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When I ask Birger how he began exploring the “man deficit” when he’s been out of the dating world for decades, he says his female colleagues and friends were his motivators.When a work friend in her late thirties mentioned that she and her boyfriend, a man in his mid-forties, broke up because he wasn’t ready to settle down, her visible sadness left Birger feeling frustrated enough to investigate what he had long pondered: Why were his amazing female friends and colleagues single after years of dating and seeking marriage?Birger points to a relatively overlooked book, Too Many Women?: The Sex Ratio Question, which was written by professors Marcia Guttentag and Paul Secord, and published in 1983.This conclusion that people should lay off of feminism as the culprit for hook-up culture is not the focus of Date-Onomics, but a rewarding one for anyone tired of hand-wringing about whether feminism “hurts” women.Birger focuses on the admittedly (by his own account) limited college-educated set and adroitly outlines that the disparity has been building for decades, but without us ever fully recognizing its influence.
For example, even in 2015, women are still often expected to “play hard to get” and “let men take the lead.” Women who don’t demurely wait to be fawned over are often branded as “desperate” or “pathetic.”Birger counters these women are not, in fact, desperate.
These men have the problem—or, really, the luxury—of the “paradox of choice.” It’s harder to commit to just one lady because they believe another woman will always be a little better.“If they had a girlfriend they liked, but someone else came along who was a little smarter or prettier, a little more this or that, it was easier for them to call it quits because they had other options,” Birger explains.
But despite these stark numbers and sobering (yet familiar) stories, the joy of reading Date-Onomics comes, in part, from the fact there is something so satisfying in knowing you’re a bit fucked, but it’s not your fault.
His data provides concrete, liberating evidence that we should stop over-analyzing the nonsense minutiae of modern dating.“There are all these dating books that say how quickly you call or text is really going to determine whether you end up with Mr. If you just think about it intellectually, it's stupid,” he tells me (to my glee).“The idea that waiting an extra 12 hours makes the difference between being with Mr.
Right forever and not, I mean it just doesn’t make sense, right?