Whoa. I just read Maureen O'Dowd's column in today's New York Times and now I know the reason why I'm not married! (Other than the fact that I don't want to be married.)
I'd been noticing a trend along these lines, as famous and powerful men took up with the young women whose job it was to tend to them and care for them in some way: their secretaries, assistants, nannies, caterers, flight attendants, researchers and fact-checkers.
Women in staff support are the new sirens because, as a guy I know put it, they look upon the men they work for as "the moon, the sun and the stars." It's all about orbiting, serving and salaaming their Sun Gods.
In all those great Tracy/Hepburn movies more than a half-century ago, it was the snap and crackle of a romance between equals that was so exciting. Moviemakers these days seem far more interested in the soothing aura of romances between unequals.
I have experienced this twice. For some men, there's this idea that, as a woman, if I don't consider them the sun around which I orbit that it means I'm not into the relationship. I've had male friends who prefer to be with women who make them and the relationship the focus of their entire life.
Which I've never fully understood; I understand the desire to be loved and appreciated, but I don't quite get the desire - beyond pure egotism - to be worshipped. It sets up the relationship in a grotesquely unequal way, and I don't imagine those kinds of relationships last very long (or are ultimately very fulfilling).
BUT, that's just me. I've always been one of those people who is attracted to men that I feel are my equal, especially intellectually. If that equality isn't there, he doesn't hold my interest for very long.
As John Schwartz of The New York Times wrote recently, "Men would rather marry their secretaries than their bosses, and evolution may be to blame."
A new study by psychology researchers at the University of Michigan, using college undergraduates, suggests that men going for long-term relationships would rather marry women in subordinate jobs than women who are supervisors.
As Dr. Stephanie Brown, the lead author of the study, summed it up for reporters: "Powerful women are at a disadvantage in the marriage market because men may prefer to marry less-accomplished women." Men think that women with important jobs are more likely to cheat on them.
A second study, which was by researchers at four British universities and reported last week, suggested that smart men with demanding jobs would rather have old-fashioned wives, like their mums, than equals. The study found that a high I.Q. hampers a woman's chance to get married, while it is a plus for men. The prospect for marriage increased by 35 percent for guys for each 16-point increase in I.Q.; for women, there is a 40 percent drop for each 16-point rise.
I just thought of something - what if the glitch in the study results is that men who are attracted to women who are their equals don't necessarily seek out marriage? And vice versa. Maybe those types of people are more likely to eschew a "traditional" institution such as marriage?
This part makes me sad, because I really like Carrie Fisher and think she's wonderfully smart and talented:
"I haven't dated in 12 million years," she said drily. "I gave up on dating powerful men because they wanted to date women in the service professions. So I decided to date guys in the service professions. But then I found out that kings want to be treated like kings, and consorts want to be treated like kings, too."