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Dr. Helen

The United Singles of America

September 13th, 2014 - 6:09 am

The New York Post had this recent article on the state of marriage in America (via Newsalert):

Unmarried American adults outnumber their married counterparts for the first time since the federal government began tracking that data in 1976, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

There were 124.6 million single Americans in August — accounting for 50.2 percent of the 16-and-over US population, the BLS data showed.

Eric Klinenberg, an NYU sociology professor who tracks marriage trends, predicts the unmarrieds will probably be edging their married peers by this small margin for the foreseeable future….

But while the numbers might look stark, Americans are still getting together — they’re just not racing down the aisle.

“Just because people are not getting married doesn’t mean they’re not partnering and cohabitating,” said Karen Guzzo, a sociology professor at Bowling Green State University.

How much of the decrease in marriage rates is because men are on strike? How much of it is for other reasons? Whatever the reason for singles taking over in the US, it is important that the laws reflect equality in partnerships between men and women, or better yet, the law should stay out of personal relationships as much as is humanly possible.

However, I doubt that will happen so men must be ever vigilant as the society changes to one of a nation of singles that they do not end up being responsible in traditional ways for women while the women pretend to be “empowered.” Given the lack of due process, the tendency to blame men for relationship problems and unequal treatment in domestic relations, men might be better off not living too long with any one woman. This is bad for society and families, but might be a better solution for individual men.

What is your take on singles now outnumbering the married in the US? Pro or con?

A reader writes in:

Definitely need to get a vasectomy for sure to make sure I can’t have kids because I don’t want them. Let’s say I’m in a serious relationship, do you feel it’s my obligation to disclose my vasectomy to whoever I’m dating? If so, at what point should I tell them, or is it something I can just keep to myself. I don’t think it’s good to lie but at what point does it become her business? Thank you!! “larry”

I wrote him back a short response:

Hmm, that is an interesting question. I don’t think you really owe someone you are casually dating information about a vasectomy but I suppose if it became more serious (e.g. you talk about long term, living together etc.) you would want to tell her. If she cannot handle the information, it will tell you something about her and whether she is right for you or not.

What advice would you give “Larry” on when to tell a perspective date that he had a vasectomy? Or should he tell her at all?

SheTaxis: For Women Only

September 9th, 2014 - 11:59 am

Women For Men Blog: “And folks say we’re exaggerating the New World Order. Welcome to SheTaxis, New York City taxis exclusively for women. Read it and weep. Better yet, read it with the genders reversed. That’d make front page headlines.”

NEW YORK — New Yorkers can already choose from yellow taxis, green cabs or black livery cars. They can tap a smartphone app for a ride, or simply stick out an arm. They can pay with cash or credit.

Now there is one more option: a female driver.

A new livery service starting Sept. 16 in New York City, Westchester County and Long Island will offer female drivers exclusively, for female riders, according to its founder. It will take requests for rides through an app, and dispatch drivers sporting hot pink pashmina scarves.

The service will be called SheTaxis — SheRides in New York City because of regulations barring it from using “taxi” in its name — and aims to serve women who may feel uncomfortable being driven by men, or who simply prefer the company of other women. The app will ask potential riders if there is a woman in their party. If not, they will be automatically redirected to other car services.

Perhaps there is a bright side of this for men: it will free up more taxis in NYC for them–while women wait for a SheCab, a guy can get in the next cab coming down the street.

The New America: Shopping Instead of Job Hunting

September 9th, 2014 - 4:57 am

I was not surprised to read that more unemployed people are shopping rather than job hunting:

On the average day, an unemployed American is more likely to be shopping—for things other than groceries and gas—than to be looking for a new job, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Only 18.9 percent of Americans who were unemployed (in surveys conducted from 2009 through 2013) spent time in job search and interviewing activities on an average day, according to BLS. Yet 40.8 percent of the unemployed did some kind of shopping on the average day–either in a store, by telephone, or on the Internet. 22.5 percent of the unemployed, according to BLS, were shopping for items other than groceries, food and gas…..

An unemployed person—on the average day—was more likely to spend time on shopping, sports and recreation, socializing and leisure, than they were searching for and interviewing for a new job, according to BLS.

According to BLS, 96.7 percent of the unemployed spent time during the average day participating in “socializing, relaxing, and leisure” activities and spent, on average, 5.93 hours on those activities—or more than twice the number of hours they spent job searching.

Slate:

So, what has been going on at Woodland Hills? A 2010 investigation by the Tennessean found a series of allegations that had gone largely uninvestigated and unpunished by authorities. One of the facilities’ kitchen employees, the newspaper discovered, had reportedly given a 17-year-old boy chlamydia, and later lived with a different male juvenile who she had been accused of abusing while he was in the facility. The woman was cleared in four separate state investigations despite failing a lie detector test. She was ultimately convicted only after she turned herself in to police. In another case uncovered by the paper, a different female guard went on to marry a former inmate after he was released from the facility. The woman kept her job even after her marriage came to light.

Such incidents are sadly common inside our juvenile justice system. In the most recent federal survey of detained juveniles, nearly 8 percent of respondents reported being sexually victimized by a staff member at least once in the previous 12 months. For those who reported being abused, two things proved overwhelmingly true, as they were in Woodland Hills: They were teenage boys, and their alleged assailants were female employees tasked with looking out for their well-being. Nine in 10 of those who reported being victimized were males reporting incidents with female staff. Women, meanwhile, typically make up less than half of a juvenile facility’s staff….

The attitude that these boys bear some blame, however small, is dangerous in a vacuum. It’s downright reckless when we know that 90 percent of reported incidents involve male juveniles and female guards. “That minimizing of a serious crime is really contributing to the crisis,” says Stannow, “and we are talking about a crisis here.”

The common theme with most woman on boy sex seems to be that whether the teen is being abused in a juvenile facility or is a 14-year-old forced to pay child support to the grown woman who committed statutory rape against him, somehow he is always to blame.

A typical response by misandrist Charlotte Allen who tweets this troubling response to my USA Today column. Amy Alkon sets her straight.

USA Today Column on How the Law Punishes Boys

September 3rd, 2014 - 6:55 pm

I have an article in USA Today entitled “How the law punishes boys who are raped: Column”:

Imagine that your 14-year-old daughter engaged in sex with the 20-year-old man down the street. Anger would hardly begin to describe your feelings, but then imagine how you and your daughter would feel if she became pregnant and the man who abused her got custody of the child and your daughter had to pay him child support for the next 18 years.

You can read the rest and comment here.

CNBC: How Safe is a Prenup?:

Prenups are supposed to be the ultimate divorce insurance for the wealthy. Yet like insurance, prenuptial agreements are often challenged when there’s a claim. …

The main reason prenups are so rock solid is the Uniform Prenuptial Agreement Act, which was adopted by the majority of states and makes it very difficult to toss out a prenup. The law sets out basic guidelines for drawing prenups and strengthens their enforceability, attorneys said.

Yet there are a few conditions under which prenups may be tossed out. Attorneys said the most common challenge is fraud, where a spouse undervalues or hides assets. ..

Another popular challenge is the “coercion or duress” argument. This is Anne Griffin’s main argument. She said that after she expressed unwillingness to sign the prenup, they had an argument and Ken Griffin became “so angry, violent and intimidating that he destroyed a piece of furniture in their home.” ….

“If the wealthier party wanted it to be fair, they wouldn’t enter into a prenup,” he said. “Prenuptial agreements necessarily deal with degrees of unfairness. They give leverage to one side.”

That doesn’t mean that less wealthy spouses can’t get more than the prenup offers. In the recent divorce of Wendi and Rupert Murdoch, for instance, Wendi Murdoch negotiated a larger settlement during negotiations involving their assets and children. The Griffin divorce also involves the custody of their children.

“The prenup is just another hurdle for one side to overcome,” Auerbach said.

Yes, that’s the problem, the “one side” is generally the wife and since when is it “unfair” to get a prenup and to have leverage over one’s own earnings?

Five Feminist Myths that Will Not Die

September 2nd, 2014 - 8:58 am

Christina Hoff Sommers at Time: 5 feminist myths that will not die:

Much of what we hear about the plight of American women is false. Some faux facts have been repeated so often they are almost beyond the reach of critical analysis. Though they are baseless, these canards have become the foundation of Congressional debates, the inspiration for new legislation and the focus of college programs. Here are five of the most popular myths that should be rejected by all who are genuinely committed to improving the circumstances of women.

See the myths here.

I thought about this as I read Peter Thiel’s new book Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future. The book description is as follows:

The great secret of our time is that there are still uncharted frontiers to explore and new inventions to create. In Zero to One, legendary entrepreneur and investor Peter Thiel shows how we can find singular ways to create those new things.

Thiel begins with the contrarian premise that we live in an age of technological stagnation, even if we’re too distracted by shiny mobile devices to notice. Information technology has improved rapidly, but there is no reason why progress should be limited to computers or Silicon Valley. Progress can be achieved in any industry or area of business. It comes from the most important skill that every leader must master: learning to think for yourself.

Doing what someone else already knows how to do takes the world from 1 to n, adding more of something familiar. But when you do something new, you go from 0 to 1. The next Bill Gates will not build an operating system. The next Larry Page or Sergey Brin won’t make a search engine. Tomorrow’s champions will not win by competing ruthlessly in today’s marketplace. They will escape competition altogether, because their businesses will be unique.

Thiel, the co-founder of PayPal, has an interesting chapter on secrets that he opens by stating: “Every one of today’s most famous and familiar ideas was once unknown and unsuspected.” The book asks the reader: “If you find a secret, you face a choice: Do you tell anyone? Or do you keep it to yourself?” Apparently, the best entrepreneurs know that every great business is built around a secret that’s hidden from the outside. “A great company is a conspiracy to change the world; when you share your secret, the recipient becomes a fellow conspirator.”

I imagine this “conspiracy” can be used for good or evil. I recently read Joel Kotkin’s new book The New Class Conflict, which described the tech community in Silicon Valley as an oligarchy:

In ways not seen since the Gilded Age of the late nineteenth century, America is becoming a nation of increasingly sharply divided classes. Joel Kotkin’s The New Class Conflict breaks down these new divisions for the first time, focusing on the ascendency of two classes: the tech Oligarchy, based in Silicon Valley; and the Clerisy, which includes much of the nation’s policy, media, and academic elites.

Many of these oligarchies use their influence as political propaganda or as a way to keep tabs on their users, not necessarily good “secrets.” I certainly don’t think that is what Thiel meant to have happen with secrets and start-ups but when you look at companies like Google or even YouTube where PC behavior guides their principals, one can’t help but wonder if a “conspiracy to change the world” is always a good thing for customers or if it is just good for the company that promotes it.