~ archived since 2018 ~

Incentives have consequences

June 24, 2014
It's remarkable that women find it so difficult to understand that feminism combined with an anti-male legal system have rendered marriage increasingly unpalatable to men:
So last night I bated my breath and asked my three eldest sons, all over 21, the following outright: if a girl in her 20s wanted to get married, have kids and give up work, would it put you off dating her?

Tom, as the eldest, probably the one who should be most immediately considering family life, baulked at the very question. He’s been with his Spanish girlfriend, Estephania, for four years, and children aren’t even on their radar.
Olivia's son Will, 27, who is an author, has no immediate plans to get married and have children

Olivia's son Will, 27, who is an author, has no immediate plans to get married and have children

‘I hate that word “marriage”,’ he told me. ‘Marriage belongs to another era. I prefer the word “partnership” because that’s what it should be, a partnership of equals right from the start. Both man and woman should contribute financially to the home, and both should do domestic work.

‘What really annoys me is when the woman has children and somehow thinks it’s all right to skive and stay at home with them.

‘The baby should be sent to a nursery as soon as possible and the woman should get back to work. Aren’t women supposed to have the same aspirations in their careers as men? Then they should prove it and not expect a whole year’s maternity leave. It’s scandalous!’

His brother, Will, an author, had an even more pragmatic view. Yes, he would be put off dating a woman sprinting towards marriage and children.

He’s written a book, The Romantic Economist, about the correlation between love and market forces, which, he says, shows the gulf between the sexes on this issue

‘When you’re 30 and you’re female, your biological clock is ticking loudly and you will settle for less than perfect. That decreases your value in the market place. Unfortunately, there are simply more of you about.

‘But a man of 30 doesn’t even have to think of getting married. He’s still looking for his ideal.’

Will was clearly referring to himself. With no biological clock ticking, he’s taking his time to settle down. And while he is dating again, he declared that a family is not even on his horizon. Thankfully, my middle son, Ben, 26, is more of a romantic. He is setting up a gallery with his partner of a year, Karina, 29. ‘If you love someone, and they want children, even if it turns your life upside down, isn’t it worth it?’ he said.

But Ben is very much the exception. His friends tease him remorselessly for being so in love. ‘He’s not done his maths,’ they tell me. ‘We can’t even look after ourselves, let alone a family. We’ve got student debts to pay off. Some of us are still living with our parents!’
Paging Dr. Helen... The young men are not scared, they are on strike. Trying to browbeat them out of their perfectly rational position is unlikely to be effective. This is the consequence of systemic changes, and the solution must be systemic as well.

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