And possibly life it would seem, if you are to believe Bettina Arndt’s latest piece published earlier this year. Miserably titled Why women lose the dating game, the article’s subject is the hotly debated paradox of why there are so many attractive, successful single women in their thirties.
Apparently it’s a buyers’ market in the dating world and, if you’re a single woman in your thirties, you’re not the one doing the bidding. In fact you’re part of a fire sale.
“The crisis for single women in this age group seeking a mate is very real. Almost one in three women aged 30 to 34 and a quarter of late-30s women do not have a partner according to the 2006 census statistics. And this is a growing problem. The number of partnerless women in their 30s has almost doubled since 1986.”
According to Arndt, men are lapping it up. She references the ”manosphere”, a place where you will find men “cheerfully, even triumphantly, blogging” about their newly found status at the top of the dating tree.
Meanwhile women are not only the losers here, but responsible for digging the holes they now find themselves in. Alone and childless with not many options. Apparently.
One key reason many a feather has been ruffled over Arndt’s controversial piece is that her tone implies that the idea of fulfilment can only be found within a man and not one’s self. The premise is demeaning, disempowering and silly.
It is undoubtedly true that if you are a woman for whom children are a priority, it is not only smart but necessary to be aware of one’s biological clock. And if the first time it enters your mind is in your thirties while you’re single, not surprisingly there can be cause for panic.
However as someone who found love later in life, with many single friends in their thirties I can offer this answer to the question Arndt poses:
“Was their decade of dating a strategic mistake?”
In short, no. I don’t know anyone, myself included, who strategically “put off” settling down. So if there are any vibrant, self-aware, twenty something year old women reading, I have some advice for you.
Consider the bigger picture. Be aware of what you want in life both now AND in the future – even if it‘s in a vague form. Make your decisions with this in mind.
Keep an open mind. So what if there are 68,000 unattached graduate men in their 30s for 88,000 single graduate women in the same age group. What about all the men who aren’t ‘graduates’ – there’s nothing to suggest they won’t make amazing life partners.
Invest your time in men who are worthy of you. Don’t waste your time staying too long in a relationship that isn’t working.
Don’t settle. Honestly, if you’re going to be choosy about something, your life partner should be top of the list.
After all, if waiting till you’re in your thirties means you’re smart enough to ‘miss out’ on the misogynist playboys Arndt quotes in her piece, well that can only be a good thing right?