Skip to comments.Mr Right is no longer good enough for uptown girls
Posted on 03/24/2004 7:15:55 AM PST by qam1
It's little wonder many women are single when they expect Mr Absolutely Perfect, writes Miranda Devine.
If you ever suspected men haven't a chance in the dating game against today's picky uber-femme, here's some evidence, from last week's New York magazine relationships advice column, The Help Desk.
"I go on this great first date and we decide to share a cab home - separate stops. When we get in, he buckles his seatbelt! I know that's a wise thing to do, so I feel like a jerk saying this, but it totally turned me off. It just seemed so kid-like and lame. Is he too much of a weenie for me, or am I out of my mind?" wrote Unrestrained Lady,
Upper West Side.
To the uninitiated, Unrestrained Lady may seem like a neurotic aberration. But ditching men because they fail to measure up in some infinitesimal way has been a staple gag in real-life single girl chats for years. We all know Ascham women who won't go out with men who don't drive brand cars or didn't go to a "brand" school. Or the woman who instantly went off a man she had been crazy for because he turned up at her front door wearing a plaited belt. In the days before e-tags, another felt her stomach turn when her date fumbled with the bridge toll. These are usually not just excuses to jettison an unsatisfactory male, but genuine reasons for spontaneous revulsion.
On this week's episode of Sex and the City, Charlotte complains how "lame" her date that night had been because he gave her carnations, "filler flowers". Carrie, the series heroine, says she doesn't mind carnations but would dump a boyfriend "for wearing Topsiders or Docksiders" shoes. Carrie's horrified (soon-to-be-ex) boyfriend, Berger, listening to the exchange, says: "So basically guys are just f---ed."
As Bureau of Statistics figures show, Australians are more likely than ever to remain single, and we see the advent of the single-and-proud "quirky alone", the increasing numbers of young women who are questioning whether they need a man to be happy or if it's all too much trouble.
Recent revelations of alleged sexual assaults by sportsmen, as well as an apparent surge of perceived workplace sexual harassment, indicates something is going seriously wrong between the sexes. Perhaps the rational reaction for women has been to opt out of the dating game. Or maybe they have become so hypercritical the only men who can match their sensibilities are the gay men who remodel bachelors in Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.
Yvonne Allen, who has run her dating agency for 30 years, says relationships have never been more complicated. "We now have so many options ... and increasingly demanding wishlists." She sees high-achieving women making judgements about prospective partners "on the most superficial basis", and sometimes has to tell them to "look in the mirror".
A 2002 survey for Diet Coke found more than half of single women aged between 18 and 39 had not been on a first date in six months. Almost one-third of those polled decided whether they wanted to see a man again within the first 10 minutes of a date, and many believed "all the good men are taken".
But the famous man shortage is a myth. According to Bernard Salt, KPMG demographer and author of The Big Shift, there is actually a glut of never-married single men aged 25 to 34 in Australia: 727,000, compared with just 568,000 women. That's a ratio of 1.3 to 1.
"There is enough product on the shelves," Salt said yesterday. "It's just that many are not meeting quality control standards."
Women are still captive to what Salt calls "hypergamy" - the practice of marrying into an equal, or preferably more prestigious, social group.
In 1971 women used to get married at 21. The average age of today's bride is 29, and yet women still expect to marry a man two years older.
Female hypergamy, or pernicketiness, means the proportion of never-married women aged 25 to 34 doubled to 40 per cent in five years from 1986 to 1991. In Sydney, 41 per cent of women 25 to 34 have never married, exactly the same proportion as exists in New York. But in South Sydney, the heartland of the Manolo Blahnik lifestyle, the figure is a staggering 69 per cent, almost the same as Greenwich Village's 70 per cent.
Sydney's bachelor hotspot, Salt found after crunching census data, is Pyrmont, with 1.8 never-married men for every woman. The equivalent suburb for single females is Rozelle, so Salt has dubbed the Anzac Bridge which connects the suburbs as the "Bridge of Love".
Fussiness isn't all bad, of course. It can make for better choices. Salt says we should feel sorry for the 21-year-old baby-boomer bride of 1971 who married the first man she met after school. He calls them "the duped generation", the youngest brides in Australia's history, sold the line they would be "on the shelf" at 22.
Today's bride has had at least a decade of comparison shopping to develop a discerning taste in men. But, increasingly, men just don't measure up. Salt says when women "raise the bar" men morph into the new creature required by the market. In the early 1990s they became SNAGs (sensitive new age guys) in response to complaints they weren't considerate enough.
But the SNAG was a turn-off because he was a wimp. So, says Salt, men rebadged as metrosexuals, a narcissistic, arrogant version who says, "Up yours, I'm important", which isn't exactly a recipe for harmony between the sexes.
Allen says the good news is that today's teenagers are more inclined to view the opposite sex as friends rather than alien creatures. But Salt's ruthless demographics suggest women are going to become more picky than ever, as generation Y's baby bust leads to a shortage of eligible women. He says every 100 men born in 1981 will have to compete for just 80 women. "Young women can afford to be a little arrogant about the market."
So buckle up those seatbelts, boys. Or maybe not.
One might have been a keeper; she wasn't too interested in any men, though. The rat that she married got her pregnant and then left. Sad. I would have had trust issues after that, as well.
The second told me that she was divorced. Her husband came home on us one day, though, and had other opinions on the matter. That was the day that I learned the difference between a divorce and a separation. :-) Didn't stick around to get total clarity on the subject.
In NYC, there are more single women than men, IIRC.
Bump to that.
In the DC area, it's very much the other way around. Of course, fully half of them are airheads looking for their chance to monicate some important politician, while working in menial jobs for insignificant pay.
The question is, does any guy in his right mind want to be with some deep-as-a-bird-bath chicklet like some of these urban loserettes? The bizarre thing is that as they age and their options decline, their flakiness, bitchiness and dictatorial tendencies increase, until they're 42, living with two cats, childless, without prospects and just plain miserable to be around. (Which is a lot better than arriving at that emotional point whn married to you, I suppose).
An interesting take on this phenomenon is found in the Ross in Range columns of John Ross (yes, the John Ross, for you gun-culture types), particularly #s 3, 14, 24, and 28, which probably ought to be read in that order.
Criminal Number 18F
I have listened to fellow boomers take credit for the civil rights movement, although Rosa Parks, Medgar Evers and others were not white hippies. Boomers take credit for "ending communism" with the fall of the Soviet Union, but I don't think Reagan did it by aiming giant speakers at Moscow and blasting Pink Floyd's "The Wall" 24 hours a day until Gorbachev said "Nyet!".
Maybe boomers are partly responsible for the explosion of the 'net, but the same generation is now working even more tirelessly to become a global hall monitor and torch the Bill of Rights.
I agree that these huge government programs that nobody can afford anymore are on their way out. The only way out I see is for the U.S. to default on some of these bills that will never be paid off anyway.
I think you've coined a great new word for the English language. At least I haven't seen it before. Hope it'll catch on and make the next edition of the OED :-)
Some of the examples were from the Upper West side NYC