Sunday, August 06, 2006

it's sunday afternoon, a rare day that i've been able to enjoy without 'running errands' or otherwise being outside in a heatwave.

i've stumbled across two articles today in the 'paper' that are sort of like bookends to one another; one looks at the declining number of men without college educations marrying and the other looks at women, with educations, entering financial services and what they encounter - as well as the adjustments some firms are having to make because of them:

Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife - New York Times

Wall Street's Women Face A Fork in the Road - New York Times

what's interesting to me about both these articles is how they avoid the tone of a fake 'crisis' (unlike the Times' previous shoddy Opt Out articles, for which one of these is a tonic) and they show how the idea of what's 'traditional' is changing because people (men and women alike) are saying up front 'this isn't working for me.' and their rejection is saying something about the way our worlds, social and corporate worlds, are organized.

when looking at the low trends of young women entering financial services it's offered that 'Generation Y cares less about money if it comes at too high a price, ...throwing a wrench into Wall Street’s past assurance that it could demand cultlike devotion from employees in return for fatter paychecks than any other profession.' instead, younger men and women (even those who'd like to return) are demanding something less insane than working around the clock to the detriment of their personal/family lives.

and the guys featured in the marriage piece - they seem ok with their status, whatever their reasons for remaining single (financial stbility, fear of divorce, can't commit.) to the pressure of marriage, the effort and expense of it - they're saying no. while the article makes a lot of the stats showing how the pool of available women has shrunk for these men, their own personal stories tell a different story - they just don't want to marry. it's working for them.

of course it makes me think what life will look like down the line when most folk in my generation will be living as roommates, unmarried and pretty well happy about it. it'll be unlike life as we've known it (or heard about from our parents and grandparents). my friends and i joke about it: we're through with lovers and husbands (or maybe not), we're living in some hip elderly commune somewhere, getting all nostalgic about U2 or Wilco.

that'll be sort of interesting.

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