Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Something for you to read, Part 19

This article from slate.com is among the most interesting I've read all this year. It is about a new trend among otherwise eligible, heterosexual Japanese men - a rejection of the hyper-materialistic, paternalistic, occasionally misogynistic traditional male archetype in favor of a new model, dubbed the "herbivore." Read more to get the full scoop. I found it fascinating, and for the last day or so it has bounced around my brain, as I wondered what other types of folks would think about this, particularly feminists, or at least the various different waves of feminism. It seems to me that among the most anti-feminist positions being voiced are those by the women who feel jilted that they are no longer being pursued in a manner that previous generations might have expected.

Anyway, it is a good read, especially if you, like me, have found other unique Japanese social trends (i.e., the young men who decide not to leave the confines of their bedrooms for months at a time, the online suicide cults, the "ninja villages" where people dress up like ninjas and sit in trees, etc.) to be poorly explained by the usual suspects: the struggling economy of the past two decades there and the entrance of women into the workforce in more equal ways.

All this is fascinating (to me), but what is most interesting is a slight parallel I see between the female responses to the Japanese trend and the responses my friend and I have received when we tell various folks, mostly women, that we are on the bench, romantically speaking. The responses typically range from disbelief to an assumption that this is somehow strategic to apparent anger that we have decided it is possible to just jump off the merry-go-round of misery that is dating. The idea that we have just decided that, as professionals with social lives that are plenty rich already, we have enough on our plate to deal with and thus choose to postpone dating for a while, well, that is just unfathomable to most, especially since they usually respond by saying something like, "I have this friend that also hates dating - you two would totally get along." Uh, no.

As before, I'm aggresively hostile to the notion of dating, as I look at it as another commitment that requires finite resources (i.e., time and money). Think about it this way: when you start a new relationship, you need to give up certain number of hours per month, a certain amount of money per month, a certain amount of flexibility per month. When you are young, those resources (some more than others) have a different value than they do now. I earn a lot more at age 31 than I did at age 19, but I also have a lot less time to give. If I started dating someone and hung out, say, 2 nights a week (on the low side), that is still two nights I wouldn't have to myself, wouldn't be able to do things I like to do solo, wouldn't be able to sit around in shorts and write meandering blogs, etc. To me, this situation seems entirely rational, but so does the situation when I meet someone who feels their biological clock ticking ever louder and is dating up a storm to find someone before the clock stops. That's cool, do what you do. But in the meantime, I'm staying on the bench, regardless of whether you understand why. And the fact that my life has been infinitely more entertaining and relaxed since I made this decision (I call it my "not calling girls till 2010" decision) makes it all the more unlikely that I'll abandon it soon.


Avenue Cleveland said...

So that's what I am? The answer was right in my lawn!

I'd add emotional support to the list. I fail miserably at offering that. I listen I evaluate whatever my mate/female friend was going through however, they just don't get the answers or responses they want. I try hard to accompany that but with very little success. Don't get me wrong I have female friends and we do go out, if she offers she covers if I offer I cover ( I can hear the boos of your female readers), but once the emotional banter crawls in I shut down and move camp. One of many reasons I have put anything romantic related on the back burner especially sex as this leads to unwanted emotional output and diminished creativity.

See, I find that when I date (I am a black male who dates mainly black women for relational purposes. However, not exclusively) that many of the things I am interested in; Alt Rock if they even call it that anymore, Old Skool hip-hop, blogging and web surfing for information, novice photography, visiting different niche neighborhoods and clubs usually un-invaded by my ethnic counterparts, visiting every football arena, biking (Mountain and Urban) and so on; pose no interest to them. So yeah if dating means I have to adjust to someone else agenda or to be judged by my lifestyle choices? Then I am not ready for that just yet. One day just not now. I actually enjoy the time I spend with me and my friends.

Also as the article stated I too have a weird appreciation for Interior Decorating (still lacking in applying it tho) and I have slept with many a women in which we actually, you guessed it, slept... Does sound a wee bit strange writing and rereading this but you have to walk in my shoes to understand.

Guess, Ill go eat some grass...

123Valerie said...

I think putting "not calling girls till 2010" on a t-shirt could make you a mint.

I find your benched stance both fascinating and familiar. I'm single more often than I'm not, as I require seemingly more time to myself than most.

It's tough to find someone who understands that "I need some time to myself" doesn't necessarily equal "I don't want to spend time with YOU." I just means I need a night to take a three-hour bubble bath, eat some 'tato skins and work on a jigsaw puzzle without explaining it to anyone.

In fact, not sure how long the current boy will be able to hang in there for this very reason. As I get older, I find it increasingly difficult to apologize for being me.

In any case, I applaud your stance. It's a decidedly couple-centric world out there. Hang tough.

I'm gonna go read that article now and check out Avenue Cleveland, too. High five for the "diminished creativity" realization.

thatgirl said...

glad to know I'm not the only one who's enjoying my single years and getting a lot out of them.

Sometimes I'll have those moments where I'll get a little wistful but then how could I be doing everything that I get to do? Life is never boring, and there's just so much to experience, so many people to get to know...

Avenue Cleveland said...

"Diminished creativity" the result of thinking how good IT was, how good IT wasn't. What are we going to do this weekend? Will she enjoy this? Will she feel abandoned if I take some me time? and on and on and on... Meanwhile, nothing creative to build my projects or to contribute to the Clevo Blogosphere... sigh.

"It's a decidedly couple-centric world out there." Sometimes I find myself contemplating marriage(out loud) OK a relationship, to the shock of my friends. Especially when I see a couple holding hands or sharing Tato Skins, happily. But just like a breeze the thought blows away when that visual is out of site.

Yes, I am enjoying my single years and the drama that goes with it. I swear I truly sympathize with women if how the few females who are attempting to break my "Me Time"/Herbivore movement represent how guys chase the... Lay. I apologize if I even remotely was that aggressive.

Off topic: 123Val bloggers like you and The Bachelor actually motivate me. Thanks for the visit! (Hope this wasn't bad ethics)

Back to the lawn...