Tag Archives: romance

Why men are avoiding work and marriage

Summary: The previous post described how men are abandoning the rat race and dropping out of the full-time work force. The usual explanations (given without asking them) are that they’re pawns of economic and social forces, or neurotic Peter Pans that refuse to grow up. While satisfying to Left and Right and partially correct, these ignore the core fact — these men have agency, and are rationally responding to changes in our society. We can learn much from them, for this trend has just begun. The effect on society will be immense.

Lifting the veil to see what I won. Oh, it’s toil & trouble.

For what do men work hard and long?

Men work most often to obtain social status and money, to get women, and to support a family. Economically independent women have radically changed every aspect of that game, especially for the men at the back of the pack.

(1)  Women’s added participation in the work force increases competition for good jobs and depresses wages. This makes running the rat race more difficult for men.

(2)  Sex is now more easily available outside marriage, often without expensive dating rituals. This makes running the rat race less necessary for men.

(3)  Partially liberated from the need for male providers, women increasingly select for dark triad traits (i.e., entertaining jerks, often treating them badly). Some of Taylor Swift’s songs clearly describe how this works. Success in the sex games for betas (most of us are betas) largely comes from learning the game (faking dark triad behaviors). Why should men marry these women (when they’re over 28 and ready to “settle”)?

(4)  Men’s (often illusory) patriarchal rule of the family is gone. Now women need men only to get legitimate children and pay child support after the divorce (women file ~80% of divorces, and divorces end roughly half of marriages). Only 18% of fathers get primary custody of the 26% of minor children who live with only one parent. For more information see the 2013 Census report on Custodial Parents. Why should men marry?

(5)  Gin was the cheap power drink of choice for those seeking alternative lifestyles in 18th century London. Technology has given today’s rat race dropouts more and better alternatives: great booze, designer drugs, rock music, a thousand channels on TV, and computer games (which push the same buttons in the brain as addictive drugs). Marriage now has more competition for a role in men’s lives.

The bottom line: many men are “going Galt”, but in a very different way than In Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged— they are abandoning both work and marriage. See the details here.

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“Castle” shows us a dark vision of Romance in America

Summary:  We continue our examination of the hit TV show “Castle”, today mining for insights about romance in 21st C America. It’s an ugly picture, suggesting (as did previous chapters) that perhaps we no longer defend America because we no longer like it. America has always been an ideological project. It might have evolved into a form that we no longer recognize as us or ours. Post your thoughts in the comments!  Spoilers!

Here we see one slice of romance among boys and girls in America, as shown on “Castle”. See 0:10 to 0:24.

Castle proposes to Beckett

Yes, I will. I also promise to stop abusing you.


  1. “Castle” shows us 21st C American romance
  2. Video evidence of an ugly trend
  3. Gender bending marking the rise of women to equality, or beyond
  4. Long-term effects on men?
  5. Other posts about “Castle”
  6. For More Information

(1)  “Castle” shows us 21st C American romance

Gender bending is one of the largest, most important, and least visible trends of our age, and perhaps one of the major sources of cultural stress. We are redefining our core cultural features, an social experiment on a scale with few — perhaps no — precedents in history.

This redefinition of gender roles provides many of the distinctive features of “Castle”. It shows the normalization of what in the past were extraordinary character traits.

  1. From the script alone how often could you tell the gender of Castle or Beckett? From reading just the police procedural scenes (solving the mystery)? From reading the romance scenes? Very few.
  2. Women as leaders: Beckett as senior detective, Captain Gates as head of the unit. Beckett as the aggressive leader; Castle as the metrosexual follower.
  3. Beckett is an example of  “action girl” (see TV Tropes) or women warrior.  Master of weapons, able to defeat men in hand-t0-hand fights.

“Castle” often takes these now-common tropes to a new level. Castle often screams like a little girl, and occasionally displays outright cowardice (e.g., leaving Beckett to run out of the damaged building in the season 6 episode “Under Fire”). He often portrays the opposite of Beckett’s consistent calm but aggressive reaction to danger.

Even more extreme, in the first few seasons Castle meekly submits to physical abuse by Beckett (e.g., episodes 1 & 3 in season 1; episode 1 of season 3). See the flashbacks in the video at the top of this post. He cannot hit back; that would be wrong. Complaining would look weak. Castle shows the essence of beta: he can neither cope with her nor walk away. The writers and audience show no empathy for him; we mock the clown.

Castle’s passive acceptance of this humiliation foreshadows the events in the following seasons.

  1. His decay from flashes of alpha to full-beta in the later seasons (he loses all self-respect after accepting this abuse).
  2. This in turn explains Beckett’s actions. How many alpha women (Beckett was a wild girl even in high school) would respect such a man? She friend-zones him while hooking up with alphas like Josh Davidson (cardiac surgeon) and detective Tom Demming. Castle follows Beckett like a puppy while Davidson ignores Beckett’s complaints about his life as a world-traveling surgeon, as did her previous love (FBI agent Will Sorenson).
  3. Beckett hears her biological clock ticking at the end of season 4, signalling Time to find a nice stable rich guy.

As mentioned in the second chapter, only with the help of amnesia can fans see this as a romantic saga.  It’s an ugly perspective on the complex drama of relationships in 21st C America.

(2)  Video evidence of an ugly trend

Let’s consider this last point in more detail, as it highlights our radical new gender roles.

(a)  Grrrl Power in the cinema

We watch and cheer Hermione Granger hitting Draco Malfoy in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. The clip does not show what follows: Draco and his team running away, looking back at Hermione in fear. What else can Draco do? Video:

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