"A gentleman asked me to marry him and I said no. I told him, 'I'm just beginning to fly again, I'm just beginning to be me. Don't take that away.'" Or, as the New York Times would put it: "51% of Women Are Now Living Without Spouse." This conclusion was reached "according to a New York Times analysis of census results." That method is widely known in journalistic circles as, "Slow news day on the social change front, better take another look at the census, Scoop."
Following a fresh examination of “the stats,” conclusions are dutifully drawn — “Several factors are driving the statistical shift. At one end of the age spectrum, women are marrying later or living with unmarried partners more often and for longer periods. At the other end, women are living longer as widows and, after a divorce, are more likely than men to delay remarriage, sometimes delighting in their newfound freedom.”
Those are the “main” factors according to the Times. It is in passing that you discover race has something to do with it as well: “Only about 30 percent of black women are living with a spouse, according to the Census Bureau, compared with about 49 percent of Hispanic women, 55 percent of non-Hispanic white women and more than 60 percent of Asian women.”
But that’s only a side show. The real message is that, surprise, marriage ain’t what it used to be:” ‘This is yet another of the inexorable signs that there is no going back to a world where we can assume that marriage is the main institution that organizes people’s lives,’ said Prof. Stephanie Coontz, director of public education for the Council on Contemporary Families.” That’s “Contemporary” Families as opposed to, we guess, “Traditional Families.”
Checking into the Council on Contemporary Families web site, we note that their latest white paper (“Marriage Reduces Social Ties”) says: ” We know that partners in a good marriage are, on average, happier and healthier than single or divorced people. But do happy marriages guarantee a happy and healthy society? Not necessarily.” Marriage. Good for people but bad for society? Go figure. And while you’re at it, be sure to interview those 70 percent of black women living without a spouse.
After the “experts” chime in, some handy exemplars of the trend are interviewed to buttress the conclusions. All subjects interviewed must reveal that they are happier now than they were then. [Note: No men were interviewed or harmed in the making of this article.]
After a few interviews pursue and reveal the point of the NYT article a search for a moral coda is made and printed at the end as the kicker. In this case it is a variation of ye olde ‘If it doesn’t kill me, it makes me stronger’ bromide: “”Once you go through something you think will kill you and it doesn’t,” she said, “every day is like a present.”
We’ll be looking in tomorrow’s edition for the husband’s point of view: “Everyday I wake up and I’m not married to her is like a present.”