All the Single Ladies: Where have all the men gone?

Yesterday, one of my co-workers said she was doing ‘damage control’ as she voraciously poured over the dating book known as The Rules. She’s one of the MANY beautiful single twenty-something women I work with. And know.

Why does it feel like everywhere we go there are incredible, accomplished, & attractive single women–with no available or eligible men anywhere in sight? It makes me incredibly frustrated and I have probably asked Michael 100 times if we could ‘brainstorm’ and see if he knows any single guys we could set up with my friends as most of them are single. Anytime he mentions a new guy he’s met, I immediately ask “is he single?”

Image from article "Sex is cheap"I read an article yesterday entitled, “Sex is Cheap: Why Young Men Have the Upper Hand, Even When They’re Failing in Life” and while unsettling, I do believe it to represent truth. The article says men’s income is down 20% since 1971. Last year, only 43% of America’s undergraduates were men. Also, more women have jobs than men.

“The market price of sex is cheap,” as women are giving away sex much more freely than we did in the past.  We aren’t in control in anymore. I’m each of you can name a couple who have been dating for 5+ years but the guy just won’t commit. Beyonce’s famous claim, “If you liked it then you should have put a ring on it” doesn’t seem to be the standard for the majority of women anymore. The standards have been drastically lowered, despite the explosion of male joblessness and the rise of deadbeats and players.

“If women were more fully in charge of how their relationships transpired, we’d be seeing, on average, more impressive wooing efforts, longer relationships, fewer premarital sexual partners, shorter cohabitations, and more marrying going on.” The National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health shows none of these things is occurring. Not one. No wonder I see so many beautiful, accomplished women dating losers.

One of the reasons women don’t have the upper hand is because of imbalance of men & women. 57% of women graduating college have to compete with other women at school for the 43% of men. The tables have turned in the workplace, whereas before there were always more men–now that is just not the case.

This post has probably been unsettling for most of my single readers. But I share it to encourage you that while the dating situation is harder than ever before… it is not impossible. It’s not hopeless. And I also share because maybe it will help you navigate your thoughts of “is there something wrong with me?” Because the answer is no. It’s not you, it’s them. (not in every case, but you get the point). I also suggest quoting something sassy from above next time you’re at a family gathering and you are answering the why are you still single question?

In case you might wondered a time or two : you don’t have 3 eyes no one has told you about. You don’t omit a pungent odor that everyone except you can smell. You aren’t pathetic. And you won’t be a cat lady. Hang in there until the right guy comes along. Don’t move in with your boyfriend–or even think about it–because he’s much less likely to commit after he’s getting all the perks of marriage without the hard part of ’til death do us part’ & ‘in sickness and in health’.

Their question: So why are you still single?

Your answer:Because I’m beautiful & accomplished and I’m not willing to giveaway sex to any guy who asks for it. Sure there are deadbeats, players, and boys still living in their parent’s basement on every corner–but I won’t settle for less than what I deserve.”

Say it to the mirror for practice. And flip your hair while you do.

You Also Might Enjoy:

Singleness, Settling, and Waiting for The One

It’s Time for a Breakup 

Dating Mistakes: I Can Change Him 

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Comments
21 Responses to “All the Single Ladies: Where have all the men gone?”
  1. doriszhou says:

    good article . your answer about why we are still single is soooooo true .i am still waiting :)

  2. Love this! So good to be armed with a good answer to the “why are you single?” question as I’m about to enter holiday family-gathering madness :) Love your words!

    • Ruthie D. says:

      So glad it was helpful! I am keeping my eyes open for you:) Yes…family-gathering madness…I used to get, “when are you going to get a real job and find a husband?” when I was a missionary in China. ha!

  3. leannpass says:

    Spot on again, Ruthie. You are encouraging and wise. I am taking this to heart!

  4. danellemcnew says:

    but Ruthie, what if not ever single friend is supposed to be married? I think we could do a lot better job loving our single friends if we’d stop telling them, “just keep waiting. He’s out there”. What if God’s plan for their life will mean being exceedingly more joyful as a single God-fearing woman? We must share truth, and not false hope.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Hi Danelle. I do agree that some women are meant to stay single. HOWEVER, the vast majority of women are blessed with marriage–it’s just a matter of timing. For most women, telling them “God may call you to singleness–because you would serve Him better in singleness” would be crushing. Don’t you think? It might be true, just like any other hardship that people deal with over the course of life. But I think it’s better to focus on the positive–not the ‘worst case scenario’ for most women that there may never be a “Mr. Right”. I believe 100% that we should pray for the desires of our hearts and if God doesn’t give them to us, He changes our desires. Appreciate your comment…and I’m going to write a follow up post on singleness/the call to be single.

  5. John Paulson says:

    Hey, I know a guy in Portland Oregon who just joined the single market. ; )

  6. i just joined your blog and found this one. My aunt (who has 9 grown children, only two are those are happily married after having serious struggles earlier in their married lives) often asked me in a sarcastic way why i wasn’t married. Finally in desperation, and looking at her families record, i said “i rather be single, than wish i was”. Surprisingly, she has never asked again.

    • Ruthie D. says:

      Hi Marianne!

      Thanks so much for joining. I’m honored! Glad you found this post helpful. It is amazing how hard people are on single women. I remember people asking me (when I was single & about to move to Asia) “why would you move to a foreign country? Aren’t you afraid you’ll never get married?” I hated it!

      Thanks for sharing & I hope you continue to find encouragement here.

  7. Hoo Sze Ling says:

    Your post has just confirmed my beliefs.

    There is a serious dearth of high-quality men. Besides, many single women are having the time of their lives, now why would they want to ruin their lives by lugging around some baggage (i.e. low quality man) around?

    Yes, we women shouldn’t settle. The same also goes for men and low quality women.

  8. Bill says:

    Would I be considered a low quality man? I do not make a lot, but I live in my own place (small, but there is only me). I am active in the church. Physically fit, but I have a few pounds around the middle that refuse to take a hint and leave. I drive an old car becuse it is paid for and runs well. I don’t dress stylishly because I am seriously color blind, and all my efforts at doing this have come off as rather comical. I do play video games (my interests do tend to be toward the nerdish). Good looking? People have said so, but I am no GQ model.

    Read this first part and answer honestly-am I a low quality man in your eyes?

    Many women use these criteria and have automatically rejected me.

    Please do not take this as a brag section, because women have seen all these things, but because I was not handsome, rich, charming, or whatever else enough- none were interested.

    Other things to note: I love kids (practically raised my nephew), try to be a gentleman, and believe in the sanctity of marriage. I do not know if I am wise, but I have seen enough apocalyptic romances to know that sex before marriage is a terrible idea (I’m still a virgin). Other things: I am an almost professional level singer (have other interests ouside of video games), very strong, and very intellegent (genus level). In addition, no debt outside of a small mortgage, and try to be wise with my money, but it is very tight. Taught bible studies, witness to people regularly, read the Bible daily, and memorize scripture.

    Women tend to be less than impressed with these things when I ask them out. (I guess these things are merely icing lacking the basic beefcake necessity).

    Many women become frustrated with men because they think “looks are everything”. They have a point, men are extremely attracted to looks. However, an article I read states that the an acceptable minimum in a christian man, based upon lists of what women were looking for in “the One” would have to have the following: Hollywod hearthrob looks, but humble about it. Have a modicum of business savvy (nothing outlandish, seven figures a year will do fine). Sophistcated (fuent in 5 languages to begin, provided each language was learned in the native country where they spent at least 3 years apice while setting up business ventures, and roughing it in the wild), charming (title of Prince preferred), not perfect spritually (just no events involving the following areas; lust, pride, gluttony, greed, sloth, anger). All these plus the qualities of humility, faithfullness, superior spritual maturity form the baseline measures for an acceptalbe christian male. The bottom line of this article was that women were waiting for Jesus to be reincarnated, get some plastic surgery, and a gym membership. Then call in a few years when he had worked on that six pack, and started a successful business.

    I’m afraid that good men are less prevalent than they may have once been, just as women become frustrated with men for their preoccupation with looks, men become frustrated with women’s preoccupation with an imaginary christian Prince Charming. Guys can be genuine deadbeats, but just because he drives a Toyota rather than a BMW, buys off the rack, speaks only 2 languages (English and American- feel free to throw rotten tomatoes at that one it is a groaner), and will never be approached as a male fashion model may make them low quality. However, it does not preclude them being good men. “High quality men” who have the looks, money and charm can also be users, players, and generrally not good (ie Bad Boys- never seem to have any trouble with the ladies). Women who want a man need to humble themselves as much as they want men to (the opposite is certainly true). A man may not fit your definition of a “quality man” financially, looks wise, they may even need a bit more maturing. However, do not dismiss a good man out of hand simply because he is not the male ideal. We may not be the man of your dreams today, but like everyone else on earth God is not finished with us yet. Give good christian men a chance, we may even surprise you.

    • Greg says:

      Since no-one replied to this, I’ll step out on a limb and try. :) I think as men or women, our greatest fear is perhaps that of being judged and potentially rejected on a materialistic level, rather than character and the state of our heart. I know that’s true for me.

      That said, marriage is a serious, lifelong commitment, and we are wise to choose carefully the kind of person that we enter into that covenant with. I believe that is being selective; not picky, when it’s primarily based on biblical values, rather than merely personal preferences.

    • Mavis says:

      I can honestly say that most women I know are not nearly as picky as men are about looks. That said, I’m pretty particular about a man’s character and compatibility. For myself, average looks and an average income are great, even preferred over someone rich and movie-star handsome. However if I’m going to spend my life with someone, I need to he able to talk with him and share common goals and interests. I dated a guy who was a hard-core video gamer; great guy, but we had very few interests in common and it got boring. Not to worry, because there are a lot of girls out there who love videogames (he is now married to one). I’m not saying that you and your spouse need to share a mutual love of gaming. But you get the point. Compatibility is key and if you are a non-conformist (which I believe I am) and think differently than others, it can be difficult to find.

    • Mavis says:

      Also, a man’s love for God is his most attractive quality. Much more important than the other factors we both mentioned.

    • Jackson says:

      Bill, I agree wholeheartedly. There has been a decline of good quality men. But often times, I feel like this article could apply to me just as well. I feel that I’m a quality man, and I’ve been told that by several female friends, but I’m always on the move with the military; deployments, moves, training etc.

      Women- if you want a quality man that is a diamond in the rough, take a look at military men, they are hard working, willing to sacrifice their lives for others and have a steady job.

  9. Mark says:

    well it should certainly be much more like where have all the good women gone nowadays? since there seems to be much more gay women these days.

  10. Brian says:

    The unfortunate thing is when studies on secular men are used interchangeably to describe Catholic/Christian/moral men, since the question being asked here regards where the “good men” have gone. From reading comments and articles,, across the blogosphere, written by men and women alike — as well as my own lived experience as a 34-year old Single Catholic Man (devout, celibate, and having no idea where the single women are found) — I have my thoughts on the issue. Like folks discuss, this comes out of changes in social and economic relationship between men and women over recent decades, but it’s not a one-way street, nor is it something that we blame on one sex.

    Some quick caveats beforehand. First off, keep in mind that men are generally more loners on emotional issues, while women share with each other, In today’s Internet environment, that’s why we find a disproportionate number of articles and blog on these matters done by women, helping to frame the issue of numbers of available Catholic/Christian/moral singles, as well as the topics involved in the dating/marriage questions for them. This has resulted in an informal community led by women on the topic. We men have mostly either responded via disparate comment threads, a growing angry community that I don’t understand and that startles me, or by simply saying nothing because many guys just don’t say anything to anything.

    This difference in male response is partially the usual male-female dynamic and partially our confusion to the new rules. As has been said, the ground rules have changed. Women have risen in wealth and power in society and the workplace — although we’re also informed that dating requires men to treat women in a more traditional role. A generation of men whose concept of gentlemanly/chivalrous behavior has been adapted for a world of female equality in the workplace (as well as, on the down side, the rules and laws of sexual harassment) is like a computer dealing with Captain Kirk all of a sudden and doesn’t know how to respond. Especially with both men and women moving around so much in our current economy (and with so few of us in a subcultural dating pool with no clear visual markers to begin with), there’s not the time to figure out who there is even to ask out, much less whether asking them out is going to rebound poorly (look at how often blog posts discuss such matters — our subculture’s dating has become weird; if I ask her out and she says no, will she tell the other women in the parish not to date me, or will she blog to women worldwide not to date me under a colorful pseudonym? We men don’t know any longer…

    The whole situation is screwy. You have angry guys with weird issues launching in tirades on the Internet making us look bad at one end, players signing on Christian dating sites and lying about themselves to pick up faithful women on the other, and us in the middle wondering where the line between “carrying our cross” and “there goes my dating forever — what’s that monastery’s phone number, again?” is because we simply don’t have any good support mechanism to tell us what we’re supposed to be doing, besides that (A) we’re supposed to be in charge and (B) if we mess this up it basically means that we’re Mister Wrong to All The Women.

    I won’t even get into being in that weird middle ground of a non-traditional but non-liberal (what you even CALL a conservative Novus Ordo Catholic!?!) transplanted from the secular world (they can smell “virgin from a mile away) without any dating experience in one’s thirties… ;)

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