I have been toying with the idea for the past week or two of doing a series of articles on love - it's loss and sometimes success.
Something sad happened to both an old girlfriend of mine and my son in the past few days. Love hit the rocks and hit hard. I was inspired to write about what I know, not just about their experience, but many of us. While most of the upcoming stories will be about heterosexuals, I'll do some about gay folks too.
Today is the first of several installments.
Someone once said that the only true love in the world is the love of a dog for it's master, and the love of child by it's mother.
This isn't completely true, but may feel like it when love or something we think was love burns us and leaves us bitter.
Let's begin with this Dating & Marriage Pyramid diagram. I saw something like this back in social work school in the 80s, but couldn't find one on the web, so I did my own.
Click on the photo to enlarge.
Historically, the most successful men, and men in general, have more dating and mating choices since they run things.
Men at the top can marry anyone on their socio-economic, educational age level and downwards without criticism.
Our socio-biology at work:
Actor Ben Kingsley, 63, marries gorgeous Brazilian waitress, 34
Can you actually imagine the reverse happening?
Sure you can, but it rarely does.
Actor Ben Kingsley, 63, marries gorgeous Brazilian waitress, 34
Can you actually imagine the reverse happening?
Sure you can, but it rarely does.
If men at lower levels have charm, or the women in the group one step above have too few options, they can even move up a level. This is commonly seen after a war when many men have been killed, or in the ghetto warzones of our cities.
What these men can't do without getting some serious frowns is marrying a woman somewhat older than himself (like five or more years), or a significantly younger woman, and I mean significantly, as in, 60 marrying 20.
Like it or not, and complain and disagree with me all the hell you want, but the reverse is generally true for women.
For example, a 45 year old, well-paid professional man can date and wed a 25 year old file clerk. Folks might snicker but they'll also give him a pat on the back for getting that young stuff - unless she's categorized as a brainless slut after his money. Even then a lot folks will shrug.
I knew a bus driver through family of family who married a woman half his age. He loved young women in their 20s and made no apologies for it. He he owned a small house, worked hard, and drank beer after work but wasn't an alcoholic. I mention this because she was on crack and homeless. He told his friends he liked whores, but most of them already knew this.
This was good, because she was a prostitute. She looked so fine that his friends thought it was okay, at least until she ran his finances into the ground from rehabs that didn't work, and then she ran off with a dealer.
What's interesting is that she was at the bottom of pyramid, but because she was young and super-attractive, she had options despite her drug problems.
The only thing different about this couple and the Ben Kingsley example is that the young woman had serious drug problem that led her into the street life.
Otherwise Mother Nature ruled: an older, but still virile male, sought out a fertile female. We don't think of it this way because we ain't supposed to - it's unconscious - but it drives our behavior.
A 45 year old woman who dates and marries a man who is even ten years younger will be the butt of joke after joke, and folks will call her a fool to her behind her back and even to her face. They'll assume he's after her money, because why wouldn't he be dating women his own age or younger? If they're both professionals with money, people will still be suspicious of the motivations.
Aside from the bus driver example above, people generally assume that 45 year old guy marrying a 30 year old woman are lucky to find each other and are in love.
Evolution Is A Bitch
In the ever-serious mating game where the age old rule for all species is reproduce or become extinct, most of us have the same unconscious urges as our ancestors.
This rule is hard-wired into our brains. It is unconscious, and the reason that the sex drive is second only to the appetite for food. Even when we make conscious decisions to use birth control or not have children, the sex drive is still fueled by the this biological command of nature.
Evolution designed women to not be as physically strong or fast as men, and again, I'm speaking generalities, since we all know at least one woman who can beat a man senseless in a fight.
Pregnancy makes women more physically vulnerable. Historically, they needed men to protect them and the children, to hunt and fish and farm for the food.
Nature designed men with the muscle, speed and aggression to compete with other men, but also to help them to keep women safe from roving bands of other males who would rape and even kidnap them for their own village or tribe. This was true of every race and culture, and in some places, still is.
A pregnancy is a long term commitment for the female. She has the primary responsibility of raising that child. In the past 1/3 of a million years of mankind walking the earth, it was in her best interest to find a male who would be her man, and he needed to trust that she was the mother of his children.
For hundreds of thousands of years, life was brutal. Resources were thin. If the name of evolutionary game to reproduce, a male failed in this if he spent his energy and life providing for children he thought was his but weren't.
This is why virginity has always been a big deal in cultures that understood the connection between sex and pregnancy.
A woman needed a male with some kind of skill and was able to command at basic respect from other males, otherwise they might set him up and she and any children become vulnerable to starvation, abuse, etc.
Mother Nature hasn't caught up with our technological advances of the past century. People live to their 70s and above in Western nations, whereas in the past, you'd probably be dead by forty.
In particular, the past 40 years of reliable birth control and women not depending on men for income and protection has caused lots of confusion in the ways our brains are hardwired to date and mate.
For men, the unconscious drive is being attracted to healthy-looking women of child-bearing age, and to have sex. Lots of it, and the more the merrier, so he can spread his seed. It fuels his sexual behavior and applies even if he hates kids and uses condoms religiously.
It's also a reason why they cheat more often than women and get annoyed when she makes too big a deal about it - especially if they aren't married. He may say he's sorry, but he's really sorry he got caught, especially if the woman he really likes puts him on punani punishment.
From a strictly biological and evolutionary standpoint, it's a waste of energy and time for a fertile human being to mate with an infertile human being. Women who appear to be past 40 years old or so, and men in their 60s fall into this group.
Thank God we are more than animals and aren't enslaved to our primal urges. We have the capacity to be companions and enjoy sex well into our old age.
In terms of dating, however, look around and see who gets asked out and who doesn't, then look at the age the women and men who get the parts in movies, videos, and commercials.
The name of the game is fertility and virility, and this is hardly new, although it's a helluva lot more exploited because it mirrors the human heart and sells products.
Here's a funny snippet from my life. My daughter Casie can pass for 15 or 16 because she's tall and shapely. Earlier this year, she came home where me and my nephew were sitting.
"I can't believe it," she pouted. "Every time I walk down the street now, a bunch of guys blow their horns at me, even when they're driving on the other side of the street!"
I said, "That used to happen to me all the time too! It still does...
"...but now they're blowing their horns for me to move out the way..."
We all cracked up laughing. Why? Because there's truth in humor. Ain't a soul under 50 looking my way, and even then, chances are there's someone 35 standing behind me.
I'm used to it. It's life, and I had my fun. With a lot of luck, maybe I'll have some more fun with neat guy my age or older before I qualify as the crypt-keeper.
As you see, he'll need a sense of humor. But back to guys. A whole bunch of 'em will lie about their feelings to get sex 'cause unlike most of us, they'll willingly wander to our neighborhood where they know they'll get jumped if seen by the haters if this means getting laid. Men start wars over pussy, so that one would lie with a simple, I love you, too is grade school stuff for them.
When they do fall in love, however, it's usually unexpected and they fall hard. They'll fight to get it if they want it bad enough, and they'll fight to keep it.
Young girls can be shameless in exploiting this. I was one. This unconscious twist of the mind can catch you off guard. One memorable incident was when I was 18 or 19 and had a boyfriend in his mid-20s. I don't remember what these three big-azzed niggas in a car said to me when me and my man where getting out of a car, but I started shit. The driver was ready to get out. My 5'9" boyfriend quickly walked over to him and laid his hand on the guy's shoulder before he could open his door.
"We don't have a problem," boyfriend growled. "She's young, so let's just let it go and ignore this."
The guy shrugged away. "Just don't touch me again and we'll be fine," he growled back.
Boyfriend was mad as hell at me and bitched all the way in the house that in a three against one fight, he'd have been in trouble, while I giggled like an idiot.
"I'm so proud of you! You weren't even scared! Let's do it!"
Off came my clothes and he was rewarded for being an alpha dog.
I often think I should've married that man. He was not only brave, smart, and could handle himself well with other men, but he could put up with my stupidity and primal need to test him. You'd think he'd dump me for some shit like this. Instead he wanted to marry me.
For better or worse, I bought into my father's propaganda that I was too young for this and had to get an edu-ma-cation. I chickened out and ran off to college.
*shakes head at parental cock-blocking that has ruined many a relationship*
For women, the unconscious goal is to find a male on her pyramid level or higher to call her own. Her challenge is to win him over with the idea that loving and committing to her is in his best interests.
Women as a group are correct about this. Humanity would have never survived if all men refused to settle down and make a commitment to their family.
A hit it and quit it attitude about sex would have led to our extinction. The children would have starved to death, because we were hunter-gatherers long before there was women's equality in the workplace and social safety nets for unmarried women with children or orphans.
We see nature's dating and mating game getting played out, over and over, and Mother Nature doesn't give a hoot if it makes us unhappy.
"Men ain't shit. They just want one thing."
"Women are all gold-diggers."
There's truth to this, but both sexes lie to get what they think they need and want.
Women lie with their appearance. Butt-naked, most of us don't look much like we do when we're all dressed up with our makeup and hair fixed pretty and our nails done and smelling sweet and inviting.
The ladies also lie about the number of sex partners they've had (if they have good sense) because intuitively they hear the drumbeat from hundreds of thousands of years ago that most men don't trust or want women who have a lot of "mileage."
Men lie about their wealth and skills until they actually get it. Even boys figure out early that the girls don't want no broke ass brotha who can't do jack. This is true in the 'hood or the white suburbs. The guys either work on their game or front like they have one.
Both sexes have a sense that love is great, but disappointments in relationships often bring about deep sorrow and bitterness.
In these times, the financially unsuccessful guy is the extremely vulnerable in love relationships. We all know what the ladies say about him:
He's too poor... uneducated... works a shit job... doesn't have a car... it's too embarrassing, my friends will think I'm crazy if I get serious about him!
While men get hurt over their lack of earning power and material possessions, women get penalized for this and more:
She's not pretty enough... got kids... too fat... not young enough... is more educated than me... makes more money than me... it's too embarrassing, my friends will laugh and I'll look bad!
Or in general for both sexes:
He or she is the wrong class, color, religion... not smart enough or too smart... I met him/her in da club so I can't get serious 'cause you know what they say about that... They live too far away and it's a three or four hour drive so it's probably not worth the energy, gas and time...
What are they really talking about? The pyramid.
How The Dating-Marriage Pyramid Affects Black Women
A lot of sistahs have it a harder than women of other races. When you look at the pyramid above, it's easy to understand why. Social conditions that are oppressive to blacks hit black males the hardest. I don't need to go into all this because you already know what they are.
The result is that fewer black males make it to the upper half of the pyramid and many don't even make it to the second layer from the bottom. This presents a real problem for the black professional woman with a college degree and good income.
The men who are born into or climb to level 2 or 3 (or rarely, 4), have of options of dating a wide variety of women outside of his race.
While people say black women should date non-black men as a solution, white men who do date outside of their race often have an ABB approach: anything but black. It not offensive to me because I think people should date whoever they want, but as black woman, it used to be painful when I'd see this on dating sites.
Thus, each time a black man 'defects', that's one less brotha in the available pool for black women.
In an equal dating situation, a woman could recover a little faster from an relationship gone bad and could find a new man quickly, you know, like in high school. But it's not equal as black folks become young adults. A lot of men don't finish school, are poor employed or unemployed, go off to war, die in the 'hood, get locked up in droves from laws stacked against them, decide they're gay, get strung out on drugs... the list is long and sad, so getting dumped hurts longer because it takes longer to find a new mate.
With the excess number of black women to date and option for dating whites and Latinos, guys can be much more casual about dating. They can also take their time since the biological clock is on their side.
I have a one boring-assed male friend from college. He's a successful writer, and even that's boring. The dumbass even votes Republican, plus he's cheap. This is why we never evolved beyond platonic study friends in college. We chat once a year for old times sake.
Anyway, he and his wife split a year or two ago, and this man, who would put God to sleep, has a horde of women wanting to go out with him. He's not the least bit interested in steady relationship and marriage is out of the question. There are quite a few older guys out there just like him.
Ladies, you don't have that luxury to blow time with someone like him if you're seriously interested having a child, or even if you only want husband. For most women, the older you get, the fewer options you have.
There are so many women out there wanting male companionship and sex that quite a few men no longer play the pretend game of saying they love you when they really mean they love to be with you.
I actually respect this. It beats the hell out being deceived by another or yourself. If you can't handle the truth, stay the hell away from them. If you're not sure, ask. Your job is to find out the difference and what he really means if you're serious.
This suggestion applies to men too - especially the ones on the lower level of the social class pyramid but dating up. A lot of these women will wear your dick out and toss you and your heart out the second someone in their class or above comes along.
Back to the ladies. Like it or not, most men don't tie sex with commitment or love to sex, at least not in the beginning. I'm speaking generalities here, folks, so don't get pissy about it, and it ain't my fault.
In my view, this doesn't make men morally inferior or make women morally superior. It just is. It's a difference in every culture, which suggests the root is biology. Men love to be loved, but when it comes to sex, for the majority, it's not a necessary ingredient for a good time, particularly when they're young.
There are lots of women who feel the same way, and I've been there myself, but in general, women get attached more easily when they've found a guy they like.
When men get attached, they're more likely to go nuts when their woman leaves them. This is easily found in crime statistics, and I'm pretty certain they'll show up in actual suicide statistics too. They're also more likely to leave their woman if she cheats on them with another man. Many can't get past it. God knows women grieve hard over this too, but they're much more like to forgive and stay, at least the first time... or two... or ten... or one hundred.
Statistics and pyramids aside, a lot of things equal out once a couple is in a loving relationship, but even then, as Stevie Wonder sings in the song below, All Is Fair In Love.
At least this is how Mother Nature sees it.
Two more Hard Rocks Love installments coming this week unless the country or economy goes to hell in a handbasket and I need to write about that. Next one by early Thursday, and I'll do quite a few in August and beyond if you like them. Unlike this one, others will focus less on theory and more on people I know or have known, men and women, and their stories.
Although my blog is only about three months old, it's been getting a decent about lot of traffic, but not a lot of comments when generally compared to those run by men. I find this strange in the black blogging world and suspect it's true among the rest too.
Is this part of our socio-biology, too? For example, if this article was posted at (you fill in the blank), would you be more inclined to leave a comment? And if so, why? I have some ideas, but I'd like to hear yours.
Thus, please share a few thoughts about this article and others in the future, and many thanks of appreciation to those who have in the past.