It’s easy to end up with a very long list of values and attributes we look for in ‘Mr Right’ – if I’m honest I wouldn’t date half of my exes if I met them now. Which probably explains why I’m currently single.
So a new book which argues that if you are a single woman over 30 who wants to have kids you should stop waiting for the perfect man and marry the first half-decent one who likes you has really made me think.
The book is based on the author’s own experience and research conducted among 30-year-olds. Underlying the entire premise is her conviction that they all long for conventional family life.
There are so reasons why I can decide that a date isn’t suitable: their occupation; their height; their aversion to cats; their shoes…. By the time I finally met someone who ticks most of the boxes, it is highly likely that I’ll be well past child-bearing age. Though having seen friends reduced to exhausted shells of their former selves as a result of motherhood I’m not wholly convinced that I want children anytime soon (see my post on freezing eggs!).
I suspect sales of ‘Marry Him: The Case For Settling For Mr Good Enough’ by Lori Gottlieb, published here next week, are going to be very healthy as it hits upon a dilemma that many 30-something women face – do we bite the bullet and settle for someone ‘ok’ or hold out for ‘Mr Wonderful’ who makes us weak at the knees, when a) we may never meet such a man or b) we meet him when we’re 50, suffering hot flushes and starting to invest in support underwear.
Bella DePaulo, author of ‘The Living Single’ blog on the internet, has called Gottlieb’s ‘husband-fixation’ ‘tragic’ and considers comments the author made to be ‘nakedly and proudly regressive’. Ok, some women truly are happy being single and child-less – I can find many recently-published paperbacks by thirty-something women on the joys of singlehood in the bookshop. But in my opinion most women do dream of finding someone to share the rest of their life with, and I think our quest for perfection and increasingly high standards in so many aspects of life poses a real threat to some of us ever settling down. Now, onto Amazon for my copy…
The media seems fascinated by mathematical formulas dreamt up by PR agencies and scientists to apparently explain such mysteries as happiness and how old you are likely to live for. The latest, from maths genius Peter Backus, shows that there is a one in 285,000 chance of you meeting your perfect partner. Not exactly high!
Backus found that out of the 30 million women in the UK, only 26 would be suitable girlfriends for him, taking into account the number of single women aged 24 to 34 living in London and the percentage of women likely to find him attractive. Though how he worked out the latter is anyone’s guess.
The news isn’t exactly positive for singletons but may reassure them that finding someone suitable is a numbers game. I’m not sure I believe any of it, there are far too many couples around for this to have any truth! But you do often have to kiss a lot of frogs before you meet ‘The One’…..
The advertising watchdog has found the eHarmony TV advert to be misleading. I always wondered how the dating website can substantiate its claim in the ad that 2% of the 4 million Americans who get married every year – that’s a highly unlikely 80,000 people – met on eHarmony.com. It turns out that they are unable to.
Following complaints from viewers, the Advertising Standards Authority investigated and ruled the advert as misleading because it claimed a “definitive figure” of marriages based on a 2007 online survey of 7,000 people (errrm, so they used the responses of just 7,000 to make a claim that 80,000 people met on their site, highly scientific – not!)
As a result of other complaints from the public the ASA also said that the ad failed to make clear that in 20% of all cases eHarmony is unable to find a match for those who have taken the time to register on the site.
Out of curiosity, and obviously rather bored one evening, I decided to register on eHarmony.co.uk to see how it is different from all the millions of other dating websites out there, and why it claims, rather bizarrely, to be a “relationship site” rather than a dating site – I mean, talk about meaningless marketing rubbish! That American voice-over is high on my list of the most irritating things ever.
I soon regretted it. The process of going through all the personality profiling questions takes well over an hour. At the end I was told I had just one match. ONE, in the whole of London, which apparently has around 4 million singletons. eHarmony.co.uk is clearly struggling to convince people to finish the registration. My match was a rather unattractive lanky kitchen assistant around five years younger than me. If that’s the best they can do, hopefully the irritating advert will disappear from our TV screens forever!
The LoveGeist Report 2009, which looks at dating and attitudes to love and romance in the UK, found that 52% of people questioned (around 11,000 men and women) said that they had become fussier in what they look for in a partner. Are people’s expectations becoming unrealistic or are we just growing less and less likely to settle for second-best? If this trend continues half the country’s population may be single in twenty years!
We are fast becoming a nation of singles. According to demographic studies, there will be 16 million singles in the UK by 2010, compared with 14 million in 2007. And we have a housing shortage in London now! Property is set to keep growing in value, despite the current economic meltdown, as the number of people living by themselves soars.
But study after study shows that being in a long-term, happy relationship is beneficial in so many ways – it increases your life expectancy, reduces the chance of heart disease, stress, depression and numerous other health problems. The government should be doing more to promote marriage and the family. It would benefit society and the economy hugely, as well as make housing more affordable!
I watched the first episode of the new Living TV series ‘Dating in the Dark’ tonight. Six singles – three men and three women – each goes on a date with each of the opposite sex. In the dark. Not surprisingly, lots of physical contact ensues, as each tries to figure out whether they are likely to be attracted to their date.
Having split into three couples after the dates, based on who clicked with who and compatibility scores, each person then sees what the other person looks like. The moment the spotlight shines on one whilst the other either grimaces or beams with happiness, whilst in total blackness and therefore unseen, is quite entertaining. Each then has to decide whether to see their date again in the harsh light of day.
One girl really hits it off with one of the guys when they get to know each other based purely on personality but as soon as she sees he has ginger hair she goes off him completely and decides not to meet again, leaving the poor guy having to put on a brave face once he realises he has been stood-up. Painful.
She admits herself that her focus on physical appearance is perhaps why she keeps choosing men who are not right for her and finds herself single at the age of 31.
How many of us would have gone for our partner based on looks if we had not got to know what they are like as a person first? Perhaps dating in the dark is a good way of learning not to judge potential partners on physical appearance so much. Will it be the next dating trend? There is a restaurant near Farringdon where you eat in the dark (the waiters are partially or totally blind). It could be an interesting experience for those brave enough to arrange a first date there….