Marry the Lieutenant


will-you-marry-meI know a lot of Grass is Always Greener women; I know women who can never find a man good enough for them. I know one perpetually single woman that once broke up with really cute, funny guy because of his handwriting. That’s what she said anyway; the truth was probably something she didn’t want to admit, it was probably closer to he didn’t have money. Of course he didn’t, he was in college.

I see some women going through these scenarios time and time again until they just physically cannot attract a man any longer. Ace had an excellent post comparing these women to animated GIFs:

Animated .gif images creep me the fuck out.
I watch them keep running through the same action.
Over and over and over again.

Since I’m older and I have seen the long-term results of this attitude, I want to warn the younger women against it, but they would never listen. There is too much cheap validation out there that makes them think that they can trade up forever. And they can trade up, but not forever.

The thing is that they rarely trade up. They have a perfectly great guy, but he isn’t exciting enough. He isn’t tall enough or her friends don’t swoon over him. His job isn’t prestigious enough; he didn’t graduate college to start at the top of his field. He’s kind of boring; he’s always studying, he works too many hours. That guy at the bar is exciting, hot and he sends tingles up her spine.

Today’s young women have no idea of the dynamics of relationships in the past; they don’t want to choose a work in progress, they expect their potential mate to already have everything figured out. They don’t want to start out with a young man and work towards a future together, poor but happy. They want it all to start with.

They don’t want to invest in a man. They don’t want to marry the Lieutenant and help him grow to be a General, they want the General now. They want to start their adult life with all of the perks, the house and the vacations. But they don’t want someone old; they want someone young and exciting.

Stingray had a great post, The Advantage of Youth, in which a lot of us married women talked in the comments about how our relationships were in the beginning when both we and our spouses were young. The thing about couples getting together young is that the men not only had potential, but they were full of the excitement of youth:

That’s why I think that young should marry young. Both of them. That way the man will remember his wife as fresh and young and the woman will remember her husband as exciting and on the verge of conquering the world.

Women today have a hundred-point list of requirements for a potential mate. What they don’t realize is the power women have over men. Instead of looking for those hundred points, why not help a man attain those points? You can build a man up or tear him down; why not find a man and be his helpmate and work together with him to make him into the man you want?

Well, for one thing, that sounds like a lot of work. It doesn’t sound very exciting. Who wants to work on a relationship when there are all of those fun nights at the bar with exciting guys chasing you? Society today is an instant gratification one, and people just don’t really think things out for the future.

I don’t have much hope of large amounts of young women ignoring all of the free validation they receive in the way of facebook and other social media, and actually latching onto, for life, a young man with potential. I see young women having relationships and more relationships and maybe oopsie, pregnant with one of them, maybe oopsie with more than one of them. It’s a disposable world with a lot of disposable girls.


19 thoughts on “Marry the Lieutenant

  1. donalgraeme

    In the past, posts like this were apt to make me bitter. But now I think I can overcome that tendency, and instead use them as an opportunity for self-reflection. What I find best for myself is not to think on what I have lost, on what I can never have, but to focus on what I have gained, and can still gain in the future.

    Oh, and that is a great picture.

  2. TempestTcup Post author


    LOL, BOOM!

    I just look around today and shake my head. The kids today’s PARENTS probably never got to see what a traditional marriage was like.

    Yeah, I ended on a real Debbie Downer note, didn’t I? I only see things getting worse with the young people I know, and they aren’t even very feminist or liberal. [sorry, more downer talk]

  3. Sis

    We married young, so it is hard for me to imagine wanting the whole package deal at the beginning. I even supported us for the first two years we were married while he was doing grad school. We had it so backwards. I think it’s okay to expect the man to support the woman, just to be okay with whatever little support that is in the beginning.

  4. donalgraeme

    Don’t worry about the downer talk. I’m not keen to replace one delusion with another. Things will likely have to get worse before they get better, and I suspect that they will get much, much worse.

    Regarding the picture, assuming I do find someone worth proposing to, I certainly won’t be going down on one knee. That is one tradition I won’t mind seeing die.

  5. donalgraeme

    @ Sis

    I even supported us for the first two years we were married while he was doing grad school. We had it so backwards.

    Sis, that was not unheard of in the generation or two before you (I actually don’t know how old you are, so I’m guessing here). The wife would support the family while the husband got his education, at which point he would get a job and start a career and she would stay home to raise the children and maintain the household.

  6. TempestTcup Post author


    LOL, that’s not backwards; my mom sold sandwiches to fraternities for extra money while my dad was in college on the GI bill. I think it is investing in your husband and your marriage by helping him be the man he wants and needs to be. By helping him, you help yourself and your whole family.

  7. TempestTcup Post author


    Yes, exactly. It was very common for the wife to put her husband through college. Of course, back then marriage was for life, not until someone got booored or unhaaaappy.

    And being Catholic, my parents had three kids while my dad was in college, lol!

  8. Belle of the Library

    You know, I appreciate the perspective, because it does frustrate me what ridiculous demands women my age have (height, hair color, AN EXTRA CAR), but I disagree about dating a work in progress. Perhaps you don’t see it, because you’re not dating men in their twenties, but I am part of a Peter Pan sydromed generation. If he doesn’t have his ducks in SOME KIND OF ROW by 26/27, there’s a legitimate possibility that he never will. Our parents taught us that we could be anything we wanted to be and rarely emphasized hard work. The result is a bunch of lazy men and women mooching off of mommy. I try to ignore physical requirements beyond some POSSIBLE attraction, but having a career underway is not something I willing to compromise on, because I’m not sure how much faith I’ll have that a man in his mid-twenties will EVENTUALLY figure it all out. I also don’t think it’s healthy to go into ANY relationship with the intent to change a man. If he wants to change, he will, but you can’t force anyone to do anything. I agree with supporting a spouse, but I also think there’s a certain point where he no longer IS a work in progress. He’s just stalemated.

  9. nightskyradio

    I somewhat suspect a lot of guys who made it to my age range (roughly 38 – 50) without marrying aren’t lieutenants, but they aren’t generals either. They aren’t rookies, obviously, but having no one to command or take responsibility for, I think they ended up as sort of solo agents of a sort. Kinda like mercenaries or ronin. I don’t think a woman will have a problem if she marries one, but it’s going to bring a very different sensibility to things. I can’t be more descriptive just yet because it’s a totally brand new idea to me that i only just thought of right now.

    Speaking of mercenary… from a strictly pragmatic sense, wouldn’t at least some women want to invest in a man to get bragging rights in helping to make him so awesome later on?

    The kids today’s PARENTS probably never got to see what a traditional marriage was like.

    Nope.Today’s kids were begat from Generation X, who were begat from the Baby Boomers. They saw less traditional marriage due to much-increased divorce and other factors, but also for one other thing – if for no other reason, Gen X saw less traditional marriage because Boomers were the first generation in American history to have fewer children than their parents. Not just a few less, but a lot. Having kids is pretty much a cornerstone of “traditional marriage,” and it largely went out the window.

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  12. Just Saying

    @nightskyradio: Kinda like mercenaries or ronin.

    I like that… I was going to post some of the things that happen repeatedly in my life. But suffice it to say that in “holding out for the General” you’re more likely to get the “Mercenary”.

    Since I am very much in it for myself (just as women are in it for themselves). I will use women for my own purposes, and while our purposes run together that’s fine, but when they diverge, I will always do what works best for me. Women need to understand that – but you can tell them, and it doesn’t sink in. Women all KNOW exactly what is coming in such a relationship, and they are like moths flying closer and closer to the flame till they are burned lying at the bottom with their wings burned off wondering what happened (too old to play anymore) watching a new group of moths fly in to play with the fire. It never works out like the moths think it will, but they can’t help themselves, because it is their NATURE to chase the flame.

    And women like to tell themselves they are “equal”… They are so funny – wonderfully, useful, pleasant, enjoyable, but above all funny…. Of course, they never seem to realize there is a clock ticking – till it’s too late…

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