Life is full of goals: get good grades, get a good job, save money, learn a skill. Perhaps, no other goal is as ubiquitous and powerful as the desire to fall in love. For one thing, it leads to a lot of other goals: get married, start a family, etc. And for another, from the time of our first memories, we are inundated with stories of romance, love and companionship. It is hard to find media that doesn’t include an element of romance in some way. It is as close a thing as you can get to a need, without it actually being a need. We are all taught to expect it, to work hard for it and to believe in it with more heat than the sun.
In the lyrics of singer-songwriter Jack Johnson: “Love is the answer, at least for most of the questions in my heart/Like, ‘why are we here?’ and ‘where do we go’ and ‘how come it’s so hard?’”
Nevertheless, no matter how much we try, some of us will never find love. A very small number of us never really had a chance to start. Since the need to find love is such a consistent social message, people who are unable to do so tend to feel a deep sense of shame, even if it is through no fault of their own. I wanted to write this MyTake for those people. You aren’t alone, you aren’t broken and you aren’t a bad person.
Unfortunately, while I was writing this, I realized I don’t really know many women who are in this situation. I know there are some, but for reasons I’m about to explain, there just aren’t going to be as many at this point in time. This take will mostly be targeted at men, because I don’t know what causes those women to be single. If something in the take helps you too, then I’m very glad, and I’m sorry I couldn’t relate better to you on this. This MyTake will also be wrote with a Western-centric mind-set. Primarily, I’m referring to the dating situation and romantic customs in the United States.
So without further adieu, I wanted to say this isn’t your fault because…
1) There aren’t as many available straight women as there are straight men.
It has always been an assumption in our society that for every woman born, there is a man born. This isn’t true. It’s unclear why this is. The widely held assumption is that more male fetuses die during pregnancy. In fact, some studies have suggested that for every five female fetuses conceived, there are six male fetuses conceived; however, male fetuses are much more likely to miscarry. However, other theorists have said the opposite: the conception rate is 50/50 and females are more likely to miscarry. Even so, there are still more male babies born than girls. Somewhere between 51-52% of babies born in the US are male; about 106 males for every 100 females.
Now, back in the old days… the REAL old days, this wasn’t a problem. Males are more likely to succumb to infant diseases like whooping cough, have weaker immune systems, take more life-threatening risks, are subjected to more violence and are just generally more likely to die at every stage of life. By the time, men were ready to have kids, about a third of them were dead, and there were actually slightly MORE females in your average hunter gatherer society. Nowadays, through the wonders of modern medicine, most men survive to adulthood. Still, 106 to 100 isn’t THAT big of a discrepancy, but it gets even more skewed.
About 3-5% of men are openly gay; whereas, about 6-8% of women are. This increases the gap between straight men and straight women. Then add in the fact that there are men who have multiple partners. One man who has three partners (main girl, side-chick and a baby momma for example) is guaranteeing that at least two other men will have none. It’s not incredibly common, albeit, probably more common than you think, especially among my socioeconomic class. Also, many women stop dating men for various reasons: they want to pursue their career, they had a bad experience or they are a single mother who wants to focus on raising their children. There are a lot more women who call it quits on dating altogether, than there are men.
So mathematically, it’s just not POSSIBLE for every man to find someone unfortunately. It doesn’t make you a bad person for not being able to find someone.
2) Nice guys REALLY DO finish last… or not at all.
I don’t think there are many people who would argue with me if I were to say that American Culture is individualistic, superficial, selfish, obsessed with instant gratification and somewhat nihilist/amoral/apathetic. So it follows that the average American citizen exhibits more of these qualities than they don’t. Everything here is about the self: “self-care”, “self-love”, “self-praise.” Self-centered. I’m not saying that American Culture is totally devoid of virtue, but selfishness, disguised as pragmatism, seems to be a guiding principle for a lot of people, including many of those in fields like education and mental health.
Now, most people walk around telling themselves that they are good people, without ever really thinking about what that means. In hind-sight, they minimize the bad they do, and maximize the good. However, our society tells them to love themselves unconditionally, so they don’t really have much of a motivation to be good to one another, and extreme individualism or apathy are seen as a show of strength rather than character flaws, as they would be in most societies.
This attitude of extreme cynicism is so pervasive, it even causes us to be derisive or distrustful towards those who exhibit positive qualities. Look around this site and you can find any number of opinions about why kindness is a trait to be distrusted in men. The most common argument is that these men are only being kind to trick women into having sex with them, because why would a sane men EVER be kind otherwise. I don’t deny that there are not A LOT of men who use kindness as a tool of manipulation, they absolutely do. Or some reach a point of frustration and adopt a wicked sense of entitlement. Don’t be one of them. But if someone is being kind for months or years, putting their best self forward, hoping to be noticed, and honestly being a friend who is BETTER than a friend, then I wouldn’t say that is manipulative. Quite on the contrary, these men often end up being manipulated themselves, because they ARE predictable.
Anyone who has ever tried to attract women or influence any human being knows how ridiculous this is. There is no more sure-fire way to lose a woman’s interest than to be honest about your feelings. Generally, the best way to influence other people is to subjugate them, just definitionally. People respect power, and if subtly you act like you’re too good for them, they’ll think you’re better than them and try to seek your approval. Any number of studies can show that traits like impulsiveness and narcissism in men correlate with high romantic success. This seems like a contradiction, but people wouldn’t do the wrong thing if it wasn’t the easy thing too.
Selflessness is seen as suspicious, whereas selfishness is just being practical. Self-discipline is rigid and boring, whereas “self-care” is a requirement. Self-awareness is nothing but a hinderance, but self-love should be unconditional. Caring is a weakness and apathy is strength.
So in summation, being nice won’t get you a romance, but you should keep being nice anyways. Be proud of your kindness, even if you have to do it alone. You are making the world a better place. People wouldn’t do the evil thing if it wasn’t easy, but they should do the right thing just because it’s the right thing to do. This whole section is true for women too, to a lesser extent. Women who are kind will often end up in relationships, but they are manipulated themselves, which really REALLY sucks. I would think that would be worse than being alone. Be strong girls, don't settle for treatment you know is beneath you.
3) People are shallow.
Everyone knows men are shallow. It’s practically a joke. I feel really bad for women who aren’t attractive, because there just isn’t much they can do to change their situation. Fortunately, the VAST majority of women are attractive enough.
However, women are just as shallow as men, and that isn’t something we as a society are very comfortable admitting. And to make matters worse for unattractive men, women stick to their standards. Men are much more likely to get desperate and “settle”, but women don’t ever need to. Very few women have trouble getting their standards met. Just because women’s standards are generally higher does NOT mean they are unrealistic. They are just looking for different things: height, size, muscles, a low voice, etc.
Sure having a nice job, being well-dressed, having hobbies and a winning personality can’t hurt. But one has to get one's foot in the door first, which requires that another have an initial attraction. Unfortunately, some people just lost out on the genetic lottery. That doesn’t make them a bad person, and they don’t need to be ashamed of that.
4) The world will tell you you aren’t good enough.
The same way women are shamed for being sexually successful and called “sluts”, along with a slue of other derogatory terms, men are shamed for not having enough romantic success. If you don’t believe me, then search “virgin guy” on Google Images; the pictures that come up will be overwhelmingly negative. Even the phrase “virgin guy” conjures an image of someone who has poor hygiene, dresses poorly, doesn’t exercise and has strange hobbies. The only media that portray male virgins in a positive light are teen coming-of-age comedies, like Superbad. But even in movies like this, usually the virginal teenagers (i.e. children) eventually overcome their sorry state and are able to get a girlfriend or get laid in the end, thus becoming “full men”.
People will tell you that you just need confidence, a hobby and a new suit, and if you can’t find romantic success, then blame rests squarely on your shoulders. You’re a social reject. You’re a loser. You’re broken and wrong. None of this is true. It’s not as if you could have gone to the girlfriend store and picked one out off the shelf. As stated above, there aren’t even enough women for every man to be able to find someone, and most sex is concentrated amongst a relatively small group of men. Don’t let the world shame you.
If someone is told they are a monster enough, they begin to become a monster. It’s human nature. For some men this will cause them to become bitter, cynical, isolated and withdrawn. These are the old men at the grocery store who only speak to correct people and are constantly muttering under their breath. They weren’t born bad, but a lifetime of loneliness, shame and ridicule has stripped them of their softness. For other men, they will become something much, much worse: an entitled incel, a rapist or a sociopathic Elliot Rodgers-type. Not everyone has the capacity to commit such horrors, but everyone has the capacity for evil of some sort. Don’t let the world form you into who it thinks you should be.
If you can conquer life alone, then you’re one of the best of us. Keep on trucking! Be positive and enjoy life, there is more to life than romance. Don’t ruminate on it and if someone tries to make you feel ashamed for your singleness, kindly tell them to shove it up their ass. This part is also probably true for virgin women, but once again to a lesser extent.
In conclusion, not everyone will find someone, and that’s okay. Don’t let it make you feel shame or rob you of your pride or softness. Emotions might not be attractive, but they are healthy. Be a good person, live a fulfilling life and focus on making the world a better place for everyone. We’re never truly alone, even without finding romance. Good luck! Life ain't so bad! Thanks for reading!