Why women lose the dating game Bettina Arndt listens to the other voices in this debate: She was joined by three unfamiliar women - all attractive, well groomed, in their mids. From their whispered chat, she quickly realised they weren't there to hear about politics and economics but to meet her eligible man. And he's an utter sweetheart. She has been in a relationship with her fiance for six years.
Her new companions were very friendly and chatted to her during the break. But then her partner, who had been socialising at the front of the room, made eye contact with Naomi and smiled.
Playing the dating game Photo: There was silence and then one of them asked me if I knew him. I wasn't going to lie, so I told them he was my partner and how long we'd been together. It was amazing how they responded.
They stopped smiling at me, shifted awkwardly in their seats and looked me up and down as if they were trying to figure out how a girl who still wears jeans and ballet flats could land a guy like that. Naomi is stunned by the number of women in their 30s who throw themselves at her partner: Yet given the plight of thirtysomething women seeking partners, it's hardly surprising that her boyfriend is in their sights.
We hear endless complaints from women about the lack of good men. Advertisement Women astonished that men don't seem to be around when they decide it is time to settle down. Women telling men to ''man up'' and stop shying away from commitment. But there is another conversation going on - a fascinating exchange about what is happening from the male point of view. Much of it thrives on the internet, in the so-called ''manosphere''. Here you will find men cheerfully, even triumphantly, blogging about their experience.
They have cause for celebration, you see. They've discovered a profound change has taken place in the mating game and, to their surprise, they are the winners. I'll marry when I'm ready, take it or leave it.
This is, of course, their right. But ultimatums are a risky thing, because there is always a possibility the other side will decide to leave it. In the next decade we will witness the end result of this game of marriage chicken. Many thought they could put off marriage and families until their 30s, having devoted their 20s to education, establishing careers and playing the field. But was their decade of dating a strategic mistake?
Jamie, a year-old Sydney barrister, thinks so: They can have the career, this carefree lifestyle and then, at the snap of their fingers, because they are so fabulous, find a man. But if they wait until their 30s they're competing with women who are much younger and in various ways more attractive. Almost one in three women aged 30 to 34 and a quarter of lates women do not have a partner, according to the census statistics. And this is a growing problem.
The number of partnerless women in their 30s has almost doubled since The challenge is greatest for high-achieving women in their 30s looking for equally successful men. Analysis of census figures by the Monash University sociologist, Genevieve Heard, reveals that almost one in four of degree-educated women in their 30s will miss out on a man of similar age and educational achievement.
There were only 68, unattached graduate men in their 30s for 88, single graduate women in the same age group. The 30s are worrying years for high-achieving women who long for marriage and children - of course, not all do - as they face their rapidly closing reproductive window surrounded by men who see no rush to settle down And the higher-education gap keeps widening.
In the past year, the proportion of degree-educated women aged 25 to 34 rose from The high expectations of professional women are a big part of the story.
Many high-achieving women simply are not interested in Mr Average, says Justin Parfitt, the owner of Australia's fastest growing speed-dating organisation, Fast Impressions. They want the alpha males.
Sixty per cent of his members are female. Most are over During their 20s, women compete for the most highly desirable men, the Mr Bigs. Many will readily share a bed with the sporty, attractive, confident men, while ordinary men miss out. As Whiskey puts it at whiskeysplace.
That leaves a lot of beta men spending their 20s out in the cold. Greg, a year-old writer from Melbourne, started adult life shy and lonely. They could make or break you with one look in a club or bar.
They had the choice of men, sex was on tap and guys like me went home alone, red-faced, defeated and embarrassed.
The girls only wanted to go for the cool guys, good looks, outgoing personalities, money, sporty types, the kind of guys who owned the room, while us quiet ones got ignored.
But then he spent time overseas, gained more confidence, learnt how to dress well and hit his early 30s. The floodgates burst open for me.
I actually dated five women at once, amazing my flatmates by often bedding three to four of my casual dates each week. It is a great time as a male in your 30s, when you start getting more female attention and sex than you could ever have dreamt of in your 20s. These internet sites are not for the faint-hearted.
The voices are often crude and misogynist. But they tell it as they see it. There is Greenlander, an apparently successful engineer in his late 30s. In his early adult life, he was unable to ''get the time of day from women''. Now he's interested only in women under It's just too easy. They're tired of the cock carousel and they see a guy like me as the perfect beta to settle down with before their eggs dry out … when I get tired of them I just delete their numbers from my cell phone and stop taking their calls … It doesn't really hurt them that much: She is stunned by how hard it is to meet suitable men willing to commit.
But these men go fast, many fishing outside their pond. The most attractive, successful men can take their pick from women their own age or from the Naomis, the younger women who are happy to settle early. Almost one in three degree-educated year-old men marries or lives with women aged 30 or under, according to income, housing and marriage surveys by the Bureau of Statistics. She is shocked to find many mids men have set up their profiles to refuse mail from women their own age.
Talking to many women like her, it's intriguing how many look back on past relationships where they let good men get away because they weren't ready. American journalist Kate Bolick wrote recently in The Atlantic about breaking off her three-year relationship with a man she described as ''intelligent, good-looking, loyal and kind''.
She acknowledged ''there was no good reason to end things'', yet, at the time, she was convinced something was missing in the relationship. That was 11 years ago. She's is now 39 and facing grim choices. The 30s are worrying years for high-achieving women who long for marriage and children - of course, not all do - as they face their rapidly closing reproductive window surrounded by men who see no rush to settle down. And, of course, many women eventually do find a mate, often ending up with divorced men.
There are complications with that second-marriage market, in which men come complete with former wives and children. That was never part of the plan. Many really struggle with the fact that they aren't in a position to be too choosy. American author Lori Gottlieb gives a painfully honest account of that process in her book Marry Him: The year-old single mother enlisted a team of advisers who helped her realise that while she was conducting her long search for the perfect man - Prince Charming or nobody - her market value had dropped through the floor.
She acknowledges she made a mistake not looking for a spouse in her 20s, when she was at her most desirable. She advises thirtysomething women to look for Mr Good Enough before they have even less choice.
But then suddenly they're 40 and can only get a '5'! The Sydney barrister, Jamie, finds himself spoilt for choice. Like many of his friends he's finding women actively pursuing him, asking him out, cooking him elaborate meals, buying him presents. Loading While many of his mates are playing the field, determined to enjoy this unexpected attention, Jamie is ready to settle down.
He's very wary of Sex and the City types, women who are convinced they are so special, but he's confident he will soon find someone with her feet on the ground.