Are Men More Attracted to Wealthy, Educated Women?
Real men weigh in on a new study about marriage and money.
What are men really looking for in a wife? A big, beautiful, voluptuous… paycheck?
The study looked at American adults, ages 30 to 44, and contrasted Census Bureau marriage statistics from 1970 with those in 2007. In 1970, only 4 percent of wives earned more money than their husbands. In 2007, 22 percent – nearly a quarter of all Mrs.’s – brought home more bacon than their Mr.’s
By most measures, this is a significant triumph for women and for men. Finally, our society is inching toward a more egalitarian financial-power balance between genders. (And make no mistake – money most definitely equals power in relationships.) The fact that many marriages now recognize and welcome the financial contributions of wives is a wonderful thing. Right?
Then why did the headline of the Times article – “More Men Marrying Wealthier Women” — leave me uneasy? Perhaps it was a quote from Paul Fucito, spokesman for the Pew Center:
“Men now are increasingly likely to marry wives with more education and income than they have, and the reverse is true for women,” Fucito told the Times. “In recent decades, with the rise of well-paid working wives, the economic gains of marriage have been a greater benefit for men.”
Men aren’t willing to settle for less – all too often they won’t settle for equal, either. This massive cultural correction also seems to reinforce the idea that it’s OK if today’s man isn’t satisfied until he finds a woman with a better body, better wardrobe, better education and a better paycheck than him. Isn’t that sort of, um, totally unfair?
On the other hand – isn’t it laudable that men are now less intimidated by female success? That’s surely something to be celebrated.
To sort out my mixed feelings, I chatted with real guys to find out how they feel about dating women who earn more than they do.
“I would never have a problem with that,” says a 38-year-old guy from Wyoming. “Just in case any of your wealthy female friends needs a man.”
Brad*, a 31-year-old business exec from Boston, tells BettyConfidential he’s dated lots of women who make more money than he does, including a Las Vegas cocktail waitress who earned more than $130,000 a year serving drinks.
“That was totally fine with me,” he says, adding that he’s dated women of all income levels – from starving students to lavishly paid pharmaceutical reps. But he still insists on paying for dates – some gender habits die hard.
As for his future wife, Brad says he doesn’t need a woman to earn more than him, but he’d never marry someone whose only career ambition is to be his wife.
“I don’t care how much money she makes,” he says. “She just has to be passionate about something and have career goals.”