I have been reading Charles Darwin’s The Voyage of the Beagle. In the 1830s, Darwin spent nearly five years aboard the Beagle, which conducted a variety of scientific/geographical surveys mostly of Argentina and Chile. After this main task, they traveled to Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific, before heading back to London.
This ship was crewed, naturally, entirely by men. A group of men spent five years together, with no women. When Darwin was ashore, he was also engaged in studies that mostly consisted of difficult overland travel, with no women. They struggled up rivers, crawled through the forests of Tierra Del Fuego, and crossed deserts populated primarily by bandits. Since this was Charles Darwin, he was also engaged in an intellectual adventure. He collected many samples of flora and fauna, and engaged in countless studies of geology. This led to his own theories of speciation, and also some interesting studies on the origin of atolls, the geological history of these regions, and other interesting subjects.
It was, in short, a wonderful adventure. This is a man’s idea of adventure: going off, in the company of other men, to discover something interesting.
Women like adventure too. But, a woman’s idea of adventure is, in the first instance, sexual adventure; and, in the second instance, in the company of men, primarily her husband. For example, a woman today might also daydream of spending five years aboard the Beagle, in the company of the young Charles Darwin and a hundred other men whose hard, tanned bodies have been tempered by the physical toil of life on the sea. Hubba hubba. But, do you ever find a woman who daydreams of spending five years on a ship with a hundred other women, and no men? This never happens. It also never happens in real life. In real life, perhaps in the entire history of humanity, a hundred women have never set off on a five-year sailing adventure, with no men on board, and where they could not expect to ever meet a man.
In the second instance, a woman’s adventure is not quite sexual adventure, but it takes place alongside men, primarily her husband. Many women joined their husbands to explore and populate new and remote areas, raising children along the way. It is practically the whole history of America from the seventeenth century to about 1920. Today, women can take adventurous paths, for example becoming a Hollywood actress or starting a business. But, most adventure for women today is sexual adventure: a string of exciting bad boys. She imagines that home and family is the end of adventure, and the beginning of drudgery and toil.
Women, although naturally somewhat cautious, also like to have a share of adventure. The problem with sexual adventure is that it doesn’t end well: a woman ends up a worn-out slut incapable of forming a stable relationship. Even if she manages to get married (which she usually does), she will then tear apart her own family and end up as before, a single woman in search of sexual adventure. And then, there is still another forty years to get through. Also, sexual adventure normally requires a woman to be a single, working woman. Most employment is drudgery and toil; a housewife has far more sovereignity and freedom to do as she likes. In the past, this adventure was commonly alongside a husband. A husband and wife, together, would do something adventurous.
Unfortunately, I think that most men today are not very adventurous. They have had to temper their natural sense of adventure to succeed within the constraints of school and corporate work. Women find them boring. They do not hold out much promise of adventure together.
I do not think it is necessary to take long sailing voyages to be adventurous. You can simply think adventurous thoughts. Most men today are terrified at the idea of thinking thoughts that are deviant from what they are being told to do by the media or their school teachers. They are terrified at wearing any kind of interesting clothing, or driving an adventurous car, or doing any sort of interesting thing — of being a creative force in the world. I sometimes wonder what women think of the typical successful men of the professional class. These would seem to be some of the most desirable men around. They make high incomes, and have positions of responsibility and expertise. From a man’s point of view, they are often quite impressive. They do a difficult job well, and are reliable, trustworthy and cooperative. From a woman’s point of view, I think most of them seem like pasty, out-of-shape lumps with a pathological attachment to khaki pants and denim shirts. An office of these men gives the impression of a koala bear farm. They do not have an energy of adventurousness, even though they may actually be involved in something quite adventurous.
Earlier, I mentioned the example of Steve Cohen, one of the top hedge fund managers of the past thirty years:
Not only is hedge fund management inherently adventurous, but Cohen also built a huge organization, became one of the top funds in the industry, and became a billionaire along the way. From a man’s point of view, a very impressive guy. Very very. But, if I didn’t tell you all that, and said only that he was a successful professional in the financial industry in New York, and worked long hours in the office, I can see how a woman might not be very turned on by this prospect. It seems dull. She would rather hang out with some rock band drummer.
Earlier, I mentioned that Cohen participated in a video dating service — he probably omitted some of the details to weed out the gold diggers — and contacted twenty-seven women. Only one responded, a single mother who grew up in public housing. They got married, and apparently, she has been a very good wife. Good for them.
Here is another successful professional who spends long hours in the office in New York:
While this is a particularly good looking actor, nevertheless I think that, on top of that, he expresses a possibility of “adventure,” from a woman’s point of view. But, this is rare today. So, when I suggest that the proper sphere for adventure for a woman is alongside her husband, I can understand why women might look at this prospect with a little skepticism.
I have been suggesting that a woman today should get married around age 18-20, and launch right into the big adult responsibilities of raising children and managing a household. One reason for this is that, a woman waits until age 28 to marry, then the ten years in between will typically be occupied either with celibacy, sexual adventure, or a near-marriage with the man that she will eventually marry, or perhaps not marry — four bad options. But women nevertheless cling to this pattern, in part from their desire for adventure.
So, I will suggest that marriage can also be a forum for adventure, for a woman. Even if a woman gets married at 18, she might delay having children until perhaps age 23, and spend those five years traveling and doing fun things, with her husband — just as women do with their boyfriends today. Her husband may be involved in something adventurous — starting a new business for example, or moving to a new city — that she takes part in alongside. Even if her husband is, to some degree, a boring provider, she would likely have plenty of flexibility to do something interesting during the day. Just having children is an adventure. This is particularly true now, when the whole process of motherhood and family must be hewn out of raw materials. We cannot do what others have done in the past, and are doing today. There lies only degeneracy and failure.
Or, as Jack summarized well in the comments below: “Getting married, joining her husband in his life mission, and having a family should be a woman’s greatest adventure in life. Unfortunately, there’s too much propaganda telling women the opposite.”
In short, we should reconcile the conflict that is felt by women between being married at 18, and having a bit of adventure. People did it in the past. Caroline Ingalls, of Little House on the Prairie, was very adventurous. Mostly, it is a matter of just doing it — doing something adventurous, within the context of marriage and family.