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With Valentine’s Day coming up, do you think there is any merit to the argument that people should settle when they are trying to find a mate? Is there particular merit to this claim as to (busy) attorneys?
Litigate or Settle
Dear Litigate or Settle,
[Background: Lori Gottlieb, a 40-something hag, has been recently making the rounds promoting her book, "Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough" (based on her controversial article in The Atlantic). Her argument: "Educated ladies in your 20s and 30s, your ovaries are rotting. Stop being picky. Settle for some mediocre dude NOW before you get old and no one wants you." Gottlieb was later revealed by her ex-boyfriend to be a megalomaniac, borderline-personality-disordered shrew.]
People settle for a variety of reasons: they’re too lazy / busy to go out and find someone better, they’re scared that there IS no one better, or they feel like everybody else is changing their relationship statuses on Facebook and they’ve got to marry whomever they’re dating so as not to be left out.
That being said, lawyers settle for mates more readily than do other professionals. They’re risk averse and want to lock shit down early regardless of whether it’s “right.” They’re tired after billing 14 hours and just want to jackhammer someone, anyone, for 30 seconds, then pass out. On a subconscious level, many of them want sad-sack mates to match the resignation their feel in their own careers. If they’re gonna do this whole intercreditor agreement and soy sauce stained-life thing, they need the zitty husbands and lumpy wives to match.
However, if you’re a lawyer who’s unwilling to settle in your career (i.e., you genuinely enjoy your job or you’re taking steps to GTFO), you shouldn’t be willing to settle for a life partner, either. I know that’s easier said than done, especially when friends send “& Guest” wedding invitations on purpose to destroy you. Believe me, I am just as scared as you that I’ll spend the winter of my life training my dog to change my bedpan. But the rest of your life is a long time to spend resigned to a mediocre mate or career. Before you accept that date with a guy in mandals or a girl with a weak chin, I urge you to
go to the gym have a little faith in your ability to attract a mate without settling. As my ex-shrink Dr. Laikin once said to me: If God made someone as awesome as you, surely there are others.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
Yes, yes, don’t settle, you’re awesome, love will find a way, yada yada.
Unless of course you have a ridiculous notion of some fantastic sexual / life partner and spend all your time waiting for a person who either A) doesn’t exist or B) wouldn’t f*** you if he / she did.
I call it the “shiny pants problem.” Take an average guy with an average, respectable life. He’s decent-looking but he’s never going to be featured in an Old Spice commercial. He’s got a steady job, maybe even a high-status one like an attorney, but not a particularly exciting one like a race car driver. Still, he can do well for himself on the open market.
He’s at a party and talking / flirting with average women, and everything is proceeding according to plan. But then in walks the girl with the shiny pants. Her pants are skin tight, her midriff is exposed, glitter draws your eyes to her cleavage. And our guy, our regular, unspectacular Joe, immediately abandons the average girl he’s been talking to for glitter tits.
And he gets shut down because that girl never goes home with that guy. She’s looking for jaw lines or fat wallets or the kind of charisma most average guys don’t possess. So our guy goes back to the girl he was talking to earlier, only now, in his mind, he is “settling.”
It’s the shiny pants problem. Some people want certain partners for totally superficial reasons, yet somehow hope that those superficial partners will see the non-superficial reasons to match the attraction. It’s ludicrous, yet when reality sets back in, shiny pants pursuers always feel like they are settling for somebody else.
So the question isn’t “should you settle,” it’s “just how big of a hypocritical prick are you?” If you value potential life partners for the same reasons you value yourself, then you should never settle. The thought shouldn’t even cross your mind.
But, if you find yourself constantly going after people who possess none of the same qualities you yourself exhibit, then yes, you should “settle.” And then you should take a long look in the mirror and try to figure out why you can’t appreciate what you have.
– A guy who doesn’t own shiny pants
Not sure why Elie’s stuck at a rave, but I think the idea here is that settling is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re perfectly happy with a sweaty troll husband who adores you, that’s not settling. If you’re in a sexless marriage with a gorgeous model who just wants your money, that is. My point is that you should strive to be with the person who complements (and compliments) you best, and buy your own Russell Stovers until you find him or her.
Do you have a question for next week’s Pls Hndle Thx? Send it to email@example.com.
Earlier: Prior installments of pls hndle thx