Thursday, April 26, 2012

Don't play the waiting game

Bettina Arndt has written a column for the Sydney Morning Herald which brings into the mainstream media an argument I've made at this site for some time.

Her column looks at the problems that arise when women are encouraged to leave family formation until their 30s:
Many [professional women] thought they could put off marriage and families until their 30s, having devoted their 20s to education, establishing careers and playing the field. But was their decade of dating a strategic mistake?

Jamie, a 30-year-old Sydney barrister, thinks so: "Women labour under the impression they can have it all. They can have the career, this carefree lifestyle and then, at the snap of their fingers, because they are so fabulous, find a man. But if they wait until their 30s they're competing with women who are much younger and in various ways more attractive."

What's particularly interesting is that Bettina Arndt backs this up with some demographic information.

  • one in three Australian women aged 30-34 don't have partners; even by the late 30s the figure is still very high at 25%.
  • in 2006 there were only 68,000 unattached graduate men in their 30s for 88,000 single graduate women in the same age group.

And this is the paragraph that really stood out for me:
Although there are similar numbers of single men and women in their 30s overall - about 370,000 of each across Australia - half these available men had only high school education, 57 per cent earned $42,000 or less and 95,000 of them were unemployed.

There are similar numbers of single men and women in their 30s but 57% of men are on a low income of $42,000 (US$43,600) or less. To put this another way, there are 370,000 single ladies and 160,000 men earning more than $42,000.

There are two points to make here:

i) It's possible that part of the explanation for the statistics is that a large percentage of men on a high income are already married in their 20s.

ii) One consequence of preferences given to women in education and employment is that many women will not be able to find a husband on a high income.

Feminists don't mind so much about the second issue. They think it's a good thing as they hope it will force a change in relationship patterns so that the woman will go out to work whilst the husband stays home. But that won't be for everyone - note that 25% of women are still single in their late 30s.

And that's not just because of male preferences. Some of those 30-something professional women are determined to partner with professional men. The owner of one dating organisation,
finds many of his female members are determined to meet only men who are tall, attractive, wealthy and well educated. They want the alpha males. ''Most of the professional women rarely give out 'yes' votes to men who aren't similarly successful,'' reports Parfitt, who struggles to attract enough of these successful men to his speed-dating events. Sixty per cent of his members are female. Most are over 30.

The dating imbalance leads to complaints like this one from a 30-something lawyer:
She is stunned by how hard it is to meet suitable men willing to commit. ''I'm horrified by the number of gorgeous, independent and successful women my age who can't meet a decent man.''

Penny acknowledges part of the problem is her own expectations - that her generation of women was brought up wanting too much. ''We were told we were special, we could do anything and the world was our oyster.'' And having spent her 20s dating alpha males, she expected them to be still around when she finally decided to get serious.

But these men go fast, many fishing outside their pond. The most attractive, successful men can take their pick from women their own age or from the Naomis, the younger women who are happy to settle early. Almost one in three degree-educated 35-year-old men marries or lives with women aged 30 or under.

I don't write this in order to demoralise those women in their 30s looking for a husband, nor to suggest that every such woman is single in her 30s by choice.

The point is that it's not wise for women to play the waiting game - to see your 20s as a waiting room where you run down time until you finally spring into action in your 30s ready to find a husband.

Look at the numbers. For a lot of women that plan is not going to work out too well. It's better for women to take things seriously in their 20s.


  1. Sorry if this is a bit off topic

    "Trayvon Martin Skittles and Tea Communion service"

  2. Again with the status. I know more blue collar millionaires than white collar. And just like the white collars guys, the blue collar guys made it by good INVESTMENTS. That's your problem along with the bimbo's described in this article. And they are bimbos. Career's usually don't create wealth; it's the money earned and invested wisely that does. More blue collar guys seem to understand than white collar for some reason these days and that's why they get ahead. Unfortunately that wisdom is lacking in many areas and just like modern society, judging status, facades, and outward appearances alone in determining value is why it's a disaster.

  3. Anon,

    Lawrence Auster coined a term "Trayvianity". I'm not sure he realised Trayvianity would be practised in such a literal way.


    It's partly a status thing being discussed. Ms Lawyer wants to go out with Mr Investment Banker rather than Mr Wealthy Electrician.

    (But I suspect Mr Wealthy Electrician would have got himself a girl at a much younger age anyway.)

    But what I see as the larger issue here is that modern society is delivering a very large number of men into their 30s with a relatively low income - regardless of whether it's blue collar or white collar.

    That sheds some light on the likely relationships dynamic for men and women in their 30s. Remember, the *maximum* that 57% of men are earning is $42,000.

    Let's say Ms Single Lawyer meets a man earning $30,000. It's going to be difficult for the man to play a provider role, or for Ms Single Lawyer to think in hypergamous terms.

    The feminists think the solution is to recast relationship dynamics so that Ms Single Lawyer goes out to work whilst her partner is at home. I know some cases of this are happening (I know of one such case).

    But the evidence from the article is that many women prefer to hold out endlessly for Mr Tall Handsome Investment Banker.

    In a traditionalist community there would be a concern to make sure that a much higher percentage of men were careered up.

  4. With Australia's manufacturing base being shipped overseas ala the US (free trade my arse with a devalued Yuan) representing something like 10% of all jobs in Australia and almost exclusively dominated my men, this is only going to get worse.

  5. Its not just holding out for a good catch, women are encouraged to be self reliant or in charge so even when they do get a good guy I'm not sure they know how to do relationships well.

  6. OT - I don't think this has been linked here, if not it's very well worth reading:

    Goodhart seems to want to recognise the conservative aspects of human nature to allow for human flourishing in diverse communities - encourage mutual allegiances, for instance. The hostile reaction from Worsnip rejects this and demands that human nature be changed to fit the Procustean bed of Liberal Autonomy.

    I think from a traditionalist perspective the Worsnip Liberal-fundamentalist reaction is not surprising. Re Haidt and Goodhart, are they merely reverting to an earlier stage of Liberalism, or is their recognition of competing non-Liberal aspects of human nature something new?

  7. Autonomy is such a sterile goal, I don't understand why they push it so hard.

  8. Liberalism reduces society to chaos. The trouble with chaos is, you can't trust anybody. (Diversity increases mistrust, by the bowling alone effect.)

    One response to growing, inevitable and justified mistrust is to seek heightened autonomy. Desire marriage, but put establishing your own career first.

    This creates more sterility, chaos and mistrust.

    Ideally the solution would be to seek the achievements of rational and natural goals like fruitful and lasting marriage within new institutions (or renewed institutions) with strong, effective sanctions against cheating and ditching the contract.

    But that's a collective approach. It can be and is vetoed by the dominant voices in society.

    As long as the only options that people have available are individual ones, they'll continue, a great part of the time, to go for autonomy at the cost of long term problems and social harm.

    In the long run this will be resolved in one of two ways.

    Option one, hopeful but unlikely: a social revolution to replace the present dominant elites in the Western world with new elites that are on the side of traditional core ethnic populations trying to live family lives with the potential for multi-generational sustainability.

    Option two, less pleasant, but more likely: population replacement succeeds, and then we're gone and I don't care how well the replacement populations solve their problem of building sustainable families under a culturally hostile elite.

  9. She is stunned by how hard it is to meet suitable men willing to commit.

    One cannot push for something and then expect the opposite to occur. The culture isn't rewarding commitment. It's rejoicing in being fickle, being "trendy" and being selfish. Ask yourself why is there so much divorce and cohabitation rates? Less people want to commit because it isn't seen posivitely and as a goal.

    ''I'm horrified by the number of gorgeous, independent and successful women my age who can't meet a decent man.''

    They're not gorgeous. They can't find a decent man because they themselves are indecent and only attract indecent men.

  10. Women have a different idea of "gorgeous" than men do. There just aren't that many gorgeous women out there, period, so either she hangs around with just them or else she is delusional.

  11. The dilemma of the modern career woman: She took the job of the guy she wanted to marry, and then rejected him because he didn't have a decent job.

  12. If these vicious narcissistic spinsters don't want to bear beta Christian husbands' children, they will bear alpha Muslim rapists' children. Demography is destiny, and while the occasional Breivik might temporarily stall the West's demographic march to doom, he cannot permanently stop it.

  13. I should think that the 2006 figure of "68,000 unattached graduate men in their 30s" would if anything be unduly optimistic, since it fails to allow for the number of unattached graduate men who are now (with the tacit or, often enough, open approbation of Australia's so-called "conservatives") either exclusively homosexual or, at the very least, largely homosexual.

  14. Bettina's article was good but it missed a major point: the institutional bias against men. When the 1 in 2 marriages fail, women get the kids and the house while men get the bill. Why would want to marry under those curcumstances, especially some young woman who might fall out of love and decide to 'move on'. Much better to wait until women are more mature and settled. I'm still surprised that any men get married though.

  15. Dane, there are plenty of good reasons to get married: love, children, carrying forward your own tradition, the fulfilment of being a father and husband, the physical relationship with your wife etc.

    It's true that marriage laws are biased against men and that divorce rates are high. But it's 1 in 3 not 1 in 2 marriages that fail and if you marry over the age of 20; have a decent income; have a good educational level; and don't abuse drugs then the figure is much lower.

    I once tested up my odds of divorce with an online divorce calculator - my chance of divorce in the first ten years was only 10%.

    A Reeves,

    I disagree with you about Breivik - there is no future in that at all. Either we encourage the men in our communities to be the patriarchs of old or we perish. Our job is to create - to create Western men who aren't demoralised and who will act for the future.

  16. Arnold I. Reeves: "...the occasional Breivik might temporarily stall the West's demographic march to doom..."

    Is there evidence he stalled anything?

    The "one nut with a gun" theory of political reform doesn't work.

    And what Mark Richardson said.

  17. Many young women feel that with the frequency of divorce, they dare not make themselves entirely dependent upon a husband to support themselves and their child, and therefore must establish some sort of career before considering marriage. Once there was a severe social stigma to divorce, but in a time when personal autonomy is the controlling value, marriage becomes nothing more than an empty formalization of an arrangement to live together only as long as both partners feel like it.

  18. Mark,

    I don't think the divorce rates you cited, 1 in 3 marriages ending in divorce, although more encouraging than 1 in 2, gives a full reflection of the current marriage picture. It doesn't take into account the defacto couples who don't marry. It doesn't consider the careers of the men who do marry ie those with riskier careers with a greater chance of failure or with more demanding workloads, being more likely to divorce. It doesn't take into account the greater degree of passivity that men are frequently required to adopt in order to keep their marriages on track, and it doesn't also take into account the lower birth rate or pushing back of marriage ages.

    Guys today know they're walking a tightrope and at any given time are likely to be not more than a few problems away from a divorce. The "second shift" it seems is becoming a full time occupation.

  19. Jesse,

    I accept part of your comment, but I'm not sure what you meant by this:

    It doesn't take into account the greater degree of passivity that men are frequently required to adopt in order to keep their marriages on track

    In my experience, men need to be active, particularly early on, to keep their marriages on track - passivity would be fatal.

    I do agree with you though that men with riskier careers or more demanding workloads are at a considerably higher risk of divorce.

    Finally, I'd repeat a point I've made before: amongst my social group there is still a very stable culture of family life.

    My wife has made friends over the past 10 years with at least 20 couples. So far no divorces.

    For middle-class Anglo couples, where the man is a good provider and also makes an effort to do paternal things at home, and where both the husband and wife are committed to making the marriage work, then I suspect the divorce rate is very low - maybe 10% or below.

  20. Saying "Yes dear", as a standard response to every major argument with your wife would be one example of male passivity. In an environment where what matters is keeping your wife happy the wife gets set up as the standard setter and judge for conduct in domestic relationships, the man goes along with what she wants or risks the loss of favour. Male leadership or front foot behaviour can then only exist on very fragile or tenuous basis. So while the marriage may continue its not exactly on the most secure or socially constructive of foundations. There should be more to marriage then the never ending game of keeping the missus happy.

  21. The "yes dear" approach won't work, though I agree it has been made more difficult for men to challenge their wives when they need to - men have to be sure that the brinkmanship will pay off.

    It's more likely to end well if the man has been not only a good provider but present at home as well. If the wife believes she has something to lose, then the husband is in a stronger position to stand up to her when he needs to.

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  23. Lets take a slightly ridiculous quote from the Mikado:

    “Yum-Yum: Yes, I am indeed beautiful! Sometimes I sit and wonder, in my artless Japanese way, why it is that I am so much more attractive than anybody else in the whole world. Can this be vanity? No! Nature is lovely and rejoices in her loveliness. I am a child of Nature, and take after my mother.”

    Many women expect that on marriage their man will be totally in thrall to them and that in exchange for her wondrousness he’ll feel obliged to make her the centre of his thinking and concerns. Any shortfall from this high standard by him will consequently result in her great disappointment. Although many women might complain if or when her husband isn’t dominant enough, or when he takes a hit in life, eg “Who’s afraid of Virginia Wolff”, the one big crime for which they’re very reluctant to forgive and which likely results in divorce when occurring is when he doesn’t “love her enough”. In other words either through his failure or through a distracted focus, or through her “seeing through” to his non-her related motives, he hasn’t treated her with the high consideration with which she expects.

    Such an attitude from women is of course very jealous and may leave little room for the man to have other loves. One such rival love for instance might be his love of country, another might be his desire to fulfil or live up to his other social or career obligations.

    Is such a focus from women, however, and the resulting attempts by men to fulfil it functional for society though? I would have thought clearly not. Whilst in such an atmosphere a husband might be able to keep his marriage together, it is a marriage largely focused on the woman and her desires. It is also a larger from of atomism and divorce from broader society rather than a counter weight to it.

    I believe that only when women are willing to acknowledge the role that marriage plays in society, not just in their own personal lives, will their desires for excessive positive treatment be realistically checked and the more stable platforms for marriage be secured.

    In response to your comment about "yes dear" men it is a fact that many men do this and its often highly functional for the stability of the marraige. Whilst you may be able to weaken the hands of women in various ways, such as legally, it is really the almost unrestricted self centred attitude of women, which men have been prohibited from engaging in by long custom which I believe is the real issue of marital instability.

  24. Jesse,

    Good comment. In my own personal experience my mother bitterly resented my father spending one night a month doing Rotary Club activities and my wife took quite some time to accept that I felt wider obligations in my political work.

    There are some women who clearly get the importance of the larger society (e.g. Laura Wood), but I think it's something a percentage of women struggle with. Their horizons are firmly set at the limits of their own family.

    I'm not sure intellectual persuasion is going to help much here. I think you just have to insist as a man on doing what you have to do and make sure that you don't neglect your family in the process.

  25. Jesse,

    I agree with passivity comment. I had a friend visit from overseas recently and without prompting he said, 'women of our generation can't do anything'. Like many married men today, his wife's idea of equality is that whenever she does anything around the house it is submissive, demeaning and sexist. But when he does everything it is equality.

    I've seen lots of this sort of thing. My brother works and his wife stays home with the kids. When he gets home after work and his second job and she hasn't done anything she expects him to look after the kids. She sees looking after the kids as her 'job' and she needs a break when he gets home. Even when he says can't you do something when the kids are alseep in the afternoon, she is not willing to give up he rest with them.

    It was only when he said the marriage was not going to last if things continued that she did a bit more. But she is symptomatic of women today. They just aren't worth the effort. I certainly envy you and other happily married men who managed to find women without an entitlement/princess syndrome, but there are not many left and they diminishing all the the time. Endless indulgence when it come to women has really spoiled them.

    Men have to be submissive because they know their wife has all the power. She can walk out with everything at the drop of a hat. Most divorces are iniated by women because they know they can 'move on' and the law will ensure they do fine out of it. Why risk everything by getting married? Get a pet, develop an active social life and play the field. Older men should be telling younger men to be very, very careful about marriage.

    BTW. With marriage do devalued by de facto, same sex, co-habitation etc, it doesn't really mean anything anyway. Labor has succeeded: marriage as a patriarchial institution has been dismantled and replaced with a matriarchy. Shame they had to ruin relationships between the sexes to do it.

  26. Dane,

    I know that such things happen - it happened to my brother. But he is a willing participant - he's a lefty-liberal who married a feminist lefty-liberal woman. So it's no surprise to me that he ended up doing a double shift.

    I don't. I take on the stress of a paid job; my wife takes care of the domestic work. Neither of us works a double shift.

    My advice to men would be to make sure you are dating a fair-minded, traditionally oriented woman. Make sure before you marry that she doesn't pay more than lip service to feminism and isn't entitled.

    There do still exist women who won't insist on unfair marital arrangements. As I've noted repeatedly, my suburb is living in something that is very close to traditional arrangements.

  27. These "thirty-something professional women" in the article need to be reminded of the kind of woman a "thirty-something professional man" can be dating.

    Kate Upton Does the Cat Daddy Official Uncut

    Maybe not Kate Upton herself, but reasonable facsimiles. I suspect that the 19 year olds asking Greg out on dates in the article weren't too different looking.

    As the manosphere is fond of pointing out, thirty-something professional men already have all the "thirty-something", "professional" and "male" that they need. Young, female and attractive is what they want, and feminism has made sure that's available for them, with fresh legions turning twenty-one every year.

    As for "There do still exist women who won't insist on unfair marital arrangements," that's not the whole problem. The catch is that if the woman ever, at any point, changes her mind the law will support her raping her husband emotionally, financially, and legally.
    The husband it playing Russian Roulette every day, and eventually the odds will catch up with him.

    The "Marriage Strike" came out of nowhere because it arose from millions of men coming to the same realization individually, that marriage was a deathtrap.

  28. What's interesting I hear is the number of single mums playing the field.

  29. Anon (8.11),

    This isn't so:

    The husband is playing Russian Roulette every day, and eventually the odds will catch up with him.

    It's true that too many men are being hurt by divorce. But statistically the majority of men do not divorce - and the balance of "dating power" does change in men's favour over time, so it makes increasingly less sense for women to divorce (e.g. say you're a woman in her late 30s with a few kids and your husband is at the peak of his desirability to other women - it's unlikely you'll be better off by divorcing him and looking to "upgrade" to someone else - it's more likely you'll have to accept something less.)