One of my female friends is a school teacher. Doesn't make a lot of money, but makes enough, has stable employment and has never seen a day of unemployment since landing her first job 10 years ago. No husband, no boyfriend.
Another one of my female friends is also a school teacher. She is only 3 years away from paying off her house. Has a lot of toys, motorcycles, but no husband nor children. She does however have a nice pension and has also never known unemployment.
A third of my female friends is actually a colleague of mine who unbeknownst to me recently had a 1960's muscle car. She works in the public sector and in the past 12 years of knowing her she has always had the same job. Never married, no children.
A fourth one, also public sector, never known unemployment, decent job, no husband.
Now I could go on, but in general what all of these ladies have in common are six things;
1. They work in the public sector.
2. They've never known unemployment.
3. Even though they don't make a TON of money they make it so consistently and without pause they are all in much stronger financial situations than I am.
4. They have nice things and toys and finances.
5. They have health care and pensions that I could only dream of having.
but the most interesting one is #6;
6. They're all looking for a boyfriend/husband.
Now, this is not going to be a tirade against the path women have chosen and blah blah blah and choices have consequences, blah blah blah, it's the career or the family blah blah blah type of BS.
It's actually quite the opposite and it does beget some pity for them.
Understand that because of what women major in, they typically are over-represented in the employment ranks of the public sector. Teachers, social workers, etc, attract more women than they do men. Again, not terribly high paying jobs, but really reliable employment and exceptional benefits. Additionally, because of the strength of public sector unions, they are more or less inoculated against the effects of the recession. No offense to them, but they really don't know what it's like having to worry about, "Geez, I hope I have enough money to afford gas." Or "geez, I have to find a job or else I'm going to be in real trouble in 3 months."
Now, over the decades, if they are slightly good stewards of their finances, they build up tidy little nest eggs and strong, stable finances. Their male counterparts however, have an uphill battle in this regard, especially given the disproportionate effects this particular recession has had on men. They have nowhere near the nest egg or retirement plans these ladies do. They have nowhere near the stable employment these ladies do. And they have nowhere near the strong, stable finances these ladies do. This presents a risk for the ladies, because as the economy fails to genuinely recover and the public sector continues to grow and crowd out the private sector, men are going to be forced or at least "tempted" to consider using some of these nice ladies for their finances. Worse still, because of pride, men are less likely (I'm guessing) to go on the public dole and may instead psychologically convince themselves of a compromise between pride and starvation, permitting themselves to some gold-digging.
My one friend in particular is very aware of this in that she is afraid (and I think justifiably so) of men once they find out her house is more or less bought and paid for, as well as all of her toys and she has a nice pension AND HER SPOUSE/PARTNER CAN GET FREE HEALTH INSURANCE.
It's like the Foghorn Leghorn cartoon where he shacks up with the widow hen because winter's coming.
Of course the irony of this is how the roles have been reversed. Previously on "An American Life" the men were the bread-winners and had to look out for the gold diggers. Now with much-celebrated growth in the public sector (and thus a crowding out of the evil and completely unnecessary private sector);
it's those nice, stably employed public sector women with their nice pensions, free health insurance, and tidy-summed bank accounts that have to look out for ulteriorly-motivated men.