At that time, the women I socialised with had decided to make marriage a low priority. It was something to be pushed off until some time in your 30s, even your late 30s. The 20s were thought to be the decade for an independent girl lifestyle, complete with ill-fated flings with the wrong sort of men (already there was pressure on men to "thug up").
At the time I thought these women were mad. They were giving a low priority to what was a key to their future happiness. They were putting last on the list something that ought to have been near the top. It was easy to predict that there would be many regrets later on.
And now here we are at the regret stage. My generation of women are now in their late 30s and early 40s. And they are creating a genre of confessional literature, one in which they describe their failure to form a family when they had a chance in their 20s.
It was all so predictable. Why couldn't intelligent, well-educated, middle-class women have known what was going to happen? Many seemed to believe that men would simply fall in with whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. And they were a bit surprised when that didn't happen.
And to be fair, that kind of magical thinking is not unusual in modern liberal society. I'm reminded of Kristor's comment that I've quoted previously:
Modern culture is a veritable hurricane of vicious cycles, all originating in a gnostic pretense: Let's pretend that there is no inherent nature of things, so that we may mess ad libitum with the family, sex, economics, and culture, with no ill consequences. Hey, Presto! Pass a law! Make it so!
Liberalism works best if there are no limits to things, if we can make things any which way we can. Because it's a convenient way for liberals to think, many do take this attitude, seeing it as a "hopeful" way to see the world.
But reality has a way of asserting itself. Let me take as an example the cases of Bibi Lynch and Rachael Lloyd, both quite attractive Englishwomen who have ended up single and childless.
relationships have never been my strong point. Historically, I've picked good-looking villains and addictive personalities.
I've had a ball and many passionate experiences, but nothing functional enough to constitute a long-term future and never anyone 'normal' enough to bring home to meet the parents.
It's not easy to meet men now she's in her late 30s:
I've found modern dating both disappointing and exhausting.
Trawl through any dating internet site and you'll find a host of men from all walks of life. But so many are either obsessed with sex, bitter divorcés laden with baggage or simply barking mad.
Although she puts a positive spin on being single, she admits:
I'm realistic. I've probably missed the boat as far as children are concerned, and that is a shame...
I can't help agreeing with Lisa Snowdon, who rues the fact that older men want to date only younger women. At 38, although I'm far from over the hill, I'm considered a woman of a certain age...
Yes, the life I have today is not quite the one I envisaged 20 years ago as a young woman. I foresaw a satisfying career along with 2.4 children and a handsome husband.
I am staring down the barrel of a lonely future without a man, let alone children.
And how do I find myself in this perilous position? One reason is undoubtedly that men like young women. Yes, I was young once and all that. In my 20s and 30s I wasn't exactly a supermodel, but I was constantly surrounded by men. The trouble is I wasn't necessarily looking to settle down back then...
Now that I am, there are very few available men out there and the ones there are would be more interested in my teenage nieces than in me...
Pity she didn't choose to settle down when she could have done so to her advantage. She's now having to compete with much younger women for male attention:
Please don't suggest internet dating. That crying date I had was through the internet. And I had to lie about my age even to get him to look at me. Any woman who has visited the hell that is internet dating will tell you she's had to knock at least five years off her age to be in the right 'bracket'.
Men are programmed to go for women they can have babies with and no matter what his age, he'll still have that subconscious desire...
The instant you meet someone, you give off hundreds of signals about yourself and those signals dictate if you're desirable or not to this new person. So if you're not giving off 'young' (equals fertile), you're going home alone.
I am not totally blaming men here. Like I said, this is hard-wired. And there's also (to a much lesser degree) the element of how we feel about ourselves as we get older. If I go to a bar and the place is packed with young women, I feel myself shrink. Not exactly appealing to the opposite sex.
Bibi has a lot of friends in exactly the same boat:
In my close circle of friends, there are eight of us who are single and childless. This is a generational phenomenon - we are all aged between 37 and 45.
When our mothers were that age, such numbers would be unimaginable.
Like many women writing this kind of literature, when she looks back she recognises the negative influence of feminism on her generation of women:
I think the feminist teachings of the Sixties and Seventies seeped into our brains. My mum couldn't be called a feminist, but I, too, grew up thinking we could be anything we wanted to be and have a fulfilling career, life and relationship.
We didn't delay marriage and motherhood deliberately, but felt there was more to contend with beforehand.
What we didn't realise was that men wouldn't be interested when we were ready. My generation was spoilt - unrealistic, even - and we wanted everything to be heightened and fabulous. And that has been our downfall.
What she is trying to say here is that feminism pushed marriage and motherhood down the list of priorities ("there was more to contend with beforehand"). She admits that she was led into the magical kind of thinking I described earlier in which there is nothing in reality to limit having things as you want them to be ("we didn't realise that men wouldn't be interested ... my generation was spoilt - unrealistic, even").
And so Bibi, who was "constantly surrounded" by men in her 20s, has ended up unhappily alone ("I feel I've moved from independent and vibrant to sad spinster.")
I know some men will respond "serve them right". But there are tens of thousands of these Western women who will never raise children now. It is to our common detriment that they were unable to form families.
And along the way they inflicted a whole lot of damage. They helped to demoralise the family guy culture amongst men, making it more difficult for the next generation of women, even those who were more traditionally minded.
And by wasting years of their own lives, they wasted years of the lives of many men.