Friday, August 14, 2009

#17 The Decline of Marriage and Those 17 Guys

People wonder at the so-called six degrees of separation - the marvel that EVERYONE on earth is connected in some extended way - but the fact of the connection is not nearly as remarkable as the reason: the devastating sexual prowess of 17 (approximately) smooth-talking guys. The huge stadium-sized quantities of conversation and emotion girls expend talking about “guys” - pretty much all the noise bombinating about your average urban Starbucks on a Sunday afternoon - it ain’t about “guys,” it’s about the one friend we know who gets so much tail it’s just not fair.

You know that friend, the one whose after-hours exploits are recounted with head-shaking and mumbled murmurs of “unbelievable!” He both awes and kind of pisses us off. He is among the anointed 17, the musica universalis, the unknowing, amoral puppet masters who Malcolm Gladwell calls Connectors, "the people who "link us up with the world ... people with a special gift for bringing the world together." Think of every girl you will ever know and understand one of the 17, probably John Mayer, knew her first.

On some level we all recognize that’s the dynamic we deal with. Regular guys talk a big game and put on their male, male impostor shows and generally pretend single life is this swash-buckling, Entourage-style condition of serial monogamy but we know in truth it’s just like high school: a handful of guys from the football team having a field day with every girl in the yearbook while the rest of us watch from the sidelines, clutching Trigonometry textbooks, all vulnerable and wanting, streams of nerd tears spilling down our cheeks, clinging to the hope that sooner or later some girl will take pity on our bench-warming butt, which, because we live in a society that frowns on open polygamy, we know to be a sort of statistical inevitability.

Academics and scientists actually have data to support this. In his book Sex and Reason legal scholar Richard Posner showed that up until external forces (usually the laws and social pressures coincident with wedding vows) permanently pair up women each with a particular man, the American female population is effectively divvied up (by geography) into a regional harems, each serviced by a relatively small number of local lady killers.

The problem in San Francisco, throughout progressive western cultures actually, is that institution that props up societal monogamy - marriage - is on the decline. The percentage of people who marry is steadily decreasing and the age at which people marry, at least among more educated, more affluent groups, is steadily increasing. The more prosperous and secular the place, the more the trend is true. In countries such as Sweden or Denmark, which are bell weathers for this kind of thing, only about 60% of people ever marry. All the data shows that the United States is following this trend, and nowhere more so than in liberal, cosmopolitan cities like San Francisco.

This puts enormous pressure on Those 17 Guys. While they benefit from an enlarging sexual hegemony some growth, like that of mortgage-backed securities or Verne Troyer, is not likely to sustain itself. Despite a long and storied familiarity with sexual frustration we regular guys do not look kindly on terminal celibacy. Now perhaps we’ll do the civilized thing and repress our desires away, Victorian England style (we lean more Matthew Arnold than Oscar Wilde but make no judgments), or distract ourselves with religion and porn, Bible Belt style. But maybe not. Maybe each of those 17 guys will awake one pre-dawn morning to discover, on one view, a bevy of slumbering beauties draped across the bed, the sofa, and floor rugs, but on the other, a hoard of lonely, angry, horny Columbiners-in-the-making shaking fists and pitchforks in the driveway. And in that singular moment, in that twinkling of personal and societal transcendence, he’ll find himself saying, in a low, sexy voice: “We’re moving to Utah, b*tches.”


  1. I think this is true as well. Ladies' men, meaning men who are good at convincing women to sleep with them have an order of magnitude more sexual partners than the median average. Thus leaving a lot of pissed off female sexual partners, because those men move on to next girl, because they can. Thus making women more and more cautious about jumping in bed with guys fearing a repeat. Ladies killers, I think poison the well for other guys a bit. They inflate the opinion that men are dogs and unworthy of their trust. But why would ladies' men care? ha

    But that's that problem everywhere, not just SF. Love the blog, btw.

  2. I wish my lady friends would stop wasting my time with this god awful blog.

    Why does this jackass insist on putting an asterisk in place of letters when he swears? As if that makes it less offensive?

    Do us all a favor and get yourself a fucking girlfriend- that will take care of two things, your bitching and blogging.

  3. #1) This blog is amazing

    #2) Dude, you need to man the fuck up and get out there

    #3) This blog is amazing

  4. I agree man, I dunno if you're getting out there or not but that helps in itself. On the other hand, I am a guy that is out there (but only finding girls that are striking resemblances of psychological stock characters described in this blog -- aka nucking futs) - so it was cool to find this blog. I think there is interesting data here.

    Keep it up, good cross-referencing.

  5. Marriage is an outdated institution. People just go there to hurt each other and make the government and the pope richer