Peter and Paul respond vociferously to a weekend article in the New York Times entitled Men’s Lib. The article implores men to “become more like women” and that in fact, men “don’t really have a choice.” The article makes several valid points, including the fact that women now exceed men at all levels of education and will continue to take spots away in the highly-paid professional sphere. The dismal scene projected by the article puts Pete off, especially the comment that men must stop thinking about white collar vs blue collar jobs, but rather embrace “pink” collar work, including positions as librarians, elementary school teachers, and nurses. Faced with what the authors call a “feminine future,” men must “adapt or be left behind.” Paul is particularly interested in how these demographic trends affect the marriage market, something he’s discussed before in comments on Date-onomics by Jon Birger. The article contends that many men “with poor job prospects do not see themselves as husband material” because they subscribe to the male-breadwinner model of marriage. This has to change, argue the authors – who, by the way, are a man and a women – and many women will have to “marry down” if they want a committed partner. One of the most provocative lines comes near the end: “More men ought to be doing what women did historically: improving their economic prospects by marrying well.” Peter and Paul envisage a late-night Manhattan bar with men leaning against the railing, coiffing their hair and batting their eyelashes, hoping a rich young woman might just buy them a drink! Next, we consider a very real choice that many people face: Financial Risk v Fulfillment Risk. Most workers accustomed to a steady paycheck fear economic insecurity when they unplug, perhaps having nightmares of park benches and dumpster-diving. Paul makes the case that few people will actually starve, and that the bigger, more profound risk is Fulfillment Risk: staying in something unsatisfying, but comfortable, until it’s too late to pursue your dreams. This, he believes, is the real risk, but hard to quantify or appreciate when we’re young because its power comes in the form of regret in later life.

  • Wietze

    Sorry guys but you missed the boat here. Forget about sexuality and standards. Also I suggest to stop rationalising these things. Its unnatural. These are made up by films books and commerce. There is no way a man or woman should be. Reality is that both man and women have masculine and feminine energy within. We are becoming in An era where these energies will be balanced within man or woman. There are too many opinions and that is what makes us distanced from eachother. Wietze from Amsterdam, relax your mind your heart will follow.

    • I think you make a good point, Wietze. Pete and I may have our opinions, but what we’re really after is a dialogue on these subjects. I do think that the transition will be noteworthy and that a lot of cultural commentators will get in on the discussion. We’ve been living with one model for a long time, so the change will be profound.

    • Hi Wietze

      Thanks listening and sharing views! Seems a good conversation has sparked. We really appreciate it!

      You said we missed the boat but I did not feel it was totally clear what you were saying. I love that you are contributing, and I think myself and both stated we do not have the answers to this subject and we are working it out (as we are with most subjects) however I did not get a clear count point.

      I read slightly general/spiritual esq comments. Are you saying these gender issues are no longer an issue and typical roles do you exist? Either from a practical or a sexual standpoint? I love to hear more.

      What is precisely unnatural? It sounds like you are saying ‘Man, Woman, doesn’t matter what gender, we are all the same, and roles should not, or do not, exist?

      If so, I totally disagree. I would say myself and Paul have a very wide range of friends in age, lifestyle and character and we both have lived in many different countries. That does not mean we are right, it does mean are opinion has been formed from a wider view and not just our own life choices or instincts. The only group of friends that would share you opinion are (and I don’t want to sound disreacpectful to them) are my more ‘spiritual focussed’, some might call ‘Hippy’ friends whom, in my opinion, have taken too much ayahuasca.

      They live in a sub community and I would say they do not represent the majority. They might be enlightened, and I enjoy their company, but I times I fear the light have just been turned off.

      “Relax your mind your heart will follow.” I am certainly a fan of turning my mind off and trusting my gut/heart. Over thinking is path to madness and stress. However, this podcast is about engaging our mind. Sometimes I feel people need to ‘think more’ and not less. I enjoy these debates and subject and I don’t feel just connecting with my ‘Love Centre’ is always to path the wisdom.

      Anyway, I wanted to reply as we appreciate your comments and your support. As it said it has sparked off some interesting comments.

      Keep listening,


  • Arron

    Contrary to commenter above, I think you were both on point with this. Women in general marry up (hypergamy) and men marry down – just look in society and this is clear. Women usually won’t stay with a guy who she thinks she’s better than. She will not have respect for him. (Look up examples of stay at home dads who get cheated on and cuckolded by their business women partners.)

    That said, I hope I can find me a rich woman to take care of me, it’ll be like being a child again.

    Last twenty minutes was a great discussion.

  • Steve

    The basic problem with the article is what you guys talked about in your podcast: if men are going to have to evolve, women are also going to have to evolve. And yet there isn’t anything in the article that really addresses how women are going to have to evolve in terms of what they can expect to get out of their relationships with men. Because the authors don’t address this, the article comes off as “extreme” and apocalyptic. It sounds almost as if they have an ax to grind against guys. It’s really unfortunate because I think they bring up some good points.

    One point I wanted to make….some of these “caregiving” jobs like being a nurse have evolved over the years. Nurses are being relied upon to do more and more things in the hospital setting. If you have ever seen some of these TV programs like NY Med, being an ER-Room nurse is every bit as a stressful and demanding as being an attorney. In some ways it’s more stressful, because they are dealing with life or death matters. Many nurses are also working longer and longer hours, night shifts, weekends, etc. I know a fairly young OBGYN nurse who makes close to six figures. But her work is way more complicated than just sticking a thermometer in a patient’s mouth. That kind of work has been delegated to “medical assistants.” People often mistake them for nurses when they go their doctor’s office.

    Also, I think some people have visions of librarians as being the cute little old lady who reads Dr. Seuss books to kids at the local public library every Saturday morning. Go to a major university law library and speak with one of their law librarians. They often have a law degree as well as a masters in library science. Many of these kinds of jobs have evolved and are changing, and the pay is getting better as well. Yes, these professions are not paying $500,000 per year, but they are now paying at a level to where if I man takes them on, they can feel respected.

    One last point I’d like to make: why is it that we as a society must attribute qualities such as emotional vulnerability, empathy and caretaking as being “feminine” qualities? To me they are HUMAN qualities. The reason why we don’t associate men with having these qualities is that the society doesn’t allow for it. It’s beaten out of them, and often to the detriment of men. Their health suffers, they resort to violence, it screws up relationships, et cetera. Yet when anyone suggests that it would be a good idea to re-examine the overly-macho tendencies of “toxic” masculinity in our society, and for boys to be allowed to experience and express healthy emotions, certain groups of people come out and say, “you’re trying to turn men into women.” It’s hogwash, as well as a mentality that is rooted in fear. These are human qualities, and they aren’t going “feminize” men or neuter the masculinity and uniqueness they bring to the working world or their relationships with women. The bottom line is this: as long as you have males and females, there is going to be enough polarization for sex and relationships to occur. Biology will make sure it happens.

  • Wietze

    If a woman leaves you because you have not a proper job. She is not even worth you. There should be respect on both sides. Its called unconditional love.

    • Arron

      A woman’s love is always based on conditions. For example how well her man is doing in career and life and his success – it will always be like that, most women will seek out the strong man and as pete said the most independent women often want the strong man to tether her more than anything. Being vulnerable to women in excess has lost me a girlfriend in the past.

      The only unconditional love a woman has is for her children. An example of this is my friend telling me his girlfriend openly said she wouldn’t stay with him if he wasn’t doing better than her in life. She just took a 25k job and he’s earning less. We have to deal with reality here, what plays out in the real world, not a fantasy.

      Truly even men’s love is conditional, for example if your wife changed from a lovely fit person, to a nasty, fat slob you probably wouldn’t love her anymore. And nowadays, with the rise of tinder, hook up apps, and liberal attitudes, relationships are mostly temporary anyway (at least in 20’s).

    • I think it is not as black and white as ‘leaving’ just because of the job situation. We were talking about attraction in the first place. I don’t think a loving relationship would end just because someone loses job but it might not start if the person does not have one in the first place or some alternative.

      I do agree with your sentiment though. I have seen a friend recently feel the pressure to abandon his passion as he feels he will lose his GF who has big plans unless he earns more money. It feels like she wants what is best for her and not best for both.

      I do understand a women’s need for security though, especially when marriage/kids are brought into the equation.

  • Steve

    I think a lot of these discussions about women marrying up or men marrying up are outdated and only apply to small subgroup of people. The plain truth is that there aren’t going to be many stay at home moms and stay at home dads in the future. If you talk to people in their mid-20’s, they realize that even if they want kids, both parents are going to have to work, and both parents are going to have to make a reasonable salary. It’s extremely expensive to raise kids these days. Yes, one parent might telework and lighten their load for a couple of years when the kids are super young, but not enough to where they are put into a subservient position in relation to their spouse. They’ll have enough power to draw a line in the sand if they must.

    I would really caution people to avoid making projections about society based on the Fortune 500 executive mom who has a stay at home husband. This isn’t the real world. These people are outliers. There are only so many people in this world who work high powered, well paying jobs. These will be the only kinds of jobs that will allow for a stay at home spouse or a spouse who only works part time. It’s not the norm.

    • Hey Steve.

      Thanks for joining in and also for listening in the first. Myself and Paul appreciate the support.

      I think you make a good point about both couples working. That is the reality of many. Yes.

      However, it often still works out one is in higher position than the other. So both can work but one can be ‘marrying up.’ Just more subtle than the old model. Also the fact that more women need to work shows a moving trend.

      Good points.

  • Wietze

    I totally agree with especially the last alinea of Steve. This subject could be discussed endless, but these are true statements. Stay true to the essence of who you truly are. Express from the heart not the ego. Thats earns the most respect in the end. And if not, let others deal with that.

  • Tony W

    Dayum Right…i’m not marrying a woman unless she makes and has more $ than me.

    Either that or she better have some pretty good job prospects. (oh yeah, she better have a great sense of humor and be able to cook—else what do i need her round for?) I had one Girl stay with me for a short period of time and she couldn’t even make a Sandwich? Other than looks, big Knockers,and tan legs—i got to show her off to my friends and a decent lay, but what good was she to me? Guess what i did with her?

    Lets face it, what do “Today’s” woman really bring to the Table? I can get laid anytime…not to mention the fact that woman commonly sell their bodies for Sex. After that,..its companionship and personality traits. But how many Guys have good companions? Many men are suffering in Bad Marriages and can’t divorce their wife’s for fear of financial ruin. Mother to your children? How many GOOD MOTHERS are there? After she gets your seed and alimony money, you are been moved down several notches on the totem pool. The relationship game is largely a Mirage of Men Fantasizing of the perfect woman who can raise a family and provide great Sex. Reality proves this to be Contrary to the illusion.

    We have the sperm. Woman need a Man to impregnate their egg…its biological. If you want to cheapen yourselves by selling short (or maybe you are short down there—-haha), then join Feminist Misandrist group…perhaps a sex change is in order.

    When you think of all the Great things that have catapulted Mankind, the leaders of new frontiers and development have over-overwhelmingly been men—not women. Why? Because men have Testosterone—that 1 hormone that drives its species to achieve and kill. Do woman have this? (to some degree but mostly NOT).

    If the Dominate Male was to be irradiated off the face of the Earth, the species would either seize to exist or a Dominate She/male would rule the planet. Thank God this will never happen (or will it)?



    • Hey Tony

      Thanks for your comments. Always good to get different opinion. You have a very particular way of expressing yourself. You remind me of guy I used to play football with. He was a actually a really nice man but he has brash, no nonsense approach to these topics which was funny to see.

      I can not say I agree with all your statements but I do appreciate you joining the debate.

      I am interested to know would you REALLY feel comfortable marrying a richer, smarter, more successful woman who expects you to behave in a certain way that might be against you previous single man ways?

      Would you feel worried she might leave you as she holds the power? Could your ego manage being told ‘what is what?’ Would that be good for you perhaps?

      I am genuinely interested in if this situation would work for a guy like you and if you think a women like that would aline long term with you?

      Thanks again.

      • Tony W

        Hi Pete,

        Any female expecting me to behave a certain way is a contradiction in terms and values (mine). Lets face it, if you marry a woman, she will (or should) know exactly what she’s getting. I hide no bones. If she needs someone to fetch her dry cleaning, or an errand boy, then she can hire a valet.

        I’m not saying my attitude towards woman is similar to the Samurai culture of Japan (as i do more than my share of contribution towards any relationship), but as far as “her” having all the power because of $, that has not been my experience If she has money, i have mine…what’s the issue?

        Just because someone has or makes more money than their partner, doesn’t necessarily mean they control the relationship. I’ve seen cuckold men who were Dr.’s, Attorney’s, etc. who’s wife’s had them on a leash…so much so it was actually embarrassing to witness as a friend. I’ve also seen “gigolo” type arrangements where the man has little to no $, yet controls the power of the relationship dynamic.

        I think what you are suggesting is that the $ partner in the relationship has the power….but this is NOT TRUE. I personally have witnessed women (stay at home mothers) who strike FEAR into the hearts of their husbands (who worry about the wife leaving them and taking half of the $ and getting alimony as well). Who really has the power in that situation.

        In nature, Males hold the power over females and i think this should be the natural course of Male/Female Relationships with humans as well. If a woman is not happy with a particular Man leading them and directly the relationship, she should get another man whom she feels comfortable with handing the helm to.

        As for me, I’ve witnessed too many men getting reamed by the Legal and Social system and woman holding too much power over men in relationships—and for no good reason.


  • John

    Hey guys, interesting episode. As far as financial risk v fulfilment risk is concerned, I don’t think it’s necessarily as binary as you make out. My creative ‘fulfilment’ if you will is writing literary fiction of the kind that doesn’t sell very well these days. Any other type of writing – while enjoyable – is not ‘fulfilling’ in the same way and is essentially commercial in nature. So even if I launched myself as a full time journalist (and I am considering it) I still wouldn’t be ‘fulfilled’ in the way you imply as I’d be writing to put food on the table rather than to explore fictional themes passionate about. Of course, I’m painting a very black and white picture here, but even with my ‘padding’ I still need to make a buck. So the difficulty lies when one’s passion is not an immedIate money spinner. Are people in that situation supposed to throw caution to the wind and hope for the best?

    I think the reality is there always has to be some commercial trade off (and you get this with actors who do one franchise picture followed by a passion project). Whether my commercial trade off should be as lopsided as working in a corporate company full time is debatable, but my honeyed prose won’t pay the bills on its own (have you seen reports on author’s warning!)

    The other thing is that full time work is not necessarily incompatible with writing and indeed many authors – Kafka, TS Eliot, Dickens at times – had jobs. I’ve written 3 novels and hundreds of articles while working in an office so I’m hardly a dilettante!

  • John

    *authors earrings

    • John

      ‘Earnings’, that should say – damn autocorrect !

  • Darren

    This article from Slate really talks about some very critical issues regarding this topic:

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