Entire generations of women have bought the lie that they can have it all, and now they’re discovering that reality just ain’t matching up to what they believed:
We hear endless complaints from women about the lack of good men.
Women astonished that men don’t seem to be around when they decide it is time to settle down. Women telling men to ”man up” and stop shying away from commitment.
But there is another conversation going on – a fascinating exchange about what is happening from the male point of view. Much of it thrives on the internet, in the so-called ”manosphere”. Here you will find men cheerfully, even triumphantly, blogging about their experience. They have cause for celebration, you see. They’ve discovered a profound change has taken place in the mating game and, to their surprise, they are the winners.
Dalrock (dalrock.wordpress.com) is typical: ”Today’s unmarried twentysomething women have given men an ultimatum: I’ll marry when I’m ready, take it or leave it. This is, of course, their right. But ultimatums are a risky thing, because there is always a possibility the other side will decide to leave it. In the next decade we will witness the end result of this game of marriage chicken.”
The endgame Dalrock warns about is already in play for hordes of unmarried professional women – the well-coiffed lawyers, bankers and other success stories. Many thought they could put off marriage and families until their 30s, having devoted their 20s to education, establishing careers and playing the field. But was their decade of dating a strategic mistake?
That “endless complaining” only matters if it’s a woman’s plight. If generation’s worth of men are left out in the cold for fifteen years until they hit their stride in their early-mid 30s, well, that’s merely the way it is–indeed, the way it must be! For women, the world is their oyster from the time they hit puberty til about their late-20s. By the time they hit 28, their difficulty in landing a quality man is directly proportional to their age. Meaning, the older they get, the harder it gets. Why? Because men are attracted to youth and beauty, and women are at their most beautiful from 16-26, with 18-23 being the peak attractiveness years. Mens sexual attraction to women revolves entirely around youth and beauty. But for a relationship, men want something more: kindness, pleasantness, selflessness, trustworthiness, a cheerful attitude, etc. For a young woman, it must be difficult to grasp the implications of this, but reality hurts, and it especially hurts if you’ve been lead to believe it’s going to be the exact opposite.
My vote? Blame the Baby Boomers.
By the time women hit their late-20s, they discover those same men they’ve been sleeping with for the past decade (or attempting to sleep with, for many) are unwilling to commit to them. In fact, if those “alpha males” are marrying anyone, it’s a woman ten to fifteen years younger than themselves (figure they’re in their mid to late 30s by this point, so a woman in her late teens, early twenties). These are the men women fawned over their whole lives–they had the charm, charisma, looks, confidence, prestige, social dominance–and now they’re unavailable because…Father Time listens to no one. To be blunt, women have aged themselves out of the marketplace by the time they hit 30. Sure, they’ll get married, but fewer and fewer are, and it will be to a man they would never have given the time of day to back in their prime. Those same men are expected to pick up the pieces and deal with her baggage. Unhappy and miserable at her luck–the horror of growing old!–she’ll divorce him after a few years and pine away for the men she lost. That fifty percent divorce rate, seventy percent of which is initiate by women, testifies to this fact. Women don’t divorce men they’re attracted to and happy to be married to.
Jamie, a 30-year-old Sydney barrister, thinks so: ”Women labour under the impression they can have it all. They can have the career, this carefree lifestyle and then, at the snap of their fingers, because they are so fabulous, find a man. But if they wait until their 30s they’re competing with women who are much younger and in various ways more attractive.”
They’re more attractive in their twenties…because they’re decade younger, their skin is smooth and tight, their body is at it’s physical fertility peak; they’re not burdened with all the baggage of a dozen failed relationships, an STD or two, an abortion, a divorce or three, kids, mountains of debt, declining looks. Need I continue?
The crisis for single women in this age group seeking a mate is very real. Almost one in three women aged 30 to 34 and a quarter of late-30s women do not have a partner, according to the 2006 census statistics. And this is a growing problem. The number of partnerless women in their 30s has almost doubled since 1986.
The challenge is greatest for high-achieving women in their 30s looking for equally successful men. Analysis of 2006 census figures by the Monash University sociologist, Genevieve Heard, reveals that almost one in four of degree-educated women in their 30s will miss out on a man of similar age and educational achievement. There were only 68,000 unattached graduate men in their 30s for 88,000 single graduate women in the same age group.
And the higher-education gap keeps widening. In the past year, the proportion of degree-educated women aged 25 to 34 rose from 37.7 per cent to 40.3 per cent, according to the Bureau of Statistics, while for males the figure remained below 30 per cent, having risen only 0.5 per cent in the past year.
Although there are similar numbers of single men and women in their 30s overall – about 370,000 of each across Australia – half these available men had only high school education, 57 per cent earned $42,000 or less and 95,000 of them were unemployed.
As I said, this is only a problem if women are the victims. If men are, it’s assumed they’re weak and undeserving of assistance. In part, they’re correct: a man who cannot get a date may be a decent person, but chances are there’s something more at work. And far be it from me to deny the existence of the modern-day entitlement princess who thinks she walks on rose petals. But the deeper problem is the fact that two generations of women have come up to believe they should have the best, because that’s what they’ve been told. Men have been taught that girls are going to solve the world’s problems, that men are irrelevant, that there’s nothing unique about them, that girls can be anything they can be–better in fact, that their own desires are base and laughable, and that making any demands of a girl is equivalent to Middle Eastern oppression.
The number of men single in their 20s is probably 50% larger than the number of women single in their 30s. But that’s just an educated guess. The trade-off is that women peak sooner and decline faster, while men peak later and decline slower. Women peak around 24, give or take a year, and then decline until the infamous year of 28 where it seems baby-rabies kicks in full-throttle. Men peak around 36 and continue declining slowly for the next 15 years. If he keeps himself in shape, he can theoretically pull quality women in his 50s and 60s, but those men are uncommon. Men have a much longer time-frame to work with, but the male sex drive does not allow the young man to realize this at the time. For him, sometimes its all he can think about, and not being able to satisfy that nagging urge is source of constant aggravation. This, naturally, does not matter one iota to the college-aged woman who once would have been happily married to a “beta provider” working a steady job at the factory. Nowadays, those would-be beta providers are sneered at or ignored. It’s a valuable lesson about the nature of woman, indeed, one that will not be forgotten.
During their 20s, women compete for the most highly desirable men, the Mr Bigs. Many will readily share a bed with the sporty, attractive, confident men, while ordinary men miss out. As Whiskey puts it at whiskeysplace.wordpress.com: ”Joe Average Beta Male is about as desirable to women as a cold bowl of oatmeal.”
Data from American colleges show 20 per cent of males – the most attractive ones – get 80 per cent of the sex, according to an analysis by Susan Walsh, a former management consultant who wrote about the issue on her dating website, hookingupsmart.com.
That leaves a lot of beta men spending their 20s out in the cold. Greg, a 38-year-old writer from Melbourne, started adult life shy and lonely. ”In my 20s, the women had the total upper hand. They could make or break you with one look in a club or bar. They had the choice of men, sex was on tap and guys like me went home alone, red-faced, defeated and embarrassed. The girls only wanted to go for the cool guys, good looks, outgoing personalities, money, sporty types, the kind of guys who owned the room, while us quiet ones got ignored.”
The typical twentysomething male is typically living at home or in an apartment, working a decent but not great job, has a good number of friends, an occasional girlfriend (rarely is he married), and an unremarkable social life. For much of the bottom half or third of this demographic are the men who cannot get any form of lasting female attraction. They are in the dead-zone of sexual attraction for men of their age and social standing. Where once they would have been married and having kids, now they’re scaling back and dropping out; in essence, they’re “staying boys”, to the eternal chagrin of women who don’t care to know any better. True, there are some who don’t want to marry, but they’re totally eclipsed by the men that age who do but aren’t able. And even if they do marry, chances are she’s going to divorce him within five years anyway, as young marriages nowadays tend to last on the short end of the spectrum. It’s a…catch-22.
”The women I know in their early 30s are just delusional,” he says. ”I sometimes seduce them and sleep with them just because I know how to play them so well. It’s just too easy. They’re tired of the cock carousel and they see a guy like me as the perfect beta to settle down with before their eggs dry out … when I get tired of them I just delete their numbers from my cell phone and stop taking their calls … It doesn’t really hurt them that much: at this point they’re used to pump & dump!”
Young women, take note. This is what is in store for you should you choose to waste your youth on men of “high quality” in your younger years. For many, no doubt, you would rather sleep with attractive men in your youth than marry a “lesser man” and be committed to him, but that is the pathway to ruin and loneliness. The type of misery your male peers in their twenties experienced will be yours for the remainder of your natural life should you let your natural “I can do better” instincts take over. One in three women are unmarried in their thirties, and one in five women never marry. Your great-grandmothers knew and understood that finding a good man and settling down with him to build a life together was more important than meeting an “interesting man” and enjoying the moment. How the times have changed.
”It’s wall-to-wall arseholes out there,” reports Penny, a 31-year-old lawyer. She is stunned by how hard it is to meet suitable men willing to commit. ”I’m horrified by the number of gorgeous, independent and successful women my age who can’t meet a decent man.”
Penny acknowledges part of the problem is her own expectations – that her generation of women was brought up wanting too much. ”We were told we were special, we could do anything and the world was our oyster.” And having spent her 20s dating alpha males, she expected them to be still around when she finally decided to get serious.
But these men go fast, many fishing outside their pond. The most attractive, successful men can take their pick from women their own age or from the Naomis, the younger women who are happy to settle early. Almost one in three degree-educated 35-year-old men marries or lives with women aged 30 or under, according to income, housing and marriage surveys by the Bureau of Statistics.
”I can’t believe how many men my age are only interested in younger women,” wails Gail, a 34-year-old advertising executive as she describes her first search through men’s profiles on the RSVP internet dating site. She is shocked to find many mid-30s men have set up their profiles to refuse mail from women their own age.
”We arrived at the top of the staircase,” Bolick wrote, ”finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown up – and those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you don’t want to go out with.”
You were lied to. It’s understandable why you’d feel annoyed. Men were lied to as well. They were told to go to school, get good grades, go to college, major in something you want, get a job and bust your ass at it, spend a decade dating, then you’ll get a wife and children. Only that didn’t turn out exactly the way they were led to believe. Nobody ever mentioned that the dream wouldn’t happen until one’s 30s, after a decade of trial-and-error, that the job market would mean few would get jobs even half as good as what their parents had, that staying married was a coin-toss, and that the sex life young men envision with their future wives is something they’re not allowed to have expectations over. Oh and if they get divorced, they have to pay alimony and possibly child support. Is it any wonder men are refusing to go along any more and marry these aging career hags?
So, many women are missing out on their fairytale ending – their assumption that when the time was right the dream man would be waiting. The 30s are worrying years for high-achieving women who long for marriage and children – of course, not all do – as they face their rapidly closing reproductive window surrounded by men who see no rush to settle down.
Men know the feeling. But unfortunately, the sympathies they have for these women are limited to non-existent.
”Maybe we need to get over ourselves,” she writes. The 40-year-old single mother enlisted a team of advisers who helped her realise that while she was conducting her long search for the perfect man – Prince Charming or nobody – her market value had dropped through the floor.
”Our generation of women is constantly told to have high self-esteem, but it seems that the women themselves are at risk of ego-tripping themselves out of romantic connection,” she writes. She acknowledges she made a mistake not looking for a spouse in her 20s, when she was at her most desirable. She advises thirtysomething women to look for Mr Good Enough before they have even less choice. ”They are with an ‘8’ but they want a ’10’. But then suddenly they’re 40 and can only get a ‘5’!”
That’s good advice. If Western civilization had more women who learned from their mistakes and warned younger women to not repeat them, millions of people would spared decades of grinding loneliness and broken dreams. But it would require an amount of humility and introspection that, unfortunately, the average woman in her 30s and 40s today just cannot muster. And so, younger women will be left with increasingly large numbers of middle-age women to draw their conclusions from. “Do I want to end up that like that?” “Can I beat the odds?” “Am I too young to marry?” All eyes are on the Millennials now, the Xers’ time has passed. Will they make better dating and marriage decisions than their next-elders or will they follow suit and even take it to the next level of self-absorption? Time will tell, we only have to wait.