Q: Several of my friends and I were bemoaning our status as single women in our late 20s/early 30s, and discussing an article we had read in the New York Times about how smart women are less likely to get married. We'd all like to find Mr. Wonderful and be married. But if we have to curtail our professional success, financial wherewithal and IQ to do it, how can a person even begin to do such a thing?Unsurprisingly, Abby's 3-part answer is rubbish:
Maybe we'd be better off to take jobs as "administrators" in a large company somewhere and hope for the best.
Help, Abby! What's the answer for smart, fun women who have their acts together? How can we best poise ourselves to find true love while being true to ourselves?
1) "Eligible members of both sexes can be found in places of common interest" - yes, they can, except that unmarried men in their 30s are likely that way on purpose. The problem is not "finding" single men - doubtless these ladies know more than 1 or 2 - but finding men who are a) unmarried and want to be married; and b) worthy of marrying. The problem is that a) and b) become mutually exclusive as you get older. Men who are attractive and want to get married get married.
2) "I guarantee that if you don't take financial care of yourselves while you can, you will regret it later" - career is a long time, family time is not. If you want to spend your 20s establishing yourself in a career that will span a half-century, that's fine. But understand that if you're not married by 30, you're facing long odds if you want to marry someone your age and social station. Guys don't worry about it, because they generally don't expect their spouses to be "successful:" they expect them to be good wives and mothers. That's the reason that there are no tables full of 30-ish guys writing to Dear Abner about not getting married. Guys who want to get married get married.
If you raise a whole load of kids and start a career at 40, you'll still work it for 3 decades before you retire or 4 before you die. That's plenty of time for "success."
3) "stop reading defeatist newspaper and magazine articles." - bury your head in the sand. After all, it's certainly not a problem with anything you're doing or any choices you're making, right?
Look, here's the truth: Being "true to themselves", which today means telling themselves that they are smart and fun just as they are - though eventually it means dying alone with cats - is the thing that guarantees that these lovely and eligible women will still be eligible in the next decade and probably the one after that, because it results in obstinately clinging to mantras in the face of reality. The answer is not to be true to yourself; the answer is to change yourself. If you're not married after 10 years on the market, then what you're offering or the way in which you are offering it is not wanted. Dealing with that fact is the only thing that's going to change it.
Vox Day had a column a few months back which laid out 10 strategies for doing just that. Among them were insights like, "Make those potential long-term relationships your top priority" and "let everyone know that marriage and children is your ultimate goal."
In other words, you will find what you seek. If you simply go with the flow of postmodern maidenhood while writing letters about all the things you won't sacrifice for family, you'll most likely find yourself still hanging with strong independent (i.e. single and bitter) women when Saudi Arabia has its first woman president. If you make it a goal to seek marriage and family first, then that is most likely what you'll get, and there's plenty of time to have a successful and fulfilling career later.
Your choice, while you're young.