One of the things that came up over Christmas was, as usual, my continuing unmarried status as the big four-oh looms. Three different members of the family interrogated me about my non-existent love life. Yesterday, I was offered an opportunity to do something about this as I was invited to a singles event: a Website I used to be a member of was desperate for more men to attend a drinks do. Apparently lots of women had registered, but not as many men, so they were offering us free entry. The last time I went to one of these things it was the same, and, when it came to the crunch, almost none of the women who said they were going to turn up turned up. These days, women often don’t.
One explanation for this is that, if you’re an attractive female, it’s a seller’s market. Bridget Jones is a media-invented myth. There are far more men between the ages of 30 and 40 who are single than women. The difference is, faced with members of the “Because I’m Worth It” Generation to chose from, a lot of us are grateful enough not to whine about being alone. It sums up the modern male’s lack of a corresponding sense of entitlement that the most famous cosmetics slogan for him is: “The Best A Man Can Get”. And the best a man can get is a plastic razor with five blades.
Having a girlfriend can be wonderful, but having a girlfriend is not what online dating delivers. It’s a scam. What with the impossibly attractive fake/long-dormant user profiles used by site owners to draw punters in, the poorly disguised porn-line/prostitution services, the married journalists pretending to be single to get a feature piece, the fiftysomething divorcees with three children and a psycho ex, the spammers, and the timewasters looking for “validation”, I’ve got better things to do with my money.
So, instead of attending the singles evening, I went round to a straight male friend’s place. We had a(n excellent) Waitrose meal, went to the flicks to watch a zombie movie, set the World to rights over a couple of drinks, and returned to our respective bachelor pads.
Funnily enough, I Am Legend was a perfect example of the gap between the messages broadcast at men and women these days. It was a classic guy movie: accomplished, disciplined man-of-science / man-of-war alone against the forces of darkness and irrationalism. A chick flick will allow its protagonist to be disciplined and accomplished, but only so that later on we can see how her intellectual and financial achievements interfere with her “self-actualisation”. To be truly happy, she must give in to girlish emotion and allow a man to “complete her”. After years of watching that kind of shit it’s little wonder that so many successful women wind up obsessing about finding a partner. My not having a wife is more interesting to my family than it is to me, but if any single thirtysomething women reading this are looking for a loaded lawyer I can pass on my friend’s number.
Beyond this cod social psychology, it’s difficult to write anything interesting about I Am Legend without giving away the plot, but it’s worth seeing just for the extraordinary, audacious shots of a plague ravaged New York, and, this morning, it might be worth putting a bet on Will Smith being the first black President of the USA.