Thursday, April 17, 2008


Well, you're not going to adopt a hag, so much as marry one. Before you panic, we’re not talking about an actual hag, just a semi-hag. A hag-to-be. A bridesmaid to hagitude.

That's right, we're marrying off all the single 29-year-old women in America!

Bear with me. The media cycle is a predictable thing. As regular as old Aunt Flo, the media/cultural debate/Internet decides to put out a new op-ed designed to make women feel like crap about themselves.

Usually, it's because we're all supposed to be married by 30, and done with birthin’ by 35. In trailervilles/the pickup artist scene (they’re remarkably similar), you can round those ages down to 25 and 30. Women's failure in this regard is a national catastrophe. After 30, our looks diminish with each passing microsecond. And as we all know, our looks are all we really have to offer. It’s tragic.

Meanwhile, our society gives men a free pass. Thanks to biology, cultural norms, yesterday's breakfast, whatever, men don't face the same scrutiny/guilt tripping/societal hand-wringing. There are men who string their girlfriends along for years and years, shack up with them to no ultimate purpose, dump them, trade them in, cheat, or are just plain not suitable for the occasion. But women are still supposed to marry the first clod who comes along. Nobody ever tells these Xbox freak bachelor babies to man up and marry. The deck is stacked, so we’re reshuffling it.

Onward to my brilliant social engineering experiment.

I've made a list of people who lay on the marital/hagitude guilt trip. Most are articulate, some are successful, any and all can provide for their very own hag. Here we go:

Lori Gottlieb

Roissy and about 80% of his male commenters (sorry Roissy, couldn’t resist)

Bob Allen

Rachel Greenwald

Other nominees welcome!

If your name is on the above list, you're a mandatory participant in Adopt-a-Hag. We're taking you at your word. No longer will you badger women about marriage/looming hideousness before an arbitrary deadline without taking the plunge yourself. No further action is necessary on your part – your state-issued pre-hag will arrive via registered mail in the next 7-10 days. And, if you're a woman (aka, a traitor), you get a sex change and TWO pre-hags. If you’re not on the list, you can volunteer by adding your name to the comments.

As for me? I don't have a dog in the fight. This is my spectacularly selfless contribution to humanity. I'm 31, and I've had my turn on the marriage-go-round. I've resigned myself to a life of Botox oblivion and cruising the clubs at 40, like those sitcom girls with the funny clothes who talk dirty all the time. But don't cry for me, I live on through Adopt-a-Hag.

PS – this post inspired by the randoms on KassyK’s blog, who hassled her about marrying “before it’s too late” because she’s all old and used-up at 29 and her biological clock should be pounding in her ears and controlling her every action. Lordy lordy, people.


Anonymous said...

Oh no--I missed the age cut off by two years. Hagtitude is just around the corner, though. Better find someone, anyone--STAT.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex, this is just a pilot program at the moment. If it's successful, well, on your 29th birthday two large men are going to show up at your front door with a blindfold and a wheelbarrow.

Don't worry, they won't hurt you.

Velvet said...

"There are men who string their girlfriends along for years and years, shack up with them to no ultimate purpose, dump them, trade them in, cheat, or are just plain not suitable for the occasion. But women are still supposed to marry the first clod who comes along..."

In my years of experience (my age adds up to HAG, by the way) I have found that men are the ones who are more desperate and needy. There seem to be a whole lot more of the guys you describe as in a mediocre relationship than in a great one? Why? Because men are lazy, they don't like to look hard, and they don't like to be alone. Those three things all combine to create a man who jumps into a relationship with any woman he finds who is remotely attractive. That's why he doesn't marry her though - he's not in love with her more than he is with himself.

I think it's funny that women get this rap like all we want is to be married and have babies, when in reality, many more men are the ones jumping into the wrong relationships just to be in relationships at all.

If being selective makes me a hag, well, oh well then. I'll put my money in the bank instead of using it to pay some lawyer to get me out of a marriage that is a disaster. Though, I'm sure those thousands of dollars would be worth it just to say "I was married."

Yeah. Sure.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this.

I love that they are not noticing anything about the individual woman (besides to tell me I am attractive--bc that is apparently all I have to give)

Not that I am currently IN LOVE or anything...or that I moved home bc of financial instability that controlled my entire 20s and I want out...

I should just shrug off my current beau, ignore the debt that has consumed my life and burden my MOTHER with me having a baby asap!

Because that is what the world needs, another pregnant women with no money, a father who can't help, and no dreams for her future ever even given a chance to be met.

Thank you.

Shannon said...

Velvet, I agree with a lot of what you said. I just get super tired of women taking the rap for marrying late/not at all (when people marry is nobody's business in the first place). Until gay marriage gets passed, we're stuck marrying the menfolk.

Or, maybe you, me, Lemmonex and Kassy could start a polygamous lesbian commune.

KassyK, you're welcome. The female reproductive system is a harsh mistress, but I'm saving you from that. Ready to get married off?

Shannon said...

Kassy, you aren't trying to argue that women are individuals, are you? With personalities and lives? Nope, we're ambulatory uteri.

Anonymous said...

HA, silly me!

J said...

Hey, there are plenty of men who have nothing to do with this. Velvet claimed selectivity - I'm going to, as well. I'm 25 and don't have any relationship prospects on the horizon (okay, there was this really, really cute girl with a tramp stamp I met earlier this week...), but it's not for lack of trying. Sure, I have an XBox, but I don't string girls along... Men may get a "pass" to some degree, but sooner or later I'm going to get the ol' "hmm, something must be wrong with him"... I just have 3-4 extra years :P

J said...

I just checked out KassyK's blog. She is a babe and a half :) If you'll pardon the expression.

Oh, and for the record, the last girl I seriously dated told me "You're exactly the kind of guy I want to marry, but I really want to have fun right now". Which was kind of funny, because I tend to be somewhat breezy about relationships in the formative stages, and now-boyfriend she "dumped" me for got super-duper clingy and relationshippy. I know because her and I have turned out to be amazing friends :)

Shannon said...

Justin, I'm not really bashing men. So don't take anything I say as criticism - what I'm satirizing is this weird little media cottage industry that makes women feel like crap if they aren't married by a certain point, BUT nobody ever mentions that the menfolk gotta want to get married, too. It's unfair and sickening when you think about it. Why not harp on the boys once in a while?

Also, Irish people should cook their babies.

Anonymous said...

You might find this interesting:

I read it and immediately thought of this blog entry.

I don't think people should rush into marriage. But I read Lori Gottlieb's piece and thought she actually had some interesting points. That companionship with someone you can really trust, someone you can depend on, someone who can become part of your family, is great. But if you don't have that, then it can be very awful.

I disagree with her idea of "settling," but I think she was really trying to say that too many women today want a man that gives her everything, when that is practically impossible. Choosing a lifelong mate is an incredibly important decision, and too many people screw it up. Men and women nowadays focus too much on sex and not enough on friendship/compatibility. The idea of shoving a hard deadline in front of people and forcing people into marrying and having kids is awful, too.

I'm happy with my own choice of getting married when I was 23. I'm a very much more traditional kind of girl and need stability, and I am extremely happy being married. Marriage is not for everybody, however, and and I think it's fine if people choose not to get married at all. I know a couple who plan to never have children, and another couple who have been together for over 10 years and have not gotten married. I think that is great for them. My husband and I have different choices in mind, but we made these choices; they weren't forced on us. People should definitely be encouraged to be free, to be loving, and to make their own choices.

Anonymous said...

can't help you here. adopting hags is for betas. applications to join my stable of regulars require meeting the widely accepted standards for prime female sexual marketability.

Shannon said...

Hope, I think this is your first comment here, so welcome! You bring up some interesting points. I do think sometimes people have very unrealistic standards - as I've said before, soulmates are for suckers.

On the other hand, it's folly to make a lifelong decision based on outside pressures. A lot of these women who "settle" are dooming themselves to divorce (best case) or a lifetime of unhappiness (worst case). When I got divorced, I made peace with the idea that I might never remarry, because that's not completely under my control. It's better to be on your own than married to the wrong person.

Roissy, sorry, Adopt-a-Hag is mandatory. Your wife is already en route. But I picked a good one for you - she's cute, she works out and I hear she's a terrific cook. Now all you have to do is support her financially and impregnate her before all of her eggs float off into the ether and she shrivels up.

Anonymous said...

Ohh Shannon. Did you pick Lemmonex for roissy? She's a great cook and cute and works out!

Shannon said...

Lemmonex isn't old enough, she's got another year or two.

Shoot! Forgot to punch holes in the lid of the cute cook shipping container. Roissy's going to have to marry the Bryn Mawr women's studies program adjunct professor.

Anonymous said...

This is why my ears were ringing...

Rina said...

i've got about 4-5 years to go until someone has to adopt me and I ain't settlin'.
So sign me up on the roster.

Shannon said...

Lemmonex, the ringing is your ears reacting to the damage inflicted by your hollering biological clock.

Rina, there is no need for you to sign up. Your withering ovaries, sagging bottom and lonely womb took care of the registration for you.

In the end, all you can do is live your life in a way that's right for you and hope for the best. Bio-clock nagging doesn't help anyone.

Anonymous said...

I guess I just don't fit that analysis: married at 32, first kid at 38, second (without trying at all, complete accident) kid at 43. Then discovered my "save me from hagdom guy" really was nuts. Left him. Have happily dated, with no noticeable man shortage whatsoever all over DC in my 40s. And I look my age and I'm on the heavy side of height/weight proportionate. But since it messes with the theory of the "man shortage"*, never mind me. Hee.

*Actually there are always too damn many of them. Shoo!

Shannon said...

Hi Foilwoman! Well, you DID marry, so you're not a hag. You'll just have to hang at the bitter divorcee table with me. Don't worry, the drinks are strong and we've got some lovely tapenade.

You should read the comments thread I linked to. Kass writes this lovely essay about her romantic history, then a couple of random men start harping on her out of nowhere. Because women are public property or some such thing. Ack.

Anonymous said...

Kass writes this lovely essay about her romantic history, then a couple of random men start harping on her out of nowhere. Because women are public property or some such thing. Ack.

A lot of men simply do not have good social graces and don't care that real life etiquette should be extended to online etiquette. This is especially problematic among younger men (and young women who are heavily influenced to think being "bitchy" is cool).

The best way to respond to this kind of behavior is not to reward it with any attention, positive or negative, but simply to be silent and walk away. They will move on to more responsive targets.

Shannon said...

I usually just laugh them off or parody them mercilessly. More fun for me, at any rate.

Foilwoman said...

Well, some men do eventually clue in that sometimes women do things for other reasons than to attract or please men (sometimes, we have actual ambitions, people we love who aren't men, and a desire to please ourselves, you know?) and as one matures, those men gain in attractiveness.

But most guys seem oblivious to the fact that many women just aren't going to have anything to do with them -- they're not being bitter and alone, they're off living rich full lives (with their condos full of cats and parakeets). As far as I can tell, when I was in the "search" phase of dating I was one of possibly ten or twenty women in my age group in my zip code who would actually consider going on a date with an actual guy. This made the pickings for me very good. And whatever the demographics, the single, actually-searching-for-a-man woman over forty is in darn short supply. So all of you soon-to-be hags (or current hags*): fear not. If you're still even remotely interested in getting laid or finding a relationship after forty, you'll be spoiled for choice.

*I'm beyond hagdom. My uncle told be ten years ago that I wasn't yet an old bat, but I was a bat-to-be. I believe my bat-to-be days are past me know, much like my salad days and my glorious youth. Doesn't mean I'm on the shelf. Actually, I've been surprised at how many men I've dated post divorce who have actually wanted to become a monogamous couple, started talking marriage, etc. I'm sitting there thinking: "Marry again? It took me $75,000+ to get rid of the Insane Ex! I don't want to go there again. Let's just date with the occasional frisky foray thrown in." Yup, roles and times change, and not the way the received wisdom always indicates. Way more information than you wanted, I'm sure. Good thing it's anonymous, huh?

Foilwoman said...

Oh, and I meant to say: I agree with Velvet, completely. Not when I was in my late twenties (I was shyer and more awkward than I'm prettier sure she ever was), but now.

Valnessa said...

This is still a thing that exists? I thought it was some throwback idea just being parodied in the movies and sitcoms....Wow. Or maybe I didn't notice it since I married at 21. I used to get a lot of BS about having kids, but I try to cut off any conversation about that now with a "Don't have 'em and don't want 'em, cause I don't like 'em." There is no response to that. Just a confused look. I suggest this approach for rude ass muthafuckas that want to get all in your business about your relationship status.

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