THEY'RE single, smart and successful, but these over-40 Perth women can't find a decent man.Lessons?
East Perth hairdresser Tanya Durham, 46, says she's been on so many dud dates she's stopped trying.
And events manager Kerryn Lambert was stood up on Monday night after waiting 45 minutes at a bar for a date to show up. To make it worse, it was the eve of her 40th birthday.
Ms Durham, who has never married, said being in her mid-40s limited the range of eligible men.
"I don't mind going out with younger guys, but they want children, so that market is out, and a lot of guys over 40 are going for girls under-30, because they don't think they're 40," she said.
Part of the problem was that men didn't want independent women.
"We're looking for guys because we want to have them in our life, not because we need to have them," she said. "But there are a lot of guys who want to feel needed. And they're the guys that we won't possibly attract."
Most men who registered for online dating websites were creeps, she said.
"One guy had a 10-year-old photo of himself on his online profile. When I met up with him, he was morbidly obese," she said. Ms Lambert said online dating had given men too much choice.
"It's just one big, easy fishing pond," she said.
Public relations professional Nicki Williams, 45, said there was definitely a shortage of eligible men in their 40s and 50s in Perth.
"If you're serious about settling down with someone, you're not looking at the 35-year-olds for long-term prospects. You're looking at somebody who is more settled and has possibly been married, so they're in the same situation as you," the twice-married mother of two said.
"If you want to settle down, it needs to be with someone over 40 and there aren't that many of them out there."
Ms Williams said that though she'd love to meet someone, she didn't need a man to provide for her because she was financially stable.
"I don't want to end up old and alone, but I'm not desperate and dateless, so to speak," she said.
Debbie Rivers, who runs Dare to Date, which organises social events for singles, said it was a challenge to get men over 40 to attend her events.They were often hurt by previous relationships and unwilling to give anything a go.
First, there's the issue pointed to by Debbie Rivers. A middle-aged woman who divorces her first husband and expects to find a large pool of available replacements is likely to be disappointed as many single men in her age category will have been similarly hurt by divorce and wary of trying again.
Second, there's the age differential issue. An attractive 40-something man can probably look to a 30-something woman for a future wife. But even if a 40-something woman is attractive enough to appeal to younger men, she's less likely to see them as husband material.
Third, these women are part of my own generation. They were brought up to believe that although it was OK to want a man, it was wrong to have the attitude that they needed one, as that would violate the idea of the independent woman. But as Tanya Durham admits, a lot of men don't want to be unnecessary to the woman they marry. Many men do, in particular, want their efforts to provide to be necessary in supporting their family - that's what gives their work much of its meaning.
All of which leads to this conclusion: it's important for women to marry in a timely way and to do what they can to make the marriage work, as trying to find love in your 40s will be very much more difficult than in your 20s.
I have to say that the women I work with don't seem to need this advice right now. There has been a wave of marriages followed by another one of babies in the past few years amongst the staff at my school. The women speak openly of their determination to start their families whilst still in their 20s. I think they're being smart in giving themselves the best chance to get the highest quality husband they can and to have time to have children. And they do seem to be very loyal to their husbands - I've never heard them put them down in conversation.
It's not a representative sample of the population, but it makes me think there are chances right now for young men here in Australia to find marriageable women - the situation seems better now than it was twenty years ago.