occasion. But, if you want to know many men were brought up to think of chastity, (male chastity too, but female chastity especially) as a virtue. Those that flout that virtue best not expect those men in their lives. At least not for long. Men want to think of their wives as “theirs.” How can a wife be truly “yours” if she’s slept with every guy that came down the block only finally settling on “you.”

    Best of luck to you and yours.

  5. Marty
    March 29th, 2010 at 07:10 | #5

    In my experience, just about all single (and still looking) adults over age 30 are, for lack of a better word, damaged goods. Divorces, child support, employment issues, emotional baggage, etc… so yeah, whether or not these things apply to YOU they still apply to a good portion of the eligible mates in your age bracket.

    So of course, you will almost certainly have to “settle” (for his ex-wife, his children, his herpes, nevermind the scar tissue on his soul from broken relationships…) if you wait that long to settle down.

  6. Ari
    March 29th, 2010 at 12:48 | #6

    Here’s a post with some pretty good suggestions for women who want to meet men for purposes of marriage.

    http://voxday.blogspot.com/2010/01/mailvox-whats-woman-to-do.html

  7. nerdygirl
    March 29th, 2010 at 18:12 | #7

    “Men want to think of their wives as “theirs.” How can a wife be truly “yours” if she’s slept with every guy that came down the block only finally settling on “you.””

    There’s something sad about that thought process. If entering into marriage isn’t enough to convince a person that their spouse is “theirs”, then they probably have too many jealousy issues for the marriage to last. Of course, I tend to go by The Cars “It doesn’t matter where you’ve been as long as it was deep.”

    This post just bothers me. I don’t like being told my opportunity for a happy marriage has a limited time window, dependent mainly on youth, especially when life proves otherwise. Posts like these exacerbate rushing into marriage, and thus divorce.

  8. Ari
    March 31st, 2010 at 18:35 | #8

    Nerdygirl,
    This post tells the truth. Sometimes the truth is painful.

    Now, you cannot possibly believe that the opportunity to have a happy marriage has an UNlimited time window? Surely, SOMETHING limits your time to find happiness in marriage (or anything else) and that is a little something called death, which limits everybody’s opportunities quite comprehensively.

    The real meat of life, the real essence of it is to make the most of our opportunities. The woman who wrote that article in Elle didn’t make the most of her beauty. Perhaps I haven’t made the most of my intelligence, my charm, my stunning good looks, my athleticism, or my remarkable humility. We all waste some of our potential. We much choose our goals and use our gifts accordingly. Bad choices meet with bad consequences.

    Perhaps not all men want to think of their wives as “theirs” but few men want to be compared sexually or otherwise to the performances of dozens or hundreds of their peers. They would often rather settle down with a woman a bit more tame.

    I hope you don’t think I’m writing purposely to offend you. But I do think I owe it to those reading this blog to say what I think is the truth.

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