Is there more pressure on "men of a certain age" than women to be married?


In the wake of yesterday's post about a poor life/wife choice of one of the Bougie Brethren, I was flooded via various forms of social media and inboxes to talk about the struggle of the Professional Single Black Male over 35 to wife well, correctly and with some immediacy.

I love George Clooney. As an activist, sometimes as an actor, mostly as ageless eye candy. He looks great, probably smells great, has than killer smile and sense of humor not to mention he's rich as Croesus and an Obama supporter. Yum. But I wouldn't date him for all the waterviews in his Lake Como mansion. (Didn't say I wouldn't sleep with him, let's be honest... moving on.) The chronic commitment-phobe is not my cup of tea. When you have all the women in the world at your disposal, is it really the hotness to continue to dispose of them? Nawl. But I wondered, does he feel any pressure to get married? Are his peers, partners and public relations people hounding him constantly, "Pick one and put a ring on it!" When he runs into friends of his parents (as I did at an event last week) do they ask loudly (in front of your date), "Still not married? But you're so pretty!"

That sound you hear is my teeth gnashing...

Back on topic... Do single men over 35 take the same amount of nonsensical and judgmental backlash as their female counterparts for being unmarried? And does it intensify as they get older? Hmmm...

This threw me off a little bit. It's hard as a single woman "of a certain age" to listen to single men "of a certain age" talking about how they can't find a woman. In fact, my first thought is to double blink at them, hold out my arms to the left and the right and scream, "We're right here, why don't you see us?" And don't get me started on the biological clock we've got ticking while they have no such age restrictions. Latest stats show that for every single male, there are twelve (12!!) single women in queue for them. Twelve. Let's say four are unattractive to you, three are crazy, three are incompatible for whatever reason, that still leaves 3 in the tank. I'm at -7 for finding a dude in my specified age range and preferences. Negative 7, yo. If the one I'm dating now doesn't work out, I'm for the nunnery. For reals. Let's move on.

Any time you start talking about numbers and statistics in the dating pool, that conversation always erodes to both sides listing their requirements and pet peeves and then someone breaks out the tired old memes (Black women this, black men that, women this, men that, expand your search but raise/lower your standards, stop waiting for mr./ms. perfect and just get out there, make a sandwich/learn to cook, take more time to get yourself together as a person)... we've heard them all.

I spent a good bit of time Wednesday talking to the single, divorced dating brethren of these webnets and I have to admit, I felt some sympathy. I talked to one Executive who was told at the company sales conference that if he doesn't show up at the next function with a fiancee or wife, he's not going to get the promotion he wants. Yes he should go to HR but let's look beyond that. His professional life is taking a hit because he's not seen as a family guy. However, the hours he's required to put in are also prohibiting him from finding and keeping the kind of woman he wants. Is he lazy? No. Picky? Maybe. But between going to work and back home, golf on Saturday, family dinner on Sunday, where's he meeting Mrs. Executive? In his words, "Online or hope cousin Pam brings someone cute to brunch."

There's Bougie Bruh, Dr. Martin. Young doctor easy on the eyes, great sense of humor, sane, yet chronically single. He swears he has no time to date but finally admitted that he doesn't want to put in the effort. Yet he does want to end up with the kind of woman who doesn't care if he puts in the effort or not. So he doesn't want to be married to someone who just wants to be Mrs. Dr. Martin. But he wants to be with someone who understands what he's going through. 

I could go on. I heard story after story about how much pressure there is for men to be married over 35. I know that as a single black female, I heard that if I didn't meet the guy I was going to marry in college, it was going to be a hard uphill road. It is. But we never talk about if that also runs true for the brothers. Could it be that the struggle for Ms. Right is just as exhausting as the struggle for Mr. Right?

I don't know, maybe this is all hooey. Maybe they are just cutting a swath through the sisterhood until one day they get tired and say, "She'll do." Maybe we don't shine enough of a light on the male struggle because we're dealing with our own. I don't know. But let the record reflect that I opened up the discussion. And I know everyone has opinions. So let's hear 'em. But hey!! Keep it bougie out there...