Sunday, June 17, 2012

Your Gaggle of Men


Everyone has heard it takes a village to raise a child. Apparently, it takes a gaggle of men to keep a single woman happy and content. If so, what chance does one man? I offer up two articles recently in the news. From CNN, Ian Kerner, a sexuality counselor offers up that a single woman does much better with a gaggle of men. This is based on a recent book called The Gaggle by Jessica Massa.

What does she mean by a gaggle? Your typical hot single chick flirts with her male barista in the morning, lunches with her male co-workers, has at least three boyfriends she dates in rotation, and another one in training basically, she Skypes her ex-boyfriend weekly,  and then there’s her butcher who’s willing to do any type of special cut for her at the grocery. This sounds like a script for a movie, not someone’s life. If we did know someone like this we’d probably call her names because we’re jealous, and doubted her commitment to any of the men.

We’d be right because Ian Kerner, the counselor points out that she has to have this many men not to get drawn into a serious relationship. This keeps it fun. It is like being the Bachelorette, but it never ends. Does anybody believe the Bachelorette sleeps with three different guys in one week, then, decides she is in love with one? No way, a relationship takes times to develop in isolation basically. We aren’t who we really are when we are constantly in competition with a romantic rival. The man becomes Mr. Romance trying to outdo the other man. When a woman settles into a relationship or even marriage she is disappointed that the man isn’t the romantic superhero who had to compete with the gaggle.

The woman becomes restless, and turns to Ashley Madison, a popular hookup site for some action on the side. Ashley Madison is not for people who want to leave their current relationship, but more for people who want the romantic boyfriend and the husband too.  I am sure some people who sign up carry on multiple affairs. Since all the participants are aware that they are engaging in an affairs with married folks there shouldn’t be any of those “Fatal Attraction” deals where the woman tries to kill off her lover’s family; however, there are no guarantees.

Interestingly enough, the profile for the Ashley Madison female cheater was a woman in her thirties, married less than five years, with one child.  She is usually in the medical, or education field. Now keep in mind, this woman hasn’t been married all that long, but she is already considering stepping out. Another statistic that supports her behavior is that there is less divorce is an economic recession because people just can’t afford it. I’ve heard this from women who’d admitted that they’d divorce their husband, but he makes good money.  The solution is Ashley Madison to put excitement in a life that has become ORDINARY.

That’s right, women chafe at going to work every day, coming home to the same person, doing chores, and paying bills. While dating a gaggle of men, the woman never even cooks, forget grocery shopping, and she seldom cleans house. She counts herself lucky to get to work on time, and get her bills paid. She may have a few high earners in her gaggle that insist on picking up some of her bills to get the edge on their competition. A woman dating other men becomes more desirable than a woman dating one. It is the hunter instinct in the men. All the woman has to do is slip into sexy clothes, be wined and dined, accept compliments and gifts. It all sounds good.

She finds herself picking up her preschooler, going to the grocery, and finally arriving home to start dinner.  The life she thought she wanted with the stick people on the back of the mini-van doesn’t look so great anymore. Still, she wants it and her old dating life back too. Many marriage therapists suggest a weekly date night to keep marriages humming. What we really need is a mindset change?

 As a consumer nation, we tend to think we can always get something new or better. Not true. Maybe the thought of having a gaggle of men appeals to you. How many men enjoy being part of a gaggle? Not many, according to surveys, unless you’re a player and you had no intentions of ever having any type of relationship then it’s the gaggle for you. Remember our behavior changes with the relationship. Many people joke that once they settled into the relationship they can wear their favorite t-shirts and sweats. You should be able to be real in your relationship, not punished when you are real by your spouse cheating on you.

Most people declare they want someone who truly “gets” them. You’re never going to find that person as long as you’re scrolling through all your possible gaggle members. No time to lay down roots to make an authentic relationship. It reminds me a little of Multiplicity, where Michael Keaton figured out how to clone himself. He basically made himself into a gaggle of men. One romanced his wife, another did home repairs, another went to work, etc.  At first, he thought this was a great plan. He soon realized his clones were flat people since they only served one purpose.  Makes you wonder if you have a gaggle how authentic are any of those relationships?

Reminds me of advice I once heard, that you never want to marry a player because he is used to a great deal of adulation…and one woman won’t be enough. So if you got used to your gaggle, would you ever be content with one man? Good question, in Michael Keaton’s case, his wife wanted him to be one person with different facets. Do you want an authentic relationship or do you just want to be greedy?  

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