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 Atlantic3 min readPolitics
What Happens When a Billionaire Swoops In to Solve the Student-Debt Crisis
A philanthropist surprised Morehouse College graduates at commencement by announcing he would pay off their student loans. But one person—even a very generous one—can only do so much.
The Atlantic4 min read
Does Trump Deserve Credit on China?
The president’s approach is different than his predecessors’—but that doesn’t mean it’s working.
The Atlantic6 min readPolitics
Macron and Salvini: Two Leaders, Two Competing Visions for Europe
The French and Italian politicians see different futures for the continent. Both face tests in this week’s European Parliament elections.