All the single ladies

Justine Toh laments the dating scene for the young women she knows. Where have all the nice single men gone?

Sorry to challenge you, Jane Austen – normally, I wouldn’t dare – but I don’t think it is “a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”

Especially after talking with my 25-year-old friend last weekend. The minutes of the conversation: where are the single men? Where are the single men in possession of a good fortune? And – the biggest unicorn of all – where are the single men, with prospects, in want of a wife?

My friend and all her girl friends work and/or study diligently, they support themselves, they show up properly for each other. When they hang out, it’s wall-to-wall dewy skin and luscious hair: they’re gorgeous like all young women are gorgeous. If these women want a life partner, who are they going to marry?

For my friend, a Christian, the available pool of options is slimmer, since her church sounds like a sisterhood of young, single, professionals. Whether within the church or without, eligible, available men are few.

Today, plenty worry about what researcher Richard V. Reeves, author of Of Boys and Men, calls “male drift”.

Reeves says young men are falling behind women in education: they’re less likely to enrol in tertiary studies and graduate from university. Jobs in a knowledge and service economy favour soft skills that play to traditionally female strengths. Reeves says single men struggle with worse health, lower employment rates, and weaker social networks than married men.

The modern world is rough on both sexes in different ways. Women have made gains, but there’s still more work to be done. Meanwhile, men don’t seem to be thriving either. We won’t get anywhere without each other. How do we solve the marriage problem today? Women are all ears.

This article first appeared on Facebook.

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