The Atlantic

There's No Perfect Age to Find a Husband

Women in their 20s are told they're too young to settle down. Then, seemingly overnight, they start hearing they're spinsters. What gives?
Source: Yuriko Nakao / Reuters

Heterosexual women today, in certain milieus, find themselves placed into one of two categories: too young to settle down, and too old to find a man. There is a window of opportunity to get married, but it is ephemeral almost to the point of non-existence. It falls at a different age according to region, or the idiosyncratic biases of one's circle, but hovers around 27. "Too young" refers not to teen marriage, but to any commitment entered into by a grown woman deemed still a child by those around her.

Here's how it works: A young woman hears from friends and. To entertain the possibility of it being difficult to find a husband, to even utter the expression "find a husband," is to regress to another era. And this advice is incredibly appealing, a rejection of the quaint notion that female heterosexuality is the desire not for men, but for a white picket fence.

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from The Atlantic

The Atlantic6 min read
The Wizard of Oz Invented the ‘Good Witch’
Eighty years ago, MGM’s sparkly pink rendering of Glinda expanded American pop culture’s definition of free-flying women.
The Atlantic5 min readSociety
When Kids Are Straight Until Proven Otherwise
Many gay preteens know early on that they are somehow different, but lack the parental and social support that heterosexuals take for granted.
The Atlantic8 min readSociety
Saved From Death Row, Only to Be Returned
A set of unusual cases in North Carolina brings new attention to racism in death-penalty trials.