Thursday, June 11, 2009

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. :)


Blogger individually wrapped slices said...

I feel much more positive about actually getting married now, at 28, than I ever did when I was 21. For the most part, nothing has really changed in terms of my dating life (externally) so the change has happened more on the inside. We're taught in the Scriptures to have hope. And it sounds so silly to "hope" for marriage (lest you become one of those BYU women who only go to college to meet your eternal companion ....). So Im grateful for those guys that exist out there as well. HOPEfully they are LDS and like me. That would make things like 3 times easier. Oh! It would be nice if they were really really sexy and had a, you know, job or something.

Okay, they can be kinda okay looking and have the potential to have a job.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Sara said...

Lisa and I often talk about getting married. You wanna join us?

2:48 PM  
Blogger michele said...

Hey Sara, I miss you! I like this post. I guess I really lucked out with a guy who wanted to marry me even though I was the same 27 years as him!

5:23 PM  
Blogger jet said...

Sounds similar to some marketing practices (hemlines rising and such).

Also, I can see how a decision would be harder when more options are available. This is a harsh truth I face whenever eating out and looking at those gorgeous menus... too much to decide! Yum!

Very interesting take!

4:20 PM  
Blogger Tim said...

Interesting Research, and comments.

It would seem that women currently outnumber men in our age group in Atlanta... but I wonder if they do?

Here is a link to the original research paper with some cool graphs and stuff:


2:50 PM  

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