Friday, April 18, 2008

Unmet Needs: The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox

It's good to be the king. It's even better to be a single guy in Manhattan. To be so is to be a hot commodity in a sellers market. The socal vacum created by our rarity is a constant source of discussion by everyone from pop pundits to behavioral economists.

Life is good, right? well, sort of.

The married guys I fraternize with look on with admiration and awe as women press thir numbers into my palm, and confused hostility because I almost never ever call them.

A guy finds himself single in his 30s because, on the novelty/certainty axis, he likes the slider all the way to the left. We value the "chutes and ladders" nature of life, the thrill, the hunt, the dance.

The paradox for men like me is that the end result is boredom. There is such a surplus of reletively interesting, beautful and eager women that they've become commoditized and dating has become an overly available, tedious and pedestrian. It's a lot harder to get my married firends to break off some time for me (3 guys I know had babies in the past 5 days) than it is to find a date or a little "sumpin sumpin"..

The end resut is more unmet needs all around. The end result for me is boredom and apathywhich makes me less receptive to single women, which decreasing their chances of meeting their unmet needs.

M, Q, I had a great time with you guys last night.

From Slate: The Eligible-Bachelor Paradox.

Here is an excerpt:

The problem of the eligible bachelor is one of the great riddles of social life. Shouldn't there be about as many highly eligible and appealing men as there are attractive, eligible women?

Actually, no—and here's why. Consider the classic version of the marriage proposal: A woman makes it known that she is open to a proposal, the man proposes, and the woman chooses to say yes or no. The structure of the proposal is not, "I choose you." It is, "Will you choose me?" A woman chooses to receive the question and chooses again once the question is asked.
The idea of the woman choosing expressed in the proposal is a resilient one. The woman picking among suitors is a rarely reversed archetype of romantic love that you'll find everywhere from Jane Austen to Desperate Housewives. Or take any comic wedding scene: Invariably, it'll have the man standing dazed at the altar, wondering just how it is he got there.
Obviously, this is simplified—in contemporary life, both sides get plenty of chances to be selective. But as a rough-and-ready model, it's not bad, and it contains a solution to the Eligible-Bachelor Paradox.

1 comment:

kathleen said...

"Certainty" (as in "novelty/certainty axis") is an interesting term to apply to an arrangement that has a 40-50% risk of failure. Even if it doesn't outright fail, there are plenty of uncertainties (which are too depressing to bother with here).

Maybe novelty/boredom axis, but then you have to accept that you'll be bored regardless of your choice.

All animals have unmet needs apparently. Most "monogamous" creatures will have multiple partners if conditions are right. Seems that survival of the species requires a balance between gentlemen and rogues, whores and madonnas.