About three years ago, I was at work where I sat directly next to a married guy named George – who just had a new baby. His second.
When he talked about it, it was about the sleepless night he endured, or perhaps how his weekend was spent in line at Costco and Walgreens walking 10 paces behind his wife, and looking dead behind the eyes. He wasn’t the type of father who reached into his wallet to pull a picture out with a beaming smile to show everyone. His lungs were empty in his delivery, and whatever story he had to tell frequently came from a deflated posture like that of a beaten dog.
The first thing that comes to mind, is the “frog soup” analogy. You place a frog in a pot of cool water and the frog is happy to be there. There are no predators around. It’s cool and clean. He loves it! Until you turn the gas on. Even when the water starts to warm up, the frog has no idea he’s in a heap of trouble, and by the time the water starts to boil, he’s turned into frog soup. The frog does not realize what’s happening and he just boils along with it.
The joy and celebration over the creation of a new life full of potential and promise is simple for anyone to understand, and we see new mothers enthusiastically sharing this joy all over social media all the time. After all, she finally has “the baby” she has dreamed about and anticipated for a long time – possibly even since she was a little girl.
But George didn’t just have another “baby”.
He just had another adult.
He explained whenever he held “the baby”, he didn’t see “a baby” like his wife did. He saw college tuition fees. He saw an argumentative and rebellious teenager, and dental expenses. Just braces alone would cost him 2 months of after tax savings, and he could’t get it out of his head. He had already begun to think about how he was going to explain the birds and the bees, or pay for his daughter’s wedding. He wished he could see “a baby” like his wife did. He really, really wanted to.
At the end of one random workday, I got up to pack my things together and go home, and he blurted out an unprompted comment I would never forget: “When I grow up, I want to be just like you.”.
It was as if he had been thinking it for months, but never said it out loud. It came as as a real surprise and it spun me around ….. because unmarried men without kids often find themselves on the receiving end of the stink eye. MGTOW question their life choices constantly and receive little or no support, encouragement, or validation from society or anyone. We see the rest of the world very much against such life choices. It’s a constant swimming upstream against an immensely forceful current.
Men who live for themselves and their own goals and dreams are perceived as “losers” and are often fear-shamed into thinking they will “die alone”. But George looked at a man like that with admiration and respect. Within his own comment, he saw it as mature and sensible. He recognized he was resigned to a fate he didn’t consciously choose or previously consider carefully, and he didn’t ask himself enough tough questions.
It was one of the first times I could see the grass was not greener on the other side. A view very seldom seen or recognized by others. I laughed on the outside, but inside I was thankful – perhaps for the very first time.
Although George was married and now had two kids which many would have you believe means he will not “die alone”, he found himself very much living alone. He didn’t say these things to his wife, because all she could see was “a baby”, and to appease her, he kept these thoughts to himself so as not to de-romanticize it. He didn’t want to spoil it for her, for her own protection – and his.
Niko (video above) takes in interesting approach in addressing The Sleeping Man. You will notice he doesn’t present MGTOW as a sales pitch, or even a “better” alternative. He simply asks the questions.
It’s not the answer that drives us. It’s the question.