Men. Sometimes I just don’t even know what to say. Recently my friend turned me onto this site www.hookchasup.com. Basically, a 40 year old guy who looks cute enough and probably at least moderately successful, made a website to offer $10,000 to the person who introduces him to his future wife. It’s actually pretty well done and Chas comes off pretty genuine. You can email him about a friend and of course you only get the money if he actually marries the girl.
On his site, he acknowledges this whole device sounds a little sketchy but he says that he’s tried online dating and hasn’t had any luck and thought why not make a site just for himself. He adds that if $10,000 helps him find his soulmate, it will be worth it. But the most telling part is where he answers the question about how he ended up 40 and still single. He says “thanks to a decade of life coaching and some insightful relationships, I can honestly say I’m ready to start a family. For realz”
Ok here’s my issue. And Chas, you shouldn’t take this personally because there are millions of guys like you and your just honest enough to put it all out there. But look, you’re problem is you should have gotten over yourself a decade ago. I’m so sick of men in their thirties indulging every fear and examining their emotions like a geneticist mapping the human genome project. I hear this all the time from men. They’re not ready for a family, or the responsibility of marriage, or to make a long-term commitment.
Please. No one’s ready! No one knows for sure he or she is finally ready be a parent. No one knows for sure that the commitment he or she is about to make will guarantee happiness. We’re all jumping in blind. I’m pretty sure I’m not ready for any of that either. But guess what? If it happens to me now, I’ll get myself ready. You’re not supposed to finally feel ready and then look for a family. Chas, that is a luxury most people never know. You feel ready now at 40 not because of what your life coach told you, but because you’re late.
I remember reading a poll in a magazine a little while ago that asked people what life rite of passage made them feel like an adult. The options were marriage, having children, moving out of their parents house, getting a job, etc. By a large margin, most Americans chose having children as the event in their lives that made them an adult. The point is not to grow up first, become an adult, and then have kids. Life happens to you and you become an adult by responding to it. The point is, you have faith in yourself, you try to make the best decisions possible, and then are forced to just deal with the cards you’re dealt.
I’m in my late twenties and I can’t imagine the responsibility of having a family now. I love being completely free to get up and go wherever I want on a whim. I’m dying to travel more, I have no idea how I’m going to support myself next year, and I feel like there’s a lot I still have to learn from dating and am in no hurry to stop. However, what I’m not doing is going around telling everyone “I’m not ready.” I’m not closing myself off to any opportunities. I have no idea what life has in store for me. But I believe all options are open. Who knows? Although what I think I want is not to be married for a few years, I recognize that life never works out how I plan and it’s possible I could be married next year.
See Chas, that’s the difference between you and me and the millions of other men out there like you. When did men get so indulgent with their feelings? When did men need life coaching and turning 40 to realize they’re ready for a family. My parents have been married 35 years. My mom loves to tell the story about how my dad didn’t want to get married. She gave him the ultimatum at 23 and so they got engaged. Then, on their wedding day, my dad got cold feet and his father told him he had no choice but to go through with it. I’m not sure if this is really true or just family lore but 35 years later, they’re still married. Sometimes, I look at them and I think to myself, I want the kind of relationship they have. But I really have no idea how to make that happen. And there’s no way to ever really be 100% sure that the person you’re marrying now isn’t going to go through some crazy mid-life crisis, join the church of Scientology, and try to move your family to some commune. You make the best decision you can, and you just hope for the best.
So Chas, I hope it works out for you. But I also hope the generation of men behind you stops coddling their every apprehension. Why are we perpetuating this myth that you have to grow-up first and then deal with life? Chas, you didn’t need some life coach to help examine why you felt scared and why you felt unprepared and to finally help you realize you were mature enough to handle responsibility. You needed a good kick in the ass from your mother to tell yourself to buck up, get over yourself, and just jump. It’s a leap of faith for all of us. But if we spend our entire twenties and thirties telling ourselves we’re not ready and trying to figure out why, we’re just going to end up with a bunch of overindulged spoiled little boys in men’s bodies.