Additional elements of the mating mind exacerbate it. A key cause stems from the qualities women seek in committed mateships. Most women are unwilling to settle for men who are less educated, less intelligent, and less professionally successful than they are. The flip side is that men are less exacting on precisely these dimensions, choosing to prioritize, for better or worse, other evolved criteria such as youth and appearance. So the initial sex ratio imbalance among educated groups gets worse for high achieving women. They end up being forced to compete for the limited pool of educated men not just with their more numerous educated rivals, but also with less educated women whom men find desirable on other dimensions.But wait: Susan Patton's much-smirked-at advice to apply effort to find a husband while one is in college has some sensibility behind it, too? Because,
The depletion of educated men worsens when we add the impacts of age and divorce to the mating matrix. As men age, they desire women who are increasingly younger than they are. Intelligent, educated women may go for a less accomplished partner for a casual fling, but for a committed partner they typically want mates their own age or a few years older, and at least as educated and career-driven. Since education takes time, the sex ratio imbalance gets especially skewed among the highly educated—those who seek advanced degrees to become doctors, lawyers, or professors, or who climb the corporate ladder post-MBA. And because men are more likely than women to remarry following divorce and to marry women increasingly younger than they are—three years at first marriage, five at second, eight at third—the gender-biased mating ratio skews more sharply with increasing age.Yikes. That's pretty fearsome odds, but on the other hand, one wonders just how much women past a certain point in their lives might want to quit the game altogether, or bat for the other side (i.e. take up lesbianism).