Thursday, July 13, 2017

When success sucks

A recent conversion with a colleague hinged on women in academia who are single. Although this conversation was based on anecdotal evidence, I would love to collect data to examine some evidence-based trends someday.

Back to the conversation, we felt that there are far more single women than men in academia- women who have faculty or non-faculty careers, women who are highly educated. In the US, I see so many women academics roughly my age who are single. Conversations with more men (those who are highly educated as well) confirm what some of them want- women with jobs but not necessarily careers, women who will have the mindset to shift cities or countries or continents or careers. That is why, perhaps, I see so many Indian men making their annual pilgrimage to get married to someone living in India, but the reverse is so rare- a guy moving with the uncertainty that he may or may not become gainfully employed in the US right away. Count the number of women you know who got married and hence moved to the US, and the number of men who did the same. Not to mention that we shared sad, yet funny stories about women who have been called "too educated," "too independent," "too liberal," and "too ambitious." The same traits like ambition, independence, and education that make men attractive may not have the same magic effect on women. Then again, we are speaking anecdotally here, and trends always have outliers. So for every ten or hundred women who have experienced similar things, one of them will always say that the world is not as bad as we think and they did not have any problems finding their suitable boy or having to choose between a suitable degree and a suitable boy.

This reminded me of a fictitious short story I had written sometime back.

The matrimonial ad said- “PhD, research professor, based in the US.”

“How many responded?” she asked.

“Three hundred,” he said, sipping his coffee.

“How many responded?” he asked.

“Three,” she said. “A schizophrenic, an unemployed man, and you.”


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