Dalrock is typical: ”Today’s unmarried twentysomething women have given men an ultimatum: 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.”
The endgame Dalrock warns about is already in play for hordes of unmarried professional women – the well-coiffed lawyers, bankers and other success stories. 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 30-year-old Sydney barrister, thinks so: ”Women labour under the impression they can have it all. 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.”
The crisis for single women in this age group seeking a mate is very real. Almost one in three women aged 30 to 34 and a quarter of late-30s women do not have a partner, according to the 2006 census statistics. And this is a growing problem. The number of partnerless women in their 30s has almost doubled since 1986.