Every few years it seems there is some article that comes out proclaiming that marriage is obsolete, all men are awful, or they only want stupid women. Not surprisingly, these articles are often written by single women.
The latest installment is from Kate Bolick and ran in The Atlantic. The premise is multi-faceted but can be generally pared down to this: Being single is becoming the preferable choice for many women. And while I love the general idea -- not everyone needs to or should marry -- I never understand the need to impugn all those who make different choices.
Not all men are either deadbeats or playboys and not all traditional marriages aren't working.
Bolick says the stigma of the single woman may soon fade and I hope that is true. Because then maybe we won't have to be subject to all the name calling on both sides. If Bolick is right and marriage is changing (open marriages are becoming more common, for instance), then maybe there will be different options.
I like that idea. But none of this means that people won't still want to be coupled. One need not throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Traditional marriage will always have its place on the field of potential lifestyle choices.
But the part I keep coming back to is this notion that "marriageable" men are hard to find. Bolick says: "We're contending with a new 'dating gap,' where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players."
In her mind, women are better off staying single than settling for men who aren't "marriageable." But marriageable sounds unnervingly snobby, like she is disregarding the idea that just because a person might be less educated or wealthy, he isn't husband-worthy. I am all for high standards, but not impossibly so.
If marriage is changing, then fine. But let's not pretend that marriage is changing because one woman in her late 30s living in New York City has gone through a lot of semi-quality men and declared them all "unmarriageable" and herself as "happy" being single. It seems that all the protesting is a bit transparent. Don't settle. That's a horrible idea. But don't generalize, either. It's just another extreme reaction.
Do you think all the good men are gone?
Image via Neeta Lind/Flickr