Sunday, October 02, 2005

More Gender Neutralized Feminist Nonsense

THE NATION

Subject to Debate/Posted September 29, 2005 (October 17, 2005 issue)

Desperate Housewives of the Ivy League?

Katha Pollitt

September 20's prime target for press critics, social scientists and feminists was the New York Times front-page story "Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood," by Louise Story (Yale '03). Through interviews and a questionnaire e-mailed to freshmen and senior women residents of two Yale colleges (dorms), Story claims to have found that 60 percent of these brainy and energetic young women plan to park their expensive diplomas in the bassinet and become stay-home mothers. Over at Slate, Jack Shafer slapped the Times for using weasel words ("many," "seems") to make a trend out of anecdotes and vague impressions:
In fact, Story presents no evidence that more Ivy League undergrads today are planning to retire at 30 to the playground than ten, twenty or thirty years ago. Simultaneously, an armada of bloggers shredded her questionnaire as biased (hint: If you begin with "When you have children," you've already skewed your results) and denounced her interpretation of the answers as hype. What she actually found, as the writer Robin Herman noted in a crisp letter to the Times, was that 70 percent of those who answered planned to keep working full or part time through motherhood. Even by Judith Miller standards, the Story story was pretty flimsy. So great was the outcry that the author had to defend her methods in a follow-up on the Times website three days later.

With all that excellent insta-critiquing, I feared I'd lumber into print too late to add a new pebble to the sling. But I did find one place where the article is still Topic No. 1: Yale. "I sense that she had a story to tell, and she only wanted to tell it one way," Mary Miller, master of Saybrook, one of Story's targeted colleges, told me. Miller said Story met with whole suites of students and weeded out the women who didn't fit her thesis. Even among the ones she focused on, "I haven't found that the students' views are as hard and fast as Story portrayed them." (In a phone call Story defended her research methods, which she said her critics misunderstood, and referred me to her explanation on the web.) One supposed future homemaker of America posted an anonymous dissection of Story's piece at www.mediabistro.com. Another told me in an e-mail that while the article quoted her accurately, it "definitely did not turn out the way I thought it would after numerous conversations with Louise." That young person may be sadder but wiser--she declined to let me interview her or use her name--but history professor Cynthia Russett, quoted as saying that women are "turning realistic," is happy to go public with her outrage. Says Russett, "I may have used the word, but it was in the context of a harsh or forced realism that I deplored. She made it sound like this was a trend of which I approved. In fact, the first I heard of it was from Story, and I'm not convinced it exists." In two days of interviewing professors, grad students and undergrads, I didn't find one person who felt Story fairly represented women at Yale. Instead, I learned of women who had thrown Story's questionnaire away in disgust, heard a lot of complaints about Yale's lack of affordable childcare and read numerous scathing unpublished letters to the Times, including a particularly erudite one from a group of sociology graduate students. Physics professor Megan Urry had perhaps the best riposte: She polled her class of 120, using "clickers" (electronic polling devices used as a teaching tool). Of forty-five female students, how many said they planned "to be stay-at-home primary parent"? Two. Twenty-six, or 58 percent, said they planned to "work full time, share home responsibilities with partner"--and good luck to them, because 33 percent of the men said they wanted stay-home wives.

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20051017/pollitt

As usual, whenever gender neutralized feminists are challenged on their many fallacies regarding basic human nature; they immediately respond by attacking the messenger. The New York Times front-page story "Many Women at Elite Colleges Set Career Path to Motherhood," by Louise Story (Yale '03) is a perfect example of this tendency in action. Ms. Story supposedly ONLY took the responses that were favorable to her thesis: that women would stop working once they had children, and tossed out the other replies from women who felt they would continue working and share the child rearing burden with their husbands.

Whether or not she did or didn’t is probably a moot issue anyway; however, as I believe all of them are missing the main event here: which is that men (that critical other half of the equation that gender neutralized feminist always like to ignore), do not appear willing to marry and/or bear children with 30/35ish something career women. Thus it could be beside the point whether or not these women wish to stay home and/or work after they have children. The more important issue appears to be can they get men who appear willing to marry them after they have wasted the critical period when they were at the height of female attractiveness to the opposite sex? Once that happens then they can move on to the next stage, which is having children and deciding whether or not to stay home with them. But unless and until they first find the requisite interested male, the whole issue of staying at home versus continuing to work is a moot one.

Clearly the things that attract women to men do not work in reverse and translate into attracting men to women. Economic stability, ensuring that his children will be adequately cared for, appears to be something that most normal men can provide for themselves. So a man with a good income can and usually does look for other qualities in a woman.

Looking at it realistically most women probably wouldn’t want the beta male losers who would need to look for this anyway because they cannot provide it for themselves. As men who appear unable to reach at least one of the lower but still comfortable rungs on the American economic ladder (which is very, very, broad with plenty of room on it for newcomers) are probably the men who suffer from other lacks in their lives as well. For instance, they could be suffering from serious personality disorders, making it impossible for them to get along with their peers. Or even more severe lacks, either mental or physical, which might be passed along to any subsequent children they father.

Thus, we return to the irrefutable fact that most men appear to still be looking for the age-old standards of youth, beauty, peak physical condition, overall health (both physical and emotional), etc., which men have always looked for in their wives and the future mothers of their children. So whether or not a woman has reached the peak of her career potential, as the most powerful lawyer, politician, newsreporter, etc., does not appear to enhance her attractiveness to men or give her any additional access to the more accomplished male gene pool. Actually, it gains her nothing in that respect. If anything it appear to do the opposite and decrease a woman’s potential to get a mate, at least if Kay Bailey Hutchingson and Maureen Dowd are any example. Kay Bailey Hutchingson was reduced to having to do a single parent adoption of a Chinese orphan in order to have a family; and Maureen Dowd is still single and furious over it. Blaming it on the apparent tendency of men to look for less accomplished (and probably younger) women when looking for wives.

Again I think one thing that has become clear after the last four decades or so of continued attacks by gender neutralized feminists on the essential nature of humanity. That social engineering is not quite as easy to accomplished as they originally thought. AND that’s a good thing.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, NYMOM.

Looks like a lot's been going on since the last time I visited here. Those were some interesting discussions with Polish Knight and Elusive Wapiti.

On this subject, I just thought I'd throw in a few observations from someone who's been there.

"So whether or not a woman has reached the peak of her career potential, as the most powerful lawyer, politician, newsreporter, etc., does not appear to enhance her attractiveness to men..."

I agree with you on this--a woman's resume won't win her a husband. Where you lose me is when you call that resume a negative.

I myself didn't marry until 35. I had an immense circle of single friends and acquaintances in my profession and the local Chamber of Commerce and I was also very active in my church's singles ministry (actually not just my church but also several with which my own church group had close ties). From my own experiences and observations (and perhaps this is even more depressing than the myth of men being turned off by career women) I believe that any reasonably attractive woman, regardless of her professional status, will almost always have an opportunity to marry unless she has some serious interpersonal or commitment problems. It's her attractiveness that seems to be key to initiating the process, sad to say, and attractiveness does not end at 30.

I honestly never really saw guys in their 30's chasing young girls. Like does tend to attract like, and they mostly wanted mates of a somewhat similar background and education who could be companions to them. The exception would perhaps be wealthier men in their forties or fifties looking for much younger women (I had a 59-year old judge pursue me when I was 33, for example), but I would not call that marriage as much as property acquisition. Those men usually aren't particularly interested in having kids, either.

That's not to say that time doesn't decrease your choices a bit. After a certain age, most men don't look like Brad Pitt, and a woman may also have to consider a man with some baggage (though not always--I refused to consider divorced men with kids). But good men are out there, and if she's attractive and personable one will usually find her.

Drawing from my experiences again for a moment, if you'll permit me, why else would two professional women I knew well get such drastically different results? Both in their late thirties, one an associate VP of a bank with a lovely home and no suitors, the other an attorney with her own successful practice and a long string of eligible men jockeying for her attention and eager to marry her if she allowed them to get past the preliminaries of a relationship? The answer is of course that the attorney was beautiful (and commitment-phobic, but that's beside the point), while the bank VP was very plain.

I don't know Kay Bailey Hutchingson's story, of course, but I would venture to guess that, as beautiful as she was, if she wanted to marry and did not, then there is more going on with her than we would know about.

And if there are a few fringe MRA's who refuse to marry and have kids with self-sufficient women in their thirties because they want a somehow "unspoiled" and dependent young woman, then they've got it so backward that it's not even funny. If I were a secure man in my 30's or so, wanting a family but concerned about having my children stolen from me in the event of a divorce, I'd be avoiding the twenty-somethings like the plague and going for the 30's+ educated woman every time. Because every study shows that this is the very group that (a) tends to make the best marriages and (b) in the event of divorce, puts their kids best interests first, embraces shared parenting and makes it work successfully.

So I wouldn't encourage a woman who wants a family to under-achieve, but I would advise her to make the most of her physical assets and interpersonal skills. Those are the things, unfortunately, that get the ball rolling.

Thanks.

Anne

Elusive Wapiti said...

Greetings Anne. Great post. A comment, and then two questions for ya:

I honestly never really saw guys in their 30's chasing young girls.

I don't see this very much either. Anecdotally speaking, women significantly younger than myself (I'm 33) are not that attractive to me. Sure, they may look physically appealing, but as soon as they open up their mouths, the differences in maturity and life stages become apparent.

I'd be avoiding the twenty-somethings like the plague and going for the 30's+ educated woman every time. Because every study shows that this is the very group that (a) tends to make the best marriages and (b) in the event of divorce, puts their kids best interests first, embraces shared parenting and makes it work successfully.

Could you point me in the direction of those studies that you refer to. Please note that I'm not trying to attack you here--nor do I necessarily disagree with you--just want to read up on some information to which I haven't yet been privy.

As for me--and I wouldn't claim for one iota that I'm a representative sample of "all" men, or even "most" men--I'm normally a bit wary of career women. This is because I've learned to question exactly where their priorities lay. Hard-bitten experience has taught me to be cautious of the transformation it seems women go through when children arrive, and that resultant tension and guilt career women feel about motherhood.

Also, I'm curious as to why you usually ruled out divorced guys with kids. As a member of this unfortunate club, I'd be curious what made you steer clear. Would you be willing to share your reason(s) why?

Thanks, and have a great day!

Respectfully submitted,
Elusive Wapiti

NYMOM said...

Hi Anne.

The problem, of course, is that we cannot compare a woman who is beautiful and doesn't look her age when she's in her 30s with most ordinary women. Just like many movie stars are marrying well into their 40s and even 50s. But I am speaking to ordinary women here, like most of us are.

Additionally there are other issues besides beauty which I mentioned men are looking for. Health is one I mentioned. Youth, as most men do want children and are as aware of our timeline as we are today.

Actually a woman I know just got married a few months ago (she's 40) and mentioned how her mother-in-law was against her marriage, because she felt her son would never have children if he married her. Fortunately his sister has four children, so it wasn't such a strong objection as it might have been if she had no grandchildren.

That was the whole point of Sylvia Ann Hewlett book btw, Creating a Life: Profession Woman and the Quest for Children...which discussed how high the failure rate was for women using invitro, after 40, not to mention how expensive.

The bottom line is that women can simply not wait too long if they wish to have children. Fertility begins declining around age 27 or so and continues that decline until menopause. So as opposed to making lifestyle choices in their late 30s, most women need to make some decision in their late 20s...

PLUS I personally feel that there are other issues that come into play as well when women wait too long; especially if they become high-powered career women. I simply don't think that men find career women to be all that alluring. Yes, female bankers, attorneys and doctors DO get married but I think a lot of them might get married FIRST and then get the career AFTERWARDS...like me going back to school after having my children.

That sort of thing.

Maybe I'm wrong, I have no statistics to back me up. But just hanging around an environment for almost 15 years now where a lot of high powered men and women tend to show up, I find that men are just not that attracted to career women as wives. Of course, there is always the exceptionally pretty one and then all bets are off. But for ordinary women the biggest turnoff to a man appears to be the fact that she's a lawyer or doctor...

Just my opinion...But it's the sort of thing that is probably rooted in evolutionary behavioral patterns of male dominance, which I don't see changing anytime soon.

Which was the whole point of my article. When we changed the patterns of our society by encouraging women to get careers, it also inadvertently appears to have had some impact on pretty basic human behavior. As a 'job' appears to be more then just a job to most men. It appears to be connected with their status as the alpha male and head of household in their family.

Thus women working in careers appears to be very threatening to men on a deeper level. It's not just seen as a job to help the household out; but is instead identified as an attempt to usurp men's alpha status...

Most men marry women at their same social and educational status I'll agree. But generally I find they marry somewhat younger women who have the degees; but either haven't really used them yet or are not working at their full potential for some reason. Thus, not serious careerists.

NYMOM said...

"So I wouldn't encourage a woman who wants a family to under-achieve, but I would advise her to make the most of her physical assets and interpersonal skills. Those are the things, unfortunately, that get the ball rolling."

No. I'm not encouraging them to underachieve, I'm just telling them they need to be aware that if they chose to be overachievers, there are costs.

Thus women need to keep this in mind as they plan their lives. We don't really have the luxury of time the way men do to NOT plan for a decade or so and still have a life with marriage and children.

Time is not on our side.

A Kay Bailey Hutchingson or a Maureen Dowd would be snapped up in a minute if they were alpha males with the kinds of high powered careers and name recognition both had. Women however cannot count on this happening. Actually the opposite appears to happen unless they are extremely attractive. Btw, neither Hutchingson or Dowd were ugly...

So women must plan. That's my point, not that they be underachievers.

NYMOM said...

"Could you point me in the direction of those studies that you refer to. Please note that I'm not trying to attack you here--nor do I necessarily disagree with you--just want to read up on some information to which I haven't yet been privy."

Sigh...

Why do men insist on questioning every comment made by asking for a study? It's entirely possibly that an EDUCATED woman would be more likely to understand how important it is for fathers and mothers to get along for the sake of the children AFTER divorce.

It makes some common sense.

Doesn't it?

As I personally can't help but feel that MANY men bring these divorce/access problems on themselves by initially marrying low achievers and women with little education...

Just my opinion but that makes some sense to me too.

I mean are you college educated and was your ex-wife as well????

Elusive Wapiti said...

NYMOM wrote:

Sigh...

Why do men insist on questioning every comment made by asking for a study?


Sigh yourself. There's no need to be combative. Since Anne was appealing to an authority other than her own experience--by citing studies--I asked for them as a way to further educate myself. I was clear in my question that I was not attempting to be argumentative--were that my intent, my question to Anne would have been phrased much differently.


It's entirely possibly that an EDUCATED woman would be more likely to understand how important it is for fathers and mothers to get along for the sake of the children AFTER divorce.
...
As I personally can't help but feel that MANY men bring these divorce/access problems on themselves by initially marrying low achievers and women with little education...



I don't see how education level is in any way related to what kind of character a woman--or a man--has. Head knowledge and worldly understanding has little to do with character, and to claim otherwise is ivory-tower conceit. People with PhDs can be just as evil as those with only a GED, especially those puffed up with pride over how educated they are.


I mean are you college educated and was your ex-wife as well????


You already know about my education. What you do not yet know is that my ex graduated from the same college as I, only about 30 spots higher in class ranking. She missed valedictorian by 2 places. She also continued to get her double graduate degree whereas I entered the workforce immediately. She's far from being a dummy, is very highly educated, and was very good at what she did before she quit to stay home with the kids. Yet she acted and acts in the most reprehensible manner vis-a-vis our children, and they pay the bill.

Going back to your point, yes, I have seen studies (and I can dig them up for you if you want, it will just take me some time) that identify a inverse correlation between education level achieved and the incidence of divorce. I have not, however, seen similar studies that indicate a positive relationship between education level and embracing shared parenting and making it work successfully.

This is why I asked to see those studies, because I hadn't yet. Nothing more nefarious than that.

I hope that Anne will be able to find them and send them to me. Because if I am to change my opinion, I need something more solid to go on than the opinion of a person who I don't know, even one who posts as nicely and engagingly as Anne did.

Cheers,
Elusive Wapiti

NYMOM said...

I just said that I think it would make some sense for an educated woman to be informed about the importance of getting along AFTER divorce for the sake of the children. NOT that these women would not divorce due to their educational level.

It's a little different.

I'm just trying to find some reason to justify your wife's actions. Trying to see if she just didn't know somehow. But clearly, being educated, she does...

Anonymous said...

Hi, Elusive Wapiti.

I'll try to find the cites you're requesting. The fact that marital success rises dramatically with both spouses' ages at the time of marriage is so well-known by now (I think I first learned this in sociology class in college), that I'm not even sure where it was first proven. But I'll try.

As for career women over thirty and shared parenting, I'll try to get that for you later (Right now I'm only on a quick breakfast break--I do most of my blogging in the afternoons while I eat my lunch and the kids are napping). I think some of the cites are in Judith Wallerstein's works where she describes the type of families that do shared parenting successfully.

As for why I didn't consider divorced men with kids, part of it was spiritual misgivings about divorce. Mainly it was simply that I didn't want to deal with the complication of having exes still in the picture and making trouble (when kids are involved there is no real "fresh start"). I became even more sure of my choice after a dear friend of mine from my church was murdered by his ex-father-in-law, with the help of his ex, over a custody dispute which originated in repeated visitation problems. That was terrible enough all by itself--imagine if he had had a new wife and small children? Thanks, but no thanks.

Luckily, most women don't feel the same way, though, as the vast majority of divorced men remarry.

Anne

Anonymous said...

Hi Elusive Wapiti.

Here's a report from Canada's Department of Justice about differing custody arrangements and the characteristics of families who choose them. It cites several studies, and includes a bibliography.

http://canada.justice.gc.ca/en/ps/pad/reports/2004-FCY-3/2004-FCY-3.html#4_2

I found Section 4.2.3 on Socioeconomic Status most relevant here.

The data indicate that kids in successful joint custody arrangements are more likely to have mothers (and fathers) who are older, educated, professional, and affluent. Parents with joint custody arrangements are also more likely to have only one or two children, which is also consistent with later marriage.

One clarification--on re-reading your previous posts, I think perhaps you misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that greater education leads to marital success. What I was getting at was that marriage at a later AGE is more conducive to marital success, and naturally people who marry later tend to be more educated.

Sorry about your situation. Moveaways must be incredibly wrenching. I'm opposed to them myself, and I believe NYMOM is as well.

Anne

Elusive Wapiti said...

Hi Anne. Thanks so much for digging up that study. I read it with interest, and it has given me much to mull over. I do appreciate the time it took to track that thing down--hope it wasn't too long.


The fact that marital success rises dramatically with both spouses' ages at the time of marriage is so well-known by now
...
One clarification--on re-reading your previous posts, I think perhaps you misunderstood me. I wasn't saying that greater education leads to marital success. What I was getting at was that marriage at a later AGE is more conducive to marital success, and naturally people who marry later tend to be more educated.



I did misunderstand you. Sorry.

I have seen this stat (age == less chance of divorce) in other places as well (Barna, I think). I seem to recall that the chances for divorce go way down when one marries past the age of 27 or 28. Oops...my ex and I married at 22 and 23 respectively. Wish someone would've told me this then, when I was young and stupid and "in love."

As for why I didn't consider divorced men with kids, part of it was spiritual misgivings about divorce

I've had one lady mention this to me as well, as her justification for not continuing to date me after she found out I was divorced with children. My only consolation here was that I wasn't the one to pull the trigger on my marriage. In fact, one could make the argument that my ex was/is an unbeliever, so since she has decided to go, I am "released", so to speak.

Mainly it was simply that I didn't want to deal with the complication of having exes still in the picture and making trouble


Very true. Most single ladies don't give me the time of day for this reason, no doubt aided by the fact that there are still quite a few single men running around with no divorce history. The market economy at work--they have a choice, and they're taking it.

I hope that you don't mind my asking, but do you have children? If so, I'm curious to see how you handled the while childcare issue. Did you quit? Hire a nanny? Relative?

The reason why I ask is--going back to the study you sent me--that the risk of divorce generally increases with the disparity in income. The risk of having a non-shared parenting situation also increases with a large income disparity as well.

It would seem to me that women staying home with the chilluns, especially after having worked for a while, is a recipe for significant discontent and thus a higher risk of divorce. Especially the hit-and-run variety.

Do you agree? What do you think?

PolishKnight said...

In response to Anne: Could you please cite the "studies" that show these older, educated career women make better spouses than younger 20 something cheerleaders? Basically, I have observed through my own dating that the older women generally were very headstrong and had an independent streak in them (a lot like NYMOM herself. Hi HYMOM! :-) This appeared to make it more difficult for them to settle down in the first place. At the same time, many women who may be difficult to, er, break in may turn out to be great spouses later. But it didn't appear that way at the time when I was dating them and many men appeared to have come to similar conclusions.

While men no longer look like Brad Pitt in their 30's, men do age differently than women to say the least. In general, a pot belly and bald spot doesn't do most men a lot of harm from what I've heard (contrary to the hair club for men adverts) and age generally confers upon men maturity and stability which are attractive traits. I don't think men who are considered "hot" in their 20's will be less so in their 40's unless they've _really_ let themselves go.

I find the press-coverage of the aging professional woman interesting, even as I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence about it, because I have seen so many women go online and get literally hundreds if not thousands of responses. It's simply flabbergasting. Maybe their problem is that they take the number of responses they receive to over-inflate their expectations and demands in certain areas beyond what they can achieve?

There's also the Anita Hill factor: I recall 20 years ago when it was common for educated women and men to meet each other in the workplace. This has changed significantly and I recall thinking back then that the social ramifications of these policies would be hard felt but I didn't think it would take so long for them to have an impact.

I think Wapiti was asking about the studies for the same reason I am: If people cite studies, they should certainly know where they got them! 9 out of 10 statistics are made up, doncha know. :-) Sociology classes in college are notorious for using statistics that are often totally made up or misleading: The superbowl wife beating stats, the women's standard of living decreases while the man's doesn't stat, and the infamous 70 cents on a dollar stat. etc.

PolishKnight said...

More Mating Comments

Anne has a point that educated women need to sharpen up on their personal skills. Quite frankly, it wouldn't hurt anyone. Overall, white collar professionals may tend to actually have lower interpersonal skills if they are cubicle or office dwellers and tend to not talk to a lot of different people. This is why service workers (including even men) are often married more quickly.

Elusive Wapiti wrote: I don't see this very much either. Anecdotally speaking, women significantly younger than myself (I'm 33) are not that attractive to me. Sure, they may look physically appealing, but as soon as they open up their mouths, the differences in maturity and life stages become apparent.

I would argue then that you need more friends your own age to discuss things outside of a sexual relationship. It might also help you to find a nice woman who has something new and interesting to discuss. Yes, you know where I'm going: Foreign women. Regardless of the culture they're from, you'll have tons of interesting things to learn. It's as if you just found another 100 channels of quality cableTV programming.

I don't know what to do about the kid situation. I generally was turned off by children early on in dating as a single person but later met a woman I really liked who had a son and I learned to quickly live with and like it but there was that hurdle. Overall, smart daters know that people with kids are often more responsible and stable but many never take that leap. It depends upon the situation. In some cases, children can be a plus for that person and in others a negative.

Here's something funny for the three of you: I remember reading an article where an author advised unmarried aging career women to maybe consider having a test-tube baby and then maybe they'd find it easier to marry because men their age might find the presence of a child taking the "pressure off".

Elusive Wapiti said...

NYMOM,

Here's an article today about a woman who did get married but decided to delay childbearing until it was too late. I can only assume she delayed childbearing because she was focused on her career. Choices do not come without consequences, unfortunately for her.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/9556250/site/newsweek/

Polish Knight Wrote:

I would argue then that you need more friends your own age to discuss things outside of a sexual relationship. It might also help you to find a nice woman who has something new and interesting to discuss.


At the risk of hijacking this thread (sorry NYMOM), this is harder than it sounds. I live in a small town and work in a very male-dominated profession: aviation. The only available women I meet regularly are late teens/early 20s and are clerical/administrative types. Not a whole lot of socio-economically similar women to be found here.


Yes, you know where I'm going: Foreign women. Regardless of the culture they're from, you'll have tons of interesting things to learn.

Way ahead of you. I've put in for transfer to Tokyo in the spring. I think I just need a change of scenery, to gain some perspective and to take a break from American women for a while.

Overall, smart daters know that people with kids are often more responsible and stable but many never take that leap.

I've learned that women who already have children have some definite advantages over childless women from a maturity standpoint. There's simply less baloney to deal with, and she has a better lock on what she wants and what she is about--I'm talking self-knowledge here, of which early-to-mid 20s women do not have much. Getting older and having kids has a way of making both sexes grow up and get serious.

maybe consider having a test-tube baby... the presence of a child taking the "pressure off".

Interesting point. I briefly dated a 37 year old last year and it didn't take long for her to start sinking desperation hooks into me. Quite unnerving when the other person literally starts planning the wedding when you're only on the second date. Yikes. Anyways, I don't think the presence of the baby takes the pressure off for the man per se; rather, I think that the presence of a child will get her to calm down a little and takes some of the urge-to-merge pressure off so she can date normally.

Just my $.02.

Take care,
Elusive Wapiti

PolishKnight said...

At the risk of hijacking this thread (sorry NYMOM), this is harder than it sounds. I live in a small town and work in a very male-dominated profession: aviation. The only available women I meet regularly are late teens/early 20s and are clerical/administrative types. Not a whole lot of socio-economically similar women to be found here.

If I may ask you to elaborate, are you basically living on Pitcairn island then? Is the town so small that basically your options are few?

You may want to consider widening your dating area then. Maybe dating long-distance women in a larger geographical area. Aviation, in theory, should make this quite convenient. I'm not trying to lecture you but only throwing out some other options that may not have occurred to you (or maybe you tried but didn't work out.)

One of the biggest mistakes men make is to get hooked on meeting women through work. We're there most of the time anyway and it's easy because we feel comfortable. The bar scene is basically a shark pit so most normal men don't like it very much.

I have a friend whose a pickup artist and he told me how he literally picked up thousands of women: He would see an attractive woman and go up to her and say something incredibly silly. He would design it to be either very funny or very romantic depending upon the nature of the woman. He met his wife when he ran up to her and said: "If I don't say something to you now, I'll regret it for the rest of my life."

Seriously though, I'm fascinated: Would you be comfortable dating a woman with a testtube baby? A baby where she didn't even _try_ to get along with a man? (Then again, the father's not hanging around to cause any problems.)

I didn't have a problem with "fasttrack" women. My wife is one of them. She was serious from the get go but she was focused on having a complete family, including me, and not just finding a sperm donor. She also was more pro-active and didn't wait until the last minute.

Essentially, a lot of the problems with women in our culture may have to do with men not wanting the women to be "High pressure" but at the same time, the women don't want to be sluts and have a lot of baggage to drag into relationships either. I know of a lot of women who just dated many men casually and they got this harsh and cynical edge to them. Men ideally want lots of serial, casual sexual partners but for women it's emotionally draining.

Anonymous said...

Hi Elusive Wapiti.

No problem. As for Polish Knight, I'll look for a cite for you later. The joint-custody one was easier to find because it was more specific.

"Oops...my ex and I married at 22 and 23 respectively. Wish someone would've told me this then, when I was young and stupid and "in love.""

LOL...well, you probably wouldn't have listened if they had. I hope and pray that neither of my kids will marry before age 30 or so, but if they pick out somebody and tell you they've set the date for the Saturday after graduation, what are you gonna do? Make the best of it and keep your fingers crossed. I remember the guy I was figuring on marrying when I was about 21--God help me, I think he's now 43 and still single and living with his parents! Thank the Lord for all those extra years I had to grow up!

Yes, my husband and I have two small children. I was an attorney in the state where we met and married but we moved to the Midwest soon after, where I took a job teaching high school while arranging to be recertified for our current state. Then I found out I was pregnant, and we didn't want to use daycare, so under the circumstances it was better for me to be the one to stay home. But I'm not discontented at all. It's a new career for the time being, that's all. I work very conscientiously at saving as well, because I want us both to still be able to contribute the maximum to our retirement accounts to minimize the temporary financial hit we're taking. And my husband participates fully in childcare as well--I wouldn't really call our parenting "non-shared". When he’s at home evenings and weekends the kids are his, pretty much. He's willing to do 100% of the earning and I'm willing to do 100% of the cooking, cleaning, shopping, paperwork, and all the other details of life, but the kids are both our responsibilities. After the kids are in school I may complete my recertification as a lawyer or I might go back to teaching high school—it would be convenient to be on the same schedule as the kids, and finding a job would be a breeze as my teaching field is in high demand.

While the studies seem to indicate that a significant disparity in income, and non-shared childcare, correlate with a greater risk of divorce, you know what that suggests to me? Again, marriages made at a young age, when one party or the other (likely the wife) had not yet had the time or opportunity to acquire a specialized education and career history. Another point--and I may be all wet on this, but it makes sense to me. NYMOM and I agree that most women want to be married, but most divorces are initiated by women. Unless someone is beating you up or gambling away all the family resources or something extreme like that, the whole point of getting divorced is to get remarried (otherwise you could just live apart, right?). Who is more likely to feel discontented, pack up the kids and leave, thinking "I don't need him--I can go out and get somebody better?" The woman who married late and is now perhaps 40 or more, or the woman in her late 20's or early 30's who married young? As you can tell, I'm a huge fan of later marriage. While it's not a guarantee of happiness, I think it would solve an enormous amount of personal and financial woes.

In our case, the thing about us having married and started a family so late is that I think both of us got to see just about everything there was to see out there, relationship-wise, and we know that although we had a lot of fun it is still a lot more fulfilling to get to share it all with someone and we're not really missing anything. I'm not going anywhere, because my husband is my best friend and my first priority, and even if he were not I would not initiate a divorce for anything but infidelity or serious abuse. And we're both such tightwads that I think we could work anything out rather than see our kids' college funds go into the lawyers' pockets, if you know what I mean. It often staggers me to see the amount of hard-earned resources people are willing to waste, often for no other reason than to “stick it” to the other.

About the unbelievers’ exception, you’re absolutely right on that one. Marriage generally means something different to believers as opposed to nonbelievers, so it would be unfair to hold the believer bound when the other takes off.

Sorry you're having trouble meeting the right kind of woman for you. But you're still a pretty young guy, and the statistics are on your side as the vast majority of guys like you remarry, and fairly soon.

Anne

NYMOM said...

"I have seen this stat (age == less chance of divorce) in other places as well (Barna, I think). I seem to recall that the chances for divorce go way down when one marries past the age of 27 or 28. Oops...my ex and I married at 22 and 23 respectively. Wish someone would've told me this then, when I was young and stupid and "in love."

But that marriage institute claims that the benefit of being older when you're married really kind of ends in your mid 20s or so...Basically when they talk about marrying too young they appear to be talking about older teens and early 20s (probably around the age you married). However people waiting much past your mid 20s actually tends to have no benefit vis-a-vis the divorce rate.

It's just as high for those who marry late as well...

So I guess it's the bell shaped curve all over again. I have frequently said that curve explains everything in life...

If you marry too young, proably anywhere from 16 to 22, chances are high you'll end in a divorce; however, if you marry too old anywhere after late 20s to 30s you'll end in divorce as well.

From the 'older' end, I think you just get set in your ways and find it harder to change.

I know I was 31 when I married my husband (he was 45) and we were divorced in a few years. I just couldn't adjust to living with someone and not having my own space. It didn't help that he had custody of his three kids from a previous marriage and then we had one of our own right away. I was used to living a quiet life (with one child I had when I was 19) where we were in bed early every night. Had too cats and a hamster and everything was quiet and planned. I mean we went to my grandmother's house every Sunday for dinner and took a vacation for the same two weeks to the same place every year.

Suddenly I was plunged into a chaotic family of SIX kids and two adults and it was really overwhelming.

So I think the optimum time for marriage is probably somewhere between 25 and 30...where you've graduated college or worked a few years, seen a little of the real world, but not so much that you've become disillusioned or too set in your ways to change. There has to be a certain amount of flexibility in both to allow for some growth and openness to change and that generally means youthfullness.

NYMOM said...

"Basically, I have observed through my own dating that the older women generally were very headstrong and had an independent streak in them (a lot like NYMOM herself. Hi HYMOM! :-) This appeared to make it more difficult for them to settle down in the first place. At the same time, many women who may be difficult to, er, break in may turn out to be great spouses later. But it didn't appear that way at the time when I was dating them and many men appeared to have come to similar conclusions."

No...believe it or not I agree.

I wouldn't describe it as "er, break in" but a younger woman will adjust easier to married life; as she has nothing to compare it to, but her previous life. Most young women in their early 20 to mid 20s were probably living at home with an authority figure over them, either parental or in school (as colleges still have authority figures supervising the students, it's not the free-for-all that many paint college as being)...

So basically many college-educated women have been a short time on their own in their mid-20s, but not so long that they've made a satisfactory life for themselves to miss...

Of course this means that young girls on their own since they were 18 or so, without attending college, are probably just as difficult to deal with in their mid 20s as a 28 or 30 year old, out of school and working for a few years already...

BOTH have already made lives for themselves out from under their parents or some other authority figure's wing. BOTH have their own apartment, job, pets, friends, schedule and are probably most likely to have a much harder time adjusting to living with or marrying someone...

It's that simple.

I mean by the time I met my husband, I had left home 15 years earlier and been on my own since I was 16. He, although he was 45 had NEVER lived alone. He came from his parent's home, married right away, had 3 children and was alone only ONE year his whole life as orginally his wife took the children with her. But then remarried and her new husband didn't wish the children to be living with them, so they came back to their father.

BUT that one year was the ONLY time he was ever living alone...

So believe it or not Polish Knight I agree with you on something.

NYMOM said...

"I find the press-coverage of the aging professional woman interesting, even as I have heard a lot of anecdotal evidence about it, because I have seen so many women go online and get literally hundreds if not thousands of responses. It's simply flabbergasting. Maybe their problem is that they take the number of responses they receive to over-inflate their expectations and demands in certain areas beyond what they can achieve?"

Well remember people can't tell what you look like online. Once they meet these women; if they aren't that attractive they will be quickly shunned by the second date. We're not talking long-term relationships here. I know a few women who do this internet meeting business and it's good for casual relationships: dinner, drinks, a few plays, whatnot...but not too many marriages are going to come from this scene at least not for this age group of women...

That was my point with these two articles actually. That women who wait too long and focus on a career COULD wind up like that Maureen Dowd, Kay Bailey Hutchinson or even this new Supreme Court pick of George Bush, a 60 year old spinster with no kids.

Let's face it how many MEN who achieved everything those three women above achieved would have been unmarried. If they were men, some woman would have snapped them up, no matter WHAT they looked like.

It's just not the same for women however and I'm not sure enough women realize this. They have to plan their lives differently; otherwise they'll be alone without a partner or even any kids...

With men hard work and success pay off in spades as it gets them all the rewards society has to offer including the pick of the best women...We, on the other hand, get just the opposite for our hard work...we are often still ALONE in spite of everything we contribute and I don't think too many woman are going to follow through with college and career if we can't give them a workable life plan that's going to allow them to have a husband and family as well as the material successes...

NYMOM said...

"The data indicate that kids in successful joint custody arrangements are more likely to have mothers (and fathers) who are older, educated, professional, and affluent. Parents with joint custody arrangements are also more likely to have only one or two children, which is also consistent with later marriage."

Yes Trish Wilson has posted the same sort of factoids on her site.

AND it makes sense to me as well especially the affluent part for Joint Custody to be successful.

After all you are no longer getting the economies of scale that you get when two well-paid professionals set up a household. Now you need TWO of everything, house, car, etc., to achieve for a kid what you were achieving before with one of everything...

The problem comes in when men expect to be able to do Joint Custody in every situation no matter with a stay-at-home mom who never worked or a professional career woman.

Clearly it's not going to work if a mother has never had a job, married right out of school or parent's house, never even filed her own income tax return. Went from being a deduction on her parents' return to being one on her husband's return and raising the kids...

How the heck is Joint Custody, where she has to pay her own expenses and half the kids, going to work with women like her.

Short answer it won't.

So men want their cake and eat it too. They want the uncomplicated young woman, with no baggage, to marry and have kids with but then they expect her to morph into 6 figure, brief-case carrying career woman (who will be able to pay for half of everything) if the marriage doesn't work out.

Sadly it just doesn't work out that way generally.


"At the risk of hijacking this thread (sorry NYMOM)"

I don't care about that unlike other sites. Which basically I find it very controlling to start that "hijacking of a thread thingy".


AND regarding moveaways, since someone mentioned me being against them. Of course that's correct. I am totally against them.

PolishKnight said...

Well remember people can't tell what you look like online. Once they meet these women; if they aren't that attractive they will be quickly shunned by the second date. We're not talking long-term relationships here. I know a few women who do this internet meeting business and it's good for casual relationships: dinner, drinks, a few plays, whatnot...but not too many marriages are going to come from this scene at least not for this age group of women...

People put their photos online. Granted, sometimes the photos are a little less than honest. One woman apparently has a complexion that's exceptionally photogenic but in person, she looks about 20 years older. (I photograph horribly. The perils of a pale complexion.)

But even so, most of the women who post online include a photo and many of these successful professional career women are not dogs. Many are quite attractive and dress comely. So I don't think this is about men dumping such women for being too plain.

It's not too difficult to select dates, especially in this position, for a long term relationship I think. Maybe the problem is the order they do the selecting: Toss out all the "dogs" first (and when they get 200 responses, a "dog" can be pretty decent) and then they try to teach the puppy dog they chose new monogamous tricks.

Maybe this is why the women like eharmony so much because it forces _them_ to stick by a diet, so to speak, like weight watchers.

Anonymous said...

Hi Polish Knight.

In addition to Barna, you might want to check out the book Marriage and the Family, by Marcia and Tom Lasswell of the University of Southern California. It's often used as a college textbook. According to their findings, the risk of divorce decreases with every year of age at marriage throughout the twenties, leveling off around the age of 30.

NYMOM wrote:

"But that marriage institute claims that the benefit of being older when you're married really kind of ends in your mid 20s or so...Basically when they talk about marrying too young they appear to be talking about older teens and early 20s (probably around the age you married). However people waiting much past your mid 20s actually tends to have no benefit vis-a-vis the divorce rate."

You raise a good point here. But I think a huge factor that tends to obscure the benefits of later marriage is that a person who marries in their late twenties to early thirties is far more likely than before to be marrying a person who is on their second marriage, and second marriages of course have a higher risk of divorce due to their own set of pressures like exes, stepchildren and financial baggage. What I'd like to see is a study of exclusively late-marrying couples with no previous marriages at all (and no previous children as well). I think the results might be surprising.

BTW, I was watching "What You Get For the Money" the other night, and they featured a 450 square-foot apartment in Manhattan that had cost $400,000 (and the couple that owned it said it wasn't a very hip neighborhood). That kind of money would buy a suburban palace where we live! After having grown up in Texas, where there is more space than anyone knows what to do with, it's hard to wrap my mind around the housing costs in your neck of the woods. I guess you have to REALLY love city-living.

Anne

PolishKnight said...

Hello Anne,

I think that it's probably common sense or expected that older people tend to divorce less (emotional stability, experience, etc.) but I was asking about a study or census cite correlating higher education, especially post grad, with more stable marriages.

There's also "pockets" in a statistic: If you look at the stock-market, for example, it can be argued that the DOW has risen on average for the past 4 years or so. However, this is an average and it's possible to make a different statement about a sub-market such as energy, technology, or pharmaceutical, for instance. In other words, statistics that show that older people tend to divorce less means very little to professional men who are trying to decide whether a thirty-something career woman whose been ambivalent about marriage but now suddenly wants to have kids will make a good wife versus maybe marrying the cute 20 something girl who works at Starbucks.

I have a friend who also participates in these blogs and we made an interesting observation: We were walking around a train station and saw a cute girl working in a kiosk. We wondered if professional women would even look twice at a 6 foot good-looking guy in a similar situation (especially beyond raw sex.) This makes life in some ways a bit easier for men. Sure, it sucks having to earn a living and all but at the same time, we don't worry too much about our looks because we know for women that's not the end of the story.

I see your point about the exes being a problem. I dated a woman who hadn't divorced but had a lot of baggage from her ex-boyfriend and it didn't work out to say the least. I think everyone carries baggage, period, but the question is how they handle it. Carry on or check-in?

400 G's for a 450 sq ft. apartment is madness plain and simple. I looked up rents for the area and found similar apartments for about $2,000 a month (or less!) The _interest_ alone for their apartment is $2,300 (nevermind fees and taxes). Overall, Manhattan has always been pricey.

Anonymous said...

Hi Polish Knight.

I confess I don't know exactly how education affects the risk of divorce. My comments have been mostly about later age at time of marriage, and higher education tends to go along with that. But, as I pointed out before, the upside of marrying an educated professional is that in the event of divorce you are going to be much more likely to work out a satisfactory custody arrangement. The studies I cited DO show that much.

About the train station--I can't speak for all women but I know I was never so educated or professional that I wouldn't have looked at a good-looking six-footer. LOL. I first saw my husband in a bookstore and thought we was hot, but he was obviously the shy type (and so am I, actually) so I either had to make contact myself or lose my chance. We turned out to be a great match in every way, as luck would have it. It never hurts to check out things that look interesting. Glad I went for it. Thank you Barnes & Noble.

This has been a great discussion. Thanks to all for your ideas.

Anne

NYMOM said...

"Essentially, a lot of the problems with women in our culture may have to do with men not wanting the women to be "High pressure" but at the same time, the women don't want to be sluts and have a lot of baggage to drag into relationships either. I know of a lot of women who just dated many men casually and they got this harsh and cynical edge to them. Men ideally want lots of serial, casual sexual partners but for women it's emotionally draining."

Yes, and I find these are precisely the women who generally are ready to try those methods such as anonymous donors and test tubes, all that...

Not really women who aren't even willing to try to have men in their lives, but women who tried TOO much and have just decided to finally move forward w/o a man...

NYMOM said...

"400 G's for a 450 sq ft. apartment is madness plain and simple. I looked up rents for the area and found similar apartments for about $2,000 a month (or less!) The _interest_ alone for their apartment is $2,300 (nevermind fees and taxes). Overall, Manhattan has always been pricey."

Yes, you're right Manhattan is ridiculous. Most of my siblings have moved out and my daughter has as well. My apartment is rent subsidy, but if that ever ends I'm out of here as well...