When Guys Get to Pick and Choose

When Guys Get to Pick and Choose

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"When men have the social power, they create a man's ideal of relationships."  —University of Georgia professor

Imagine a world where women outnumber men, where women are more educated than ever, enjoy more opportunity than ever, and are — in many cases — lonelier than ever.

You don't need a vivid imagination if you're a college student today. This is not some far-off dream world — it's could be your campus.

According to The New York Times article "The New Math on Campus," the average American college is now nearly 60 percent female. That's great news for female empowerment in academia and the workplace, but it's not so great for young women hoping to meet a potential husband.

Little surprise, when male students are the minority, they get to pick and choose from among the available female population. And the girls, well, let's just say that some of them have adopted a more proactive approach:

'I was talking to a friend at a bar, and this girl just came up out of nowhere, grabbed him by the wrist, spun him around and took him out to the dance floor and started grinding,' said Kelly Lynch, a junior at North Carolina, recalling a recent experience.

Students interviewed here said they believed their mating rituals reflected those of college students anywhere. But many of them — men and women alike — said that the lopsided population tends to skew behavior.

'A lot of my friends will meet someone and go home for the night and just hope for the best the next morning,' Ms. Lynch said. 'They'll text them and say: "I had a great time. Want to hang out next week?" And they don't respond.'

Even worse, 'Girls feel pressured to do more than they're comfortable with, to lock it down,' Ms. Lynch said.

I wrote about the implications of this trend at length over at "Where the Boys Aren't," but I also want to know what readers think. The Times says this male/female disparity has actually existed on many campuses for years, so I'd be interested to know if many of you have encountered this shift in more tangible ways, and, if so, how did you deal with it?

Remember, too, that this trend extends far beyond simple college mating rituals. It also represents a fundamental shift in American culture. There's nothing to indicate that the actual number of young males has decreased, yet the percentage who pursue higher education definitely has. Whereas young men were once expected to go off to college in hopes of becoming breadwinners and leaders (i.e. "a catch"), many now seem content to just get by.

From "Where the Boys Aren't": "So, what are the options for today's coeds? Do they reconsider their must-haves, re-evaluate their standards, lower their expectations? Do they start dating guys who've dropped out or who've never been to college? Are they willing to consider husbands who are less educated and thus less likely to earn as much or provide as well as they can provide for themselves? To complicate matters further, are most guys willing to buck tradition and pursue a woman who both outearns him and outranks him in the workplace?"

Sure, some guys will accept the fact that they've been leapfrogged in the workplace by the women around them, but can they overcome the disparities in education and status when it comes to dating and marriage? In other words, is the male auto mechanic going to pursue the female brain surgeon? (No offense to either profession.) And is the female surgeon ready to settle down with a mechanic? And if they do get married, what happens when they decide to have children? Are tens of thousands of American men ready to make the transition to "Mr. Mom"?

Of course there are exceptions, and true love sometimes conquers all, but let's be honest with ourselves: Hundreds of years of societal norms have taught us that women aren't typically attracted to men who are less educated and earn less, and men are intimidated by women who, well, intimidate them. Are American singles ready to make this shift, or are all these highly educated young women really setting themselves up for disappointment? Will young men, for all these reasons, take less initiative than ever in the mating process?

Answer that one, Boundless readers.

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  • Comment by  Shawn:

    I ran into this problem frequently and never even realized it. I couldn't figure out why the majority of friends I made in college were girls, until I could look back on it and realize that the majority of people in all my classes were girls.

    Can't say I ever had girls pursuing me, but then again, i've always been rather oblivious to girls that have tried until it was too late.

  • Comment by  Lia:

    I went to a women's college, and frankly, if my classmates were able to find suitable spouses in that environment, I'm unconvinced that this is some sort of awful, awful trend.

    Do you know what you do when you're lonely and don't have a boyfriend? You make friends with the women around you.

  • Comment by  LMC:

    Just a thought, but one option for bright high school girls is the Service Academies (West Point, Naval, Air Force, Coast Guard and Merchant Marine Academies).  My sister shunned a big, prestigious southern university with its 60:40 girl:guy ratio in favor of an Academy with a 30:70 girl:guy ratio!  That wasn't the only reason she went there, but it actually was a contributing factor...  An excellent (free!) education, jump started career, and terrific, brilliant, athletic, patriotic men as classmates!

  • Comment by  Chris:

    The comment about the girls fighting over the 10 per cent reminded me of a scene from "A Beautiful Mind." Nash realizes that if all the guys go for the most desirable girl, they'll "block" each other, and no one will succeed. If they would just look to other girls, they'd all have much better chances at success.

    I highly doubt all the men who represent the 40% of the campus population are at the bars on a Friday night. One has much better chances of catching trout in a cold water stream than the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Comment by  Kelly1:

    Hundreds of years of societal norms have taught us that women aren't typically attracted to men who are less educated and earn less, and men are intimidated by women who, well, intimidate them.

    This is pretty much why I've accepted being single for life.

    Should I chuck in my career and be a secretary?  (That said, I'm currently on a career-break and exploring Canada!)

  • Comment by  Puzzled:

    As a guy, I think this is great news.  Sure, it's bad for women, but they have put themselves in this position.  They thought they could get away with having career and family, playing their part in the feminist ideal of the crusading woman-warrior.  They desired to dominate men, and they are bearing the consequences for that in their loneliness.  They are treated as mere objects by the men they wanted to overpower.  Poetic justice.  

    How does this affect Christian women?  I think Christian women are already in a bad position considering the dearth of available, strong men in the church, and the educational gap only deepens the disparity.  

  • Comment by  Laura:

    This is a discouraging truth. How do we remedy this situation? I don't know.

    I am a graduate student at a secular campus, and the amount of available godly men are limited here.  I have reevaluated before, and considered that it isn't education alone, or job placement that makes a man a good husband.  Personally I would consider marrying a guy with less education than myself, provided he had a bachelor's degree.  (I know that's not much of a difference, but it's the truth).  

    What matters most from my perspective is that he is actively growing in his walk with God, and can lead, provide for, and protect his family.  These matter more than higher education, but higher education can be a door towards the development of these qualities.

  • Comment by  Samantha:

    Puzzled (6), as a mature and confident woman who respects my God-given role, I completely agree with you.

    Going against God's plan always leads to bad things so I'm doing my best to be who God wants me to be. I believe women were put here to be helpers to men. I can't think of the specific bible verse, but there is something about how women were created for men, not the other way around.

  • Comment by  Keith:

    Actually, there are many mechanics who earn more than brain surgeons.  With a huge shortage of mechanics, and huge liability insurance costs for doctors, many actually are bringing home more money.

    Maybe men are quiting college because they want to make more money.  College no longer provides the opportunities it once did.  While many girls graduate with B.A.s in almost anything and everything which are rather useless in today's job market, many men learn technical skills that are actually very well paying.  I know roofers who make more than lawyers, gardeners who make more than administrators - Unfortunately, America is locked in this mindset that college is the only way to make a fortune, and ignore the fact that many men have left college because they are smart enough to realize there are better opportunities elsewhere.  

  • Comment by  obewan:

    It really depends a lot on the school.

    When I was at a well known Christian college whose main major is engineering, the male:female ratio was 14:1.  I did not even try to date and just focused on my studies which were probably a good thing anyway.

    They have since added a lot of new majors like nursing, and built a new women’s dorm and the ratio is now 4:1 male to female.

    Just seek out an engineering school if you want more men.

  • Comment by  AmirLarijani:

    Where I went to school--Embry-Riddle Aeronautical Univ (1985-1990)--it was the other way around. The boy/girl ratio was 5:1 and it was double that in my major (engineering).

    Yes, the girls got to "pick and choose". And yes, there were some guys who got their feelings hurt over the dynamic.

    As for me? I was more concerned about my studies...so I didn't sweat it over not having many women in my venue.

  • Comment by  scott:

    I read "Where Guys Aren't" earlier today and got a chuckle out of it. Although the average college campus has a greater percentage of girls, the college I go to does not. In fact, there are 3 times as many guys as girls campus wide. I thought it was still an interesting article to read. It doesn't take long to realize that a large discrepency in the ratio slants the playing field as was noted in the article. The girls here definitely have the power to call the shots.

  • Comment by  Ashley:

    Wait, are we talking about the launch of MarryWell.Org?

    ;)

    I certainly don't have to imagine very hard. I think the other thing that's untouched on here, though, is life after college. I'm open to dating men that are less "accomplished" than I am, however, I'm NOT open to dating men that are called to the foreign mission field - not sharing that calling myself. It seems that many of the non-college educated men, or the Bachelors of Arts educated men that love Jesus in my community feel that they have a "calling" -- to Africa, to Europe, to Mexico, to Israel, to Anywhere-but-here. I would never, EVER want to interfere with God's call on someone else's life, and so they don't represent viable romantic options for me. Folks that are educated in hard sciences or engineering, for whatever reason, seem more open to stability and domestic missions - which is what I'm passionate about. Unfortunately, these are also, frequently, the higher educated "10%".

    I'm a little puzzled by puzzled's  (#6) comment: "Sure, it's bad for women, but they have put themselves in this position."

    We have? I'm not going to lie, I think that the feminist agenda has been completely destructive to societal roles and to the modern family. I won't deny that at all - but I think that placing the blame-ball for the emasculization of men in ladies laps... is... well, emasculating? I think that balance could be restored if men, refusing to be pushed aside, stopped rolling over and letting women lead because it's easier than leading themselves. I can't tell you when the last time was that I actually heard a man stand up and say, "Yeah. Ok. I'll take charge of that." but each time I do, I want to stand up and cheer. I can't even express to you how utterly hopeless and impossible it is to follow someone who refuses to lead. Nothing like the endless, "I dunno, whadda you wanna do?" loop.

    I'm also a little confused by your bold statement that somehow all women *deserve* to be lonely shrews because of a vocal few. As relational creatures, I guess... No one deserves to be lonely until they've individually chosen to isolate themselves.

  • Comment by  AmandaBaker:

    I went to a large Christian college where the motto "ring by spring" was taken seriously by a lot of students.However, our late chancellor made the guy:girl ratio humorous when he made this statement my freshman year: "We've accepted 5,000 guys and 5,000 girls here this year ... There's not much else I can do for you."

  • Comment by  Bernie:

    Where this really happens is when Christian women start settling for spiritual mismatches. I've heard so many girls say that they'd rather be in a bad relationship than be single the rest of their life... and that deeply saddens me.

    What I really liked about the article, was that it didn't put the blame on men OR women, but stated that both are suffering as a result. Good men suffer from "friend zone" and wonder if a good Christian woman will ever want to be more than just friends (don't worry, one will, and one is all you need). But what's even worse to me is how many women are prostituting themselves for ANY kind of attention, rather than holding out for God to write their love story.

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