The Thinking 

Sex and the City, the Middle Age Version

November 5, 2012


Claudia Connell admits at the advanced age of 46 that she will never have a family.


I am a regular reader of your blog. Thank you for your work. I really enjoy your social commentary and insights.

I read this article in The Daily Mail about a forty-six year old journalist who comes to realize that men prefer to marry younger women.  She comes to this conclusion:

“I … think it’s an uncomfortable truth that the sort of high-flying alpha males we were all holding out for didn’t want women like us. All the successful men I know have married sweet, uncomplicated women who are happy to forfeit their careers to support their husbands,”

She concludes the article by comforting herself with the thought of her disposable income.

—— Comments ——

Kevin M. writes:

I don’t wish this to sound judgmental, and mostly not to any women, unmarried and entering middle aged.

If I may add a touch of nuance to the notion that alpha males prefer young, uncomplicated women willing to sacrifice their careers in support of their husband’s and his wish to have a family, I would put it this way:

High-earning, handsome alpha males may very well content themselves with a mature woman who has a career of her own. Many have and will continue to do so. But younger women who from early adulthood place a premium on family, children and busying themselves with wifely domestic duties strategically place themselves in the path of such alpha males, while the career girls only report to them as underlings or coworkers. You cannot sit in a room with a Ted Turner or Donald Trump and presume to be both an aggressive, go-getting, high-flying career girl from Sex and the City and a Donna Reed Wanna-be simultaneously. The ambiguity of mission is off-putting and any alpha male will see through the ruse in a heartbeat. Women who play that game reek of divorce court.

Alpha males can easily respect a career-minded woman and may delight in her company. But if he wants a family, the only applicants he will entertain are women who put family first. He’d be insane not to.

Laura writes:

When feminists question the premises of feminism, they do so in terms of their own self-interest. It’s always what’s best for women.

We don’t learn in this case how Connell’s life was selfish. She denied to give herself to others, and that’s the most important thing, not whether she is happy now or not.

Sheila C. writes:

Like “Ecole Editor,” I, too, read “The Daily Mail’s” lament of the spinster. They often feature such articles, which always conclude on an upbeat tone, despite the catalogue of lost opportunities and life absences in the body of the essay. Yes, said female will never have a husband or children or family to mourn her passing, but by golly she has a tidy home (which she inhabits alone) and can take fabulous trips (alone, until her health and age intervene), and spend as much money as she wishes on herself (since there is no one else to purchase gifts out of love for her). I often remind myself of such articles when I’m blessed with an uninterrupted afternoon alone (such as yesterday, when my husband took our two sons shooting – the younger for the first time). Would I enjoy these precious hours of peace and quiet if I had a surfeit of them, day after day? Obviously a moot question, but one that needs to be remembered by the harried homemaker. I may get my privacy and solitude in small bites here and there, but enjoyed years of such before my marriage and may reasonably expect years more once my children are fully grown and independent. Today’s spinster (a loaded and, some would say, old-fashioned term that I choose deliberately here) may have temporary economic independence and privacy (as opposed to the spinster of years past, who was dependent on the charity of male relatives), but she has bartered for them with the precious currency of familial bonds of love. A fair price to forgo marriage and motherhood? Consider the thousands spent by today’s “power women” (those few who have deigned to marry), in an attempt to produce a biological child.

Commenter Kevin M. also makes a vital point. So-called “Alpha males” may respect a career-woman and enjoy her company, but they will not see her as a potential marriage partner. That was something I learned in my career-woman days, when men I dated inquired about my future aspirations, and were shocked (and often delighted) to discover I had no lofty career goals but rather envisioned a future family. Even if one is educated and working while single, such a woman must take care that her work ethic or dedication not give the erroneous impression of a dedicated “career woman.” That is a poison pill for marriage-minded men, and too many women fail to realize the impression they make while they long, privately, to retire to a happy home.

Terry Morris writes:

I know what a “sweet woman” is. I don’t know what an “uncomplicated woman” is. Obviously I need to be enlightened.

Lawrence Auster writes:

An example of what makes you unique:

“We don’t learn in this case how Connell’s life was selfish. She denied to give herself to others, and that’s the most important thing, not whether she is happy now or not.”

It’s as though you’re throwing down the gauntlet to the entire modern world.

 Laura writes:

Thank you. But it is really common sense and nothing unique to me.

It was once common sense that the highest purpose of a woman’s life was to love and sacrifice herself for others. Feminism gave women the permission to be selfish. And to be miserable.

Paul writes:

Women should reject her advice. Her advice will lead to the sad story reflected in her image. Maybe she should stop or greatly reduce her drinking, which is her friend in the image of her life. I suspect her drinking bottle has been her lover for too long. Her stupid advice is promiscuity and eating, other devices to avoid anxiety.

Women’s stories and even her story can be changed into happy stories if they talk to Jesus, that is, pray and walk with Jesus. Her story could change within months just as we see every year in the wonderful made-for-TV Christmas movies that start coming out around this time of year. (I will be suggesting some titles later.)

I know a story of a big, strong, married woman who had a child when she was fifty. She was a pianist who used to lug coal for a living up multiple floors when she was young. When she had her child, she was married to an accountant (her only husband), with whom she lived until he died. The birth was unthinkable in the medical age of the 50s. (She always tried to pawn her plain daughter off on me and my cousins.) She was Catholic as most people by far in my city were. I’ll bet she prayed, and I am sure she did not sit at a bar reducing her fertility.

There was a major offensive against Christmas in the last decade, but Christians are winning. Stores no longer reject Christmas. We boycotted them, and Jesus helped. TV is making more and more Christmas stories it seems.

The replacement advice should come from Jesus, not from worldly people. Jesus might send a woman on a single life without children. The key for women is to talk to Jesus and to tell Him of their doubts and desires.

This might seem an overly religious post about a complex phenomenon. Everyone is different, and marriage is not in Jesus’s plan for everyone. Men and women though need to observe people such as Mitt Romney. Here is a man with a huge family, no hint of scandal, a crushing career, and a strong religious faith that does include Jesus to some degree at least; yet there are many stories of his taking time to care for his family and many others. If he is happy, why isn’t she happy?

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