Baldilocks has had an interesting couple of posts of why she's happy to be 44 and single. In a similar sort of vein Just One Bite, some ten years her junior seems to be making her peace wth the fact that she can't find a decent man either. It's interesting to me that neither feels they need a partner in order to survive and both are able to do a cost benefit analysis that indicates that they are better off single even though that isn't what they consider a perfect state to be in.
The interesting thing (interesting to me at least) is that neither feels any requirement to procreate, indeed one would say that on the contrary both can see see quite clearly that in economic terms the risk of becoming entangled (and possibly pregnant) with a husband/father who is not going to make a worthwhile contribution to the resultant family. And it has to be said I can quite understand this. The person left (literally) holding the baby isn't going to be the feckless man who walzes off into the sunset chasing after a younger model babe.
These two bloggers are no by any means alone in this reluctance. In Japan I know (mostly but not entirely second hand via my wife) many women in their thirties who have never got around to getting married. Someow I suspect the same risk reward calculation has occured to them too. Why get married and have to look after some salaryman when you can do better on your own?
All of these women would I suspect agree with a female version of the following statement by Hog on Ice:
For the record, I get along great with women, and I'm alone because I turn unsuitable women down. Anyone can get laid. A monkey can do that. All you have to do is lower your standards and learn to lie. What's hard is finding someone to spend your life with. If I were so insecure I cared more about arm candy than relationships, I'd never be alone.
On the other hand in England, as an article by Theodore Dalrymple linked to Baldilocks shows, the incentive for some women at least is rather different.
A necessary, though not sufficient, condition is the welfare state, which makes it possible, and sometimes advantageous, to behave like this. Just as the IMF is the bank of last resort, encouraging commercial banks to make unwise loans to countries that they know the IMF will bail out, so the state is the parent of last resort—or, more often than not, of first resort. The state, guided by the apparently generous and humane philosophy that no child, whatever its origins, should suffer deprivation, gives assistance to any child, or rather the mother of any child, once it has come into being. In matters of public housing, it is actually advantageous for a mother to put herself at a disadvantage, to be a single mother, without support from the fathers of the children and dependent on the state for income. She is then a priority; she won't pay local taxes, rent, or utility bills.
As for the men, the state absolves them of all responsibility for their children. The state is now father to the child. The biological father is therefore free to use whatever income he has as pocket money, for entertainment and little treats. He is thereby reduced to the status of a child, though a spoiled child with the physical capabilities of a man: petulant, demanding, querulous, self-centered, and violent if he doesn't get his own way. The violence escalates and becomes a habit. A spoiled brat becomes an evil tyrant.
The sad conclusion seems to be that in the modern world the rational female choice is not to have a long term relationship unless the man is perfect. Unfortunately for my sex I'd say that every few (other than me :) ) are perfect. So are we due to see the human race slip into stupidity?