Lori Gottlieb, a real-life woman of 40, writes in Atlantic magazine about withdrawing the necessary DNA from a sperm bank to give birth without the benefit of a husband. She tells women they should learn from her experience and settle down with Mr. Good Enough instead of going at it alone in a futile search for the man of their fantasies.
This insight comes only a year after she preached in the same pages of Atlantic how it was better to have a baby without a father if a woman couldn't find a man to turn up the heat. Hindsight suggests that the steady glow of a back burner can give simmering satisfaction with a less than perfect husband: "Not only does he contribute financially, help with the dishes, and share in the child care, but as his wife, if you want some companionship or physical intimacy, you don't have to shave your legs, blow-dry your hair apply lipstick. ... "
Of course, such gritty pragmatism isn't exactly a selling point for men. It echoes the depictions of domestic life that Playboy magazine warned bachelors against in the 1950s. The Playboy of today is a beast of a different order, but a bit of a beast nevertheless. He's a young man in his 20s, refusing to grow up, with access to ATMs for instant money to spend on himself. You typically find him in the pages of Maxim magazine with movie heroes such as Ben Stiller, Jim Carey and Will Ferrell, indulging in grossed-out adolescent "Animal House" humor. He's uncultured, uncouth and unkempt, preferring beer to fine wine, skateboards to sports cars and teenage toys to higher status symbols of maturity. Kay Hymowitz calls him the "Child-Man in the Promised Land."
"In 1970, 69 percent of 25-year old and 85 percent of 30-year old white men were married," she writes in City Journal magazine. "In 2000, only 33 percent and 58 percent were [married], respectively." These statistics suggest it will become even more difficult for single young women to find suitable mates in the next decade. That's something Hillary, Barack Obama and John McCain can worry about later as the new demographics affect politics and policies. Never-Never-Land is no longer mere fiction.