Monday, August 6, 2007

Divorced Men

Not one myself, I can only observe, and hope that if that sad day ever comes, I can handle myself with a little more dignity. For some of you, it can be a tell-tale checklist.

Being a thirtysomething, I have been immersed in the subculture of middle-class suburban couples, and after a decade knowing the same married couples, some of those marriages are inevitably breaking up. Let's just skip over the general divorce stuff, who did what to whom, and talk specifically about the poor bastards back on the scene.

Really, if you have been married for a good length of time, you are not cool. Not even close. You might be fat, bald, and while probably a snappier dresser after a woman got ahold of you, you are not prepared for dressing like the single hip folks. If you have kids, the factor of uncoolness is multiplied for every two kids. Now, though these guys are back on the scene, and after an appropriate length of time, (Read: 30 seconds into separation to years after the divorce is final...) they are trying to attract a new mate. All have different methods, but there are some general steps in this process I have observed.

First, they go for the total makeover, trying recover the body they once had. Fitness results are mixed, but then comes the next step: do all the cool stuff they were dying to to, but never got around to. Buy a motorcycle, go hang gliding, get some tattoos, leather fringe pants, shark cage diving, etc. This seems to help butch them up from years of being housebroken, and restores their confidence enough that they are ready to hit the dating scene again.

Here is where it branches out the most. Some of these guys start with modern technology, (the very thing that helped destroy many of their relationships in the first place) and will create their profiles to let the lucky women out there know that they are available again. One friend of mine is under the impression that this is a numbers game, and more is better, (probably correct, if not hollow and deeply cynical ) and has eight separate profiles up. As I am perceived to be an Internet expert, he asked me to look a couple of them over to improve, and I foolishly agreed. *shudder* At least he didn't have any nude photos up, that would have been too much to take.

Others reach for the stars, and drop by their local strip club to let the lasses there know that a 'Man of means' is in the house, and shopping for a hot young thing to accompany him around town. Most sadly, will spend long months and immeasurable resources before they come to the conclusion that these ladies are not looking for men like them, and will move on to one of their other options.

The only thing sadder is one of them who actually does land a dancer. Now to be fair, many of these girls are very nice, I dated two dancers in my life, (one even became an ER doctor, just like she said she would :) , but the limited collective experiences of those I know who have dated them has been pretty ugly. Not all of these girls are all there, both intellectually or emotionally, and many more are relentlessly hooked on an assortment of drugs and tanning beds.

To a single twentysomething, these isuues are not a big deal, they can overlook some or all of these for a time, but for a divorced man, these will present too many challenges to overcome. You can show this beautiful girl off to your envious pals, yes, but you can't introduce them to your parents, your children, or your remaining couple friends. Many men don't realize all the other things they have grown to need from a woman besides a hot bod.

There are a fair few that will attempt to cannibalize your herd. They couldn't make it work with their spouse, but the main women they have been exposed to for years and years are other wives of their couples friends. You can generally spot these dudes easily enough, as they are the ones who will come over from their dingy bachelor apartment to watch the big game with you, but will end up in the kitchen talking your wife for long periods of time, trying their flirt out. This can lead to some hard feelings and the occasional gunshot wound for the least subtle among them.

And now we come to the saddest bastards of the lot: those that try to pick up where they left off at the 'clubs. You've seen 'em. The older guy with grey in his hair, usually wearing something inappropriate like a Hawaiian shirt and khakis, or jeans with a button down and dress shoes. Always at the edge of the dance floor or at the bar with the gold card out, trying to buy a drink for a 22 year old. The one most likely to try to out-drink shots with newly found young friends, and end up with a DUI. I despise these lads the most, probably because I know that would be me if I was ever in that situation. I loved the nightclub scene, and live music in particular. But I digress...

The common theme for most of these divorced men is spending amazing amounts of cash trying to attract a new mate (except the cannibals, unless they suddenly have huge medical bills ;), which is the one thing they usually don't have loads of! People only sometimes get divorced because they fall out of love. Many more split because of the financial mess they have created for themselves, regardless of whose fault. Now they are out there again, probably paying hefty child support (if they aren't a-holes), possible alimony, their new living space with all new furnishings (you know their wives made them toss all their bachelor furnishings long ago) , new expensive man toys, and new a hefty bar bill whenever they go trolling. Plus all the things they have become accustomed to that they have to buy, like cable, Internet, blackberries, prescriptions, food, etc.

Then, when they finally find a new mate, and it may be months or years before she finds out her free-spending Mr. Right is financially screwed, and she finds that she is his new Sugarmamma, whether she can afford to or not.

I bring this all up as another recently divorced man, more of an acquaintance than a friend, was hanging out a friend's BBQ, discussing his new freedom, and how I should hook up with him to head downtown for some "Man time" with the boys, and all the hot spots they were going to, in his brand new hummer h2, the chicks he had on the hook, and all the wonders of ice climbing, blah blah blah.

Then he proceeded to bemoan his fate with his 2 kids, on how he only got them Wednesday afternoons and one weekend a month, and how the system and his Ex were out to get him, and how unfair it was. I surprisingly felt very little sympathy for him.

When I showed little interest in joining him, he called me and some of the other men there out for being whipped pussies, and reminded us how much we were missing. And it had an effect, like being dared on the playground as children.

I came to realize that while many women are very suspicious of other women near their man, the most dangerous thing to married men was no-longer-married men.

As I began, I don't have the perfect answer. I only hope that given the same circumstances, I would be able to cope better. I am also not holding divorcee women to a different standard, I just have less exposure to their shortcomings.


P.S. Wow. I can apparently can be long-winded. I'll be surprised if anyone takes the time to read all that.


AmyMeacham said...

I read the whole thing and enjoyed it!

Sarcasm Abounds said...

Thank you! I appreciate you taking the time to read it. -SA

Anonymous said...

I always thought men went to strip clubs because the food was good. I heard the steak at Shotgun's is the best.

Sarcasm Abounds said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sarcasm Abounds said...


It's been a great while since I have had personal knowledge of this place, but I can say this with little chance of error: You heard wrong.

I would feel safer getting food at 3 AM from an unbathed burrito vendor than sample the fare at said club.

I would stick with the $9 beer.

Jennifer said...

Very, VERY great article. I read it all and loved it.

You present a picture that many men, who become disenchanted with their wives do not envision.

I hope a lot of guys read your post.. it is filled with wisdom!

You are a good man!

Warmest wishes,


Sarcasm Abounds said...

Thank you for your kind words!

KMH said...

I read it all, too- very entertaining! And I'm not even a divorced man (or anything close)!

Anonymous said...

The whole "long-winded" piece was genius. My ex-boyfriend of four years was divorced and went through each of the stages you mentioned, including the hot stripper! Only problem was he did them behind my back while we were together...In hindsight I wish I would have known about the "transitional" woman after divorce. To make matters worse, his ex-wife was EXTREMELY successful so he gets $6K a month to pick-up the tab for the stripper dujour or the chubby collegiate of his choice. That makes for a false sense of reality, but he doesn't mind paying for his new found friends...I've lived and learned.

Anonymous said...

Live a little longer and you will find that mating foibles aside, divorced men in America are well and truely screwed in every sense of the word.