The bride’s bouquet is flying overhead and Kate Bolick doesn’t so much as blink. That’s the striking photo accompanying The Atlantic’s must-read November cover story “All The Single Ladies.”
In it, Bolick writes: “Today I am 39, with too many ex-boyfriends to count and, I am told, two grim-seeming options to face down: either stay single or settle for a ‘good enough’ mate.”
She reflects on the motherhood that may be eluding her:
“Of course, between the diminishing external pressure to have children and the common misperception that our biology is ours to control, some of us don’t deal with the matter in a timely fashion. Like me, for instance. Do I want children? My answer is: I don’t know. But somewhere along the way, I decided to not let my biology dictate my romantic life. If I find someone I really like being with, and if he and I decide we want a child together, and it’s too late for me to conceive naturally, I’ll consider whatever technological aid is currently available, or adopt (and if he’s not open to adoption, he’s not the kind of man I want to be with).
Do I realize that this further narrows my pool of prospects? Yes. Just as I am fully aware that with each passing year, I become less attractive to the men in my peer group, who have plenty of younger, more fertile women to pick from. But what can I possibly do about that? Sure, my stance here could be read as a feint, or even self-deception. By blithely deeming biology a nonissue, I’m conveniently removing myself from arguably the most significant decision a woman has to make. But that’s only if you regard motherhood as the defining feature of womanhood—and I happen not to.”
Bolick goes on to explore the economic forces affecting the singles market and the growing number of laid-off men, writing that “our shrinking pool of traditionally ‘marriageable’ men is dramatically changing our social landscape, and producing startling dynamics in the marriage market, in ways that aren’t immediately apparent.”
So far, the Atlantic article has elicited 904 online comments, among them:
“On the other hand, some of us women making good livings couldn’t care less, but find that the men they date have had it beaten into them that they shouldn’t be with women more successful than themselves…”
“Just as some women who date down might feel threatened (they may, among other things, fear hearing “Can’t you do better?”), so do some men who date up.”
“Seems like the impulse to judge a mate in financial terms has been revealed for its shortcomings.”
It’s a question we’ve explored on CatholicMatch. In August Jessica Zimanske cited a study claiming that 75 percent of polled women would not marry a jobless boyfriend. Fourteen members offered insightful comments. Here’s a sample:
“No, I would not marry someone who is unemployed nor would I think of marrying if I was unemployed. Marriage has many stressors already and many break-up due to financial strain so, I would not start my marriage off with this sort of strain.” -Mary-487190
“I would like to think that I would be open minded enough to give that person the benefit of the doubt. As long as I had known this person for a while and knew that they weren’t taking advantage of me and were prepared to do anything they could to keep themselves occupied that would be fine with me.” -Noreen-104377
“How successful a man is and how attractive a woman is are only a very small part of the picture. As they say, amor vincit omnia. Love conquers all. Society, in my opinion, has got its priorities wrong.” -Benjamin-148488
What do you think?