Found this vintage McDonald’s commercial on Jezebel.

One of the commenter’s had this to say,

“Women settling since 1988.”

Rob thinks women have been lowering their expectations for a while longer.

Settling is such an interesting concept because it is based on the premise that having expectations of others is always a good idea and that accepting people for who they are – realizing that no one and nothing can avoid the alterations of time at any rate – is not the best way to go about judging people (I would use the would “assess”, but I don’t think that many of us do that).

I remember the commercial. I was twenty-five and I knew women like the one in the commercial. Shoulders padded and Melanie Griffith business suits that ran the gamut of neutral colors with the occasional sea-foam green thrown in to show “the Man” that they were still women and not going to conform completely. Men hadn’t changed nearly as much as women had in terms of roles yet and the smell of fear was palpable in the dating arena.

Settling. Play this scenario out about ten years and you’d find that he was a store manager and she was just getting back into the workforce because both of their kids were now in school all day, relieving them of the crushing financial burden of childcare. They needed her job to help them pay for the extras necessary to keep up with the neighbors in the new subdivision where they’d built a house. They are happy-ish but probably too tired to notice. Her friends, the ones who never married, think he’s held her back. His think she is a nag who is never satisfied and hasn’t held up well physically. They fight a bit but mostly they work, parent and household before collapsing into their queen sized bed to watch Survivor and falling asleep to the ten o’clock local news. Settling.

Or not. This is the life for many, many people. They think they have it all, even if “all” is a little exhausting to maintain. Their Facebook updates overflow with minutia about kids, television and material acquisition. They might not always be sunny and optimistic, but they are more content than not. They are happier and count themselves more fortunate than their single friends at any rate.

When I was twenty-five, every guy I knew was like Larry. No expectations. That way nothing was lost and failure was impossible. How I avoided marrying a Larry, I will never quite understand.

9 thoughts on “Settling

  1. hey that is the guy form Law and Order Special Victims Unit LOL
    Interesting blog

    Colour me weird but I see this as an example of being straightforward and not playing games.

  2. I have to say: “Larry is people too”.

    Before you talk about “settling”, I think you need to figure out what’s truly important in a relationship for you. Is it love? When you dream about marrying a professional is it because professionals are more loving or romantic? Are your kids more likely to stay out of trouble raised by someone who has less family time and makes more money? I’ve met just as many professionals who hate their jobs as I’ve met Larrys who love their job, and Larrys who love their job are invariably better humans in general.

    My wife’s Aunt is married to the heir of a notable fortune; he bought a run-down car, dressed at Wal-mart and met at her place for 2 years until he proposed and revealed he was a billionaire. He wanted her to “settle” before revealing she didn’t have to. To prove how shallow she is, she put up with the fact he had lied to her for two years, they married, and she’s now just about the most disgusting snob socialite I’ve ever met. Whatever makes you happy, I guess.

    Truth be told, there’s more guys out there that are Larry-ish than not, and more guys whom girls wish were more like Larry. He’s respectful, gave her an out, told her the truth, offered her equality, and probably paid for everything.

    1. No evidence to support that Larry loved his job and most Larry’s I knew, simply worked. They didn’t have careers. My late husband just worked. He wasn’t a professional. My husband now is a professional and he just works. Most people just have jobs.

      My issue with the Larry’s of my younger days is that they always left doors or windows or nooks or crannies even – open. “Don’t expect anything of me” was their motto. This guy too. The door stays open. She is the open-minded one in this scenario, not him.

      1. Anyone going on a blind date is open-minded. Being an ex-Larry, dating is gambling, you throw away money wishing you’ll win. Mix emotion in there and it’s even more painful.

        “No expectations” puts them both at ease, and his whole preamble allows him to shortcut unneeded expense and disappointment. It’s too bad he doesn’t seem to know when to shut up.

  3. If we are going to talk McDonald’s commercials and mold, I remember when you could get a meal there for $1, and get change back.

    Personally, I think we should “settle” more, instead of trying to have it all. It is exhausting. I don’t know how women work and raise kids, I know I couldn’t have done it. Not necessarily settling on a lesser partner, but settling for less in life so we can have peace.

  4. ouch. i remember that commercial – the year my daughter was born, and i was feeling the sting of the talking heads ‘how did i get here?’

    like your fast forward – can easily see the robin’s egg blue mini-van by the soccer field. i was there (well, we had two incomes, but lived on one and banked the other because we were not wired to live at the extreme of our financial means).

    there’s a difference between ‘settling’ and ‘compromise’. and ‘content’ doesn’t have to be a bad word, so long as the other partner isn’t staring down the barrel of ‘restless’.

    as for Larry? they raise them on ranches out here in my part of the world. genetically modified, corn-fed and toxic if exposed to them on a regular basis.

    1. Settling seems to be a single person word. People not yet in a relationship use the “settling” idea to rationalize and people just coming out of a relationship use it to excuse themselves. That’s a generalization, and as such isn’t going to hold universally true but it seems to be more the rule than not.

      I agree that there is a difference between it and compromise. Compromise is one of the feminist dirty words that has been short-handed to “settling”.

      Content is a great place. More people should strive for it b/c in my experience it is where you find happiness.

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