December 28, 2011

Age vs. Settling

Every week, we'll be re-watching an episode of Sex and the City, and writing our thoughts on the topics. We're starting right at the beginning with Season 1, Episode 1.

In the very first episode, a man introduces the concept of the Mid-thirties power flip. In their mid-30s, men suddenly gain all the power in the relationship because as women age, they become desperate.

When you’re a young guy in your twenties, women are controlling the relationships. By the time you’re an eligible man in your thirties you feel like you’re being devoured by women. Suddenly the guys are holding all the chips. I call it a mid-thirties power flip.
Miranda (my favorite caustic voice of reason) voices the complete opposite view:
By the time you reach your mid thirties you think:‘Why should I settle?’
Who is right? Miranda or the Man?
Like most things in life, neither are 100% right, but both are partially correctly. (Boo! Cop out answer!) There are both women who are more willing to settle as they grow older and women who are less willing to settle as they grow older.

In my opinion, there are a variety of different ways this can go. 
  1. Those who have never been willing to settle their whole lives. Whether they are 12 or 42, there are some women who just will never settle. This can be both good (sticking to your guns) or bad (inflexible and unreasonable). This can also be a ruse for fear of commitment and the woman's unwillingness to resolve that fear. This is obviously unhealthy. For these women, neither the Man nor Miranda's theory applies.
  2. Those whose ideals change over time. I am a big fan of this one, because I think most women grow in maturity and as they grow older and learn from their experiences (not always). They may realize that being a tall isn't a dealbreaker after dumping the Short-One-That-Got-Away. Or they might learn that men who are very very handsome usually know they are very very handsome and are therefore, very very insufferable. So, I guess realizing what's really important is "settling" by a different name, but you can also call it "growing up." Duh. For this one, I suppose both theories can be right.
  3. Those who desperately want to get married. There are two subcategories of this one. Women who just want to get married - they can be 22 or 29, no difference. They just want to get married. Some have even been groomed since high school to go out and catch a good one. The other subcategory is women who are feeling "old" and that it's "time to get married." Interestingly enough, depending on the environment and the social pressures around them, this age of feeling old can be 28, 29, 31, 35, etc. It doesn't really matter what the age is, there's some secret age that some women feel like they have be married by and that varies. For this woman, the Man's theory applies.
  4. Those who just want to have fun and be free. This can be related to #1, or it can be just a state of mind. Maybe they are too young (literally or mentally) for a life of commitment. Maybe they don't want marriage for their lifestyles. For this one, neither theories work.
  5. Those who become more and more demanding over time. This is the exact opposite of #2. These women build up their ideals over time and they become insurmountable. No man on earth, not even Brad Pitt can fulfill their hopelessly romantic and unrealistic ideals. These women fit right into Miranda's theory.
There are plenty of single women who do not fall into any of these "types," but these are the kinds of mentalities I see often. I guess in the end, what matters is what you're settling about. If you're settling on little things - he does smoke or he does watch ESPN, then that's realistic and completely work-able. If you're settling on your core values and your happiness, then how the heck can you be happy? Or if you're not the marriage or commitment type, then I salute you and you probably hate Sex and the City and think that Carrie, Miranda, and Charlotte are stupid already in their quests to find their life partners.

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