Commenter constrainedlocus observes:
I’m still digesting all of this, but I think one question that I have is what are men really thinking in these commensurate age groups? Even if these 30-45 year old women are in panic mode (I agree that they really are), and even if they believe they have to compete with 18 to 27 year old women, the truth is they really don’t have to.
Why? Because American women age 18 to 27 ARE NOT THE LEAST BIT INTERESTED IN MARRIAGE.
What are they interested in then? College degrees. Starting careers. Online shopping for shoes and handbags with their new credit cards. And acts of fellatio among different men that they perceive as “hot”.
As for the first part of his comment (what are the men thinking?), I suspect part of the issue is perception catching up with a quickly changing reality. Back in 2004 over half of all 25 year old White women had already married. By 2016 less than 35% had done the same. That is a huge shift regarding what is considered normal for a 25 year old woman.
For the rest of the quoted comment the important thing to keep in mind is that all of the degrees, careers, shopping, and acts of fellatio are seen as mere prelude to the triumph of marriage and motherhood. All of that fellatio is (in her mind) something she must do to eventually meet the father of her children. It is seen as part of a decade plus of courtship. When she finally meets him (she rationalizes), he’ll be forever grateful that she was willing to suck so many dicks to find his.
This is why the 30 something ex party girl is under so much pressure to marry in time to start a family. It is required to rationalize over a decade of bad choices. And the worse the choices, the more it is required.
This was the perspective even when the woman was still young. Freewheeling promiscuity wasn’t seen by young women as an end unto itself, it was seen as a path to marriage. We know this because this is what the women were telling the media when they were younger. Back in 2013 the New York Times ran a piece titled Sex on Campus: She Can Play That Game, Too. As you might guess from the title it was a celebration of female promiscuity. But even in a piece on the triumph of the sluts, the slutty coeds framed their embrace of casual sex as part of a path to marriage:
Almost universally, the women said they did not plan to marry until their late 20s or early 30s.
In this context, some women, like A., seized the opportunity to have sex without relationships…
For those who haven’t read the article, it is important to note that “A” is a young woman who only has drunken sex because she wouldn’t want to be around her f*** buddy sober, and that she makes it a point to always do it in his bed so she won’t have to deal with the wetspot. This woman pictured her sluttiness as part of her path to marriage:
“‘I’ve always heard this phrase, ‘Oh, marriage is great, or relationships are great — you get to go on this journey of change together,’ ” she said. “That sounds terrible.
“I don’t want to go through those changes with you. I want you to have changed and become enough of your own person so that when you meet me, we can have a stable life and be very happy.”
This is why she would only agree to be interviewed if they didn’t use her name:
Ten years from now, no one will remember — I will not remember — who I have slept with…
You can see the same thing in the famous Kate Bolick piece All the Single Ladies in the Atlantic back in 2011. Bolick interviewed the young women in Susan Walsh’s “focus group”. After explaining that these young women had a great deal of experience with casual sex, she tells us:
…when I asked if they wanted to get married when they grew up, and if so, at what age, to a one they answered “yes” and “27 or 28.”
She then reinforced this point:
“Take a look at me,” I said. “I’ve never been married, and I have no idea if I ever will be. There’s a good chance that this will be your reality, too. Does that freak you out?”
Again they nodded.
“I don’t think I can bear doing this for that long!” whispered one, with undisguised alarm.
When these women reach their 30s marriage and motherhood are essential in order to frame their previous choices. If they marry in time and have children, in their mind it was just part of a long, wacky adventure on their path to respectable married motherhood. But if they fail to marry and have children, if they wait too long, their wacky adventure, their decade plus of extended courtship, looks instead like a path of sad, slutty failure.
See Also: Someday we’ll laugh!