LDS Singles

Thriving and Growing as an LDS Single

Dates as Commodities: the Men’s Stories

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Aproned men

*If you missed Part 1 of this, click here.

Now it’s time for the men’s stories: under what circumstances do men feel like commodities rather than friends or potential partners?

You may be able to guess some of them. They’re all real stories from people I talked with, I just changed the names. Unfortunately, I think the women enjoyed talking more than the men did, so I don’t have nearly as much from the men. But, I think the men who did share gave some great, common examples of how men can feel when taken for granted. And, as with the women, these stories represent how these men felt, and are not necessarily indicative of my opinions: the point is to understand where they’re coming from. Here we go…

Steven: More like a commodity than a person? Well, since I was usually the one initiating a date, I was probably more guilty of commoditizing women than the other way around. I guess the worst that I might have felt was as if I was a checklist more than a person–served a mission, check; active church-goer, check; orthodox believer, not-really check; business-major who’d pull a great income, no-way. I suppose those are the sorts of dating pressures I’ve occasional felt, but I’m lucky enough to be in a relationship now where I don’t feel so evaluated.

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Marco: What stands out most for me were my cars. I had two. The first was an ugly, rickety, tin can, orange Kia Rio, (which) was my primary vehicle. Several women whom I asked out turned me down. However! My other car was a sleek, silver, two seater convertible which I seldom drove. Some of the women who turned me down for dates in the Kia sprang to new life upon seeing the convertible. “When are you asking me out again?” “Never.” I had heard of such shallow practices but never believed them to be true. They’re true.OldChevyVan

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David: I’m pretty sure some girls made their decision not to date me based on what they perceived my financial situation to be. I have mixed feelings about it because you don’t want to tell a woman, “No, you have to be poor!” But sometimes you’d like them to see that relationships can be built through struggling together, and that her husband might make more and more money as time goes on, and even if he doesn’t it’s still not the only factor.

I do know that shortly after I moved (in with my roommate) Ethan, he got a new job, and I distinctly remember hearing one girl in the mid-single’s ward say that of course she would date him now that he was making $95,000 a year.
It was just weird to hear somebody make such a distinct correlation between a guy’s salary and whether they would date him or not. That’s why a girl shouldn’t look at a guy’s present financial situation as the prime indicator of whether they should date him or not, because his situation could change for better or for worse. The economy took a downturn and he lost that job just three years later, and was mostly out of work for almost six years after that.

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Jeff: This is a challenging question to answer. I came from the last generation where men paid for the date and I still feel that way. I felt like commodity in marriage, but never during dating. I worked very hard to support us. I felt like I rarely asked her to do much. Late in the marriage when the Bishop himself began to challenge her to do more to help with the marriage, and she didn’t do anything, I was like, “why am I sacrificing for this marriage like this, when she won’t do anything?” The divorce quickly followed. The first year we had both worked: my money paid the bills, her money she spent on herself. The 2nd year she stopped working and started raiding our checking account, and stopped going to church too. The 3rd year we divorced.
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Abraham: I have never chosen to feel like a commodity, regardless of what anyone has said or done. I don’t manifest my insecurities that way. If I start to feel hopeless, I get offended and swear. If I feel like I’m not in control, I stay up all night. If I feel I can’t get what I want, I eat something. If I want to avoid the truth, I watch TV or play mindless video games. Lastly, more to the point sometimes I feel like a nuisance and a bother around others which isn’t good, practically when you’re trying to impress someone; I guess that’s my insecurity.

*If you missed Part 1 of this, click here.

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Author: pickleclub1971

I'm a single mom of 2: a Southern CA native, who transplanted to Utah 4 years ago. I have one 18 year old who is off to the Ivy League, and one 14 year old who is in high school. I served an LDS Mission to Southern France and I’ve also lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, Idaho, Northern Arizona, and New Hampshire. I love 80’s music, classical music, choral music, playing the piano, singing, speaking what French I still remember, and talking about history and music with whomever will listen. I love that my kids are better at math than I was at their age. (But they still get frequent historical references from me…anyone familiar with Ducky from NCIS? He’s that kind of medical examiner, I’m that kind of mom.) My kids also think I know all the lyrics to all the songs from the 80’s, mainly because I’m good at making them up and faking it when I don’t know. Sometimes they catch me. I’m currently disabled with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). I want to get better (of course) and be an advocate for trauma survivors and others with mental illnesses. I like people in general. I suffer from the delusion that I can make everyone my friend, but of course that isn’t possible: but I still believe that the world can be a better place.

2 thoughts on “Dates as Commodities: the Men’s Stories

  1. While I don’t use income (or potential income) as the sole basis for deciding to date (or not date) someone, it is a factor that I do consider before getting serious with someone.

    As a single mother with 2 kids I make enough to cover what we need. If I add another person to the equation then I don’t make enough. If my future spouse wants to have children together, or comes with children already then his ability earn money becomes a very important thing to consider.

    I have met a couple of guys who made it clear that they were fine with me being the wage earner, and them being the stay at home dad, problem is that I don’t earn enough to make that happen. So they would not be a good fit for myself and my family.

    Ideally I would LOVE to be able to go from working full time to working part time, but in order to do this I would need a spouse to makes a decent wage. So yeah how much someone is earning or has the potential to earn is a factor I would consider.

  2. Interesting how the women were all objectified in different ways, but the men were all objectified in the exact same manner: based on how much money they made. A lot of these women wound like they came right out of a Jane Austen novel, sitting around gossiping about how much money the eligible men made, as if their attractiveness could be summed up in a single number.

    I’ve seen this attitude in my own dating and married life. While my wife certainly wasn’t so crass as to judge me solely on my salary, she certainly considered it a big advantage that I had a graduate degree from a top university and earned a good salary at a major corporation. Money was not a problem in those days. We lived well and traveled regularly.

    Fast forward a few years and one economic recession later. I was still employed, but only made slightly more than when we were married. The company I work for had hit tough times and for a couple years my annual raise was “not getting laid off”. My wife had quit her job to be a stay at home mom, and inflation had eaten up most of our disposable income. I made enough to support our family without dipping into savings, but not much more.

    My wife chose this time to start demanding expensive purchases: a new $2,400 mattress, a $150 space heater (because our gas furnace, wood stove, gas fireplace, and two other electric space heaters weren’t doing the job apparently), a new(er) car, college funds for the kids, and on and on. She sidestepped my requests for a serious discussion about the state of our finances and our financial priorities, keeping the focus on whether or not I would spend use our emergency fund to pay for these things. When I didn’t, she filed for divorce.

    Of course my wife would never be so crass as to file for divorce solely on financial grounds. She was able to find plenty of other reasons why divorce was necessary. But I found it curious that my not buying her things we couldn’t afford was a major point of debate in all of our pre-divorce counseling sessions.

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