Women are struggling to find good men. I work with a dozen women in my department. The majority are over 35 and single. At best, a couple of them have a boyfriend but one who just won’t commit. To their credit, they’re not players nor do they suffer misandria. They search, they date, they try. But luck, it seems, is not their friend.
Let me state that none of them are overweight, inarticulate or living with their parents. A few are guilty of owning a dependant feline but hey, it keeps them company in a manic city. That city of course, is Sydney.
No longer able to seduce men like they did in their 20s, they look to rationalise why they are single.
“They’re all just players.”
“I can never get past the second date. No phone call. No text. No email. Nothing.”
And so on.
Australia’s leading demographer and author of Man Drought (Hardie Grant), Bernard Salt, believes single men in their mid-late 30s are in short supply.
By 35 the singles market has shifted from a demographic weighting in women’s favour to it one in men’s favour. By their late 30s, men are beginning to commit to relationships in big numbers; after all, this is the beginning of a 20-year peak-income earning phase in the life cycle that is perfect for family support. By 45, the so-called (single) man drought is in full swing.
According to the last census* in 2011, males outnumbered females in a number of areas in and around Sydney’s central business district. Darlinghurst had the highest sex ratio in Sydney, at 142.0 males per 100 females. High sex ratios were also apparent in nearby Surry Hills (136.7), Redfern to Chippendale (125.2) and Potts Point to Woolloomooloo (118.4).
This begs the question: why are men afraid of commitment and monogamy?
I can’t speak for all men but in my experience, once a man has lost someone he truly loved, he is almost always never prepared to settle.
As Jesse Fink, serial dater and author of LAID BARE (Hachette Australia) suggests, we are always comparing.
I was cursed, as a lot of men are, by having met a woman who was so unique and lovely that all who came after her seemed inadequate. I couldn’t help judging them and they all came up short. Not interesting enough. Not intelligent enough. Not sexy enough. Arse too big. Arms too fat. Men the world over are afflicted with this blight on their reason. We might marry plainer women, have kids with them, but we are corrupted forever if a beautiful woman chooses us. It’s like a blue ribbon for our ego. We are good enough for her. Thereafter what’s good enough for us can never be the same.
The reality is that by our mid-late 30s, we all have baggage. Not of the overnight variety, but enough to fill a second suitcase. Divorce. Children. Unemployment. Alcoholism. Drug addiction. STIs. Anything and everything has to be carefully considered. Who is this person?
Why go through all of this? Because we all hate and in an honest moment, fear, loneliness. We are human. We need to love and feel loved.
My middle-aged colleagues are no short of desperate to find a man. They go to bars after work on a Friday night, have tried speed-dating, blind dates through friends, chatting up the guys in the office and of course, all of them are online. I’ve been told that men are superficial, lack gentlemanly qualities, are tight with their money and all they do is talk about work. Gees, if that’s every man in Sydney, no wonder they’re still single. Who’d want that?
But I don’t believe it.
Like men, women are not prepared to settle either. He’s too short, too old, balding or grey, lives in the suburbs, calls his mother every other day, and no matter what he says, has traditional ideas on gender roles in relationships.
Maybe women need to cut us guys some slack. Maybe we need to grow up and stop expecting porn stars for partners.
The good news is, if you’re a 30-something guy, the odds are stacked in your favour. Just don’t make the mistake of being so goddam picky.