“All the best men are taken”.

You will have heard this many, many times throughout your life. And, as you get older you’ll hear it even more. It becomes a universal truth known to all single women over 30. “All the good men are already taken”. But let’s think about that for a minute. What are we really saying when we say that they’re “taken”.

What does taken mean?

Dictionary.com defines the word taken as this: “past participle of take”.

And take is defined thus:

“1. To get into one’s hold or possession by voluntary action” (meaning voluntary for the person taking the object e.g. you’ve chosen to take an apple).

“2. To hold, grasp, or grip”.

What are we saying?

So, what we’re really saying when we say “All the best men are taken” is that women have them in their hold or possession- which the women have voluntarily done. The women have gone out and taken hold of the men, and now possess them.

I find this quite a scary concept that we so readily accept that men have no say in this whatsoever. Using the term “taken” tells us that the men don’t go, but are taken. It puts the blame on being single on other women as they’re the ones holding on to all the men who should be free for you.

How about- men who are in relationships are there because they’re happy and want to be there- it’s not jail- they are free to leave at any time. If we don’t believe this we’re building the excuse of affairs for married men as if they’re being held captive and can only be happy cheating, as leaving isn’t an option. So as well as women in relationships having the blame put on them for having all the best men, leaving none for anyone else, it also puts the blame of affairs on those women too.

Crazy woman

If we think about the second meaning given of the word take- “To hold, grasp, or grip” we realise further that saying “All the men are taken” not only blames women for taking the men and holding on to them, but it gaslights them too. The women are holding onto the men, gripping on to them with white knuckles.

We’re helping to build and sustain the idea of the crazy woman desperately grasping on to her man. Holding onto his leg as he tries to get away. Bitches be cray, right? We’ve all seen the Jerry Springer type programmes and the Desperate Housewives dramas- it’s always the women acting unreasonably. Checking their partners phones, warning off other women, following their partner. All of this helps to build this image of women doing everything they can to hold on. But how about- if the guy just told the truth in the first place- that he wanted to leave- it wouldn’t get to this point. Instead he’s told her “No honey, you’re crazy. Why are you acting like this? Don’t you trust me?” He gaslights her, but we accept this as the ensuing behaviour of the female character erases all memories of what a bastard he’s been. We’re too caught up in how “crazy” she’s being to remember why she’s being that way.

Photo by Dmitriy Ganin from Pexels

The One issue

Men roam the earth like we do and willingly go into relationships. They are not captured by women and held there away from other women who should be with them instead. As well as the crazy woman image, this is also fed by the idea of The One. What if you meet The One but they’re already with someone else? Well, if we believe that they’ve been taken by their partner/girlfriend/wife then it all becomes so easy to feel OK about taking them ourselves doesn’t it? As she has him against his will, but if he had a choice he’d be with you. If we accept that men are just their to be taken, then what’s the difference between taking a single man, and taking a man already with someone?

This whole concept of women “taking” men pits women against each other. It makes women the enemy. That’s why whenever there is an affair we hear “It’s always the woman’s fault”. And there does always seem to be an unhealthy weight of hate put on the “other woman” compared to the partner doing the lying and cheating, in the media especially.

We’re sold stories of women setting their sights on a man she’s only just seen walk into a bar and has decided he’s the one. She must have him. He is the chosen one. So she goes about securing him, no matter the cost. She stalks him like a lion stalks her prey, until she can claim him as her own. This tale is as old as time. While I’m not saying there shouldn’t be blame on the other party (it takes two to tango after all), what I am saying is- is it any wonder?

Change the story

We treat relationships between men and women in films, TV (including “reality”), and books like a game. The men go out to score points sleeping with beautiful women, and the women go out to find partners and will viscously defend their relationship against any detected threat which may “take” that away.

How about we change the story to one where men and women both have responsibility in a relationship. One where they each take ownership of their own lives. If a man is in a relationship and doesn’t want to be there- it’s down to him to walk away- and it’s down to him to choose to cheat if that’s the way it goes. It is not down to another woman “taking” him.

Conclusion on taken

Stop gaslighting each other ladies! Men aren’t taken away, they make their own decisions in life. And they should be the ones to take responsibility for those decisions and face the consequences of their actions. We need to do away with this old fashioned idea of men who can’t have conversations about emotions or relationships.

In short- the good men are not already “taken”, if this is what you truly believe at least say they already have partners instead. Or how about- I’ve not met anyone I want to be with who is single. That’s the actual fact here. As there are plenty of men out there, and one of them at least you’re bound to get on with. You just haven’t met him yet. It’s not because he’s been “taken”.