Doc Seidman Says……

….In 1960 in the United States, a six-pack of beer was 99ȼ, a loaf of bread was 20ȼ, and a movie ticket was $1. Minimum wage was $1.25 but with gas at 25ȼ a gallon, you could still live large.

Also in 1960, just over 7.5 million students were enrolled in U.S. colleges. Of that, approximately 54% were men and 46% were women. Fifty-five years later, in 2015, those percentages reversed themselves. While the number of students enrolled in college jumped to 17 million, 56% were now female and 44% where male. What gives?

For one, women weren’t pursuing careers sixty years ago like they were today.  Having a career aspiration back then was not very common. The years leading up the 60s prioritized women staying home, raising children, and taking care of the household while men went off to work. Women’s careers were pretty much limited to teaching and secretarial work in those days.

It was often noted that women who did go to college experience went to not only get a degree, but to find a husband. The median age for a first marriage in 1960 was 22.8 for men and 20.3 for women; the college age years.  In 2015 the ages men and women got married were 29.2 and 27.1 respectively. Men and women were a bit more in a hurry to find a lifelong spouse several generations ago than they are now. Without Match.com or Tinder at the ready in 1960, college might have been the matchmaking app of its time. Your mother swiped right.

Many have speculated why that was the case. Was it true that a college woman wanted to spend the rest of her life with a college man? Did she feel the secret to a happy life and marriage was to be with someone with “book smarts” and not “street smarts?” My mother, a college graduate, told me that a big reason she went to college was to find a husband. She, like many others, also wanted to get away from home. College to the rescue! A four-year college experience in a new city provided the opportunity to move away from home and find a husband.

Was the same thinking true for college men? Was a college man in 1960 keen to spend the rest of his life with a college woman, or did he want a stay at home wife? There were probably cases of both. Many men back then were intimidated by a female college grad. A woman’s place was in the home, wasn’t it? It certainly wasn’t in the corporate boardroom.

Things have certainly changed in since then.  More women than men are not only attending college, but using the experience to launch their careers instead of their marriage. Hookups and “friends with benefits” are more the college norm than finding that special someone to spend the rest of your life with. And why not, college is expensive. With close to $40,000 in student loan debt for the average college graduate, there is too much on the line. It is career first, then husband. Furthermore, more than three out of every four college students hold at least one job while they are attending college. Who has time to find the perfect partner anymore?

Clearly, attending college to receive a B.S. in Mrs. Is a thing of the past. True, there are still many women and men who find their lifetime partner while attending college, but nowhere near as frequently than in the past. College is a big expense and a serious business, today’s students therefore want to get down to business…the business of graduating and starting their careers.

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college, college romance