In a shout-out to every horrible rom-com ever made, Melanie Notkin, writing in the New York Post, asserts that the whole reason women are waiting later to have children is that men are immature and can’t commit. Notkin is in knots over the U.S. Census Fertility Report dubbing college-educated women over 35 who have yet to reproduce the “delayer boom.” This isn’t the fault of career-driven women, she asserts, but men who simply don’t value career growth or marital success as much as women do. She cites a theory that women are in oversupply so men don’t have to work as hard in the dating game, or in the career world, either, now that women are earning big bucks. What Notkin fails to observe, let alone remark upon, is the true crux of the matter: Career women are so good at work that they stink at relationships. They’re literally squandering their inherent power over men.
Anyone can get married. Anyone. And in the world of adoption, surrogacy, IVF, foster parenting, natural birth, C-sections, and rainbow babies, anyone can have a baby, too, for that matter. So why are the women in the delayer boom so insistent upon pulling out all the Sex and the City stops to turn something so simple as marriage and reproduction into the impossible dream?
If men are immature, it’s the women who are letting them get away with it. Notkin recounts three stories. The first two are of Kate (34), who froze her eggs because her boyfriend wasn’t ready to commit (it’d be cheaper and easier to dump him), and Susan (41), who decided to become an artificially inseminated single mom (easier to control a doctor than a man). The third is about Joanna (39), who sidetracked her career to spend seven years focusing on dating, only to find nothing. Seven years?! She couldn’t find one acceptable marriage candidate in seven years? In New York City?! I don’t need to be a statistician to know that is completely improbable. I just need to be well versed enough in the letters written to Cosmo to know that these women are far too obsessed with the idea of marriage and children to ever actually commit to getting married and having kids.
These women have no problem taking control over their careers. So, what makes controlling their men so difficult? It’s rather ironic that women so well-trained in the skill of obtaining a career are ignorant in the art of wedding and bedding a man. After all, that’s how we survived for thousands of years — by making men do the heavy lifting while we ran the show. In a typical, healthy scenario women established the household, set the ground rules, and managed the husband, the children and the money. Now that we’ve been “liberated” from our inherently feminist roots, we’re committing ourselves to the idea that “having it all” means doing it all alone. And we’re realizing how truly miserable that is.
My husband and I got engaged seven months after we started dating. True, we’d known each other in college seven years prior, but we’d never been that close. It just became abundantly clear not long after we started dating that we both shared the same values and life goals and we worked well together. So, why wait? In the end, it was a decision that saved our relationship in the long term. Our marriage commitment forced us to weather the storms of early matrimony and saw us through periods when we weren’t, as one of my colleagues recently dubbed it, “feeling all the feels.” Most importantly, marriage established a secure foundation on which to build the family we both knew we always wanted. All of that took seven months to figure out and commit to.
Forget pushing women into STEM. We need to give career women refresher courses in how to handle men. As Bubbie Kantor in Crossing Delancey once said, “a husband is a husband for life. A professor once told me, a college professor, ‘No matter how happy you are, if you’re alone, you’re sick!’”