Where Are The Men?

In the ongoing dialogue between men and women, it seems the lines of communication are ringing with the annoying drone of a  busy signal. The growing ranks of people remaining single, either unwillingly or by choice, has swollen to unexpected  proportions in the last decade.

“All the good ones are taken,” says Serineh with a wink of her eye. Although it’s meant to be a joke, there’s a tone of  underlying seriousness.

“Don’t worry. You’ll catch them on the next round,” responds Razmig, implying that with the recent spate of divorces,  potential partners once thought to be out of reach are now available again.

“But they’re all so burned by the experience that they never want to do it again,” says Serineh.

Studies have shown conclusively that married people live longer. Specifically, the death rate for people who are unmarried  (never been married, divorced or widowed) is significantly higher than for those who are married and living with their  spouse. But the biggest difference was in those who had never married.

“So all those jokes about being married …,” begins Serineh and trails off.

“Good thing I got that out of the way,” quips Sarkis about his former marriage.

Unfortunately for Sarkis, the studies also go on to show that married adults are generally healthier than unmarried adults.  In comparing the health levels of married and divorced men, it’s been discovered that that the relative health levels of  divorcees drops significantly as they age. In fact, by the time divorced men reach the age of 50, they can expect their  health to deteriorate much faster than the health of those who are married.

So a happy husband has about ten years added to his expected lifespan while a woman’s lifespan increases by a mere four  years.

Although weddings have not tapered off, as evidenced by the year long wait for a hall or church date, it is the union of  people of a certain age that has become uncommon.

“Yeah, at this age, why bother?” asks Razmig. As we grow older and more established in our lives, there is a tendency to get  set in our ways. We develop likes and dislikes about how we want our homes and our lives structured. “Is it really worth all  the effort?” Razmig goes on to ask.

If the above research is not enough, then consider this: a new study now suggests that marriage, especially in middle age,  keeps the mind sharp and wards off age related issues like memory loss and dementia. The most vulnerable are those who are  widowed or divorced and do not remarry. The marriage factor on the well being of the mind affects it regardless of education,  physical activity or level of social interaction.

So what is an Armenian single person to do? Both sides seem be in a stand off: one claiming there are no quality men willing  to consider marriage and the other hesitant to make the mistake of marrying the wrong woman.

“Where are the men?” asks Serineh, looking around the roomful of people who are either too young or clearly attached to their  families.

“They don’t come to events like this,” says Taline.

“Why not? We’re here,” Serine says while Taline shrugs. She can’t respond to Serineh’s statement.

“Where are you supposed to go to meet them?” asks Serineh. Again Taline can’t respond.

Mary, a globetrotting grandmother who has keenly watched the shifting dynamics between the sexes, believes that the reason  why Armenian women don’t meet good men is because they are taught different things then men about dating.  “I don’t know how  it is now, but in my time God forbid if I invited attention, wore a showy dress, had a low neckline or wore it tight. I would  be considered nothing short of a prostitute.”

She is vocal about the double standards inherent in gender relations. “Men, apparently, need clues in order to approach a  woman. Without those clues women’s chances are kaput. On the other hand, woe to the woman who takes the first step: she is  crucified.” Mary goes on to suggest that someone should write a book about proper modern dating rules in the Armenian  community of the United States so we no longer rely on “imported traditions from Caesaria or Aintab.” She believes that there  is nothing wrong with a woman going out to E-Harmony (a computer dating site) to get a companion. “Enough of sitting home  waiting for a call, or pampering an overinflated ego, for a drop of love. I’m just sorry to see wonderful ladies end up  broken-hearted due to sticking to outdated attitudes.”

In a busy and complicated world it’s hard to maintain a varied social life. Dickran claims that the established venues of  matchmaking in the Armenian community are no longer working. “You see the same people over and over again.”

There is resistance to the idea of, what is essentially, a blind date even though a mere generation ago, being introduced by  an intermediary was an accepted practice in Diasporan communities.

Fortunately things seem to be changing somewhat. Currently, there are several internet dating sites that cater specifically  to Armenians. Al, a reader of this column, sent in a comment telling of his experience of how he spent several years using  the same old methods of trying to find an “Armenian bride.”

“I wasn’t able to meet a quality girl in social settings or parties. I found it difficult to meet and start a conversation  with an Armenian girl in social gatherings. These events have turned into fashion shows and modeling events. It’s all about  who is wearing what, driving what, and doing what. Very little spend time to get to know the other person. Hopelessly, I  turned to the Internet for help. I found several Armenian dating websites where I had the opportunity to meet Armenian girls  and start a conversation right away. I met and dated many Armenian girls. Some were quality girls, some weren’t. Eventually,  I found the love of my life. We met on an Armenian singles website and started dating and married a year later. Online dating  has its downsides, but it’s worth trying.”

“Maybe it’s time to consider the internet,” says Dickran. It will certainly be good for his health.


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  1. William said:

    I think as Armenian women age, they start asking where all the men are when they should be asking where all the men went. There are no shortage of men, Armenian or otherwise, who pursue Armenian women in their youth. But, for a variety of reasons, the women are considerably standoffish. Whatever those reasons, the men become annoyed of the tedium involved in asking an Armenian woman out and they go out with non-Armenians. In that book about proper dating rules should be included a section outlining the time it takes to ask an Armenian girl out on a date versus a non-Armenian girl: it’s truly an exercise in patience and persistence…and why shouldn’t it be if you’re asking out a princess?

    When the women get older and their “biological clock” is ticking (courtesy: Marisa Tomei), they’re all of a sudden more open to dating Armenian men, and sometimes even the ones they shunned and disregarded previously. At this point, some of the men have gotten married and the others have a bad taste left in their mouths so they don’t even bother.

    All this also partially has to do with the finality with which Armenians look at dating. We can’t even call it dating because there is no such concept in Armenian culture. If you’re going out with someone, it is with the implicit possibility that you may end up marrying each other. So, that results in making broad decisions about a person – and we’re all guilty of this – long before you’ve spent any time getting to know them. We make these decisions because if we were to try to find these things out during a “date” (a.k.a. your tacit agreement to be in a long-term relationship with that person), marriage is inevitable. That is a big decision to make while standing in a bar with a martini in your hand.

  2. manooshag said:

    Hye, Tamar, thanks for the interesting observations on the current issue of meeting and marrying… My mother/Boursa married my father/Dikranagerdsi. Mother, in orphanage in Syria was matched by my father’s family to come to USA to marry my father who had come to the USA. Both, as young children, miraculously, Survivors… They were dedicated as Armenian parents, raised four daughters and one son… had 10 grandchildren who today maintain their Armenian heritage. They have 16 great-grandchildren (more coming) aware of their Armenian heritage. Survivors/Patriots as well. Patriots for creating an Armenian family in a foreign land, all their children highly educated and successful. Quite a feat, two strangers, albeit they spoke the same language, the Armenian Church, and then of course, in support of the ARF and Hai Tad… An Armenian ‘indaneek’ – again.
    This scenerio has played over, many times… as we’ve known from our Survivors’ family histories.
    Today, there are so many Armenian organizations, as well as our Armenian churches, where so many young
    Armenians can meet with those who share the same interests, the same goals, who want to create their own
    Armenian families… Further today, the Internet, as well…
    It is said that Armenian women/great wives; Armenian men/great fathers – together/great Armenian families… Hye Daghak, seek and ye shall find… mehr Aghcheeks are seeking too!
    Read recently, together our Armenian homeland and combined with our Armenian Diaspora, we are counted as ten million (10,000,000) Armenians… and how many more we shall have been but for the vile Turk.
    Further, in 2010 USA census do ‘sign up’ as ARMENIAN – to be counted as Armenian – not as a vague OTHER…

  3. daron said:

    Where are the Women… the women that can hold intelligent conversations, the women that value morals, social responsibilities, women that have sense of pride and self respect. The picture in our community reflects the general norms of the “pop” society where everything is based on image.
    Kardashian and the company have become the roll models of most Armenian women, and that is for the young and the middle age women. When women in general advertise their only assets “curves”, that says a lot about their values and basically it says “you get what you see”.

  4. Armen said:

    I agree with William..could not say it better myself. I tend to not post at the comments on the bottom of articles / columns, but could not help myself this time…

    Some of the hottest and unapproachable girls from high school (many years ago) are still single. It’s what our women have been conditioned to do and now it’s biting them in the ‘rear’.

    All in all….Armenian men and women should get over it, get together, and start making babies. Everyone is too good for the other person. I love it when a lot of my friends that are girls claim they are better than 95% of the women out there. If 50% of the women out there claim they are better than 95% of the women out there..how does the math work? Most are average in every way, or maybe even below average (as far as the left over ones who are not taken yet). It’s an efficient market, and things are what they are for a reason…they need to see the light…sad..i know, but it’s the reality of things. There is a point where you need to make the other person ‘earn you’…guy or girl…and not just give in easily…just so long as it’s not taken too far.

    By the way…being recently single…I thought that there were no good girls and guys out there. I was brainwashed by my ex to think so. There are plenty of them out there, you just need to know where to look and strip off the layers of superficial thinking. I have found that typically there is an inverse relationship with the number of high-end bags / shoes a girl owns and the quality of girl….same with guys….and relative to his lifestyle vs. means of subsistence. It’s not that hard. Just some food for thought.

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