Take, for instance, London Girl. She was completely thrown when a couple of Canadians queried her single status at age 27:
The two Canadians had joined myself and a friend at our table after the football. They'd shuffled over as the big screens rolled up, bought a round of drinks; we imparted our London knowledge and now the conversation had moved on. Somehow, the subject of age came up. I told one of them mine, and was completely thrown by what came next.
"Isn't 27 a little old to be single?"
"Pardon? Too old?"
"Yeah, like if you want to have kids and stuff - isn't 27 a bit old to still be single?"
Once I'd picked my jaw up off the floor and provided a response which didn't include nearly as many swear words as I'd have liked in retrospect, it wasn't long before I was wishing them a good night, and making my excuses to go home.
The next morning, his question was the first thing to come to mind.
The Canadians were kind of right. 27 isn't too old, but if a woman is serious about having children, then by that age she ought to be strongly focused on family formation. After all, if you want the option of having 3 children then you ideally need 6 or 7 years to get there, which brings a woman now in her late 20s up to her mid-30s - the time that her fertility becomes less certain.
But London Girl is caught in the headlights. On the one hand she thinks she might be trailblazing a new path of a single girl lifestyle:
We're a generation living in rented accommodation, with friends instead of other halves, or even still at home with parents. We're working hard at our careers and relationships come second, we travel the world after university instead of beginning the hunt for a job, often not finding a permanent one until well into our mid twenties. Even in our careers we're feeling our way: the jobs we've got now didn't exist when we started uni.
Marriage will happen - at some point - but not now, not yet, not while there's fun to be had. And kids? As a 27 year old girl who spends her nights surrounded by mostly single friends, and mornings in bed with a hangover and the vague but cheering memories from the night before, the idea of being responsible for a child is nothing short of terrifying.
But she's not so sure if it's all going to work out well:
There's an edge to it; a desperation creeping in, a scrabble to locate the nearest hot man in any given vicinity.
If you squint and look around the pub at 11pm on a Saturday night, over at the group of girls laughing, dancing, hugging, chatting and doing shots, you can sometimes see and hear the point at which the old generation, the one that told us we'd be settled by 30, is meeting this new one; where you can have it all - but later, and detect a bit of panic. It's in our conversations and the back of our minds; the way we search the people at the bar.
This doing it later stuff, it's a nice idea in our heads, and we're doing it with gusto. But our hearts haven't quite caught up yet.
So, are we too old? No, we're not too old. We don't look it, we don't feel it, we don't realise it.
But if by some stretch of the imagination it turns out we are, then we'll surely be the first generation to know about it.
But they're not the first generation. There have been several generations of middle-class English women since the 1880s which have failed to launch. Generation X women are the most recent to miss out: a report last year showed that 43% of university educated Generation X women are childless.
Is this London Girl's fault? Not really - it seems, in fact, that a boy she really liked was the one to break up with her. But she is representative of a certain kind of woman who is hesitant about family formation where they should be decisive.
Timing does matter when it comes to family. It doesn't work out well if women encourage their male peers to think that they are not required as husbands or fathers until some very late and very vague time in their lives. It doesn't work out well if women wait until the last dwindling years of their fertility to try to have children. It doesn't work out well if men and women become too habituated to a solo lifestyle.