Where Have The Good Men Gone? IDK.

The Wall Street Journal has asked society a very important question: Where have the good men gone? Writer Kay S. Hymowitz describes our current generation as being inundated with a type of man-baby—a guy who delays the growing up process in their 20s by living off their parents, having less ambition, and generally being an emotional retard. Hymowiitz points to an inequity in education as being one of the major factors. She writes:

Among pre-adults, women are the first sex. They graduate from college in greater numbers (among Americans ages 25 to 34, 34% of women now have a bachelor’s degree but just 27% of men), and they have higher GPAs. As most professors tell it, they also have more confidence and drive. These strengths carry women through their 20s, when they are more likely than men to be in grad school and making strides in the workplace. In a number of cities, they are even out-earning their brothers and boyfriends.

Meanwhile, men are taking longer to acquire their degrees and settle into a career. This article paints a picture of women finishing before men in this “life race” and checking their watches impatiently while men slump to the finish line. In many ways, this could be true and I think it has a lot to do with this new definition of masculinity. In the last decade especially, men have no longer been expected to be the strong topic type who provide for their family financially. There are more options now. They can be super sensitive like Michael Cera, quietly smart and sexy like Joseph Gordon-Levitt, or aimless like Ethan Hawke in Reality Bites. It’s a whole new world out there for men! Society’s expectations have changed and with it, birthed the kind of man that the WSJ is talking about.

This is obviously a good and bad thing. As a male, it’s nice to know that we don’t have to be emotionally unavailable and physically strong in order to be perceived as “real” men.  On the other hand, it’s not cute living in a prolonged pre-adulthood period a la any male character in a Judd Apatow film. It’s important to note, however, that the media has always presented men as being inept and hopeless. The image of a dopey male saying the wrong thing to an emotionally intelligent female has been engrained in our culture for decades. Men are portrayed like dogs; we piss on the rug, you get mad and then we make up because you figure we just can’t help it.

Dating in a metropolitan city might increase your chances of encountering shitty men, seeing as they seem to attract selfish people. People move to heavily-populated urban areas typically for the career opportunities. It’s not uncommon for someone to be in school for a decade to obtain a PHD and not even think about starting a family until their mid-thirties. Maybe the good men are the ones in Arkansas who are procreating with their teenage girlfriends. They are usually the ones who cling to the old idea of masculinity and want to be the breadwinner for their families.

The answer to “Where have the good men gone?” is complex. It has a lot to do with simple geography and society’s ever-evolving attitudes toward gender, most of which is for the better. But what we have to realize is that women will always be frustrated with men and vice versa. No matter what economical changes come about or breakthroughs in gender studies, some women will always perceive men as being from another planet. It may be difficult but that’s what happens when you’re sexually attracted to a gender. They’ll excite you, confuse you, and above all, make you question if any good ones still exist. TC mark

Image via Reality Bites

Ryan O'Connell

I'm a brat.


More From Thought Catalog

  • Badman

    I hate this

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bee-Goode/100001676566533 Bee Goode

    “a good man is hard to find but a hard man is good to find”

  • http://disrespectfultone.blogspot.com/ Daniel Schealler

    My instinctive response to this is a simple one.

    Who gets to decide what is or isn't a 'good' man?

    I'll decide what's good for me, you can decide what's good for you.

    Sounds pretty fair to me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Carlos-Ortiz/1279921705 Carlos Ortiz

    Alright, I'll submit some applications already, jeez.


    I'm one of the losers the article talks about and that's why no one my age wants to date me. Girls 4-6 years younger seem interested though. When guys like me take them that in turn makes the guys that age have to dip down to find someone and the cycle continues until you have four-six year olds dating fetuses.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FQBOL3ZHPHDYFGRD53EVFREV4A El puto

      For males in their late teens-early 20s, girls '4-6 years younger' could pose a legal problem. LOL

    • Whutup

      dude, so long as they're legal, a younger girlfriend is generally a good idea because then they're easier to control and it works out for everyone, yay!

  • Madelinephillips88

    i live in arkansas. they are not here, either, though there are a few who might qualify as good and it's probably because they have children. this is not to say that all young fathers in arkansas are “good.”

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_FQBOL3ZHPHDYFGRD53EVFREV4A El puto

    figures a woman wrote the WSJ article. any legitimate source of news that allows any of its writes to use subjective adjectives when posing a question [no less a headliner] is definitely off my reading list.

  • http://www.srslyhip.blogspot.com Ft Funkmoun10

    i like this, very true in most urban areas but in rural areas and throughout most of the midwest you'll see the traditional male practicing those masculine characteristics.

  • joychan
  • Chris

    damnit dude

    i don't know i mean some of my friends are 22 and live at home still but they are saving tons of money not paying rent.. perhaps they aren't growing up cause they don't have to write a check once a month like i do but what's the rush…

    feel annoyed after reading this and like women are better than me and i'm fucked

  • David St Bernard

    A good man is one who can read minds.
    A good woman is one who is easy to read.
    Each of us speaks a different language.
    I'm as good as you can catch my drift.

  • Amari De

    Well, it depends on how each of us (and within communities, and collectively) define what is qualified as GOOD in a “good man” — doesn't it? Otherwise, the question (and consecutive answers we may give ourselves) are based on simple, singular, intuitive, often egoistic and culturally limited understandings of what it means to be a good man. Is there even “one” meaning we can all agree with? Is there a definition of what is good that we all adhere to? The conversation begins if we talk about what it means for each of us to be a “good” human being, and then discuss the differences, if any, there are between genders. Mostly, this has to do with gender roles, which are either learned or innate or a combination of both. But if we talk about what it takes to be a good human being, then we might realize that both men and women have the capacity to be emotionally, intellectually, bodily, and spiritually “healthy” or “mature” or whatever we'd like to call it.

  • Nan

    this is cool, thanks Ryan. I think guys are getting shitty about this article because it kind of struck a nerve a little bit. BTW, a man living in a metropolitan city is automatically gay. There you go ladies, problem solved.

  • Phattibooty

    you don't have to be emotionally unavailable to be a responsible, working adult.

  • http://twitter.com/TMatlack Thomas Matlack

    This is one of the best responses I have seen to the WSJ man bashing (along with the Slate piece by Hanna Rosin's Friday as well bashing SAHDs): http://bit.ly/WSJonMen
    Shouldn't we all, men and women alike, want men to be the best fathers, husbands, workers and men possible? Isn't the real movement that is going on behind the media hype, a profound conversation among men of all kinds as to what that means and how to get there despite the challenges faced by manhood in 2011, whether war or recession or the desire to show up at home?
    Let's focus on what's really happening and what's really important.
    Founder http://www.goodmenproject.com

  • http://twitter.com/dementia_inc dementia inc.

    The last paragraph was spot on,imo.

  • too rude magazine

    i like this

  • Steve_the_Cat

    What's the rush?

    The general consensus appears to be that it's a manic race to find a partner, get married, get a mortgage, buy a house, move to the suburbs, have kids and a dog named Spot. The faster you can do all this the better. Why?

    I am 28, and have absolutely no desire to settle down any time soon. Why am I supposed to?

    I can appreciate that women, with one eye on their biological clocks, might be working to a particular timetable, but the solution to that (as Perfect Circles points out below) is younger women dating older guys.

    Average lifespans in developed countries have got a lot longer in the last century or so, but only recently has this shift started whereby people realise that they don't have to act middle aged by 30.

    For sure, I'm not trying to hold onto my youth in some pathetic attempt to convince myself or anyone else that I'm “down with the kids”, but at the same time i enjoy not having too many responsibilities, not being settled, and generally living a fairly “young lifestyle”.

    If people are keen to get on the property ladder and start a family, then I wish them all the best, but that's not for me.

    (Incidentally, I rent my own flat and have a full time job before I'm accused of being a bum)

  • Ashke

    I only ever see this kind of article (the WSJ article, not the TC article about the WSJ article) written about men. I am a woman, and I'm going to hit 30 pretty soon and I sort of feel like I'm stuck in a Judd Apatow-esque extended adolescence where I am just now getting my shit in order. But no one ever really seems to question women's life paths – just the things they do with their bodies.

    Do women just do better, really? That seems kind of sexist. Or is it just an effect of the feminist movement? Like, we can't question what women do because whatever they want to do is good and equally valid (marriage, children, career, school, slacking until you hit 30 and realize you didn't put your career ahead of kids or kids ahead of your career – you just haven't done anything at all yet).

    Men need their own feminist movement, maybe, but it seems like it's hard to make that happen without it seeming like some privileged perversion of a legitimate cause.

    • http://disrespectfultone.blogspot.com/ Daniel Schealler

      “Men need their own feminist movement, maybe, but it seems like it's hard to make that happen without it seeming like some privileged perversion of a legitimate cause.”

      The reason it seems like it's hard is because too many men who attempt this are completely blind to their own privilege, and wind up interweaving sexism towards women along with some otherwise legitimate complaints about sexism towards men.

      Addressing sexism towards men becomes a lot easier to do once men actually understand the language of feminism enough to engage in the debate thoughtfully.

      There's a big difference between the following:

      a) The feminists are man-bashing again.
      b) This particular article is at best not an example of feminism, it actually violates some of the core ethics of feminism. Feminists should be very upset about this article. Here's why…

      • http://kumquatparadise.tumblr.com aaron nicholas

        well put daniel

  • Ftgreenechilla

    This is a pretty amazingly ridiculous, hilarious, and yet legit response to Hymowitz's article. Check out
    http://www.prweb.com/releases/… or google “good men lost found.” Actually kind of makes a good point, there are a lot of men out there doing htings with their lives

  • Ftgreenechilla

    Google “good men lost found,” pretty ridiculous response to Hymowitz article

  • Mmcla698

    This describes my life completely.

blog comments powered by Disqus