Laura Nolan: Where have all the men gone?

Where have all the men gone? Instead, we have an overload of man-boys ”“ which leaves a generation of single, thirtysomething women who are their natural mates bewildered. I am one of those women.

I am often told that our problem boils down to bad timing. In our early twenties (the age at which our parents tended to meet and marry), we, arguably the first generation of properly educated and professionally ambitious women, were not ready to settle down and start having babies.

By our late twenties many of us did end up reconnecting with our first loves, or met men of a similar age who were still young enough to want to match and hatch. But for those who didn’t, life is increasingly complicated ”“ and infuriating.

The assumption seems to be that it is our fault that we can’t find “him”. I have lost count of the number of articles by female columnists that I’ve read, urging “career women” like me to get pregnant before it is too late. I want to point out that I work to eat, and that earning a salary funds the social life needed to meet new people.

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, England / UK

23 comments on “Laura Nolan: Where have all the men gone?

  1. The_Archer_of_the_Forest says:

    Granted, I am a white, anglo-irish man, so take my three cents (price adjusted for stagflation) for what its worth. As I see it, however, this “first generation” of upwardly mobile career-minded women are having to pay the piper for the sexual revolution of the 1960s.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not assigning blame to one side or the other (if the polarization of us “man-child”ren v women is worth anything which it probably is not.) I am a late-20’s something male who was recently married, proof that there are mature men out there who want a long term relationship that includes marriage.

    But the simple fact remains that the same revolution that “liberated” women also liberated men. We tend to want to focus primarily (and exclusively) on how that event affected women only. But the fact remains that now, as opposed to the 1950s generation and prior, if men (married or single or some combination thereunto) want sex it is unbelievably easy to attain. Culture has made sex a commodity, and the sexual revolution applied free market economics to said commodity. If supply exceeds demand, the net value of said commodity goes down.

    I know that sounds rather crass, but I do not intend it to. Nor am I advocating that we should go back to “the good ole days” which actually really weren’t unless you were a middle to upper class white man. That is, unfortunately, the reality we now live into on a daily basis.

  2. Br. Michael says:

    Good comment, Archer.

  3. Mithrax+ says:

    As a single male in his thirties, I’ll throw in a few cents some of which can apply to both genders.

    1) Fear of losing independence.

    I’ve found that both genders have it, and I know I’ve broken off relationships because I had no space. There needs to be a respect that people sometimes/often need their own space to do their own things.

    2) Fear of “settling”

    Nobody wants to settle for someone that they can do better than. This really is an underlying fact of modern culture. I’d go so far as to say that people fight falling in love because they’re afraid of falling for the wrong person. Which of course is a bit awkward given that if you fall in love with them (not infatuation or lust, mind) then they are the right people.

    3) Career comes first.

    Goes hand in hand with the independence thing, but it’s a realization that yes, sometimes people enjoy their jobs and work had at it to climb the ladder, or even that it’s a time consuming job that you can’t just drop everything sometimes.

    4) Right people, wrong time.

    There are times when you do meet the right people, but it’s not the right time for a relationship. It happens, and starting a relationship at the wrong time (for either gender) even if it’s with the right person may doom it quickly.

    5) Flexibility

    People just aren’t flexible. Where in some cases they’re willing to bend and accept, more often than not, they claim to be flexible, but they only WISH it were so. See under: communication skills, anger management, listening skills.

    5.5) Acceptance.

    While similar to #5 it doesn’t warrant it’s own number fully 😛 You know what, people aren’t perfect. Accept their flaws, the irritations, the things that aren’t 100% perfect. This too is a big one for most genders, and it’s one that must be known. I’ll give a personal example: I don’t dance. I have two left feet, stiff arms, stiff legs. I’ll dance with someone I care about slowly, but don’t get mad at me if 1) I don’t dance because of the aboves, or 2) I don’t dance well. Bugs me to no end.

    6) Fear of being hurt.

    Both genders here. Don’t kid yourself otherwise.

  4. phil swain says:

    I agree. The feminists maintained that sexually liberated women must have the right to abortion in order to be empowered, only to find out that men were quite happy with that solution. Slowly, led by such real feminists as the late John Paul II, women are beginning to see that the so-called sexual liberation was just another form of enslavement and truly liberating sexuality for women and for men is found in marriage.
    Laura, next time when that guy asks you to go with him to Spain, tell him it would be a great place for a honeymoon.

  5. Highplace says:

    A little side note, while marriages have dropped in number…the birth rate in America for 2007 is the highest it has been since 1950.

  6. Clueless says:

    The sexual revolution is to blame. It is not necessary for men to marry in order to get sex, and any woman who refuses to participate in sex before marriage does not even get to the “boyfriend stage”. This is particularly true of “non-alpha” females, such as African American women, Hispanic women and others. Black and Hispanic men are willing to go out with white girls who don’t “put out” but are not willing to go out with Hispanic girls who wish to be chaste before marriage. This, more than any mythical fixation on “careers” is what is responsible for childless over 30 minority women. We talk a lot, as a society, about minority unwed mothers. Nobody seems to remember that there are probably just as many never wed, childless minority women.

    Shari (mother of two hispanic girls)

  7. KAR says:

    A) If your a Christian woman, that’s because when the guy asks you on a date it helps not to have some ideal that no man can meet and actually for one said “yes” to the not quite perfect guy or the geeky and stop competing with all your girlfriends for the same guy. If you do turn a guy down, it would be nice if you do not share that with your women’s group thus making his second attempt appear to be second choice thus devastating his chances (also your girl friend’s as well).

    B) If your not a Christian woman, you have probably been on 20,000 dates, in bed with 50 men and on your date keep “bring him down to size” or compete with his ego that he’s wondering if you’re a partner or his next business rival. You’re already starting in a competitive place & since us guys tend to be better at business than romance, better keep the relation in the area of our strength. PS — Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for the cost of a few dates, by the time you figure that out, a younger more attractive one continues the cycle.

  8. Pageantmaster Ù† says:

    [blockquote] I don’t know of any woman my age (35) who hasn’t spent several years in love with a boyfriend, only to have to give up on the relationship after realising that children and commitment were not going to happen for ages, if at all.[/blockquote]


    Here is the tragedy of Brigette Jones. I wonder if she unpacks her ishoos on a date as she does in this article – and she does seem to meet an awful lot of psychotic men. I hope she finds Mr Right some day – try church?

  9. Sick & Tired of Nuance says:

    No fault divorce, communal property, alimony, palimony, child support (even for non-biologically related children) without custody, presumption of male guilt in all domestic violence allegations, feminist ideology entrenched in all aspects of the legal system…

    There was a popular song lamenting the plight of modern women that had a chorus asking; “Where is my John Wayne? Where is my prairie son? Where is my happy ending? Where have all the cowboys gone?”
    In answer, let me guide the modern woman to the lyrics in Kanye West’s [i] Gold Digger [/i].

    The misandry of our culture staggers the imagination.

    The wise woman builds her house,
    But the foolish tears it down with her own hands.
    Proverbs 14:1

  10. Creighton+ says:

    I am shocked by there comments from Christians. The pattern is to oversimplify the situation and stereotype and blame women. Yes, patterns are different then in our day. Men and women are getting married later rather than in their late teens or early 20’s. This is not evil. Rather it is a reality of today. To assume that equal rights led to immorality is a long jump. To use such figures of speech (the cow one comes to mind) is an insult and again is not truth for all women. There are chaste women with goals who are longing for a husband who will bless them so that they can bless their family. Yes, they have goals. Yes, they have ambition and education can delay marriage. And yes, men today are immature and some use women for their own gratification. But there are women who are not part of this destructive life. There are men who wish to cherish and love women. But it is getting harder and harder for these two to meet up.

    But blaming women for the sexual revolution and blaming equal rights for women as the cause of this situation just misses the whole point. And the use of movie stereotypes doesn’t help either.

    Time to think before posting and realize it took generations to create the problem and that we all need to regain the moral high ground in coming generations. This from a father who has a gifted Christian daughter going through what this author wrote. What does she see in the comments but Christian Men blaming women for the situation when men are equal to blame.

    I thought the article useful for her to see others are going through similar challenges in life…and then she read the comments. My daughter is a gifted Christian, confident and bold. She has no unrealistic expectations…but the so-called Christian men she has met have demanded subservience not a healthy relationship. It is a sad state of affairs when it is not safe for someone to read these comments from other Christian Men who have such a poor understanding of women that they resort to these insulting/negative comments regarding women in general.

    The article is quite insightful and reveals the challenges our Christian daughters face in this day and age. We raise them to be confident and then we blame them for the problems they face. What’s that saying about damned if you do and damned if you don’t?

    This is a sad state of affairs.

    Fr. Creighton Evans

  11. KevinBabb says:

    I am in my mid-40s, and part of that generation that spent its teens in the horrible 1970s, a time when adults (including our parents) stopped acting like adults, and started acting like children. Part of this phenomenon of “making their own bliss” was divorce, which separated boys from their fathers. As part of justifying their the consequences of their behavior, adults, esp. single mothers, denigrated the role of fathers in raising children. (Not only did the mother need the father “like a fish needed a bicycle”, so, we were told, did the children. ) Parental roles were said to be inter-changeable by gender. Boys were left without the model of men who took responsibilty, asserted leadership, and had a vision for their lives and those around them. In fact, that model was denigrated as an outmoded “John Wayne” style that did not permit men to “get in touch with their feelings”, and subjected those around the men to emotional and physical violence–the inevitable result, it was said , of testosterone. Instead, we saw, on a widespread basis, the emergence of a generation of man-boys who focused on themselves in spades, raised by indulgent mothers who carried a chip on their shoulders against the men who were their former fathers (Bill Clinton, although a half-generation behind this demographic, is the archetypical self-indulgent, self-justifying man-boy who thinks he can get out of any mis-step with a sincere non-apology apology, a well-timed tear on the cheek, and a winsome smile). It is hardly surprising that this type of culture, which disdained the traditional characteristics of men, would result in the emergence of men lacking those characteristics.

    Unfortunately, this eradication of men from the raising of boys is still widespread,which is why so many 30 and 40 year old men have set up housekeeping on their parents’ rec-room sofa, and who recoil from any attempt to impose responsibility (“stop getting in my space”) on them.

  12. Philip Snyder says:

    Creighton (#10)
    I don’t think people are blaming women for the sexual revolution, they are blaming the sexual revolution for fewer marriages and marriages breaking up or not lasting. Whether this is the fault of women or men or feminists or whatever is immaterial.

    I believe that the downfall of marriage is due to several factors, the largest of which is our “I want it all and I want it now” mentality. Men and women today lack the ability to delay gratification in order to reap rewards. This applys to emotional/physical gratification as well as financial gratification. We spend too much and then have to work that much harder to keep up with our debt driven lifestyle. This leads to less time or incentive to find a partner for life. Likewise, we want the quick hookup rather than the emotionally complicated marriage. It is sooooo much easier to have the trapings of a relationship rather than the relationship itself.

    Mankind has always been selfish, but I believe that in the USA today, we’ve taken that selfishness to a whole new level!

    Phil Snyder

  13. KAR says:

    “The article is quite insightful and reveals the challenges our Christian daughters face in this day and age. ”

    [i] Large portion edited by elf. [/i]

  14. John316 says:

    If Ms. Nolan is under 40 then it would seem that her own parents were able to navigate the Sexual Revolution and bring forth offspring.

    As discussed elswhere on this blog, extra-marital sex has been around since marriage began.

    What is relatively new, is marrying for love rather than for money, power, security. Until the Victorians, marriage was often arranged by families, and had more to do with security rather than love.
    Ms. Nolan suffers from freedom to be educated, self-supporting, and find true love, a relatively new approach to unions. Rather than settling for an arranged marriage, or a best possible shot at “marrying up”, she has freedom and ability, and it probably is frustrating, and a little scary sometimes. It seems the men in her life are struggling with those same freedoms and fears too.

    Average age at marriage 1890 Men – 26.1 Women – 22
    Average age at marriage 2003 Men – 27.1 Women – 25.3
    -source U.S. Census

  15. RalphM says:

    I would also advise Ms. Nolan that there are many situations worse than being unmarried. Being married to the wrong person tops the list.

    Another bit of folksy wisdom: If you keep fishing in the same pond, you’ll probably catch the same kind of fish.

  16. Irenaeus says:

    “We, arguably the first generation of properly educated and professionally ambitious women” —Laura Nolan

    Can anyone explain how women who graduated from college during the 1970s and 1980s (who would now be in their 40s and 50s) were not “properly educated and professionally ambitious”? Remember, thse women are from a generation regularly criticized for workaholism.

    What’s the evidence that women of Nolan’s age are better intelligent and more ambitious?

  17. Juandeveras says:

    #5 – The “highest birthrate since 1950” is not a result of anything resembling the 50’s but the result of a lot of pregnant Hispanics.
    #3 – Incredibly accurate depiction of your generation – so self-obsessed

  18. RichardKew says:

    I heard a wise pastor say once that marriage is for men the option for maturity. My observation of Peter Pans in their thirties and forties on both sides of the Atlantic is that very often they are boy-men, they really have gotten beyond the point of wanting to grow up. There are a whole variety of reasons for this, and some of them have been noted in comments that have been made, but what is sometimes called “the lad culture” in the UK is very strong.

    Add to this the bad press that marriage constantly gets, and the ball and chain image that many males believe to be true, and it is not difficult to see why some males run away from it. Besides, if a girl is going to let him into her bed then why bother to tie the knot?

    I got married when I was 22 and I am now 62. There have been chapters in my marriage when I have wished I was single, but looking back over the last forty years and comparing my life to that of my bachelor brother it is no contest — mine has been much richer, although financially I am a lot poorer than him!

  19. Creighton+ says:

    Number 13, we live in a fallen and secular world but by the grace of God we seek to be God’s chosen in it. But this is not to say that the world does not impact us. You are insulting and attacking my daughter who is not sexually active. You are free to believe whatever you believe but you do not know me or her. I have written the elf’s to look at the comments on this thread. No Christian should write what you have written. There is nothing but condemnation in your post and many that have in one way or another said similar things. From a Charlestonian I will observe something about you. Your raising didn’t take.

    Let me be clear, I do not think what you and others have said is something any Christian should say.

    And Phil, with all respect go back and read the responses and see the blame of women in most post.

    Fr. Creighton Evans

  20. DonGander says:

    I have just read through quite a litany of sins. It would seem that God has the best idea for men and women after all. We do have a loving and charitable God.

    I am so glad that I did not imbibe in the foolishness of the 1960s in which I grew up, though I continually find the need to fight off some errant undiagnosed influence after another. I love my wife. I love my children. I love my grandchildren. God has given me wealth beyond my wildest dreams.

    We can analyse, study, and try every solution to the marriage problem that is in existance but if we fail to do the one, single solution that God has planned and that works, the culture will continue on its hopeless course and women will most generally be the victims.

  21. bob carlton says:

    It is rather funny to see men avoid taking responsibility, here.

  22. KAR says:

    [i]Mostly a repeat of what was edited previously. Commenter is warned. [/i]

  23. KAR says:

    Eleves — I am very confused how pointing this is a secular article, written from the vantage point of sexually active people (as in the last text in bold in the heading) merits a waring. However I still think it’s unfair to compare the problems of sexually active people to Christians as was done.