When Guys Get to Pick and Choose



“When men have the social power, they create a man’s ideal of relationships.”  —University of Georgia professor

Imagine a world where women outnumber men, where women are more educated than ever, enjoy more opportunity than ever, and are — in many cases — lonelier than ever.

You don’t need a vivid imagination if you’re a college student today. This is not some far-off dream world — it’s could be your campus.

According to The New York Times article “The New Math on Campus,” the average American college is now nearly 60 percent female. That’s great news for female empowerment in academia and the workplace, but it’s not so great for young women hoping to meet a potential husband.

Little surprise, when male students are the minority, they get to pick and choose from among the available female population. And the girls, well, let’s just say that some of them have adopted a more proactive approach:

‘I was talking to a friend at a bar, and this girl just came up out of nowhere, grabbed him by the wrist, spun him around and took him out to the dance floor and started grinding,’ said Kelly Lynch, a junior at North Carolina, recalling a recent experience.

Students interviewed here said they believed their mating rituals reflected those of college students anywhere. But many of them — men and women alike — said that the lopsided population tends to skew behavior.

‘A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,’ Ms. Lynch said. ‘They’ll text them and say: “I had a great time. Want to hang out next week?” And they don’t respond.’

Even worse, ‘Girls feel pressured to do more than they’re comfortable with, to lock it down,’ Ms. Lynch said.

I wrote about the implications of this trend at length over at “Where the Boys Aren’t,” but I also want to know what readers think. The Times says this male/female disparity has actually existed on many campuses for years, so I’d be interested to know if many of you have encountered this shift in more tangible ways, and, if so, how did you deal with it?

Remember, too, that this trend extends far beyond simple college mating rituals. It also represents a fundamental shift in American culture. There’s nothing to indicate that the actual number of young males has decreased, yet the percentage who pursue higher education definitely has. Whereas young men were once expected to go off to college in hopes of becoming breadwinners and leaders (i.e. “a catch”), many now seem content to just get by.

From “Where the Boys Aren’t”: “So, what are the options for today’s coeds? Do they reconsider their must-haves, re-evaluate their standards, lower their expectations? Do they start dating guys who’ve dropped out or who’ve never been to college? Are they willing to consider husbands who are less educated and thus less likely to earn as much or provide as well as they can provide for themselves? To complicate matters further, are most guys willing to buck tradition and pursue a woman who both outearns him and outranks him in the workplace?”

Sure, some guys will accept the fact that they’ve been leapfrogged in the workplace by the women around them, but can they overcome the disparities in education and status when it comes to dating and marriage? In other words, is the male auto mechanic going to pursue the female brain surgeon? (No offense to either profession.) And is the female surgeon ready to settle down with a mechanic? And if they do get married, what happens when they decide to have children? Are tens of thousands of American men ready to make the transition to “Mr. Mom”?

Of course there are exceptions, and true love sometimes conquers all, but let’s be honest with ourselves: Hundreds of years of societal norms have taught us that women aren’t typically attracted to men who are less educated and earn less, and men are intimidated by women who, well, intimidate them. Are American singles ready to make this shift, or are all these highly educated young women really setting themselves up for disappointment? Will young men, for all these reasons, take less initiative than ever in the mating process?

Answer that one, Boundless readers.


About the Author

Thomas Jeffries

Thomas Jeffries is a journalist, editor and recreational basketball player. He was born on the east coast, grew up in the Midwest and now resides with his wife and kids in Colorado. Thomas has written for several magazines, newspapers and websites, but his greatest passion as a writer is long-form narrative nonfiction. His journalistic adventures have taken him from Washington, D.C., to inner-city Chicago to Florida’s death row. In his spare time, Thomas does a lot of mundane things — none of them worth describing in detail.

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