You can stick the landing too, by just becoming a HUSsy!
Author’s Note: This post is an expose on a topic Deti and I discussed under Deti’s previous post, The Feminist Life Script (2020 December 17).
Reader’s Note: HUSsie is a partial acronym for Hooking Up Smart, an old website which gave out popular advice to a certain class of women discussed in this post.
The life script of the emergent middle and upper-middle class HUSsie is understood as:
- College until ~22
- Work/grad school/travel until late 20s
- Marriage between late 20s and mid-30s
And we all know the HUSsies are not exactly restrained in their sex lives.
These are not the women who are indifferent about family and children — those are a different set of ultra-careerists and are generally easy to spot because they continue the same lifestyle of their mid-20s well into their 40s. The HUSsies are the women who want to marry and have children, but only after they have done enough of the work/grad-school/travel in their 20s such that they are “ready to settle down” and focus on family life.
The refrain that is ubiquitously heard from them is…
“Look, everyone, all you need to do is just do it the way we do it. Just be more like us!”
“Go to college, get a job, start working, and you too can make it just like we did.”
“It doesn’t matter that you’re not white, or you came from a single mom household and haven’t seen your father in 15 years, or that you lack future time orientation, or you’re not all that smart, or you’re not as physically attractive. Doesn’t matter!”
“Go to college, get a job, and start working and earning money, start looksmaxxing, and you’ll be just like us!”
Moreover, the HUSsy life script is presented as simple, easy, and proper. The problem with this script is that the elites are selling to everyone a lifestyle and manner of living that works only for the elites. “Elites” being upper middle class, strong family background, college educated, employed earning good money, and usually white.
Who are the HUSsies?
HUSsies fit the following description in general.
- They are almost all white women.
- They are women whose parents are physicians or lawyers or college professors or bankers or C-suite corporate officers who are still married to each other, and where both of them usually work outside the home.
- They attended NYU or Georgetown or Duke or Penn or UNC or UVA.
- They work in prestigious high status jobs that are predominantly male occupied: banking, finance, “consulting”, advertising, PR, or some other cushy office job they got through dad’s connections (less often law or medicine because these professions require education beyond a bachelor’s degree).
- They usually don’t work in traditional female jobs: teaching, social services, nursing, or clerical.
- They have at least one long term relationship under their belts, and they broke up because of moving or his job or her job or “just didn’t work out”.
- They’re well put together: makeup and hair on point, always well dressed and accessorized, height weight proportional, keep in shape, and limiting or avoiding recreational drug use for at least the last couple of years.
Generally speaking these are women who are college-educated, work in the service or “knowledge” industries in jobs that are generally located in one of the metros, and who are upwardly-mobile, career-oriented women.
Where are the HUSsies?
HUSsies are present everywhere today, but they are particularly concentrated in larger cities. DC, SF Bay, and Seattle are probably where it has the greatest percentage of the total population, but it extends throughout the coastal megalopoli, and the larger interior cities like Atlanta, DFW/Houston/Austin, the Twin Cities, Chicago, Miami, and Seattle.
While the HUSsie phenomena is utterly dominant in those cities mentioned, generally, it is not very widespread outside of these cities. However, this is slowly changing. Pockets of it have spread to places like Charlotte, Boise, Columbus, and others. Deti reported that there are HUSsies in the Midwest who can sometimes stick the landing even though they live outside the metro area context:
“I see this also in the Midwest, to a slightly lesser degree. These can also stick the landing. Mom and Dad are still married to each other but parents worked in slightly less prestigious occupations: Local elected official, lawyer, GP physician, school district administrator, successful small business owner. They’re overwhelmingly white. Their degrees are from Big Ten or Mid-South universities, or Northwestern or Vanderbilt or the University of Chicago or Miami/Ohio. Many went to small super expensive liberal arts colleges like Ripon, Oberlin, Grinnell, or Luther. (There are dozens of these little prestigious colleges around the Midwest with enrollments of 2500 or less, they are very well known nationwide, admissions are quite selective, the courses of study are rigorous, and their graduates succeed in work and life.) They work in jobs for which you need a bachelor’s degree – social work, social services, insurance, PR. Or they’re headed to law or med school. They’re also well put together, dressed well, absolutely none below HB 7, but not as pronounced as on the eastern seaboard. These women can also get away with a lot of promiscuity and partying it up in their 20s. They can stick the landing quite well.
Both of these groups can also walk out the life script pretty much to a T, if they want to.”
Context is critical here. In other contexts it can be more, or less, challenging depending on how many men are “left” at the time the woman leaves the “carousel”, the overall sex ratio where the woman lives, her overall level of attractiveness, and so on.
How to be Just Like Them
- Attractiveness / Looks
- Intelligence / Smarts
Obviously a critical juncture in the HUSsie life script is the transition from the 20s “carousel”/dating lifestyle to the more “intentional dating” lifestyle that is oriented towards finding a husband and not merely a fun guy to date and sleep with while you are busy doing the work/grad-school/travel script. This transition can be more or less challenging due to a number of factors, which is why it has become referred to as “sticking the landing” — that is, as a gymnast “sticks the landing” after a floor routine, the HUSsie will try to “stick the landing” after ejecting herself from the carousel so that she can find a husband. The landing is “stuck” with marriage to an attractive and suitable man.
But most women are not gymnasts.
A woman can be more confident of her ability to “stick the landing”, in a variety of contexts, if and only if she has looks, smarts, discipline, and solid family of origin. This explains the HUSsie phenomenon: white, upper middle class, college educated, employed women from two parent families in their late 20s and early 30s still able to find attractive husbands and have small families (one, maybe 2 kids, 3 if they’re doing really well).
But pretty much, only those women who possess at least four of the five ADIEU traits are those who are able to stick the landing. You have to have most or all of those characteristics to do it. White, intact family, UMC on up, at least a bachelor’s degree, employed, and good looking.
DC and SF are truly crazy outliers nationally, yet these areas dominate the political arena and the tech/internet industry, respectively, and are therefore among the most influential places. They head up politics and the media, and they design systems which everyone else has to follow. The information and systems they produce are what works for them and for people like them. Everyone else is expected to be like them, as well, to the best of their ability, and to move to these cities as well (hence the response that rural areas don’t have any problems a U-Haul can’t solve).
Just as men are pressured to get into the top 20% before they are recognized, women feel the need to shoehorn themselves into the HUSsy lifestyle in order to be taken seriously.
Feminism is one of the main drivers of this, coming as it did squarely from this social class, and always having the priorities of the women of this class at its forefront.
But of course, this idyllic life script is unachievable to the vast majority of women. It doesn’t work, because regular people aren’t “just like” the elites. They lack the connections, the attitude, the future time orientation, and the cultural and social markers that help women move up the ladder like the elites do. They don’t look as good or dress as well, or “clean up” as well. They don’t have a sense of life stability that comes from living in a wealthy, intact family. This is why what works for the HUS/elite set won’t work for most anyone else.
This is really one of the central contradictions in American society currently, and one of the greatest sources of tensions. The society has been set up, in everything from social mores to education system to economy and living arrangements, to facilitate this specific lifestyle that truly is centered on a handful of large cities.
As long as our society clearly prioritizes and revolves around ambitious, smart, upper middle class white women, life for them will be vastly improved in virtually all ways. Meanwhile, the rest of the women get a mixed bag — some obviously beneficial things and a lot of things that are arguably worse.