7 billion but none for youon November 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm
As many of you know, the global population just hit the 7 billion mark. (See? This site isn’t merely frivolous. I keep you up-to-date on current events, too!) Presumably, this milestone should mean that the dating market will have an even greater number of options. The more people, the more possibilities?
Well, not really. If you have read any of the alarmist dating/mating articles that have come out of the Atlantic in the past year, especially the recent one from Kate Bolick entitled, “All the Single Ladies,” then you’d know that more is just more, not necessarily better and certainly not merrier.
That article, which has been shared all over, discusses the predicament that many successful women find themselves in–delaying marriage to focus on career and finding that men who are truly their equals in career and education are becoming harder to find because men haven’t fared as well in the educational and job markets in recent years. This particular trend was examined by Hanna Rosin in her much discussed article, “The End of Men,” which also appeared in the Atlantic. The magazine seems to be making a habit of printing long stories about 21st Century women and their marriage prospects. Maybe I should show an Atlantic editor this site so I can also write a cover story.
Bolick writes about her friends’ seemingly lopsided relationships that are the result of this new reality in which men are less successful than their female counterparts:
My friend B., who is tall and gorgeous, jokes that she could have married an NBA player, but decided to go with the guy she can talk to all night—a graphic artist who comes up to her shoulder. C., the editorial force behind some of today’s most celebrated novels, is a modern-day Venus de Milo—with a boyfriend 14 years her junior…When Gloria Steinem said, in the 1970s, “We’re becoming the men we wanted to marry,” I doubt even she realized the prescience of her words.
As for the high status bachelors–the ones with high educational and economic attainment–Bolick observes that they are less likely to settle down because they can take their time playing the field and have their veritable pick of the eligible single women. From her own dating experience, she writes:
Take the high-powered magazine editor who declared on our first date that he was going to spend his 30s playing the field. Or the prominent academic who announced on our fifth date that he couldn’t maintain a committed emotional relationship but was very interested in a physical one. Or the novelist who, after a month of hanging out, said he had to get back out there and tomcat around, but asked if we could keep having sex anyhow, or at least just one last time. Or the writer (yes, another one) who announced after six months together that he had to end things because he “couldn’t continue fending off all the sexual offers.” And those are just the honest ones.
Even though I nodded several times as I read this lengthy article that in many ways seem to perfectly describe my predicament, I couldn’t help but thinking that this writer was merely telling me what I wanted to hear–that the ranks of well-educated, decent men were shrinking and that’s why I’m single. This line of reasoning simultaneously flatters women and faults men. And while I want to wholeheartedly agree, I can’t. I have dated several very smart and successful guys, most of whom were also very nice. The inspiration for the name of this site was only one of those things–he is a “wicked smaht” guy who attended Harvard, who anecdotally proves Bolick’s argument. But my experience can hardly be taken as evidence. After all, he was just one guy.
As one Slate writer noted in response to the article, the one thing that Bolick fails to address is love and other hard to measure sentiments. Bolick writes about romantic relationships in purely economic and transactional terms. While this used to be the way marriage was thought of until recently, love, at least in this part of the world, is a significant factor in determining the success of long-term relationships.
After all, what’s so bad about ending up with the guy you can talk to all night long even if he’s short?
So while there are now seven billion people out there, the math is the same as it ever was–finding that one (and sometimes two or three or more) people you truly click with.