Not Just a Hunch Anymore
For the last year or so, I've been developing my own reasons and theories as to why I know so many wonderful single women. "Why are my incredible girlfriends still single?" I ask myself. (For now, I'm going to skip the discussion about why I think marriage is a better status.)
One of my ideas involves humans and decision-making. That is, the more options people have, the less decisive they are. (It's true; let psychologist Barry Schwartz tell you all about that.) So if we couple this idea with the fact that there are so many women to choose from, it seems to me that men have a hard time making a marriage decision. Should the plentitude of good women deter them? No! Is it an excuse to play the proverbial field? No!
Interestingly, a recent study has proven otherwise -- at least for the first question. That is, men do defer finding a long-term mate when outnumbered by women. Daniel Kruger, a University of Michigan researcher found that When Young Men are Scarce, They're More Likely to Play the Field than to Propose (Science Daily).
Sure, it's a study from an evolutionary theorist's standpoint, so there's much ado about "spreading one's seed." Still, the numbers are very telling . . . and disheartening. Take, for example, this excerpt from the article:
The ratio of men to women has other aspects, as well. For instance, studies have shown that when women outnumber men, hemlines actually rise, overall, as women do more to physically attract men. Also, the rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock births are higher, and interests in women's rights increases. Surpluses of men tend to be associated with more conservative social norms and restricted roles for women.Another interesting result from Kruger's research is that when men get older, they do tend to want to settle down. You might be thinking, "Oh, good -- yay for women!" But in general, it's "yay for younger women" only. Even when men do marry, they marry much younger women . . . Oy. At least women's rights are alive and well . . . :)
Thing I'm thankful for: guys who defy this apparent norm. I do realize that they're out there. :)