Commenter Kyo, who lives in Japan, pointed out an article on the preference many Japanese men have for bachelorhood. We’ve seen a few indications of this, what with the “herbivore” young men who simply avoid women altogether, and the cratering fertility rate in developed parts of Asia. In a recent online survey of 300 male readers of “My Navi News” a full 40% preferred bachelorhood.
However, in Kyo’s find the Japanese men are uncharacteristically frank — amusingly so as it turns out. The reasons they give for avoiding marriage are fairly diverse, but aside from the ones making excuses, they all appear to be saying something along the lines of “it isn’t worth it.”
Here are a some quotes from respondents:
“Just looking at my married friends and how day by day they become more and more emaciated makes me think that I’m lucky to be single.” (25, Creative Arts)
“Hearing about the cruel way that some wives treat their husbands turns me pale with fear.”(25, Creative Arts)
“To me, married men just don’t look happy, and the more time passes, the more this look of unhappiness becomes apparent.” (36, Finance).
“Rather than having your wallet squeezed of its last dime, spending your earnings as you please has got to be the more appealing option.” (24, Communications)
“All your hard earnings, in the blink of an eye, disappear into the oblivion that is housekeeping!” (24, Medical care, welfare-service)
“From impressions alone, marriage means throwing your hobbies out the window.” (25, Machinery).
“Being tied down creates unwanted stress. To put it simply, being on your own gives you the freedom to do what you want when you want.” (31, Machinery)
“I like drinking and gambling but tying the knot would surely mean an end to all of this.” (26, Real estate)
I get a kick out of the last guy.
So it isn’t just the West. It appears that all advanced, post-industrial settings tend to create substantial aversion to marriage, perhaps because men and women truly are fairly equal in terms of status and jobs.
This leads me to a theory about why marriage doesn’t seem to work all that well in egalitarian settings where there’s little difference between what men and women do.
When you level out the roles and create confusion about division of labor, it turns out that men and women don’t need each other much. Add to that the ease of obtaining extramarital sex, and there’s nothing all that compelling about marriage. Finally, because men and women really are different by nature, when they don’t rely on each other they often don’t like each other much, either, because they have such different interests. That’s a generalization, of course (some couples do have a lot in common and share common interests), but it’s probably true that in non-sexual settings most men don’t really like hanging out with women all that much.