The dramatic moment where Rosie O'Donnell's character tells Meg Ryan's that "It’s easier to get killed by a terrorist than to get married after 40." This has stuck with me for years. And while I'm still no where near 40, I do find myself aged 30 and single and worried that I will end up proving that statistic correct.
This statistic was not just made up for the movie by Nora Ephron. It comes from a 1986 Newsweek cover story which most likely terrified millions of women by reporting on an unpublished study saying that by age forty, a single, educated career woman is more likely to be “killed by a terrorist” than to ever get married. The study argued that “white, college-educated women born in the mid-1950s who are still single at 30 have only a 20 percent chance of marrying. By the age of 35 the odds drop to 5 percent.”
But before you freak out, this study was and is totally incorrect. And as for the whole being killed by a terrorist part, that was actually written as a funny aside in an internal reporting memo by Newsweek’s San Francisco correspondent Pamela Abramson who later said "It's true--I am responsible for the single most irresponsible line in the history of journalism, all meant in jest."
Yeah, that's a good joke. Especially in this day and age. It's hilarious that I would be more convinced that I will encounter a terrorist attack than a nice guy should I leave my house.
Well, here we are, 21 years after Sleepless in Seattle, and nearly 30 years after that preposterous Newsweek study, and now a new study has been released for the terror of the Gen Ys and older Millennials that is harping on those same strings saying that "men across the age spectrum have a sexual preference for women in their mid-20s." So translation-- I'm officially an Old Maid.
Time Magazine decided to follow up the study with their own study where writer Anita Hamilton (an over 30 single woman) asked straight, unmarried men in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s their thoughts on dating "older" women-and by "older" women we mean any woman over 30. Age 30. You know, your typical hip replacement candidates with fading beauty and sagging tits. Ridiculous. I definitely don't feel like an old lady, except for when I see 20 year old girls outside in the winter not wearing a coat over their mini-dress. Then I'm like, nope. Too old for that. And, while I do love staying in and watching Murder She Wrote (seriously the plots have great twists that put Law and Order to shame) and while I have other over 30 lady friends whose hobbies include cross-stitching, canning, and knitting, and we always bring a sweater in case there's a chill and often like to be home and in bed by ten, we should in no way be considered "older" women. And as proof of this, I would like to state that I was recently given a student discount at a movie theatre unsolicited.
Anyway, so Time published the preferences of the men they polled, and the results, while I guess better than the study, are.....not great.
25 year old and single Niv told Time,
“I appreciate the grace and expression of slightly older women. Certain facial features, like smile lines, can be charming."
Oh, thanks, Niv. I'm glad in your infinite wisdom that comes with being 25 that you think wrinkles are hot. You just saved me a fortune from injecting cow fat into my face. Though I still will continue to pick flattering filters on instagram that better mask my crows feet.
An anonymous 32 year old single man said women 30+ are
"Generally more expert at the multisensory/theatrical aspects of the whole dance.”
What the hell does that even mean? No wonder this dude wanted to be anonymous. But, now that he mentions it, I guess I do have my multisensory dance act together and it is all very theatrical. The pleasures of the smell of sore muscle balm, the sensuous moves of hoisting out of a posturepedic bed, the touch of wrinkles. It's all as I expertly woo you in with the Broadway show that is older woman me. Hello Dolly!
“Women over 30 have stopped putting metal through their lips and tongues which makes it easier to kiss them. And they’ve figured out their makeup routine so they won’t keep you waiting as long when you’re trying to get to an event.”
Really? That's awfully specific. I'm thinking this nearly 50 year old dude got sick of dating his 20 something girlfriend when she caused him to be late (again) to his office holiday parties by attempting some pinterest My Little Pony make up crap. Also, her piercings undoubtedly posed a threat to his dentures.
Oh and in case you were thinking that patient dude sounds like a catch, he's listed as in a relationship.
Despite all this, I don't really feel too panic stricken that I will die alone and be eaten by my cats-yet. My parents met in their late 30's and are still blissfully married and that may be because they had time to develop as individuals. And I am glad I've done that as well. Granted, I am at or approaching an age where I definitely thought I'd have more of my sh*t together. Well, at least I can say I'm much cooler and happier now than I was at 24. Even if I am not married, or own property, or have a 401K. But I do wish that scientists and magazines and movies would all stop trying to make me panic about being over 30 and single. I have enough to worry about. Like sinkholes and spiders.