Yet for someone like me – a 32-year-old single Catholic – the situation looks bleak indeed.
I can talk to any young woman in my social circle and they will, one and all, say the same thing: there just aren’t any men. What we mean by this is there is a frightening scarcity of men aged 25-35 who are church-going, single and worldly-wise.
Most men I meet have two out of three of these qualities, with the latter often lacking. If they’re single church-goers, they’re usually awkward and in want of basic social awareness (a big turn-off for most women). If they’re more worldly, they’re generally not single or not religious. Even if they’re not religious, most young Australian men hold views and values that are left of centre and utterly opposed to our own.I'm not sure exactly when I first heard this sort of talk but it was a while ago now. It was sometime in the mid 1980s, which is to say before Anna Hitchings, who wrote the above, was born. I suspect the talk actually went back further than that. The mid-1980s was the time I hit twenty-five and, consequently, was the time some women in my cohort started talking that way.
It's not nice to bring that issue up, age I mean. That said, reality has no scruples about bringing up what the rest of us are too polite to say.
What I find interesting is the way the unhitched Ms. Hitchings immediately locates the problem outside of herself. We've seen this before. Eight years ago I commented on an article by British journalist Anna Pasternak who had written,
... when I look around at my girlfriends - bright, attractive, successful, fabulous women in their 40s who are single — I sincerely begin to wonder: Is there even one solvent, kind, desirable, heterosexual single man in his 40s left in Britain?Notice how similar that is to,
I can talk to any young woman in my social circle and they will, one and all, say the same thing: there just aren’t any men. What we mean by this is there is a frightening scarcity of men aged 25-35 who are church-going, single and worldly-wise.The two Annas express the same sentiment: there aren't any single men worthy of women like them. The possibility that maybe the women who find themselves still single might not be as special as they imagine themselves to be is never raised.
Hitchings raises another question: What of the church for she too is having a hard time attracting men? Again, as she sees it, the problem is not with the church but with men. Indeed, Hitchings worries that women desperate to find men will relax their unimpeachable moral standards.
The fear of being alone seems to be driving women of faith to abandon everything they believe to secure a ring on their finger. I don’t want to be single for the rest of my life any more than the next girl, but that certainly doesn’t mean I think a man is worth overthrowing all I hold dear; everything that gives me hope and meaning and purpose in life.Note the catastrophizing going on here. Hitchings is locked in a struggle against evil.
Consequently, she has no trouble deciding that the lack of men in the church and the lack of men she would consider suitable marriage partners is the same problem.
Do we need more young men on the path to truth and goodness? Of course we do! I’m deeply grateful for the influence figures like Dr Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro are having on so many men, young and old.Because it couldn't be that the notions of "truth and goodness" are the problem?
We should be doing all we can to help steer men in the right direction and find truth and meaning in their lives. Men who are guided by good principles, who have purpose and direction in life, are not only deeply attractive to women, they are invaluable assets to society. Yet many women I see and talk to feel as if their chance is never going to come.