This book came out roughly a year or so ago, and while I recall some note of it in the manosphere I don’t recall anyone writing a blog post on it.
I should admit upfront I haven’t read the entire book (and don’t intend to). I have read most of Chapter 1 since it is available as a free preview, and I’ve looked at the table of contents and several sections of the book using the search this book feature at Amazon. They also have a website for the book which has some more information on it.
This post is part one of a two part series, and part two will address the statistic regarding divorce rates they use as the foundation for the book.
The fundamental premise of the book is that women shouldn’t marry until they are in their 30s and that having a fabulous single life leads to an even better marriage later.
They back this up with impressive sounding statistics and less impressive anecdotes. Two of the women in Chapter 1 who they use as examples of women who married before they knew who they were divorced largely because their husbands remained unemployed. A third example stayed married but they argued she would have been better at handling the stress of infertility had she married and started trying to conceive her 3 children later in life. In fact, they list mistaken concerns about fertility as one of the 10 reasons women wrongly marry in their 20s in chapter 2 (p 30):
“If I marry later, shouldn’t I be worried about infertility?” Not necessarily. How’s that for definitive? Seriously, though, we know hundreds of women personally and professionally who have struggled with infertility. But this is key: Some of the women married at twenty-three, while others married at forty-three. If a woman is going to have fertility problems before her late thirties, it doesn’t matter what age she starts trying to conceive–she will experience infertility.
They reinforce this later on page 31:
While it is true that a woman’s fertility begins to decline at age thirty-five, the risk of infertility doesn’t rise significantly until age forty. Data from the National Center for Health Statistics reveal that women between thirty-five and forty-four years old have a 78 percent chance of conceiving in a year. And don’t believe all the hype in the media about the epidemic of infertility–in fact, the cases of infertility have declined since 1965. Back then, one in nine couples were considered infertile; in 1988, only one in thirteen couples were infertile. Nowadays, in fact, there are plenty of role models of mature motherhood: Nicole Kidman (41), Minnie Driver (38), Gillian Anderson (39), Juliana Margulies (41)…
I’m not an expert on fertility, but I think they are giving young women an unrealistic expectation regarding later life fertility and pregnancy. My wife was 20 when we married but we didn’t decide to try to have children until she was 29. It took us roughly a year for her to conceive, and then of course another 9 months until our daughter was born. By that time my wife was 31. After that my wife wanted to take a few years to get her body back and get our daughter out of diapers, etc before trying for our second child. Our son also took about a year to conceive and my wife was 35 by the time we found out she was pregnant. Because she was 35, they treated this pregnancy differently including visits to a specialist for extra sonograms. They did this because the risk for chromosomal defects increases as a woman gets older, as the chart below using data from Ask.com demonstrates:
I wonder how many readers of their book know that starting at age 35 doctors consider it a geriatric pregnancy? The term doesn’t come up in amazon’s search feature for the book, so I’m guessing they left that part out. Things worked out just fine for us, but if we had it to do over I think we would have started a few years earlier. Also, this assumes that they find Mr. Right and marry him the instant they decide they are ready to marry. I think it makes sense to assume at least 2-3 years to find the right guy, get to know him, get engaged, and get married. So a woman who isn’t ready to marry until she is 30 shouldn’t expect to be married until she is around 32 or 33 at the soonest. If she wants to wait until they aren’t newlyweds to start trying to conceive that would put her around 34 to start the process we started when my wife was 29. If she wants to wait a few years to make sure her marriage is solid before starting she will be in her late thirties when she starts trying to have her first child. Also, cutting things to the last minute on finding a husband carries its own risks.
As you might imagine this book is telling young women exactly what they want to hear. I can’t confirm the rumors of a planned follow on book where they advise young men to not waste their 20s establishing their career and instead have a fabulous single life playing video games and doing bong hits in their parent’s basement while working part time at the car wash. Here is the most popular review of the book at amazon:
This book is in competition with my laptop for “Most Important Possessions.” I’m no longer waiting around wondering if each guy is “Mr. Right.” I’m living- and Loving- my own life. This has been a revolutionary concept change. I love the exercises and questionnaires, and it addresses everything from wardrobe to finances to sex!! I especially liked the chapter about tapping into your adventurous side. This book helped me realize my own beliefs and feelings about things and realize that I’m not just waiting to get somewhere-I am Here…and I can grab the bull by the horns. Now when “Mr. Right” does come he’ll accent and enhance my life- he won’t BE my life. The authors have a witty yet insightful approach to some very real issues. I couldn’t put the book down. I bought one for my sister and my roommate (’cause I’m not sharing mine!!) -Jenn
Sorry gentlemen, she’s not on the market right now for anything serious. Uncommitted sex is ok, but don’t waste your time with her if you want commitment. However sometime down the road she will be more than happy to make you an accessory to her fabulous life.
Fertility and the attraction changes which accompany carousel riding aside, this really brings up the question of what they think Mr. Right will do while waiting to become an accessory in her fabulous life. Why won’t he marry one of her peers in the meantime who is more serious about marriage? Or if he waits, why will he want to marry her in her 30s when he can marry a woman in her 20s? This is of course assuming he doesn’t drop out or become a player, both of which are also likely outcomes. I don’t think they really address this, and this is what I think will be the biggest obstacle for the women the book takes in.
Put another way, they have written a recipe for how a woman should live in her 20s. Is this a recipe for a fabulous married life, or a recipe for disaster? If this were one of those cooking shows on TV they would have a version ready baked to pull out immediately after they put it in the oven.
As it turns out we are in luck. Even though the book is recent a large number of young women have been following their advice for the last decade. Why not see how it has worked for them? Lets start with the fine ladies at Date me, D.C.! and their post Precipice of Spinsterhood (H/T Frost):
You see, Megs and I — as well as a plethora of our other fabulous female friends — find ourselves in a precarious and perplexing position: We’re cute. We’re smart. We’re articulate, well-traveled (her more so than me), energetic, fun and down to explore. And yet, at 29 and 28, respectively, we are still single — standing on 30′s lonely doorstep — with ZERO reasonable prospects.
In the past, we would have resorted to self-flagellation — “What is wrong with me?” we may have asked through tears and a bottle of pinot. “Why aren’t there any guys who want to stick around?”
I don’t get it, they sound like they followed the advice in the book to a T. Why aren’t men with engagement rings beating a path to their well-traveled doors? A bit further down she elaborates:
It is NOT us. It’s you people — you men and your wayward penises. Megs and I have spent enough time with you all to come to the depressingly stark conclusion that at our ages, there are simply no acceptable men to date.
It’s a strange phenomenon that slowly builds as you enter your late 20s/early 30s as a woman. We are watching the window of opportunity inch toward closed because from our vantage point, there is literally something entirely undateable about every single man we meet.
Echoing Solomon II’s post The Marriage Zone(crass site warning), she offers this handy chart:
But it isn’t just the fine ladies in DC and Solomon II who have made this observation. The blogger at Diary of Why makes the same observation on her post Why I’m not getting any less single here:
Here is my theory: I missed the window. I missed that crucial 24-27 window when everyone finds the person they want to eventually settle down with. Coincidentally enough, I too found myself in my most important and most enduring relationship so far between what ages? 24 to 27, of course, almost to the day. And didn’t I think I was sitting pretty, then, imagining our future together. And then of course, it all fell apart. Oh shit, I said, and I watched that window closing right before my eyes.
A little further down she adds:
Do I even have to mention that my window theory only applies to women? Think about it. If an even remotely attractive and intelligent guy for some reason finds himself single again at 29, just watch how fast he’s snatched up. So why is it that what for him is an asset becomes a liability for a woman of the same age? Because it’s the law of supply and demand, people, and an unattached 29-year-old guy is a hot commodity. Meanwhile the market is saturated with women just like me. Intelligent, reasonably attractive women in their late twenties and thirties are a dime a dozen.
On the bright side I don’t think this book is telling young women to do anything they hadn’t already decided to do. Still, feeding hamsters is kind of cruel. Reading some of the reviews and skimming the book it doesn’t sound like all of their advice is bad. They pay lip service to stopping hooking up, and the basic advice that women shouldn’t marry until they are mature enough to make a commitment they are willing to keep is solid. Where they go terribly wrong in my opinion is giving young women the impression that they don’t have to grow up until they are 30, and that a line of men will be waiting to marry them when they do.