Geraldo Rivera created a tempest in a teapot when he said during a recent interview on Fox News that women should not agree to short term trial marriages (called beta marriages) because youth is a woman’s most important asset. Here’s what he said:
…I think [what] a woman brings to a marriage more than anything else, to a relationship, is her youth. Her youth is a fragile and diminishing resource. So if a woman were to invest two years in one of these marriages, and then to be rejected by the man, I think that she has given up a valuable asset that is unequal — in other words, the man gets everything and the woman gets nothing from this arrangement.
Of course, the headlines for the article made it sound like Geraldo has it in for ageing women. That’s what got me to click on it.
I read the headline and was all ready to go in with guns ablazin’ and tell Geraldo Rivera what he could do with his stupid opinion until I actually listened to what he was saying. And you know what? He’s right.
Biology has not played a fair hand where women are concerned. We can stamp our feet and toss our pretty little curls all we like, but the truth is that biology is a cruel bitch, and women have drawn the short end of the Darwinian straw.
Let’s ask Demi Moore
Right this minute, my 52-year old husband could go out and and get himself a woman half his age to marry him. He wouldn’t even have to try hard. It wouldn’t matter that he’s a little wrinkled, or that his hair is thinning a bit on top. He has a job, all of his teeth, and he knows how to commit and make a woman happy. Plenty of 25-year old women would be happy for just the good job and teeth, and would consider his ability to please a woman an add-on bonus.
Me? I couldn’t get me a 25-year old husband if I was an heiress with a terminal illness. It wouldn’t matter that I look younger than my age and can fuck like a minx. Sure, I could find me a younger lover. That I have no doubt. But a husband? Nope. Not a chance.
My 52-year old husband can still father children. A 25-year old woman wouldn’t be walking away from her mothering potential to be with him. But me? I’m done for. The shop’s closed. Hell, I’ve had a hysterectomy. The shop’s been torn down and turned into a pleasure palace.
And while pleasure might be nice, and I might be darned good conversationalist after the loving’s over, a 25-year old man can easily find his pleasure while not having to sacrifice potential fertility. Why should he give up one for the other?
The best I could do if I were looking for a husband would be to find a man my own age. And from what I hear from my friends on the dating circuit, I’d be damned lucky to get that. Nope. More than likely I’d be looking at a man 10-20 years older, or what I like to call the pre-Depends years.
Fertility Determines Marriageability
The hard truth for a woman is that fertility peaks at 27. Yes, you read that right. 27. Not 40. Not even 35. 27.
Sure, women over 27 get pregnant every day, but women over 40 don’t. Men’s fertility declines with age as well, but not nearly as steeply. Within reasonable parameters—for instance, most women in their 20s and 30s wouldn’t seek out a 70-year old husband unless big money was involved—age is simply not considered a factor for women when considering a spouse.
But for women, age determines everything. All the Botox in the world cannot fool your ovaries. Just ask Demi Moore. Our ovaries have a date stamp that determines our marriageability, and that’s just the way it is.
Boys will be Boys
Young men are biologically programmed to seek out young, fertile women. They can’t help themselves. Just like women are biologically programmed to seek out men they think will be good providers. We can’t help ourselves. This is one reason younger women are more attracted to older men, and older, married men in particular.
This doesn’t mean that younger men won’t engage in a fling with an older woman. My friend, Erika Jagger, shows on her blog, A Sexy Woman of a Certain Age, that they most certainly will. But when it comes down to time to commit they’ll go younger every time.
So if a woman spends two years in a trial marriage then that’s really two years she can’t get back if it doesn’t work out. She’s aged herself two years (or more!) in the mating pool, while the man hasn’t aged at all.
For example, if two 25-year olds go in for a trial marriage, and after two years decide to call it quits, the now 27-year old man still has access to partners 5 or more years younger than himself. But the 27-year old woman is not so fortunate. She has wasted her two years on a relationship that went nowhere, and now she’s limited to men at least 27, and more likely older.
And the hard truth is that by their late 20s and 30s, most of the marriageable men are already taken. They won’t be available again until their 40s or 50s when they’ll be back on the market looking for, you guessed it, younger women.
Youth is a Woman’s Most Valuable Asset
It sucks. But it’s true. We can be mad at the messenger, but the message is clear, shacking up, hooking up, and trial marriages benefit men to the detriment of the women who agree to these relationships out of denial that age matters. Age does matter. It matters a helluva lot when you’re a woman. And anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. Or, if it’s a man, trying to get you in bed.
I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I agree with Geraldo Rivera. Unless a woman is really only–and I mean REALLY, not just pretending so she can appear all liberated and evolved, if even only in her own mind–looking to get laid and avoid commitment that could lead to children then she’d be wise to avoid these temporary relationships and seek out men who are truly able to commit. Time’s a-wasting.