« Previous | Home | Next »

The Rage Of Aquarius

I’m an acupuncturist, 35, dating again after a difficult divorce and the ensuing custody battle. I’m shocked at how many men either want to see (i.e., sleep with) several women simultaneously or keep me as a geisha to “complement” their pre-existing wives and/or girlfriends. Could the world have changed THAT much during my 10 years exiled in marriage? I’m ready to leap out of the lotus position and wave my hands in the air over this! Are other women experiencing the same thing, or is the grass truly greener on the other side of the Great Wall?

--Spiritual Girl In A Material World

A Zen state without the enlightenment is a style statement: grass mats covering the ugly shag, a red plastic Buddha to liven up the coffee table (goes great with the $34.99 Woodstock Desk Gong from Target), and, of course, the obligatory floor pillows -- intricately embroidered, and probably a real steal thanks to child labor!

What does being “spiritual” really mean, anyway? For too many people, it’s a sneaky way of announcing how morally and emotionally superior they are to the rest of us; i.e., “I wear hemp, and you’re scum.” And sure, they’re giving some confused little old lady driver the finger -- but note the Sanskrit words for peace, love, and unity henna-tattooed across their knuckles! Being “spiritual” can also be a great excuse for avoiding the tedious business of rational thought. Take “karma,” the eastern version of the naughty getting snubbed by Santa; the alluring idea that people eventually get what they deserve. Have you ever met a maggot who could definitively say he was Heinrich Himmler in past life?

Chances are, you have met hundreds, even thousands, of men who want commitment-free sex -- sometimes because they’ve already committed to one or more other women. Is the fact that men are into this sort of thing really news to you? If so, where have you been living the past 10 years, under the Great Wall? Quite frankly, if straight guys could do what gay guys can -- go to a bar and pretty effortlessly snag some no-strings-attached sex -- a lot of them would. All that stands between them and their dream is the fact that they’re into women, most of whom refuse to participate.

What’s unreasonable is your expectation that men in your life would be any different, conforming to some airy-fairy way you think the world should work. It’s kind of like going on a hike believing vegetarianism will give you special protection: Just wave a Tofurky wrapper at a grizzly, point to your pleather shoes, and he should bound off in search of somebody in leather boots who lunched on a Quarter Pounder.

There are men out there who want a one man/one woman relationship. But, you aren’t one woman; you’re one contentiously divorced woman with one or more kids, and perhaps an angry ex-husband lurking on the perimeter, and maybe residual anger of your own. Under the circumstances, it’s going to be hard to get men to see you as more than the nude understudy.

Take down the angels and unicorns, or whatever you’ve been using to block out the hard glare of the real world, and you might get somewhere -- like, to the realization that you’re more likely to get what you want from a man whose situation is similar to yours. Accepting reality has got to be more productive than huffing and puffing and waving your hands in the air -- assuming you’re looking to draw love into your life, not trying to create “Downward Dog’s” new best friend, “Hyperventilating Chicken.”

Posted by aalkon at March 25, 2006 11:30 AM

Trackback Pings

TrackBack URL for this entry:


Yeah. Remember when you were nineteen and really, really hot? When grown men were tripping all over themselves to go out with you? Well, that's pretty much where your average, single thirtysomething guy is today, only in reverse. They've managed to develop something resembling a personality, take time to work out and - oh yeah - are making pretty good money. For them, it's a buyer's market.

Still, from what I can see, there are a lot of nice divorced guys out there, willing and able to give marriage a second shot. Time to start looking in the remander racks...

Posted by: Kevin_M at March 27, 2006 4:41 AM

Amy asks, "what does spiritual mean?" I wonder why this 35-year-old describes herself as a "girl."

In my pedant mode, I reckon a "girl" is a female between infancy and puberty. From then on she is a "woman" - a young woman until the age of majority, whenever that is. I realise people use the word "girl" without my hair-splitting pedantry but I always wonder if it signifies something.

Posted by: Norman at March 27, 2006 9:56 AM

I gotta concur with Kevin M. After stupidly marrying the first women I got to sleep with more than once, blowing up like balloons(both of us) having two kids (they are awesome), then having her cheat on me with a friend of 30 years, I finally got my shit together. I realized that I am responsible for my life and the quality of people I get involved with. I have dated 6 very sexy(in totally different ways) women since my divorce. (3 years ago). All of them were wonderful for me, even though we broke up. I had a great time and got my confidence built up. For whatever reason it didn't work out, so I moved on. The biggest change was that I took responsibilty for my own health and have dropped 50 pounds and ran some half marathons. (Thank god I didn't screw up my knees with being over weight). Much to my surprise, I have not had very much down time between ladies. Nothing gets you more attention from hot women than walking around with a hot woman on your arm. And in the small town where I live, WOMEN TALK. I finally realized that I don't have to settle for someone who treats me like shit. There are lots of women who like to get asked out to dinner or taken to plays and, yes Virginia, even have really great sex without making a lifelong committment. I have never two timed a woman. I know I wish I could have the little black book of 20 women to take out and sleep with, but I am not wired that way. I don't really know why.

Normally I think your advice is right on the money, but here your disdain for people with any spiritual beliefs gets the best of you.
I think you are pretty hard on this lady. She probably has her issues like we all do. All she seems to want to have is a guy to date (ie fuck) exclusively. I don't think that is too much to ask. There are men out there who feel like the letter writer. Rather than slam her irrationality, you should have told her to keep looking around until she gets what she wants.

Posted by: Jim_M at March 27, 2006 10:11 AM

Well, I'm fairly certain that this 35 year old woman views herself as a woman and not a girl - the girl thing refers to the Material World song.
I think it's fair to be extra harsh on so-called spiritualists and/or hippies - many of these men subscribe to a belief of non-monogamy, stating that monogamy is unnatural and shoved down our throats by society. They act like they are houlier than thou when actually they are just acting as many men would like to do and sleazing it up! Ok, fine if you don't like monogamy, but pretending you're a better person for it is ridiculous! I agree - look outside the hippie sector for dates - you'll be better off!

Posted by: Lucy at March 27, 2006 3:36 PM

Um, hmmm. Is there a paragraph missing from Spiritual Girl's letter? I'm not really sure how excoriating a projected image of superficial spirituality has anything to do with her question. It looks to me, Amy, as though you're making a huge assumption about this woman and then projecting your own issues onto her. Not really fair, and certainly not objective.

It seems as though it would be possible to answer her question without all of the gratuitous "Hey, I have another opportunity to spew my anti-spiritual rage!" verbage. Zealots come in all denominations, but they all have the same tunnel-vision.

Posted by: Avatar at March 27, 2006 4:32 PM

There's an obvious dissonance here between a woman who calls herself "spiritual" and goes through a contentious divorce and custody battle. There's no assumption here. My answer is entirely evidence-based. Also, what you don't see here is the stuff edited from the question. I can't print the reams of paper people write me about their problems. I like trees and hate boring my readers too much.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 28, 2006 6:58 AM

Amy writes,

There's an obvious dissonance here between a woman who calls herself "spiritual" and goes through a contentious divorce and custody battle.

Really? How? Do only 'rational' atheists have contentious divorces? Are "spiritual" people supposed to rise above contention? There is no 'dissonance' here. The two issues are unrelated. Or are you making this statement based on the secret information you have edited out to save trees?

Posted by: Jim_M at March 28, 2006 7:52 AM

This, bar none, is the best column of yours I have read (among many terriffic ones). This "girl" obviously has her head on some cloud, and can't figure out why other people she meets aren't on it with her.

Outstanding. You hit the nail right on the head.

Posted by: Kix at March 29, 2006 2:38 PM

"Really? How? Do only 'rational' atheists have contentious divorces? Are "spiritual" people supposed to rise above contention? There is no 'dissonance' here. The two issues are unrelated. Or are you making this statement based on the secret information you have edited out to save trees?"

It's because "spiritual" is code for new age, and that is creepy and weird. Crystals and magnets are not cures for anything.

Posted by: steve at March 30, 2006 3:35 PM

People who call themselves "spiritual" often embody the antithesis of what that's supposed to entail. I'm an atheist bitch, but I've never said a cruel word to my boyfriend, and not because I'm a saint, but because I don't ever act like I forgot I love him. For a lot of people, what they call a "love" relationship is really a need relationship, and when the provider stops providing what they wanted, they lash out in the most vicious of ways. I don't hate any of my ex-boyfriends, and I'm friends with a number of them, and close with a few.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at March 30, 2006 6:14 PM

Amy, she does have a point. There are a LOT of men out there right now with four girlfriends. My last two boyfriends had three other girlfriends each while I was seeing them, until I'd given them what I figured was a decent interval to make a choice, and they didn't. You don't seem to really address the crux of the matter.

Posted by: rebecca at April 2, 2006 9:59 AM

While I think your analysis of self-centered pseudo-spirituality is right on target - I just don't see that in this letter.

Or at least, not in the edited version you've published. Are we supposed to assume that you received pages of "spiritual" new-age BS from one passing reference to the lotus position?

The edited version is rather tame - it doesn't even have the typically overbearing, narcissistic overtones of typical communication with the "spiritual" types you so rightly skewer.

Perhaps something has been lost in editing?

Posted by: Ben-David at April 3, 2006 12:21 AM

Sure, a number of men - and a number of people - aren't ethical. I made finding somebody ethical a priority. To whine that a lot of men want a harem is silly. It's obvious. Gay men aren't promiscuous -- ALL men are promiscuous. The difference is, very few women are willing to go to a bar and put out in the bathroom, then wave goodbye.

Regarding all the musings about what I edited and didn't out of the letter: How many people have you met who call themselves "spiritual" who actual fit the bill of what that's supposed to mean. The contentious divorce and custody battle says it all.

Posted by: Amy Alkon at April 3, 2006 12:28 AM

I don't agree that "spirituality" = "New Age woo-woo-weirdness." To me, it's the opposite of religious zealotry, i.e. a person who is truly spiritual won't see fit to bash you over the head with their (fill in your Holy Book of choice here). One can be a deeply spiritual Christian, Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, Wiccan, or (hey, you never know!) Satanist; crystals and magnets and general flakiness don't equal the same thing...although it's long been my considered opinion that anyone who has just gotten a new religious faith should be locked in a closet for a year before they go round "sharing" with others, lest they open themselves to public ridicule and general snickering. I personally have been Wiccan for over 15 years and--this may surprise you!--I'm not some whackjob wandering round bedecked in pentacles and quoting the Rede ("An it harm none, do as ye will") at anyone who appears to lend half an ear to me. In fact, the only things that might make me appear non-conservative are my neatly-kept long hair and beard. And I have an innate distrust of anyone claiming to have the "only" way to spiritual happiness/enlightenment or a personal relationship with God; simply put, I'm a live-and-let-live kind of guy. Not to mention happily married and monogamous.

So Little Miss New Age Whackadoo went through a contentious divorce? Bully for her. True spirituality doesn't advertise (my description of myself notwithstanding) and it's not hypocritical, either. And I'd guess she's been too self-absorbed to notice that nothing's changed; many men love the idea of having a harem. It's also worth noting that polygamy is no longer tolerated by the mainstream Mormon Church, and that even the Quran, which allows for multiple wives, only advises such a practice IF--yes, IF--the man in question can support them all. She obviously needs to wake up and smell the patchouli.

Posted by: redwolf81068 at April 4, 2006 6:36 PM

A friend of mine who still lives in my old college town says the best way to get in the pants of college girls (he's pushing 40) is to say he's "spiritual, but not religious." There's nothing an overeducated PC dimwit female wants to hear more, or so he claims...

Posted by: RMc at May 23, 2006 5:49 AM

There are women and there are girls.

Women take responsibility for their lives, their actions, their present and their future. They take responsibility for their mistakes and misjudgements and do not feel the need to blame everything on someone else. They are in control of their emotions, their lives, their direction. They may or may not be spiritual, but if they are, they rarely tell anyone about it, because spirituality is about being, living the path, not talking about it.

Women face challenges and seek ways to overcome them or sidestep them (as the situation requires). They are mature, strong, empowered, confident - and that is very attractive and sexy to men, believe me.

Women do not whine, complain and wait for someone else to fix their lives. They do not indulge in self-pity and crocodile tears, waiting for a man to "complete them." Women do not believe hand waving and pretending and hoping will magically create incredible lives.

Those actions and attitudes are the realm of girls, who, unfortunately make up the majority of females and have usually aged well beyond their best before dates.

I agree with Amy - anyone who espouses strong spirituality, but then is contentious (divorce, workplace, interpersonal relations), is a walking contradiction. Spiritual people lose their tempers like anyone, but truly spiritual people rarely engage in protracted negative energy.

One more note: Women believe in romance as part of a full relationship; girls believe that romance is what it's all about.

Posted by: Kate at August 12, 2006 11:59 AM

A spiritual woman would never go through a contentious divorce? Why not? At stake are her kids, pets, home, earnings, savings, material goods, etc. etc. Who wouldn't fight for her fair share of those things, spiritual or not?

Posted by: Pussnboots [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2008 12:19 PM

Post a comment

Remember Me?

(you may use HTML tags for style)