Given the shortage of young men in post-World War I Europe — 10 million soldiers died and 20 million were wounded, many grievously — Bernard wonders why any bachelor would want to settle down. Today’s hookup culture does have one big thing in common with the ’20s flapper generation, and that is demographics. There are too many women and they’re all too easy to make it worthwhile.” I was reminded of this while reading Vanity Fair’s much-publicized piece, “Tinder and the Dating Apocalypse,” which naively blames today’s “hookup culture” on the popularity of a three-year-old dating app.I turned up a few minutes late for one date to find that the guy had already ordered and eaten dinner without me, and I booked myself on a climbing holiday with 14 fit men, only to discover halfway up the highest mountain in North Africa that they were all married.While I did meet some really nice men, it was certainly not at the tortuous round of singles events, at which there were always more women than men and everyone had a sad, resigned look in their eyes.
Gay men lack confidence: In the study, gay singles scored themselves a staggering 3.5% lower than straight men on how confident they feel, and there’s no easy explanation for why there’s such a big difference.
There’s a scene in “The Fires of Autumn,” Irene Nemirovsky’s novel set in 1920s France, in which a young war widow named Therese thinks she is being courted for marriage by her childhood friend Bernard — only to discover that he wants nothing more than a fling. I say “naively” because it’s not the first time some newfangled technology has been mistakenly blamed for young people having more sex. But the moralizers of Nemirovsky’s era fooled themselves into believing that the automobile was to blame for loosening sexual mores.
He, in turn, is baffled by her unwillingness to carry on a casual affair. “A house of prostitution on wheels” was how one judge described it at the time.
In the Vanity Fair article, David Buss, a University of Texas psychology professor, says that apps like Tinder contribute to “a perceived surplus of women,” among straight men, which in turn leads to more hookups and fewer traditional relationships.
Here’s the thing: This surplus of women is not just “perceived” but very, very real.