Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Marry Marry Quite Contrary


The other day at my local coffee shop I chatted with one of the many millennial who work there and we frequently share our perspectives and observations on the social milieu that comprise the Seattle hipster crowd.  And on this day it was the breeding patterns that I had noticed and she confirmed was clearly the new accessory du jour among the pierced tatted set.

I remarked that it was because many of those same 84 million are in a baby boom of their own choosing. Why? Because that same cohort came out of divorce and that lack of substantive family legacy, history, tradition is what the hip crowd so desperately needs, wants for a multitude of reasons.  The main one is that void, that missing link to show that out of the ashes can emerge a singular familial unit.  I also note that this does mean more than one child as you are seeing the double strollers in earnest among that same set with a plan for at least one to two more, the new mini Walton's, Eight is Enough, the Brady Bunch and other multi sibling families popular in my generation are now divided in half.

I am not sure that we are seeing more of this here due to the tech incomes that enable the affordability of said family or that simply they are just willing to have kids fairly quickly after marriage. The home owning is a later must as of course the requisite move to the suburbs when the realization that living in city is not the ideal for a family who needs to chauffeur kids to school, to sports, to other social events that dominate the family after the baby enrolls in school. That and the reality that urban schools are largely dominated by "poors" and the cost of private school is a cost that takes away from further aspirations, as Euro Disney (what hipster would have the audacity to take a child to the one in Anaheim only the French will do!) or attain other markings of the aspirant class, such as a Nanny or Cleaner.  Yes this group will create an app for that if they have not already.  They want the same things the upper class has while doing so wearing Converse and sporting purple hair, that is their version of alternative independence.

So while the meme class is moving into downtown chic gentrifying hoods, slurping craft beers and eating artisan breads the same way their grandparents downed the champagne of beers and Wonder Bread, the end result is the same - conventionality.  So they will move to the suburbs rebuild the decaying malls and in turn become the families that they lost, never had or will duplicate only now with a 3D printer vs a Xerox machine.  Ah modern times!

But for those who are single, who do divorce the scarlet letter "F" will be yours. Bill Maher the other week  on his show was discussing the way "singles" are perceived as with a type of suspicion.  Yes we are the same generation that gave you Bridget Jones "singleton," Sex and the City, Sex and the Single Girl, and That Girl, are now those old creepy people who we either fear or pity.  Even Playboy has stopped with nudes and the mansion is for sale. Ah the end of an era.

I suspect we look upon singles of a certain age with fear I suspect more with regards to men and pity when it comes to women.  The need to pair off skipped many of us and we are the largest cohort of unmarried and living alone than any other age and as they say "we have been there done that read the book and seen the movie;" around 29% of us when surveyed in 2012 have any desire to do so again.

The good ole days of the Elizabeth Taylor concept of multiple spouses some of whom you remarry seems to have gone to the grave with her.  As I watched the documentary about Gloria Vanderbilt and her son Anderson Cooper she is truly of another generation of women whom marriage was not optional nor negotiated it was expected and repeated as necessary until one got it right.   And it appears that this is true for the remaining 70%.  Ahh the good old days are the new days!  People in America are afraid to be alone or at least unable to be alone for long.

 So when I read the article below I laughed and thought once again not surprising and utterly wrong. This generation of supposed free independent thinkers are anything but, they are quite provincial and yes conventional.  I know few frankly if any who are alone and not living with a "partner" "significant other."  I know few who do anything alone and feel uncomfortable doing so.  If not attached at the hip to another they are attached at the wrist with another.

Right now many Millennial are called Hipsters as we who rebelled were the Hippies, then we were the Prepsters who became the Yuppies, so I am not sure what they will call themselves when they enter that phase,  they will have to figure it out by simply cutting and pasting. As everything old is new again they just rebrand it.

Americans are becoming more socially liberal — except when it comes to divorce

 By Catherine Rampell Opinion writer
The Washington Post April 1 2016

Contrary to popular belief, marriage isn’t dead. It’s not even dying. The institution is probably more respected and admired than ever before — just not in a way that encourages millennials to partake in it.

 You can see this in national survey data, recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about Americans’ views of various family arrangements. At first glance the report suggests that Americans may indeed be less devoted to the sacrosanctity of marriage — or at least that we’ve become more tolerant of once-stigmatized non-marital sexual behaviors .

In 2002, for example, slightly more than 6 in 10 Americans said they thought it was okay for a young couple to live together without being married. By 2011-2013, the period of the most recent survey, the share had jumped to more than 7 in 10. Similarly, the report finds that Americans have gotten more accepting of women who bear and raise children out of wedlock, of unmarried 18-year-old couples who decide to have sex and of same-sex couples who adopt children.

On these and other familial and procreative arrangements, Americans have become measurably more liberal. But on one crucial measure, they have become much more conservative. Respondents were asked whether they agreed or disagreed with the statement that “Divorce is usually the best solution when a couple can’t seem to work out their marriage problems.” In 2002, about half of Americans disagreed.

Within a decade, the share had risen to more than 60 percent. In the most recent data, younger Americans — a cohort with the lowest marriage rates on record, mind you — were especially likely to perceive divorce as an unacceptable response to marital strain.

How is it possible that Americans are simultaneously getting more traditional about marital commitment and less traditional about non-marital relations? How did we become more judgmental of divorce and less judgmental of people who “live in sin” or have children out of wedlock? The answer lies in our evolving views of marriage itself. Earlier generations saw marriage as a sort of foundational milestone, laid relatively early in life, that would help couples go on to achieve familial and financial stability.

Today, it is seen more as a crowning achievement, appropriate and available only after lots of other boxes are ticked off first. And this brass ring ought to be indestructible by the time it graces your left hand. Marriage has, in other words, gone from being a cornerstone achievement to a capstone one.

Marriage rates may have plummeted in recent decades, but the vast majority of never-married millennials still say they aspire to get hitched someday. They just want to get their ducks in a row first — and my, are those ducks multiplying. A survey from last fall found that young Americans believe they should wait to marry until they have a stable job, have reduced their debt levels or accumulated savings, have a college degree, have successfully cohabitated with their future spouse, have had previous serious relationships and even own their home.

We millennials still want our happily-ever-afters, but with an emphasis on the after. Meanwhile, many of those intermediate milestones we now see as connubial preconditions have moved further out of reach. Mounting student loan debt, falling youth homeownership rates and stagnant or declining job opportunities are disqualifying many young Americans from this apparently elite institution, or at least turning them into less eligible bachelors and bachelorettes.

 Wedlock is a luxury good that young Americans want, but view themselves — and just as important, their potential spouses — as too poor or otherwise unprepared to buy.

 It is the layering of these two concurrent forces — the idealization of marriage, plus the declining marriageability (real or perceived) of so many of its would-be participants — that has ground down marriage rates, especially for lower-skilled Americans. And so young people put off marriage, though not necessarily the other milestones that used to almost exclusively follow marriage (such as childbearing). It’s unclear why marriage has been elevated to such a high pedestal.

 Perhaps it’s the traumatic legacy of earlier decades of high divorce rates, which make today’s young people fear creating their own broken homes. Or perhaps it’s the increasing association of marriage with wealthier, better-educated people. Elites have also adopted the capstone view of marriage and actually found it useful for forming more stable, successful, enduring unions.

So keep this in mind if you ever feel the temptation to urge some broke young couple to hurry up and get hitched already: Chances are they’re dragging their feet not because they don’t take marriage seriously but because they do

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