Dating a woman with a boyfriend
Most accept it although one, a company director, went on the defensive, saying I thought I was a princess,’ says Natasha.‘I think he had anger issues.’ British women began to ‘catch up’ with men’s educational attainment levels in the Sixties, when larger numbers entered universities, but only recently have the roles been dramatically reversed, with men falling behind at an alarming rate.‘In the Sixties there was a gendered way of pushing female graduates into jobs such as teaching and nursing,’ says Nichi Hodgson, author of The Curious History Of Dating: From Jane Austen To Tinder.‘And only 20 or 30 years ago a man wanted his female partner to be smart because the assumption was that she would be the primary carer, staying at home to raise their children, who would then absorb her intellect.’But now women are competing with men for the same careers — there are more female junior doctors than male, for example, while nearly two-thirds of practising lawyers in Scotland under 40 are women — their achievements have become more problematic.‘Smart women raise the issue of who would take time off when they have children,’ says Hodgson.Some were so despairing they were considering freezing their eggs as an insurance policy.
Yet even more mature men fail to show the requisite enthusiasm for her university projects — which include a radio documentary she recently produced on ‘the pressure that black women are under to adhere to white beauty stereotypes’.In China, they are called ‘leftover’ women.‘It sounds cold and callous, but in demographic terms it’s true.There are not enough graduates for them,’ said the study’s author Marcia Inhorn, professor of anthropology at Yale University. Frustrated young women terrified of being left single and childless — and men driven by a sense of inadequacy.‘Men may claim to want educated women, but don’t know how to deal with those they meet and some say they’re intimidated by me,’ says Natasha, who grew up in Birmingham and is single after breaking up with her boyfriend this year.‘I feel I’m hitting a brick wall.’Like many arts degrees, her media and communications course is dominated by female students, and Natasha claims the few male undergraduates ‘lack the intellectual maturity to handle conversations’.‘One cancelled our date four times because he was too busy getting drunk.Among those from poorer backgrounds, the gender divide is highly pronounced, with young women who were on free school meals 51 per cent more likely to go into higher education than men in similar circumstances.‘The boys at my school mostly went into manual jobs after we left and seemed to think I had a high opinion of myself for going to university,’ says Becca.‘They say I’m too bright for them.’Becca recalls a factory worker she asked out in a bar while home for the holidays turning her down because she was ‘too clever’ for him.‘We were having a great chat until he found out I was at university,’ says Becca.
And I don’t think men are ready for this.’This is no surprise to Becca Porter, who graduated last year from Manchester University with a joint honours degree in history and sociology, and is now starting a masters in disability studies at Leeds University.‘The sense of achievement I derive from learning seems alien to most men,’ says Becca, 23.