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Fearless Philosophy For Free Minds: Politically Incorrect Dating Advice

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Politically Incorrect Dating Advice

Steve Forbes recently issued a public apology for statements in a Forbes Magazine opinion article by Michael Noer. For many of the article’s critics the apology was too little, too late. What outrageous statements did Noer make which required an apology by Steve Forbes? Did Noer make anti-Semitic or racist statement? Did he make an inappropriate comparison to Hitler or the Nazis? Michael Noer did none of these things. The following statement from his article seems to be what has put so many people up in arms:

Guys: a word of advice. Marry pretty women or ugly ones. Short ones or tall ones. Blondes or brunettes. Just, whatever you do, don't marry a woman with a career.
This is indeed a controversial statement but does it have any merit? It might be one thing if Noer wrote this comment off the cuff with no supporting evidence. In the case of this article, however; the above statement is a thesis statement. This statement is a conclusion Noer came to after doing something called research.

Here are some statistics Noer used to back up his statement, all of which are cited in his article:

-Career women who quit their jobs to stay home to take care of the children are usually unhappy

-Career women will be unhappy if they make more money than their husbands

-Husbands of career women tend to be unhappy when their wives make more than they do

-Husbands of career women tend to become ill (?)

-The home will be messier (Oh, no he didn’t!)

-Divorce rates rise as women’s work hours increase. There is no statistical change when the man works more hours.

-Professional men and women who work outside the home are more likely to cheat on his or her spouse

-Highly educated people are more likely to have extramarital affairs. People with graduate degrees are 1.75 times likely to have an affair than those with only a high school diploma

-Individuals who earn over $30,000 a year are more likely to have an affair

To be honest, I have not personally verified these statistics found in Noer’s article. Noer could very well be misrepresenting the data, I don’t know. What is interesting though is that very few critics of the article have taken it upon themselves to challenge these specific statements he made in result of his research. Most of his critics say that writing such an article is mean-spirited or misogynistic. One critic said that she couldn’t believe such a respected magazine as Forbes would publish such an article. Another said to the effect that Noer should find himself a boring woman to stay at home and watch the kids. Isn’t it interesting how it’s wrong to say anything at all about women working outside the home but perfectly okay to insult a woman who CHOOSES to stay at home and take care of the children? Taking care of one’s own children is the most important job of all!

Rather than dismiss Noer as a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal and ask his boss to apologize, why not challenge his arguments point-by-point? There are probably just as many good reasons to marry a career woman as there are not to (i.e. financial stability).

To her credit Noer’s colleague at Forbes, Elizabeth Corcoran, writes a counterpoint article challenging some of his arguments in an article titled “Don’t Marry a Lazy Man” (the right side of the linked page).

Corcoran makes the following point:

The experts cited in his story think that professional women are more likely to get divorced, to cheat and to be grumpy about either having kids or not having them. But rather than rush to blame the woman, let's not overlook the other key variable: What is the guy doing?
I would have to agree with her that a relationship always must involve commitment from both partners but I did not see anything in Noer’s piece that would suggest otherwise. Both articles offer good points worthy of discussion.

In our politically correct society there are some things we are no longer allowed to comment on, regardless of whether an observation is true or not. To say that men ON AVERAGE have more upper body strength and are better at subjects such as math and science is taboo. To say that women are ON AVERAGE better drivers and better caretakers of children is as well. For a man to point out any differences at all is considered sexist and requires an apology (or perhaps even a resignation).

There also seems to be a double standard when it comes to the battle of the sexes. I am sure that there is no shortage of male bashing articles found in Cosmopolitan Magazine or similar commentary found on Oprah or The View. How often do these forums advocate marrying or not marrying a certain kind of man for superficial reasons?

The fact of the matter is that women have their own reasons for marrying one type over another (some are superficial, some are not). Generally speaking, professional women in-particular will not marry a man who earns less than she does. Women in-general are attracted to taller men and are not as attracted to shorter men (sort of like how men prefer women with large breasts and long legs). This is not to say that these preferences are right or wrong, they just ‘are’ and no one should have to apologize for his or her preference of a mate. Many of these preferences are hardwired into our evolutionary biology (our female ancestors desired healthy men of means to provide for the family while our male ancestors desired women with measurements at or near 36”-28”-36” because of the belief that these attributes would aid in child bearing and nurturing following a child’s birth).

My point is not so much to get into a battle of the sexes or to say whether or not Michael Noer is right but that statements made in his article should not require an apology. I would also like to point out that Noer’s article appears on the OPINION PAGE of Forbes Magazine. This means that the opinions expressed by Noer is his alone. Why even have an opinion page in a magazine or news paper if the writers cannot communicate their honest opinions on something as mundane as romantic relationships? Political correctness is destroying our ability to honestly discuss issues such as this and issues of much greater importance. What a shame.

15 Comments:

Blogger Renee said...

I believe all the stats are correct, but the author implies living life is based applying rules and averages, rather then making decisions based on personal facts involving the relationship and experiences.

People prior to cohabitation, engagments, and marriage do talk about career and family, but then it seems like they stop talking about it because they thought they had it all planned out.

What if one spouse want to change careers 20 years into the marriage, either due to layoffs or simply personal disagreement in that particular field?

What if one spouse said s/he only wanted two children felt compelled to want more?

Is the other spouse willing to talk about these "what ifs" on a regular basis throughout the entire marriage or say 'Hey, we already decided on this, who are you to change the plans'?

When we are in the courtship phase of our relationships, we always talk about our dreams. Why should that stop because you're married? It seems when we stop day dreaming with our spouses, we go day in and day out of our marriage like robots processing and aquiring stuff.

11:59 AM  
Blogger Stephen Littau said...

Renee, you raise some excellent points, none of which I disagree with. Maybe Noer should have framed his argument a different way. Maybe he should have advised that men should not marry women with different priorities. A woman (or a man for that matter) with her career as her overall priority probably would not make a good spouse to a man who has other values.

Aside from the substance of Noer's article, what do you think of the reaction to his article? Do you think an apology from Steve Forbes was required or do you think Noer's article was within the bounds of a rational discussion?

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen, it was just old wounds stirring up the kettle. I wrote my take on this too. I even rewrote the article and replaced the word spouse for the male and female words. When you read it like that, you see its true for career women and career women but not all. I liked his article. It takes awhile for people to think outside fear.
Take Care, Raven


http://journals.aol.com/rebuketheworld/RebukeTheWorld/entries/2006/08/31/michael-noers-article-dont-marry-a-career-woman-has-some-valid-points./1501

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Stephen,,typo in my comment. Sorry, the sun comes through my window and couldnt see the computer screen. I wrote "When you read it like that, you see its true for career women and career women but not all."

What I meant was-----"When you read it like that, you see its true for career women and career men but not all.

my apologies

3:31 PM  
Blogger Stephen Littau said...

Thanks for the clarification Raven. I'll be sure to read your post.

3:35 PM  
Blogger Renee said...

I agree with the commentary of Carrie Lukas below regard Noer's ideas.

http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZjgzNjI5NGYwNzU5MGMwNzg1YTI5NDIxODgzYjVlYWU=


"Michael Noer’s article, “Don’t Marry Career Women,” published on Forbes.com was the grown-up equivalent of a pig-tail tug………. While Noer’s advice is jarring, it makes sense for men and women both to consider their expectations for prospective spouses. Women who want to focus on their careers might want to consider spouses willing to take on more family responsibilities. Women who hope to stay home with kids should also make that clear. While there’s a caricature that all men want their wives to stay-at-home, many husbands don’t want to make the financial sacrifice and would prefer a second income."

-------------------

The thing is I met my husband at 19 working at a supermarket, we married at 23 while in law school and he in post-graduate and we were parents by the time I graduated. All of this seemed taboo to women a generation above me who believe the "rules" were I needed to finish an education and establish a career prior to settling down.

My husband and I always talk about the future, but we never had plans that went beyond immediate responsibilities i.e. finish school, pay bills, the needs of the children. People always talk about career, but in reality our employment depends more on the market place then my choices. There is only so much you have control in your life and marriage, and you have to deal with the choices of overall society and market place.

Our marriage is one long conversation that doesn’t end. One aspect, because of moral reasons practice natural family planning is that we constantly have to talk about being open to more children and the needs of the existing family members every time I’m fertile in my cycle. Many pro-NFP research brag about the low divorce rates with NFP use, but those rates are not just because ‘good Catholics are blindly following the Church rules'.

When NFP is most effective, is because Catholics are making comprehensive decision making. I know couples who seem to want the appearance of being good Catholics with large families, while their relationship with their spouse is in shambles or their mental health is stretched. There are serious and grave reasons to limit family size. It does no good for the existing children, if mommy and daddy can’t absolutely stand each other, the wife needs anti-depressants or the husband is tearing out his hair. Fix your marriage before you go on and "Be fruitful and multiply".

Right now our conversation stands like this, when the children are older my husband wants to cut back on his career so he can participate in scouting, sports, and activities with them while I can go full force with my career later on. As much as I like the idea of co-parenting, men just aren’t that great with small children. He isn’t one (like many men) to bake brownies with toddlers and pre-schoolers or do arts and crafts, but he will rough house with them and build forts. With co-careers and co-parenting it seems like both work and family suffered, so specializing on these differing aspects at differing times in our lives means a more balanced routined lifestyle for us that allowed peace and better planning on all of our personal goals.

And another thing how can men go to war, but uncontrollably involuntary gag at the sight of a soiled diaper?

11:00 PM  
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How to create your profile?
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2. List the most important features you expect your partner to have, but don’t exaggerate, just stick to the real life;
3. Learn to recognize a cheater from a sincere person by reading that person’s profile or by asking a set of questions that would reveal that person’s ego;
4. Start by chatting with more than one person;
5. Try to communicate with that person in an open manner;
6. Study the other’s profiles to help your create a more attractive profile for yourself;
7. Save yourself if necessary and don’t let these kind of virtual reality seize you completely. Give yourself more options in your life and consider virtual reality as one of the many, and not the only way.

If you feel this helps, please drop by my website for additional dating tips and resources such as body language tips or additional resources on dating mistakes .

Regards,

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Anonymous Susan said...

Where are the dating sites where you are free to say exactly what you want? Without being censored. Would save so much time and energy if we could get right to the point. And no, I'm not talking about sexual preferences - those sites already exist. Talking about way more important issues such as views on society and where humanity is headed.

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