Monday, July 26, 2010

Fabulous Girls Part II: Shrinking Pools

Intro to this series here.

Part I here.

Today I start listing reasons that single Jewish women have a harder time finding partners than their male counterparts. Disclaimer: If you are single and looking for a partner, please do not take what I write here to be about you, personally. These blog posts are about trends as observed by those who deal with hundreds, or thousands, of singles. If you are a man, these posts are not meant to "blame" you, individually, or to imply that there is something wrong with you. If you are a woman, these posts are not meant to suggest that you are a "victim." In addition to the trends outlined here, each person has his or her own "issues," and there is no way I can account for the life struggles of each person out there.

Disclaimer #2: These factors are not presented in order of statistical significance, but rather in an order that makes for manageable blog-post lengths.

There are more women than men. Most of the experts I interviewed declined to give precise statistics about how many single Jewish men there are in each age bracket than women – I have the feeling no one has drawn up those numbers. But according to Dr. Salamon, "there are more women born; that is always the case. All over the world, 51-52 percent of births are female." I'm stating this at the outset to sort of get it out of the way; the slightly higher number of women doesn't begin to account for "the crisis."

There are more straight women than straight men. According to Dr. Cohen, "homosexuality is somewhat more frequent among men than among women." He didn’t give me statistics and I didn't ask for them. My impression was that, again, the differences make a slight impact but not enough to account for "the crisis" by themselves. Unfortunately I didn't ask how he knows this, nor did I follow up with questions such as whether it's possible that women are simply less likely to be "out." In any case, this isn't something that we can really "do" anything about, so I'd like to move on to issues of greater social concern.

There are more commitment-ready women than men. This is a widespread problem brought up my many of my interviewees. Men who, by nature or nurture, are keen to enter a long-term relationship are most likely to get married young (outside the ultra-Orthodox world, this means, for men, in their 20's). This is not necessarily the case for women. A woman who is ready to get married might spend many, many years searching for a husband without success, whereas, in Dr. Fishman's words, "when a guy who is not resistant to commitments meets a girl he likes, he marries her." Therefore, as a woman ages and she is starting to panic, the percentage of men who are "resistant to commitment" (Fishman's words) is getting larger and larger. There are men to date, but a smaller proportion of men who will actually follow through to the aisle.

Next up: Education Gaps and JAPs

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