A new portrait of single Americans, drawn from a major new survey, suggests the attitudes and behaviors of today's singles are quite unlike their counterparts just a few decades ago.
Findings show men are more interested in love, marriage and children than their peers in earlier times; women want more independence in their relationships than their mothers did; and hooking up and one-night stands aren't necessarily meaningless sexual encounters.
The researchers say the nationally representative survey of more than 5,000 men and women is the largest and most comprehensive study of single adults to date. And it reveals a sea change in gender expectations.
"Men are now expressing some traditionally female attitudes, while women are adopting some of those long attributed to men," says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, who helped develop the survey with social historian Stephanie Coontz and Justin Garcia, a doctoral fellow with the Institute for Evolutionary Studies at Binghamton (N.Y.) University.
"For me, as a historian, it's just amazing confirmation about what has changed in the last 40 years," says Coontz, professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Olympia, Wash.
The online survey of singles ages 21 and older was conducted by market research firm MarketTools for the Dallas-based dating website Match.com. Fisher, a research professor at Rutgers University, is a scientific adviser for a division of Match.com.
Data show men are quicker to fall in love and more likely than women to want children: 54% of men say they have experienced love at first sight, compared with 44% of women; among singles without children under 18, more men (24%) than women (15%) say they want children.
And, across every age group, women want more independence than men in their relationships: 77% of women say having their personal space is "very important," vs. 58% for men; 78% of women say the same about having their own interests and hobbies (vs. 64% for men). And 35% of women (vs. 23% of men) say regular nights out with the guys/girls are important. ...
And in related news ... Generation Y women losing 'female' skills such as cooking, ironing and sewing
BASIC "female" skills are becoming endangered with fewer young women able to iron a shirt, cook a roast chicken or hem a skirt.
Just as more modern men are unable to complete traditional male tasks, new research shows Generation Y women can't do the chores their mothers and grandmothers did daily, reported The Courier-Mail.
Only 51 per cent of women aged under 30 can cook a roast compared with 82 per cent of baby boomers.
Baking lamingtons is a dying art with 20 per cent of Gen Y capable of whipping up the Aussie classic, down from 45 per cent for previous generations.
Social researcher Mark McCrindle said: "Women of today tend to be busier, juggling more roles, and are quite prepared to compromise a bit of the homemade just to save some time.
"They also have a lot more disposable income compared with their mums and their grandmothers so buying a cake mix or lamingtons ready-made is not a big deal." ...
One of my favorite Hallmark Cards has a '50s era women wearing an apron. She is standing in front of a unfinished cake and holding mixing bowl as she gleefully stirs the contents with a spoon. You open the card and it reads, "Why do you suppose she took the icing out the can and put it in the bowl?"