Yesterday a colleague of mine, Ariana, left our company for a new job in Australia. Ariana is twenty-nine: this is not insignificant.
Ariana is attractive – or rather, she retains the last vestiges of her youthful beauty. OK, Ariana was never a stunner, never a first-rate head-turner. But with her slender body, her long, thick black hair and a mischievous face that suggested a profound appetite for naughtiness, she was sexy.
I use the past tense for a reason. In the two years we have worked together, I have observed a definite depreciation in her looks. In part, this is due to her love of binge drinking. Alcohol remains endemic in many industries in London, not least ours, where entertaining clients is a central part of the job. Ariana attacked that duty with gusto, and the empty calories she loaded into her system over many drunken nights meant that she ended up carrying considerably more weight than when she started. Not enough to make her obese, but enough to render her formerly shapely legs matronly, and to give her once-angular features a doughy appearance. These unfortunate adjustments amended my rating of her from “would definitely bang” to “would probably bang, provided it were easy and there were no other options available.”
But Ariana was much-loved at work for her madcap ways and the amusing stories that her frequent inebriation provided. For her last day in the office, another (female) colleague prepared a PowerPoint presentation displaying some of her “finest” moments. The slides were largely composed of photographs taken from Ariana’s Facebook page. Many of them featured close-ups of her increasingly bloated, drunken face as she careened from one crazy night out to the next. One slide was dedicated to her love of drinking whiskey. Another to her penchant for red wine. A third focused on the short skirts she liked to wear.
More slides revealed her “yolo” exploits in the various five-star hotels in New York and Berlin the company had put her up in for business events. Her talent for attracting beta orbiters was referenced; and the fact that she had been banged by a male colleague was revealed on a slide celebrating her “horndog” nature. My assembled colleagues hooted and guffawed at these images, while Ariana looked on, held in the embrace of another girl, close to tears at her impending departure.
Tellingly, not one of the slides referred to her professional capabilities. To be fair, her skills were complimented by two of her managers in their summing-up. Apparently, Ariana had proved herself to be a linchpin of her team, and she had been personally responsible for managing multi-million pound accounts. Personally, I am skeptical. I worked on projects with her a few times: she was rubbish.
I love to party as much as the next person – when it’s appropriate. But it seems incredible that we have reached a state of affairs where a female executive in a responsible position in an internationally-known company with offices in major cities in the UK and the US can be celebrated for spending most of her time drunk and wearing revealing clothes.
Is this really what Emmeline Pankhurst and the early suffragettes had in mind when they fought for women’s rights? And other than looking good in a mini-skirt, what has Ariana really accomplished since completing her humanities degree? OK, apparently she enjoys running. But has she started a business or worked on some other personal project? No. Has she written a book? No. Has she read a book? I doubt it.
One of the problems with reading and writing for men’s websites is that time and again one observes real-life examples of what we caution against in this part of the internet. Ariana is currently perpetuating what Rollo of the Rational Male calls her “party years” and is about to enter the “epiphany and transitory phase.” Her story is fairly typical.
In a long-term relationship with a stable guy slightly older than her until a year or so ago, she dumped him because she was feeling “trapped” and wanted to “experience a little more of life” before “settling down.” “I still love him,” she confided to a colleague. “He is everything I want in a man. But we met at the wrong time. I wish we had met five years from now, when I’m ready to move onto the next stage in my life.”
Is there really any need for me to translate this? Having had few sexual partners prior to her boyfriend, as soon as they had broken up, Ariana slept with at least five new guys, one she met in a fast food joint after yet another drunken night out.
There is a lesson here for those who believe that “locking down” a (relatively) inexperienced girl in her early twenties is still a workable strategy. With Western culture encouraging all of us to put off until tomorrow what could be done today, and telling women to delay building stable relationships and families in favor of sexual pleasure and career success until they are at least in their thirties, then your chances of holding onto your special snowflake for life are slim.
So Ariana is having fun. But she is twenty-nine. I suspect that this underpinned her decision to emigrate. For many young Brits looking to travel and party while they work, Australia is a tempting destination. After all, there is sunshine there, beaches, a vibrant party scene, and a reputedly unquenchable thirst for heavy drinking. But Ariana is not young anymore, and she knows it. Thirty will come knocking soon, and there is a fast-growing crowd of cuter, younger party girls behind her. Reality is starting to bite, and like a dog, it bites hard.
My guess is that the thought of accepting her new relegated position as a has-been in London where many people know her is simply too frightening, too painful. Better to move to another country thousands of miles away, to make new friends, find new lovers. Anything to keep the party going for just a little longer, away from judgmental eyes that reflect back a cold truth – that Ariana is no longer the hot property she once was.
I believe that social mores are arrived at through a combination of diverse factors and that we shouldn’t be too quick to ascribe them to just one. Nevertheless, it seems pretty clear that narratives like Ariana’s are brought to us courtesy of a mixture of modern “feminism” (which isn’t really feminism at all in the original sense of the word) and a general relaxing of moral standards in the new “yolo” culture.
How much better would it have been if Ariana had stuck it out with her boyfriend, who by all accounts was a decent, supportive man (translation: a “boring nice guy”). This, after all, is what our grandparents used to do. I’m not saying the old ways were always better – I’m sure that many women were forced to remain in unpleasant and abusive relationships that they would have been better off out of. But as there is now no societal requirement for people to remain in couplings for appearance’s sake, it means that girls like Ariana are free and indeed encouraged to follow their hypergamous instincts by having sex with strangers and pursuing the backpacker dream while entering their thirties.
Let us not forget: women are at their most fertile between the ages of 19 and 26. Right now, Ariana’s thwarted, trampled biology is screaming out to be heard. It is inevitable that at some point its voice will grow too loud. Then – I have no doubt – she will cash out with whatever guy she is seeing and have a baby. What then for her “beloved” career? After a long absence for maternity leave, she might return to work on a part-time basis – if at all.
As men we are lucky. Because our sexual market value is less based on our physical appearance, and more on other factors like status and dominance, and as we remain fertile for longer (for those men who want kids), we are able to pursue our own inclinations for longer, if not indefinitely. Unfortunately, it’s simply not the same for women – they have a shelf life of between 19 to around 30 if they’re lucky before they become less appealing to men and less able to conceive. This may not be fair, but it’s true.
The tragedy for women like Ariana is that they’ve been lied to – both by a popular culture that tells them they can “have it all” for as long as they like, and by the modern world of work (the only structured organization with rules that Western girls recognize, what with the decline of religion and the discrediting of politicians). And judging by Ariana’s farewell presentation, the feminized contemporary workplace seems only too happy to endorse their bad behavior.
To find out how to navigate the modern dating landscape and meet hot woman click here