Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Stop being a hater

Last week I saw this picture pop up way too often on my Facebook newsfeed:

Granted, Barney Stinson is kind of awesome...delusional and sociopathic, but kind of awesome...but the people putting this photo up are nowhere near the level of awesome Barney encompasses. It makes me wonder if they're just trying to justify to others that they're currently happy with their lives being unmarried and/or childless at the moment, because if they really were awesome, they'd be too busy being awesome and not posting a Facebook photo claiming they're getting more awesome.

Let's be real here, most people are generally pretty boring, me included. They work an office job during the week, maybe get food or drinks with friends, play videogames or exercise, go out on weekends, rinse and repeat. That's pretty standard right? So if that's what everyone else does, how does that make someone more awesome than someone else? You know, unless you're also a musician or some type of creative...


 [aw-suhm]  Show IPA
inspiring awe: an awesome sight.
showing or characterized by awe.
Slang. very impressive: That new white convertible is totally awesome.

Contrast that to what Barney Stinson does: he's an extreme womaniser, accepts random challenges, is an exorbitant gambler that speaks Mandarin, does magic, plays laser tag frequently, flies cross country to save a friend's relationship and so on.

There's no contest, the people putting that photo up have no business doing so...but like my title says, I'm just being a hater.  I just saw that photo above one too many times...what right do I have to judge? Being awesome is all relative anyways...

Let's move onto marriage...

One of the main reasons I went back to the US (and will continue to do so in the future) is because of a wedding. I promised my friend before I moved to Australia that I would attend his wedding, and since I'm a man of my word (gets me in trouble) I went. It was a beautiful wedding and I had a blast...and I'll be back next year for another wedding. 

Up until this year I've only been to two weddings, which I found odd. But something seems to happen once you turn 27+, since it seems like everyone I know is starting to get engaged like crazy. Let's pull some statistics into the picture to see how this accurate this is in terms of age at first marriage (sad, "first marriage")

United States: 28.4 for men, 26.5 for women. 
Taiwan: 31.6 for men, 28.9 for women. 
Australia: 29.6 for men, 27.7 for women.

Contrast this to 1970 in the US: 23.2 for men, 20.8 for women.

Damn! So what happened?

Women entering the workforce is what happened! (I am totally in support of this.)

Women were no longer simply stay at home mom's who could only rely on the incomes of their husbands. They could start careers of their own, increasing their independence, social mobility and choice. Side effects of this are that women are now increasingly become the breadwinners of relationships. This can cause issues with people accustomed to traditional gender roles; whether it's the guy that can't handle a woman making more than him or a woman who can't stand a guy who makes less than her. 

So while household incomes and corporate profits have risen, real wages haven't. Because of the influx of women into the workforce, productivity rose but the amount you take home hasn't. You could raise a family of 4 off $50k a year back in 1970 and have lots of money to spare, but in 2011 good luck! However, taking into consideration a dual income family of 4 with 100k, you might get the same relative purchasing power of a family of 4 with $50k in 1970.

Now you have men and women focusing on their careers to make money because money is worth less, so marriage is put on the backburner.  No marriage also generally means no children. In conjunction with technology, more people going to universities, and how accessible travel is these days, it's no wonder the average age at first marriage keeps rising. The options are's much easier to meet and talk to people all over the world these days than ever before. People are also becoming addicted to instant gratification and whatever is convenient...because for many there is no time to really try dating, since they're too busy working. 

You work so many hours during the week that during your time off, instead of meeting new people you may want to just relax instead. I bring this up because most of the people I know getting married are college sweethearts or knew each other for a while, versus meeting someone after graduating. Anyway, you might turn to speed dating or internet dating because it's convenient or your friends are tapped out, because you can judge someone within 3 seconds. You may get this idea that there's a surplus of potential partners out in the world, making it harder for people to really commit.

So is marriage outdated now? Don't get me wrong, I'm all for least the idea of it. Happily ever after, til death do us part...all that stuff is pretty awesome. It's just interesting thinking about it from a different perspective. In the past and currently in several Asian/Arabian cultures, marriages were mainly out of practicality and economics. Now, with women making their own money that's out the westernised cultures people marry for love. But with globalisation, both people working, and so on...does it make sense outside of tax reasons? Would it be any different to a life partnership without the brouhaha?

The divorce rate these days is around 50%. 50%!!! My guess is some people are rushing into marriage too quickly (no duh) because they haven't had enough time to figure themselves out and what they really want because they're too busy working...or maybe it's because there are just so many options these days to do these days that they really don't know what they want because they haven't tried it opposed to the 70s and before where the majority of people kind of lived in the same place their whole lives and knew the same people. I don't know...but it seems like people aren't taking their vows seriously.

In any case, I won't be walking down that aisle for a while...


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