MEN MAY NOT BE AS BOORISH AND INEPT as a Ray Romano character, but there’s a definite gender disparity when it comes to higher education. College-educated women in their 20s and 30s outnumber men with the same credentials 4-to-3 and 5-to-4, respectively. These ratios are even higher in some cities, such as Miami, where there are 86 percent more college-educated women than men. For straight women, this leads to an obvious dating problem. Outside of a handful of cities, college-educated women will have a difficult time finding similarly-educated men. This particular dating pool is tiny, and it’s shrinking.
This could explain some of the horrific dating experiences more and more women are sharing online. I’m not talking about *shoving breadsticks into purse* situations, but about women who are harassed on Tinder, Facebook, and Twitter for, well, being women. One stunning example happened in August 2015, when Buzzfeed’s Grace Spelman turned down a man on social media, only to have him begin a two-day-long verbal assault that culminated in a lengthy email begging for a second chance.
Spelman’s experience is, unfortunately, all too common for women. But, given the huge gaps in college attendance and graduation rates for men and women, could it be that these men’s childish outbursts can be attributed to the fact that they are just simply not as educated as the women with whom they are matched? That certainly doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it could go a long way toward explaining why their senses of entitlement have never been challenged.
We can theorize about this all day, but that does nothing to help the straight, single women whose search for local partners might be hopeless. If you’re having trouble with the “man deficit,” as Date-onomics author Jon Birger calls it, I’ve got a few tips to help you deal.
Learn to enjoy singlehood
Look, it sucks to not have a partner when you want one. But some people don’t ever allow themselves the opportunity to discover what it’s really like to be alone. If you’re freshly out of a long relationship — or a series of short ones — or if you’ve been less than enthused with your Tinder matches, you should definitely consider spending a length of time uncoupled.
Why? Because it’s important to understand who you are when you don’t have to consider anyone else in your decision-making. What do you like to do on Sunday afternoons, and where do you feel comfortable eating alone? If you don’t know the answers to these questions, you might want to consider pumping the brakes in your man-search and really digging into the single life instead.
Take a vacation
Once you’re comfortable being single, planning a solo getaway can be very empowering. You’re completely on your own in a strange, new, exciting place, and your itinerary is one-hundred percent up to you. Want to visit museums? You can! Feel like checking into an expensive hotel and spending the day eating macarons? Go for it!
Although you definitely shouldn’t think of your personal vacation strictly as a way to meet the interesting men you can’t find at home, it is possible to meet someone while you’re out of town. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but you’ll have to decide whether you want your newfound romance to be a fling or a (probably long-distance) relationship. Thankfully, now that you’ve been single for a while, you’ll be better equipped to make that decision, rather than being simply driven by the need to couple.
Make a plan for handling relatives’ questions
When you’re single, whether by choice or circumstance, you’ll often have to field prying questions from your family. Why aren’t you seeing anyone? You should really open up. Have you tried Timber? Their intentions are generally good, but I won’t say their execution couldn’t use some work.
Now is the best time to decide how you’re going to take your relatives’ questions, especially if your singlehood is a major lifestyle change. Remember: you don’t owe anyone an explanation for your romantic choices. If you don’t want to take any questions at all, ask a conversationally-gifted relative to let that slip to the rest of the fam.
Consider making compromises
But what if you’re comfortable being single and you really want to meet your soulmate? If that’s the case, and you’re having bad luck dating, you might want to reevaluate your criteria. I’m all about encouraging women not to pick the first guy to come along, but we’re all guilty of judging a book by its cover. Once you’ve proven you can be happy alone, you may find that the qualities you look for in potential mates have changed drastically. Take the time to decide which are essential and which you can toss out. It won’t put more men in the dating pool, but it will lessen your chances of overlooking Mr. Right.