CNN has an article about church-going (black) women having difficulty finding a man:

In raising the issue, {San Fransisco Examiner writer Deborrah} Cooper ignited a public conversation about a topic that is increasingly getting attention in the black community and beyond. Oprah Winfrey, among others, recently hosted a show about single black women and relationships after a Yale University study found that 42 percent of African-American women in the United States were unmarried.

Big Miller Grove Missionary Baptist Church, a predominately African-American Baptist church in Atlanta, is holding a seminar on the question of faith’s role in marital status on August 20.

“Black women are interpreting the scriptures too literally. They want a man to which they are ‘equally yoked’ — a man that goes to church five times a week and every Sunday just like they do,” Cooper said in a recent interview.

“If they meet a black man that is not in church, they are automatically eliminated as a potential suitor. This is just limiting their dating pool.”

This, of course, runs headlong into a lot of what we hear around these parts, which is that women usually have the option of a good man if they want one and if they end up with something else that’s because it’s their preference. The theory goes that women purposefully bypass nice and stable men in favor of bad boy alpha males.

Some women, of course, do this. Sometimes because the women are rather dysfunctional themselves (like bring attracted to like) and some women just have bad taste. The implication, however, is that women are the ones pulling the levers and men (with the exception of precious few) are just along for the ride. In some environments this may be true, but in others it most definitely is not.

This is important to recognize because it is in these environments that single motherhood typically thrive. A lot of times we look at women that go it alone or get impregnated by some ne’er-do-well and wonder why they didn’t make better decisions when it came to men. Sometimes, of course, this is valid as some women have awful choice in men (just as the reverse is true). But it’s often the case that they are simply considering the options they have. A lot of women are sleeping with guys outside of the context of a relationship not because they would “prefer 5 minutes with an alpha over a lifetime with a beta” but rather because they lack other options. Their options are not to sleep with some guy that won’t treat them right or find some good fella who will, but rather accept the fleeting companionship of someone that demands sex as a prerequisite – often someone that otherwise treats them poorly – or being alone.

This is particularly true in certain segments of the population where there is a man shortage. Or a shortage of men with any discernible quality. The black community in particular is hit hard by the number of men going in and out of prison, exceptionally high unemployment rates, and high crime rates in general. When it comes to the black community, the number of decent women (defined as being self-supporting and having a relatively clean criminal record) vastly outnumber that of decent men. Now, maybe it’s true that these women should look outside the black community, but as others have pointed out, black women (like Asian men) are the losers in the musical chairs of interracial dating. It’s not clear that white, Asian, and Hispanic men are lining up at the opportunity. And most people want to date people with similar backgrounds.

But this isn’t just an issue in the black community (and this post is not really about the black community). If you look at the poor white communities you will often see the same sort of thing. While white men are substantially less likely than black men to end up in prison, they’re still far more likely than white women to end up there. Or homeless. Or, these days, perpetually jobless and unemployable. Society’s most successful and least successful participants are typically men. Women seem, generally, most likely to populate the center (after school is over with, anyway).

So imagine a graph to this effect. Women with a tall curve towards the center and men with a flatter curve and higher numbers on each end. Women on the left (dysfunctional) side of the curve, in the third quartile, are going to pretty substantially outnumber the men. Look at the third and fourth quartile as a whole and women are going to populate the most functional half and men the least. Women in the third quartile that are close to the halfway point are sometimes going to be able to get men in the second quartile, but you don’t have to move too far to the left before the general dearth of men in the middle is going to be a problem.

The long and short of it is that a lot of women on the left side of the curve are going to be stuck in their own half. That half is one in which women are going to generally be more functional than men. In other words, they are going to either end up with someone less functional than they are or they’re going to end up alone. Even the women on the fourth quartile are not in as advantageous a position as we might think because though they are outnumbered by men, a substantial portion of the men are either completely unavailable or undateable by any standard because they’re dead, in prison, completely dysfunctional alcoholics, pedophiles, homeless, or have a serious anti-social personality disorder. So at best these women have their pick of a very bad lot. The kind of lot that if they did date these men they would be further proof of how women are attracted to awful and dysfunctional men.

In reference to mail-order brides, Phi objects that women can be critical of the dating choices of men that they wouldn’t date. This is a fair observation. But I think it behooves us men to ask ourselves if we do the same thing. Case and point: Anne McClaren. It is unlikely that Phi or I would ever seriously contemplate dating such a woman (for any substantial period of time) even if she were quite attractive (and, actually, she is). Even if you set aside the fact that she’s got three kids (and a fourth on the way) to men of varying degrees of worthlessness and that she may be attracted to this sort, she has a host of other drawbacks that would be dealbreakers even if she had sober taste in men. She can’t hold down a job, can’t support herself, can’t take care of children, and has a history with drugs. If she’s half as smart as her sister is, you can’t tell it by virtue of the fact that she’s a walking, talking wreck. And, to be honest, given that I wouldn’t have dated her if I were her age and living in Appalachia and unmarried unless I was absolutely desperate, I am disinclined to be all that condemning towards her taste in men.

Not just, I should add, because of the kids in tow. In fact, since all three have been taken up by her parents, they don’t even factor in. But the kids and the drugs and all that are the result of an impulsive and reckless nature that I would find unattractive even if it all the bad stuff hadn’t happened yet.

And so it goes with a lot of the women that become single mothers to some guy that wouldn’t commit to a weekend much less to nuptials. I remember a while back when I was at Dharla’s birthday party and met an attractive and seemingly smart girl that got knocked up by some guy who promptly disappeared. A part of me wondered why she seemed to have such bad taste in men. I got to know her and discovered that she was really quite bitchy and entitled – and beautiful or not most decent men wouldn’t want to be with her anyway. And this girl did not seem remotely as incompetent as Anne. Neither Anne nor this girl is unworthy of criticism, but their removal (or the removal of people like them) from my dating sphere was really no great loss.

And not because she wasn’t attracted to men like me. Lots of women were unattracted to men like me. Some real quality women were very, very unattracted to me. But those women didn’t get knocked up by some semi-functional jerk or throw away a promising future for parties and pot and directionless hanging out. They weren’t the type of woman to do so.

Those that I’ve kept in touch with (thanks, Facebook) mostly married guys who were… a lot like them. A couple married guys that seem kinda like me, actually, except better looking or with better job prospects. Others married guys that were more… well, normal, like they were and I wasn’t.

I think along similar lines when it came to the ones I never asked out. Will Tyson‘s sister was cute and, though she never made any romantic overtures, oddly nice to me. I briefly considered making a move but was enthusiastically warned against it. And I thank them for it because even if she had said yes, nothing good would have come of it on my end. On her end… she might not be in prison right now if I’d tried. She and a later boyfriend tried were convicted of armed robbery (he robbed, she was in the car). Women attracted to jerks? Women finding a suitable mate? Women just doing the best they can? Chances are she was never interested in me because I wasn’t her type. But neither was she mine in any meaningful sense, my temporary infatuation notwithstanding.

This post isn’t a full-frontal assault on notions of hypergamy or the Alpha-Beta Theory. Merely, it’s to point out that a good portion of the women removed from the dating scene because they got knocked up or because they date losers aren’t really women that we would consider dating anyway. They’re women with two strikes against them often trying to get the most out of their situation or women making the same poor choices in romance that they make in other aspects of their life that make them not our type anyway. And oftentimes they’re actually quite decent people, but somewhat unintelligent or socialized in a way that we would be hard-pressed to want to introduce them to our families or simply from a subculture with which we are not likely to be able to relate all that well to.

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29 Responses to Repercussions of the (Quality) Man Shortage

  1. Peter says:

    I’m at an all-day company meeting, but rest assured I’ll have a lot more to say later 🙂

  2. Maria says:

    If the IQ differences between men and women are correct, with men clustering at either end of the curve (i.e., more geniuses, but more dummies too) and women clustering more near the middle, then lots of women will get stuck with guys who are dumber than they are.

    What a cruel trick played by Mother Nature.

  3. trumwill says:

    Yeah, the IQ graph was what I was thinking of when I wrote that bit. Even for those that object to the concept of IQ, though, you can simply look at social results and you see the same sorts of thing: men in positions of power, men under bridges and in prisons.

  4. David Alexander says:

    The theory goes that women purposefully bypass nice and stable men in favor of bad boy alpha males.

    I’ll reiterate David Alexander Relationship Theory:

    Women are only attracted to alpha males and only settle with beta males due to social conventions and a sense of practicality. Women may date bad boy alphas if they can’t get “good” alphas, but may switch to betas if they desire children in a stable household.

    In the case of the black community, the lack of quality men at top and beta males with employment at the bottom creates a weird situation where the only options are limited and rather questionable at best. FWIW, even in Haiti, my mother noted that when she was growing up, there was always a surplus of women and a shortage of men, and due to the economic climate of the country, lots of women became mistresses in order to support their families on handouts from their paramours. Allegedly, black mothers give birth to more girls than boys, but I’ve yet to see anything to verify this fact. If true, it probably exacerbates the social and economic problems that makes mating harder for black women.

  5. web says:

    It’s fair to point out a significant disparity in the “black community” in attitudes towards interracial dating, as well.

    Black men seem to have no problem with it. Black women, on the other hand…

    The article I link to is actually quite thorough in questioning the interracial-marriage disparity, so I feel it’s fair to point out.

  6. trumwill says:

    I was actually referring to the author of the piece you cite to with my reference to “others have pointed out” and the musical chairs.

    Part of the interracial disparity (as it pertains to blacks) exists due to the preferences of white men. Even if they were open to marrying white men, they can be disadvantaged the same way that Asian men are, who are not disadvantaged in interracial marriages solely because they’re more closed-minded than their female counterparts (if they are at all). Black women and Asian men are skeptical of interracial dating in large part because of the disparities rather than the disparities being a result of their attitudes on interracial dating.

  7. web says:

    Part of the interracial disparity (as it pertains to blacks) exists due to the preferences of white men.

    Not as much as you might think: there is very much a cultural component to the disparity.

  8. trumwill says:

    Yeah, there’s a cultural component, but even that is in part a product of the fact that interracial dating disadvantages black women because they end up on the losing end of it. Black women are less likely to meet conventional standards of beauty, just as Asian men are less likely to meet conventional standards of masculinity, and so they rally around cultural norms that scorn the practice or intermarriage altogether.

    This was rather central to the point being made in the first article you cited.

  9. Meadowlark says:

    Popular culture notwithstanding, when it comes to the polling data I’ve seen black women are not much more resistant to interracial dating than others. At least in theory.

    Take this poll, for example. If what Trumwill and Web are describing were deeply ingrained in female black culture, you would expect there to be a difference in approval between blackmanwhitewoman and blackwomanwhiteman numbers among blacks. In fact, you see one… among whites.

    Or if the numbers were evened out by black women who resent blackmanwhitewomen also saying they oppose blackwomenwhitemen for the sake of consistency, you would expect to see low numbers overall. The same goes if the men and women both approve of their own gender interracially dating but not the other. Instead, they approve of these interracial relationships at higher levels than whites do.

    So what’s going on? Either black women are not particularly opposed to interracial relationships and just have some difficulty finding them, or they’re okay with interracial relationships in the abstract but have decided it’s not for them.

  10. Kirk says:

    The bell-curve must be irrelevant, as women never had trouble marrying before. If there is a problem, it’s of a recent origin.

  11. trumwill says:

    Kirk, in the past men with lower IQs were less likely to be in prison or unemployable (either because society was less hard on them or because men of more marginal quality behaved better). The former is particularly an issue in the black community. Outside of the lower classes, and the fourth quartile, it’s also the case that women rely less on men economically, so they’re better able to appraise a man’s actually worthiness rather than taking whatever they can find out of economic necessity.

  12. Gunslingergregi says:

    Just a thought.

    Why would you be looking to subject yourself to the liability of marrying any woman with the way the marriage divorce mill works when over the last 100 years 50 percent of marriages have failed?

    Do you feel lucky?

  13. Gunslingergregi says:

    ””””’also the case that women rely less on men economically””””

    It may also be that woman recieve about 99 percent of the welfare benefits. From the ones who are the social workers to the ones recieving the benefits.

    This meme of woman don’t need men is majorly bogus.

    Of course they won’t be married if they can make double minimum wage by popping out kids and not being married. They can do better than the lower echelon guys working their buts off just by having kids.
    Plus they have been getting free health insurance.
    Try being a man and getting anything free. You will be allowed to die in the street. No you will actually not be allowed to die in peace but will be harrassed and told to leave and die somewhere else.

  14. trumwill says:

    Gunslinger, I didn’t say that women don’t need men (in fact, I’ve written the opposite). I merely said they rely on men less than they used to.

    And please, I don’t want this thread to become Men Vs Women.

  15. trumwill says:

    Why would you be looking to subject yourself to the liability of marrying any woman with the way the marriage divorce mill works when over the last 100 years 50 percent of marriages have failed?

    Because women are a man’s gateway to a family. Also, the numbers start getting better when you control for SES if you’re in one of the good demographics.

  16. web says:


    What you’ve got there is, in essence, just a problem of polling. Compare the “have dated” to the “theoretically say ok to it” columns and you have the answer.

    Plus, you’re facing the age-old problem of people lying to the survey.

    The “don’t bring home a white boy” discussion is very much a “not in front of the goyim” subject in the black community, as are most problems that are considered to be “the province of” any ethnic/cultural minority. The same attitudes follow cultural problems like this where the community doesn’t want to admit to outsiders that the attitude exists.

  17. trumwill says:

    The “have dated” numbers are also influenced by their options outside their community. They are not necessarily “revealed preference” when you don’t get your choice of who to date. My dating history does not actually follow my physical/ethnic/racial preferences very much at all. Up at the top of my preference is white, Hispanic, and Persian, followed by South Asians, East Asians, and blacks. Yet if you look at my dating history, I am “unwilling” to date anyone that isn’t white or East Asian.

  18. chic noir says:

    Most of the blk women I know aren’t open to dating a non blk man. Some aren’t open to dating a blk man who isn’t African-American. If he has a an accent they don’t want him. Those who are open are usually open to a latino(Dominican or Puerto Rican).

    truman, in regards to standards of beauty, lets be honest, most people in this country are not goodlooking. when you see a goolooking woman, she goodlooking. Gabrielle union is better looking than Jennifer Aniston will ever be *smile*

    There is a history between blk/wht relations in this country and yes it skwers the mating market. + most people are just naturally attracted to those who are like them. Blk women are raised pretty much that relations with a wht man is a no go area.

  19. chic noir says:

    web Plus, you’re facing the age-old problem of people lying to the survey.

    *shakes head in agreement*

    Most people don’t want to admit to being bigots.

  20. trumwill says:

    truman, in regards to standards of beauty, lets be honest, most people in this country are not goodlooking. when you see a goolooking woman, she goodlooking. Gabrielle union is better looking than Jennifer Aniston will ever be *smile*

    Gabrielle Union is pretty gorgeous. What I tend to find, though, is that there are differences in the decline. It’s not that I find whites x% more attractive than others across the boards. Rather, it’s that I find larger portions of whites to be physically attractive than East Asians, for instance, and Hispanics to blacks, and so on. It’s hard to pick between the most attractive of each ethnicity, but it gets easier when looking at those in the middle and when kind of figuring what percentage you find physically appealing.

  21. Maria says:

    10.The bell-curve must be irrelevant, as women never had trouble marrying before. If there is a problem, it’s of a recent origin.

    Women were forced to marry low-quality men back in the days when they were discriminated against in education and jobs. Not sure if I’d want to return to those days. With my lower-class background, I’d probably have been forced to marry someone within “my class” — and most of them would not have been suitable husbands for me.

    I don’t know much about the whole IQ debate, as I’ve tried to ignore it, but hasn’t it been proved that IQs can be can raised by things like breastfeeding and Vitamin D supplements? Shouldn’t parents be made more aware of these measures?

  22. Maria says:

    Gabrielle Union is pretty gorgeous.

    I have seen black women who were far prettier IMHO. Like the second-runner up for the Miss World pageant this year from Botswana:

    But maybe that is just my opinion.

  23. nothingbutthetruth says:

    “I’d probably have been forced to marry someone within “my class” — and most of them would not have been suitable husbands for me.”

    Of course, David Alexander is right. Women don’t want to marry equals (not men within their “class” or their “league”). They want to marry up (alphas, quality men). They settle for somebody within their “class” (betas) if this is the only option for them.

    But, by basic Math, there are not enough alphas or quality men for every woman (quality or non-quality) who want them. This is why there is a quality man shortage.

    In the past, the options were marrying a beta or starve. This is why this problem didn’t exist. Women married out of convenience. Now, with education and welfare, women have options not to marry a beta. So many of them prefer to be single moms. It’s as simple as that.

    Women don’t want to get married to “non-quality men” because they have unrealistic standards (not every woman is a quality woman but every woman thinks that she is entitled to a quality man). That’s OK, it’s their option, it’s their freedom, but please stop whining about it and stop blaming the world for your unrealistic preferences and your free choices.

  24. trumwill says:

    Women don’t want to marry equals (not men within their “class” or their “league”). They want to marry up (alphas, quality men). They settle for somebody within their “class” (betas) if this is the only option for them.

    Neither do men, most of the time. Most of the time, people want (or think they want) the best that they can get. There is this assumption that men get realistic while women don’t.

    You’re also ambiguous in how you are determining what is and is not “quality.” For the sake of this post, quality means a man with a job and no criminal history. You’re using it synonymously with “alpha” when most alpha-beta theory proponents around here associate having a job and no criminal history with being a Boring Beta.

  25. Maria says:

    Of course, David Alexander is right. Women don’t want to marry equals (not men within their “class” or their “league”). They want to marry up (alphas, quality men). They settle for somebody within their “class” (betas) if this is the only option for them.

    You misinterpreted my post and put your own fanatical Roissysphere spin on it–typical.

    You are probably not a regular here, or else you’d know that when I spoke about my “class,” I literally meant socio-economic class — poor, uneducated, and marginalized — not “class” as it applies to stupid Roissysphere “dating market value” and “alpha-beta” “leagues”.

    No, I didn’t have much in common with most of the guys I met in my own socioeconomic group – I have an IQ in excess of 130. And yes, I was “better” than most of them — smart, talented and ambitious enough to pull myself into the middle-class, all by myself. And no, I didn’t want to live the lifestyle that my mother lived (who cleaned other peoples’ houses until she was nearly seventy.)

    I married a guy with a middle-class, educated background of equal IQ because that was whom I felt most comfortable with — “alpha” and “beta” crap had nothing to do with it. No, I didn’t want to clean other peoples’ houses until I was seventy — what a horrible person I am!

  26. Maria says:

    PS — it’s not a matter of “having unrealistic standards.” It’s a matter of having someone you can talk to over the breakfast table.

    I don’t know why that notion is controversial. Are there educated, ambitious men out there with high IQs who want to marry Wal-Mart hot dog kiosk clerks? (No that there’s anything wrong with Wal-Mart clerks, but I’d imagine they wouldn’t have much to build a marriage on.)

  27. nothingbutthetruth says:

    Maria, don’t take this as an offense but I don’t give a damn about your life. Your life is not important. My life isn’t either. We are talking about general trends.

    Women want to marry up more than men, period. Men are willing to marry down, if the girl is pretty. Men look for beauty. Women look for status, intelligence, resources and other things. We are wired this way. Of course, there are exceptions but we are talking about averages.

    You can see this in statistics between the difference of salaries between spouses. For each women who earns more than her husband, you can find one hundred men who earn more than their wives.

    Since women want to marry up, the number of desirable men are less than the women who want them. It’s simple Math. So there is always a shortage of desirable men. The alternative is to ban or discourage women to work and to receive welfare, so they have to marry a man they don’t like only to survive. So yes, I’m with David Alexander.

    I haven’t made the rules and it’s nobody’s fault. But it gets tiring to hear women complain about the men’s shortage when there is no shortage of men but high expectations on behalf of women.

  28. trumwill says:

    NBTT, can the attitude. You said what you said in response to what she said. If you don’t care about her story, then don’t imply that she’s an example of what you’re talking about.

  29. stone says:

    Will, this post makes some good points, but what it leaves out is how different classes of people view “moving up.” Money and circumstances matter to both genders, but I’ve never seen a man in the blogosphere admit it.

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