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July 11, 2013

Holy Hypergamy, Batman!!!!

Is hypergamy more economic than biological? Say it isn't so!

A new poll has revealed that when it comes to an extra marital fling, working class women are pining for a Mr Darcy. 67% of working class women polled described an upper class men as their dream date if they were to embark on an affair. Conversely cheating men are hankering after a working class women with a a huge 83% of middle class male members of married dating site AshleyMadison.com choosing affair partners from that class.

Only 40.7% of the middle class women on the site would like an affair with an upper class man, 53.6% specifically preferring to stick to the middle class.

Biderman added: ‘Middle class women are more likely to be financially independent and better educated, their needs are different. They want intimacy and shared experience with an equal rather than to be swept off their feet, Jane Austen style.’

Good Lord. Whatever will James Taranto write about now? We have a suggestion: male hypogamy (which unlike female hypergamy appears to manifest itself pretty evenly across the economic spectrum):

When it comes to male members of the site 83.1% of the middle classes say they want to cheat with a working class woman, 51.8% of upper class men are looking for a middle class woman and 42.4% of upper class men want a working class woman for an affair.

‘Despite the changing socio-economic landscape men across the board still want to be the Alpha partner in a relationship’, says Biderman. ‘Men want someone to admire and look up to them, someone they can impress because fundamentally most men lack confidence.’

For whatever it may be worth, the Blog Princess doubts either hyper- or hypogamy are all that hard wired into either half of the species. We've already covered evidence that this once-useful adaptive behavior is on the wane, which suggests that human adaptivity trumps hyper/hypogamy:

A larger share of men in 2007, compared with their 1970 counterparts, are married to women whose education and income exceed their own, according to a Pew Research Center analysis of demographic and economic trend data. A larger share of women are married to men with less education and income.

From an economic perspective, these trends have contributed to a gender role reversal in the gains from marriage. In the past, when relatively few wives worked, marriage enhanced the economic status of women more than that of men. In recent decades, however, the economic gains associated with marriage have been greater for men than for women.

...There also is an important gender component of these trends. Forty years ago, the typical man did not gain another breadwinner in his household when he married. Today, he does — giving his household increased earning power that most unmarried men do not enjoy. The superior gains of married men have enabled them to overtake and surpass unmarried men in their median household income.

But we can't help yanking Mr. Taranto's chain just a bit, and we're just certain the evo-psych crowd have a handy dandy explanation for the pleasure both sexes get from teasing each other.

Must be hard wired!

Posted by Cassandra at July 11, 2013 07:22 AM

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Conversely cheating men are hankering after a working class women with a a huge...

tracts of land!

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at July 11, 2013 12:21 PM

Heh :)

That line is a staple in our household - it never gets old!

Posted by: Cass at July 11, 2013 12:30 PM

"They want intimacy and shared experience with an equal rather than to be swept off their feet, Jane Austen style."

Now, that's just wrongheaded. The author must mean something more like "Barbara Cartland" style. Females who allow themselves to be swept off their feet never do well in Austen novels. Elizabeth Bennett's attraction to Mr. Darcy was all about intimacy and shared experience with an equal, despite his rank and money, which (admittedly) she very much appreciated as well.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 11, 2013 03:09 PM

I've read Austen but must admit to an almost total ignorance of romance novelists :p

Seriously, who doesn't appreciate not having to worry about money?

Posted by: Cass at July 11, 2013 03:49 PM

Austen was wry about women who married for pure love, too, without considering mundane details like what the couple would live on, to say nothing of the nine children they would have. She was pretty clear that neither the first flush of sexual intoxication nor the prospects of grand wealth were much of a ground for a non-miserable marriage. That went for men as well as women; there's usually a male fortune-hunter lurking somewhere in her plots.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 12, 2013 10:05 AM

That went for men as well as women; there's usually a male fortune-hunter lurking somewhere in her plots.

But...but.... HYPERGAMY!!!!11!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Cass at July 12, 2013 10:29 AM

And as for hypergamy, we may only slowly come to see changes to a very natural tendency going back to pre-history. If a woman has very little chance of earning a living in the society she is born into, she's likely to look for a wealthy man for approximately the same reason a man tries to choose a fertile woman if he wishes to have children. When we have certain knowledge we can't do something for ourselves, we get very focused on whether other people can be depended on to do them for us.

Posted by: Texan99 at July 13, 2013 04:34 PM

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