Saturday, May 16, 2009

The marriage trap: All this current talk about not getting married and having kids reminds me of those old movies with guys like Frank Sinatra who go on constantly about the "marriage trap" and how marriage is the last thing in the world any man would want to do, but they inevitably marry the girl at the end anyway. You know, lots of talk and swagger, but ultimately bullshit.

The General Social Survey categorizes men in terms of marital status. For 2008 data, I looked to see what percent of men 55 and over had never been married (N = 311). A whopping 8.7%. Once we remove the gay guys and those who couldn't get a wife even by mail order, we have 2 or 3 guys left. Even George Clooney has been there.


  1. 55+. That would be the cohort born before 1953. Who would have hit 20 in 1973 or before. Just about the time things were falling apart. Now that's certainly timely data for a young man in the 21st century.

  2. Once we remove the gay guys and those who couldn't get a wife even by mail orderI know how you detect the former in the GSS, but what variables are you using for the latter?

  3. Anonymous7:27 PM

    TGGP -

    I would imagine that the guys who can't even get wives by mail order comment was meant facetiously. It's doubtful if the GSS could identify them.


  4. See Ron, here's your problem.

    There is HUGE shift in women's attitudes starting about fifteen years ago.

    When people talk about marriage and such, they are talking about men in their thirties and twenties (late twenties at that) TODAY.

    The GSS survey data does not take into account CHANGES OVER TIME. That is the critical element.

    Jason is right. Your data is seriously flawed.

    Around the mid 1990's, women started earning, as much if not more, than most men, to not NEED OR WANT the beta provider. That's a huge change. I can see every day the change in attitudes towards men and views on love, marriage, fidelity, and sex.

    Women 45 or older, have far more conservative views. They grew up in the early to mid 1980's, when they became functional adults, and have a view of companionate marriage, desire for mutual faithfulness in marriage, disapproval of infidelity, and desire to be with a guy of similar status/background.

    Now, women in their twenties and thirties, have vastly different views. They want to be with whoever is most exciting, and have made Sex and the City, and it's view that even 50+ women can move from boy toy to boy toy, as gospel. It's a huge change in female fantasies from say, the stuff in the 1950's, like the Cosby Show.

    It IS a Sex and the City generation, with most younger women (under 35 or so) taking on the attitudes towards sex, love, marriage, fidelity, and life of gay men (who mostly wrote Sex and the City).

    Coincidentally I have a blog post up yesterday on this very subject.


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