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Like in New York, I [thought] it had something to do with the labor market here; fashion and PR and media attract a lot of women and Wall Street isn't nearly the all-male bash that it used to be, so I figured there would be all those shifts in the labor market—[I thought] maybe there was something unique about LA and Washington and New York that make them particularly bad for women. In fact, what I call the "college man deficit" is worse in rural states like Montana and West Virginia and Mississippi than it is in California and New York. This isn't China or India where they have a man-made gender imbalance because of all sorts of horrendous things.
It certainly seemed like they were well on their way to getting married. She really wants to have kids, get married, the whole [thing]. "They'd been dating for over two years and he said he 'just wasn't ready to settle down.'" This got Birger, a former economics writer for , thinking: How could a man of that age be so cavalier about casting aside such an amazing woman?
And she's amazing in every way." One day at lunch, Birger casually asked her about her boyfriend. And why do we all have similar stories of incredible female friends trapped for years in dating hell? , a clever read with a sobering conclusion: There simply aren't enough college-educated men to go around.
For every four college-educated women in my generation, there are three college-educated men. What Birger calls a "musical chairs" of the heart: As the men pair off with partners, unpartnered straight women are left with fewer and fewer options—and millions of them are eventually left with no options at all.
We all have that friend: the beautiful, intelligent, driven woman who—like Katherine Heigl in every rom-com—can't find a decent date.
Every guy she goes out with is an asshole; she consistently dates "below" her league, and she's on the verge of giving up on a committed relationship altogether.
Not long after he turned 30, the writer Jon Birger realized he and his wife knew a lot of women like that.
The couple didn't have a lot of single male friends left, but the many single women they knew all seemed to be buyers stuck in a seller's market.
I sat down for a long talk with Birger and found out why boys aren't graduating from college, why your best friend is single, and why more women should consider moving to Silicon Valley.
VICE: How did you determine that there was this nation-wide "man deficit" among the college-educated?
Jon Birger: I think when I began the research, I actually thought the conclusion was a little different.
I assumed this was a New York problem or a big city thing. I mean they exist, they're just not going to college.