Are There Any Good Men Left in Sydney?

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.

“It’s Sydney.”

“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.

* 3235.0 – Population by Age and Sex, Regions of Australia, 2011

21 thoughts on “Are There Any Good Men Left in Sydney?

  1. The singles scene has always been a meat market. It’s about putting a value on what you can do for them – complaining people aren’t interested in you because you don’t have what people go there shopping for is like going into a shop and complaining no one will serve you because you don’t have enough money. If you are lucky enough to have that kind of currency, there are not going to be many people there who can match you because instead of lifting their game most will be out to scalp you. Good people last about 10 seconds in the singles scene before they run screaming out of the place having been mauled by a bunch of desperadoes. Ask any woman or attractive man what happens to their inbox when they open a dating site account – the stuff people send them would make the hair on the back of your neck stand up.

    As for “I’m a nice guy” or “women are too picky”, the guys I hear say that are the same guys I overhear trash talking about women – making jokes about them performing degrading sexual acts and leer with no consideration for just how creepy that is. They have no consideration at all for personal space or anyone’s comfort level. People find that kind of behaviour intimidating and embarrassing. Same when they make a scene by complaining about their “psycho” ex, acting like they deserve a medal for being polite and complain when they don’t get one, knock people, make crude jokes at other peoples expense or are on a hair trigger (I’m talking about men in their 30s, 40s and 50s doing this, not young boys). Am I seriously supposed to be happy to meet that? People cross the road to get away from that when they see it coming down the street. Since when is not wanting to be made to feel uncomfortable and treated like crap being too picky, who wants to spend so much as five minutes around a dog with a chip on his shoulder.

  2. Hi, I’m single again. It’s not because I’m a prick or scared of commitment. In fact, it’s because my ex decided to sleep around throughout our marriage. In the old days, I would have been a cuckold. Now, I just feel like a fool. So, I’ve been trying to contact women in Sydney. THEY’RE NOT INTERESTED! Now, I’m not ugly. Some say I look a bit like Magnum PI, others say, Sir Richard Hadley. I try to look after myself and go to the gym but Sydney women are superficial snobs. If you drive a Kia Rio, you’re a loser because it’s not a Bimmer. Really? Drop the attitude and stop pretending that you’re still 25. Give a normal guy a go and you won’t end up a lonely old spinster. Ah, I feel much better. 🙂

    1. It’s not about being normal or heroic. It’s not about what car you drive. Although, that usually reflects that he works hard to get quality. It’s about us not sensing that you unconsciously have baggage from your past. I bet none of these women have called you a loser based on your car. You have assumed it, most likely. Aussie men, in general, don’t make an effort or at least work hard at keeping a woman’s interest. I’m not an Aussie woman. I don’t do the chasing. If you ask any foreign girls, we would mostly agree that you Aussie blokes are just too shy and awkward when it comes to approaching women.

    2. I am sorry this has been your experience, Drew. It seems all the nice guys meet bitches and all the nice girls meet arseholes. I think we need figure out how to connect with other genuine souls. We are not all bad, I promise. We just need to find each other. Keep your chin up and keep looking. Someone like me is waiting for you. 🙂

  3. I’m a guy in my early 40s and just gone through an eight-year marriage. I’m looking for a female to re-settle down and one day marry. I’m looking on dating sites and newspapers to find someone and yet the Sydney girls I’ve found don’t reply back at all. I met a girl before I got married and she lied to me about who she was. I hate girls that lie about themselves. She said that she was 170cm tall, had long hair, was a size 10, and had her own place. When I met her in person, let me say, she was not who she said she was. She was 165cm tall, had short hair above the shoulders, was a size 18 around her arse, and lived with her parents. I’m so glad I never married this girl.

    I’m 172cm tall. I had dark brown hair but am now going grey (natural). I’m very fit. No muscles, as I’m a slim build, but active. I lift steel all day, as I’m a chrome-plater.

    I just want to meet a girl around my own height and build with long hair to the end of her shoulders.

    On these dating sites, I can honestly say that some girls just don’t write who they really are. I agree with some of the replies on here. I’m a firm believer that a relationship must work from both parties. If a guy shows his true emotions, a girl must give it back. That’s what true love is. Not just girls wanting to make your bank account bone dry – like my ex-wife did to me and told me a kiss and a hug was assault. Love is not about money. Love is from the heart and makes you happy when you’re with that person.

  4. Ladies, please try dating men rather than putting them in the “just friends” zone. I know you won’t be attracted to ALL guys, but how many of your male friends are perfectly datable yet sadly overlooked?

  5. What a joke of an article. Sydney women are the most shallow of all women I have ever come across. Men don’t care if you live at home with your parents. It is only women who care about it. Men just want a nice person who likes us for who we are. Instead, women want everything but honesty, integrity and loyalty. They want money, a house, a car, and sperm as number 1. Then, they justify it by saying they want to be safe. No, they want to bludge through life living off their man. I am 35. I don’t want any woman from Sydney. Yuck! They are the worst. I remember hearing some women speak about a man drought in Balmain. I was looking for a place to go out, so I thought, great, if there is a man drought then I might actually meet someone. Instead, it is wall-to-wall men only, so picky. I am now successful, I run my own business, but I travel Australia-wide and internationally. I recently travelled to the NT for work for a week. I have never ever been treated so nicely by women in all the time I lived in Sydney. I had to travel to the NT to be treated nicely. It was not about what I did or what I earned. They were just good people who judged me for who I am, not what I have. It is a pity I cannot live there permanently because the bulk of my work is in Sydney. I am actually now depressed as a result of the women in Sydney. It is one after the other: shallow, shallow shallow, from all walks of life.

    1. It’s a shame you think this of women from Sydney. Maybe you were looking in the wrong places. Inner-city areas aren’t the best places, but I think the attitudes of these women who may have scared your opinion of them have been developed by the way they are treated. Maybe it’s a way of protecting their integrity. I am female and grew up in Sydney with a lot of difficulty getting the attention of men there. Between my two best friends at the time and I, the guys I liked always preferred them. They probably considered them to be prettier. I also felt being oriental, they preferred my Caucasian friends. I’m not inferring it’s a race thing, but that men in Sydney can also be shallow. Having lived in Europe for the past six years, I’ve observed a huge difference in the way I’m perceived. Men here are easier to approach and are more open to what your personality has to offer.

      1. I was looking in the wrong place, it’s called Sydney. They’re everywhere, from the city to the suburbs: shallow women. For me, this has been going on for over a decade.

        The first girl I ever had an interest in was Korean, but she was interested in some other guy and married him. Now, 15 years later I did a quick scan on Facebook to see where people are and bang, she’d divorced him. They have two kids and he cheated on her. Talk about making a bad decision. Women go after the wrong type of men and then complain when they don’t treat them well. They completely ignore the nice guy. Why? Unimportant reasons like, “It’s not a challenge” (it’s not supposed to be a challenge) or “He’s too nice”. I’d love to meet a girl who would be considered too nice.

        I was brought up to be a gentleman. My Dad was a lot older than my mother. He’d fought in WW2 (yeah, that old) and he brought me up with that error of gentlemanly behaviour: a code of conduct and respect. Women today complain that there are no gentlemen about, but they really have no concept of what a gentleman is and they’re certainly not ladies.

        Some women can act like a lady, but that’s the problem, it’s just an act. I want an actual lady, but I won’t find one in Sydney.

        This is a common problem amongst my friends, too. Women cannot seem to make up their own mind in regard to what a good man is. They ask their friends (who also have no clue) and the worst thing is they actually listen to their advice, and take action on that ill-informed view. A man will approach a woman in Sydney, but if one of her friends dislikes the man, they’ll all dislike him. It’s the blind leading the bind.

        I’m over it. I’m only replying here because I got a reply to my original post. It’s a nightmare out there! I cannot wait to expand my business overseas and get the hell out of here. That’s how bad it is. I just want to get out of Australia. My advice to any male having problems with women is, it’s a Sydney thing. The world is huge, so do your best to leave Australia and you’ll meet actual ladies overseas.

      2. “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.”

        For the record, I’m 36 and single. I don’t have kids, I’m not divorced or separated, I don’t suffer alcohol or drug addiction, and I don’t have any sexually transmitted diseases (or any diseases for that matter). I run my own business, so I’m self-employed.

      3. I think Asian women actually get a lot more attention that white ladies. So, it must just be you.

    2. I don’t know about your local girls but where I come from, men are expected to be men. Aussie men are too traumatised by your women that they just don’t make an effort with the rest of us, by the looks of it. I always wonder why Aussie men are so shy and don’t even look like they are interested in women. 😉

      1. Most Aussie men are very interested in women, just not the ones back home so much. It’s thanks to the feminist attitude they exude.

  6. 3 months from calling off my wedding and suffering from a broken heart, I read this article and my immediate response was anxiety. Which was quickly elevated to terror. And then escalated further with a glass of wine and an urgent call to my (married) bestie.

    How on earth do I face the thirty something Sydney dating scene when I tick all the boxes: overweight – yes I’m carrying a few post break up Cadbury kilos; Inarticulate – only through the tears; Living with my parents – hey! It’s only temporary…

    So I slept on it a few nights and today consulted my psychologist who is a male forty-something happily married man (yes, I asked). Through tears and cheap home brand tissues, I paid him $200 to tell me this – ‘Get out of your head’.

    The obvious dialogue INSIDE my head was ‘Is that it?’ – But as a commitment from my last session to let go of the negative, and move forward I dumped the disappointing advice and tried to go deeper. So here’s what I think:

    There are a number of new challenges that weren’t around a decade ago when I was last dating in my mid-twenties: everyone is accessible. Always. Mobiles, Twitter and Facebook. God damn Facebook! Society’s standards have increased and the younger generations seem to be catching up and passing us quicker than ever before. So it’s no wonder women are rationalising the dating scene by saying ‘It’s Sydney’. The market is uber competitive. And although at an age now where I’ll admit I’m not as physically attractive as I was at 25 (bloody Cadburys!), I am a much better version of myself. And I have a lot more to offer than looks. I’m wiser, well-travelled, successful, can talk on any topic with confidence, I’m independent (hey – I said its only temporary at my parents!) and have a stronger sense of who I am and what I want. The list of ‘non negotiables’ has changed since my twenties. Yes, is has been ‘enhanced’ somewhat but that’s ok as I said I know myself more than I did a decade ago. But what does this mean for me, a soon-to-be heading into the Sydney dating scene where Alex paints a picture of men who are picky? Continuing to ignore my shrinks advice I processed my reaction a little further.

    My anxiety is just fear of a now unfamiliar landscape that I’ll enter back into when I’m ready. The terror is actually excitement about the butterflies that come with a first date, first kiss, and true love. And the glass of wine? Well, regardless of whether you are single, married or on the other side of a nasty breakup nothing beats a good glass of sav blanc and a bestie chat!

    I think the ladies in Alex’s office should come and work with me for a day. My boss (who has been my saviour throughout the trauma of the break-up) said to me recently. ‘Don’t waste time searching for the perfect man. Throw out your criteria for ‘the one’, that’s ridiculous. Surround yourself with people who have the qualities from that list. Each person may not tick all those boxes, but you’ll have all those boxes ticked as part of your life’.

    … and she had the expensive tissues with aloe vera.

  7. The stats may not stack up in womens’ favour, but we all need to meet similar values and standards in our potential partners and if these are not met, why should anyone (guy or gal) settle? You are better off on your own than with the wrong person.

    I agree, there are many ‘ill-equipped’ males in Sydney and it’s extremely difficult as women to ‘compromise’ too much. Nobody is worth losing your self respect over, however, you mention your ‘middle-aged’ colleagues being ‘no short of desperate to find a man’ eerrrr excuse me….what image is this projecting? Generally the desperate are quite obvious (whether you realise it or not) and this behaviour alone can send a man running in the other direction.

    Remember the Laws of Attraction – ‘Like attracts Like’ Love comes along when you least expect it.

  8. Nicely put, Alex. I am a 30-something woman and have a lot of single girlfriends who can’t find a man in Sydney. They seem to be nice but turn into complete arseholes. It’s hard on us gals, we think we’ve found Mr Right and he turns out to be Mr Couldn’t Give a Fuck.

    I liked how you used the census information because I live in the inner city, and can totally back up those figures.

    It’s just so frustrating that many women in this age group are struggling in Sydney. Seems like the answer to the question is a clear, “No!”

    I’m determined to prove it wrong, though.


    1. You are correct in your statement, “30-something women and have a lot of single girlfriends who can’t find a man in Sydney. They seem to be nice but turn into complete arseholes.”

      Yes, many women act nice but are arseholes. Just fools who have no idea what a good man is.

      And, not related to the comment above, I’m balding. If you don’t date a guy because he’s balding, being alone is your own fault. It’s a shallow, superficial and disgusting attitude to have. It’s like saying, I like people with blue eyes but not brown. We can’t control that but we can control who we are!

  9. I see where you’re going with the Census stats, but Darlinghurst, Surry Hills, Potts Point, Woolloomooloo… you might consider the social demographics. The article should be titled ‘Why Are All the Men In Sydney Gay?’!

  10. Great article. FEAR. This 4-letter word is what is keeping men & women on having satisfying and fulfilling relationships. You know how it goes ‘I’ll open my heart just a little bit just in case I get hurt’.
    In today’s day and age, we are all getting way too picky (or unappreciative) for our liking. With so many divorces in our society it has become popular and even accepted as a whole. Rather than dealing with the underlying causes of WHY the relationship isn’t working, people take the easy road – QUIT.

    Instead of thinking ‘how come I don’t meet the right man/woman, start asking this question instead: ‘who am I being that has me attract these types of men/women into my life?”

    Relationships are HARD work! I think when people start accepting this fact then there won’t be much room for picking on someone’s suitcase or shoe size! These are just excuses to cover up for the fact that people are just lazy and don’t want to put in the work to have and keep a successful relationship.

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