A couple of weeks ago I wrote a piece called, “When a Man Decides He wants to Get Married, He Does” that triggered some buzz and stirred some emotions. Woman applauded and men maligned, at least some men. Most agreed with my thesis, that when a man decides he wants to get married, he does. This week I’d like to delve a bit deeper and try to clarify and expand upon some the points I made.
What about the women? If what I postulate is true, shouldn’t it apply equally to the women out there? In other words, shouldn’t a woman have the same power to make marriage happen when she decides she’s ready? The answer is, it depends. I think for many women in their 20’s, my theory stands true. Many, if not most, gals in their roaring 20’s pass up potential marriage partners for the same shallow or unrealistic reasons as their male counterparts. Think about it ladies. Be honest. How many nice guys who were seriously into you did you brush off because they weren’t cool enough, successful enough, handsome enough, blah blah enough, enough enough…enough?
Metro Gals in their 20’s are confident, carefree, and in control, in the spirit of their Sex and the City heroes. They aren’t gonna settle for anything less than being swept off their feet by their own version of Mr. Big. Nice guys who’ll probably make great husbands don’t stand a chance. I see this happening all the time, but since I can’t get personal, here’s a story that you might have seen on TV.
There’s a new matchmaker program on Bravo called Love Broker which features Lori Zaslow, a matchmaker, who tries to help her clients find love. Sound familiar? Anyway, on the first episode Lori sets up her client, a nice Jewish boy David, with a nice Jewish girl Ivy (I know it sounds strange, but I’m pretty sure she’s part of the tribe). David is a jerky, early 40’s, bratty type who wears backwards facing baseball caps and tee shirts and acts really cool. That is, until he comes face to face with Ivy, a 26 yr. old on fire, both physically, intellectually, and personality-wise. She starts grilling David about who he his and what he’s looking for in life and relationships. Suddenly, Mr. Too Cool gets shy and flustered, and reverts to being little Davy boy getting a grilling from mommy. He folds under Ivy’s relentless assault.
After the date David tells Lori the matchmaker that he’s interested in going out again. Ivy tells Lori that she isn’t. Fair enough. I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Lori does next. In her first meeting with Lori, Ivy tells her how hard it is to meet good guys in the city and how, as a result, she hasn’t been dating much in the past year or 2. So she finally gets a date with a decent looking, successful guy, who although coming across a bit weak on their blind date, does seem to be a nice guy if given the chance. But does she give him a chance? Doesn’t seem that way from the episode. Cute, 26 yr. old Ivy is on fire, with no room for second chances. She wants it to be right immediately. Good luck.
You see, the 20 something gals are in full control, until they become 30 somethings. Then things change. Maybe not right away, but by their mid 30’s statistics, biology, sociology, and demographics hit them like a runaway train, changing their lives forevermore. Here’s how it works (there are always exceptions). Men almost always date younger women. It’s primarily a function of societal norms, but it still holds true. That means that the available male dating pool is much smaller for a 35 yr. old woman than it is for a 25 yr. old. In many cases the 35 yr olds are competing with the 25 yr. olds for the same men, and losing. Factor in that many “good” guys in their 30’s and early 40’s are already married, and a significant percentage of the available pool are just not interested in or capable of getting married…the outlook does not look rosy.
So now, let me restate my theory: When a 20 something woman decides she wants to get married, she does. When a 30 something woman decides she wants to get married, not so simple anymore. If she’s really attractive, she probably can do it, but she’ll have to aggressively manage her expectations. Aggressively. An older man in the same postion will probably not have to manage his expectations in any realistic way. Statistics and demographics are simply in his favor. It’s not fair, but it’s true.
For those readers who interpreted my words as implying that one should just “marry anybody”, you couldn’t be more wrong. I don’t think anyone should marry just for the sake of being married if they don’t truly love and care for their spouse to be. I do think that everyone needs to make sure that their expectations are realistic and that they understand what “true love” really is. If you’re angry at what I’m saying, you don’t really understand what I’m saying. Ask your married friends. They’ll explain.
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