It’s come to this. Perhaps it’s about time.
We live in singular times.
Technology encourages us to disappear into our own personal worlds.
Meanwhile, relationships seems to get harder and harder.
Why, in a sign of apocalyptic avenues approaching, even Facebook is launching a dating service.
Have you noticed, indeed, that you’ve been invited to fewer weddings lately?
It might be because you’ve been known to misbehave when the good wishes and champagne flow.
It might also be because there are fewer weddings occurring. Marriage rates have dipped 8 points since 1990.
Let’s turn, then, to the large brains at Cornell University to enlighten us as to why.
Their new study, tantalizingly entitled Mismatches In the Marriage Market, tried to examine what might lie behind the trend toward more people living non-married lives.
Could it be, perhaps, that there’s less love around? 88 percent of Americans claim love is a very important reason to get married.
Yet that same Pew Research poll cited another important aspect:
About seven-in-ten adults (71 percent) said it was very important for a man to be able to support a family financially to be a good husband or partner, while just 32 percent said the same for a woman to be a good wife or partner.
And here comes Cornell with its conclusion:
This study reveals large deficits in the supply of potential male spouses.
There really aren’t too many good men around, apparently.
Now when I say good, the study’s lead author Daniel T. Lichter would like to offer his definition of goodness:
Most American women hope to marry but current shortages of marriageable men — men with a stable job and a good income — make this increasingly difficult, especially in the current gig economy of unstable low-paying service jobs.
Yes, too many men are simply economically unattractive.
How sad that it’s come to this.
As inequality increases and technology increasingly takes advantage of cheap labor, love becomes part of a calculation.
Long-term plans can’t be made. Marriage is but a concept from another time and place.
Yet there’s another way in which equality is being achieved. Slowly, women are earning more.
Which leads Lichter to muse:
Marriage is still based on love, but it also is fundamentally an economic transaction. Many young men today have little to bring to the marriage bargain, especially as young women’s educational levels on average now exceed their male suitors.
Please don’t worry, boys. One day soon, technology will find a way to make you all completely disposable.