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Thumb sailer
November 10, 2008, 08:00 PM
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A reader explain why it`s so hard to "meet someone" these days:

The reason things are broken is that older married women used to create the social context in which their children could get married and make grandbabies for them, but now they all have mostly completely useless jobs instead.

Some of them knew they were doing this, but most were just doing what they felt was expected of them. Mostly women do what they feel is expected of them. It`s expected now that women have jobs. If they don`t have a job, they need to be doing intensive childrearing or volunteer work. It`s completely unacceptable for them to spend their afternoons playing bridge or touring each other`s gardens or shopping for hats or any other ladylike pursuit.

But those apparently useless activities BUILT THE ENTIRE FREAKING SOCIAL WORLD. Just like a world of women would never invent anything useful, a world of men will never have a nice party. You meet your future spouse at a nice party that your mom nagged you into going to because her friend needs more people there. You have total plausible deniability about being there - you`re not there cause you`re lonely and desperate - you don`t need game, you don`t need the rules. The biddies took care of that for you. All you need to do is show up and be fertile/virile.

But middle-aged women can`t do this, and have jobs, and take care of their elderly parents, and exercise, and worry about their husbands leaving them or have to take care of their children with no husband at all. Impossible.

This is illustrated explicitly in Helen Fielding`s very funny Bridget Jones`s Diary (which is a blend of Jane Austen`s Pride and Prejudice with a distaff version of Henry Fielding`s Tom Jones, but set in the dysfunctional mating environment of upscale 1990s London.)

Bridget spends a lot of time in expensive restaurants and bars with her two girlfriends and her gay male friend complaining about how they can never meet anybody. She meets proto-Pick Up Artist Daniel Cleaver (Hugh Grant in the movie) at her semi-glamorous (and mostly-useless) media job.

But she keeps running into the awkward but admirable Mark Darcy (Colin Firth) when she reluctantly drives out of London to obligingly show up at the various old-fashioned suburban parties her upper middle class housewife mother and her mother`s friends are constantly throwing and roping their children into attending so that the parties will be a success. Mark is the son of an admiral in Bridget`s parent`s social set, a top lawyer whose first marriage broke up when his wife had an affair with Daniel Cleaver. Like Bridget, he also hates being dragged into attending the old biddies` parties, but he dutifully shows up because his mother and his mother`s friends need more people.