Interesting to see this get coverage. One of the factors that makes for this phenomenon is simple math. Say there is a 55-45 ratio (with more women) among 30-something college-educated folks. Say, moreover, that by then 80% of the people are in relationships. That makes for 40 women paired up with 40 men, leaving 15 single women and just 5 single men.
I think a lot of this is self-inflicted, though. Professional women often still carry with them some of this 1960's mentality and refuse to "date down." As the demographics change and women being overrepresented among the college-educated, this puts them at the wrong end of a supply/demand imbalance.
On the other hand, some of the voluntary decisions are due to unfair social pressures. I think women wouldn't wait so long to get married if doing so didn't start a timer on their downshifting their career. My wife and I got married at 26/27 and had a baby shortly thereafter. My wife is a corporate lawyer and gets a lot of flak for working long hours, especially from family. Nobody ever gives me flak for working long hours. Painting in broad brush strokes, men tend to find that when they get married, society reinforces their career ambitions. Women tend to find that when they get married, society chips away at their career ambitions. Other women, particularly other moms, are the worst about it.
Interesting to hear you say that. My views on feminism changed* after reading a piece titled "Don't Hate Her Because She's Successful" . It's a bit wordy, so I'll condense it as much as I can in the context of your reply.
> My wife is a corporate lawyer and gets a lot of flak for working long hours, especially from family. Nobody ever gives me flak for working long hours. Painting in broad brush strokes, men tend to find that when they get married, society reinforces their career ambitions. Women tend to find that when they get married, society chips away at their career ambitions. Other women, particularly other moms, are the worst about it.
The aforementioned author argues, more or less cogently, that popular feminism seems to have been all about erasing this imbalance by grading successful women by the same rubric as successful men. But this is the wrong idea, and it seems to establish this extremely misguided notion that the men had it right all along: fulfillment and happiness are only accomplished by working long hours for worse pay under terrible management. The men, the popular feminists seem to be arguing, really understood what life was about the whole time and only through truly egalitarian "feminism by the numbers", where men and women work the same number of hours and for the same salaries and in the same proportions in every industry can women be happy.
But, that author argues, is that it's a ruse. There's no reason to assume the men had it right, that being willing to sell your soul for the corporate machine is envious or desirable or worthwhile.
> "Other women ... are the worst about it."
Why is that bad? Why is it that women are the worst when espousing the idea that life isn't about career ambition? It's worth thinking about. Why is the unfair social pressure that your wife is urged to spend more time with her family, and not that you're urged to spend more time at work?
Maybe, the author argues, society and popular feminism is profoundly mistaken. Perhaps the real thing we should all be fighting for is a society in which people aren't asked to work long hours ever again. Where the balance between the home and the workplace is more equitable such that we don't have to make necessarily gender-biasing decisions like having to decide which family member will work longer and which one will stay home longer.
I have seen this point of view and understand where it's coming from, but I think it puts the cart before the horse. Maybe it should be the case that society should define success not by the status of your profession and the size of your bank account, but by your other contributions. However, at the current time, it does not. In the United States, money is everything. It decides whether your kids go to a decent school, whether you get medical care, whether you can live in a place without intolerable crime. We live in this society: http://blog.figuringshitout.com/the-parable-of-the-fisherman.
Within this context, "opting out" means depending on a man for security, and telling women that "motherhood is more fulfilling than work" is encouraging them to be dependent. My wife sees it as rationalization--women trying to convince themselves that people do respect parenting because they should respect it.
Anecdote: when my wife had trouble finding a job initially in law school, a career counselor tried to comfort her by pointing out that at least I had a good job. To a person who yearns to be self-sufficient it wasn't comforting--it was devastating.
Unless you're independently wealthy, you can't be self-sufficient. Is depending on your spouse really any different than depending on your boss/corporation for money? I'd argue that if your spouse "pays the bills" you actually have more independence because you're free all day to pursue entrepreneurial options and/or family and hobbies. You can take risks and be independent in a way that an employee cannot.
The irony of these observations is that the obvious strategy for fixing this addresses both problems, of women being dragged down in their careers by the baggage associated with expectations of women parents, and of men being chained to pointlessly demanding jobs: we need to rewire the terms of full-time jobs to be more compatible with family life.
I don't think that's a realistic solution. No matter what terms you write there will always be someone willing to work crazy hard and ignore their life in return for financial reward. That person is always going to get ahead of someone that wants more balance.
Maaaaybe. But this line of thinking sometimes strikes me as have your cake and eat it too thinking. It would be really nice if the world worked that way for sure, but the idea that harder work leads to greater returns seems pretty robust to me.
The premise of your comment is that the productivity-maximizing strategy for managing a company is to allow everyone to work at their maximum personal tolerance.
But that's not necessarily true; it's possible to imagine a scenario where you net out ahead by buying improved median productivity at the expense of reduced maximum individual productivity.
Think of it game-theoretically, assume a coordination problem that penalizes defectors (here, people who don't sacrifice their personal lives for improved productivity), and then bear in mind that some workers might be required to defect no matter what the rules of the game are.
The strategy you want obviously depends on your mix of natural cooperators vs. natural defectors.
It's certainly possible that you are correct. But isn't the over performance of the US economy compared to Western Europe (where they have made the kind of tradeoff you propose) evidence to the contrary?
There has been something of a pendulum swing in feminist thought. The second wave was all about reducing barriers to women from being full participants in society. Along with that came an ideology that essentially said that gender was social constructed, and that if only we didn't impose them on children men and women could be essentially interchangeable.
The efforts were largely successful (albeit not completely) but in the third wave* there has been a severe backlash against the ideology and the social pressures that it raised. That's what your are talking about in your comment. There's was a movement to say -- it's okay to want to be a homemaker, it's okay to wear clothes that make you feel sexy, it's okay to want men to hold the door for you.
I think it's swung too far the other direction. While it was originally "okay" there's a lot of voices out there saying, implicitly or explicitly, that it's "natural" to want to play all those traditional gender roles. That women who run companies, or nations, or work 80 hours a week are unnatural, ruining it for everyone else, or lying to themselves. That if you are a successful single women you nonetheless have a duty to the sisterhood to fight for mothers' issues because of your gender.
In other words, I think it's time for a backlash to the backlash.
*ignoring for the movement the race/class/international/gay aspects of third wave feminism
> erasing this imbalance by grading successful women by the same rubric as successful men. But this is the wrong idea, and it seems to establish this extremely misguided notion that the men had it right all along
Some people want career success. Some people want to take care of a family. There are both genders in each group, but society only supports one gender in each. A feminist point is people of both genders should be supported in whichever endeavor fulfills them.
Society is more accepting of men who join street gangs (rather than corporations). However, I think correcting that imbalance by focusing on how society treats women in gangs, rather than how society treats men in gangs, would be a mistake. Don't you?
It is surely an imbalance that needs correcting, but there is legitimate question as to how that imbalance is best corrected.
This is happening more and more nowadays, but a man in that position still has to defend himself against accusations of being a “girly man” and so forth.
Another way to put it - will a man be seen as (a) more or (b) less desirable to most women if he makes the following statement: “I’d like to marry a successful career woman, and when we have kids, I’d like to stay home and be the primary caretaker for the kids”?
To answer your question, clearly the answer is b. That is exactly the double standard as stated.
What I'm really trying to get at is that no one should be staying home full time while the other is at work all day.
Careers are a very personal thing. Having a child shouldn't be thought of as something you do for yourself. You are doing it for the child and the world. It is important to raise them right, but not at the cost of your future. With two parents, it shouldn't be that difficult to split the time across both.
That may sound wrong, but in reality, it takes a village to raise a child. Why should one person sacrifice the rest of their life?
I see your argument why shouldn't be that way, but I don't see there an argument that it in reality is this way, at least not for most women.
It may quite well take a village to raise a child, but in practice for most people there won't ba a village to do so; One person shouldn't have to sacrifice the rest of their life, but more likely than not one you will have to do that; and while I can agree that 'no one should be staying home full time while the other is at work all day' and Scandinavian countries have very nice results with such policies for both parents, in USA most people will be forced to choose between either that or poverty.
So, to answer the question, you're stating "clearly the answer should be b" ... but is the answer b in reality?
I didn't say that it should be B, I'm saying that unfortunately it is B. I can guarantee few women in the US want to support a man. However, I think the inverse is making more ground. Meaning I think less men are interested in highly dependent women.
The leveling of the double standard is happening not by women accepting dependent men, but by men expecting an independent woman.
because traditionally the male was the wage earner. so whoever he married, his standard of living doesn't change. in contrast, in traditional (ie my parent's generation, uk) roles, who the woman marries fixes her standard of living.
That's the usual hypothesis for why, but I was wondering when this became the norm, since traditionally there was quite a bit of social opposition to that direction as well. A man from "respectable society" wasn't supposed to marry someone from a poor family, or he'd be disowned, or at least cause a minor scandal. Particularly true among more prominent families with a family name to uphold.
You're conflating "social class" with "economic class". The old marriage thing was more about social class than economic - a man could marry a girl with no money if she came from a "good" family but marrying some rich girl with no lineage would be frowned on. (see: All of Downton Abbey) Also, one could be from "respectable society" but not be rich, if you had "good blood" or "good school", etc.
In modern life and in the US, we're much less aware of social class at all (or actively dislike the concept), and it's gotten (somewhat) decoupled from economic class. Someone who has become a lawyer or otherwise economically successful could be from any class and it's not unlikely they might choose to marry someone from a similar social class (with similar background) rather than someone with similar economic class.
Many do indirectly. They get together with someone for that, then something else develops (or nothing else develops but the only way to keep the fucks and giggles is to keep her happy by marrying her!).
No all marriages are built on both parties pleasing/challenging each other intellectually.
Maybe the receptionist is also going to school and this is how she's paying for it.
Being college educated doesn't mean much these days in america. read the statistics about college grads and how little they know. Of course there are exceptions, but most US college grads are about as well educated as typical Finnish high school grad.
From the age of 18 onward, I selected on a quirky combination of intelligence plus subjective cuteness. I did not consider financial stability but I wouldn't have been emasculated by it either. I was by no means an alpha, but I was a straight A student and that did help with attracting the smarter ones (which the alphas, frat boys and jocks mostly ignored anyway).
That said, this was a really bad algorithm. My divorce sucked.
Since then, I've selected on a maxmin of a quirky combination of intelligence plus subjective cuteness combined with financial stability. So far, so good. I had to rule out several otherwise promising contenders on the way using the second criterion though.
I would not consider marrying the receptionist, no matter how hot, unless I noticed that she was reading O'Reilly books and/or managing her multiple rental properties between visitors to the front desk. You do not want to marry a boat anchor and make beautiful concrete galoshes with her.
Finally, while looks are a mediocre measure of long-term compatibility when one is young, as one approaches and passes 40, one's looks become less a matter of genetics and more a matter of the consequences of conscious choices along the way and so I got pickier on that axis as my pool of potential partners aged.
Women who are selecting for financial stability early on are way ahead of you if you truly consider a financially competent woman emasculating. Get over it.
>> I would not consider marrying the receptionist, no matter how hot, unless I noticed that she was reading O'Reilly books and/or managing her multiple rental properties between visitors to the front desk. You do not want to marry a boat anchor and make beautiful concrete galoshes with her.
Wow. What if you enjoy each others company immensely?
Turned down two potential partners whose company I enjoyed immensely because the first one (ivy league degrees, spoke 4 languages, virtuoso musician) could not hold a job for more than a couple months and had zero life-savings and the second one (beautiful, charming, popular) turned out to be a narcissist that was over $1M in the hole due to the housing crash. Both had expensive tastes despite this.
So yes, if I found out the receptionist was falling ever deeper into debt and/or wasn't doing something on her own to rise above the seemingly unstoppable ongoing wealth redistribution to the top 5%, I would not marry her. OTOH if I found out she was a diamond in the rough like I alluded to above, I wouldn't let her out of my sight.
Fights over money are marriage-killers. And to quote Faye Valentine: "Beautiful skin can only be maintained by tireless efforts which are ultimately totally futile." So what's in it for me in this case other than transient enjoyment followed by a lifetime of sorrow?
He seems to be implying that, from his past experiences, a certain degree of mesh between their relative financial security and personal aspirations is a prerequisite for lasting "enjoys each other's company".
You may as well ask why he would not marry somebody he is not physically attracted to.
People in general are far more likely to marry within their socioeconomic layer than outside that (partly because of biases, partly because they simply spend most of their time socializing among 'their own') - but yes, looking at statistics, men are more eager to 'marry down' than women, there is an asymmetry there.
I've met lots and lots of this. During my dating years, I went on a single date with a hairdresser whose ex-husband was one of the founders of Cisco. Dumped her and levelled up right before he made his money. It's not at all uncommon. I've even seen it happen at one ex-employer.
> "Professional women often still carry with them some of this 1960's mentality and refuse to "date down.""
Which is the crux of it. Though I wouldn't say it's fair to consider it self-inflicted.
Even if a woman decided she was comfortable with the idea of dating a less-successful/educated man quite a few years younger than herself, few social circles would accept it without friction (far fewer than see any problem with the arrangement were genders reversed) and fewer (desirable) men are themselves comfortable with it.
So, sure, every 20-year-old woman is fairly well aware of these factors and ought to plan accordingly. But even if they shake the mentality at 30, while they can improve their pool, erasing the disadvantage entirely is simply not something that's under their control.
I think this is a very important point. I know a woman who is around 40, attractive, successful, intelligent. Her fiance is a 28 year old man. He's attractive as well, but hes obviously less intelligent than her. As far as I can tell, they make each other extremely happy. They get very strange looks when they're together, much stranger than if the genders were reversed.
It seems like this is something that will self-correct over time; it's just a lag associated with the fact that our expectations are set during childhood but play out 20 years later as adults.
One thing that would help is if TV and other mass media stopped enforcing this stereotype so much - they always have the high-powered woman married to the high-powered man, and the high-powered man may be married to either a career woman or non-career woman, but you don't see the reverse. A few shows (Parenthood comes to mind) have gone against this trend.
A little bit, but the biological clock is still an inherent imbalance for those people looking for biological children.
A man in his 30s, dating women in their 20s will find more of them amenable to reproducing right away, and it's not much of a big deal to the man, if a prospective partner wants to delay that another 5-10 years.
A woman in her 30s, dating men in their 20s will find fewer of them amenable to reproducing right away, and there are significant, potentially deal-breaking costs to the woman associated with delaying another 5-10 years.
There are alternatives (adoption, surrogates, etc) and perhaps through some social normalization they'll further close the gap. But the social/financial/identity costs of such arrangements are going to remain substantial for some time.
 that is, a person's (potentially strong) preference for traditional, biological children, due only their own pre-conceived notions of how they'd start their family. Women have definitely been known to 'settle' for a lesser mate to avoid challenging that preconception. And that willingness to settle is a profound disadvantage.
I suppose it depends on one's views on whether that is an injustice in the first place, and then if one thinks it is the responsibility of TV producers and writers to fix it.
Should it be the role of software engineers to fix social injustice as well? Perhaps our designs should be subject to review by some committee to ensure they meet certain criteria, as would likely be the case with The television industry if you wanted to ensure compliance.
Mass media usually trails, rather than leads, on these kinds of things. There were tons of gay parents before you saw any on tv shows as recurring characters, and they still insist on the stereotype of the nerdy male engineer. Unless you think those are good things, it seems like they should work to stay at least current.
I think there's more to it than just the ratios. It's also that women are the selectors, and are more picky than men. If you line up ten men and ten woman along two parallel number lines, each numbered 1-10, and then perform simulations where they randomly pair off, with men willing to pair with anyone -2 of their level and above, and women willing to pair off with anyone equal to their level and above, you end up with one or two unpaired women at the top and one or two unpaired men at the bottom.
Notice this article is bemoaning the sad state of those unpaired women at the top, but makes no mention of the unpaired men at the bottom who are suffering just as much, if not more so.
> most single women I know in NYC are pretty successful career-wise, and seem to prefer a man who's at least their equal or higher
That is, from what I can tell, rayiner's point. As the world goes from one in which there were many college-educated men for every college-educated woman to an oversupply of college-educated women per college-educated man, that preference will become a self-inflicted (due to preference) disadvantage when it comes to dating. That seems to be rayiner's premise, and it seems to be true, unless preferences and habits evolve as the landscape evolves (which I think will be true).
Not to be a pedant, but not everybody pairs up 1-1. A lot of these "MRAs" or "Game-advocates" folks are so quick to disparage, have more than one woman at a time in their effectively-exclusive orbit. Granted women can have multiple men too, but in my cohort (hooray anecdata!) it's far more common for there to be 'clusters' (clutches?) of one man to many women than the reverse.
I think this is a huge part of the problem. As the article mentions, 'Data from American colleges show 20 per cent of males - the most attractive ones - get 80 per cent of the sex'.
This means, when women are in their early twenties, they're use to being in relationships or hooking up with the most attractive men. Although I hate ratings, let's say men 8-10, are getting together with all the women 5-10. This can't work in the long run, because people partner up 1-1, so those 8-10 men end up married to 8-10 women. What happens with all these women 5-7? They spent their twenties with men 8-10, and now they're left with their equals, men 5-7, so they feel like they're settling, or stepping down. At the same time, men feel like they're dating up, because they never received attention from these women before. Meanwhile, they're equal, but prior history leaves this skewed perspective.
In short, average women in their twenties get attention from great guys. As people begin to settle down, average women are only left with average men, and they're left wondering where all the good men have gone.
This kind of societal screwed-up-ness is exactly what's predicted by those who say that you shouldn't have sex outside of marriage. People get in the habit of hooking up, which sets up unrealistic expectations on both sides. We're losing the ability to have real relationships. Remember that article about how people in Japan "aren't having sex anymore"? The HN comment consensus was, they are, they just don't have lasting relationships, because that's too hard.
People take the easy way out, even if it makes them unhappy later. If you can have sex without being married, that's easier than taking the time to develop a deep relationship, even if you're never really happy.
Of course, nothing will work if people don't have good character, which is really the problem. If people are getting married just to have sex, not because they're prepared to make the sacrifices required by living and working together, then things only get worse. We've instilled an entitlement mentality in lots of people, and we're reaping the results.
Anyway, if you wanted to know why premarital sex is considered immoral in most major religions (the big 3 monotheistic ones, anyway), you're watching it, live.
I mostly agree with you, but I think you missed one step. The 5-7 women wont just immediately start dating their own "tier". They will swarm the 7-men. Those were the once we read about in the article: Men who used to be ignored, but now gets attention from loads of women. Eventuelly it will balance out, but not before the "slightly more attrative than average" men take advantage of the situation.
I think there's a fundamental asymmetry in the dating 'market' which doesn't require the depressing exercise of assigning everyone a number.
Young women generally will only date men her age or older. So for example a 22 yo woman would date men in the large pool between 22 and 30. Meanwhile the 22 yo man doesn't have much opportunity to date older or younger. However, when the woman hits 30, the situation has reversed and the 'marriageable' men in her pool are dating younger women.
Whether someone is a '5' or an '8' isn't necessarily an inherit characteristic and has a lot to do with their life circumstances.
> "Not to be a pedant, but not everybody pairs up 1-1."
And that population is mis-matched to anyone who is looking for a pair-bond, so they're irrelevant to an analysis of the problems of pair-bonding.
You mean as well say "not everyone is heterosexual/monogamous/etc". And of course they aren't.
But it's hardly useful to suggest successful women can just find happiness if they would simply "choose" to never marry, or pair with another successful woman, or enter a companionate relationship with a homosexual man, or join an already-married couple, or whatever else.
One, because only very few people can consciously change what type of relationship they desire.
And, two, because the population amenable to such arrangements is so much smaller than the population at large, that it doesn't effectively increase their odds, even if they are open to such arrangements.
> "Professional women often still carry with them some of this 1960's mentality and refuse to "date down." As the demographics change and women being overrepresented among the college-educated, this puts them at the wrong end of a supply/demand imbalance."
While I agree, I would say that this mentality predates the 1960s in many ways. A woman's status has always been more strongly evaluated based on who she married than a man's. A man is often judged first by what he does, and secondly by his spouse, family, background, etc. A woman will usually be judged first by her relationships, especially her closest ones.
The reason the term "alpha female" isn't in the popular lexicon the same way as "alpha male" is probably because men will judge a woman based more on her attractiveness than on her place in some social hierarchy.
I'd be interested to know if these tendencies held more strongly for cultures where monogamy was not the nominal relationship form. They seem to me to be an evolutionary vestige in a lot of ways.
> My wife is a corporate lawyer and gets a lot of flak for working long hours, especially from family. Nobody ever gives me flak for working long hours.
Just curious, do you end up hiring baby-sitters for the baby? My friends at this moment are going through this situation, and I see what happens very often is that baby-sitters are too expensive, not good enough, or a number of other things and eventually the woman ends up deciding it's time to put a halt on the career and accept herself as a 'housewife' of sorts. I'm curious to know how you and your wife managed through this.
It's exceedingly difficult and expensive to have two spouses with busy jobs and a small child. My daughter doesn't tolerate daycare for more than 9-3, so my mom lives with us during the week. If my mom didn't live with us, we'd be looking at daycare ($1,300 per month) plus a nanny (maybe $2,000 per month). But I'm very fortunate to have Asian parents who think their role at this age is to help us with our kids and we're not too proud to accept the help...
That being said, I think it's penny-wise and pound-foolish to downshift your career merely because of the cost of childcare. Staying at home to take care of kids is a career death sentence. When your child is mostly independent in 11-12 years, you'll still have most of your career ahead of you, and your earning power will be greatly diminished. I think the stigma against people who choose to stay at home for a few years to take care of kids is ridiculous, but it almost guarantees that you'll be relegated to a second-tier type of position forever after.
I believe that it's not only social pressure, but also behavioral genetic differences between genders.
In real life, often achieving 'ambitious career sucess goal Omega' happens at the cost of your family and other non-working life.
Maybe it shouldn't be so, but life isn't fair, and often your job/research/band/political career/book/whatever will be better off (at least until burnout) if in your actions you put it above your family/social life/hobbies/friends/happiness. And if it in the end kills you by a heart attack, suicide or drug abuse, well, it doesn't affect the achievement as long as it happens after that.
My observation is that there are X% women who would (in practice) choose an ambitious goal at abovementioned cost and intentionally stick with that decision, and Y% of men who would do so; and that the Y% rate is much bigger than X%. It corelates well with a variety of facts, like the gender differences in profession choice, known gender differences in risk-taking (and risk-misevaluation), gender differences in crime rates (again, being ambitious while fscking up your life), etc.
My hypothesis (with no idea on how to verify or reject it) is that the observed difference is not purely social, but built-in - it's clear how it (if it exists) could be caused by gene regulation, and there are evolutionary psychology arguments on why such a difference could be useful for early homo sapiens. I'd like to see if it's true or not.
I don't want to misunderstand your math but I might be doing so.
55 men, 45 women
80% of the men are in stable relationships
80% x 55 men = 44 men
44 men with 44 out of 45 women leaves 1 woman remaining, 11 men remaining, for an even worse ratio of 11 free men to 1 woman.
55 women & 45 men graduate. 15 of those women lasso 15 of those men within 5 years. That leaves 40 women to 30 men. 5 years later another 10 pair off. Now you have 30/20. The more pairs you make, the worse the ratio.
These articles are always oddly delusional about the number of high achieving women. They seem to think having the job title "lawyer" means high status. I'm not convinced this trope of lonely "high achieving" women is a phenomenon with any numerical significance.
"High-achieving" is used loosely here. If you define "high achieving" as CEO's and hedge fund managers, there are way more men in that group, but if you define it as "college educated desk-job professional" then at least within the 22-35 cohort, there are more women or it is rapidly becoming the case that there are more women. The graduation ratio for college is almost 60 women for every 40 men these days.
My understanding is that men in that age cohort earn more at all income brackets. The apparent measure of status used by the writers seems delusionally fixated on credentials. It's just interesting this is never remarked upon in the many, many articles alleging large numbers of "accomplished" women out there with no male peers. Accomplished at what? Third tier graduate education and a $70K office job?
An individual man may earn more than an individual woman, but in broad strokes, with more women graduating college than men, you're going to see more of them in "professional" jobs, especially in younger cohorts.
Credentials are an imperfect, but reasonable, proxy for career trajectory; if you have two big groups of people, and one has a lot more degrees than the other, you'd expect that group to be more successful over the course of their careers.
One thing to consider is that it appears that we already have more graduates than professional careers. If we assume that all college graduate men and women are perfectly equal in the workplace, then the larger group of women will be more likely to find themselves without a professional career due to lack of opportunity, and thus will have a lower average income.
I think they are referring to how they perceive themselves. While you are likely correct that many "lawyers" are not "high status" by objective measures (Australia may be different than the US in this regard, as well), there is substantial cultural status associated with completing law school (may be changing now). However, most people who complete law school consider themselves higher status than if they did not complete it.
Assuming you are talking about the relative prestige of lawyers in Australia? In the US, they are still generally considered high status by the culture, although those of us who have been in the world are much more aware of the fact that just going to law school often reduces your status by objective measures like buying power and employment options (I am a law school dropout). But, most JD earners consider themselves higher status than they would be without their JD.
Graduating from a top 5 law program, clerking for a Supreme Court justice, being a partner or on partner-track in a top firm, teaching at a top university - this represents the 1% among the legal profession, and very high status.
Being an "average" lawyer from an "average" tier law program means average status, unless you break out from that and do something exceptional or entrepreneurial.
I propose not distinguishing the "winners" and "losers" by sex to understand who has the upper hand, but by those who act on what they want and those who don't.
I suspect the people who end up not getting what they want tend to be the ones who don't put in the effort, especially taking the emotional risks in attracting others, initiating relationships, and making the relationships work the way they want.
Many men and many women put in this effort. Many men and many women also don't put in this effort. I suspect the former group has much more success than the latter group in the long run whether male or female, though I suspect they face a lot more rejection and emotional pain in the short run. I suspect the latter group faces less short-term pain and rejection, but is lucky to get what they want from relationships if they ever do.
The emotional challenges of making yourself vulnerable are harder for most than pursuing a career or hobbies so many men and women go the emotionally easier route of working hard at their jobs. In my experience, along with overcoming those challenges comes tremendous emotional growth.
(Btw, I disagree with the zero-sum mentality of winners and losers because people can have more than one deep, meaningful relationship and relationship come in many forms, but adopted it for consistency with the article).
Then why are there vast asymmetries along gender lines in virtually all aspects of dating? Look at OkTrends (http://blog.okcupid.com), or Dan Ariely's posts on the subject (http://danariely.com/tag/dating/), or this post from a woman http://www.alternet.org/why-online-dating-sucks-men) which indicates high dating success for women putting in low effort. Are men and women just putting in different amounts of effort? The question is then, why is that the case? And that case arises from historical gender roles. It is a gender thing.
Your "many people ..." statements are platitudes that are true no matter what follows ("Many people are smart; many people are dumb."), and do nothing to support what you "suspect."
My reaction to the "many men and women ..." sentence was "I think that's the most insightful comment I've ever read on HN!"
Take a closer look at it. The use of "many" does not imply a platitude - 35.22% of the time it's a kinder way of saying "most," and 63.09% of the time we don't have a precise percentage, neither of which negates the validity or importance of the observation.
First, let's get "correlation ≠ causation" out of the way.
Second, where does gender lie—is it a physical characteristic, a social characteristic, a cultural one? I'm physically male but don't really identify myself with any gender. It's not at all clear which direction the identity/behavior causality moves, and most likely it's both ways.
Third, I don't think much positive can come from drawing conclusions that restrict people's capabilities—in this case, ascribing broad behavior to what women and men want. It's an inaccurate viewpoint of the world and only helps you if the viewpoint happens to be a blind spot of yours, i.e. if you're a woman who does believe she won't have an issue finding a male in her thirties or a male who believes he won't be able to find a woman. In this case, of course it will make brilliant sense to you and help you, but not everyone has this problem. I certainly don't; I'm 22 and (hopefully) looking at marriage.
In other words, I don't think examining the cause will necessarily help us in any way but to change it, and binding poor or undesirable to an unalterable part of people will only retard change.
> Second, where does gender lie—is it a physical characteristic
Yes. Your genitals, height, the shape of your pelvis, the amount of various hormones in your system and the ratio of white/grey matter in your brain are primarily determined by whether you have one X chromosome or two. This is what gender is. All other definitions are pseudo science.
In order to evaluate heterosexual relationships, we should evaluate the groups involved. It is not unethical to do so. This doesn't mean we ignore individuals, which would be unethical, those things are logically not related.
1. "Depending on the context, the term may refer to biological sex (i.e. the state of being male, female or intersex), sex-based social structures (including gender roles and other social roles), or gender identity."
Of course 'not everyone has this problem' - the article itself states that it is about ~30% of women in a certain age group, so a majority of women don't have this problem, but it's still large enough to have a noticeable impact on society.
And if you're looking at general statistical trends (i.e., any statments in form 'what women want'), then you're talking about approximations/averages up to the first significant digit, and you can easily be accurate to that degree with simplifying by clearly false assumptions as two clear genders and everyone being heterosexual. And it still is worthwhile to make such analysis, since it can provide insight about why/how large trends occur.
The biggest problem for this particular group is that they often have completely unrealistic expectations of the men they want to date. They start things off with the fact that they want to marry and have kids and that is often extremely undesirable for men. It's not that men don't eventually want that same goal, but that goal comes well after having dating years or longer. It might take you a year or longer before you determine whether or not you want a woman to be the mother of your kids. During that year, many men are mainly interested in sex and casual companionship.
Um, it's pretty explainable by the following theory:
"Men put more work up front -- making the first move, taking the women out and showing them a good time, etc. Women put more work once the relationship gets going (i.e. after much sex has been had). They put up with their guy's frustrating habits and work to advance the relationship forward."
Now, this is a description of the MAJORITY of interactions, not all, of course.
I feel a need to go even further with that statement. Self-control implies that you're bottling up a fundamental harmful impulse. Dear God, are we back in the age of the Puritans, or is it allowed for normal, committed couples to get some mutual enjoyment out of "male" and "female" things?
And yes, I do mean sex. But not just sex. I'm a man who likes to cook and bake, for instance, and I'm good enough at it that my friends and family routinely enjoy the results. What kind of stupidly over-gendered society expects that I should throw away a good hobby because it's "women's work"?!
Relationships are not trades. The husband does not trade "his" household chores for "her" sex. The wife does not trade "her" cooking for "his" income. What the hell is wrong with people who think this way?!
Why do you have to characterize it like that? You're attacking a straw man.
Men are attracted to women based largely on factors that are more immediately apparent -- such as physical appearance. Women get more attracted the more they invest into a relationship. This follows from biological differences - see that article.
I am not sure what "women are highly biased by attractiveness" means. Everyone is highly biased by attractiveness by definition of attractiveness.
Also it is truism that, as a man, you care more than JUST physical appearance in a woman. And you, personally, might even not care about looks at all -- though you'd be quite rare in that case.
I am talking about the overall majority of men and women and what makes them attracted and at what time. There have been studies done on this and it's pretty clear: women's biological appearance plays a larger role for men to be sexually attracted, than a man's biological appearance. (I say biological because obviously if you consider clothes, cars, cologne, hairstyle etc. to be part of the equation then those factors matter, but they can be manipulated and are related more to lifestyle than biology.)
Men are more visually stimulated. It's a fact that's been shown over and over. I did not say men are JUST interested in that. I said that in most societies, men put more work up front -- witness how many men devote countless hours to learning pickup techniques and tricks, or getting a great car, or working their ass off to have money to take women out. Meanwhile, women start putting in more effort than the guy once they have invested in the relationship, and it's probably due to the nesting instinct / biological clock. They put a lot of biological investment into having kids, more than men. And so forth.
I am not "attacking men". You are being knee-jerk reactionary.
> Meanwhile, women start putting in more effort than the guy once they have invested in the relationship, and it's probably due to the nesting instinct / biological clock.
I am not sure where you are getting this from. I just want to point out that existing data about who iniatiates divorces and break-ups would seem to contradict what you're saying.
According to a study published in the American Law and
Economics Review, women have filed slightly more than
two-thirds of divorce cases in the United States.
There is some variation among states, and the numbers
have also varied over time, with about 60% of filings
by women in most of the 19th century, and over 70% by
women in some states just after no-fault divorce was
introduced, according to the paper. Evidence is given
that among college-educated couples, the percentage of
divorces initiated by women is approximately 90%.
That is once again a straw man. Showing that women are more likely to file for divorce doesn't mean they didn't get married in the first place. I am talking about the period after people have been going out for a while, and before the marriage, where many women are saying, "where do you see all this going" or hoping he'd propose. This article also talks about people BEFORE they are getting married, not talking about how they get divorced. That is the subject.
Women have a lot more invested in sex and children than men do. And therefore, they are looking to have a stable situation to have a family more than men are.
It's not as easy, but if you never wanted to have that baby you can give it up the day it's born, before any real bonding happens.
Is it your argument that women having a stronger attachment to a newborn is a bias against them? Because I was only trying to argue that there was less bias than EGreg said. If she decides she wants the baby then it doesn't seem like a negative to me.
Edit: Oh, I'm a dumbass. I didn't make it clear that the 'giving up the child' was only in response to the pregnancy scenario. That's because once both parents are raising the kid, after a breakup both or either of them would continue raising it.
I think you need to try a little harder than simply linking a wikipedia article section and saying "myth busted."
Specifically, women being more likely to initiate divorce has nothing whatsoever to do with what the parent is saying. The reason behind that statistic is that women are no longer as dependent on men and therefore have more freedom to end the marriage if they aren't happy with it.
In my defense, the article is heavily referenced, and "60% of filings [were filed] by women in most of the 19th century", when women were still dependent on men. What is your non-anecdotal evidence that women contribute equally or more to relationships?
Marriage is a losing deal for men. It's no wonder we have "MGTOW"s, but no "WGTOW"s.
I am not sure what myth is busted. Just because women are more likely to file for divorce does not mean that they don't push before the marriage, saying, "where do you see all this going" or hoping he'd propose.
Women have a lot more invested in sex and children than men do. And therefore, they are looking to have a stable situation to have a family more than men are. That situation was typically marriage, but now with the state being able to take care of the children so much of the time (public school, various welfare programs etc.) there are lot more single mothers. I think single motherhood is highly correlated to the amount of governmental assistance in a neighborhood. To the extent that there is single motherhood in an area, you may be right -- women may be much less willing to make a relationship work.
As an aside, I am not sure we think that's healthy or desirable. Children born into two-parent households have been shown to do far better on average than children born into single parent households.
Is it just me who noticed a possible messaging discrepancy? The articles covers what women have been taught ("world is your oyster", etc.) and how that has affected their eventual search, yet glosses over what men have been conditioned with all this time.
Suppose there's "messaging" disconnect? Women in this generation (and last's) have increasingly been conditioned and taught by their parents and various peers and mediums to be independent, pursue careers, and become all they can be. What has changed with how men are raised? Maybe they're still getting the same traditional message and lessons that they are meant to be the head of household, to provide, to find a woman who will bear their children (and not a whole lot else)? Then it would make sense that men and women will have almost diametrically opposed POV's and not find common ground?
Messaging for men in the mainstream media seems to be "do whatever will make women happy". Note how this article, while being surprisingly equitable in at least considering men's point of view, has a completely different attitude towards resentment in men and women.
Women who dated in their 20s and want to marry in their 30s are resentful of men who now want to date. Meanwhile, men who were unable to find love in their 20s now want to date in their 30s. They grew resentful when they couldn't find love, much as 30-something women now do. I see a lot of symmetry here.
However, when resentful women say "these men are assholes", that is taken at face value: it's obvious that these men are indeed assholes, and that these women are being wronged. On the other hand, resentful men are called misogynists and brutes, and what they really think ("these women are sluts") is considered unfit for print.
It seems hypocritical, and I don't think it's conducive to improving things.
>However, when resentful women say "these men are assholes", that is taken at face value: it's obvious that these men are indeed assholes, and that these women are being wronged. On the other hand, resentful men are called misogynists and brutes, and what they really think ("these women are sluts") is considered unfit for print.
Of course it's unfit for print. Those men are looking to date around, aren't they? They're looking to slut it up, so they've got no right whatsoever to look down on someone for doing or having done the same damn thing.
Reverse Disclosure: I'm engaged and have been "off the market" for so long I've stopped giving a damn.
What double-standard? If a woman actually refers to a man as an asshole because he prefers to date around, she's being a jerk.
However, I completely disregard what "respectable newspapers" or magazines print in their Trends or Culture sections, because frankly I stopped regarding them as anything except daily reflections of the collective mind of the wannabe-intellectual population who can think precisely one layer deep into things and no more. "Respectable newspapers" are not where you think original thoughts, they're where you keep score in the public ideological battle between existing thoughts.
Admittedly, I've known some very, very smart journalists, but almost uniformly their format and their funding sources keep them from conveying anything very deep or appreciate of reality's subtleties to the public. Cheap, meme-dense pap it is, then!
I propose not distinguishing the "winners" and "losers" by sex to understand who has the upper hand, but by those who act on what they want and those who don't.
It sounds like you didn't make it through the article, because you didn't manage to capture the central model it discussed. (I can't say I blame you.) Nevertheless, the central model isn't about winners vs losers: it's two functions: sexual-market-value over time by gender, and what people want over time by gender, and how each gender selfishly maximizes in a way that leaves older women out in the cold. Really, it's just a re-hash of the ancient maxim that "women grow old; men grow distinguished".
While I am happily married, I have seen the 'sexual-market-value' change first hand now that I'm in my mid-30s. The women my age who are attractive but unmarried and childless seem to now be with men who they would've probably never even considered 10 years ago. They've been passed up for whatever reason - bad relationship choices, too picky, etc. - but still want a family so are willing to lower their standards.
I thought this was funny:
Naomi explains: "He's 36 years old and is definitely someone who falls into the alpha-male category: excellent job in finance, PhD, high income, six feet two, sporty and very handsome. And he's an utter sweetheart."
Just clueless. That guy, if he even exists and isn't already married, has the resources to date a nice girl in her late-20s. Again, it's a symptom of the problem. Many women waited for the perfect situation and never found it. And even if they found their white whale we all know how that story ends.
Let me rephrase what I was saying. Not every woman out there is settling on a least-common denominator. Some women are single because they were too picky (like the text I quoted) but some are just single because of bad luck.
I think the author is saying that women have to put in the effort and act on what they want long before men do if they don't want any sort of repercussions. A man can just play the field and focus on his career until his mid 30s without losing much desirability to women ages 25 and up. It doesn't necessarily work the other way around, right? You don't hear about 25 year old men marrying successful 30 something women because the lady is successful and charming. Not to say it doesn't happen, but its certainly rare.
> I think the author is saying that women have to put in the effort and act on what they want long before men do if they don't want any sort of repercussions.
I'd argue that women in their prime dating age don't have to put in that much effort, they just have to show up. A woman has to make herself available, and men will pursue her. The article is about the women who wanted others things (career, etc) first and thought the advantage they enjoy while they are younger would last forever, but too late they discover how fleeting this dating advantage is.
> You don't hear about 25 year old men marrying successful 30 something women because the lady is successful and charming. Not to say it doesn't happen, but its certainly rare.
This isn't because there aren't 25 year old men who are willing and able to marry these successful women, it is the woman who is making the decision.
Umm, it's not purely the woman who is making the decision - while some of them do marry this way (one of my friends has a 15 year older wife), you'll clearly see that a majority of 25 year old men significantly prefer 25 year old women to 35 year old women, and 20 year old women to 40 year old women.
I'm not convinced this is the case at all. A lot of the problem comes down to expectations, so people can persuade themselves that they're just looking for what they want when being totally unrealistic.
My anecdotal experience would be people that have had the most trouble are those that actually seem to be trying.
Tomorrow I am marrying a girl 17 years my junior. I tried to date women my age but they were not interested.
I think when dating changes from having fun to a search for the perfect mate the qualifications for application become impractically high. The only people that meet expectations then are the top few percent of men (who are extremely in demand) and sleazy liars.
Cool story, bro! Your success is surely due to your hard work and Alger-like moral superiority, and not the fact that you're tall, attractive, and suave.
Your advice is worse than useless for the average dateless loser, who will never succeed no matter how much "effort" they put in. But this way you don't have to feel bad for them--it's their own fault they'll die alone, because they didn't _work_ hard enough.
I hope some day you actually learn what it's like to fail through attributes outside of your control, and have everyone blame you for it anyway.
Well, sure, effort is important. But there are also many "hard-coded" factors outside one's control. For example, I'm 5'9", which makes me average in that category. To make up for it, I need to dress extra nice and be athletic/muscular. Whereas someone who is, say, 6'2" will be attractive to women solely on the virtue of being tall.
>Now unbalance it a bit, if the 6'2" can't hold a conversation he's going to fail. This means that holding a conversation is more important.
This is wrong reasoning. You may just well say: if someone can hold a conversation but is 3'10'' he is going to fail hence height is more important.
Let me improve it for you:
Some minimal level is necessary in all respects: height, holding a conversation, not being awkward, not being disgusting. Once you have that various factors counts at various degrees - height is one of the most important ones (if not the most important one). Status is a contender but guess what: height helps with achieving that too (as it does with acquiring wealth as well).
Also you can work on improving almost anything (holding a conversation, money, athletism) but you can't improve your height. It's huge inherent advantage, nothing comes close.
As a pretty short, straight-seeming bi guy (5'2), I have a unique perspective that might be enlightening about the importance of height to women.
Although I hate projecting people onto the 0-10 spectrum, I'll do it here for illustrative purposes.
With women, I have a great deal of difficulty attracting anyone: it's less that I match with numerical ones and twos than not matching with anyone at all. Not no one--and those I do succeed with are typically even middling on the spectrum--but it's a massive crapshoot.
With men, I can go out to a bar on any night of the week and bring home someone in the top half and usually an eight or nine. Sure, that's meaningless shit, but converting those into relationships isn't difficult at all (or at least no more difficult than anyone in the gay community has converting hookups to relationships).
The difference is incredibly striking, and anyone who says height isn't a factor in women dating is so wrong that it's incomprehensible that they've ever bothered to even talk to a woman about how she feels about height in dating partners.
That's pretty common as a phenomenon: I wouldn't say it's a cliff so much as a very steep grade. My current girlfriend is an inch taller than me, and taller than that in heels (and I love her in them!). But she's the tallest person I've ever dated.
It also shows the shortcomings (no pun intended...) of the 0-10 rating model: there's neither generic Man nor generic Woman. Your rating to women you're more than two or three inches taller than (could be 0, could be 10) is almost entirely independent of your rating to women you're two or three inches shorter than (0).
As a 6'2" man, to me it is evident that I have a clear advantage over my friends, and it is evident for them too. Of course, I'm not a bum with dirty fingernails who can only talk about WoW. Think of the extra height as an extra effort, social skill set, whatever, that the person inherently has. It sucks, I agree.
Height absolutely has advantages but at 5'9 with friends that are both taller and shorter I can say that without a doubt, effort is an under-appreciated equalizer for men.
Its not 100% with 100% of women, but by putting in effort, i.e. learning how to talk to women, dressing well, and being friendly and social with other people... any guy can vastly improve their dating situation.
I must have some pretty screwed perspective, but I've never thought of 188cm (6'2") as being tall, at least not exceptionally. I'm 193cm (6'4") and I find myself just moderately above average, with many men (talking about men exclusively, of course) quite taller than me. From my experience, I'd expect the average to be around 180cm (6").
Well, I took a look after posting that comment, and this is what I found: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:Average_height_around_... -- sort by the first column descending, skip all the N/A items (I'm not sure why would they miss all that data for men when it's perfectly available for women) and you'll find my origin at the top of the actual results. I guess that might explain a lot.
Try this mental test the next time you see a very short, slim, but quite good looking guy. Now imagine him in a 6'3" athletic build. It drastically changes the appeal this guy has. This was told to me by a woman friend, and it happens everytime I think about it.
If you're successful, smart, a good person (or much more important: not a jerk), you can find a good person and have a relationship, a meaningful, lasting one. But if you base your romantic success in how easily you get dates/get laid compared to taller, broad shouldered athletic guys, then you'll probably end up frustrated.
I don't agree that it's "truly doesn't matter". Yeah you won't be a rockstar popular guy if you are fat or have bad social anxiety but your position and prospects would be even worse if you were short as well.
>Exactly. The most successful lothario in my university class was a short guy who went to the gym 5 days a week, had exceptional grooming and was extremely confident/comfortable around women. Height is a very small factor in these things.
It really puts me on tilt reading things like that.
Yes, height is not the only factor, yes it's still possible to achieve great things without it, yes you can be attractive/popular without it. Yet it's still very important factor which puts you at great advantage in both dating and career game. Just because there are some shorter guys who "outperformed" taller guys doesn't mean it disproves the height=advantage theorem.
It "the" factor as in: the most important out of other factors. One you will often get automatically disqualified for. One for which you will be automatically taken less seriously in dating, in other social situations in workplace in politics. One you can do absolutely nothing about.
Other things may make significant difference but most things are possible to work on. With height you are out of luck and have to listen to condescending "short guys should put more effort to deserve the same" talk your whole life or my favorite: "maybe you should lower your ambitions" (often disguised and said in more pc way) - why ? Because you were born that way.
Now, being the most important still doesn't mean it's 80% or even 50% if you try to measure those things as there many other factors (and sucking on many fronts will reduce the biggest of inherent advantages) but its huge.
You said it's not the most important factor but then when challenged you offered logical fallacy as an argument which makes probability that you never really thought about it or experienced it quite high.
It's difficult to assess from within the bubble so what about reading posts of people who experienced it here, at other places on the Internet or looking at the studies which were done ?
Exactly. The most successful lothario in my university class was a short guy who went to the gym 5 days a week, had exceptional grooming and was extremely confident/comfortable around women. Height is a very small factor in these things.
Not to mention fringe benefits of being short. Relatively, EVERYTHING IS BIGGER. This idea alone makes me want to try being smaller for a day. Fitting on beds, fitting in airplanes, all food portions are bigger, cars are more spacious.
Interesting.I am around your height but I can never remember anytime since third grade when I did not have a girlfriend or a short fling.If you have to possess only one attribute in the dating game it should be self confidence.
I don't think it's a matter of "seeing" it as a game. It is a game, in that definition. (As opposed to the "things done for entertainment" definition.)
It's a good thing to look at relationships and coupling as a "game" because too often we treat finding our partner as a "fairy tale" story where it's just a matter of "meeting the right person". That myth does a disservice to everyone: both the couples who find someone but then need to work on the relationship, and the people who have unrealistic expectations and end up alone.
Also, even if it doesn't inform individual choices, it's useful for looking at things in terms of broad demographic trends. If the article is right, it means there's a potential demographic shift coming of fewer children, fewer people with supporting family structure, etc. Understanding the dynamics behind that can be important for planning a society's future.
>>Maybe it's because i don't understand dating as a competitive activity and my social interactions are very limited that i don't understand where are decisions to make (a.k.a, how people "play")
Yes, this seems to be the case.
And I don't say that to put you down - I actually used to be the same way. As a highly analytical person working in the engineering field, I used to approach dating as a rational activity. You know, you meet someone, and if the two of you are compatible then you start a relationship. Or at least that's how I thought things should work.
As I got older though, I realized things could not be further from the truth. Dating is an activity that is driven by two things: biological imperative of the two genders (that are different) and the emotions that are governed by those imperatives.
Once I understood that - i.e. once I accepted the politically incorrect fact that we are mammals first and foremost - everything started making a lot more sense.
Nobody is saying it's good for people in general.
It's just an observation that there is conflict of interests in dating/mating dynamics and it's not easy to get what you want so you need strategy to improve your chances hence "game".
You can look at it any way you like. Some of the features of the way dating and mating operates can be modeled in a game theory fashion. It isn’t good or bad for people - nor does it have to be - it’s just a way of interpreting the data in front of us.
Now, the way you guide your own dating life, should, presumably, be done in a way that is good for you and not harmful to others, but this is more of a Golden Rule thing rather than a game theory thing.
If you want to understand how any process with multiple independent agents with not-exactly-matching interests will behave, and why it will behave so, then game theory is the appropriate toolset for that.
Don't get fixated with the 'game' word which has a loaded meaning outside of game theory, it's just a math term here.
There are a lot of unstated values out there. I'm a great father -- really -- but it isn't hard to look at my divorce and think it happened because I didn't make the money my wife expected of me. This despite the supposedly anti-material, pro-family values of herself and her set.
Don't get me wrong, I made some SERIOUS mistakes of my own, and had some important problems to work through. She has her side of the story too, and neither of us could tell a simple story.
But money and earning was a huge problem, even when I was making two or three standard deviations more than the US average. And it was a shock to me to see how many people supposedly rejected the rat-race values, and knew my relationship with my kids, yet couldn't be bothered to call to see how I was doing. People say they want dads who focus on their kids, but I haven't noticed much effort to support those guys in the tight spots. At least not when Mom declares the guy a loser.
Again. No representation of personal perfection is made or intended. I had a lot to work on in the marriage, found more in the divorce, still finding more yet. Yay.
I hope this doesn't come across bitter. I think there is a lot of confusion in the discussions of gender roles and career and child raising, and I think a lack of candor is part of that. So it is important to notice that a great deal of the values declared, are declared for the nobility of the declaration and don't prove to mean much. A good many people are smarter / wiser / more careful than I was, and don't take those declarations at face value, and so find themselves making better decisions and on firmer foundations. But it is impossible to really talk to most of those people about their attitudes, because they all know that some of their opinions could bring a lot of flak. Why pay that price to be candid? Especially when, let's face it, many of these conversations are begun with an intended conclusion in mind.
From what I've seen, personally, we need a LOT more honesty in our discussions of gender roles and careers and child raising. And a LOT of that has to come from people on the "progressive" side of the discussion.
"From what I've seen, personally, we need a LOT more honesty in our discussions of gender roles and careers and child raising."
For what it's worth, I really recommend everybody take the time to read through some of the "manosphere" stuff, for this reason. It has people speaking honestly due to it being a counterculture thing where it's already read that the current dominant culture rejects the ideas wholesale.
You probably won't agree with all of it; you may not agree with any of it. I'm not endorsing it the content. But I will endorse it as the sort of thought-provoking thing that anybody who thinks of themselves as an intellectual (as opposed to merely posing as one) ought to expose themselves to, and chew through. There's some thought-provoking stuff in there. Even if you disagree with it, if you consider yourself an intellectual you ought to be able to muster a higher, more refined level of disagreement than merely slapping a "misogynist" label on it.
Three cheers for you, my friend. No one knows the loneliness of being Dad like Dad, and you did an excellent job of articulating it.
Doing the right thing as a parent often goes un-celebrated, un-thanked, and most certainly un-paid. This is one of the great failures of our society, and the main reason there are so many fatherless children out there.
If two people are going to make another person, then at the very least they need to continually communicate what their roles are in raising that person and, maybe more importantly, support and encourage one another in those roles - BECAUSE NO ONE ELSE IS GOING TO.
Well, we certainly live in a very weird time. There's a level of expectation of dads now that there wasn't for my dad. There is now an expectation of 50/50 in raising children even with stay-at-home moms. That means cooking, cleaning, laundry, entertainment, etc., falls on the dad a lot.
Whereas even 30 years ago this certainly wasn't the case. My father was a good dad but certainly didn't clean anything other than the garage. He didn't bathe any of us kids or tuck us in. He sure as hell didn't buy groceries. What he did do it kept the yard clean, the roof clear, the garden growing, the cars running, and coached baseball.
I think too many dads these days are too busy being mom #2. And women think that's what they want but in reality it emasculates their husband in their eyes.
I am compelled to agree with this. In my opinion, many people take the easy route of claiming to support this or that ideal yet do not take the necessary time and introspection to ensure that the reality of their actions backs up that claim. This would seem to explain the often huge gap between what society claims they tolerate and support compared to the pressures and expectations people experience day-to-day.
We made some moves, and she some sacrifices, that expected I would make a lot more than I did. That is on me, as are some of the issues driving that. I have complaints about other issues bearing on this, but that gets messy.
That said, we were making enough, if we budgeted. And she wouldn't, and we fought about it a lot.
I believe it's talking about his 'marrying up' and not making as much money as the wife being an issue, since this article is suggesting that women should 'marry down' (as in marrying someone who makes less money, or is less educated than you).
Dating is disgusting solely because of power dynamics. The whole thing reeks of entitlement from both genders. From the rating system (which requires a highly reductionistic view of people, to the point that it is damaging to you), to the pseudo-scientific alpha/beta monikers, to the creepy game advocates ("she says no, but she really means yes!"). Both sides pull out shoddy excuses for what amounts to knee-jerk dismissal of potential mates.
I've been dumped over the hazy prospect of something better more than once. AFAIK, those exes are still searching. But, I'm 31 now, and really happy as a husband to a wonderful wife.
Dating is severely overrated. The best thing you can do is get in and get out without becoming cynical from it. Long-term relationships are satisfying in a way that dating can never compare to.
America has this unfruitful competetive-combative attitude to everything. You could instead think of dating as a mutual cooperative process of finding out if you two should really get together. The hate and dumping and gloating and sex exploits don't maky any normal emphatic person happy deep down.
I don't know about you, but I don't want to be in a zero-sum game with my future wife unless were on the same team. :D Treating the "dating game" as literally "game theory" game sounds like a rough start and not a fertile bed to plant seeds of lasting love built on mutual trust, compassion, etc.. /end romantic.
I think I internalized this attitude early on, and I'm still trying to shed it. Are things better elsewhere? If so, where? I'm already an ambitious person, I'm just sick of thinking I have to make something of myself.
(I'm taking responsibility for the last part, but being in a different environment might help too.)
Interesting you would say this. The other major paradigm to dating is, of course, arranged marriage. The main advantage that arranged marriage brings is that third parties are involved in price discovery, hence setting much more realistic expectations.
One of the most interesting things I found when discussing this topic with people of my parents and grandparents generation who dealt with this is that the first question for the parents or representatives of the female were always "How much money does he make?" and for the male were always "How pretty is she?". To this day, matchmaking services essentially ask the same questions.
Dating is supposed to be about everything else other than these two factors, but is it really?
A store has just opened in New York City that offered free husbands. When women go to choose a husband, they have to follow the instructions at the entrance:
“You may visit this store ONLY ONCE! There are 6 floors to choose from. You may choose any item from a particular floor, or may choose to go up to the next floor, but you CANNOT go back down except to exit the building!
So, a woman goes to the store to find a husband. On the 1st floor the sign on the door reads: Floor 1 - These men Have Jobs. The 2nd floor sign reads: Floor 2 - These men Have Jobs and Love Kids. The 3rd floor sign reads: Floor 3 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids and are extremely Good Looking.
“Wow,” she thinks, but feels compelled to keep going. She goes to the 4th floor and sign reads:
Floor 4 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Good Looking and Help With Housework.
“Oh, mercy me!” she exclaims. “I can hardly stand it!” Still, she goes to the 5th floor and sign reads:
Floor 5 - These men Have Jobs, Love Kids, are Drop-dead Gorgeous, help with Housework and Have a Strong Romantic Streak.
She is so tempted to stay, but she goes to the 6th floor and the Sign reads: Floor 6 - You are visitor 71,456,012 to this floor. There are no men on this floor. This floor exists solely as proof that you are impossible to please.
Thank you for shopping at the Husband Store.
To avoid gender bias charges, the store’s owner opened a Wife Store just across the street.
The 1st first floor has wives that love sex.
The 2nd floor has wives that love sex and have money.
The 3rd through 6th floors have never been visited...
It is interesting (kind of scary to me) that this is totally stripped out of all humanity. Dating is now a game, people are prospects and they receive rates from 0 to 10. These are not just metaphors anymore, this is how people are actually considering others human beings. It became the paradigm of finding a partner.
This formal meeting where both sides are constantly analyzing their partners and odds, i.e., dates, inevitably leads to this paradigm. It is just like job interviews, you can't possibly get to know deepily each candidate, so you have to create artificials proxies that will help you to chose wisely. And this proxies are wrong most of the times.
But when finding a partner you can possibly have time to meet another person more deeply. Actually, you do that all the time, at work, at your neighborhood, with friends and friends of friends. But that is not longer a possibility if you have spent all your life not interest at all in people surrounding you, waiting for the time when you will chose a person from a shelf to marry you.
Tl;dr: I don't think is much about successfull women high expectations, but about women didn't have much interest at all in another humans and now think of a partner as a product. And they don't get how this 'product' has a mind of its own now.
You're hitting on a fundamental truth here: dating's crappy power dynamics actively chips away at our very humanity. We're to be content with these cheap proxies and massive game-playing, because, well, sorry, everyone else has bought in too. This is most closely evidenced by proponents of every creepy dating mindset: "it must be true, because this is what animals do!"
Maybe this is the fallout of mass consumerism, and a lifetime of being told that you can have it all. Dating sites pander to this too, by implicitly advertising love as just a mere SQL query away:
SELECT * FROM candidates WHERE gender = 'm' AND salary > 150000 AND height > 72
SELECT * FROM candidates WHERE gender = 'f' AND age < 27 AND looks > 9.8
I've always thought a dating site that was less search-y and more experiential (aka requires time to actually meet people) could be a profitable niche. You meet people first, then get access to look at their profiles.
As for expectations, I love what my pastor said: "you probably don't deserve the person you think you deserve."
> It is interesting (kind of scary to me) that this is totally stripped out of all humanity.
Yeah. How many of the people in the article talked (and some of the talk on this page) makes my skin crawl.
First my qualifications to talk on this: I have absolutely none. I somehow managed to stumble into love, got married at 22, and over 20 years later still going strong (with a few rough patches and a lot of work put in along the way.) The only thing I can boast to be being extremely fortunate. I was an over-weight, socially inept nerd at 22 (these days, I am a little less socially inept, maybe.) So I've never really had to seriously 'compete' in the dating 'game'.
I was trying to find the right word to describe how most of the people in this article and discussions viewed finding another human being to spend the rest of their lives with and create more human beings with and couldn't find the word. When I showed the article to my wife she nailed it straight away: mercenary.
Dehumanising would be another word I will use, too.
The women who attended that lecture in hopes of capturing the interest of an alpha-male creep me out the same way as when I read articles about pick-up artists and how they think about preying on a woman's insecurities to get laid. It's all about accomplishments and not relationships. Dehumanising.
Was it Ovid who said, "If you want to be loved, be loveable."? Perhaps becoming loveable may entail cultivating interests that don't just involve computer games, or learning how to "dress metro" as some have advised. But I bet developing an attitude of treating people with some basic dignity and compassion will go a long towards being loveable and attracting someone you want to live the rest of your life, rather then categorising everyone on a scale of one to ten or as opportunities to exploit.
On the assumption that the conclusions reached here are reasonably accurate and the generalizations aren't based on utter mistakes, and with the understanding that even in that case this is still just a set of conclusions and conjectures based on averages or pluralities leaving many people to which it's simply not relevant...
...making those assumptions, I'm trying hard not feel just a little smug when realizing I'm one of those approaching-middle-aged men who's suddenly a lot more attractive (effectively) than ten years ago.
I don't sleep around rampantly, and never have, but I am with a 20-something woman (and part of that first paragraph I wrote comes in because I didn't pick her to settle down or because she's a 10, nor is that why she's with me). The description of relationships in that age range did make me think a bit.
I'm trying not to feel smug because that's a terrible reaction: It's the same way you'd expect a hot 20-something girl to feel knowing she can get any guy she wants, at least temporarily. And feeling smug about this ignores the fact that, whether women who do fit this profile were jerks in their younger years or not, they're now more mature, more experienced, and facing prospects that just aren't pleasant and make the rest of their lives -- which they've worked hard for -- a lot more uncertain than they had reason to expect before. Regardless of how carelessly or inconsiderately you spent the romantic pursuits your younger years, if this is the problem you face, I can manage at least some sympathy.
That said... I still can't shake the doubts I expressed at the start. I obviously haven't seen the data or anything, but it's hard to look at this and say "yep, I have no doubt their methods are good and their conclusions are representative."
Also it is interesting how a lot those women want a man with already established career, etc, but it doesn't work out like that. In most cases those men achieved such career heights with the help of their significant other and therefore already have one and might only be interested in an affair, not marriage. "How to become a General's wife? You marry a Lieutenant."
Similarly, it's unsurprising how much vitriol and poor behavior/misogyny these folks exhibit in their 30s.
Consider the number of guys who go through their twenties and don't have any luck--perhaps even having good female friends who are close but never take that additional step into a proper relationship because there are hotter guys around.
Now, go through a decade of this, and suddenly you "get your shit together", and now things are easier (really, perhaps, the girls are just better adjusted in their expectations), and how are you to treat these people?
People who looked on for a decade while you suffered? Why not treat them like pieces of meat--that's how you were treated, after all.
And if you do treat them decently and settle down, you basically know that you are likely missing out on a whole chunk of life experience.
It's a horrible and toxic cycle.
It seems like we get to keep having this as a societal norm, or we get to complain about manchildren and not settling down--we do not get to do both.
EDIT: This is clearly not the case for everyone; there are many, many different life experiences out there. That said, for a certain set, I would wager this is fairly close to what they'll/they've gone through.
Well, it should be expected - by that time the majority is already married or 'settled-down' without marriage, so the nice guys and average guys are mostly 'out of market' while all of the douchebags and also the most frustrated ones are still right there.
LOOKS ARE WHY WOMEN WEAR MAKEUP and mini skirts. If chastity were their test they would be doing exactly the opposite.
You're not getting turned on by porn because the woman is 'chaste'. You're getting turned on becuase she is HOT.
Looks, indicate fertility and health, and are widely know through out all of biology and the animal kingdom to be used by males to select fit mates no matter slutty and how many litters of animals the female has had.
It indicates genetic fitness.
For men success is the test. It indicates accumulation of resources and ability to survive.
Plus, sex is a powerful primitive desire and no (matter what they tell you) they're all "bicycles" as you describe it, just like you would LIKE to be.
Has anyone here read The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter, by Meg Jay? As a young 20-year-old female, the chapter on relationships and marriage was, to put it politely, terrifying. If you don't start having kids by 30, the chance of it being possible in your mid-late 30s is slim. So - kids by 30, you want to have about 1 year of marriage kid-free, you want to date your future spouse for 4-5 years before marriage.... Do that math and basically who you're dating at age 23 (me) is who you're ending up with.
I see a lot of this in the Netherlands as well; a lot of girlfriends in their 30s 'cannot find a man'. All of them are managers, judges and/or PhDs; they have a hard time finding a match. We often discuss the bar too high thing and they know this is the case but they first want to try it that way. When they get near 40 (and after that 'unable' to have kids) they lose this and marry and/or move in with someone they wouldn't have given the light of day before to make babies with. Seen it many times. Some of them are really happy they did it because they really didn't think they could live with someone that didn't meet all their standards; now they realise those standards were nuts and anyone meeting them would be a freak.
I must say that I haven't seen anything as weird as I read here with people I know; guys getting their own back as some kind of revenge for their missed 20s? Maybe it happens; luckily I don't know these guys.
I'm 38 like Greg the writer from the article; unlike Greg the writer I had some idea how basic things work. You know; supply and demand. In (and a bit before) my 20s I was a big guy with glasses, a beard and long hair. I listened to metal music. So I must go to rock concerts and rock bars to meet girls? Of course not; that would be stupid; I went to parties with clean shaven, nice smelling, well dressed, upper class talking students. People studying law, business etc. In those days (still? no idea) math/physics/cs were real geeks and they didn't go to those things. Now all girls there wanted these guys and there were ONLY these guys; they all looked the same. There would be always about 1-3 girls who went with friends or just because bored, but who hated the kind of guy there. Either because of look or attitude. They went for me, automatically, every time. I would talk about physics and they would sleep with me; I had/have great relations with some of them. It still works now (I'm happily married now, but it still is flattering).
I ran a successful dating site for a while and often explained to people that if you all fish in the same pond, nothing will happen. That's just useless disappointment if you're not Don Juan.
What these women don't realize is that a lot of the men who _want_ to commit find someone to commit to in their early to mid twenties. The men who are left, and have perhaps never found a women willing to commit to them (like some of the 'power women' mentioned in this article), have been trained that women can't be trusted to commit to them, and so there you are. Sure there are plenty of exceptions, but it seems to be a general trend.
The article is pretty spot on, and I've noticed many of the same things throughout my early-mid 20's (late 20's now). Many of the women who couldn't be bothered with someone like me (not bad looking, pretty good shape, tall, but not 'alpha' enough) when I was 20-25, now throw themselves at me, especially when they realize I'm married (got married at 27).
And to add to this, why are so many guys douchebags? Because we've been treated like shit by women from our teenage years, and now know we have the upper hand.
Of course, I'm not like that (probably would be if I was single), my wife is very sweet and very pretty, and I'm glad to be out of the dating game.
From my own personal experience I can say there's a lot of truth to this article. I live in NYC and in my early twenties attractive girls my age were hard to come by. Most were taken by older men, muscle guys or rich kids. I'm approaching thirty and all of sudden I'm getting a lot more attention from women of all ages. The younger girls either want a stable guy "who can help them grow" or a guy with money who knows how to have sex, while the older women are looking for a chair to sit on before the music stops. I'm married now so it doesn't mean much, but the thought is still there: "where were you girls nine years ago?"
The dynamic was different a couple generations ago - I believe that in 1950ies you could make such an observation only about a number of unlucky outliers and joke about spinsters or such; but this article and discussion is about a mass trend happening on a much larger scale.
A big part of their problem is that they are not just competing against women their age: Men happily date younger women, and younger women happily date older men more successful, experienced etc. than the men their own age.
I'm 38. I get more attention from early 20's women now than ever before.
And to that you should say "justice!" because when you were 20 something guy competing vs guys in their 30's, late 20's with somewhat established careers/status/money was very difficult and/or impossible.
Don't take it personally, it seems to be a fundamental feature of mathematics and human behavior that when a competitive and healthy market exists for a quality which is normally distributed, the resulting price curve follows a power law.
I think this article reinforces a lot of the problems with marriage in our society in the first place, and pinpoints a lot of the reasons why a majority of marriages fail.
We're trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. Marriage was born a long time ago and used for very very different purposes than what the 21st century 30-something career woman is hoping to use it for. Of course said demographic isn't getting what they want from it.
Both the criteria for a spouse and the reasons for getting married are either too superficial or overly vague. You need to first ask yourself why you want to get married and then develop criteria for a partner based on that.
Why do you want a spouse? To have sex? You don't need a lifetime commitment for that, it'd be a wiser life style decision to move to a place with legal prostitution. Do you want a spouse because you're lonely? Then make more friends. There's no need to make the relationship legally binding, go to places where people congregate with similar interests. Do you want to have kids? There's tons of charities out there where you can mentor children and make a very real impact on our society without creating new children with a spouse whom you selected based on criteria that are terrible predictors of being a good parent.
We as a society are never going to be able provide healthy guidance on marriage until we start to be very honest with ourselves about what marriage is for and what its purpose is for each us.
> Marriage was born a long time ago and used for very very different purposes
I think you are hitting the core of the issue here. Reason dictates that commitment/marriage and dating/hookup culture are completely incompatible. Of course, it takes decades for society to look itself in the mirror, but we are certainly in a transitory period, and things are not going back.
Some of this is cute-ish: "* 20 per cent of males - the most attractive ones - get 80 per cent of the sex" OKcupid used to have a blog with funny posts on stats like this.
Some bits, I don't really know if I should dismiss: "It's wall-to-wall arseholes out there". It's too easy to find negative anecdotes and sentiments that things are getting worse. Especially month the nonvoluntary singles.
"Women with degrees want a smaller group of men with degrees" will fix itself. A degree isn't what it used to be in exclusiveness. Women might even be doing more degrees specifically because they are under a little less pressure torn.
I think preferences at different ages plays a bigger part. Women tend to be at peak attractiveness in their 20s. Men in their 30s. Both want to settle down in their 30s. Also men can* have kids later so even though attractiveness goes down they have longer. This makes it easier for men in the settle down phase and women in the play the field phase. The 30something women's complaint (can't find a nice guy to marry) just seems more reasonable than the 20something Men's.
... I'm not sure exactly who should be offended by this article - whether it's the conservative men, the feminists, the liberal men, the MRAs, the 20something gals, the 30-something gals, whatever... but I'm pretty sure they ought to be offended. This is rife with some pretty vile stereotypes and broad brushes.
Because recently a growing portion of late-30s women are single, and it's not because now more of them have chosen so, but because now more of them are unable a [suitable] partner, so they themselves perceive it as a problem. Of course, not every one of them "needs to" have a parter, but a majority does want a partner.
This is why marriage and civilization was invented. 80% per cent of men in their 20s not getting women would lead to revolution in earlier times, but today TV, internet and plentiful food distract them from this.
Eastern cultures (india/china etc) have a relative advantage now, precisely because of their culture. Think of all the lost productivity from emotional hardships from most men in their 20s and lots of women in their 30s in western countries.
There's two important issues at work here:
1. "Pairing" is basically a barter market where every good is unique, information on them is noisy or downright deceptive, and you only get to trade once (hopefully). That's a recipe for having problems getting clearing trades and feeling good about a trade you've made.
2. Behavioral psychology says we all tend to "high water mark". We want our eventual partner to be better looking than, smarter, more successful etc than the partners we had previously. Especially if you're getting older and your appeal is perhaps declining, that's going to make it very difficult to find someone who meets your standards, because your standards have risen over the course of your dating life.
Having unrealistic, superficial, mythical "check boxes" for a potential partner (male or female) in the western world is so out of whack. Money, fame, looks can only take you so far. Why couldn't people just be honest i.e. be themselves and try to make a meaningful connection to a person? Sure, no one wants to see a "loser" (whatever that definition might be) but get to know somebody before accepting/rejecting them and not having preconceived notions.
It's astonishing that having a serious relationship or not is such a planned decision for some. Do people really break up with someone they love just because they're "not ready" or keep going with someone they don't love just because they decided it's time to settle down?
That's weird. It all sounds rather medieval to me. I hope this is all just the kind of selective stream of colorful anecdotes that journalists are so fond of.
Fairly relevant for female entrepreneurs. I have a professional acquaintance who has been toying with being the prototypical power woman (who, IMO, doesn't really exist): involved supermom, successful entrepreneur, good wife. My advice to her was that I've been successful and have a family and family is way more satisfying. Besides, once your kids are grown up, PLEASE continue contributing to society by being an entrepreneur. You're not going to keep having kids when you're 40. Enjoy your youth and love your kids.
"For the couples themselves, the dynamic may be a problem. As long as the woman earns less, her income does not cause trouble in the marriage. Once she earns more, however, marriage difficulties jump and divorce rates increase. Interestingly, it does not seem to matter whether she earns only slightly more, or substantially more—an indication that it is not female income per se, but the mere fact of earning more, that causes trouble."
I think your comment is of kind intent, but if I were to summarize it, it reads to me like "Women, you should defer your careers by 20 years so you don't upset your spouse and, through his insecurity, risk divorce."
Maybe the advice should be that men should get counseling or something if they're so insecure that they divorce their breadwinner.
Advice or not, it's good to realize what the dynamics are. If you pursue career first your chances for finding successful/attractive man later diminish because for successful/attractive guys it makes sense to go for the most attractive thing: young/hot women and by the time you decide to settle you might not be in that category any longer.
It's a choice. Many people find it wrong but they would find: "if you delay settling down/children then you will likely have less attractive/successful (in other words lower status) partner to do so with" even more wrong.
eh, read more to me like: "you make more than your man? You deserve better". Anyone ever met the one friend who instigates things in relationships by saying stuff like this? male ego is certainly a factor but entitlement that we create in America with feel good statements like ”you deserve the best, you're a catch, don't settle for anything less ” is probably more subtle but just as real a problem. We can't all expect the best, if you want a stable relationship you'll have to make concessions.
Marriage comes from a time when women were unable to earn a living on their own, and we still hold up many of those ideals, even in our modern equal-oppurtunity society. Perhaps when a woman clearly demonstrates she is equally capable of being the breadwinner, the couple are freed to be more open to making relationship decisions on the basis of the relationship alone without feeling the obligations of marriage?
Divorce is bad for WOMEN??
Divorce is a disaster for men both emotionally and financially. Even prenuptial agreements are largely useless as they are normally overturned by the court system. A serious consideration (and study) of the chances of divorce and the normal outcome of divorce would have any man reconsidering (assuming he is thinking rationally rather than emotionally).
After divorce in today's society, a man is 12 times more likely than his ex to commit suicide. This seems to indicate that men after divorce having a much harder time than women and the constant nature of these numbers indicates that these issues are not being addressed by society.
I remember reading about a man who was sent to prison for not paying child support and alimony. He was wealthy before the 2008 crash, but afterwards was un/underemployed and simply COULDN'T pay the almost $100,000 required by the state.
I have found no cases where women deal with this kind of discrimination in the courtroom while there is a staggering amount of cases where men are completely destroyed financially and left seeing the most important people in their life for a few hours every couple of weeks simply because they are men.
Actually, I don't think anyone has shown how divorce is worse than any other non-married couple breaking up (except maybe some hardships due to legal proceedings).
The premise was that couples with high-earning females no longer feel the pressure to stay together just because of the marriage, and therefore evaluate their relationship on the merits of the relationship alone, as if the marriage never existed.
I guess you could argue that any relationship divide is a bad thing, but if you never have a relationship with someone, how can you determine if you mesh together? Sometimes you don't.
Try looking at "should" not as "Doing X is proper and just" but as "Doing X has expected result of Y, so if you really want Y then better choose X".
Reality doesn't care about moral opinions of how reality should be - if you observe in practice that choosing to having a career sometimes carries an unfair consequence, then taking that risk into account helps your decisionmaking, and ignoring the consequence because it's unfair would hurt only yourself.
As others have said,women initiate a legal divorce in ~70% of cases while some other studies have shown that women cause the divorce in over 80% of the cases (either by infidelity or some other issue which leaves the man no choice but to initiate the divorce).
It's not just kind intent, it's the world as it is. I wouldn't want my friend's marriage and family to be a martyr to the cause so I gave her the best advice I could with the knowledge and experience I had at hand.
That's such a sad dynamic. One of the best ways to make yourself a smarter/better person is to spend time with someone who's a smarter/better person than you are. Obviously income does not correlate perfectly with how smart/good a person is, but there is certainly some correlation. And who do you spend more time with than your wife?
My wife is the chief of family medicine at a small hospital; not surprisingly she makes more than I do. One way that we've sidestepped the issue is how our incomes come in. She has a steady job, I play the startup lottery. You can't directly compare the incomes.
This is what I think the fundamental cause of the dynamic in the article:
Women want men they can rely on to be conquerors. Lazy, jobless guys do not fit that bill. Startup guys who are making shit happen do. Even if you're not making as much money as her in this case but you are the most awesome person everyone knows and everyone respects you, she will automatically fall in line.
But wait for your first startup to fail spectacularly due to your own mistakes. That will be the true test.
If you take time out to have kids, then getting back into work, assuming you're not suited to be an entrepreneur, seems likely to be difficult to impossible. You don't have references or a continual work history, your skills are liable to be a decade out of date, and there's certainly a bias against hiring older people for lower-level positions.
She's supposed to be younger than you.
Your connection with her is supposed to
be heavily emotional -- from an expert,
"Of course women are much more emotional
than men; that's the cause of all the
She is supposed to tell you about what's between
her ears (thoughts and emotions), care about you,
respect you, and respond to you (E. Fromm). And,
really, being younger than you, she is supposed
to look up to you as a leader. You are supposed
to be a good leader of you both, but you have to
use some subtle means I can't explain usefully
here; we're not talking military or business
leadership here. As in Eric Berne, the two of you are not
supposed to be equal -- you are supposed to
be quite different, "equal" in respect as
persons but not the "same" (E. Fromm).
Actually, from Mother Nature, if she is
already old enough and you are still young
enough, then that's enough! Things she
doesn't know or gets confused about are
places where you need to apply some
leadership. E.g., if you want your kids
home schooled but she didn't go to college,
then you have to lead in how she can
get materials, keep the schooling organized,
and make good use of good tutors and
other home schooled children. And if
you want your kids taking the SATs at
12 and the GREs at 16, then you will have
to lead in how your family does this.
Did I mention leadership?
She can have a "brain" and even be brilliant
(my wife was Valedictorian, PBK, Woodrow
Wilson, NSF, and top research university
Ph.D. and just brilliant but, still, was
mostly run by her emotions) but will still
be run mostly just by her emotions. She
may care more about her emotional security
from you than even financial security.
I don't know about your school, but I went
grades 1-12 with, from girls my own age
in the school building, receiving a total
of likely less than 100 words. Right,
they ignored me. Then in the ninth grade
I discovered that girls 1-3 years younger
could be from eager to much more to talk
to me -- some of them were both shocking
and obvious and about much more than just
talking. Girls are designed to like
older men. The way of the world.
[Edit:] He assumed we wanted to be married to the best possible spouse by the age of 40. The optimal strategy, given his assumptions, is to date until age 26, and then marry the first person who is the best seen so far. You'll marry the best possible person 1/e fraction of the time.
I predict that it will become acceptable for men to earn less than their wives, stay at home, and take care of the kids.
I also predict that those men will do so in a very masculine way.
Finally, I hypothesize that a lot of the demand for good breadwinners from women who already have all the bread they need is cultural rather than hormonal.
The best indicator that this is true is the massive difference in how couples behave in public (keep with the norms) and in private (endless variety). Another observation is that lots of "cultural revolutions" are simply formerly private activities becoming public.
It's simple. Really simple. Just
dirt simple. Not all of Mother Nature
is so complicated. Did I mention it's
Look, guys and gals, there's some quite
good evidence that the genes of people
of descent in Western Europe, Russia,
and East Asia are essentially the same
as the genes that were successful, say,
10,000 years ago although we could likely
push that back to 25,000 years ago.
So, think was tribal or village life was
like, say, beside a river in Europe
10,000 years ago. Right: The women
gathered together and tended to the
children, prepared food, and made
clothing. The men and the boys old
enough did men things, hunting, tool
making, building, and fighting.
The talents of men for those men things
led to more tools, fire, wheels,
metals, ..., Windows 7, and these things
enormously changed the economy and
culture, built by men in ways convenient
for men, wildly different from what the
women did 10,000 years ago and not so
convenient for women. E.g., a single
women or a woman in a suburban house
with 2-3 kids is in a very different
situation, especially for woman, than
the women in the tribe/village 10,000
In simple terms, the women were happier
with their lives 10,000 years ago, assuming
there were no problems with disease, injury,
hygiene, food, child birth, etc.
Then, women of 35, sorry: You are too late
to the game. Way, Way, Way too late. How
much too late? At least 15 years, more like
20 years, and for a really good answer on
when to start looking for a husband, let
me be clear (assuming good nutrition and
rate of maturation) 22 years. Right:
Congratulations on your abilities at
arithmetic, 10,000 years ago you would
have been looking for a husband at age
13 or so and getting married at age
14-16. Did I mention that you are late?
There's more from the side of the men:
He wants her cute, sweet, pretty, precious, darling,
adorable, something to cherish and protect.
How to know? Easy: Look at the faces. Hmm?
Right. Look at the faces of human females over
the years starting at age 1. There they elicit
their support from Daddy, uncles, etc. with
their faces, facial expressions, and expressions
of endearing emotions. That's just how it works.
And (simple argument) that's how it worked
10,000 years ago (proof left as an exercise).
Then look at the faces over the years. Notice
something? Right: At age 10 with some work
on hair style and makeup, she can look 17.
Or, to be more clear, a young women of 17
still tries to look like an endearing
10. And even more so for a young woman of
13-16. Why? Endearing. She's not trying
to be independent, autonomous, self-sufficient,
and equal, crashing through glass ceilings,
adopting and hiring a nanny, etc. Instead
she's trying to be endearing, cute, sweet,
meek, darling, adorable, precious, to be
cherished, protected, and cared for by her
husband as she has babies.
But, woman of 35, on endearing, etc., you
just don't ring his bell, just don't
arouse his protective, caring emotions,
are way, Way out of the game. Any pretty
girl of 14 can totally blow you off the
field of competition.
The way of the world. And the result?
Right: In the more developed societies
the average number of children per
woman is significantly under 2.1. E.g.,
in Finland it's 1.5 which means that in
10 generations 30 Finns will become 1.
We're going extinct, literally, quickly.
Why? It's not nice to try to fool
The way of the world. That's just how
it works and has worked for at least
10,000 years. That's how it worked
for all the woman you descended from
for nearly all of the last 10,000 years.
So, go back to 13, and let's try again,
if you can find a way to do that.
Today 13? Right: She has to (1) find
him, (2) get into boy/girlfriend with
him, (3) go steady or some such with him,
(4) get a diamond, (5) get married, all
by about age 17-19. E.g., Lady Di decided
at 15 that she wanted to catch Prince
Charles, and she did, married him at
age 20. Age 25, 35, etc. to start to be looking
for him? You gotta be kidding! Uh,
honey, there are sperm banks -- check one
Wish I'd known this, this clearly, when
I was 15. Very much wish that.
"Marriage is about offspring, security,
and care taking." -- extra credit for
knowing the source!
Neither your characterization of the mating behavior of primitive man nor your explanation for low birth rates in affluent societies are consistent with reality.
Age of first pregnancy and number of children both tended to be higher in early agricultural societies than hunter-gatherer societies.
Finland has a marriage rate above the OECD average, which suggests that its low birthrate isn't a result of women being unable to find partners. It's dropped since 1970, but the fertility rate has actually increased since then and is now 1.8, not 1.5.
You are missing the key points of my
argument: (1) Your "primitive man"
I argued is nonsense because the evidence
is very strong that the genes are very
much the same (right, I left the argument
as an exercise but will give you the solution
if you wish -- hint, it's a kind of triangle
inequality). (2) You missed my argument about
why the women are not happy and not reproducing:
Current life, married or not, does not fit with
the genes of women. There's just no fit. To
see some of this, look again at my scenario
in a tribe or village beside a river in
Europe or East Asia. Likely could throw in
the US before 1492. Hint: Read some D.
Tannen -- women are designed to get a huge
fraction of their happiness, i.e., emotional
security from, essentially, gossip, that is,
a lot of conversation with other women. For
today, think of cell phones, PInterest, Facebook,
Twitter, etc. Well, the gossip situation
was much better in that village 10,000 years
ago. Indeed, for essentially every aspect
of her life, she was surrounded by women
of all ages with lessons on child care
(done essentially by the village), preparing
food, and making clothes. Now, in strong
contrast, she is highly isolated and gets,
what, Oprah? Bummer. For the birth rate,
it doesn't work. Your point about the
marriage rate is next to irrelevant.
I got my 1.5 in Finland from Wikipedia. The
claim was that on average each woman in
Finland has just 1.5 children. Rates across
nearly all of Europe and Russia are significantly
below 2.1 needed, in our modern society, for a
That things were better in early agricultural
societies is nice but a bit irrelevant to
my argument: I'm comparing a village 10,000
years ago to, say, the last 60 or so years
of people of Western European descent and
East Asian descent. Beginning to see where
the triangle inequality comes from? Hint,
the common ancestors were 10,000+ years ago.
Soooooo, presto, where women of those two
areas are close, they both have to be even
closer to their common ancestors 10,000+
years ago. Right: Those women would have
loved PInterest and cell phones, right away!
> which suggests that its low birthrate isn't a result of women being unable to find partners
Okay, but "partners" is not nearly enough to please
Mother Nature. The situation is creating weak,
sick, or dead limbs on the tree. One of the reasons
is that a woman of 35 just is not, to her husband,
someone easy to build a good family with. Why?
She's too darned old so that he just doesn't feel
about her like Mother Nature intended.
For women who wait until age 35 to start a family,
Darwin will have the last word.
You seem to be forgetting the part where we've moved to a knowledge worker's society in which men's physiological differences no longer make him inherently more fit as a provider.
That is what has lead to a massive shift in gender roles over the past half century. It has had it's fair share of casualties due to maladjustment on both sides. One specific group of casualties just happens to be highlighted in this article.
You may care about how a knowledge worker's society has changed the inherent fitness and gender roles - but all your built-in mechanisms that judge attractiveness of potential mates, evaluate beauty and cause warm fuzzies or disgust - they don't care, and they haven't changed since that time.
Mating is a core activity of any lifeform, and our actual behavior preferences for that aren't really chosen by the rational part of your brain, but heavily influenced by much more direct chemistry. If in a future society 100 year old eunuchs with purple skin would be the super-best-fit for life companionship, 30-year old men would still rather feel attracted to 20-year old women unless they're genetically altered.
I didn't mention "physiological differences", say,
taller, stronger. I did emphasize tool making.
I should also have mentioned team formation
for hunting, building, and fighting. E.g., hunting
is not nearly all size and strength but heavily
understanding how to locate and kill the prey.
And if the hunting is with a team, then need to
be good at forming teams.
So, the women were back in the village concentrating
on child care, food, and clothing, and the men
were generating fire, tools, wheels, things made
of bone, wood, and stone, making progress with metals,
..., a server farm with 20,000 computers. That was
men's work, done by men, in ways convenient for men,
that used talents of men, apparently from hunting,
tool making, team formation, and fighting, that
changed the economy, government, and societies.
Alas, women mostly didn't participate and mostly
Look, there's a recent study about boys and girls
shortly after birth. The girls are working on
communicating with adults, especially about how
they feel, mostly with facial expressions.
The boys are looking at the construction of the
crib, trying to figure out how the latch works,
and wanting to write C++ code to control the
toy fire engine on the floor! That's right
from birth. The boys care about things, tools,
strategy, etc., and the girls care about
eliciting support from people. That's just
the way it is.
In simple terms, the girls have plenty of
strength for most tool making and for
team formation, but mostly they just
didn't and don't do it. That's just not
what girls are interested in, and there's
little promise they will be interested
during our knowledge worker society.
Girls don't want to think about tricky
algorithms; some girls actually can, but
still they don't want to. They just
don't. "Fools give you reasons;
wise men never try." What girls want
to do is to gossip as a way to be
a member of a group of girls and to
attract boys. They like to be asked
to do things so that when they do them
they can get praise, acceptance, approval,
and emotional security.
Women don't lose the dating game. Men don't win it either. There's just a lot of really sucky players and a few people who got lucky. Stop playing the game and you'll find yourself a lot happier for it.
i would recommend watching this video if you want a different, non-mainstream perspective on the philosophy of the sexual, marriage, and 'dating' marketplaces.
you don't have to agree with it, but it's worth a watch. especially if you are having trouble 'understanding' women. women are actually very simple biological creatures, like men. they just operate under a different set of constraints which are generally invisible to men.
in my opinion he is able to see and convey things from the perspective of women, which is valuable insight for an audience of men.
I just had an intuition that the choices of gals in this article are kinda similar to various strategies for innovative products. Some products target the alpha consumers, e.g. those early adopters and innovators, while some others target beta or gamma consumers.
Here is my pithy theory that explains a lot of this, which in my opinion seems to fit the data and is backed up by copious anecdotal evidence.
"Men put more work up front -- making the first move, taking the women out and showing them a good time, etc. Women put more work once the relationship gets going (i.e. after much sex has been had). They put up with their guy's frustrating habits and work to advance the relationship forward."
Now, this is a description of the MAJORITY of interactions, not all, of course. Some women chase men (or are more open to advances from men). Some men are very marriage minded. But the majority behaves as I described. To see why, I highly recommend this article: http://denisdutton.com/baumeister.htm
Now, how does this affect the marriage market? Well, the conclusions follow directly from observing the trends that are occurring in the last 50 years:
* More women work
* Women work longer hours
* More women are educating themselves
* More young women are independent financially
* In fact, young unmarried women make more than male counterparts
However, in some ways the situation is pivoting again:
* Technology is making traditional college educations less useful
* The internet will soon disrupt college education
* Income inequality penalizes wage earning in favor of capital (running a business with clients is more inflation-resistant). Entrepreneurs are the new finance guys.
All this should combine to once again change women's perspective on who's dateable
Women respect risk-taking men (see the article), and want to have children with a successful man whose risks paid off.
And it looks like the humble folks on HN with their lifestyle businesses or those in successful startup cities will have the advantage in terms of earning potential, freedom to choose, and also women.
The problem is that you must have the confidence to write your own rules in life. If you speak with confidence, move with confidence, dress with confidence, and act with confidence, you'll have your choice among women.
The irony of it is that you only get confidence from past success. You must move beyond your nerd persona from high school. If you adopt the mantra "I AM the prize" and actually truly believe it, women will believe it too.
I cleaned up my act. I was just a cubicle nerd in Silicon Valley. (Although I must have had something going for me: I became a manager.) I hired a personal trainer and started to hit the gym like a wild animal. My abs came out: I hadn’t seem them since high school. I changed my diet. (Hint: The Paleo/Atkins diet works.) I started a relationship with a tailor and ordered a lot of made-to-measure clothing. I subscribed to GQ.
I read HN every day. The technical articles are fascinating, and the writing brilliant. Yesterday I spent a large section of my day reading a set of about 450 slides about subtleties in the C language that was linked from this site. Today I spent a good fraction of my morning reading about elliptical-curve cryptography. I am a nerd at heart.
Yet, I’m not a nerd in the sense that you think of. When I meet a new girl, my frame is “I’m going to bend you over my kitchen table and fuck you like the dirty ho that you are.” She knows it just by my speech, my body language, and how I act. Obviously, some women won’t step into that “frame”. It doesn’t matter: the thing you have to realize is that men display, and women select. The key to catching women is approaching more women. Depending on your perceived status, a certain fraction of women will ‘select’ you. Don’t waste time with women who don’t ‘select’ you. Focus on the ones who do.
I can already hear the shrill cries of “oh, no GOOD girls would select a guy like that.” It’s a fallacy. Women are emotional, and when they step into the strong frame of a man with whom they resonate, all bets are off. The nice HR girl you took to dinner at a fashionable restaurant on University Ave. in Palo Alto will screw a guy in the back seat of a car if he has high enough status. Give up your good girl/bad girl dichotomy.
The problem I have now is described as the “players’ curse.” The sheer numbers of women riding the “cock carousel” (i.e., slut it up in your 20s, find the beta provider in your early 30s) has distorted the market. (If you don’t believe me, shut the fuck up and go read the reference sources I cited above.) In my 20s I dreamed of children and family in my 20s. Lots of men are simply dropping out of the “mating market” and simply jerking off and not dating because women in their 20s don’t select their twentysomething equivalents. A man in that situation has two choices: to kick up his game a notice, or just to retreat into porn and World of Warcraft. The paradox is that a man of willpower and clarity that can put effort into cleaning up his act can break into the side of “the selected” and score plenty of vj. Once you understand that, you can see modern-day feminism for the hoax that it is. It is a pox on the civilized world.
I can already foresee that somebody out there is going to some ‘white knight’ jerkoffs who are going to call me a ‘misogynist’. For the record, a misogynist is someone that HATES women. I’m not a misogynist. Roissy/Heartist is not a misogynist. Roosh is not a misogynist. Usually, the ‘misogynist’ stick is used to say, “you’re not being politically correct.” If you want to say, “greenlander, you’re not being politically correct,” I’ll accept that. I’ll accept it even if you want to say, “greenlander, you’re a self-absorbed, narcissistic, self-deluded dickhead.” It’s the truth. But don’t call me a misogynist: I love women. One must simply see them for what they are.
The great thing is that it doesn’t matter how many people out there slander me with politically-correct ad-homonyms. A man who is ready to see the truth will follow the path if even a tiny morsel of the truth is laid before him. And if I even help one nerd change his life for the better by nudging him in the right direction, the past hour I’ve spent writing this post will not have been in vain.
Agree with this. It takes gonads and a willingness to embrace rejection in order to 'get results'. Many fellas can't/won't improve themselves on their own. My advice: group therapy. Hang-out/go-out with other men that have game. Be a wingman ( alcohol helps) . That is how it happened for me.
This may have been like 15 years ago, but I had a friend that was so bold that he once walked up to a stranger(girl) waiting in line to enter a bar and started making-out with her. Couldn't believe she didn't slap him!
Also, take advice from woman about how to dress metro and such but not on how to pick up woman. In fact do the opposite of what they say.
There is too much thinking going on here. This usually works: go up to girl, talk to girl, repeat. If you think to yourself "I need to show confidence", you are not confident and there's no need to pretend that you are. Plenty of girls are just as attracted to awkwardness. Rather than introducing yourself as some GQ character, be a real person instead. Too many guys are obsessed with "confidence" which is usually defined as being a dick. These guys tend to measure their self-worth by whether or not the hot girl likes them, so scoring is a big deal. Stop thinking: go up to girl, talk to girl, repeat.
Sorry, but you're the guy (as a type) I went on tons of dates with before meeting my current boyfriend. I always ended up running away, because I felt like you were out to impress me and not actually, you know, talk to me.
To me, had I gotten into a relationship with you, I would have had no idea of how to deal with your emotional needs - plus how would I expect you to take care of mine. There never was any hint of that on a date with that type.
Which is why I am not dating a guy like you at all...
This approach is the same as for 'Nigerian inheritance' scams - the whole point of an aggressive start is to ensure scaring away people who aren't going to fall for it, so you don't waste time on them.
Spammers deliberately make horrible e-mails that only the gullible will reply - with credible emails they have to waste time on 'unproductive' leads, there is research on that. The parent poster is perfectly happy with scaring away girls that want their emotional needs taken care of, since he's looking for something different anyway.
FWIW, I think he fully realizes this and has chosen not to care:
> Obviously, some women won’t step into that “frame”. It doesn’t matter: the thing you have to realize is that men display, and women select. The key to catching women is approaching more women. Depending on your perceived status, a certain fraction of women will ‘select’ you. Don’t waste time with women who don’t ‘select’ you. Focus on the ones who do.
Great article. It looks like the women described in the article sacrified years of their lives to become kind of alpha males - lawyers, professionals, etc - in which time the real alpha males got young and willing chicks who are just that what alpha males are interested in - hot young chicks. So, now all these professional and I'm sure very successful women in their 30s are left with are beta males. How came I don't see it as surprising? Wouldn't you think that by trying to take social role of an alpha male while you are a female, you will fail? Probably in both roles? Will fail as a woman and in the perceived alpha-male role? Look, once she gets this beta guy to have children with, she will stay at home just so he doesn't run away to look for another willing 30-something successful woman. So her career is broken at that point too. Whoever the socialist that told women that they have to be just like men - thank you! I never knew it will work so well for my gender. After years of listening to this socialist BS, to see it fail, makes me feel good. Full disclosure: I'm a married male with a kid, so I won't take advantage of the situation. Just like to see how the laws of nature triumph over marxist craziness again and again. But some people never learn.
Hmm.. It's not too hard. Know a bit of good music, read a bit, don't be super boring, be passionate about something. Go to meetups for your interests and meet people that way. Rarely fails and you're bound to find someone with the same interests.
Don't go on dating sites, except for maybe okcupid. But even then, things like Reddit meetups, concerts, meetup.com meetups, are where you should meet people. Don't go to the bar either.
If you're in public, go up to someone and say "Hi, I'm x and y" followed by something relating to wherever you are. I've had great success with this, at the very least, you'll get a coffee date, at worst, a fake number.
It's not hard, you just need to put yourself out there. Screw rejection.
I'm passionate about my hobbies, and in fact I have plenty: I've programmed since I was 10, I practiced martial arts for over 10 years, I draw as a hobby and I've been learning how to play piano for a couple years now.
What do all those activities have in common? They are all either solitary or 95% men. Approaching random people in public is also a big no-no in my country.
I know my case might not be the average (although it could be in HN), but if I had a point I think it would be: whatever you need to do, it will almost certainly be outside your comfort zone. Painting it as effortlessly sends the wrong vibe, IMHO - it should be more like "ok, yes, it is hard, and yes, it will hurt a bit, but it will be worth it".
You're extremely attractive. Good for you. Your advice is useless for the median dateless loser.
"Put yourself out there. Screw rejection." is great advice for someone who women want to talk to; it does not help for those who they're not interested in.
To get you a better idea: I have a friend who's stunningly handsome, suave as can be, married to one of the most beautiful women I know, &c. We both have dogs. One day we're chatting about how we walk dogs, and he tells me "Man, don't you hate it when girls keep stopping you to coo at your dog?" It had _never occurred to him_ that this was happening because of his attractiveness, not his dog's; the girls were using his dog as an excuse. That sort of thing doesn't happen to me and never will.
Stop giving advice without actually understanding why you succeeded.
from someone who figured it out only slightly later than average (mid-20s) but can empathize to those who had a much tougher time, this kind of non-advice advice is the worst kind of advice because it deludes you into thinking you don't have to change.
yes, keep going to reddit meetups! you will surely get laid there if you are having trouble understanding how sexual dynamics work!
if you're having trouble romantically or sexually, seek actual help from the endless resources available to you in the year 2013, don't listen to this kind of drivel.
On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity.
I think a story about the way an important aspect of human existence turns into a market response to the collected needs of individuals would gratify one's intellectual curiosity.
Arn't dating websites make money from Users who are single ? If the dating service is just too effective, won't they be reducing their customer base? Where else will you find women in her 30s paying $90 per month for years for a hope to get married vs. someone who pays just for one month and gets married.
I can't believe dating websites are still around. Facebook makes it so incredibly easy to meet random people (at least friends of friends in some degree) and makes easy to flirt with or start conversations with those people.
In one bored night you could start a conversation with the cute girl that works with your friend Sara, your friend Jenny's sister, and your cousin Sue's roomate. Social media makes dating like shooting fish in a barrel.
Maybe I'm just too old to understand, but this seems a little creepy to me. My friend hasn't introduced me to their friend, but I'm going to start chatting to them on FB? How would my friend feel about this? If someone else contacted me this way, I think I might be a little reluctant to say very much. I don't know if this is because I'm older, or very introverted, or both.
But innovation doesn't work like that. It isn't that anybody will decide a good online dating process by committee. Rather, entrepreneurs will keep trying the ideas that they have until one blows up. Like so many things, we'll only recognize it after the fact.
In my experience, online dating has been noticeably way, way worse than other ways of meeting people. Meeting people through activity groups and friends of friends has consistently worked literally infinitely better for me. I.e., I've expended far more effort on online dating over the years, and had zero results (no relationships), and spent far less effort meeting people casually or through friends doing things I was already doing, and had lots of relationships that way.
There's a massively skewed ratio of men to women on these sites, probably around 10:1 men to women. As a result, women get spammed with no-content or offensive messages, driving many away. Those who do stay have to spend significant effort sifting through messages to find good ones, and inevitably a lot of good messages from decent men get lost in the deluge. Most dating sites are just glorified personal ads, no innovation at all. OKCupid is an exception with its quizzes and match percentages, but the percentages are inaccurate and OKC is filled with people who are just there for the quizzes.
As other people said: for most sites the model is just broken.
The website needs a large amount of potential matches on the site. So, once you sign up your profile is never removed. That means people looking sometimes have to trawl through dead profiles.
You earn money by charging people money. Sometimes that's for reading messages people send you. Sometimes it's for replying to messages. Many sites send fake messages.
Many sites are run by a small number of operators and they buy and sell profile information among themselves. This would be unacceptable if the profiles were genuine, but they're often fake. So there are huge amounts of fake people sending fake messages to real people on websites just to get them to pay to subscribe.
But even the good sites have problems. See, for example, OkCupid. (which is a very good site.) There's a small number of people on there who have little intention of actually dating. They're just meeting online people. OKC have taken steps to reduce that (really, they should have opened up a pay-for forums, a bit like suicidegirls. SG had "come for the titties, stay for the forums", OKC could have "Come for the dating, stay for the community". (Yes, I'd like a free sub if you ever do that, OKC)
Or people just have wildly unrealistic expectations.
And, on top of all that, you have the regular suckiness of dating.
BBC Panorama explained why this is the case in a recent investigation.
The basic problem comes down to money. Imagine you have a really good dating site and everyone finds their perfect partner within a matter of a few emails and dates. Thereafter they no longer need the services of the dating website.
Hence to make money from a dating website you need people to not find dates, find partners or marry. Because as soon as that happens they stop paying their subscription fees. Keep them suckered for as long as possible, as in years, offering glimpses of false hope.
Personally I don't see why it has to be this way. If I was a benevolent dictator I would make sure there was a free dating website, make it mandatory for single people to be on there and force the cruft dating websites out of business. Ultimately dating is good for the wider economy, a hopeful date is a no expense spared event for those with expense to spare. Our politicians are forever pandering to families and family values as if they are the only people that need to be looked out for.
This was the same argument given about why Google was foolish to start a search engine. A good search engine should keep you searching longer to show you more ads. In reality people flocked to the search engine precisely because it worked. If a dating site were very very good, it could advertise something like "We're so confident you'll find someone with X months that we only ask you to pay a one time fee to join instead of monthly."
Has there ever been a point where women haven't lost the dating game? It might not be right, but I think it's a social reality that men have an easier time finding a spouse than women do, and I think that's probably been the trend for hundreds if not thousands of years.
I recommend reading JFK Fuller "The Decisive battles of the western world and their influence on history" or any book about ancient history, which i define as before the battle of hasting.
And you will learn about the sheer amount of war there has been all over europe, really rampant. Example is during the great migration era. My point with all this is that in war their usually is rape, alot, which per definition is that the male chooses their spouse.
For more modern example read Catherine Merridale "Ivan's Wa. The Red Army 1939-45". Where their was extensive rape and pillage done by the red army.
Rough translation, i have a swedish copy. "Among the Soviet soldiers that fell on the preussian refuges that streamed out from Insterburg and Goldap was a young Officer by the name off Leonid Rabitjev. Decades later would this man gather the strength that is required to write about the offences he saw were being committed. "Women, mouther and children lie right and left along the road, and infront of each one their stands a screaming armada of men with their pants down", he wrote."
My point is that we can't really compare the trends of peaceful today with history in terms of reproduce, because a lot of women bore children of war, even up to relative modern times.
Not true. The men who die in the fighting tend to be the unsuccessful ones. The ones who did not die, in addition to having the opportunity for rape (and in ancient times to take concubines home), would also come back as heros and have the opportunity to marry women from their own tribe.
These pressures are much more pronounced in polygamous societies, such as fundamentalist Muslim countries today, or ancient Jewish culture as documented in the Old Testament.