One of my best friends from high school is a phenomenal, intelligent young woman who goes to a prestigious Ivy League University. She recently switched majors (from Advertising to Business Management) and the other day she said to me that she actually didn’t really like the Business major so much.
So when I asked her why she switched to it, or if she’d consider switching out of it, she admitted that the main reason she switched majors was because in most Advertising majors were women and therefore she was mostly meeting and interacting with other women. However, Business Management is a more male dominated major and therefore she’d meet more men because there’d be more of them in her classes.
She said to me, “Come on, you know high school – there were like 5 boys. So I’m only doing Business so I can meet guys – not just in college but afterwards in the working world, I’ll be able to meet more men.” She didn’t need to say it explicitly, but we both knew that she was thinking about marriage. Or at least being in a steady, monogamous, heterosexual romantic relationship. She then mentioned something about her parents meeting right after college, when they worked at the same company, and how so many people meet their spouses in college or immediately afterwards in the workplace.
I remember reading an article in the New York Times a few years ago about women who went to college for the primary purpose of getting their M.R.S. degrees (read: to snag husbands) but I thought that this was/is just completely absurd! Back in the 1950s, women were incredibly pressured to get husbands at young ages, so getting married right after high school or college was perfectly normal. The dominant message that women got from society then was that their number one priority was to get married and have a family.
So the thought of a bright, intelligent and talented woman, in 2009, going to college to study something that didn’t even interest or engage her too much, expressly to try and meet a significant male other, especially a woman so close to me, was just completely ridiculous. Going to an Ivy League University can get you very far in life. It perplexes, saddens and angers me that my friend is not alone in aspiring for her M.R.S. Degree. After all, with shows like Sex and the City that make being single seem like a horrible nightmare and books like Find a Husband After 35: Using What I Learned from Harvard Business School, women are still pressured to get married…maybe not immediately after high school or college, but still before middle age.
Based on my observations, experiences and the experiences of others in my life, it definitely seems a lot more acceptable for men (young, middle-aged and older men) to be single than for women to be single. Single men tend to get more encouragement to remain single (“You’re a bachelor living the life!”) whereas single women are more likely to be asked directly or indirectly “Why don’t you have a boyfriend?”, “Where are you gonna meet a man?” or “When are you getting married?”
What are other people’s thoughts and comments?